How To Build An Email List: 60 Free Ways You Can Use Right Now
You have an online business, and now you’re ready to build an email list.
But where do you start?
In this post, we at Sumo put our heads together to come up with 60 ways to do just that.
In fact, we listed every available way to build your email list, so you don’t have to do any guesswork.
Let’s dive in!
1. Create a landing page
Landing pages are one of the most proven ways to build your list. They’re pages whose sole purpose is to accomplish one action — be it a purchase, a share, or, for our case, a sign-up.
When you’re asking for an email address, you’re usually giving something away called a content upgrade. These upgrades can be ebooks, guides, videos, or any piece of valuable content you don’t generally give away.
These landing pages generally stand on their own — they’re not accessible through your main navigation. You can use landing pages in very specific ways (some people create a landing page for every banner ad they create).
Services like MailChimp, ConvertKit, and more provide such features for their users to design landing pages aimed to collect emails.
The services mentioned are the more basic of the options as far as landing pages go. What you’re doing is creating a page then embedding a sign-up form directly into the body of the page.
The biggest advantage to this method is you’ll be forced to create a list in your ESP that the form will be tied to.
2. Create a homepage sign-up box
Most of your site’s page views start at the homepage.
And why shouldn’t they? It’s one of the most important pages on your site. It’s the storefront window into your business.
Since that’s where the action happens, you’ll want to make sure you’re capturing email addresses while those visitors are curious.
You can build on that curiosity and authority by asking the visitor for their email address right away:
Here’s what Brian Dean of Backlinko does to grow his list. The very first thing you see on his homepage is an opportunity to sign up for SEO tips.[*]
Since Brian is a freaking wizard at the art of backlinking, this is a powerful offer right away. He’s giving his visitors the opportunity to get his proven SEO and traffic tips.
Since the first fold is the most-viewed section of a page, Brian ensures 100% of his homepage traffic has the chance to sign up.
3. Create a welcome mat
But maybe you’re happy with your current homepage design. Or, like many people, your homepage is set, and it’d be a huge hassle to redesign and recode it.
If that’s the case, there’s an easy solution that takes two minutes to set up and delivers the same results — all without having to change a single thing on your homepage.
It’s called Welcome Mat, and it’s going to be your new list-building lifesaver.
With Welcome Mat, you can turn your homepage (or any page) into an instant list-building opportunity. Here’s how Sumo.com uses Welcome Mat for the 401+ Ridiculously Useful Power Words To Increase Conversions blog post:
When you land on some of our blog posts, you’re slowly shown the Welcome Mat. No wholesale changes have to be made — they’ve instantly got a lead-generating page that visitors can see. The cool part of the Welcome Mat? You get to choose which visitor gets to see it depending on how recent they’ve seen the Welcome Mat.
Everything on the page is customizable — the background, headline, subheadline, forms, call to action, and even button color. And you can change it all without ever touching a single line of code.
The cool part is you can present this page two ways:
- Scrollable: Once the visitor sees the Welcome Mat, they can simply scroll past it and see your blog post. Once they do that, though, the Welcome Mat disappears and is inaccessible.
- Instant Landing Page: If you want to force a choice, however, you can turn the Welcome Mat into an instant landing page. To get to the blog post, the visitor either gives you their email address or clicks the No Thanks button. We’ve seen this option double conversion rates.
Welcome Mat helps you reap all the benefits of a list-building page without ever actually changing your page.
4. Create a smart bar
If those last three options didn’t entice you, then this one 100% will.
A Smart Bar sits at the top of a browser, no matter where you scroll. Here’s how Nick Vujicic uses it to build his list:[*]
It looks as natural as anything else on the site and still provides tremendous value.
By clicking the Sign Up Today button, visitors are directed to a pop-up where they can register for his newsletter, which includes their email, and adds them to Nick’s list.
Smart Bar takes a few minutes to install, and it leaves the rest of your page open to featuring your products and services.
5. Create an exit-intent pop-up
An exit intent pop-up is a last-ditch effort to get your visitor to interact with your site. They’re already leaving, so it’s this pop-up’s job is to salvage the situation and collect an email address.
They may seem annoying, but they work like crazy. We’ve seen Sumo users harness pop-ups to increase conversions by over 60%!
You can see the pop-up appear as the cursor moves to close the page. You want people to stop and read the box, so your headline needs to be catchy and give them a reason to fill out the form.
You can give away a great deal, a valuable piece of content, or anything else you think might prompt a visitor to give their email address. If you nail this, it means you’ve turned a disinterested visitor into a potential customer.
6. Use a scroll box
If you know how long the average person stays on a page, you can create a scroll box to capture their address.
If you put this on a blog post, you can set it to a higher percentage scrolled (50+ percent) to give the reader enough time to be invested in the post.
You can also set a condition where the scroll box only appears after the reader has not seen it for a specific period (in the case of the example, a month). This way, your user won’t be seeing the same scroll box if they’re browsing your website throughout the day.
7. Use a static sign-up form
Chances are you’ve seen static (“sticky”) sign-up forms quite a bit on most blogs you visit.
The logic behind this tactic is if the sign-up box follows you down the page (without interrupting your reading) then you have that implicit, subtle nudge to opt-in the entire read.
Not only that, but it’s easily accessible. If you feel like the blog post provides value, you can opt-in to that content upgrade at any point.
It doesn’t have to be a content upgrade — it can be a simple ask to sign up for a newsletter:
This sort of ask is enhanced by the article it accompanies. You’re not just asking to sign up for a newsletter. You’re asking to sign up for a newsletter so they get more badass content like the kind they’re reading.
8. Use free trial periods
If you’re a service-based business, this will work really well for you.
You can offer a 30-day trial period for the paid tiers of your service and request an email address to register for an account.
By doing this, you can email them updates about your business and service, and keep them in the loop. If you do it right, you’ll be able to convert a significant percentage of your free trial users into paid users.
Here’s an example from Hootsuite:[*]
Hootsuite offers a free 30-day trial for two of their paid tiers, and the user can use their service provided they create an account with Hootsuite.
Most times, the creation of the accounts requires an email address that automatically adds you to Hootsuite’s email list. You can do the same for your business.
9. Include an email field in your checkout process
If you have an ecommerce store, you have a great opportunity to ask for your customer’s email address during the checkout process.
If you’re not collecting your customer’s email addresses, you’re missing an opportunity to get in front of a highly engaged portion of your market.
Think about it — they’re already going through the motions to purchase something from you. Chances are, they’d also like to know about discounts, new products, and updates through your email list.
Usually, you can integrate your cart with your email service provider (like Aweber or MailChimp) to automate the collection and enrollment in autoresponder series.
Saxx includes an email field in their checkout process:[*]
You can use a checkbox so your customer can give you permission to email them, or you can let them know in your call to action what they’ll receive when they enter their email.
10. Give a discount in exchange for an email address
Ah, good ol’ fashioned bribery.
Luckily, this strategy is ethical bribery, and it’s really effective. Instead of creating an opt-in offer (or maybe in tandem!), offer a discount or coupon code in exchange for the visitor’s email address.
Skincare brand, Bliss, does this with a 15% discount using a popup:[*]
The best part? Sumo integrates with Shopify and WooCommerce to create UNIQUE discount codes for each sign up. Here’s how to do it for both Shopify and WooCommerce.
11. Give a freebie in exchange for an email address
Maybe your products don’t lend themselves well to discounts.
For example, if you have a small profit margin or the discount wouldn’t be enticing enough to draw in much interest.
In this case, you can still reap the benefits of ethical bribery: give a freebie in exchange for the visitor’s email address.
A while back, Warby Parker had grown their email list by offering a free Home-Try-On program:[*]
The eyewear company allows their potential customers to select different frames to be shipped to them — all for free!
After the potential customer requests for the Home Try-On program, Warby Parker then ships the frames to the customer’s house, where they have five days to try on the frames, test them out, and send them back.
If the customer fails to send back the pairs they ordered in perfect condition, Warby Parker then charges the customers for the damages caused.
12. Pre-sell a product
Most business owners wait until a product is finished and ready to sell before they unveil it, which is a huge mistake.
If you’ve got a product idea, make it work for you before it ever makes a single dollar by pre-selling.
Pre-selling has been around for a while, but started picking up traction as SaaS companies rose to the forefront. Since then, it’s been a staple for collecting email addresses AND creating hype for a new product.
The cool thing is SaaS folks refined it so anyone with a product can use a pre-sell strategy to build a list.
Pre-selling works like this:
- Brainstorm products you could create.
- Vet those ideas by asking your customers what product they’d like best.
- Put together the framework for the product they want most.
- Create a landing page for that product describing what it is, what it will do, and when it’ll be available.
- Collect emails (and potentially money) by putting people on a waiting list.
You’d be surprised how many people want to “Be the first to know when this product goes live” or “Get updates on the product.”
It doesn’t take much more than a one-fold landing page to pre-sell something. All you need is a headline that promised a product, a paragraph or two saying what it is and a call to action that asks for an email address.
Being the first person to hear about or have a product is a huge motivator. Turn that motivation into email addresses with pre-selling.
13. Put a gated entrance to paid content
Check out what Mark Manson did with his premium articles for his blog:[*]
When you click on the “subscribers only” post, here’s what you’ll see:
To read the full blog post, you need to log in as a paid subscriber. If you’re not and you scroll down further, you can see a pitch of becoming one.
If you create content (whether it be written, video, or audio) that’ll have your prospect’s tongue wagging, then this could be a game-changing tip for your business.
14. Set up a closed course sign-up
You have an online course but it’s closed at the moment? Instead of letting the course sit around collecting dust, use it to grow your email list.
Take Ramit Sethi’s course as an example. He creates a landing page that tells visitors that the course is currently closed.[*]
The simple optin form allows visitors who are interested in the course to join the waitlist. When the course opens, Ramit will send an email to notify subscribers in the waitlist.
Note: You can also email your subscribers to build rapport before opening your course.
15. Host an event
Unlike HubSpot’s multi-thousand person event, we’re going smaller here.
Let’s focus on smaller events. See, the easiest way to collect and manage registrations is through Eventbrite. That’s a universal truth.
You know what they ask for during the registration process? An email address.
You know what happens after a registrant gives their email address? It gets automatically passed off to a list in your email service provider.
Pretty. Freaking. Slick.
Host something that provides value to a community, and collect their email addresses. You can initially use those emails to communicate about the event and transition those emails (with permission) into marketing other products and events of your choice.
Plus, you get the bonus of strengthening the relationships at the event. If you host a killer event, those attendees will be more likely to interact with you in the future.
16. Ask on the phone
Be it a sales call, a customer support call or any call, you can ask people to sign up for a newsletter.
If you’ve got a valuable piece of content, just ask people to sign up for it.
It’s as simple as asking this at the end of a call:
“Oh, by the way, you’re on the newsletter list, right? No? Well, you get a bunch of free stuff and discounts when we email out, and it’s no more than once a week. No worries, I can just sign you up here, what’s your email address?”
Boom. Just like that, you’ve gotten yourself a sign-up on the call you were already having.
17. Update your email signature
How many people do you email every week?
If you’re a blogger, entrepreneur, or solopreneur, you’d probably email a lot of people — likely dozens every week (if not every day). Those are people you could be driving to your email list.
Replace your email signature with a call to action that prompts readers to sign up for your email list, like how the Chief Sumo, Noah himself, has done below:
In his email signature, Noah includes a “P.s.” where he then attaches a link to his podcast.
You can do the same as well but instead of linking to a podcast like how Noah did, link it to your opt-in page for readers to subscribe to your email list.
This is a simple way to convert people who you otherwise would already be communicating with.
18. Add an autoresponder email with a call to action
The method above for growing your email list works great for the people you email.
What about the people who email you?
You can set up a vacation autoresponder to respond to emails with a link back to your landing page.
Write a short email with a call to action sending people to a landing page back to your site. You don’t even have to take this off if you’re not on vacation!
19. Conduct a survey
Surveys help you kill two birds with one stone from a list-building perspective:
- They help you gain insight into your audience’s psychographics and demographics.
- They collect email addresses.
You’ll have to think of a way to provide value for someone to take a survey. You can always ask for free on your social media channels, but when was the last time you took a survey just for fun?
Look at providing an incentive to take the survey. Punch Pizza, an awesome Neapolitan pizza joint in Minneapolis, once offered a free pizza to the first 250 people who took their survey.
The survey was closed 20 minutes after they posted it on Facebook. Within that short period of time, they managed to attract 250 people to fill up their survey.
I highly recommend using Typeform for your survey needs. Their forms are beautiful and they’re incredibly easy to use.
You can tailor the surveys to provide value to the user like this example. If you want to promote the survey for free, just embed it on a blog post and let that act as your call to action.
Instead of using your bio on social media to describe who you are, use that valuable real estate to drive followers to sign up for your email list with a compelling call to action.
You can do this on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or wherever you can include a bio.
Pro tip: Use the words “free” or “freebies” in the URL of your landing page for the most compelling call to action.
21. Pin a Tweet with a CTA to join your list
On Twitter, you can “pin” a Tweet to the top of your profile so that it remains static at the top of your page. This is prime real estate on your Twitter profile, as it’s the first Tweet anybody will see when they land on your profile page.
Pin a Tweet with a call to action to get your followers to join your email list, like what Joe Hall has done:[*]
22. Reply performing Tweet with an email list CTA Tweet
If you’re on Twitter, check this method out.
Whenever your tweets gain traction and start receiving decent engagement levels, add another tweet below your original tweet.
In that tweet, prompt your readers to follow your email list to receive more content from you.
Here’s an example from Jose Rosado:[*]
In his original tweet, he lists down steps on how to raise kids successfully and follows up to that tweet with a prompt to subscribe to his email list.
23. Do a call-to-action post on Instagram
Instagram is still a great platform for driving followers to your email list, with a comparatively high level of engagement.
Create an image of your opt-in offer or content upgrade with a call to action in the caption of your post to sign up for your email list.
Foundr has done this to grow their email list significantly:[*]
Pro tip: Include text over your image that indicates that the link to your offer or landing page is in your bio. Instagram only allows one link and that’s your bio link.
24. Facebook page cover image
Your Facebook page has one piece of prime real estate with the opportunity for a great call to action to join your email list:
Your cover image.
Here’s an example from Joshua Giuliani:[*]
Use an image with a call to action to click your cover photo. In the cover photo caption, include the URL to your email list opt-in.
On your website’s Facebook page, you have the opportunity to have a call to action button:
Hover on the button and select the “Edit Button” option.
Use that opportunity to drive visitors to your page and your Facebook fans to a landing page with button copy calling the visitor to “Sign Up” or “Join”.
26. Set your email sign-up tab on Facebook
You can collect emails straight from Facebook — provided you’ve got an email service provider.
If you do, you can make a tab on your Facebook page and embed a form to sign up for anything — newsletters, deals, courses.
RawMunchies.org uses its page to ask for email sign-ups. You can get a similar feature from ESPs like Mailchimp, Active Campaign, and HubSpot.
27. Schedule Facebook post with email CTAS
Here’s another thing you can do on Facebook.
Schedule a few Facebook posts that encourage your followers to subscribe to your email list.
In your caption, offer a freebie to entice your followers to subscribe to your email list.
Here’s an example from musician Jason Becker:[*]
In his post, he encourages his followers to sign up for his email list while offering them a freebie when they do.
28. Post in Facebook groups
98% of the people you know use Facebook.
That means that a gigantic portion of your target audience is also using Facebook. There is also a Facebook group for almost everything under the sun.
Posting high-value posts that link to my opt-in offer is how I grew my list quickly.
If done in a value-added way as opposed to spamming, this can be a great way to grow your list with a group of highly engaged members of your target audience.
Always give more than you take and remember to add value before you post your opt-in offer.
29. Start a subscribers-only Facebook group
Facebook Groups have a ton of benefits for your business, but they can also grow your email list.
Create a private Facebook Group with the entry requirement that you need to be a subscriber of your email list to join.
Here’s what Sherouk & Co. did: [*]
When requesting to join their Facebook group, they ask a few questions, one of which is to request for your email address. By inserting your email address, you are added to their email list. Most of the time, they would make it mandatory to add your email address to join the group.
Do the same for your Facebook group. As your group grows, so will your email list — the larger the number, the more social proof, and the more people will want to be a part of it.
30. Use Instagram stories swipe up feature
If you’re on Instagram, head over to your Stories and browse for the Swipe Up feature. If you can’t find it, don’t worry.
You need to qualify for it.
The requirements for having the Swipe Up feature are:
- Have a business account
- Have more than 10,000 followers
If you fulfill both requirements, you can start using the feature.
When you use that feature, include the link to your email list. This way, when your followers view your story and swipe up, they will instantly be directed to your email list subscription page.
31. Add a link to your landing page on LinkedIn
Create a compelling call to action and include a link to your landing page directly in your LinkedIn profile in your “Experience” section:
LinkedIn will import the image from the landing page, allowing you to display your call to action in a visual format as well.
This can convert visitors who are visiting your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn Groups work much like Facebook Groups.
Join active groups in your industry:
Then, contribute and add value to the group members before sharing your opt-in offer or call to action to join your email list.
You can find groups on LinkedIn by searching for them in the search bar. There will be an option to filter your search results to groups only.
Type in the keywords of the kind of groups you plan to join and get going!
33. Create a Youtube video CTA
Two ways you can build your list from YouTube’s call to action.
First, you can add a callout link over the top the video link below:
They’ve got a call to action at the bottom of their video to see more from Callaway. That link leads to a page where they collect email addresses to update subscribers with Callaway info.
Second, they include links in the description of every video. Here’s an example from Gary Vaynerchuk:[*]
Talk about too many choices. Still, if you focus on one call to action in your description — preferably to a newsletter sign-up — you increase your odds of a subscription.
34. Pin your call to action to your own board on Pinterest
Besides adding a call to action to join your list in your bio, there is another way to drive subscribers from Pinterest.
Create a Pinnable image for your newsletter or landing page and Pin to a relevant board with a link directly to your landing page.
Use tools like Canva to create the image, and collect email addresses from there.
35. Pin your call to action to a group board on Pinterest
It’s true that Pinterest can be a highly engaging platform and can drive a lot of traffic, even more so with group boards.
Group boards are contributed to by groups of people and tend to have huge followings — usually tens of thousands of people.
How would you like to get your content upgrade, opt-in offer or call to action in front of 30,000+ members of your target audience?
That’s what I’m doing when I contribute my own content to this group board I am a part of:
Become a contributor to the popular group boards in your industry and then contribute not your Pinnable image, but also other relevant content. You don’t want to only contribute your own calls to action.
Pro Tip: Use Pingroupie.com to find relevant group boards.
36. Start your own group Pinterest board
See how the call to action in the group Pinterest board above is to follow the owner of the board and email her to join?
As more people catch on to the power of group boards and request to contribute to the board, Michelle’s (the owner) following will grow. You can grow your email list too by creating a group board, and instead of asking potential contributors to follow you, make it a prerequisite for the contributors to subscribe to your email list.
Be careful with this one, because Reddit can be a sink or swim environment.
But if your opt-in offer is extremely high in value (as it should be) and your call to action is compelling and contributory, sometimes you can get away with this.
To increase the chances of Reddit success, comment on relevant posts and use permission-marketing techniques.
For example, after writing the benefits of your website, you want to ask for permission to share the link to your website.
After a few Redditors start asking for the link to your website, you should edit your original post to include a link.
Reddit is a great source of high converting traffic. Just look at the conversion rates and email subscribers from ONE comment that made it to the top.
When Reddit works, it really works and can send thousands of engaged members of your target audience to your link.
38. Answer questions on Quora
Here’s the thing. Quora ranks.
The questions asked on Quora can rank just as high (or higher) on search engines than a 3,000-word blog post you wrote.
People respect great answers on Quora, too. Look how many views an answer from Dean Yeong had in three months:
Just one of his answers was viewed 54,000 times in three months!
2% of that traffic visits his blog. And you better believe that the answer had links to a blog post with a content upgrade in it.
Think of Quora as a free, highly tailored advertising medium. You’re essentially leading people to areas on your site that build your email list.
Most good answers on Quora are long, detailed and rich with knowledge. Find a question that one of your high-converting blog posts can answer and use that information.
Pretty soon, the traffic will roll into your page like it did for Dean.
If you’ve been building your online business for some time now, you’ve probably heard of Slack.
Slack is quickly becoming one of the most popular team communication platforms available, and people are using it within their workflows and to communicate about events and specific topics.
Since Slack hosts large groups of people around a common interest, that makes it a great place where huge portions of your target audience inevitably hang out.
Use a tool like Slofile to find communities around your topic, and then (as usual) add a ton of value and interact with the members before posting a useful piece of content that includes a call to action to join your list, or linking directly to your landing page.
40. Submit your opt-in offer to community sites
Most people share content on community sites.
Sites like GrowthHackers, Triberr, and FoodGawker are usually a collection of the most popular content in your industry. But you can also submit either teaser content to your opt-in offer or your opt-in offer itself.
Don’t spam these websites; obviously, your offer should be extremely high value and enticing for your target audience to trade their email addresses for.
41. Host a webinar
Webinars can be a great way to grow your email list and can convert a ton of your traffic.
Even people who didn’t know about you before hearing about your webinar can be your new email subscribers.
Whether you’re hosting a webinar with the intent to sell or to build your list, both are effective. The reason they help grow your list quickly is that attendees register for the webinar with their email addresses, growing your list by leaps and bounds.
Amy Porterfield grew her email list from 600 to 250,000+ email subscribers by using webinars.[*]
Webinars have a high perceived value, as they are like miniature courses, so they are enticing — they drive more sign-ups than a regular content upgrade.
Pro Tip: Record your webinar and use it later as an opt-in offer.
42. Be a podcast guest
This might be surprising because podcasts are audio, but being a guest on a popular podcast can drive a ton of email subscribers.
You can gain subscribers by creating a high-value content upgrade for the audience. Mention it at the end of the interview on the podcast with an easy-to-remember URL to your landing page.
Pitch yourself to the popular podcasts in your industry, creating a content upgrade for each.
43. Start a podcast
You probably listen to podcasts — and maybe you’ve even wanted to be a guest on one.
But have you ever considered starting your own?
Starting a podcast can be one of the best ways to grow your email list right now. Podcasts reach a whole new audience you wouldn’t otherwise reach — those who consume content via audio rather than written or visual.
To grow your email list with a podcast, include a call to action in your intro and outro to join an email list, driving the traffic to a landing page.
You can also mention your opt-in offer or content upgrade naturally within your show.
Amy Porterfield uses a content upgrade for every episode she publishes, creating high value, relevant content upgrades that the listener visits the show notes page to opt in for:
This drives her listeners to her email list.
44. Guest post on other sites
Guest posting is hands down one of the best ways to begin to grow your email list. It’s the strategy that almost everyone starts with, for one reason:
Grow your email list through guest posting by contributing high-quality, highly relevant articles to popular publications and blogs in your industry.
Create a content upgrade for every guest post for your author bio to maximize the number of emails you can collect.
45. Republish your content
Chances are you knew that guest posting was an effective way to grow your email list. And there’s probably a reason you haven’t reaped the guest posting benefits just yet…
You don’t have the time.
Guest posting does take a lot of time and effort, and it can be difficult to figure whether you should be writing content for your blog or for guest posting.
That’s where republishing comes in. Republishing content from your website on larger publications can be one of the next best ways to grow your email list.
Find websites that are larger than yours who accept republished content and include a specific call to action or content upgrade in your author bio or (better yet) within the body of the content to drive readers to sign up for your email list.
46. Add opt-in box in Medium post
Medium is a great way to repurpose your long-form content. All you have to do is summarize the key points of your long-form content into a short piece. At the end of the Medium article, make sure you have a call-to-action so readers can visit your blog for the full in-depth guide.
Once the readers are on your website, use a Welcome Mat, or content upgrade to collect their emails.
47. Host a giveaway
Using a giveaway to grow your list is not only effective, but it’s one of the methods with the highest return for your time.
Dean used giveaways to grow his list by ~500 subscribers.
Choose a highly relevant product to give away and not just a product that everybody wants.
If you choose a product everybody wants — like an iPad or an Amazon gift card — you risk driving unqualified leads to your list. You don’t want to end up having to pay to have a bunch of unengaged people on your email list who aren’t interested in your topic and who will just unsubscribe the second you send them the next email and they haven’t won the giveaway.
You can use KingSumo to set up your giveaway where visitors are required to join your email list to enter. With KingSumo, you can also select bonus entries as a reward to encourage participants to share the giveaway.
Remember: don’t give your participants too many entry options. Too much choice most often leads to choosing to do nothing at all. Also share your giveaway in any relevant groups you’re part of, on your blog or podcast, and on social media.
The higher value the giveaway, the more entries you will receive, so your list will grow faster.
If you’re thinking of how you can afford to give the products in the giveaway for free, there are two ways to do this.
Firstly, you give away your own products. This allows you to promote your products at the same time. Make sure there’s actually a demand for this if you’re going down this route.
Secondly, have a partnership with another company to provide their products as gifts for your giveaway. Using your giveaway as a platform, this allows them to promote their products as well as making your giveaway even more enticing, especially if the gifts are in demand.
48. Build a tool
In a saturated world of content, it’s the useful stuff that stands out. So if you want to collect emails…
Build a useful tool.
That’s one way HubSpot has managed to get a bajillion (roughly) emails in the span of a few years. One of their most successful tools is the Website Grader:
The landing page is incredibly straightforward. It asks how strong your website is and prompts for a URL and email address. That’s it.
But it works like crazy.
The grader ranks your overall performance, mobile presence, SEO power, and site security. Those are big areas people obsess about, so a tool that analyzes all those things for the cost of an email address is a big thing.
Building a useful tool like this can rake in the email addresses. Find a need your audience has and address it with a tool.
49. Create an email course
Email courses can grow your list very quickly.
Check out this email course example by Brennan Dunn from Double Your Freelancing:[*]
It also has a high perceived value (as courses in general do) so people are usually willing to part with their email addresses to join them.
Think of something that you’d like to teach your audience which would provide value to them. Chunk it out into an email course in your autoresponder series to be dripped out.
Then, post the first day or lesson as free, ungated content on your blog or podcast, and then have people sign up for the rest of the course if they want the material.
50. Create an email challenge
As far as opt-in offers go, email challenges can be some of the most powerful offers to grow your list like a weed.
Not only are they very engaging for your new subscribers, but through the challenge you’re helping them achieve a goal or a desired outcome, so you’re providing massive value to your audience. Check out how Jen and Jadah from Simple Green Smoothies do this with their 7-day green smoothie challenge:[*]
The challenges grow your email list by being a rock-solid opt-in offer, but they are also usually something that people want to involve their friends in.
When you set up your challenge, ask your subscribers to invite a friend in your introductory email. Remind them that goals are almost always met more easily when you’re doing it with a friend.
51. Create a quiz
Quizzes provoke curiosity. It comes down to narrative psychology — the school of thought where we organize our life into stories that describe our personas.
It’s a strong phenomenon, and quizzes tap directly into that psychology.
That’s why you can use quizzes to capture emails.
The most popular option is a company called LeadQuizzes. With it, you can easily create a quiz that match your branding and embed it on your site.[*]
Visitors have to enter their email address to see their results.
Granted, those are lofty goals for most of us. But the proof is there: quizzes will help you build your email list.
52. Create a resource library
If you already have a butt-ton of resources at your disposal, consider aggregating them all in one place — a Resource Library, if you will.
We (of course!) do this exact thing. We take all our best gated resources and put them in one place:
To access the Sumo Library, you need to register a Sumo account with us. By doing this, we’re able to add more subscribers to our email list as well. After doing so, head over to the library to have access to our content upgrades!
The idea of having a resource library is appealing because you don’t have to waste time searching for resources. Everything you need is in one spot.
So this page disguised as a one-stop-shop for every marketing resource is, in reality, a repository for every list-building opportunity they’ve got.
53. Repurpose content
People are making dresses out of recycled pop bottles. Can you believe that?
It’s a whole new world of reuse and repurpose, so why not jump on board with your content?
It’s easier than you think. Just take a page from Neil Patel’s playbook. He went through his site and turned 47 of his articles into infographics. The result?
“Within the two-year period, we’ve generated 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks from 3,741 unique domains, all from those 47 infographics.
If you decided that you want to buy 2,512,596 visitors, it would cost you $125,629.80 if you paid 5 cents a visitor. If you bought 41,142 links from a service like Sponsored Reviews at a rate of $20 a link, you would have spent $822,840.
And that wouldn’t even give you high-quality links. We naturally got our links from sites like Huffington Post and Forbes.”[*]
It’s the same content you’ve already created, just in a different format.
That new, repurposed content — be it a video, infographic, ebook, or anything else — can live on your site and generate sign-ups through increased site visits.
54. Find and promote your evergreen content
Evergreen content is content that will stay relevant and fresh for a long time.
It’s your best content. The stuff that everyone keeps coming back to time and time again. For us, it’s this guide.
This kind of content drives sign-ups in two ways. First, people find the content so valuable that they sign up for future articles. This is harder to rely on, but it happens nonetheless.
Second, marketers gate these pieces of content. Check out what Jeff Goins did:[*]
This is quite the enticing offer. It’s an ebook on how to build a huge blog readership (and how to live off that). It’s a great piece of content — one that remains timeless a.k.a. Evergreen.
But you can’t access it without giving your email address. That’s the beauty of evergreen content. It’s so good that people don’t mind signing up to get it.
Find your content that’s consistently visited and promote the heck out of it. If you need ideas for promoting that content, check out these 134 ways to get more traffic.
55. Offer content only subscribers get
If you’ve got a strong readership, you can create a sign-up opportunity where you offer an exclusive piece of content once a week to those subscribers.
The content could be:
- A short video
- A podcast
- An article
- A tool
- An ebook
Basically, anything valuable that your readers would love. The exclusivity is key here. The more you make those subscribers feel like they’re getting something exclusive, the higher the subscription rate you’ll get.
Note: Remember to send the subscriber-only content to both your new AND current email list subscribers.
Exclusivity is a strong motivator. Especially when you couple that with awesome product discounts.
Frys.com has a newsletter specifically dedicated to offering product discounts. You’ll routinely see their crazy deals on places like Slickdeals only to find that you have to have the email code to claim the deal.[*]
The only way you get that discount code is if you join their newsletter. Even if you can’t offer crazy deals like 50% off, you can still offer a 5-10% occasional deal to entice visitors to sign up.
57. Cross-promote on other email lists
Partner up with somebody who has a similar size list as you, and email each other’s lists a call to action to join for your opt-in offer.
Make sure you’re pairing with somebody either in a complementary niche or the same niche but who aren’t competitors. Drive each other’s email subscribers to a landing page with your opt-in offer.
58. Ask your existing subscribers for refferrals
Your existing subscribers can be a great driver of future subscribers. After all, they are your current fans. They (presumably) are subscribed to your email list for a reason.
As part of your autoresponder series, you can create an email that requests that your subscribers refer one or two friends who they think would benefit from the information you’re providing in your emails.
Use a subject line like “Quick Question” and then just ask!
For example, Wilson Hung would send an email with a content upgrade and ask his subscribers to forward the email to a friend. Here’s what the email would look like:
The only thing his subscribers had to do was click the hyperlink which opened a populated email they could send to a friend.
Pro tip: Curious how to turn an email into a hyperlink? Use Share Link Generator.
These subscribers who are willing to refer you business in return for a freebie are highly interested in what you have to offer. By doing this, you can automatically identify your most engaged subscribers so you can send targeted emails to convert them into paying customers.
Your subscribers want to help you, and they’re obviously benefitting from the information you’re providing. Chances are they’ll be happy to spread the word to a friend.
59. Sending an email outside of your email list
Why not look outside of your email list?
You can do this by private messaging your followers/contacts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and asking if they’d like to be on your email list.
In your pitch, frame it in such a way that they’ll be getting even more value from you if they subscribed to your email list.
You could add in some goodies (like a free ebook) for them too to sweeten the deal. That way, they’ll be more incentivized to join your email list.
60. Ask them personally
You can even ask them personally.
This method takes a lot longer than the above alternatives, but you’ll get a much higher response rate.
Organize individual meetups with some of your followers who are not on your email list yet. Even better, organize small-scale events where you can interact with your followers.
If you’re not much of an extrovert, you can do this virtually as well. Refer to step 58 above.
You could even cross-check your email list and check if those who have emailed you before are on your email list. If they’re not, email them and ask them to join!
Note: Not everybody will agree to it, but it’s worth giving it a shot.
Start growing your email list now
You can’t afford to ignore your email list.
And now, you have no excuses. We’ve given you every list building strategy under the sun. It’s up to you now to grow your email list!
Don’t forget to let us know in the comments section below of any strategies we missed!