The Ultimate Guide to Growing a Massive Email List
How many of the people who visit your website or come into your store on a daily basis actually end up joining your email list?
What if you could double, triple, or even quadruple that number?
What would that mean for your business?
Growing a massive email list may seem like a lofty goal, but remember: you already have the most important tool for getting people to want to join your list — an awesome customer experience.
90 percent of consumers like to receive promotional emails from the companies they do business with.
The reason most businesses struggle to get more of these people onto their list is that they don’t have the right plan to help them do it.
We compiled this collection of 61 list growth ideas to help you put that plan into action. While many of these ideas may sound familiar, chances are there are at least a few tactics you aren’t currently using that you could put to use right away.
Let’s get started!
Collect email addresses in-store
1. Paper sign-up sheet
Keep it simple. Sometimes a paper sign-up sheet is the best way to go.
2. Ask face-to-face
Just having a sign-up form available won’t always be enough. Train yourself and your employees to always ask prospective contacts to sign up.
3. Look at your database
Don’t overlook the obvious. You probably already have a database of contacts who would love to join your list. Ask them to sign up.
4. Ask family and friends
Look to your personal network to help kick-start your list growth.
5. Use a fish bowl
Put a fishbowl on your counter and give customers an incentive to drop in their business cards to join your list.
Note: Be sure to let people know they’ll be receiving future emails from you as well.
6. Ask over the phone
Having a great phone conversation with a customer or supporter? Keep the conversation going by asking them to join your email list.
7. Use signs & sandwich boards
Using a sidewalk sign or sandwich board to bring in foot traffic? Tell passersby about all the great info, discounts, and news they’ll find by signing up for your emails.
8. Use your in-store WiFi
Using a tool like SocialSign.in, which integrates with your Constant Contact account, lets you expose your email list to customers when they access your WiFi network.
Cover your online touch points
9. Add a sign-up form to your website
Constant Contact customers can embed an email sign-up form on their website and collect emails from people who visit your site. Give your sign-up form plenty of visibility by putting it on every page.
10. Create a “reasons to sign-up page”
Ask your current contacts why they enjoy your emails and then create a page on your website highlighting the biggest benefits of signing up.
11. Add it to your blog
If someone enjoys what you have to say on your blog, there’s a good chance they’d want to see your updates in their inbox.
12. Experiment with pop-ups
There are a number of non-intrusive tools you can use to promote your email list on your website or blog with a popup message. Tools like Privy integrate with your Constant Contact account, making it quick and easy to grow your list.
13. Guest blog
Writing for other blogs is a great way to get in front of a new audience. Include a link to your sign-up form in your author bio. If people like your post, they’ll want to get more information from you.
14. Use online payment forms
Collect email addresses when people are making a purchase. Be sure to indicate they’re opting-in to receive future emails from you.
15. Add it to your online listings
Keep your listings on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google up-to-date and provide a link to join your email list.
16. Host a podcast
Start a podcast and encourage listeners to subscribe to your email list to find out about upcoming episodes.
17. Try an online survey
Add a sign-up link to your next online survey. Let people share their feedback and join your email list.
18. Book appointments online
Are you giving clients the ability to schedule and book appointments online? Offer a convenient way for people to join your email list when signing up.
Constant Contact offers integrations with tools like MINDBODY, which allows you to grow your list and keep your database organized.
19. Invest in digital advertising
If you’re already using ads to drive people back to your website, make sure that you’re sending people to a page where they can easily opt-in to join your email list.
20. Collect donations and email addresses online
If your organization collects donations online, ask donors and volunteers to join your list to stay up-to-date with your latest news and announcements.
Use social media
21. Add a sign-up form to your Facebook Page
Make it easy for fans to join your list by adding a sign-up form to your Facebook Page.
22. Tweet it
Twitter is a high volume social network, which means you can tweet about your email list on a regular basis without overwhelming your audience. You should also post about your email list on your other social networks, but less frequently than you would on Twitter.
23. Update your Facebook Cover Photo
You can now include a call to action on the Cover Photo of your Facebook Page. Have some fun with it and ask people to join your list.
24. Use the Facebook CTA Button
Facebook’s call-to-action feature lets you add a button to the top of your Facebook Page, which can link to a page on your website or to your online sign-up form.
25. Run a Facebook Ad
Supercharge your Facebook list growth with a Facebook Ad. Add new fans and new subscribers by driving people to your Facebook sign-up form.
26. Use your YouTube channel
Talk about your emails in a video and tell people where to sign up.
27. Participate in LinkedIn Groups
When appropriate, let members of the same LinkedIn Groups know about your email list.
28. Join a Google+ Community
Like LinkedIn Groups, Google+ Communities are the place Google+ users go to find information relevant to them. Share your latest email and ask members to join your list.
29. Use Twitter Lead Generation Cards
With Twitter Lead Generation Cards, you can pay to promote your content to a wider audience and let people share their information right within their Twitter stream.
30. Add a link to your social bios
Allow social connections to easily find your email sign-up form by linking to it in your profiles. Try it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Google+.
31. Sample content on Pinterest
Create a board on Pinterest and “pin” your email newsletter right when it comes out! Use an image from your email or take a screenshot of your entire newsletter to give readers a preview of your content.
32. Try it on Instagram
You can add a link to your bio on Instagram and can also add a shortened link to your photo captions and encourage people to copy and paste the link into their web browser.
Use your existing emails
33. Add a sign-up link to your regular emails
You never know how people are going to find your emails. When new readers find them, make sure they have a way to sign up.
34. Make it easy to share emails
Sometimes, the best way to grow your list is to extend the reach of your emails. Add social share buttons to make it easy for people to share your emails on their social networks.
35. Encourage people to forward
Add a “forward to a friend” button to your emails to help you reach your next subscribers.
36. Add a sign-up link to your email signature
Get more exposure for your email list by including a link in your regular emails.
37. Share your emails on your own
Show your fans and followers what they’re missing by sharing your latest newsletters and announcements on social media. Remember to include a link to sign up in the emails that you share.
38. Collect new contacts from your phone
Use the Constant Contact mobile app to collect email addresses right from your smartphone or tablet.
39. Collect emails via text
To simplify the process, consider trying a tool like Constant Contact’s Text-to-Join feature, which lets people subscribe via text message from their mobile device.
40. Use a QR code
Add a QR code to a flyer, poster, or brochure and make it easy for people to scan-to-join your email list.
41. Use a tablet
Setup a tablet in your store or at events to make it convenient for people to join your list.
Don’t forget about print
42. Include with your receipts
Many restaurants will include a sign-up card along with the bill for people to fill out to join their email list. Look for ways to include information about your email list on, or with, the receipts that you provide customers.
43. Use your business card
Work with your business card supplier to add a QR code with a call-to-action to join your email list.
44. Use a print ad
Get the most out of your print advertising investment. Tell people to visit your website and join your list.
45. Use a brochure
Giving out flyers, brochures, or pamphlets at your store or office? Let people know your emails are the best source for up-to date information.
46. Use your menu
Own a restaurant? Add a QR code on your menu and let people join your email list at the table.
47. Use a postcard
Boston-area restaurant In a Pickle puts postcards on tables in their dining room and invites customers to “join the club.”
Plan and attend events
48. Collect registrations online
Stay in touch before, during, and after your event by collecting email addresses when people register for your event.
49. Collect email addresses at your event
Collect email addresses at your event with a paper sign-up sheet, QR code, or even via text-message.
50. Book a speaking engagement
If people are interested in what you have to say, there’s a good chance they’ll be interested in what you write in your emails. Let people know you have a resource they can sign up to receive.
51. Sponsor an event
Work with other businesses and organizations in your community to host an event. It’s a great way to introduce your business (and your email list) to a whole new audience.
52. Host a webinar
Take your events online and offer training or free education with an online webinar. Many webinar hosting platforms will let you add an optional field to your registration form to collect addresses for your email list.
Create a compelling offer
53. Start a loyalty program
Look for ways to reward your customers and grow your email list in the process!
54. Start a birthday club
Create a club to celebrate your customers’ birthdays and grow your email list. Use can store customer birthdays in your Constant Contact account and send a special offer to customers during their birthday month.
55. Offer a coupon
Offer a coupon to new subscribers that can be redeemed in-store. This is a great way to capture new email addresses and generate repeat business.
56. Use a piece of content
Offer up a great piece of content — like a whitepaper, eBook, or guide — to entice people to join your list.
57. Offer an incentive to employees
Get your employees excited about growing your email list. Offer a prize to the employee who collects the most email addresses.
58. Offer free training
Use the great education you already have available to generate new leads for your business. With a tool like Autoresponder from Constant Contact, you can setup a series of automated emails to automatically deliver your education to people who sign up. This is a simple way to setup a training course that current and potential customers can benefit from.
59. Run an in-store raffle
Raffle off a prize your customers will love and collect email addresses in the process.
Note: Always let people know they’ll also be joining your email list and receiving follow-up emails from you.
60. Host a Facebook sweepstakes
With a tool like Constant Contact’s Facebook Fan Promotion campaign, you can run a contest on Facebook and collect email addresses in the process.
61. Partner with a non-competing business
Come up with a free resource or piece of education that you could provide other, non-competing businesses, to offer their clients on your behalf. By providing value to their audience, you’ll be able to develop new partnerships and reach new audiences.
Pick your top 5 and get started today
See anything on this list that you aren’t using at your business? Pick five of these approaches that you think would work well and get started.
And remember, the best way to grow an engaged email list is to always make sure you ask for permission before adding a new contact to your email database. This will help you avoid any potential spam complaints and ensure that you’re only communicating with people who are interested and excited to hear from you!
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