How to Rapidly & Ethically Grow Your Email List

How to grow your email list

Email gets better reach than Facebook or other social media. Learn how to rapidly grow your list for better results.

In the past few years, all the attention has been turned on social media as a marketing channel. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media have gained the lion’s share of small business time and attention.

Why? Because that’s where potential customers hang out.

However, the chase for likes, retweets and reach has meant that many small businesses have pushed aside one of the most bankable forms of business marketing. Their email list!

In the internet marketing world, you often hear the saying that the money is in the list. It means that by being able to contact people who have consented to hear from you, you are more likely to make sales. The more people who want to hear from you – the more sales you can potentially make.

By gathering a robust group of loyal and even vaguely passive fans, you have permission to touch base regularly with people through their email inboxes.

Some sobering statistics

Even with the lowest deliverability rates of the absolute worst email programs, you still are guaranteed more reach than the average small business Facebook post.

Think about it. The industry average open rates for business emails in January 2024 are 36.5%. What that means is if you email 100 people on your list, then 36 people will open your email.

For Facebook, the average organic reach in February 2024 is 1.25% and falling rapidly. So, for every 100 people who have liked your page, currently, only one person will see your posts.

In other words – email reaches 36 of your clients per 100 vs 1 of your clients per 100 on Facebook!

That’s 35 less potential customers per hundred will see your stuff by staying on social media. Madness!

Even if we ignore the reach vs actions argument (it isn’t the eyeball that’s important, it is what they do with what they see that matters), if fewer people are seeing your stuff, then fewer people will be able to take action on it.

Yes, building relationships matter. But if they can’t see you, they can’t engage with you or you with them.

If you don’t have a way to gather and contact interested people via email, then your small business is leaving money on the table and you are building your business on rented land that is shrinking faster than a bowl of lollies in a Kindergarten half an hour before lunchtime.

In this post, we will look at a whole raft of ways you can rapidly (and ethically) grow your email list.

Why ethically?

People’s email addresses are private. For people to share their email details with you is a leap of faith that you are not going to spam the heck out of them.

In business, you want only to market to people who want to hear from you.


This means no buying lists, no adding people to lists without their consent, and no selling their private details to the highest bidder.

Just because …

Just because someone connected with you on LinkedIn does not mean they gave you permission to add them to your newsletter.

Just because they gave you their business card, does not mean they gave you permission to add them to your email list.

Just because someone was a client of yours and you emailed them an invoice or receipt (or even collected their email address at your cash register), does not give you permission to add them to your email list a few years down the track (when you finally get an email list together). Contacts go stale, and if you haven’t contacted the person within 6 months, you need to re-engage them before emailing them.

Consent needs to be expressly stated. Silence does not constitute consent in life or online.

Read more about the rules about email marketing in Australia.

Ways to Use Your Website To Grow Your Email List – Your Hero Product

SuperheroThe best way to rapidly built your email list is to start by creating something that your clients value. Ebooks, podcasts, webinars, videos and even good old-fashioned discount vouchers are all ideal.

Remember, that the free line has shifted. Things that used to be charged for are now free, which means you need to crank up the value to potential customers. This is where having someone skilled in content marketing can help work out what should work with your client base.

Once you have created your hero product or download, you need a few pages on your website.

1) A landing page that promotes your hero product and has fields for people to fill in their details that are linked to your email program. (There are loads of programs out there that will help you manage your email lists: GetResponse, MailChimp, InfusionSoft, AWeber).

2) An interim thank you page where people are taken after they fill in their details and before they have clicked the double opt-in link.

3) The product download page.

Tips To Get More Signups For Your Hero Product From Your Website

  • Include an invitation to share your hero product along with embedded sharing links within the product that take people to your landing page.
  • Promote your hero product in multiple places across your website, using various design options including signup forms, floating bars and embedded forms.
  • Add a link to your hero product from your 404 Error page.

Content Upgrades

Content upgrades are relatively new ways of rapidly increasing your mailing list. At its simplest level think of them as an electronic version of “… But wait -There’s more!”

When you write an epic blog post, consider if you can offer additional bonus content in exchange for an email address. People who like your post will often want further information that makes their life easier, simpler or faster.

What goes into a content upgrade? Anything you can image.

  • Checklists & Printables
  • Additional resources
  • PDF versions of the full blog posts
  • Templates
  • Swipe files
  • Scripts
  • Videos

When you create a content upgrade, you can include the email gathering promotion within your post, or you can create page specific pop-ups.

But you don’t have to wait to create new epic content. If you already have great content on your blog, there will be some posts that are attracting consistently great traffic. Find those ones and give them the content upgrade treatment.

Read more about content upgrades –

Social Media Strategies

A key goal of your presence on any social media is to get people off the social media site and onto your site and email list.

Facebook Strategies to Get Email Signups

thumbs-upHere are a few ways to get people off Facebook and onto your list:

  • Have a landing page on Facebook promoting your hero product. Most good email programs have code you can use to embed an opt-in form on your Facebook landing page.
  • Use your Facebook header photo to promote your hero product, with a link to your opt-in page.
  • Periodically promote your hero product through paid targeted Facebook ads.
  • Schedule in regular teaser content from your hero product and send people to your landing page.
  • Run a competition using a third party app where people need to enter their email addresses to enter. Ensure the prize is one that is only of interest and relevance to your ideal customers to reduce tyre kickers and professional competition enterers.

Twitter Strategies to Get Email Signups

  • Periodically promote your hero product through paid Twitter ads.
  • Schedule in regular teaser content from your hero product and send people to your landing page.

LinkedIn Strategies to Get Email Signups

  • Publish a long-form article on LinkedIn Pulse, with links back to your landing page.
  • Periodically promote your hero product through paid LinkedIn ads.
  • Schedule in regular teaser content from your hero product and send people to your landing page.

Read more about publishing on LinkedIn Pulse –

Pinterest Strategies to Get Email Signups

Create a pin on one of your boards leading people to your landing page. Once you start to create a number of hero products and content upgrades, you can create a separate Pinterest Board just containing links to your landing pages.

Everyday Email Strategies to Get Email Signups

emailHow many emails do you send in a typical day? Include a link to your hero product landing page in your footer.

You can also include a link to your landing page and a one-sentence call to action on transactional emails such as receipts, invoices and shipping information.

Broadcast Emails

This may sound counter-intuitive, but when people receive a broadcast email from you, remember to promote your hero-product landing page. Why? Many people forward interesting emails to their friends. This way you encourage these people to join your list.

Many people on your existing mailing list may not have your hero content. By including a link to your landing page, you are providing additional value to your loyal customers.

Guest Posting Strategies to Get Email Signups

Write a guest post about your topic on a relevant website and use your landing page link rather than your standard homepage link.

Read more about guest posting to grow your email subscribers

Partnering Up

Alliance partners and colleagues are a great way to cross-promote your content. Agree to share relevant and useful information from a colleague to your list and vice versa – remembering to share your landing page link and not your general homepage link.

Offline Strategies Strategies to Get Email Signups

Not all strategies to increase your email list happen online.

  • Invite all new clients to visit your landing page and download your hero product as part of their intake process.
  • If you are a brick and mortar store, invite people to join your loyalty program and mailing list as part of the checkout process.
  • Promote your hero product at networking events. Instead of the usual fishbowl prize draw where only one person wins, promote that every person who enters will be sent your hero product free and will join your mailing list.
  • Include a link to your landing page and a call to action on the back of your business cards.

These strategies are designed to provide value to potential subscribers, encouraging them to join your email list while ensuring ethical practices in obtaining their consent. Remember, the key is to offer content that is so compelling that people are willing to exchange their email address for it.

About the Author

Ingrid Moyle

Ingrid Moyle is a small business web designer and copywriter. When not hardwired to her computer, she quests for the perfect decaf coffee while chasing virtual reality creatures across the backstreets of Brisbane.
Bowler hat with lightbulb.

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