**This blog on how to grow your email list was originally published on July 26, 2016 and has been update several times to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.**
Your email list is your direct ticket to people who are genuinely interested in your products and services. You own the content in your email newsletters as well as your email list and have the power to provide value to people who have done business with you in the past or who may do business with you in the future. And your audience will see that value, provided you follow email best practices and don’t abuse your privilege of having that quality email list.
“You’re not just a status update that’s there and gone, you’re right in someone’s inbox.” – Nathalie Lussier
So how can you grow your email list, so you’re in front of as many people as possible? It’s not as difficult as it seems, though it does take some effort on your part. Nathalie Lussier has a free 30-Day List Building Challenge that can walk you through the process, starting with setting up your list. But here are a few ideas to round out the challenge!
Not convinced that you need email in your content strategy? Think again! Listen in to my podcast episode about the role your email plays in your content.
Create Stellar Freebies
Everyone wants something for free, and your audience is not exception. Give them what they want by providing free downloadables, videos, challenges, workbooks, checklists and more that’s aligned with the other free content you’re creating. Then have your audience sign up for your list to access this free content. My email service of choice is ActiveCampaign.
Know that it’s not necessary to include a new freebie for every piece of content you create. That’s putting too much pressure on yourself to continually create while not giving yourself enough time to create quality. Have a few pillar freebies for your audience to start, like my free content bank or my 7-day welcome sequence challenge. From there, you can add on other freebies as needed–but you have a few key ways to get people on your list.
Keep Subscribers Engaged
Once you have those new subscribers on your email list, you need a plan in place to keep them engaged. This is actually two parts. First, you need to nurture them based on the opt-in that convinced them to sign up for your list. Then, you need to nurture them for the long haul so they stay on your list.
This is where an email service like ActiveCampaign comes in incredibly handy. The first nurturing sequence, also called a welcome sequence, gives the new subscriber information and resources relating to that opt-in. For example, my free Content Strategy Clarity challenge opt-in includes a series of emails that helps subscribers walk through the content in the challenge. It reminds them that it’s there and gives them links for more information and help.
Once that initial nurturing sequence has run its course, you need to continue nurturing subscribers by providing valuable emails that inform them about new content you have available. These regular emails should be consistent (I recommend weekly) and connect with your audience more personally. I like to expand on the content I put out there for everyone and even tell some personal stories that relate to that content.
Add Opt-In Forms
This seems like a no-brainer, but newbies often forget it. Give your audience a place to sign up for your list—prominently on your website and in your email signature (so it’s part of every email you send). You’ll include individual opt-in forms for the freebies you offer, but it’s also a good idea to include forms for your big freebies on your website sidebar, in your banner, on your social media profiles and anywhere else you tend to attract your audience.
You have the option to add an opt-in on your Facebook page, so make sure you use this tool. You can create a button on your banner to collect email addresses that are dropped directly into your email list. If you have a free workbook or challenge you want to promote, create a landing page for it so you can promote it all over social media and beyond! I have a few key freebies that I regularly post about on social media and Pinterest and I have a steady stream of new subscribers on a daily basis.
Limit Options on Your Website
Assume that your website visitors are overwhelmed with information before they even get to your site. Streamline your site and ensure it’s clutter-free so visitors can easily find your opt-in form. Limit the number of “asks” you’re making of your visitors so they know that you want them to sign up for your list. If you have multiple forms on your site to help grow your email list, streamline and only promote the biggies (the freebie that you most want people to sign up for).
You can do this by streamlining your home page so it’s very clear what you do and who you do it for. Include limited text, buttons to two or three other pages so visitors know what to do next, plus your opt-in. The clearer it is what you do, the more likely someone is to recognize that they need what you have to offer.
Join Niched Online Summits
Getting in front of new audiences can be challenging, so it might be beneficial for you to join a niched-down online summit with quality content and an organized promotional strategy. I know that summits feel like they’ve run their course. I used to think that too. But very niched summits still attract great speakers and quality leads for your list. Be thoughtful and strategic about which summits you say yes to because you don’t have time for them all!
Have a Freebie for Podcast Interviews
Podcasts are another great way to get in front of new audiences and grow your email list. When you pitch the podcast, you’ll likely have to submit a topic idea. Have a landing page ready for listeners to head to so they can download a freebie after listening to you teach something related to that freebie.
Use a Quality Email Provider
Your email provider matters when you’re trying to maintain or grow an email list. Free providers like MailChimp feel good when you’re first starting out and your budget is tight, but they fail when it comes to deliverability and open rates. Most email services like Gmail and Yahoo recognize free email providers as spam engines and will drop your email funnels into your subscribers’ spam folders. I recommend paying for a provider like ActiveCampaign to give you the biggest bang for your email marketing efforts.
Create Great Content
As you’re building your list, you need those who opt in to stay on your list, right? The secret to retaining your list is to create great content, consistently (but not overwhelmingly). You need to use email marketing as part of your content strategy, but you also need to create quality emails that actually get read. When you create great content and offer tons of value to your subscribers, they stay on your list. If they’re quality leads that open and read your emails regularly, they’re worth having on your list.
Of course, growing a list takes persistence and consistency—and I highly recommend the 30-Day List Building Challenge to help. But start pumping out those emails now, even if you only have a handful of subscribers. If you do it right, you’ll soon have many more!
Some links in this blog post are affiliate links and I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase through those links. I only recommend and support services and products that I have used and trust.