As you kick-start marketing activities to generate leads, you will find that growing an audience is not as easy as it seems.

Email is one of the best marketing tools to connect to your prospects is email, so growing your email list is essential to creating your customer base. You never know, if tapping on small ideas that worked well for similar types of businesses, can prove to be a HUGE lead generation channel for your business too.

Here are 16 effective ways to grow your email list and pump up your marketing activities:

1. Know & Segment Your Audience

You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s really that important. Knowing who your audience is and segmenting it is the key to creating authentic, personalized content that will get your email marketing campaign to work. By showing that you can provide your readers with value, you make them more and more confident that they should give you your email to get even more of that relevant and useful content.

The point here is to understand who your customers are and who you want to subscribe to your newsletter. This is actually true for any kind of online business or service.

If you’re able to segment your audience and target them in different ways, it is easy to persuade them to stay on your email list.

Note: Automate your email segmentation and auto-tag subscribers based on activity.

Example: Let’s say a customer has purchased a specific product from your Shopify store, it’ll be easy for you to send out personalized emails only if you have this data synced to your email marketing platform.

2. Add Pop-Ups on Your Website and Provide Valuable Content

Even though pop-ups may only have an average of 3.09% conversion rate, they are still great for provoking your website visitors to give you their emails. If the offer is relevant, people won’t hesitate to subscribe to your newsletter.

The biggest problem with pop-ups is that many people think they are annoying (maybe even including yourself). But what made them so? Pop-ups don’t have to be annoying and there are some tips you can follow to make your pop-ups as less irritating as possible:

  • Once or Twice Is Enough: Don’t make your pop-up activate every time your visitor goes to a different page on your website or wants to leave it. Once or twice is enough and they will subscribe if they want to.
  • Too Big Is Not Good: Don’t make your pop-up cover the whole page and don’t make the cross for hiding it barely accessible. A medium-sized pop-up will suffice and make sure that the reader can easily close it. You can refer to the checklist for creating engaging popups by Wisepops. And..if you need some inspiration for good popup design examples, check this out.
  • Offer Something Valuable: Get to the point right away and don’t write long paragraphs about how great your newsletter is. Offer something in exchange such as a free e-book or guide.

But what would your popup provide to the users in return for their email address?

EdWard Dennis, Digital Marketing Manager at Core dna, says: The one tip to grow the list that’s been working very well for us is having a content upgrade for every blog post that we publish. It can literally be as simple as offering a download of a PDF version of the blog post.

Other ideas for content upgrades can be:

  • Templates
  • PDF version of the post
  • Additional resources related to the post
  • Checklist version of the post

3. Add Signup Forms On Your Website

While pop-ups should only appear once or twice, having other ways for your visitors to sign up is the best way to grow your email list. It’s a bit passive, but it’s a necessity and a standard for all the businesses that have ever created a weekly or monthly newsletter.

You can put your email signup forms in several places: header, footer, and contact page. The header and footer are perfect for placing your newsletter signup form right beside your social media icons which are just as important. This will ensure that the forms are always in front of the readers’ eyes when they want to check out your social media profiles.

At the same time, the contact page can be effective too, but the difference is that it is mostly visited by those who want to get in touch with you directly. You can also place the signup forms on your about page and at the end of each post that you publish on your blog.

4. Host Regular Giveaways & Contests on Facebook

Did you know that free giveaways can maximize sales? If that is not a big enough reason to start hosting them, then an opportunity to get more email subscribers surely is.
By hosting regular giveaways and contests on Facebook and other social media channels, you can really pull up your game and attract more newsletter subscribers.

Source: Wishpond

In fact, if you’re running an eCommerce store, giveaways are one of the best ways to attract attention to your e-commerce brand. People are always happy to get a chance to win something for free and don’t see a problem in completing a few simple tasks for it such as following you on social media or signing up for your newsletter.

To run a contest, you can use one of the three popular apps:

5. Offer Discounts In Exchange For Email

As mentioned above, offering something valuable in exchange for a visitor’s email is a huge upturn for them. One of the best things you can offer is a discount. Ask your visitor which products they are interested in and then provide them with a discount in exchange for their email.

Try to stick to a certain percentage off in order not to lose value. Here’s what you can offer:

  • 10% off for products that cost up to $100.
  • 15% off for products that cost $101-200.
  • 5% off for products that cost over $201.

6. Repurpose Old Content to New Lead Magnets

We all know how important it is to keep your content fresh and often look back to updating old content on your website. But, trends keep changing and users may not consume that old content in the same fashion as before. So why not, repurpose the content (for which you’ve put in massive efforts) into smaller chunks of lead magnets to generate new leads?

Below is a small example very well explained by Derek Gleason, Content Lead @CXL.

“Not surprisingly, relevant offers drive more sign-ups. So, if you can offer a guide on “The Top 12 Mistakes A/B Testers Make” on your post “A/B Testing Guide: From Beginner to Pro in a Blog Post,” you’ve got a much better shot at the conversion (compared to, say, offering a more generic guide on “conversion optimization.”)

The challenge, of course, is that resources are expensive to create. Often, companies pour tons of money into resource creation (like 100-page whitepapers) when only a few hundred people download it (and a tiny fraction of those users read it). Ultimately, the contents/comprehensiveness of the resource does little to “sell” the conversion (compared to, say, the call to action or offer location). A 20- or even 2-page whitepaper on the same topic might convert just as well.

Even then, you’re still tasked with creating a new whitepaper (or whatever you’re offering), and the more relevant you want your offers to be, the more content you have to create. We’ve been solving this as part of a content pruning project.

In short, we find historical content that didn’t catch on organically (i.e. drives little traffic since organic is our primary distribution channel) and repurpose it into a downloadable PDF that we dangle in front of users visiting relevant high-traffic pages.

Since we’re a site with 620+ posts, it’s easy to find 20-30 posts that don’t have organic potential (even though they’re useful) and create highly tailored offers for another 150 posts for which they’re super relevant. We offload pages that don’t drive traffic, get tailored resources to grow our email list, and, in many cases, get to set up 301 redirects that push link equity toward the posts we really want to rank.”

7. Make an Email Opt-In Landing Page

Landing pages are great, so why not combine them with email opt-ins?

If you can drive traffic to a landing page featuring your most popular product, then you can definitely drive traffic to an email opt-in landing page.Source: Instapage

The best way to make your landing page work (via navigation links, of course) is to write an article on a topic related to your industry that will be extremely relevant to your target audience. Do extensive keyword research before you get to work and find keywords of high search volume and low keyword difficulty score. Then, optimize your landing page for these keywords. Add them to the meta tags, URL, H1 and H2 titles, the first paragraph, and the text body. Try to get a few backlinks too so that you have a higher Google search ranking.

And then you are all set. Let’s get the leads flowing in!

8. Leverage Social Media Promotion

This technique is best used in combination with the previous one, so make sure you first create an email opt-in landing page. Then, you will be able to use your social marketing campaign to promote it and get traffic to the page.

You can make use of social media ads and sponsored posts to promote your landing page even further. Facebook Lead Ads are a great way to generate leads quickly and they’re cost-effective too. Have a look at our Facebook Ads Guide and Tips for Facebook Lead Ads Conversion.

Here’s an example of how AdStage uses Facebook Lead Ads to promote their webinar, generate leads and in-turn grow the email lists.

Source: Klientboost

Note: You need to make sure you set up a workflow to automatically add your Facebook Leads to your email list.

Twitter and LinkedIn Lead Gen Ads are also quite popular. So, just align your strategy well and give it a shot! You never know how helpful it would be for your business even before you experiment.

Along with Social Media, influencer marketing is also a great way to go about it. Get on Influencers to promote your landing pages and product pages. Utilize their audience to attract more diverse audiences to your business.

9. Add Email Opt-In To the Thank You Page

Showing your email subscribers that you care about them and their decision to sign up for your newsletter is important for your customer relationships.

Once they opt-in, send them to the thank you page and give them some whitelist instructions. It’s a small gesture, but it can be very meaningful to some..

10. Collect Emails from Customer Purchases

Most people are hesitant to give out their personal information. This is exactly why most businesses don’t require you to fill out long forms to make a purchase on their website. After all, there’s a big chance that your customers already had bad experiences with other companies before you and don’t want to give out their email address yet again.

The biggest problem is that companies forget that their customers don’t want to receive tons of emails about promotions, sales, discounts, and so on. Spamming is a no-no and you should always keep that in mind when planning your email marketing campaign.

This is why getting your customer’s email when they are making a purchase is probably the best timing for you. Give them a reason such as the fact that you will send them an email that confirms their order. You won’t add them to your email list just yet, but ask them about it in that same email.

Note: If you’re an e-commerce brand having your store setup either on Shopify or BigCommerce or Woocommerce, make sure to connect it to your email marketing app. So whenever you have a new order placed, the customer gets added as a subscriber to your email list.

11. Collaborate with Others for Extra Exposure (Co-Marketing)

Collaborations and partnerships are a great way to get extra exposure and more subscribers on your email list. Find other brands like you who would love to host an event either online or in real life. This will allow you to cross-promote each other too.

Don’t forget that shoutouts are awesome too. It’s a small thing, but it can be very effective if you find the right account to work with. By the way, a giveaway in collaboration with other online stores is also an effective way to build your email list.

In case you own an online business that is not involved with e-commerce, you could still be collaborating with others. In fact, consider creating joint offers, where a customer orders both your service and an item from a different brand.

Co-marketing ideas to collaborate with other brands:

  • Newsletter
  • Guest Posts
  • Webinars
  • Giveaways and Contests

12. Host Offline & In-Person Events

Events hosted offline are not only an amazing way to meet your future customers face-to-face but also to collect their emails. You can host anything from seminars to educational panels and ask participants to fill out forms.

Or if you’re not the one hosting, you can as well attend conferences in your niche by either being a speaker or exhibitor or a sponsor for the event.

You can roll out forms to prospects and interested users. It would require them to write in their email and receive additional information about their interests. It’s a perfect opportunity to get their personal details without being too clingy about it.

Note: You can set up a simple workflow to send these form entries directly to your email and CRM platform. So, the leads you generate at the event go straight to your CRM and you can contact them immediately.

13. Offer Discounts to Those Who Recommend

As mentioned above, discounts are a lifesaver in many situations. It’s no wonder that coupons create happiness! To strengthen your long-term relationships with your current customers, you can offer discounts to those who recommend friends who should then sign up for your email list.

This way, you keep your current customers happy and also increase the chances to grow your email list.

Andy Mcllwain, Senior Marketing Manager at GoDaddy, says – “Make it easy for your existing subscribers to get someone else on the list. I see “forward this email to a friend” all the time, or “share this email”. But you should also have something like an “invite a friend to subscribe” link. Support the word-of-mouth referrals!”

Source: Wisepops

In a similar context, implementing Affiliate Marketing can also prove to be a great channel to increase your leads. Users can sign up for your program and earn as and when they refer leads to your business using their unique link!

14. Add Engagement Features to Your YouTube Channel

Have an engaging and high-traffic YouTube channel? You can collect email subscribers from there as well.

At the end of your videos, add hyperlinked “end cards” that link to a separate video encouraging people to subscribe to your email list. You can also add the link for subscription into the captions of your videos.

Know more about how to create YouTube end cards that convert better from here.

15. Keep Subscribers on Your List with Autoresponders

You can keep subscribers on your list with the help of autoresponders. Growing your list is crucial for your email marketing campaign to succeed, but it will be of no use if your subscribers quickly lose interest.

This is why you should use autoresponders that will deal with both your transactional list (people who purchased from you, registered, or abandoned the cart) and your informational list (people who want information such as deals and content).

Here’s a simple autoresponder workflow example created in Getresponse, that can keep your email list engaged and be on your list.

16. Create a Free Online Tool in your Niche

Who wouldn’t appreciate FREE stuff? And that too, something that would help them in their work? Wordstream’s Google Ads Performance Grader is one such free tool! 

Here’s what Alaura Weaver, B2B SaaS Content Marketing Strategist, has to say about utilizing free tools to help you grow your email list.

“If you have a SaaS product, talk to your best customers and find out the ONE task they were trying to accomplish when they first started out with your product.
Then create a free tool that helps your target customers to accomplish that task – it can be a Chrome extension, widget, checklist, webinar, tutorial video…whatever tool would help them.

For example, I had a client who has a SaaS that does all kinds of image optimization for e-commerce. One of the biggest pains that brought their customers to them was having to resize photos for Shopify. So they released a super-simple free photo resizing tool in the Shopify App Store. That little freebie is now the biggest source of leads for their paid app!

Moral of the story: if you can help your target customer solve one tiny problem, they’ll look to you and pay you to help solve bigger problems.

What next after building a MASSIVE Email List?

Now that you’ve implemented a few strategies for your business and start generating leads (email addresses), what’s the next step to make sure you make the most out of these?

Put these leads on a drip campaign based on what they’ve signed up for! So, if you use any online forms or other lead generation tools, connect them to your Email Marketing Automation and CRMs.

Here’s a simple way to do it: Use to connect your 100+ apps, create automated workflows and let the Bots do the work without you intervening at any point.

Final Thoughts

Growing your email list is not that difficult if you can ideate, execute and get a hang of what’s working for your business. Even brands that are only getting off their feet can start their email marketing campaigns and grow their list fast if they follow the simple steps in this article (some of which are completely FREE to get started).

That said, go ahead and experiment any of these email list growing strategies and see the leads pouring in!


Diana Nadim is a writer and editor who has a Master degree in Marketing. She combines her passion for writing with her interest in research and creates thought-provoking content in various fields. Besides working as a contributor writer for TrustMyPaper, Diana also runs her own blog. What inspires her the most in her writing is traveling and meeting new people.