5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Email List

5 easy ways to grow your email list even if you're starting at zero

You know there’s money to be made from email marketing, but what if you don’t have a list to sell to?

Before you go begging people to sign up for your newsletter (no one wants a newsletter!), try one of these five proven strategies to grow your email list instead.

1. Use a popup or landing page to offer a discount

If you go to any major ecommerce site, you'll see a popup offering you some discount in exchange for your email address.

kate spade popup to grow email list

As seen on KateSpade.com

These are so common because they work so well. Plus, offering a small financial incentive is a double win for the shop owner! Because not only are you growing your email list, but you are also on your way to closing a sale. 

Examples of incentives include:

  • X% off a total purchase
  • $X off a purchase of $X or more
  • $X off total purchase
  • A free item
  • Free shipping (A good option if you don’t want to discount your product)

Test out different offers to determine which one returns the best results. 

To offer your incentive, you can use a popup app like Privy or create a landing page through Mailchimp for subscribers to enter their information. Then, use email automation to deliver the discount code, so your new subscriber can start spending right away. 

(TIP: Often it's effective to put a time limit on your discount code (like 48 hours), so your new subscriber is extra motivated to complete a purchase.)

2. Create a Buzzfeed style quiz to grow your email list

Online quizzes are a fun and creative way to grow your email list. And thanks to tools like Interact, they are relatively easy to create.

There are two main types of quizzes a product seller should consider.

The first is a personality quiz. In this quiz, the respondent is motivated to take the quiz in order to learn something about themselves. (Examples could be: What Kind of Shopper are You?, What's Your Decorating Style?, What Famous Fashion Icon are You?)

The second kind of quiz is a recommendation quiz. In this case, the respondent answers a series of questions in order to receive a personalized recommendation or advice. (Examples could be: a Fit Finder Quiz, Holiday Gift Picker, Personalized Wardrobe Recommendations). 

For both quiz types, the respondent must enter in their email address to see their results, which grows your list.

3. Host a contest or giveaway.

You’ve seen giveaways work to grow Instagram audiences, but you can use the same tactic to grow your email list, too!

ann taylor giveaway to grow email list

Ann Taylor hosts ongoing giveaways to grow their list. 

To collect entries (and addresses), create a popup form or landing page through your email service provider. Then tell, your audience to fill out the form in order to enter the giveaway. (Make sure it’s clear that they are also consenting to receive emails from you.)

When the contest is over, look through your form submissions to pick a winner.

4. Create a Content Upgrade

A content upgrade or opt-in is a valuable resource you deliver to your audience in exchange for their email address.

Common types of opt-ins include:

  • Templates 
  • How-To/Tutorials
  • Video series
  • Guides
  • White Papers
  • Workbooks 
  • E-books
  • Checklists
  • And more!

This list-building strategy is commonly used in service based-businesses, but there are some use cases for shop owners who think outside of the box.

For example, a boutique owner with style-conscious customers could create opt-ins like these:

  • GUIDE: 10 Spring Fashion Trends Every Woman Needs to Try (And 5 to avoid!)
  • VIDEO SERIES: How to Discover (and Rock) Your Own Personal Style  
  • CHECKLIST: 15 Essential Styles Every Working Mama Needs in Her Closet

Once you create your opt-in, promote it in on your blog, website, and social media (paid and/or organic). As your customers download your opt-in, your list will grow!

5. Collect your customer’s email address.

Whether you sell online, in-store, or both, you should collect your customer’s email address at point of sale.

Why? They already know you, and it’s a lot cheaper to keep a customer than acquire a new one.

But don’t ask your customer if they want to sign up for your newsletter. (Remember, no one wants a newsletter!) 

Instead, try a script like this: “Would you like to join our VIP list today? We only send about three emails a month, and you’ll be the first to know about special offers and events.”

That offer not only makes your customer feel special, but also sets her expectations for the kind of benefits she can expect. Both of those make it easier for her to say “Yes!”

After you grow your email list...

With your good list growing, it's time to actually start sending your marketing emails! Check out our Mailchimp Design Masterclass or Template Library to get the tools and tips you need to sell more with email marketing.


A version of this post first appeared on KatieDoesMarketing.com  


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