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19 Innovative Ways to Grow Your Own Email List from Scratch

Do you want to know what the biggest problem people have when trying to grow their email list? First off, its hard work (but you already knew that) for something you are not totally sure you need. Second, it can come off as a really boring job. Like slapping paint on a new fence. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I always tell people that growing an email list can be as fun as you make it out to be.

Related: Top 5 Reasons Why You Need Email

To spice up the monotony, here are 19 innovative ways to grow your very own email list from scratch.

With Email

1) Start with great content: The number one way to grow any email list is to make the email itself fantastic. Pretty basic right. But 99% of email traffic today is basically junk. We all know this. So don’t be that guy who sends junk to an inbox. Make your content stand out with the following elements:
  • Catchy headlines
  • Call to action text/buttons
  • Rock solid information (with a splash of humor)
2) Include coupons for subscribers: A recent study found that 57.5% of internet shoppers redeemed at least one digital coupon in 2016. An easy way to grow your list naturally is to offer discounts through digital coupons to subscribers! Sure some may think of this as a dirty tactic. But if customers sign up, they are obviously interested in the product. As long as the coupon gives them real value towards something they want, you are doing them a favor. It would be rude not to offer your very best materials to interested people.

3) Get laser focused: Send out targeted emails to a specific portion of your list who will be interested in the content of your email. People are more likely to respond if you can actually talk to them about things they care about. MailChimp and every other email service allow you to do this easily with segmentation.

With Social Media

1) YouTube: Include email subscription links in your video and bio. This way when people see your beautiful face live on camera, they can get regular updates in their inbox too. Again, it’s always smart to ask people to subscribe and give them incentives for doing so.

2) Facebook: Include a subscription button on your business profile page. You can also post regular content that is out of this world. Every so often includes links to free giveaways (ebooks, podcasts, white papers, your grandma's cookies)

3) Pinterest: Build a stunning board full of free content offers that your audience can download for subscription to your list. Pinterest can be a great way to really promote your books, guides, checklists, and products. Just be sure that the content is worth downloading. People can smell a scam miles away.

4) Instagram: While you cannot include links directly on your post, include a link to a relevant landing page in your bio. Remind people in some of your posts to check out your bio for the free giveaway. This is a fantastic way to not only offer true value but keep track of the people interested in your content and products.


1) Industry trade shows: Never been to an industry trade show? They a great way to meet cool people that share your same passions for life. Stay connected with your peeps by asking people you meet if they would be interested in getting your weekly email. Don’t lead with this question. But if you take the time to have meaningful conversations, then you can really offer your email to people that already care about your niche.

2) Live events
: Can you think of a better time to get emails than at an event that covers your niche? You already know that everyone at the event cares about your topic. Why not invite them to learn more? For example, if you’re a musician at a rock concert you can ask for emails in exchange for a weekly classic rock letter.

3) Direct mail: A recent survey conducted by Compu-mail found that people are 50% more likely to engage with your message when they see that it is written just for them. Include your email in the physical letter to allow your audience to ask you questions, get discounts, and receive paperless notifications.

4) Webinar: Because people don’t want to wait around all day for you to get to the point, the best webinars are between 30-45 min long. Offer the webinar to subscribers. This gives people a reason to check their email. It also lets you know that they are serious followers.

On Your Site

1) Guest post: OK, this isn’t truly on your site. But a good guest post will always link back to your own blog. Many platforms allow you to place one link in your article and one in your author bio. Use those links to offer free ebooks or courses relevant to the site you post on.

2) Content upgrades: Speaking of content upgrades, study after study proves that offering upgrades increases conversion rates exponentially. In the body of your articles, be sure to give people the option to subscribe for even more! More tips, more tricks, more ebooks, more content. Remember that more isn’t always better. Use content upgrades when it makes sense to.

3) Embedded forms: Don’t make it hard for your audience to subscribe. Embed a form in the footer. While you’re at it, include a Hello Bar across the top of your site.

4) Surveys: Running a survey on your site will help you get to know your real audience. Use this information when you send emails to target your content towards their interests.


1) Ebooks: Combine some of your best posts to save time and build a powerful Ebook. Just make sure that the book logically flows from one point to the next. In marketing, this is called repurposing content. Don’t work harder, work smarter.

2) Workbooks: Similar to ebooks, a workbook help your reader complete a set of tasks towards the desired goal. For example, maybe you’re a physical trainer and your reader wants to get swol! You could offer a workbook that helps them take steps every day towards their end goal.

3) Courses: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, online courses are one of the best ways to scale your small business. Offer a free subscription course that teaches your audience a skill or how to use a tool in your industry.

4) Create a contest: Allow your audience to compete for a prize. If your broke, you can still offer free courses or resources as the grand prize. This is a great way to learn about your readers and to find emerging talent in your niche.

What do you do to grow your email list? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Join my email list for pro marketing tips like this one delivered every week.



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