7 Creative Ways to Build Your Email List

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Many businesses find it challenging to build their email lists. The familiar approach is to offer people a free gift or a subscription to your newsletter in exchange for their email address. While this still works, you don't have to stop there. You can build your list faster by applying these innovative methods.

1. Collect Email Addresses in Person

While the focus of email marketing is online, there are many instances when you can get people to sign up for your list in person. If you have a business with a physical location, make sure you have a signup sheet near the counter or register. Get people to sign up for your list at trade shows and other industry events.

2. Make Your Opt-in Forms User-Friendly

When it comes to getting more opt-ins, it's not only what you're offering but how you present the offer. Make sure your opt-in form is easy to see. The design should be compelling and professional as well as consistent with your branding. One of the simplest ways to increase opt-ins is to reduce the number of fields on your form.

The most minimalistic form is one that only asks for an email address. If you want to be able to address subscribers by name, however, ask for at least a first name. If your business is more formal you might require a full name. Anything beyond this, however, such as phone number, mailing address, gender, age, or other demographic info might be good for your research but will cut down on opt-ins. 

3. Run Social Media Contests

Running a contest on Facebook or Instagram is a quick way to grow your email list. Contests also help you attract attention and make people curious about your brand and products. You can draw prizes randomly or select a winner based on criteria such as best photo, video, idea, or story. If you offer people extra entries in exchange for sharing the link, you have a better chance of your contest going viral. 

4. Make Sure Your Form is Mobile-Friendly

As more and more people access the internet via mobile devices, it's essential to have a mobile-friendly opt-in form. Major email marketing services and autoresponders now make it easy to create responsive forms. If, however, you're using an older system make sure you update it so you can start getting more subscribers via mobile. 

5. Link Email Signatures to Your Opt-in Page

Another way to build your list is to add a link to your opt-in page in your email signature. You obviously don't need to do this for content sent to people who are already subscribers. However, you and your employees probably send out many emails to people who aren't yet on your list. Give the link compelling anchor text, not simply "sign up for my list." Mention a key benefit to your newsletter or the free gift you're offering. You can use the same idea if you participate in any discussion forums where you have a signature. 

6. Offer Valuable Content

Offering the best possible content is something worth doing for many reasons. However, it also helps you build your email list. Readers are far more likely to sign up for your list if they've been blown away by a blog post than if it leaves them shrugging their shoulders. 

If you have a really long and outstanding article you can split it into sections and compel readers to give you their email address to finish reading it. This strategy, which is known as gated or upgraded content, can backfire if people resent not having free access to your content. It works best if you're offering something unique that they can't find elsewhere.  You can also make a content upgrade a helpful accompaniment to an article, such as a list of resources or checklist. 

7. Write a Guest Blog Post

Guest blogging is actually a fairly old SEO strategy to get backlinks to your website. A few years ago, Google issued a warning, suggesting that the practice was no longer a valid way to build links. This, however, was mainly directed at people who were abusing the method by, for example, posting on low-quality sites. There are still many benefits to guest blogging. One of these is that it can help you build your email list. The trick is to find a popular and authoritative site with an audience that's a good match for your list.

These are some creative and affordable ways to collect more opt-ins and grow your list. Keep experimenting with new methods and always track your results. Remember that the best way to grow your list is to offer your audience content that really helps them, both before and after they subscribe.  

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