How to Grow Your List The Smart Way: 45 Tips, Ideas & Secrets That Don’t Suck

How to Grow Your List The Smart Way

If you’re wondering how to grow your email list, I bet there are at least a dozen things you can implement right now and get immediate and significant improvements.

To help you from procrastinating, I’ve compiled the ultimate guide to get you going. It includes 45 killer tricks you might want to implement starting today.

To make it easier to go through the list, it’s broken down into separate easy-to-digest sections. Furthermore, each item is presented in a simple and easy to digest “straight to the point” format. So let’s get started.

Leverage your existing assets

1) Feature a prominent call-to-action on your homepage

Open up your front page right now. Is a call to action prominently displayed on top of the page? Does the page make it clear that joining your email list is the single most important thing they can do on your site? If not, that’s a good place to start.

2) Add a link to your email signatures

This one is easy. All you have to do is go into your email client and set up your “email signature”. Simply set up a simple and straightforward call-to-action that motivates people to sign up for your email list.

3) Add a newsletter signup checkbox for your checkout process

If you sell digital goods, odds are that by the time people check-out you already have their email address. However, if you run an eCommerce store, chances are, you make a lot of sales to people who are not yet on your email list. 

In your case, this will be an easy, but extremely powerful tweak to implement right away. All you have to do is add a checkbox to your checkout process that signs people up for your newsletter.

4) Embed a subtle “share with a friend” feature

Simply include a short call-to-action in the footer of your emails. A simple line that says something like “If you know a friend who might enjoy these emails, please share it with them using this special invite link”. And simply link to a simple form to allow them to invite their friend to join your newsletter.

5) Dare to boldly ask for recommendations and shares

You’ll notice most successful online personalities always ask the viewer or reader to share their content quite directly. While the subtle “consider sharing with a friend” feature will do alright, you want to occasionally get even more direct.

Never hesitate to send the occasional broadcast where you suggest to your reader than if they found the content valuable at all – they should send friends and colleagues to your sign up page.

Add More Incentive Types, Get More Sign Ups

6) Offer a coupon in exchange for an email address

This will be more relevant to some businesses than others, but it can be used in both the offline and online world. Simply offer a discount or coupon in exchange for their email address.

7) Create a quiz that ties results to an email address

You might have seen those quizzes where you spend 5 minutes answering questions, and then they ask you for an email address to get your results. That concept can be used for any sort of a valuable tool or resource where a person will gladly exchange their email address for full access to it.

8) Create a free online tool or resource

Whatever the resources, the trick you want to do is to tie with an email address, just like the quiz. Think of a valuable tool that your potential customers would find useful. A diet-related business might offer a free meal planner tool. An SEO consulting agency might offer a free tool that generates optimized blog post titles. 

9) Utilize the “content upgrade” method

This killer method is pretty simple. You provide some great content that answers major pain points for your potential customer. However, when they get to the end of the content, you tell them that to get the best results, they’ll also need your content upgrade. 

The “content upgrade” can be a free tool, PDF, spreadsheet or anything that helps fully put into practice what the article revealed. The trick is that they need to provide their email address to get the content upgrade.

10) Convert some of your content into “gated content”

This is just a fancy way of saying that the content isn’t public and is only available to people with the appropriate access. Think of websites like the New York Times who only show you an article preview and you need to be a subscriber to see the rest of the article.

The simplest way to do this is to get simple content restriction software for your CMS. Only people who are logged in may view the full content. 

How does this relate to building your email list? That’s simple – the people who sign up for insider access to your website gated content are also signing up for membership to your newsletter. In fact, you can tie the two together.

Improve Conversions

11) Create different lead magnets for different segments

Not everyone will join your list for the same reason or be lured in by the same lead magnet. You want to create a couple of different ones because you will need to satisfy the needs of the different segments in your market.

12) Promote different lead magnets on different parts of your website

If you have a decent content marketing strategy, you should be hitting multiple topics relevant to your potential customers. Even if your target market is quite narrow, there are still many subtopics within it. 

You want to set up your popups (or slide-ins, or however you introduce the lead magnet) to differ based on the sub-topic that the reader is viewing. That is, you will be offering a different lead-magnet to different segments of people.

13) Feature testimonials and success stories

This is most relevant to landing pages where you have space to explain all the benefits to a person you want to sign up. In this scenario, you almost have to include at least some testimonials and success stories. It can seriously boost the number of people who go through with signing up.

14) Split-test your landing pages

This is easy to overdo. No need to become a wannabe data-analyst scientist and test every little thing that might make a 0.1% difference. However, if you don’t do any split-testing at all, odds are you’re missing out on a ton of easy boosts to conversions, and hence profit.

15) Work on your copy

Another one where it’s easy to go too far. No need to become a professional copywriter. However, you do want to study at least the basics of copywriting and make at least those basic optimizations. That is, at least try to get that 80/20 rule met in terms of your copy. That’s an easy tweak that will bring lots of easy boosts in list growth.

16) Consider improving the landing page design

We’ve never had it this easy to make beautiful landing pages. We used to rely on hiring expensive designers if we wanted to have a nice-looking landing page. Nowadays you can just get some landing page software, and tweak the built-in templates. For example, we’ve written guides on utilizing Clickfunnels, Elementor and Unbounce to do just that.

17) Do not hesitate to ask us for help

Speaking of… we produced these guides because our customers wanted to integrate their favorite email platform (Emercury) with their favorite landing page solutions. If you need help figuring out how to improve your conversion, which tools to use, how to integrate or anything at all, just reach out to us. We’ve helped thousands of people super-charge their email lists, and that’s in every industry you can think of.

18) Qualify yourself and tell stories

This is similar to the testimonials point, and just as important. A good landing page will feature at least one section that’s about you, and why you’re qualified to email people about the topic. Ideally it would include your story in a way that resonates with the reader.

19) Review the fields in your forms

It’s not uncommon to see situations where forms or landing pages are under-performing because of the fields that you included in your sign up form. You might be asking for too many details, or inappropriate types of information.

Off-line methods

20) Volunteer for speaking gigs

The best way to promote your list is if you get to speak to an audience and share your passion about the subject. Promoting your newsletter list at the end of the speech is easy and natural.

21) Add a sign-up link to your business card

You will probably want to create a special easy-to-type redirect link that lets you know who came to your landing page from that business card. Then go ahead and add it to all of your business cards.

22) Participate in offline events and pitch your lead magnet

Think about the things you do to pitch your lead magnet on your landing pages, then just do that same process in person with the people you meet at offline events. This can be done anywhere you meet people who might be interested in the subject.

23) Utilize a board outside your physical location

If you run a brick and mortar business, you can always place a board that targets all foot-traffic passing by your location. They would find your lead-magnet (or other incentive) just as valuable. Just remember to use an easy-to-remember or easy-to-type-in URL.

Improve your paid traffic

24) Give Facebook Lead Ads a Try

Facebook is really keen on encouraging people to get email addresses using their lead ads system, and we’ve written this special guide on it over here. In fact, they go out of their way to make sure it’s the easiest, cheapest and most profitable way to convert their users into email subscribers and leads. If you haven’t had as much success as you wanted with the other types of paid ads, consider giving lead ads a try.

25) Optimize your campaigns and ads

This is another one of those marketing areas that follows the 80/20 rule. 

If you have to get to a point where you’re “geeking out” over the intricacies of optimizing ever more minuscule details of your ads and campaigns, you’re either overdoing it, or your business just isn’t a good fit for paid advertising.

There’s no need to watch a dozen 100 hour courses on the subject unless you want to make it your career. If you can’t make paid ads profitable with a good 80/20 understanding, they’re probably not a good investment overall.

If, on the other hand, you’ve only just dived straight into making paid ads without any education on the subject, that’s an equally irrational extreme. You will want to learn some of the basics of optimizing ads and campaigns and at least do that. This should provide some really good returns on investment.

Attract more people

26) Start blogging, even if “you’re not good at it”

Two things to note here. The first is that you can outsource the production of content. The second is that any content that you produce is better at growing your list than no content.

27) Start producing video content

The fact is that you can get a lot of additional cheap and even free traffic from producing video content. You don’t have to be great at it, and if you have to start by just posting narrated slideshows and webinar recordings, that will give you a lot more benefits than not utilizing it at all.

28) Create an authoritative guide on a major topic

There is no better way to demonstrate your expertise on a subject than producing a really cool “ultimate guide” type of pillar content on a given subject. 

This is the kind of content your potential customers will share with all of their friends and people will naturally link to it across different online forums and communities. You want to make a guide that becomes the go-to “reference material”. 

At that point, having the guide peppered with CTAs that promote your email list (or intermediaries such as a lead magnet) becomes natural and organic.

29) Organize a giveaway

This might be more effective for some types of business more than others, it depends on the nature of the prizes that you can give out. They have to be relevant to what you do, and ideally should be part of your product line. But most businesses should at least give this one a go.

30) Add an automatic sign-up feature on your comments section

Most CMS solutions out there ask the person to provide an email address when they comment on your blog. 

It’s a very easy and logical step to simply include a checkbox that when ticked automatically signs them up for your newsletter. Depending on your CMS of choice, it should be relatively easy to find a plugin that does this for you.

Partner Venture Ideas

31) Guest blog for other websites

This is an amazing way to get super-qualified leads for your business. It’s one of the best examples of a win-win situation. 

Nowadays everyone gets how important fresh content is to growing their customer loyalty, so they’re always looking for more content. 

In a word, they’ll be more than happy you’re offering them free content that they can publish. In exchange, you get new subscribers for free.

32) Utilize cross-promotions

Every business wants to grow their list, so why not join forces with others and leverage each other’s growth? There are several ways to do this.

  • Let’s say you decide to partner up with BrandX
  • You can run joint webinars/events/streams. That way fans of BrandX get acquainted with you and join your list and vice versa
  • You can create a special offer. For example, everyone that purchases a BrandX product gets 2 months free of your service. And of course, when they redeem those 2 months they automatically give you their email address, and so it can grow quite quickly without any work on your part.

Fully Utilize Social Media & Online Communities

33) Embed a CTA on your Facebook Cover Photo

Your Facebook cover photo is prime real estate. Why not use it as if it were a flyer or banner that promotes your newsletter? You can, and you probably should.

34) Utilize the announcement/sticky post option where possible

This depends on the social media platform, however, most have some sort of a way to “sticky” a post and make it always stay on top. Try to make a passionate post about how you love sharing your best stuff in your newsletter, link to a good landing page, and pin that post so it stays on top of your profile for anyone who visits it.

35) Utilize any sidebar sections in social media

Depending on the platform, most will have sidebar sections that show to the left or right of your profile. See where you can utilize these to pitch your email list.

36) Don’t forget the about section

You don’t want to make the about section into the “about my newsletter” section for sure. You can, however, promote it in a natural way that makes sense. 

Tell your story briefly, and then mention how motivated and excited you are about sharing your expertise with the world through your newsletter where you help people achieve so many of their goals.

37) Utilize a comments list growth tool

If you get a lot of comments on your Facebook page, you may try something like ManyChat’s comments growth tool. Whenever people leave a comment it responds to their comment, thanking them for the contribution, and then it suggests that they subscribe to your Facebook page. 

Now in the case of ManyChat there’s one extra step to link this to your email list growth. You will have the ManyChat bot qualify them and ask for their email address, and then send that email into your email system.

38) Try livestreams on Facebook and YouTube

This is an easy way to get lots of free views. Both YouTube and Facebook are promoting any and all live streams. If you’ve ever done webinars, consider you can do something similar, only in the format of a livestream. Then use this “livestreamed webinar” to pitch your email list.

39) Participate in Facebook Discussions

Try to be genuinely helpful, and where appropriate link to a page on your website that expands on the answer. Do not link to actual dedicated landing pages, as that would be too salesy and can get you banned from groups.

You can, however, link to blog posts that have topic-specific pop-ups and targeted lead magnet offerings. You may also link to the earlier mentioned types of gated content and quality content that utilizes a “content upgrade” method.

40) Answer Quora Questions

Aside from the tips above, you can also use the real-estate in your profile bio and signature to promote things that help grow your email list.

41) Search forums for related questions

The only thing to add here is that you may want to be more careful on forums as they’re more “sensitive” against people pitching stuff. So you want to have a higher ratio of useful posts where you’re not linking to any of your stuff.

42) Utilize the YouTube Description

If your channel reaches a certain threshold, YouTube lets you promote stuff in your description. This is the perfect location to pitch one of your landing pages, lead magnets, general blog content (with or without content upgrades) or some of your “premium” gated content.

43) Utilize YouTube Comments

If your channel isn’t big enough and you don’t have the right to place links in your video descriptions yet, consider utilizing the comments feature in a similar manner. You can simply pitch your email-generating website content inside of a comment, and then simply pin that comment on top.

You’re can also put a link whenever you respond to people asking questions in the comment. Just give them a brief answer in the comment, and link to a page on your site that gives “the full answer”. Once they go to the page for the “full answer”, the page itself will convert them to email subscribers using one of the discussed methods. It might feature pop-ups, gated content, content upgrades or anything else that gets them to subscribe.

44) Use the CTA button on your Facebook Page

It’s interesting how many businesses fail to utilize this one, even though Facebook encourages you to use it. You can set that very useful CTA button to link to a landing page or lead magnet offer of yours.

The biggest multiplier

45) Get a better email service provider

A lot of these ideas work as a multiplier. That is, they boost the returns on some of the things that you already do to grow your list. But do you know what is the one single biggest multiplier in growing your list?

It’s whether emails even reach your subscriber’s inbox. You would think this is a given if you pay for an email sending service, but you would be wrong. In fact, most email sending services do not care whether your emails actually reach your subscribers.

Emercury is different. We’re famous for our “obsession” with delivering your emails. In fact, we go out of our way to help all of our customers get the best deliverability possible. All you have to do is ask.

On that note. Due to current circumstances we’re offering a limited number of “forever-free-accounts”. This is an account that gets you almost all of the features of a high-tier account, with very few exceptions. Be sure to grab yours here right away.

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