10 Easy Tools and Strategies to Grow Your Email List

Email marketing is a crucial element of any digital marketing strategy. 

It’s a fast and easy way to reach your target audience. And it’s also incredibly cost-effective. At $42 for every dollar spent, it has one of the highest returns on investment in the entire sector. 

However, to harness the full power of email marketing, there’s one essential prerequisite – a solid email list. 

The larger your list, and the more information you have about the people on it, the more likely your email marketing campaigns are to be effective

If you have a large, detailed list, you can easily segment your emails to focus on different subsections of your target audience, depending on what type of products and services you want to promote. 

With a great list, you can also personalize your emails to a far greater degree. Research has shown that marketers report a 760% increase in email-derived revenue from bespoke campaigns. 

But how do you go about building a list that can serve as the foundation for all of this? 

How do you grow your list if it’s currently small or stagnating? 

Here are ten easy tools and strategies to give your email subscriber list a boost. 

1 – Build an Attractive Sign-Up Form 

First, you need to make sure that you have an engaging and visually appealing sign-up form

This may sound a bit obvious. But it’s still a hugely common mistake that many businesses make – using the default template of their online form builder and leaving it at that. 

However, customers expect more in 2021. 

Almost every website they visit has a sign-up form for their newsletter. Most of them look exactly the same. 

To tempt a visitor into subscribing, your form needs to stand out from the rest of the content on your page, both in terms of copy and design. 

Statistics show that 75% of website visitors only spend a few seconds on your site – and will never return. That’s why it’s essential to put thought and effort into capturing their attention immediately. 

Apart from an eye-catching design and captivating copy, your form also needs to be simple to use. 

It should be easy for people to sign up for your email list. If they have to click through multiple pages or fill out numerous fields, countless potential subscribers will become frustrated and abandon your form. 

Instead, keep it short and elegant. 

If you’re feeling unsure about how effective a form is, A/B testing is a great option. This gives you the chance to test out different designs and copy variations and assess their effectiveness. 

In addition, you can harness various marketing tools to track the impact of different elements of your site on visitors. 

2 – Add Exit-Intent Pop-Ups and Slide-Ins

Next, you can add exit-intent pop-ups to your website to make an effort at capturing leads just as they’re about to leave. 

The infamous 15-second rule says that, on average, 55% of website visitors only stay for 15 Mississippis before turning their back on your site forever. 

Fortunately, modern lead generation tools can help you boost this number for your website.  

If your site runs on WordPress, there are several fantastic plugins that can help you add elements to your site to help you capture people’s attention. 

OptInMonster, for example, allows you to create exit-intent pop-ups and slide-ins. 

The former will display a pop-up as soon as a visitor’s cursor starts to move towards the exit or return button in their browser. 

The latter allows you to design notifications and forms that are visually highlighted by sliding into your visitors’ screens, rather than staying static on your site. 

3 – Create a Lead-Generation Offer 

One of the most effective ways of growing your email list is to create a lead generation offer, also known as a sign-up bribe or a lead magnet.

We all love freebies – it’s part of our nature. And for most people, handing over their email address in return for an informative whitepaper, additional gated content from your fantastic blog, or a valuable e-book seems like a fair trade. 

Creating a lead-generation offer does take a little time and work. However, it is absolutely worth it considering the increase in subscribers. 

For example take a look at this article on cold email which has a very clear lead generation offer in the sidebar to download 10 email Pitch Templates. 

If you’re short on ideas for what type of freebie you could offer, here are some suggestions: 

  • A PDF checklist for anything from a holiday packing list to a digital marketing campaign
  • A template, whether it’s for a stitching pattern or a cold outreach email 
  • A cheat sheet for any topic that interests your audience
  • A list of resources to help them expand their knowledge 
  • A workbook 
  • An entire video or online course 
  • A whitepaper or report 
  • An e-book
  • A free trial of your service 

4 – Launch a Free Online Tool that Requires Sign-Up

Similar to offering a specific lead magnet, you can launch a free tool that provides value to your customers – in return for their email address. 

Depending on your niche, you can get creative in this department. 

Say you’re working with creatives such as YouTubers or aspiring social media stars. You could think about creating an income calculation tool. 

If you’re in the healthcare or food niche, you could design a quiz that evaluates your website visitors’ dietary needs and assembles a personalized food plan. 

Or, if you’re in the web design or SEO business, you could follow HubSpot’s lead and create something like their website grader. In return for their email address, users can get information on their website performance, including mobile friendliness and load speeds. 

No matter what you opt for, make sure that it addresses your target audience’s pain points and helps them unlock information that is valuable to them. 

The one downside to this approach is that it takes a lot of planning, research, and coding to design such an online tool. However, if you market it right, it is absolutely worth it in the long run. 

5 – Host a Give-Away or Contest 

If you want to give your subscriber list an instant, short-term push, there is no better way to do it than to host a give-away or a contest.

Make sure to offer an attractive prize. 

It doesn’t need to be expensive – anything from Starbucks gift cards to a free year-long subscription to your service or one of your products will do. 

Even a temporary discount on your pricing or a promo code can already be a great incentive. 

Then, allow users to join the fun by providing their email address – and perhaps answering a question or completing a quiz. 

The advantage of this strategy is that it is fast to set up and doesn’t take a lot of effort. Unlike creating an online tool from scratch, running a contest or give-away is easy to handle. 

If your website runs on WordPress, you can use plugins such as RafflePress to manage the entire thing. They usually come with a simple drag-and-drop builder to design your giveaways, as well as social sharing options. 

Use your social media to signal-boost your contest – that way, you’ll see a significant increase in your number of email subscribers. 

6 – Harness Social Media – From Instagram to LinkedIn 

You knew this was coming, right? Right. 

In 2021, social media are an integral element of any digital marketing strategy. And you can use your accounts – on any network from Instagram to LinkedIn – to encourage people to sign up for your list. 

For one thing, whatever other strategy you decide to pursue, you’ll always need to announce it as far and wide as possible. This goes for anything – not just the approach of launching a contest or a give-away, though these are certainly some of the most attractive options. 

If you launch an online tool, offer a free ebook, or just released a new whitepaper, you need to shout it from the rooftops to let your audience know. 

When they share your posts in their own networks, your reach grows. Even people who’d never heard of your brand before will follow the incentive of freebies from various social networks onto your site. 

In addition to signal-boosting your various strategies and offers, you should make an encouragement to sign up for your email list a standard element of your social media profiles. 

For example, you can add a sign-up link in your bio, pin a post to the top of your feed, or integrate it into your header or banner. 

Furthermore, various social media sites also offer particular tools to promote sign-ups. 

Facebook, for example, lets you prominently display a sign-up button in the top right of your business page. 

On YouTube, you can add action cards to your videos to encourage people to sign up. Place these either at appropriate moments in your content, or at the end. You can link directly to your sign-up page, or to lead magnets and incentives you created. 

7 – Use (Offline) Promo Materials and QR Codes 

Depending on what sort of business you run, offline promotional materials are also an effective avenue to grow your subscriber list. 

For example, if you have physical stores, you can distribute flyers, cards, and coupons at the entrances or check-outs. Include QR codes that lead customers to your sign-up forms or freebies on your website. 

The same approach works at trade shows or expos. Having an email sign-up form at your stand is the absolute minimum requirement. But there is no upper limit for creativity when it comes to designing physical promo materials to encourage people to sign up. 

For example, you can offer a well-designed one-page summary of a white paper or report if that’s one of your sign-up bribes. 

8 – Ask for Feedback 

Another avenue to collecting more email addresses from your website visitors is to ask for feedback from them. 

Especially if they spend a few minutes on your site, potential customers will have opinions on your content and your services. 

Many of them enjoy sharing these opinions – particularly if you offer something, such as a coupon code, in return. 

You could ask them to take a quick survey on how to improve your products, or encourage them to vote on what content direction your blog should pursue. 

To make matters more engaging, you could launch polls among website visitors on contentious topics in your niche. Not only will this help you collect email addresses – you’ll also gather interesting statistics you can promote in your next whitepaper or blog post. 

9 – Launch Referral Programs 

Next up, launching a referral program is a fantastic way to harness your existing network to extend it. 

In your emails, whether it’s a targeted marketing campaign or your monthly newsletter, encourage readers to forward it to their friends and family who might be interested. 

Even more effectively, offer your current subscribers and website visitors incentives in return for sharing the email addresses of 3 or 5 friends who might be interested in your products and services. 

Similar to launching a give-away contest, this strategy is most effective if you offer freebies or discounts to both the person who refers someone new, and the referred person. 

10 – Create a Blog that People Can Subscribe To 

If you don’t already have one, creating a captivating blog should be a high-priority item on your to-do list if you want to boost your number of email subscribers. 

Not only does your blog serve as a fantastic SEO asset and a first point of contact with people who are interested in your niche. 

It also allows you to demonstrate your expertise and shows people the kind of content they can expect if they sign up for your list. 

Furthermore, regularly adding new posts to your blog will also supply you with content to share on social media – thus growing your audience there and encouraging sign-ups – as well as in your newsletter. 

Many people are reluctant to sign up for pure marketing campaigns. If we’re honest, we’re already getting so many promo and sales emails that go straight to the bin or the spam folder – right? 

However, a great newsletter is a different kettle of fish entirely. Packed with valuable blog content, it saves your subscribers the trouble of checking in periodically to see if you posted anything new that might interest them.

In addition, a blog also gives you the chance to add some social proof to your site. By displaying the number of daily or weekly blog readers, for example, you can show potential subscribers the widely acknowledged reliability of your expertise.  


Growing your email list should be a priority in your digital marketing strategy. Considering its high return on investment, email marketing is a cornerstone of promoting your brand and boosting your sales. 

That’s why it’s absolutely worth it to invest some time and resources into increasing your subscriber numbers. 

Just ticking the standard boxes is already a great start: designing and A/B testing attractive sign-up forms, and adding sign-up encouragements to your social media and existing content. 

From that point on, it’s a matter of deciding which strategies to prioritize – and on what budget. 

Do you invest time in creating a lead magnet in the form of an e-book? Do you hire a pro to code a free tool? 

To a large extent, which strategy is right for you depends on your audience and your goals. 

If you want to instantly boost your subscriber count, launching a limited-time giveaway or a contest is the way to go. When looking at long-term strategies, designing a tool might be the more economical choice. 

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to outline your priorities and choose your strategies accordingly. After all, you know the needs of your business and the pain points of your audience best of all. 

By carefully selecting the right tools and strategies from this article, you’ll be able to grow your list into a fantastic resource for your business.

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