Strategies To Grow Your Email List

how to grow an email list

You’ve heard it—from me and others—you need to have an email strategy. Email is the most effective form of digital marketing. You can learn more about why you shouldn’t ignore email marketing here, but a few reasons to focus time and effort on growing your email list include:

  • Staying top of mind. 58% of us check our email first thing in the morning. Are you showing up?
  • For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect a return of $42
  • Email is algorithm proof. When you send an email, 100% of your audience will receive that email. You can’t deny those numbers.
  • Get personal. Email is much more personal and it is about YOUR CUSTOMER, not you.
  • You own your email contacts. When someone opts-in to your email list, you own that contact. Moving to a new email sender? You can take your contacts with you.
  • Build the know, like and trust factor. Before you sell to someone, you need to warm them up and get them to know, like, and trust you. This is much easier to do through regular email marketing.

Okay, so you know that you should be growing your email list and building an email marketing strategy, but how do you do it? Sometime the experts make it sound so easy—”Just build a big email list, start nurturing them, and then sell to them.” Easy, right? No, it’s not—especially for small businesses with smaller audiences.

I am going to walk you through some strategies and best practices to help grow your email list.

First, Act Like You Have The Email List of Your Dreams

Only have a few subscribers? Treat your list and your strategy the same way you would if you had thousands of people on your list. Don’t say, “Oh, I’ll do that do that when my list gets to X number of subscribers.” Put the systems into place now so that as your list grows, you are already in the groove. Having a smaller list can be great because it means you can test things and see what works best before something goes to a huge audience.

No one knows how many people are on your list other than you.

Give People A Place & A Reason To Sign Up

Gone are the days of “Sign Up For Our Newsletter” forms on websites. Email addresses are worth $15-$20 these days, so you have to offer something of equal or greater value in exchange for a person’s email address.

Also, make sure you have a place for people to sign up. That means you need to have an email provider (Flodesk is my new fave, but use what works for you), and make it easy for them. Don’t ask them a million questions or they won’t complete the form. All you need is a first name and email address. Don’t ask for more or you will get less sign ups.

Why should someone hand over their email address? There are several things you can offer in exchange for someone’s email address. Here you are few:

  • Coupon code
  • A quiz
  • A checklist
  • Step-by-step guide
  • Collection of resources
  • A template they can customize
  • Training video or tutorial

Think about what your ideal client would value and give it to them. The key here is value. It doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it does have to resonate with your audience and add value for them.

When you are starting to grow your list, you can test a couple different resources to see what your audience is feeling the most and then run with that one.

This opt-in, freebie, lead magnet (call it what you like) will be your ticket to soliciting sign ups and attracting new people to your list.

Strategies To Grow Your Email List

Now that you have your opt-in, it’s time to start sharing it to encourage sign ups. Here are some strategies to do that:

Your Website

Don’t overlook including a sign up form on your website. In your email provider, you will be able to create sign up forms that can be added to your website. Don’t just include this on one page. Give people plenty of opportunities to sign up. That can be a popup on the website, an in-line form embedded on certain pages of your site, or buttons that lead to the form.

Social Media

You need to share your opt-in or reason for people to join your list often and wherever you can. You want to change up the messaging, call to action, imagery, etc. so it doesn’t feel repetitive, but don’t make the mistake of sharing once and hoping people find it.

Below you’ll find strategies for whatever social platforms you are on:


  • First, make sure you promote your opt-in in your bio and that your sign up form link is the link in your bio (or high up on your
  • Think beyond the feed. Definitely add promoting your opt-in to your content plan and talk about it in your feed, but don’t stop there. Instagram stories can be a great place to engage your audience and warm them up to the free content you have to provide in exchange for their email address. Give them a sneak peek of what they will get. Create polls to gauge who is most interested and engaged.
  • Slide into their DMs. If you create a poll in your IG stories asking who struggles with a challenge that your resource helps with, engage with the folks who answer “yes” and offer to send your resource to them. If they say yes, add them to your list that will automatically send them the resource.


  • Video is your BFF: Post native video promoting your opt-in, go live, utilize stories. Video is going to get the most engagement compared to other formats.
  • Utilize Facebook groups. Facebook groups are a great place to connect with and engage your potential clients. Don’t just join groups to promote your own content, but if you engage in conversations and do a good job listening to the challenges and questions from the community, at the right time you can offer your resources as an added value.
  • Don’t forget about your personal network. You don’t want to spam your friends and family, but your personal network can be your biggest cheerleaders and promoters. I don’t share everything from my business page to my personal page, but when I do, it is with the goal of sharing relevant value and growing my list. You would be shocked by how many of your connections on Facebook don’t actually know what you do. Remind them from time to time and who knows who they will refer to you or if they will become a client themselves.


  • You may be surprised to hear this, but LinkedIn can be a great place to grow your email list
  • LinkedIn ranks extremely high on external search engines. This means if someone Googles you, they will likely see your LinkedIn profile on the first page of search results. This is true whether you have been updating your LinkedIn profile or not.
  • Optimize your profile. Because your LinkedIn profile is likely to come up in search results for you, be sure your profile is up to date. That means your profile picture, headline and links should all be up to date and relevant.
  • NEW: Featured section. This new feature on LinkedIn lets you add content you have created on and off LinkedIn. When you are on your profile, click the “add profile section” and scroll down to “Featured”. There you can add links to content and to your opt-in.
  • Pro tip: When creating posts on Linked, share the link to your sign up form in the comments. LinkedIn wants to keep people on the platform, so sharing the link in the main post can hurt your reach.


If you aren’t using Pinterest to grow your email list, you are missing you. Pinterest is not just a place to save recipes and home decor. It is a giant search engine. Sharing your opt-in on Pinterest once can continue to send traffic to your email sign up for months or even years.

  • Create multiple Pins to promote your freebie. Test a few different templates and designs to see what is resonating most with your audience. Pinterest does not ding you for duplicate content, but try to spread the pins across different boards.
  • Graphics matter. Pinterest is a visual platform, so your graphics have to stand out. Luckily, Canva has a ton of Pinterest templates, so you can plug in your title and an image and upload to Pinterest.
  • Want more on using Pinterest for your business? Read this post.

Do you have a strategy for growing your email list? If you want help deciding on the best approach for your ideal client, let’s talk.

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