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31 + 31 Ways to Build an Email List


Email marketing persistently holds the number one spot as the most effective channel in digital marketing – therefore developing it pays off. Just remember, to succeed you have to know the basics: the content has to be good, the tools have to function well and the visual layout has to be appealing.

However, it is also essential to maintain an email marketing database that is growing in size and improving in quality. In this article we cover the basic questions of email marketing: how to build your email list, and how to get the most out of it.

When ”subscribe here” is not enough - how to get more newsletter subcribers?

Do you only acquire newsletter subscribers with a subscription form on your website? You are probably reaching only a fraction of potential subscribers.

Have several contact points

Make sure that the possibility to subscribe to the newsletter comes up in all the different channels.

  1. Create a Subscribe to our newsletter app or advise "Subscribe to our newsletter" on your Facebook cover photo
  2. Advertise the newsletter in store and on print 
  3. Add call-to-action buttons on YouTube videos and include a link in the description
  4. Direct to subscription in your email signature
  5. Gather trade fair contacts to your email list from a competition or from business cards
  6. Add ”Subscribe to our newsletter” box to the ordering stage in a webstore and to the order confirmation
  7. Advise to subscribe in the feedback survey for an event
  8. Add email subscription possibility after blog texts
  9. Use Twitter Cards and enable subscribing straight from the card
  10. Use FB offers that you can only access by registering as a subscriber
  11. Tell about your newsletter in your social media content
  12. Use Google AdWords advertising that directs to the subscription page
  13. Create a free web service or webtool that requires email subscription
  14. Make use of partnerships: organize a shared event or a campaign and grow your lists together
  15. Publish offers that require registration on LinkedIn and suitable groups
  16. Offer free Wi-fi for registering

Think about the different encounters with a customer and how subscribing to your newsletter can be brought up in these situations. "Subscribe to our newsletter and get invitations to our events among the first" works for someone who participated in an event, "subscribe to our newsletter and get a 15 percent discount coupon" works for someone with an abandoned shopping cart.

Sell your newsletter

Newsletter often has to be sold to the subscriber: it has to be tempting and reliable.

  1. Offer a free guide to download, a whitepaper, a coupon or other tangible benefits for the subscription
  2. Link to the best of your previous newsletters
  3. Clearly state how often your newsletter is published and what the subcriber's information is used for
  4. Tell that the subscriber can easily exit the list – and keep your promise
  5. Sell concretely. Make the sales team offer the newsletter subscription on the counter, during cold calls and in business meetings. It's an easy way to stay in contact even when there's no need for a meeting.

Appeal to instincts

Humans are social animals – the success of social media relies on this, as well as the power of recommendation in marketing. Appeal to the subcribers' need to belong to a group.

  1. Offer "insider deals" that only subscribers get: offers, advance information, event invitations
  2. Encourage recommendation. This doesn't only mean "tell a friend" and "share on social media" buttons. When you get a new subscriber, immediately impress them with an automated welcoming campaign. Once you are sure that the subscriber is convinced, it's time for the next automated message: recommend the newsletter to a friend to get a discount coupon or some other benefit
  3. Gather feedback and ask for a permission to publish positive comments on your subscription page or form
  4. If you have a lot of subscribers, talk in numbers: "Join amongst our over 20 000 newsletter subscribers and know what is talked about."

…and where was the form again?

Most of the subscribers join the list from a website. However, surprisingly often the form is hard to find, too complex or behind several clicks. The interested are lost at every turn. The ideal form is easy to find and quick to fill.

  1. Make sure that the newsletter subscription can be found on every page with a glance
  2. Try a "hello bar" at the top of the browser
  3. Consider a popup window that rises above the page, those have gotten an absolution from both marketers and users and work really well
  4. Take popups a step further by making them automatically appear after a certain action - reading a blog post, for example - or after the user has spent a certain amount of time on the page
  5. See to it that the form is not forgotten at the top or the bottom of the page. This can be done with a "floating" form that moves with scrolling
  6. If your newsletter subscribers mean a great deal to you, consider A/B testing. It's surprising how big an impact form placement, text and even colors can have on subscriber amounts.

Not (just) the quantity but the quality - how to better take advantage of the existing newsletter subscribers

Are you using your email list to only send one monthly newsletter? It's time to expand.

Get acquainted

The old mantra is still in effect: communicate to the right people at the right time with the right content. To succeed at this, you have to know the recipients. 

  1. Ask what they're interested in on the subscription page…
  2. …and remember to ask again regularly
  3. Create different ways to register as a newsletter subscriber…
  4. …or create different channels their own links so you can monitor through where the subscriber has come and offer them suitable content
  5. Combine email marketing software to a webstore, CRM system, loyal customer system or event management system and use the data of how the customer interacts with your company to your advantage
  6. Combine email marketing with websites to know what on them interests the customer
  7. Request for feedback, improvement ideas and tips regularly
  8. Monitor who are most active with your newsletter and use the information for networking, lead generation and social media visibility

Get information

All target groups are individual: learn what works for your recipients and in your field.

  1. Follow which content is clicked the most and the least
  2. Learn which headlines work and which don't
  3. Investigate which are the most and the least interesting newsletters
  4. Use effective tricks that others have used
  5. Test out when your subscribers specifically want to receive a newsletter
  6. Try how different headlines work with A/B testing

Get personal

The more personal, the better. For the sender and for the recipient.

  1. Consider sending the letter with a person's and not the company's name
  2. Use personalization that enables you to use the recipient's name in the newsletter content
  3. Customize individual newsletters based on customer data: show certain parts to some and certain parts to others
  4. Build segments and send different kinds of newsletters to different segments
  5. Sign the newsletter with a person's name, with a face and personal details, instead of the company's name

Get automated

Parts of email marketing can be automated.

  1. Welcome a new subscriber, present your company and thank for the subscription with a gift
  2. Upsell and cross-sell automatically based on consumer behavior
  3. Wake up passive subscribers with their own campaign
  4. Reward active and long-term subscribers with offers and giveaways


Once a customer has been caught from one channel, it's time to expand to others and make the bond stronger. 

  1. Educate your readers about the different ways to contact your company: have links to LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube…
  2. Sell – make sure that in each letter there is an easy way to go from subscriber to buyer: sales team contact info, offers etc.
  3. Transform a subscriber to a lead with marketing automation
  4. Transform a subscription to a recommendation with social media and "tell a friend" buttons
  5. Invite a subscriber to events

Don't fool yourself

Huge subscriber lists may look handsome, but it's far more important that your subscribers are truly interested in the content you provide and in your company.

  1. Make sure that invalid emails are deleted from the lists automatically
  2. Clean up your lists regularly: if you're unable to wake up the passive readers, wish them farewell 
  3. Ask for a reason from someone quitting the list and learn your lesson

Hopefully you got some useful tips from this article for gathering lists, as well as making better use of your current lists. Get aqcuainted with newsletter tool LianaMailer or contact our experts to further discuss improving your email marketing.

Ps. Have you subscribed to our newsletter and remembered to recommend it to a colleague?

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