13 Expert Tips to Build and Grow Your Email List — FAST

email marketing

Email marketing has been around a few decades, and probably for a good reason. 


Businesses, both small and large, have used email as a part of their marketing strategy. 


Nearly 9 out of every 10 marketers use email marketing to distribute content organically.


Email marketing is an effective way to:

  • Nurture leads
  • Convert leads into customers
  • Give special access and opportunities to subscribers

So, how exactly can you achieve that within your own business? 


Well, let’s have a look, shall we?

1. A quick recap on email lists

As mentioned above, we think email marketing is an essential part of running any business. 


It’s an easy way for you to share your story, promote your business, showcase happy customers, and even receive some feedback. 


This all while turning your subscribers into long-term customers.


Alongside the benefits of making yourself known on the market, you also get the benefits of income. 


According to Litmus resources, every $1 spent on email marketing gives an average return of investment (ROI) of $36.


Email marketing truly is one of the most lucrative business practices.  


With that said, let’s do a quick recap on what email list building entails:

  • What is an email list?

See it as a list of contacts on your phone, but instead of phone numbers, you’ve got email addresses. 


Email is great because you can also collect user data (like the user’s name, gender, and general location) to create targeted emails. 

  • What is list building?

The process of list building entails collecting email addresses from site visitors, customers, and leads. 


This can be done through your website, social media, events, sign-up sheets, promotional events, and email sharing. 

  • How can I create a great email list?

You can create an email list online by using list-building strategies and the tips we provide throughout this article. 

2. How to create a qualified email list

How to create a qualified email list

Source: GIPHY.com

Building an email list can be worthwhile if you have access to all the right tools and resources. 


Here’s a quick, 5-step rundown on how to build an email list:

1. Get an email service provider (ESP)

2. Build a landing page

3. Create CTAs and pop-ups

4. Promote loyalty programs

5. Use discount and promo codes to get subscribers

Follow these five steps to build a great email list, and if you need a more in-depth breakdown of each step, continue reading!

2.1. Tip 1 — Get an email service provider (ESP)

Many of us already use email services daily. 


Below, we’ve created a list of the top ESPs and what they have to offer your business:

 list of the top ESPs

You can use any of these ESPs for your business, but some are going to be a bit difficult to manage once you grow your email list. 


Our top ESP recommendation is systeme.io


With this Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, you can:

  • Build your email list and send unlimited emails
  • Create personalized and targeted email campaigns
  • Tag users to receive emails based on their customer journey

This is quite a bargain if you consider that you can start building your email list alongside your business for free

2.2. Tip 2 — Build captivating landing pages

This is the sign you've been looking for

Source: Landingi.com

Establishing yourself as a business is all about proving to your customers that you’re a reliable and trustworthy source. 


Building an email list requires this same dedication, if not more. 


Remember that you’re essentially a guest in people’s email inboxes


Your presence should be captivating, enticing, and, most importantly, provide value. 


One of the easiest ways to do this is through the use of a website


While email marketing can be done without a website, it’s not as effective. 


You have to have at least one landing page. 


Giving your subscribers an easy way to access your products and services is vital. 


You want to build the face of your business in such a way that users won’t have to give navigation much thought. 


Here are some things you need to include on your landing page:

  • A concise and compelling headline to captivate your audience
  • Images that are of a high-quality and relate to your content
  • Identification of your audience’s problem and the solution to it
  • A list of features and/or benefits of your offer
  • Testimonials of people who have used your offer
  • One clear Call To Action (CTA)

Check out this post if you need some landing page inspiration, and get building!

2.3. Tip 3 — Use personalized CTAs and pop-ups

Buy now

In the same way that you want to create an effective landing page, you also want to use personalized CTAs and pop-ups.


The benefits of using a CTA in your emails include an increase in: 

  • Your Click-Through-Rate (CTR) by 371% and sales by 1617%
  • Ecommerce conversion rate by 22%

Overall, adding a CTA button to your emails can only do your subscriber count good. They essentially make it super clear which action to take next. 


Without the CTA button, the lead may not know which steps to take and this can cause you to lose numbers on your list. 


So, how can you personalize your CTAs?

1. Write a relevant CTA copy

Write an action-oriented copy. If your lead doesn’t see the value the second they see the button, they’re not going to click it. 


You want to be super specific when writing your CTA because generic doesn’t sell. 


Tailor the button to suit your business. 


An example of a visitor CTA for a yoga business can be something like “5 Reasons you should start practicing yoga today.” 


If you want to be more lead-specific, you can use something along the lines of “After yoga do’s and don’ts.”

2. Link your CTA to the right page

When you’ve written and built your CTA, you have to make sure to link it to the right landing page. 


An easy way to find out how many people click on the link is through Google Analytics or your email marketing tool of choice.


The reason you want to do this is to ensure that your page stays relevant and audience-orientated.


Another trick you may want to try is using pop-up pages on your website to increase your list count number. 

Oh, hello

Source: GIPHY.com

Some of the benefits of using pop-ups in your landing page design include:

  • Pop-ups are 50% more effective than banners in terms of grabbing the users’ attention
  • Your branding isn’t sacrificed since you can completely customize your pop-up
  • They are 13x more effective at generating clicks and opt-in subscribers than standard banners

When using your free systeme.io account, you can create the perfect pop-up in a matter of minutes by following these steps:

1. Under your sales funnel, click on the “create” button

2. Select “pop-up form”

3. Then choose a template and fill it in as desired

Yes, it’s really that easy! 


Using pop-ups and CTAs is an effective way to increase user traffic, boost sales, and increase your email list subscriber count.

2.4. Tip 4 — Create loyalty and referral programs

We all love receiving things, especially if it’s a reward for continuously promoting our favorite brands. 


Utilizing something like a loyalty and referral program can create a niche within your email marketing strategy and ultimately help to grow your list.


These types of programs are great if you’re looking to nudge new and existing subscribers to upgrade and generate a longer customer lifetime value.


First up, loyalty programs.

Loyalty programs

Source: GIPHY.com

Creating a loyalty program is a great way to build your email list. 


There are, however, a few things you want to keep in mind when using loyalty programs as a way to build your email list:

1. You have to make your program easy to join and provide value to your subscriber


This can be something like giving them a free recipe every week, a 20% discount code, and so on.

2. You might want to consider donating the money to a good cause


A survey found that 61% of millennials prefer to donate their rewards to a good cause rather than redeem them personally.


It also gives you some credit for doing good in your community.

3. Create a program that encourages subscribers to spend more time and money on your company


You can do this by looking at your target audience and creating offers based on what they find valuable.

Using loyalty programs make for a great addition to your email marketing strategy. 


It shows subscribers how close they are to gaining a reward, especially when you send them a quick reminder to show how close they are. 


It’s pretty quick and straightforward to set up this email campaign, especially when using a tool like systeme.io.


While loyalty and referral programs follow a similar concept, they do differ in terms of the benefits they offer. 


Referral and affiliate programs work by using a system that incentivizes previous customers to recommend your products to their family and friends.

Referral and affiliate programs

Source: GIPHY.com

Statistics show that word-of-mouth marketing can boost your sales by up to 13%!


After all, people are more inclined to trust recommendations from friends and family rather than brand communications. 


Here’s how referral and affiliate programs work:

  • A person discovers your business and likes what you sell
  • You offer a reward for their referral or affiliation
  • The loyal customer tells family and friends
  • Once the referral buys your product, both the referral and referee get their reward

An example of how to start an affiliate program:

  • Join systeme.io’s affiliate program
  • You tell a friend about the software and give them your referral link
  • They decide to visit systeme.io using your referral code
  • You get 40% on the number of sales you generate, even if it takes a year for them to buy

Another company that utilizes the referral strategy is Uber Eats:

  • You share your app invite code with friends
  • For every person that uses your code, you gain $5 off your order, and they acquire a 20% discount on their order

Another way to structure your referral campaign is to allow users to invite friends with similar interests to pre-sale events. 


This way, you don’t have to discount initially but can contact the referred contacts.


But what if referrals, affiliations, and loyalty programs are too much of a hassle? Well, we’ve got you covered in the next section.

2.5. Tip 5 — Lure them in with discounts and deals

When you sell something online, an easy way to grow your list is by offering your leads a lead magnet


Lead magnets can include:

1. Checklists

2. Ebooks and cheat sheets

3. Product samples

4. Discounts and coupons

5. Templates

6. Free trials

7. Case studies

8. Webinars and podcasts

9. Premium content

One of the best lead magnets to use is discounts and coupons because it applies to most business models. 


Any business can offer a discount code, and most people will buy into it because the perceived reward is much higher. 


It’s also an excellent incentive for people to join your email list. 


(P.S. If you’re interested in the other lead magnets mentioned, we discuss them later in the post!)


Here are some examples of businesses that offer discounts and promotions to gain email addresses and customers: 

  • Spotify offers three months of their premium plan for free
Spotify’s landing page

Spotify’s landing page

  • Bath & Body Works doesn’t offer any immediate discounts but gives the promise that they will if you subscribe
Bath & Body Works’ landing page

Bath & Body Works’ landing page

  • Lindt chocolatiers offer free delivery when you spend $75+ and currently offers Fall Savings, where you can get up to 30% off your orders
Lindt’s landing page

Lindt’s landing page

This technique is especially effective because it gives customers the potential to save money and gives you a subscriber.


Offering first-order discounts to potential customers builds your email list while increasing sales at the same time. 


But what should you do once you’ve established a list of subscribers, and how can you continue to grow this list?


Listed below are 8 tips you can follow to nurture and grow your email list long after you’ve established your subscriber base.

3. How to nurture and grow your email list

Success

Source: GIPHY.com

Nurturing and growing your email list can be a simple victory. 


The problem comes in when automating email campaigns — most small businesses don’t have a solid email nurture sequence.


Not everyone needs a long-term email sequence. However, if you want to create a long-term business, you have to ensure your prospects keep your business in mind.


When it comes to email marketing, you want to ensure your prospects remember your offer


This is how you’ll nurture leads and customers and foster a good business relationship. 


It’s all about communicating value.


What’s best about this process is that you don’t have to be that involved once it’s set up since it’s all automated.


We can all agree that a lot is going on when creating the perfect email sequence. 


How can you increase your open rates? When is the best time to send an email? Which email templates should you use? 


Well, it all comes down to what you include in your emails. 


Here are 8 ways you can easily personalize your emails:

3.1. Tip 6 — Create buyer personas

A buyer persona is not a real customer. Rather, it’s a very detailed description of an ideal customer who represents your target audience. 


You can have more than one buyer persona, depending on the range of products you sell. 


You want to do the following to create the perfect buyer persona for your business:

  • Give the persona a name
  • Assign demographic details
  • Give them interests and behavioral traits

Here’s a template with 2 examples to give you an idea of how you can set up your own buyer personas:

Template of a buyer persona with examples

Template of a buyer persona with examples

This will help you understand their goals, pain points, and buying patterns and target the right emails accordingly.

3.2. Tip 7 — Segment your list

You can email users two different questions to tag and segment them to receive a specific email sequence. 


An example of this is Paper Style’s email campaign asking users, “What are you planning for?” 


They gave them two options: “Your wedding” and “a friend or relative’s wedding.” 

Paper Style’s email campaign

Paper Style’s email campaign

This simple question allowed them to target specific email campaigns towards their subscribers and give them valuable information based on their needs.


It increased their open rate by 244% and their click-through rate by 161%.


This is how you can use this technique in your email marketing strategy:

1.  Sign up for a free systeme.io account

2.  Create an email campaign

3.  Fill in one of the hundreds of email templates

4.  Include two questions in your email template that tag users
    according to the option they select (segment users)

5.  Set up automated trigger emails

6.  Send the campaign to your email list

7.  Let the automation features do their work!

Follow these steps, and you’re bound to create a nearly perfect email sequence for the ideal buyer. 

3.3. Tip 8 — Use resources to encourage sign-ups

Campaigner’s home page

We mentioned lead magnets earlier in the list building section of this post but didn’t mention the benefit of each. 


Using lead magnets is an easy way to give your business exposure and awareness while instilling a sense of trust and likability. 


They provide your email list with the base of what can be one amazing pizza if they’re willing to open up their wallets and spend money on the toppings. 


Additionally, the higher your asking price is, the more lead magnets you potentially have to offer. 


So, here’s a benefit of each: 

1. Checklists and templates

  • Great for showing subscribers a logical sequence to follow
  • It gives the subscriber an easy way to follow the steps you want them to follow

2. Ebooks and cheat sheets

  • Ebooks and cheatsheets act as lead nurturing content because you’re educating the subscriber
  • Allows you to show why your offer is the best on the market

3. Product samples

  • Act as a preview for the content/product that they could have access to
  • Allows the subscriber to get a sense of what they’re buying before they fully commit to it

4. Free trials

  • Increases the perceived value — because they’re getting something for free, they’re more likely to buy a product if they’re satisfied with the results

5. Case studies

  • A case study can provide the subscriber with examples of satisfied customers
  • People trust other people’s success stories and recommendations — if your product has good reviews, the likelihood of people buying increases

6. Webinars and podcasts

  • These act as more educational content that nurtures your lead — the more you can educate and bring value to the table, the better
  • Allows the subscriber to gain a sense of how you run your shop

While these are all great options, how can you know which will work best for your type of business?


Well, that’s where the next tip comes in handy.

3.4. Tip 9 — Ask for user feedback

Customer feedback is one of the most critical parts of personalizing emails. 


If you don’t know what your users respond well to and what they don’t, there’s no way that you’re able to improve.


But why exactly is customer feedback so important?

1. It points out aspects of your business that need improvement

2. Listening to customer feedback allows the users to feel involved
   and important

3. Good feedback generates personal recommendations

4. It can convince customers to come back again and try the
   improved service

5. It can help you to build your brand more effectively

Now that you know why customer feedback is an important part of personalizing emails, let’s look at how you can optimize your campaigns.

3.5. Tip 10 — A/B test different email campaigns

A/B test different email campaigns

Source: Zapier.com

There are many benefits of doing A/B tests for your email campaigns. 


If you want a quick recap on what A/B testing entails, have a read over this Harvard Business Review post.


In this section specifically, we’re going to look at what you can A/B test to optimize your emails:

1. Change the sender/from name


HubSpot conducted some research and saw a higher email CTR when it sent a campaign using a team member's name vs. their company name.


They concluded that emails sent by a real person were more likely to be clicked on than using the company name.


2. Test longer and shorter subject lines


CoSchedule found that longer subject lines performed better than short ones and that around 40 - 50 characters were the perfect length.


3. Give plain text a try


While it isn’t the most attractive email format, sometimes simplicity is refreshing.


It can also create the feeling that a real person is talking to you, which encourages the “you’re receiving an email from a friend” feeling rather than a company.


4. Personalize the subject line


Personalizing the subject line usually entails adding the person’s name, but you can test personalization in other ways too:

  • Use your subscriber’s first and last name in the subject line
  • Use your customer's first name in the subject line
  • Try a combination of the above
  • Use your customer's persona in the subject line
  • Use terms that resonate with your audience
  • Use "you" vs. not using "you"

It might take some testing, but play around and see which one works best for your email campaign.


5. Perfect the body of the copy


Cut the length of your email copy in half. Now cut it in half again.” — Morgan Brown.


More often than not, people want a short, sweet, and simple message. It can be annoying having to read over 5 companies’ soft-sell emails daily.


To stand out try A/B testing the following:

  • Shorter versus longer text
  • Using bullet points and/or numbered list
  • Setting it up in a question and answer format
  • Only writing one sentence and giving your CTA

It might seem daunting at first, but give these tips a try and potentially save yourself the time and energy of typing a long email copy.


6. Play around with images


People are easily drawn to an image rather than text, so use this to your advantage!


A/B test the following:

  • One vs. multiple images
  • Text on image
  • Screenshot of a video
  • CTA incorporated in image vs. CTA separate of image
  • Animated GIF

Remember that images can be finicky, so use JPEG or GIF for the best chance of having your pictures show in your subscribers' email.


Be sure to also enter ALT text, just in case the images don't load!


Finally, keep in mind that certain images can take a while to load, so compress them to save your email size.


7. Play around with the CTA


Try systeme.io today!


Or perhaps...

try systeme.io now

What about...

Start automating your emails

Which one do you want to click on? 


Your goal is to do exactly this — write your CTA in as many different ways as you can. 


Write it and present it.


Instead of using text, maybe try a button. Decide whether it should go at the top of the email or the bottom. Maybe consider both?


There are four things to consider when writing your CTA:

1. More than one CTA helps if your email is longer than a few
   paragraphs

2. Write your CTA in capital letters — all caps work best!

3. CTAs should be legible — between 90 - 150 characters

4. Or, CTAs should be concise and to the point — 2 words usually
   work best

As you can see, there are some simple things you can A/B test to increase your email performance. 


What’s even better is that you can try out A/B testing for free if you use your free systeme.io account. 


But say you’re looking for even more ways to increase the value of your emails and personalize content for your subscribers. 


Well, the easy way to do that is through writing content outside your emails.

3.6. Tip 11 — Build a blog

Build a blog

Email marketing and blogging are like peanut butter and chocolate. 


Both are great on their own, but when combined give you Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. 


You can get that same synergy with a content marketing strategy that combines blogging and email marketing.


Not convinced? Here are some of the benefits of including blogging in your email marketing strategy: 

1. Increases traffic to your site

2. Attracts new customers

3. Shows and tells what your business can do

4. They gain engagement long after you’ve used them for email purposes

5. They allow you to build a network in your niche

6. It will enable leads, customers, and prospects to build trust in your company

While blogging can take a while to become effective, one of the best ways to build up your archives is by sending updates to your email subscribers about new content you’re about to release. 


This will encourage you to write at least one blog post weekly, and before you know it, you’ll have hundreds of blog posts at your disposal.


Tip: Include internal links in your blog posts to your other blog posts. This way, you can give your readers even more reason to trust your business.


What’s great about using blog posts to promote your offer, is that it will give you a passive income. 


After all, not all your email subscribers read your blogs, and not all internet users are email subscribers. 


Here are 5 simple steps to get your blog up and running: 

1. Sign up for a free systeme.io account

2. Click on create a blog

3. Start writing content targeted towards your niche

4. Publish the blog post

5. Notify your email list about the new post

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be this intense thing — especially when you use systeme.io.


Our software allows you to create a blog and publish unlimited posts, even on the free account!

3.7. Tip 12 — Engage with leads on social media

Engage with leads on social media

Source: GIPHY.com

Another easy way to nurture and grow your email list is by engaging with your audience on social media. 


At first glance, social media isn’t the most obvious choice for collecting email addresses. 


But when you think about it, most users engage with their favorite brands on apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. 


It’s also a really easy way for your content to be shared, as users usually use social media to keep in touch with their friends and family. 


What’s more, is that users spend a considerable amount of their day on their phones.

Mobile Device Usage

Statistics showing mobile device use in hours and minutes per day

eMarketer found that the daily US screen time averages 3 hours and 43 minutes.


As of 2020, Statista indicates that US users spend an average of 2 hours and 3 minutes on social media.  


No wonder it’s more convenient for users to communicate with brands on social media!


Here are the three reasons you want to grow your email list using social media:

1. The number of social media users is growing


No matter what market you cater to, the chances are good that your audience is active on social media.


According to Statista, 3.6 billion people use social media today, and this number is predicted to reach 4.41 billion users by 2025.


2. People like to interact with brands on social media


More and more people follow brands they love and support on social media platforms.


When following a business on social media, 47% of users want to keep up with the company’s news.


This means your followers are ready to interact with your company, and they’re more likely to share their contact information.


3. It introduces a variety of features for collecting email addresses


Most social media platforms offer business-specific features that help brands communicate and interact with their customers.


For example, most platforms allow businesses to add clickable links, polls, and lead generation ads that help them to collect email addresses.

Another trick you can try is to collaborate with people in your niche and increase exposure to both your brands. 

3.8. Tip 13 — Create a co-marketing offer with a partner

Create a co-marketing offer with a partner

The final tip we have is to collaborate with someone in your niche


After all, if you’re having lunch at the popular table, it automatically makes you part of the cool-kid gang, and benefits extend well beyond ego-stroking and invitations to events.


This is a great way to position your newbie business among the larger and more successful companies.


Here are 3 key benefits of collaborating with a business:

1. Collaborating makes for cheap marketing


When you don’t have a lot of money to put into advertising, you can easily gain fame from already established companies.


See it as a mutually beneficial relationship.


Inviting a larger business to create an email campaign, for example, garners good press and means you’ll benefit from two sets of audiences.


2. Collaboration introduces new expertise


You might be the best in the biz, but you’re probably not the best in every biz.


Collaborating with another company allows you to learn from those who’ve already been through the thick of it.


It’s an easy way to highlight new trends, identify growth areas, and show your customers all that you have to offer.


3. Collaboration is quick


Unless you’re lucky enough to go viral, marketing takes time.


Teaming up with another company speeds up the process by introducing you to new customers and contacts.


Content, word-of-mouth, and social media marketing all benefit from two companies working on the same campaign.

Collaborative marketing is a great tool to widen your reach, add authenticity to your brand, and create a pool of recommended and trusted businesses. 


For a new business, building trust and long-term advocacy are essential for growth and survival.

4. The best tool to build and grow your list

Now that you know exactly what to do to build, grow, and nurture your email list, you may be wondering what tool you can use.


If you haven’t picked up on it throughout the post, then this is the part where we recommend systeme.io as the best tool for the job. 

systeme.io’s logo

systeme.io’s logo

Systeme.io can help you to kickstart your email marketing campaign (for free) while helping you to manage other aspects of running an online business. 


Alongside email marketing, you also have access to features like:

  • Unlimited emails
  • Sales funnels
  • Unlimited blog posts
  • Membership sites
  • Automation rules and workflows
  • A/B tests
  • Coupon codes
  • 24/7 email support

This is a great offer no matter which angle you approach it from. 


What’s even better is that you don’t have to take our word for it. 


Try it out for yourself today! 

5. Conclusion

Conclusion

Source: GIPHY.com

So, there you have it! 


The 13 strategies you can use to build, grow, and nurture your email list. 


While all these tips can help you collect email addresses and build your list, one of the main things you want to keep in mind is to always provide value


Email marketing can be a super lucrative marketing strategy and may even become a fun game. 


But it’s never just about growing a list. It’s about building a relationship with the people on your list.


Your subscribers trust you with their email addresses, so don’t betray their trust or send spam emails. 


Build a list and cultivate it with high-value emails, exclusive offers, rich information, and a personal tone.


What are you waiting for? Get that list built with systeme.io!

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