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How to Grow Your Email List

We explain how to grow your list the traditional way, with pop-up opt-ins and promotional offerings. But we’ve thrown in a few creative methods too.

Imagine you are 8 years old. You’re wearing the “It’s My Birthday!” button your mom pinned to your shirt. And you’re sitting nervously by the front door, waiting for the invited guests to (hopefully) show up to your party.

That suspense, stress, and anxiety you’re feeling? It’s just about the worst experience in the world. And we wouldn’t wish it on anyone—especially not you.

Thankfully, you don’t have to wallow in anxiety when it comes to your metaphorical birthday party. Instead, you can know with full confidence that people are coming. Why? Because you didn’t invite them, they asked to come.

At least, that’s the case for any business owner with a healthy email list. Keep reading and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

What Is an Email List?

The definition of an email list is pretty straightforward: it’s a lineup of all the people who have signed up to receive your marketing emails. Depending on how niche your market is and how much work you’ve put into growing your list, it could consist of a handful of people or a whole buttload.

A healthy email list is a beautiful, magical possession that any business, regardless of industry, could put to good use. Unlike social media or paid ads, an email list is something that you actually own and have full control over. You can use it to send promotions, updates, newsletters, and a whole lot more.

Besides using your email list to sell stuff, you can also use it to develop regular correspondence with some of your most eager customers. This will help you flesh out and solidify your brand personality. Plus, it will allow you to develop actual relationships with real-life clients.

Why Do I Need to Grow Mine?

Emailing your list is one of the cheapest ways to market your business. That being the case, you want as big an audience as possible. Plus, the bigger your list, the more you can segment that list and create targeted emails that will have a greater chance of success.

And if you’re still not convinced, here are a few email marketing facts that will knock your socks off:

  • Email marketing has an average 8% conversion rate, compared to social media’s average 3% conversion rate.
  • The average return on investment for email marketing is 3600%.
  • Emails also have higher click-through and open/view rates on average, when compared to organic social media.

Needless to say, email marketing has some obvious advantages. And the bigger your list, the better your opportunity for success.

Is There an Ideal Size to Aim For?

Yes and no. Generally speaking, the bigger your list, the better. However, the ideal number fluctuates depending on your industry. For example, if you are targeting the Personal Finance industry as a whole, your list should probably be on the larger side. If you’re targeting something more niche, like Unconventional Side Hustles, we’d expect your list to be smaller.

Basically, the bigger your audience, the bigger your list. But targeting a smaller corner of the market, and having a smaller email list as a result, is not a bad thing. Smaller markets have fewer competitors, giving you the chance to be a big fish in a small pond.

Back to email lists: there’s not really an ideal number we can give you. But generally speaking, a healthy email list size for a small business is between 1k and 2k subscribers.

If you’re not there yet, don’t panic. We’ve seen killer results from clients with email lists of only a hundred people or so. Wherever you’re at, there’s room for success right now. Plus, growing your list quickly is totally possible. Below are the steps we recommend.

A healthy email list is a beautiful, magical possession that any business, regardless of industry, could put to good use.

Best Practices for Growing Your Email List

We like to cover our bases. But if you already have a general idea of the conventional ways to grow your list, skip to the next section. For now, we’re going to focus on the basics:

1. Add an easy-to-access opt-in form on your website.

If you want people to sign up for your emails, you need to give them an easy way to do that. These days, a popular tactic is to install a popup window on your website with a prompt to subscribe. Additionally, we recommend you include an opt-in on the homepage and resources page.

2. Invest in SEO and Content

With those opt-ins ready to go, the next step is to increase your website traffic. More website visitors = more opportunities for people to sign up for your list. To increase your site traffic, start with quality SEO and content. SEO will point people in your direction while good content will keep them coming back.

(Want to learn more about SEO and how you do it?? Check out this article . . . and maybe this one too while you’re at it.)

3. Talk about your email list on social media.

If you already have a healthy following on social media, this one is a no-brainer. Drop some hints directly into your posts. Include a link to your website in your bio. And go for some paid ads if you have the budget. With a few smart maneuvers, you can leverage one marketing channel to benefit another.

4. Offer an incentive for signing up.

If you want something, give something, as our grannies used to say. (Okay, our grannies never said that, but we wish they had!) To incentivize people to sign up for your list, offer them something of value. It could be a discount on your products, a free resource, or entry to a contest or giveaway. Sign-up incentives are a proven way to increase your opt-in rate.

If you’re already doing those things and are still unhappy with the size of your list, don’t despair. We’ve got a few unconventional tips that may just do the trick.

A Few Unconventional Ideas (To Keep Things Interesting)

Really, the world is your oyster. If you want to walk around in a hot dog suit handing out sign-up flyers, we say go for it! You never know what will work for your audience until you try. Meanwhile, we’ve got a few more reliable, though still unconventional, options to consider:

1. Add a hyperlink to your email signature.

To do this, you’ll need to create a landing page for people to opt-in to your email list. But once that’s done, this option is pretty easy and has a pretty high opportunity for success. While you’re at it, have your employees include a hyperlink in their email signatures as well.

2. Promote your email newsletter directly in your website header.

If you’re spending a lot of time and resources on creating engaging email content, why not smack people over the head with it?? An eye-catching header on your website and/or social media page is sure to catch people’s attention.

3. Collaborate with another brand.

Work with another business in an industry that’s adjacent to yours. Host a giveaway or collaborate on a new product to draw people in. In doing so, you may convince some of the other brand’s subscribers to join your list as well.

4. Add a QR code to your product packaging.

QR codes are gaining in popularity and efficacy. Consider adding one to your product packaging and having it direct users to the landing page for your email list. If the customer is happy with your product, they may be interested in learning more about what you have to say.

Now that we think about it, any one of these unconventional ideas could be made better (or at least more fun) with a hot dog suit. Give them a try and let us know how it turns out!

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