10 Surefire Ways to Grow Your Email List

Email marketing is such an important part of any business, online or otherwise. But with so many brands competing for consumer inbox space, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Building a qualified, engaged list may be easier than you think. Here are 10 proven (yet, painless) ways to start growing your virtual following today.

1. Offer impeccable content

If you want to gather a loyal fanbase, you’ve got to offer high-caliber content, and lots of it.
Your newsletter should:

  • be industry relevant
  • have your own spin on it
  • be of excellent quality
  • offer value
  • be actionable


2. Make your content share-worthy

One of the best ways to get your readers to share is to enhance it with eye-catching imagery. Pinnables are especially popular. Placing a ‘Pin It’ button on your content will make sharing virtually effortless. And just like that, you’re site is featured on one of the most popular venues in the world.
The good news is, you don’t have to be a graphic designer to do create bang-up imagery. Both Picmonkey and Canva make it so easy to create and share gorgeous, professional looking graphics.

3. Have an email signup everywhere

Tuck signup prompts all over the place, making it super simple for people to sign up. Think: website popups, a link in your email signature, on your profile descriptions on social media, and via an app on your Facebook business page, to name a few.

4. Encourage forwarding

Make it easy for your readers to pass along your emails along to friends and colleagues. You can do this with a simple written phrase placed at the top or the bottom of the email. Most mail service providers offer the option of a ‘forward to a friend’ button that can be placed at the footer of the email, too.

5. Offer Targeted Incentives

Offering free content, such as a white paper, PDF, or other alluring piece of informational piece, will definitely help you to gather addresses. This sort of exchange also acts as a silent vetting process. If someone is enticed by what you are sharing, then they have already indicated some level of interest in you and what you’ve got to offer. Because of this, they’re more likely than not that they are one of your ‘right people’. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that whatever pieces you are putting out there in this initial interaction is indicative of the sort of offerings you can provide.
I’m often asked why people would give something away at no charge – especially something that they spent valuable time on. Something that has potential to otherwise be sold. My answer to that is that you’re not actually giving anything away for free at all. You’re offering it in exchange for their email address, and to some degree, their trust. You’re also gathering qualified potential future, paying customers. Think of it as you would a form of marketing or advertising. Because it is.

6. Use social media to promote

Let your fans and followers know that you’ve got a newsletter and that you’d love for them to be a part of it. You can do this through a blog post and across all social media channels, like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Even if you’ve had your list for awhile, it doesn’t hurt to send a reminder a few times a year to invite them to join you. This is another example where offering a sign-up incentive works well.

7. Gather email addresses offline

If you’re a speaker, attend trade shows, conferences, or other networking events, have a pad and paper handy to gather email addresses the old fashioned way- manually. You might be surprised at the number of people willing to sign up, ‘site’ unseen. When you get home, just add them to your list. You can also do this by exchanging business cards. Most business cards today have email addresses right on them. Be sure you have the person’s approval to add them, though. Adding people to your mailing list without permission is against spam laws and is not okay. Click here to read more about that.

8. Collect with a free webinar

Webinars are all the rage today. Offer a mini course that requires an email address to sign up. And just like that, you’ve grown your list. I’ve heard of some businesses growing their list by literally hundreds of people using this method. It’s definitely worth a shot.
*Not sure how to do a webinar? Check out WebinarAlly.

9. Giveaways

Another great way to add to your list is by running a sweepstakes or giveaway. Rafflecopter organizes everything for you, and a basic account is free. You can request email addresses so you can contact the winner. To keep things above board, just make a note somewhere that by sharing their email address, they’re agreeing to be added to your list.

10. Scan to join

The number of people accessing websites with their mobile device is increasing rapidly. Capitalize on this by making it quick and easy for them to sign up with the push of a button by creating a QR code. You can do it right here for free. Simply scan and they’re in!
It’s time! Start by picking out a few of these strategies and see what works for you.
Brand new to this? No problem. Setting up a newsletter is easy with this guide.
Need help choosing a provider? We are an affiliate for (and highly recommend) any or all of the providers listed below. Each have their pros and cons, depending on what you’re looking for. Several offer free options, especially if you are just starting out or if your list is still on the smaller side. Have a look around and choose the one that works best for you. We use (and love) MailerLite.

By the way, we invite you to sign up for OUR newsletter right here. We’d love to have you!

What do you think? Did we miss anything? What methods have you had success with? Share in the comments below.



Melissa Bolton

Brand Therapist™ + Copywriter at Melissa Bolton
Melissa is a Brand Therapist®providing neurobranding and conversion copywriting services to solopreneurs and micro-business owners looking to truly connect with their right people. Leaning on proven psychology principles, she helps clients create a brand presence that's not only explicitly unique, but highly memorable. She offers 25 years of extensive sales and marketing experience through her proprietary brand therapy methodologies. You can learn more about her and how she can help you grown your own brand, right here: MelissaBolton.com

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  1. karen

    Great tips. Just make sure when you do giveaways, you don’t make it a requirement to give email addresses. That’s not legal.

    • Melissa Bolton

      Good point. Thanks for clarifying, in case that wasn’t clear to some readers.


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