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5 Ways to Start or Grow Your Email List

business startup sessions the workroom tricia scott Oct 19, 2021

By Tricia Scott.

Email lists have been a hot social topic since recently, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp went offline. Suddenly, those who rely on the platforms to communicate with potential customers and run businesses were faced with the harsh reality that it could all be taken away at any moment. Of course, instinctively, we already knew this, but it's often easier to hope it doesn't happen than to act upon it. 

The truth is, we know we don't own the data on those platforms and if they go, so do our customers and years worth of communication. So what's the answer? 

Building a quality, active email list

Easier said than done; this is no overnight success. Building an engaged list takes time, trust and patience. Not always a strong point for entrepreneurs! That being said, we all have to start somewhere, so today, I'm sharing with you five strategies to help lay the foundations of a great email list. Starting with, in my opinion, the most important of all. 


Know your Audience.

To gain traction, get people to sign up to your list and keep them coming back time and time again, you need to know who you're talking to. Before you begin to ask for sign-ups, think about who will benefit from being part of your world. Once you start to build your list (or if you already have a list), take a look at your metrics. Where are they in the world? What do they typically click through to? Do you get feedback? If so, what can you learn from it? 


Opt-in Campaigns 

This one can feel super scary and is only applicable if you already have a list. Take a look. Does your list yield much engagement? If not, try the method above and see who you're talking to, then take a deep breath and send out an email with an opt-in message, promising to remove any email addresses that don't respond within a specified period of time. I know you're thinking, this is supposed to be about growing my list, not losing subscribers! BUT you will get better results if you're only sending to people engaged with your work and want what you have to offer. Also, many email clients charge in bands of subscribers, so this tip could save you money and increase your engagement! 


Utilise Social Media Groups 

One of the most effective ways I've grown the email list for The Female CEO over the years is by asking a series of questions when people ask to join The Community group. If you're a member, you've likely answered them already! The trick here is to keep it short; people want to join a group, not be interrogated! I ask a series of three questions: How did you find us? What do you hope to gain from being part of this community? I then allow them to leave an email address to be kept in the loop, and I offer an incentive. In my case, it's a free copy of Create Evolve Overcome magazine. This serves the purposes laid out in number 1 - I know where they found us and, therefore, where they like to hang out (plus I know if my marketing is working). I also know what they want from being part of the group, which tells me more about them as a person. I am then able to capture their all-important email address to add them to the list. They are welcome not to answer the questions and not leave an email address if they don't want to, which saves me time in tip number 2! 


The Website pop-up 

Create a simple, non-wordy pop-up box that appears on the screen a specified time after a visitor lands on your website asking to subscribe in exchange for something relevant to your brand. Chances are, if they're visiting the site, it's because they are interested in your product or service, so it makes sense to offer them the opportunity to gain more insight and receive a gift in the process! This has proved time and time again to work fantastically, not only in my business but in that of others I work with. Remember to add a disclaimer to inspire confidence, something like 'your personal data is safe with me, and I will never pass your details to a third party' - of course, you should then make sure that's absolutely the case!*


Create an irresistible lead magnet 

Lead magnets are give-aways to a product or service linked to a form that collects names and email addresses from the person looking to take the offer. Take a look around at what your competition is giving away; what's gaining traction and engaging conversation in your niche? What are they talking or asking about in Facebook groups? Could you offer them something based on their pain points? Look for something that solves or part solves a problem for them, and they'll sign up for it. Think about e-books, cheatsheets, planners or maybe chapters from a book. The product will vary from business to business, but if you know your audience, you'll already know what they want and need. Now you just need to go out and make it for them!  


The above examples are just a few key things you can do to start or increase your email list. I suggest trying them all and seeing what works best for your niche; you'll soon know when you try them out. Crucially, remember that once they're on the list, that's just the start of the story. Take them on a journey, nurture them and introduce them to your world; if they know, like and trust you, they'll become loyal fans and, and importantly, paying customers. 


Good luck! 


*If you are operating inside of the EU you must comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) For more UK info click here.


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