Guides 50-ways-to-grow-list

Published on January 7th, 2013 | by VerticalResponse


50 Sure Fire Ways to Grow Your Email Marketing List

Growing your business means lots of things. When you have an engaged group of customers and prospects who want to hear from you, getting the word out about your business, your services and your offers is much easier. With people changing email addresses faster than hairstyles these days (in fact, industry average is 1/3 of your list will be lost due to attrition each year), how do you plant the seeds to grow a strong, healthy and engaged list of subscribers? Glad you asked, because we know a little something about that.

Whether your company sells to other businesses or to consumers, here are 50 ways to grow your email list!

B2C (Business to Consumer)

Put an offer on the back of your business cards

1. Business Cards

Put an offer on the back of your business cards to encourage folks to sign up to receive your emails.

2. Tradeshows

Bring a clipboard or sign-up book with you to tradeshows and ask for permission to send email to anyone who signs up.

3. Host Your Own Event

Art galleries, software companies (one here in San Francisco has a party every quarter and invites the neighboring businesses), retail shops and consultants (think “lunch and learn” gatherings) can all host an event. Have a sign-up book available at the event to collect email addresses of anyone who wants to be invited to future events and hear from your business.

Join Our Club

4. Special Clubs

Offer a birthday or anniversary club where you give something special to people who sign up for your email list.

5. Incentivize Your Employees

Give them money for collecting valid email addresses. Just remember that the person giving the email address must consent to receive emails from your business.

6. Give Out a Daily DealGroupon - Collective Buying Power

If you’re in retail or in a local service business, try Groupon or a similar daily deal site. The way it works is that you give your discount only if a certain number of people take you up on it in a given amount of time. Then make sure you ask for their email address in exchange for their discount.

7. Referrals

Ask customers to refer new subscribers to your list.  You can give them a discount as a reward.

Email Bouncing - boing!8. Bounce Backs

If you sent an email and it got bounced, you can send a postcard and ask them to give you their updated email address so you can keep in touch. You can even reward them with a discount or freebie for taking that extra step.

9. Newsletter Space

Trade newsletter space with a neighboring business; include a link for their opt-in form and ask them to include yours in their newsletter.

10. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Search Engine Optimization

Optimize your website for your keywords. You should try to be at, or near, the top of the organic search when people are looking for your products or services. Google’s AdWords tool makes this pretty quick and easy.

11. Giveaways

Send people something in the mail or via email and ask for their email address. Always tell them what kind of value your emails will provide in return.

12. Direct Mail

Do you have a list of physical addresses but no email addresses? Send them a direct mail offer they can only get if they sign up to your email list.

Opt In Form13. Opt-in Forms

Include opt-in forms on every page on your website, blog and social media networks like Facebook.

14. Pop-up Windows

Before someone leaves your website, or blog, pop up a call to action for their email address.

Forward to a Friend

15. Forward To a Friend

Include forward-to-a-friend links in your emails in case your recipients want to forward your content to someone they think will find it interesting.

16. Archive Newsletters

Use the archive link from your sent emails to save your newsletters on your website to boost interest in signing up.

17. Offer a Community

Consider a platform like BuddyPress for WordPress to easily set up a community and foster interaction among your customers. Don’t forget to include a sign-up form for your newsletter on every page.

18. Email Only Specials

Offer “email only” specials and don’t promote or use those offers anywhere else but via email.

Telemarketing19. Telemarketing

If you’ve got people on the phone, don’t hang up until you ask if you can add them to your newsletter/email list.

20. Fishbowl

Put a fishbowl on your counter and hold a weekly prize giveaway of your product, then announce the winner in your email newsletter. Add everyone who drops a card to your newsletter list. Just make sure you have a sign near the bowl that tells them they will be added to your list.

21. Opt-in Form in Your Email

Include a link to an opt-in form in your emails for those people who get your email forwarded to them.

22. TradeshowsTradeshow

Collect business cards and scan them into a spreadsheet. Make sure you ask permission to send email to them, and then mark the card.

23. Sandwich Board

If you’ve got a retail location, why not use that valuable sidewalk to advertise your newsletter sign-up? Create an offer to get customers in the store to join your list – you might make a sale along the way.

24. Receipts

While someone is signing their credit card receipt, why not ask them to include their email address on the receipt itself? Then at the end of the day, enter them into your account, and send them an email thanking them for their purchase and welcoming them to your list.

25. Street Fairs

If you participate in a local street fair, try collecting email addresses right at the fair. You can sweeten the deal by offering a discount on the first or next purchase.

26. Use a Video ContestVideo Contest

Host a contest where you have customers create a one-minute video about why they like your non-profit, your company or products. Ask your customers to send you the videos and post them on your Facebook page. Then have your visitors vote on which should win cash or prizes that you offer. Your contestants will email their lists, and post to Twitter and Facebook asking their friends to vote for them and you’ll get more exposure. Count up the “likes” or comments on each video to determine the winner. Make sure you include an email opt-in form on your Facebook page to capture any email addresses.  And make sure to follow Facebook and Twitter rules regarding contests as they change frequently.

27. Go Mobile3 Mobile Devices

Maybe you’re at a tradeshow, or your business requires you to be walking around instead of behind the computer or register. Why not use your smartphone to collect email addresses? Many email service providers have a mobile app that lets you easily add a contact to one of your existing lists, or create a new one, on the fly.

28. Retail Packages

If you’re shipping products, you’ve got some valuable real estate you’re playing with – the box! Include an inbox request on a piece of paper and tout that you’ve got “email only” offers. Direct customers to your website’s opt-in form, and after they join your list, direct them to a page where you give them their first promotional offer.

29. Non-Profits

Include a place to fill in their email address line on all donation envelopes/forms.

30. In Store Event

Have an in-store event featuring  your products or services. If you sell hats, have a quarterly “hat party” where you encourage people to wear crazy hats and offer discounts. Then get email addresses while people are in the store.

Use the contact information you already have31. Use What You’ve Got

Export your list of personal friends and business colleagues who know you from your accounts in Outlook, Gmail, AOL or Yahoo! Then send everyone an email from you personally asking him or her to join your list. Include a link to a hosted version of an opt-in form so you can

track them separately. Don’t forget to include the value they’ll be getting from you, like discounts, coupons or information that is exclusive to them. And since you know them, chances are they’ll join pretty quickly.

32. iPad

There’s no doubt that tablets like iPads are all the rage. Use it to your advantage! Offer a newsletter sign up at your location or event and use an opt-in form to gather the email addresses right on your iPad.

B2B (Business to Business)

Add a "Sign Up for Our Newsletter" button to the signature of all of your emails

33. Signature

Include a newsletter sign-up link in the signature of all of your personal emails.

34. Chamber Members

Join your local Chamber of Commerce; email the member list (if it’s opt-in) about your services with a link to sign up to your newsletter.


Giving out something for free like an ebook or guide? Have visitors sign up to your opt-in form before you let them download it.

Speaking Events36. Speaking Events

During your speech, weave into your message that people can always get more information about you from your website. Then tell them that if they sign up for your newsletter, you’ll give them free consultations. You also might try bringing something tangible that you can give away that includes the URL of your website with your opt-in form on it.

37. Networking

Set a goal for your networking events. Go to events and get 10 to 20 business cards and send them an email right away telling them it was a pleasure to meet them.

38. Giveaways

Each month give away a valuable and fun item that may or may not relate to your business to those who join your list.

 Give privileged "VIP" access

39. Give Privileged Access

Privileged access doesn’t have to only be “offer-related” when it comes to giving something to your email newsletter subscribers. If you’ve got something that they want to see, then give them “subscriber only” access. If you’ve got a video feed, a helpful guide or something special you can give access to, you can use it to get more subscribers.


40. Surveys

If you are conducting a survey, include email sign up info.

41. Invoices

Include an option to sign up for email communications on invoices you are sending out.

Social Media

Facebook and Twitter42. Twitter and/or Facebook

Post the hosted link from your newsletter to spread the word.

43. Facebook

Include an opt-in form as one of your Facebook tabs.

44. Social Icons

Include links to share your email or articles on Twitter or Facebook. Your recipients will be able to share your emails with their networks; just remember to include an opt-in form link in your email.

WordPress45. WordPress

Include an opt-in form on your WordPress site or blog and easily start collecting email addresses right from your blog.

46. Use Foursquare

Give a discount each time a customer buys something from you and shows you that they mentioned your business on Foursquare on their mobile device. This means that they’re telling everyone in their network that they’ve just visited your business or talked about it. Give a big discount to your “mayor” each month and ask them for their email addresses.

47. Comment on Blogs and ForumsComment on blogs and forums

Offer insightful comments on blogs or forums that your prospects or customers would visit. Then include a link to your site where your opt-in form is hosted.

48. Facebook

Direct your fans to your website where you have your opt-in form hosted and entice them to sign up by giving them a discount or special offer. After they opt-in to your list, direct them to a coupon page with a code or offer a print out, or send them a separate email-only discount as a follow up email.

49. Twitter

Each week tweet to your followers that you’ll give something of value to those that join your list. Use a link to send them to your hosted opt-in form and track how many click through.

Facebook Groups50. Facebook

Create your own Facebook group and invite people to it, then post new links often. From time-to-time, post a link to sign up for your newsletter.

There you have it: lots of great ideas to help plant the seeds for a strong, healthy and growing email list of engaged subscribers! Remember that any contact with your potential customers is a chance to get them to sign up for your list. And always keep in mind that permission-based lists will give you the best results; these are the people who want to hear from you and are interested in what you’re sending.

© 2013, VerticalResponse. All rights reserved.

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provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses including email marketing, social media, online event marketing, postcard marketing and online surveys. Our mission is to empower small businesses and non-profit organizations to easily and affordably create, manage and analyze their own marketing campaigns.

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