Email marketing has such a high ROI (return-on-investment) that if you’re not sending newsletters, you need to be…now. For those who aren’t email marketing yet or for those who need help finding subscribers, I’m covering how to build an email list fast.
Building an email list is an absolute must for all business owners. It will allow you to send periodic newsletters to an audience of warm leads, which means subscribers on your email list are likely to make a purchase. Plus, you can set up automated emails that send to new or targeted subscribers to help you practically sell in your sleep. These are just a couple of examples why email marketing has the highest ROI of all marketing strategies.
Although building a list can seem time-consuming and even intimidating, I have you covered with 9 strategies on how to build an email list fast. Plus, you’ll find my two recommended email marketing providers for both beginners and advanced users.
9 Email List Building Strategies for Entrepreneurs
Before I jump into the strategies, it’s very important to note that your list should be built correctly, legally, and ethically. That means you should never buy lists, and you should never add subscribers without their consent.
The CAN-SPAM Act is actually a law that sets the rules for commercial email (whether you’re sending individual emails or in bulk to a list). It’s crucial you have a clear understanding of this before you begin building your email list or send your first newsletter.
You’ll also notice I don’t include pop-ups as a method of building your list. While these can be incredibly effective, they’re often set up incorrectly and turn away readers/business. I recommend trying the strategies below first, then experiment with pop-ups. However, if you are going to use a pop-up, don’t make it appear within seconds of someone visiting your website; this is a surefire way to annoy people and usually results in a higher bounce rate. Without further ado, let’s dive into how to build an email list fast.
1. Blog consistently and use content upgrades.
Blogging is very effective for getting more eyes on your website/business. Content is king after all. But what are you doing to convert all of those readers into subscribers and, in turn, customers? By capturing their email address, you then have a way of keeping in touch and can potentially gain a customer you may have missed out on.
Content upgrades are incentives you offer on each post in exchange for an email address. They are freebies that are relevant to your blog post that offer either something useful or more in-depth information related to that post. For example, I could write a post with some of my favorite fonts, and my content upgrade could be a font pairing guide.
If you blog consistently and your content upgrades are desirable (the more irresistible, the better!), relevant, and high-quality, you should start to see your list of subscribers booming with growth.
2. Offer freebies.
This strategy is similar to the idea of content upgrades we just discussed. Offer freebies that your target audience would find useful, and ask for an email address in exchange.
In my footer, you’ll notice a section that contains a list of 4 freebies. Each is very valuable to my target audience and requires an email address to access the content. This strategy can be effective for those who don’t have a blog, or it can be an extra layer of easy list-building on top of content upgrades.
3. Add a simple signup box on your website.
A key to gaining subscribers is to make it easy to sign up. While content upgrades and freebies are highly effective strategies, including a simple signup box somewhere on your website is also a must. Not everyone wants your free content, believe it or not! Someone may read one of your posts or just browse your website, like what they see, and want to stay in the loop. Having a simple box for joining your list is a great solution for those readers or browsers. Consider adding your signup box in your website’s footer or blog sidebar.
4. Host a giveaway.
You’re probably starting to see a trend here – we’re discussing free content once again. It’s true…freebies are the heart of quickly growing your email list. A giveaway, though, is an opportunity to offer an actual product or service for free to one winner. You can require entrants to follow a simple set of steps to enter, one being to leave their email address. That’s why giveaways can be huge when it comes to building an email list.
Decide on the prize and giveaway terms (length, entry steps, number of winners, etc.). Then, set up a giveaway page with an entry form that requires an email address to sign up. Even consider asking participants to share the giveaway on their social media accounts as a bonus entry to quickly spread the word about your offer and gain even more subscribers.
5. Use an announcement bar.
An announcement bar is a small bar that runs across the top of your website to (obviously) announce something. This is an effective spot to mention a freebie you have, a webinar you’re hosting, a coupon you’re offering…you get the idea. See an example of an announcement bar on our Florence website template.
Clicking on your announcement bar would then either go to another page on your website or open a pop up that has a subscribe form. Visitors enter their email address here to access whatever your announcement bar is advertising.
6. Guest post often.
The more often you can get featured and published on other sites, the quicker your traffic (and email list) will grow. However, the key here is to place an emphasis on quality and value. Take some time to research and write out possible blogs or websites you would like to be featured on that your target audience visits and that are reputable.
If your goal of guest posting is traffic and subscribers, consider setting up a landing page that you can link to in these guest posts versus your home page. This is a great way to quickly explain who you are or what you do and offer an irresistible piece of content relevant to your guest post. Similar to a content upgrade, require an email address for access and watch your list grow.
7. Create an Instagram landing page.
Instagram landing pages are a way to track traffic from your Instagram account and a way to stylishly list your best content or most important links. They’ve become so popular over recent years that you’ll find these pages being used for all social media platforms – not just Instagram. Grab our free Instagram links page below (this is an example of a content upgrade). Hint: if you’re still using Linktree, it’s definitely time for an upgrade.
8. Add a quiz to your website.
A strategy that’s often overlooked, adding a quiz to your website is an interactive (and very effective!) way to gain emails. Visitors will see your quiz on your website, answer the questions, then provide their email address at the end to see their results.
We have a fun (and quick!) template quiz that helps potential customers reveal the website template(s) that best fit their style, and it drives dozens of subscribers daily (I highly recommend Interact for your quiz!).
Take the Quiz: Find Your Perfect Website Template ⟶
9. Offer a discount.
Last but not least is the simplest method of all. Offering a small discount for your products or services is a great strategy. Mention your discount (10% off, 15% off, $10 off, etc.), require an email address for access, then provide subscribers with a discount code they can use at checkout.
This method is typically successful in not only building your email list fast but also in compiling emails of customers who are likely to make a purchase. To make it even more effective, add a time limit or expiration for your coupon and watch your sales boom too.
The Two Best Email Providers
We’ve covered 9 fun and effective ways on how to build an email list fast, but what email marketing provider is best? I’ve been in business for over a decade and have tried handfuls of different providers. There are two providers I highly recommend because I believe they’re superior to all the others: ConvertKit and Flodesk.
ConvertKit is the best of the best. It’s loaded with options and features, which is beneficial for those really looking to scale their business. However, it’s not necessarily beginner-friendly but once you get through the slight learning curve, it is straightforward. It also can get expensive depending on the number of subscribers you have (although you can start on a free plan).
Flodesk is a newer option that’s been booming in popularity. It’s beginner-friendly but still has plenty of features, and it’s very focused on design. Flodesk really stands out because they offer a flat-rate price for all users regardless of your number of subscribers – $38/month (or just $19/month by using our link). This is huge when you consider providers like ConvertKit can cost hundreds per month as you grow your list.
Play around with the above strategies for 30 days and see which are the most effective for you. Once you have a better idea of what’s working and what isn’t, spend more time on the strategies that showed the best results and you’ll officially know how to build an email list fast.