20 Best Practices for Building and Growing an Email List – A Definitive Guide

Trying harder than ever but no one is signing up to your email list? It happens. In this post, I am going to share the best practices for building an email list. The best part? I have learned these tactics from successful internet marketers and bloggers in the world.

If you haven’t started building an email list or you are already collecting addresses from your subscribers but numbers aren’t adding up, perhaps five people per month of less than that, you are going to take forever to reach the 1000-subscribers mark.

Well, you may already understand how a strong email list can be a valuable asset to your business but then you are stuck not knowing where to start.

When I started building my email list, I was overwhelmed by the number of advice from experts who will tell you that guest posting will help you reach a wider audience and chances are that people who will read your content will want to subscribe to your email list. But it doesn’t happen that easily. There are othertactics in addition to guest posting that can get people wanting to sign up to your email list. We will share them below, but first:

What is an email list?

Did you know that 47% of internet buyers prefer to receive information about products and services via email?

An email list is a list of email addresses you collect when you engage with people who then subscribe to your newsletter, website or blog to receive daily or weekly content updates from you. In this case, you own the list and it will be yours as long as long as the subscribers are willing to receive your email updates and you can continue to cultivate the list and turn them into real and loyal buyers.

To convert subscribers into repeat, loyal customers.

You do not have to sell anything to start building up your list; you can start building it immediately you launch your blog or website to continue growing the audience who might later become interested buyers of your products or services.

However, email lists can decrease as people start to unsubscribe from your list and grow as you continue to collect more email addresses from your website visitors.

If you are reading this post up to this far, then definitely you want to learn how to build your email list, so here are the best practices to do it.

20 Best Practices for Building Your Email List

Before I start sharing the 20 best practices how to build your email list, here is one important thing.

DO NOT buy an email list

I thought it’s important to let you know that this is a BIG sin when it comes to email marketing.Look, you will come across many “internet experts” who will want to sell email lists to you with many contacts that you might think they are great for your business.

Buying an email list will kill your email marketing campaign before you start it.

But if you want to work it smartly, follow these 20 best and proven practices on how to build your email list.

  1. Sign Up With an Email Marketing Provider

If you have already started building your email list, you know what an email marketing service provider is. But if you are starting at the beginning, an email marketing provider is a company that offers you the tools, the templates, and services to help you collect email addresses of your blog or website visitors.

Prices vary between email marketing providers, so ensure to sign up with one that is ideal for your type and type of your business. Some services will have you to pay monthly while others will charge per the number of emails you send.

I started with MailChimp since it has a free plan up to 12,000 emails per month with 2,000 subscribers. But if you have a budget for the paid services, you can use Aweber, ConstantContact or GetResponse, just to mention the few most popular options.

The best thing about these email marketing providers is that you will have:

  • Access to different sign-up forms
  • Authority to distribute the sign-up forms to different lists
  • The choice to segment your subscribers on a-behavior-basis
  • Can send automated emails to your subscribers.

That way, you can start building your email list from scratch.

  1. Make an Opt-in Form

To have people sign up to your email list you must create an opt-in form. So, you need to create one to make it easy for people to subscribe. An opt-in form is a crucial element when it comes to email list management. The good thing is that every email marketing service provider has the tools to help you create an opt-in form.

But here is the catch; ask less information to increase the chances of people to subscribe to your email list. Remember people are not willing to share all their information. For instance, you could include the name and email address only. This way you can personalize your emails. The idea here is to K.I.S.S (Keep it simple)

  1. Keep the Opt-in Form Clearly Visible

People are not patient nowadays and no one will scroll down your pages to look for your opt-in form. This means no one will sign up for your email list if they don’t see the subscriber form.

In this case, you need to place your opt-in form on your landing page. You can take advantage of pop-ups or sliders to increase the chances of people subscribing to your list.

  1. Include the Opt-in Form Across Your Blog or Website

Your email marketing service will give you a snippet of code that you can copy and paste it on every page on your site where you want to place your opt-in form. You could put the form on your right sidebar but, here are other several places you can put it to increase conversion.

  • After every blog post
  • On the footer of your website
  • On the About page
  • In a feature box
  • In a pop-up box and many more.

The rate of conversion will depend on your site and audience, so you can try to put the form in different places and see the results.But most importantly, put the form on the pages that receive the most visitors and ensure it’s visible.

  1. Create a Compelling Offer

To make people give you their email addresses easily, give them something alluring in exchange. You could create a free eBook and host in on your landing page where anyone wanting to download it will have to enter their email addresses. The pros called it a “Gated offer”. It does not have to be an eBook only, but it could be a Webinar or promise them a discount. Another best way is to convert your existing blog content into a guide. Regardless of your type of offer, ensure it’s something of value to your website visitors.

  1. Hold a Giveaway

Well, this is a strategy for those with an existing social media audience. When done properly, it can attract targeted leads. However, you can use it to build your email list.

Remember, people love free stuff and that makes giveaways one of the most effective ways to build and grow your email list. You will want to give away something that has value to your target audience; it could be a digital asset, products like a free iPad, but be careful this strategy may attract people who are just after the giveaway and not what you are offering on your website.

  1. Offer a Free Trial

Many companies selling digital products offer a free trial, especially software companies. Why not offer the ability to try your service out for free? Once someone is interested to try the free trial service you offer, you will then make them use their email addresses to register with you to get it so you can add to your email list. This way, you also make them want to upgrade to the paid version of your product or service.

  1. Make People Know that You Will Not Spam their Inboxes

Well, I hate too many messages in my inbox and I also do not want to clog someone’s inbox with unnecessary emails. Therefore, make people know that you are not going to send them spam or share their email addresses with other people.

  1. Create an Effective Lead Capture Page

As the name suggests, this is a page where you can capture email addresses easily. It’s a landing page where you place your opt-in forms for people to sign up to your newsletter, read more about your site and more. It should be awesome and attention-grabbing and tailored to what you are offering.

  1. Set Expectations

In fact, this was to be the third tactic in the list, but it’s still in the right place here. You should let your potential subscribers or website visitors know what to expect when they subscribe to your email list. You could show it using consistently high-quality content.

You would let them know that you will be sending them an email with the best content and that you will not bug them. You could do this in the welcome email before you start sending them what you offer.

  1. Create an epic Blog

People come to your website because they want to learn, they want advice and so if you create a killer blog that covers topics related to what they are looking for, they will want to read from you repeatedly.You want to produce something that will make their life easier. At the end of each blog post, you then put an option for readers to subscribe and that’s where you will collect their email addresses.

  1. Include Targeted Opt-in Forms Across Your Website

I assume you have added an embedded sign up form to your website already. So you need to optimize your list growth in other ways. And this is by including pop up forms across blog posts.

However, you need to take precautions here. And in this case, you will want to make sure the content in your form describes the content on your blog posts. For instance, if the blog post is about How to write SEO-optimized articles on WordPress, then ensure the form describes something related to that, else readers will get confused as to what to expect after they’ve signed up to your list.

Also, ensure to avoid interrupting your website readers with too many pop-ups. Some websites have too many pop-ups that make the reading of the content almost impossible. Figure out this: You are in the middle of an interesting post then after every 3 seconds a pop up appears, that darkens the background content. Don’t you see this annoying? It definitely is. And so you should avoid doing it on your website at all costs.

The best thing is to set appropriate timing of your pop up forms. Set the timing such that it can display after someone has been reading your content for a certain time or when they want to exit the page.

  1. Encourage Subscribers to Share Your Emails

You could include social sharing buttons in your emails or an “Email to a Friend” button or simply add a message that says “Share this email with your friends and invite them to sign up”. This is word-of-mouth marketing and it can work magic. Then at the bottom of the emails you send, include a CTA in a way of a link to allow the people receiving the shared email to sign up easily.

  1. Take Advantage of Your Social Followers

Unless you are new to the internet world, you already know how a consistent social media presence can be a great tactic to promote your business and build brand awareness. Here is a shocker: Did you know that Facebook and Twitter can help you build and grow your email list?

Well, people who follow you on these platforms are already interested in your offers and so encouraging them to sign up for your email list could be a bit easier. You could post about the benefits of your content and include your sign up form on these platforms.

  1. Upside Down Guest Posting

It’s not a question: Guest blogging is a great strategy for obtaining high-quality backlinks to your website, creating brand awareness and also increasing your brand’s online visibility and also attracting new subscribers to your email list.

A guest blogging strategy executed effectively can boost your SEO and email marketing efforts tremendously. You could get featured on a well-known website or contribute to a niche website. Remember, when you guest post on these sites, you get the opportunity to link back to your site; it could be within your post or in your author bio. This way you will make people know of your existence and hence increasing the chances of them wanting to learn more from your site and hence enabling you to entice them so that you can get their email addresses.

BUT here is the trick.

Most websites will allow you to include your author bio at the end of the post which could make it difficult for people to click on your link.

So what’s the trick?

You need to reverse-engineer your guest blogging approach.

In this case, you include your author bio at the top of the post and include some of your blog posts as sources within the guest post.

  1. Host an Online Webinar

Hosting a webinar is also a fantastic strategy when you want to build and grow your email list. People are all over looking for advice like best practices for building and growing an email list. You could develop a webinar about this topic and promote it on your social media channels. Then request users to register to participate in the webinar. This way, you then capture their email addresses through the registration process but ensure it’s a free webinar because people love free stuff. Since your aim is to collect their email addresses, you know why it’s important to make it free to attend or participate.

  1. Get Active on Forums and Groups

Quora, Reddit, and Craigslist are the most popular forums you can participate in. Create an account and answer/post questions for people to contribute. The more you get active the more other participants will start to see you as an authority on the subject matter. They will want to learn more by following your website. Place links back to your website every time you answer or ask a question on these forums so that readers can click.

  1. Collect Email Contacts While On-The-Go

You never know the person seated next to you in that plane could be interested in signing up for your business email list. Or the person you invite for lunch could be looking for something related to what you offer.

That’s why you need to be ready every time when attending seminars, conferences, trade shows and or networking events. You could write down their email addresses in your notebook or whatever methods you use, but this is the best way to build rapport with people you meet on a one-on-one basis.

  1. Get Involved on Other Relevant Blogs in Your Industry

Chances are that there are several blogs you know that are related to your niche. You need to get active by commenting on these blogs. Well, most links when it comes to blog commenting are no-follow so they don’t pass link juice, but it’s one of the best ways to create brand awareness and visibility as well. You also appear an expert in your niche.

Ensure to visit about 12 blogs in your niche every day, see if they have a new post, read over the new post and make a thoughtful comment.

  1. Create an Email Signature With a Link to Your Landing Page

I assume that every email you send has an email signature. If not, then create your email signature now. Once you have included your opt-in form in your landing page, you can include the page on every email you send as the email signature in form of a hyperlink. This way, when you or your colleagues send emails, you are likely to attract new subscribers.

Up to this far.Congratulations!

You have built your email list.

Now, what next?

After you have successfully built your email list, you may ask yourself.

  • Send Automated Welcome Emails

According to a study by GetResponse, welcome emails have an open rate of 82%. In this case, you can include some helpful information that you want your subscribers to know about when sending the automated welcome emails.

You want to introduce your website/business to your subscribers so that they can understand who you are and what you do. You need to send out welcome emails but ensure to observe the timings and in this case, you need to automate the process.

This is the time to educate your subscribers about your offers and your entire business. You can spice up things by offering a free offer so that you can keep them wanting to get more from you.

You could send the automated emails every week or after a certain number of days to keep your new subscribers engaged.

  • Send Regular Content

According to a study conducted by statistics in 2017, 49% of consumers interviewed said they would like to receive promotional emails from their favorite brands on a weekly basis. 

When readers subscribe to your email list, they want to hear from you. I bet you had promised them something great as they were opting in. That’s exactly what they want to get from you; and not once or twice but regularly.

In this case, ensure to send out regular content. It could be on a daily basis or twice in a week, depending on how you create content on your website/blog. Also, ensure to send content with pertinent offers. If you make it exciting, you increase the chances of converting them into buyers. So try your best to make it happen.

Final Words

There you have it: 20 best practices to build and grow your email list.

Look, learning how to build an email list is easy, but it takes time and that’s why many people don’t want to commit their time to learn and chances are that your competitor isn’t committed to learning the process. Lucky you!

By putting these tactics I have shared above, you rest assured to build an incredible email list that will see people wanting to subscribe. All you want to do is to adhere to each one of the above practices, be patient and consistent.

Happy email list building!

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