Successful bloggers put a lot of effort into growing their email list and for good reason. An email list is one of the few things you truly own as a blogger, and it doesn’t matter if there’s a Google update or your social media traffic tanks; your email list is always there.
Email marketing can also be incredibly lucrative when done right and consistently. But the first step in effective email marketing is to grow your email list.
Growing your list typically means having an enticing freebie (that you actually promote) and then sending out high-quality emails on a regular basis.
How to Get More Email Subscribers
1. Offer a Freebie
One of the most common strategies to get more email subscribers is to offer subscribers something for free if they opt-in. This carrot-and-stick approach is a staple of email list building, and examples of freebies you can offer include:
- A checklist or free guide
- Access to exclusive content
- Coupon codes
- Mini courses
- Resource lists
- Webinar or video access
Creating a freebie doesn’t have to take long either. You can offer a simple checklist or resource list to new subscribers, and as long as it relates to your blogging niche and adds value, it’s a good freebie.
You can also experiment with offering unique freebies depending on the page someone is reading. For example, if you’re a lifestyle blogger who covers multiple niches, you can have a recipe freebie for your food posts and a budgeting printable if you also cover finance.
2. Reduce Sign-Up Friction
It’s tempting to ask readers or customers to submit as much information when signing up for your email list because usually, the more data you have, the better.
But reducing friction for users helps increase your opt-in rate. No one wants to enter their name, address, phone number, and answer a questionnaire just to sign up for an email list. Ask for an email and first name to keep things simple. You can always have a survey in one of your welcome emails.
3. Create a Valuable Welcome Flow
Growing your email list opens the door for email marketing. But there’s little use in building your list if you leave new subscribers in the dark for weeks or months.
If you want to get more traffic and make people feel like signing up for your email list was worth it, create a value-add welcome flow. Basically, create one or multiple automated emails that deliver your best content to new subscribers in the coming days or weeks.
Think of your welcome flow as being a highlight reel. When someone signs up for your list, you want to promote your best content or walk them through a series of related posts, like “how to start a blog in six steps, part one,” or something like that.
4. Use Testimonials
Bloggers include testimonials all the time when selling products or courses. But did you know this tactic also works for growing your email list?
Many successful bloggers use this tactic to promote their email list or paid newsletters on a platform like Substack. Usually, the testimonials come from other authorities in their niche and state how much value and enjoyment they get from reading the weekly newsletter.
Pat Flynn, the blogger behind Smart Passive Income, does this perfectly, and there are several testimonials from email subscribers that highlight how becoming a member of the community changed their lives.
You don’t have to overdo it, but finding a few advocates for your email list can’t hurt.
5. Email your List Regularly
A lot of bloggers use their email lists to send out recent post notifications or the occasional email blast. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if you create a dedicated weekly or biweekly newsletter and brand it as being something different from your regular blog posts, that’s more enticing.
A lot of bloggers send out weekly newsletters that cover a specific topic or highlight relevant news for the niche. Some bloggers even send out round-up emails that include some of the best content for the niche within the last week.
Ultimately, if you write a dedicated newsletter, growing your email list is much easier since people are signing up for an experience, not just email reminders to read your latest post.
6. Leverage Social Media
Another way to build your email list is to promote it on social media.
Twitter is an excellent platform for this, and some bloggers even have a link to their email newsletter right in their bios or pinned Tweet. If you network with other bloggers and readers within your niche on Twitter, this is a fast way to get more subscribers.
Facebook also works for promoting an email list, especially if you grow your own Facebook page and encourage members to subscribe.
Promoting your freebie on social media is great for both you and your readers.
7. Run Giveaways
People have been using giveaways to grow their email lists and social media accounts for years. This strategy has stuck around because it works, and it doesn’t have to be expensive either.
Every audience likes to feel valued. So, if you reach a certain blogging milestone or just feel like saying thank you, running a giveaway isn’t a bad idea.
Here’s how you can use a giveaway to build your email list and social media following:
- Choose something to giveaway that relates to your niche.
- Promote the giveaway on social media, your blog, and your email list.
- Give readers bonus entries for signing up for your email list and following you on social media.
- Pick a winner at the end of the giveaway.
You can use giveaway software like SweepWidget to manage your contest. SweepWidget lets you give bonus entries if people subscribe to your email list, follow your social media accounts, and even share the giveaway details. According to SweepWidget, it takes 60 seconds to make a giveaway and you can grow your email list by 500% with one.
This is a big claim, but the bottom line is giveaways help you grow when done right. YouTubers do this all the time, and as long as you promote your giveaway and use some sort of software to help, it can help your blog and email list grow.
8. Use Your Blog’s Real Estate
A lot of bloggers slap an email sign-up box on their sidebar or footer and call it a day. But this is just scratching the surface.
One of the best ways to grow your email list is to use call-to-actions (CTAs) to encourage people to subscribe within your content. This is often where you include a juicy freebie as well.
Here’s an example from Ashley Patrick, who runs the successful blog Budgets Made Easy.
Ashley includes a free budgeting starter kit CTA on her blog’s sidebar and at the end of her blog posts. This gives the reader something valuable immediately, and all they have to do is submit an email and their name.
This is a prime example of how you can encourage more readers to sign up for your email list, and your freebie doesn’t have to be too complicated.
9. Use Email Capture Pop-Ups
Email marketing platforms like ConvertKit let you create email pop-ups to encourage people to subscribe. You can edit your pop-up form as well as the logic for when it fires. For example, you can make your email capture form fire when:
- A certain amount of time passes
- Someone scrolls down a specific percentage of a page
- Upon exit intent
You can also add conditions, like not firing the pop-up for the same reader within a certain time period. Overall, pop-ups help you build your email list faster because you’re getting more eyes on the sign-up box.
It doesn’t have to feel spammy either. I test different email pop-ups on Hit Publish, and this is actually how I promote my free training on how to get more attention to your blog.
I recommend mixing a pop-up with your freebie since this gets the most subscribers in my experience but don’t be afraid to split-test.
Everyone says they hate pop-ups, I do too, but they work!
10. Host Webinars
Another simple trick to get more email subscribers is to host a webinar that requires opting-in with your email.
Bloggers do this to sell courses all the time, but you can use the same strategy to build your email list. Pick a topic that’s interesting in your niche, like some sort of guide or tutorial, and then host a live webinar for your readers to enjoy.
Your webinar could even be a simple 30 minute or hour-long session; you don’t have to go crazy as long as you’re adding value. My webinar (the one featured above) is about 30 mins long.
You do not need fancy webinar software to host a webinar. Zoom will do. Or even Google Hangouts if you want a free version. Your attendees don't care about the platform, they just want great content.
11. Consider Gating Content
Gated content is content that’s inaccessible unless readers provide their information or sign up. Online newspapers do this and usually require signing in or paying $5 a month to read unlimited articles.
I’m not a fan of gating content if you’re a new blogger since you don’t have enough content depth to be blocking some of it off. But if your blog is established, you can experiment with gating a stellar piece of content to see if it gets you more subscribers.
If you want to create gated content, you can use WordPress plugins like Before And After to gate specific posts or pages on your blog. There are lots of other plugins that have the same functionality.
As a newer blogger you can get the same effect without having to add plug-ins by creating a specific autoresponder that has exclusive content — such as an email course. You can create a series of emails that teach a specific skill related to your niche. For example, “7 days to save $1,000” where each day gives a tip they can follow that will equal $1,000 by the end of the series.
Another option is to offer your list something exclusive such as regular AMAs (Ask me anything). Promote these AMAs and let people know that you announce the dates and times to your email subscribers.
12. Create Urgency
This is a simple albeit important tip for growing your email list, but it works.
The idea is to create a sense of urgency in readers so they’re more inclined to subscribe. Common ways to do this include:
- Mentioning exclusive content
- Using phrasing like “never miss a post,” or “stay in the loop”
- Running a time-sensitive freebie or offer to collect emails
You can also split-test different copy for your subscription forms to test what works best.
Building your email list might seem like a monumental task when you’re just starting, but trust me, it’s one of the most valuable things you can do for your blog.
Plus, if you keep writing great content and grow your blog’s traffic, building an email list is pretty simple once you have the right freebies and email captures in place.