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Social Media Marketing for Business

David A. George


January 21, 2013

How to: 17 Ways to Effectively Grow Your Email Marketing List Right Now

January 21, 2013 | By | 6 Comments">6 Comments

The rumors are ringing. They say – Email marketing is dead. Social Media is king.

But I say, WAIT! Not so fast. Consider the following statistics:

  • Daily Twitter updates: 174 Million (on a busy day)
  • Daily Facebook posts: 1 Billion
  • Daily email messages: 188 Billion

That’s right, folks – 188 Billion emails go out each and every day. That’s more than Facebook and Twitter combined!

If you haven’t started developing your email marketing list, it’s not too late. And for those of you who have already started, read on to learn 17 ways you can grow your email marketing list right now…

 Here are the 17 Ways to Effectively Grow Your Email Marketing List…

1. Create incredible email content.

You have to keep those unsubs low, baby. Give your messages personality and life by using images, videos, and other things like infographics to relate to and interest your readers.

Here’s an image our CEO used in an email message that produced a high click-through rate. Is there a correlation there? You can bet your buns there is!  (we A/B tested it just to make sure, though)

grow your email marketing list

2. Place your sign-up form in prominent places around the web.

Include it on your website, social media outlets, and it definitely should be visible on nearly every page of your blog.

3. Hold a webinar.

Use the weinar service (e.g. and require people to register via email address. Use these email addresses to provide follow-ups to the webinar and a way for the webinar viewers to receive value-added content, like a whitepaper or a free course or product trial.

4. Run an online contest.

Hold a free give-away for something awesome, and require people to opt-in with their email address to enter. If your offer is good enough, people won’t even blink at the thought of giving you their precious email address in exchange for this delicacy.

5. Link your Twitter bio to an opt-in page.

Putting your website link in your Twitter bio is an obvious strategy. But what do we know as smart marketers – that linking to a landing page with a direct call-to-action is going to have a much higher conversion rate over sending them to the homepage of your website.

Amy Porterfield does a great job with this link and call-to-action in her twitter bio. Also, notice how she has more than one link in her bio as well. Pretty smooth, huh? And yes, it’s clickable too.

grow your email marketing list

Quick Tip: Want to make nice, clean links for your content? You can use the Pretty Link WordPress plugin to make … well, pretty links like Amy’s above!

6. Click-to-tweet to publicize and share your sign-up page.

This is really cool, and very effective when done correctly. On your sign-up page, provide something of extra value (a meaningful quote or statistic) and make it easily sharable. Here’s the cool part – after the meaningful quip, use the Click to Tweet tool to give readers an easy one-click option to “Tweet this.”

Here’s the effective part – when you setup your “Tweet this” link, you have the ability to create pre-made tweet content for your readers to send out. In this 140-character message, include the link to your sign-up page. And just like that, readers will be sharing your sign-up page with their networks, benefitting both parties.

Here’s an example of a landing page quote and “Tweet this” link:

grow your email marketing list

When they click “Tweet this”, the person will be taken to Twitter with your message all ready to go!

grow your email marketing list

7. Use QR codes on printed materials so people can scan directly to your sign-up page.

If you’re a restaurant owner, put it on the menus. Have a retail store? Include the QR code on your receipts for post-purchase engagement and a direct link to your sign-up page.

An easy and free way to do this is to use Google’s URL Shortener tool to give you analytics and a QR code.

8.  Add an email sign-up form with a call-to-action in a custom tab on your Facebook Page.

This is an incredibly easy way to grow your email marketing list. In minutes, you can create a beautiful and functional custom tab on Facebook that contains a call-to-action and your sign-up form.

Want to take this a step further? If you’ve really got incredible content, use the URL for this custom Facebook tab to be the target link in your Facebook PPC campaigns. A/B test those calls to action, and you’ve got yourself a winning formula right there, partner.

9. Include sharing buttons in your email messages.

Adding social sharing buttons and an “email to a friend” button allows readers to forward your content onto their friends, colleagues, and networks, giving them the ability to also sign-up for your email marketing list.

10. When doing offline events like seminars, conferences, and trade-shows, make sure to collect email addresses of the contacts you meet.

Then, upload the contacts into your database, and send them a short and sweet welcome email for them to confirm the opt-in into your list.

11. Give people a reason to sign-up.

In exchange for people’s precious email addresses, give people an offer they can’t refuse. A lot of marketers offer free content, which is nice, but unoriginal. If you’re up for it, offer something unique – like a personal, one-on-0ne, 30-minute consultation with you, “the Expert.” Don’t be afraid to get creative here!

Also, make sure to let them know what they are signing up for (e.g. “Enter your name and email here to get daily updates on how to be awesome at marketing”).

12. Include Social Proof on your opt-in form and/or landing page.

Has your mother ever scolded you, “If a bunch of people jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” Well that’s the idea of Social Proof – if lots of other people are doing it, you will to!

Copyblogger and Social Media Examiner both do a great job with this. On their opt-in form, they include the statements:

grow your email marketing list

grow your email marketing list




Don’t those statements alone make you not want to miss out on the info that all your peers are also getting? Pretty powerful stuff.

13. Simplify your opt-in forms.

Remember what Steve Jobs taught us – simple is sexy. Don’t heighten your opt-in form’s barrier-to-entry by making the user fill out too many fields or having too many flashy objects. Keep it short, pretty, and relevant.

14. Be smart about what information to ask for

When asking customers for information, you should generally be looking to collect endemic data. Endemic data is information specific to a single person that provides insight on who they are, how to contact them, and allows you to segment your list database.

Remember to keep it simple, and use just a few very brief questions. You can ask things like,
– “Company Name”
– “How Many Employees”
– “Are you B2B or B2C” and
– “What is your role at the company?”

And don’t forget, the more things you ask for, the higher the resistance will be to filling out the form. Make sure you ask for only what you need, that info is useful to you in some way, and your offer in exchange for their email address is pretty darn good.

15. Use Pinterest to promote your offers

Grow your email marketing list by running a promotion that requires an email opt-in and using Pinterest to publicize it. Make the images beautiful and the landing page simple and functional.

16. Resurrect an old email list

Do you have an old email marketing list that has grown stale or decayed significantly? Encourage these contacts to re-opt-in to your list through an engaging message, promising to remove all contacts that do not respond.

Who knows – these contacts were interested in your brand at some point in their lifetime, and very easily could be interested in staying connected with you.

17. Read Chris Brogan’s emails

Chris Brogan consistently produces high quality and intriguing emails. Whether he is in India drinking Bubble Tea, or sitting on his couch gearing up for a webinar, his content is always fresh and relatable.

And the best part is, if you write to him, he will answer! (very important when developing relationships with your clients)

Learn from the marvelous examples he sends straight to your inbox.

Your Turn

Have you used any of these tips before? Which ones do you think are more effective than others? Tell us in the comments below!



David A. George I'm a UX + Growth Marketer passionate about people, music, intelligent UX, Android, and breathing underwater. I'd love to connect with you on LinkedIn, Twitter, and on my website.