We’ve heard it over and over again: “Email is best.” “Email lets you own your audience.” “Email subscribers are more valuable and engaged than social media followers.”

But then you go to grow your email list, and, well, it’s pretty dang tough!

Nevertheless, email marketing is still worth your time. And you’re not alone; we’re all trying to attract new subscribers to our signup forms and landing pages.

If your current list building efforts have stalled, give one or more of these strategies a second look.

5 Timeless Tips for Building an Email List

No. 1: Increase Website Visitors (Traffic).

If users sign up for your list on your website or landing page, and you’re not seeing any growth, it might be a traffic problem, not an email problem.

Page visits are known as traffic. If you have no traffic, it doesn’t matter how exciting your email list signup form is; not enough people are seeing it in the first place to give you meaningful growth.

When it comes to form signup conversion rates on a web page, industry standards can range from 0.5%-5%. Factors include:

  • Your call to action.
  • Your freebie, such as a free ebook or other lead magnet.
  • The location of your sign up form. Pop-up forms have mixed results; it depends on what the pop-up form says or offers.
  • How your signup form looks when users arrive from social media platforms.
  • The audience you were targeting to begin with.

In contrast, landing pages have a higher conversion rate. Landing pages that receive traffic from ads often deliver signup rates of 20% or more, and landing pages for organic traffic can command rates of 40-60% or more.

This sounds more impressive at first, but keep in mind that users only arrive on a dedicated landing page if they have the intention of signing up for the list in the first place.

Reminder:In marketing, more traffic solves most problems. But accomplishing that is easier said than done!

No. 2: Revisit Your Target Audience.

Your market will be changing and evolving all the time. It’s a good best practice to periodically revisit your target audience and research what may have changed.

Online businesses don’t have any other way to capture email addresses, so they need to appeal to the desires of their target audience. They must also update their marketing strategy regularly to attract new leads and new customers to their contact list.

When revisiting your audience, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How are potential customers or clients behaving on social media?
  • What do they *actually* want? What type of content or information would give them that?
  • What content is currently popular for this given topic?

No. 3: Re-Evaluate Your Lead Magnet.

In marketing, email subscribers are also known as leads, and when you collect email addresses you are doing what’s known as lead generation.

Often, businesses or creators will develop a lead generation offer, also known as a lead magnet. Lead magnets are pieces of content or other offers that are promoted in your email optin form.

If your opt in form has a strong call to action, you’ll be able to grow your email list more quickly and jumpstart your email marketing.

Lead magnets can be special content, or they can be things like discounts. When you land on an ecommerce website and are immediately offered 10% off your first order in exchange for your email address, that’s a list building technique in action.

Whenever possible, aspire to make your lead magnet turnkey. Can you give your readers something that they can plug and play and start using right away?

Rule of thumb:Make your lead magnet something that can be consumed in under 15 minutes.

No. 4: Optimize Your Landing Page.

Landing pages are dynamite for converting new subscribers to your email list. As you grow your email list, you may want to point users from social media or other platforms to a simple signup form page that has nothing else on it.

These web pages are known as landing pages, and they are great for list building, even if you’re starting an email list from scratch.

Landing page visitors are technically website visitors, but a landing page is usually styled differently from a website page. On a landing page, our only goal is collecting email addresses; any other call to action button or link on the page could distract from that goal.

screenshot of a landing page with black text on a white background.

A screenshot of one of my landing pages. This is the entire web page. Notice how there is only one possible action to take on the page—this is strategic, and forces the visitor to make a decision.

To measure the effectiveness of a landing page, compare the number of visitors to the page to the number of signups.

A landing page software like LeadPages will calculate this for you automatically.

No. 5: Try New Marketing Tools or Modalities.

Still feeling stuck? Spice up your visibility efforts with one or more of the following miscellaneous ideas.

Start a referral program. Referral programs are powerful for your brand, and they’re a great way to strike up personal and meaningful conversation with past and current subscribers.

Embrace the blog post. A blog post might sound dated, but when used well, blog posts let you create content once and have it produce lead generation over and over again, which helps you grow your email list.

Explore earned media. Earned media refers to guest posts, PR, press, or any other situation in which you’re being seen by new readers because someone else is talking about you or featuring you. Earned media is powerful and helpful, because you’re being put in front of someone else’s already-built audience.

Simplify your social media presence. If you give everything away on your Facebook page or other social media channels, your followers are sated, and there’s no reason for email signups. Point to your opt in forms and lead magnets often.

To build an email list effectively, you need to get comfortable asking for a visitor’s email address.

Additionally, consider investing in more durable forms of content, such as YouTube videos, harvesting social proof, or improving your welcome email sequence. For successful email marketing campaigns to happen, you need to have done some initial list building first.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Care About Email Subscribers?

New subscribers are the lifeblood of any online business. And these days, email marketing is pretty important for your neighborhood brick and mortar store, too.

Email lets you do content marketing at very low cost, and a mailing list is a powerful tool for attracting paying customers through your marketing campaigns.

What Is an Email Service Provider?

An email service provider (ESP) is an email marketing platform designed specifically for emailing many people at once. You can’t blast a million people from a Gmail or Yahoo address—that will quickly get flagged as spam.

You can manage way more subscribers when you’re using an ESP for your email marketing efforts.

Can Social Media Replace an Email List?

Social media accounts are not an adequate replacement for email marketing, because you do not have control over whether or not you reach your audience. Social media filters content through an algorithm, and not all your content will be seen.

This is another reason why list building is worth it, even if you’re building an email list from scratch and have no sign ups yet.

What Are Content Upgrades?

Content upgrades are a type of lead magnet that continues or expands on the content that was just consumed. For example, a blog post could have an opt-in form for an ebook that goes deeper on the given topic.

What Are Some Reasons to Sign Up for an Email List?

Email signups need to feel special in order to attract new subscribers effectively. Consider offering exclusive discounts, exclusive content, and/or other perks to grow your email list and reach more potential customers.

Is It Hard to Build an Email List from Scratch?

Fortunately, tools like website pop-ups and other email marketing services are easy to incorporate. When you figure out how to capture leads with an email signup form alone, it’ll become easier to feed and grow your email list with new subscribers.

Start Growing Your Email List Today

Email list growth can be brutally honest at times. But by facing the music now and figuring out what prospective subscribers really want, you’ll unlock a key ingredient to your winning formula along the way. ◆

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