Most people focus way too much on optimizing their email funnels and copy before they start even building their email list. That’s the totally wrong approach if you are just starting out!
Look, I get it! Once you get your first sale through email marketing, you cannot stop thinking about improving your conversion rate and getting more sales.
But the best way to grow your business with email marketing is to automate your list-building process. And these strategies will help you do just that!
Whether you have a huge email list already or you have just signed up for Mailchimp, these strategies will help you double or even triple your email list growth.
7 Actionable List Building Strategies To Grow Your Email List
1. Content Upgrades
A content upgrade is a bonus piece of content that you can offer at the end of your blog posts. To get this bonus, which is usually a PDF, the reader has to sign up for your email list.
Here’s what it looks like in action:
Ramit offers this free guide under his blog posts about making and managing money. Unlike a simple sign-up form asking the reader to sign up for Ramit’s newsletter, this form offers the reader a bribe. It offers the reader a valuable guide that is related to what they were reading.
Your content upgrade can simply be a downloadable PDF version of your long blog posts. Or it can be a cheat sheet. Or it can be a checklist that the reader can use to follow along with your guide.
Here’s another example of a content upgrade from the Seige Media blog:
They offer a generic guide to content marketing at the bottom of all their content marketing-related blog posts.
Offering a generic content bonus that is related to the topic of your blog post is an easy option. This way, you can create one bonus piece of content and offer it at the bottom of all your blog posts.
BUT if you want to get the most out of this strategy, offer specific content upgrades that are directly related to your most popular blog content. Create a bonus piece of content that complements your most popular blog post (based on monthly traffic), and offer it at the bottom of that blog post.
2. Content Locking
Content Locking is a content marketing technique where you lock some of your best content behind an email opt-in form. To access this content, your readers have to subscribe to your email list. This can work really well if you already have a lot of regular readers.
The best content to lock is content that looks enticing but isn’t your most popular. If you lock your most popular content, you might lose a lot of visitors if that page’s traffic comes from Google.
Any piece of content that aims to help your readers solve an important problem is a prime candidate.
Here’s a perfect example of what this looks like in action from the Backlinko blog:
Backlinko’s audience is internet marketers, and this case study is something that can help them achieve their goal of getting more traffic from Google. Some blog posts on the Backlinko blog including the one in this screenshot are locked and can only be viewed if you sign up for Backlinko’s email newsletter.
Content Locking is one of the easiest ways to grow your email list. The best part about this technique is that it doesn’t require you to create any new content. And if you use MailOptin, you can lock your content behind an email opt-in paywall within minutes. It only takes a couple of clicks and requires no technical knowledge.
There’s a reason why you still see email opt-in popups all over the internet: They work!
Once a visitor leaves your website, chances are they will never visit your website again! Their first visit may be your only chance to get them on your email list.
And what grabs the reader’s attention better than a popup?
Now, I know what you’re thinking.
“I hate popups! They ruin the user experience.”
This is where Exit-Intent popups come in.
An exit-intent popup only shows up when the user tries to close the page. This way, your readers can read your content interruption-free. And when they decide to leave your website, you ask them to sign up for your email list.
Here’s what an exit-intent popup looks like:
It pops up when the user’s mouse leaves your website’s content, which is usually when the user is trying to close the page or switch to another tab.
You can create a basic popup that asks the user to sign up for your email newsletter. Or you can offer a content upgrade in your popup. Or you can offer a discount coupon for those who sign up. The more compelling your offer, the more likely it is that people will subscribe.
MailOptin makes it really easy to create exit-intent popups and comes with over a dozen templates to choose from. You can use it to create and launch your first popup in minutes.
Quizzes are one of the best ways to grow your email list.
They are interactive and stand out from the usual email newsletter sign-up boxes that are plastered all over the web.
The best part about using quizzes to build your email list is that they let you segment your audience based on their own answers.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about from Ramit Sethi’s blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich:
His homepage has a quiz on the top that you can take to discover your ideal lifestyle.
The best part about this quiz is that it asks you questions that help Ramit better understand what you want:
The emails you receive from Ramit will depend on what answers you choose. This quiz helps Ramit customize his emails for different segments of his audience.
The best part is that this email only has 7 questions. And at the end of the quiz, you see a form to subscribe to Ramit’s newsletter to receive the results of your quiz:
Without a quiz, you would have to segment your email list based on the behavior of your subscribers. But with a quiz, you get to segment them based on the answers your readers provide you with.
Quizzes have to be an essential part of your internet marketing toolbox if you want to grow your email list.
A webinar is a live online workshop or seminar where you teach your audience how they can accomplish a goal. Webinars let you teach your audience and introduce them to your products at the same time. To register for an upcoming webinar, your readers will have to sign up for your email list.
Although webinars may not be suitable for all industries, they are one of the best ways of selling high-end products. SaaS companies like Hubspot and SEMRush whose products can cost upwards of $100 a month use webinars to sell their products.
Webinars work so well for SEMRush that they do them regularly to sell their product. They always have a new one in the pipeline:
Here’s an example of one of their webinars:
To watch a past webinar or to register for an upcoming webinar, you will have to fill out this form and sign up for SEMRush’s email list:
The goal of a webinar is to teach your audience how their problems can be solved and introduce your product as an easy way to solve them. This way, you grow your email list and at the same time, you get to sell your product live to your audience.
6. Give Away an eBook
Before you think I am crazy, just hear me out! I am not asking you to give away a full-blown standard-size eBook. That would require years of hard work and wouldn’t be worth it. I am talking about giving away a small eBook that’s as long as a couple of blog posts.
Give away a small eBook that addresses a pain your audience has and offer some simple solutions for solving it. Your eBook could be just 10 or 15 pages long. It’s about the quality of content, not about the quantity. It’s more about making your free eBook look valuable than about the amount of content in it.
If you don’t want to spend time creating new content, you could simply compile some of your best blog content that is related to a topic and turn it into an eBook. That’s something that a lot of bloggers do.
Now, of course, your readers will only be able to download this free eBook if they sign up for your email list. You can promote this free eBook in popups, as content upgrades, or create separate landing pages for them. You can even promote them on Facebook Ads to grow your email list.
Here’s an example of a free eBook on Instagram marketing that Hubspot offers:
Hubspot promotes this free eBook on Facebook Ads to get more email subscribers:
This eBook is only one of the dozens of others that Hubspot promotes to its audience. Take a look:
You will find a Facebook ad associated with all these eBooks.
Free eBooks are one of the best bribes you can offer your readers for signing up to your email list. They work so well that so far Hubspot has published 72 eBooks on their site as you can see in the above screenshot.
A mini-course is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a short course that addresses a pain your audience is facing and teaches them how to solve it. To get this free mini-course, your readers have to sign up for your email list.
Let me give you an example of what a mini-course looks like. Here’s one from CopyHackers called The 5-Day $5k Challenge:
CopyHackers’ audience is primarily freelance copywriters who want to make more money and get better clients. This free mini-course teaches them how they can bring in $5k worth of new business in just 5 days.
This course only contains 5 main videos:
Each of these videos is between 20 and 50 minutes. Your videos don’t even need to be that long. It’s about quality, not quantity. Your videos could be just 5-10 minutes each. The goal is to educate your audience on how they can solve their problems that are related to your market. A quick 5-minute video that is actually helpful is better than an hour-long video where you ramble on and on. If you don’t have the time, your course can simply be a list of your best content (articles or YouTube videos) on a topic.
Email Marketing is one of the most important parts of your online marketing strategy. It lets you connect with your customers on your own terms and automate your online sales process. This means, the bigger your email list, the higher your profits! So, what are you waiting for? Try any of these 7 strategies and see your email list and your revenue grow.