Top 10 Proven Strategies to Build Your Email List + Freebies

How often do you sign up for a brand’s emails? If you’re like me, you most likely only subscribe to an email list if you KNOW you’re going to get VALUE from the emails. Because let’s face it, there are certain brands that I absolutely adore, but I’m only signing up for their newsletters if I believe in what they promote and the stories that they tell in their emails. BONUS, if their emails make me smile. 

Email marketing is a highly effective way to reach out to customers, build relationships, and boost sales. In fact, email marketing has the highest ROI of all digital marketing strategies! So if you aren’t actively building your email list, today’s the day to get started! Let’s chat about the top 10 proven strategies to build that email list, and while it might feel like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be. Let’s jump in!

Content Overview

The Importance of Building an Email List 

Before diving into the specific strategies for building an email list, it would be helpful to first discuss why it is so important for small businesses to do so.

Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach out to customers and leads. With email, you can communicate with large groups of people at once without spending a lot of money on advertising or other marketing efforts.
  • Email marketing allows you to build relationships with your audience. By sending regular, personalized messages to your subscribers, you can develop trust and loyalty.
  • Email marketing can drive traffic to your website and social media channels. By including links to your website and social media profiles in your emails, you can encourage subscribers to engage with your brand in other ways.
  • Email marketing can help you sell more products or services. By including special offers or promotions in your emails, you can entice subscribers to make purchases.

The Challenges of Building an Email List

While building an email list can be incredibly beneficial for small businesses, it is not without its challenges. Here are a few common obstacles to consider:

  • Getting people to sign up for your email list can be difficult. With so many brands vying for attention in people’s inboxes, it can be tough to convince someone to hand over their email address.
  • Sending emails that people actually want to open and read can also be a challenge. If your emails are seen as spam or are not relevant to your subscribers, they may choose to unsubscribe or ignore your messages.
  • Ongoing maintenance and list management can also be time-consuming. As your list grows, you will need to ensure that your contacts are up-to-date and that you are staying compliant with relevant laws and regulations, and that you’re segmenting your list so that your subscribers are always getting the most valuable content that meets their needs. 

Despite these challenges, building an email list is still a super valuable endeavor for your business. 

#1: A High Converting Lead Magnet to Grow Your Email List

One of the most effective ways to build your email list is to create a lead magnet – an incentive that you offer to potential subscribers in exchange for their email addresses. While there are many different types of lead magnets to choose from, not all of them are created equal. Here are a few tips for creating a lead magnet that actually converts. 

Tips for Creating a Lead Magnet That Converts

  • Make sure your lead magnet is highly relevant to your target audience. If your lead magnet does not solve a specific problem or address a specific need that your audience has, they may not be interested in signing up for your list. Your lead magnet needs to be so valuable that when someone receives it, their first thought is, OH MY GOSH if this is FREE, what must it be like to work with Jennie in a paid capacity?
  • Choose a format that makes sense for your audience. For example, if your audience is highly visual, an infographic or video may be more effective than an ebook or case study. 
  • Make your lead magnet easy to access and use. If your lead magnet is difficult to download or use, your subscribers may become frustrated and unsubscribe.
  • Use eye-catching design and copy to promote your lead magnet on your website and social media channels. The more compelling your messaging, the more likely people are to sign up.
  • Make sure you have a valuable nurture sequence in place! Your nurture sequence should be a series of 7-10 emails that extend the value of your lead magnet. The idea is to provide them with more value, giving them time to warm up and get to know, like, and trust you through to conversion. 
How to Identify Your Core Lead Magnet

Resource: How to Identify Your Core Lead Magnet – Are you having trouble building your email list? The best way to get people to opt in is by offering them free and valuable content! By creating a fantastic lead magnet that aligns with your core offer, you will not only be proving the quality of your products and services but also building a following that will help cement your future success!

#2: A High Converting Opt-In and Thank You Page to Grow Your Email List

In addition to creating a strong lead magnet, it is important to have an opt-in form that is designed to convert visitors into subscribers. Here are a few key elements to include:

  • A catchy headline that clearly articulates the value of signing up for your list.
  • A compelling call to action button that stands out from the rest of the design.
  • Minimal fields (typically just name and email address – pro tip, just ask for the email address – less is more).
  • Optional fields for additional information (such as location or interests) that can help you segment your email list.
  • Social proof (such as the number of subscribers you already have) to help build trust.
  • An amazing thank you page that tells them what to expect next! PRO TIP: This is the perfect place to offer a tripwire (a low-price upgrade to get them to a paid capacity immediately!) 

By optimizing your opt-in form, you can increase the chances that visitors will sign up for your list.

#3: Offer a Discount or Coupon to Grow Your Email List 

If you offer a product, a discount or coupon code can be an amazing way to get people to opt into your list! It’s a great incentive since most people who land on your website are probably already looking for a product like yours! Seal the deal by offering them a discount they can’t refuse, but that is easy to redeem!

#4: Host a Giveaway to Grow Your Email List 

I host a ton of giveaways for many of my clients with the sole purpose of growing their email lists. I have one client in particular that has a list of over 55k, most of which have been added through joint giveaway ventures. Giveaways are a fun way to engage with your audience and attract new subscribers. These work really well if you partner with a few other like-minded but not competitive brands where you can swap lists! 

#5: Collaborate with Other Businesses to Grow Your Email List 

Just like with giveaways, collaborating with other businesses in your industry is a great way to expand your reach and attract new subscribers. I’ve had many clients co-host webinars or offer a joint discount code to grow their email list. It really works!

#6: Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List 

Social media is a powerful tool for reaching new customers and growing your email list. I have several clients for whom we run Instagram stories on a regular basis inviting new subscribers to join their email lists. But there are tons of ways you can move your social media subscribers to your email list. Offer them special access to a video series or something that you only offer to your social media followers. 

#7: Use Paid Advertising to Grow Your Email List

This one is my favorite! Social media ads are the gasoline that will grow your email list by leaps and bounds in a very short period of time! We use Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Google, and LinkedIn ads to supercharge our client’s email funnels. We have clients who are getting hundreds of new subscribers to their email lists every single week by running ads to their funnels. 

#8: Create a Referral Program to Grow Your Email List 

A referral program is a great way to incentivize your current email subscribers to refer their friends and family. Offer a reward for each referral, such as a discount or free trial. There are so many great apps that you can integrate with your website that will encourage people to not only sign up for your email list but refer their friends! People LOVE free stuff and will refer, refer, refer if they get something of value in exchange. 

#9: Host a Webinar to Grow Your Email List

I LOVE webinars. Hosting one is a great way to provide value to your audience and grow that email list. Make sure your webinar provides actionable insights and is jam-packed with value. If so, people will want to sign up for your webinar (and your email list). Some are even going to convert into paying customers! 

#10: Other Small Tips to Grow Your Email List

In addition to the strategies already discussed, here are a few additional tactics to build your email list:

  • Participate in online forums or groups related to your industry. Include a link to your opt-in form in your signature or profile.
  • Run a retargeting campaign for people who have visited your website but have not yet signed up for your list.
  • Offer a special promotion or bonus for people who refer their friends and family to join your list.
  • Host a free trial or demo of your product or service and require participants to sign up for your list to participate.

This Week’s Challenge

  1. Do you have an email list? If not, it’s time to set one up. Go with something simple to get started, I really like MailChimp. 
  2. Jump over to my website to grab these freebies:
  3. Decide what type of core lead magnet you want to create and start pulling it together. 
  4. Schedule a free call with me at, and we can take a look at your lead magnet to optimize it!
  5. Then, you’ll set it up and start to promote, promote, promote to see your list grow, grow, grow!

Building an email list is critical for your business, and it can be a challenging process. By taking time to develop a strong lead magnet and optimize your opt-in form, you can begin to grow your list and reap the benefits of email marketing. Remember, building an email list is an ongoing process that requires ongoing maintenance and attention. However, the rewards – in terms of increased engagement, traffic, and sales – can be significant. Click here if you want to schedule a free call with Jennie today!

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About Jennie Lyon

Jennie Lyon is the founder of Jennie Lyon Virtual Assistant Services. Jennie specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs organize, manage, develop and promote their brand! She is devoted to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs with social media, content creation, email marketing, client relations, website management, and administration services. If you are a small business owner, coach or self-employed entrepreneur struggling to find enough time in your day to focus on what you really love - schedule a free 15 minute consultation with Jennie.

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