Whether you’re selling a product or service physically or online, email list building is one of the smartest things you can do to market and grow your business. In fact, 79% of marketers rate it among their top three marketing channels.
But to reap the benefits, you must first build your email list.
It can be hard to know where to begin when building a list, and it can seem like a slow process. And with 74% of Americans receiving as many as 10 newsletters, rising email overwhelm also means companies must get creative to stand out and gain new subscribers.
Fortunately for you, there are plenty of impactful list building tactics that can generate results from day one!
Read on for the ultimate guide on how to build an email list fast.
Table of Contents
23 Effective Tips: How to Build an Email List Fast
Get stuck in with these creative list building ideas on how to generate email leads in record time for online businesses.
1. Get an email list building platform
Before you learn how to collect emails, you need to have a place where you can store those emails and monitor the performance of your newsletters.
Remember, sending an email newsletter is different from sending mass emails to your friends and family. With an email service provider (ESP), you can automate your email marketing, saving you loads of time compared to manual sending.
The platform you choose depends on your needs, interface preferences, and budget. Do you want to have a basic email marketing software so that you can email your followers anytime you want? Do you want a list segmentation feature? Or do you want a software that can handle a vast email list?
Some email marketing platforms include:
2. Create a killer lead magnet or ‘freebie’
As effective as emails are, people don’t need more email campaigns to stuff their inbox.
That’s why you need to give people a reason to opt in. People join your email list for a purpose. Often, the reason isn’t “free updates” or “free tips” directly mailed to their inbox.
A stronger motivation is required.
You could create a giveaway that you can offer people in exchange for their email address. It serves as a bribe for them to join your mailing list, like an immediate benefit to them.
Giveaways can take different forms. If you own an e-commerce store, an excellent giveaway is a discount code that they can use for their next purchase. You could even try a physical giveaway prize draw where people sign up to enter.
If you’re a service provider, like a website designer or funnel builder, you can give away a free content piece that’s helpful to your target audience.
For instance, you can give your subscribers a free checklist on best website design practices so that they can evaluate how optimized their website is. Health coaches often offer free PDFs on how to start a healthy diet or a sneak peek into their proprietary process on achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Other top lead magnet ideas include:
- Video classes
- Online courses
- Value-packed automated email series
You can even offer multiple freebies to give your audience different ways to join your email list. The important thing is to make your free piece relevant to your target audience so that they become compelled to join your email list.
Consider these guide questions when creating your giveaway:
- What does your target audience want?
- What’s your solution to help them get what they want?
3. Place opt-in links in high-converting places
Putting your opt-in link in high-converting places is like placing your reader’s favorite dish right in front of them on a silver platter. It’s visible and hard to resist.
Here’s a list of the best places to link your email signup forms:
- Above the fold – This means the upper half of your web page. Because your website visitors don’t need to scroll down to see your sign-up link, it will quickly grab their attention and increase new subscribers.
- Feature box – You can add a feature box at the top of your blog post or to break up the text. The important thing is that it’s different from the rest of the page so that it stands out. Put a headline and some benefits about subscribing to your newsletters in bullet points. Don’t forget your call to action (CTA).
- Top of the sidebar – Make sure that the signup form link is on top of the ads in your sidebar so that it’s easily visible to your website visitors.
- At the end of your blog post – People who read until the end of your piece clearly love your work. So, why not invite to sign up for your email list while they’re feeling grateful for your post?
- At your website footer – Same as a piece of content, people who reach the end of your site are engaged people. You want them to act right away, so have an email list form in your footer.
- On your navigation bar – That menu bar at the top of your site is one of the most attention-grabbing features on your website. You’d want to maximize that by placing a link to subscribe to your newsletter.
- On a sticky bar – Sticky bars are placed on the top of the page, and they remain in place even as the user scrolls down. With sticky bars, your target audience will always see that option, increasing their chances of subscribing. And unlike pop up forms, they don’t disrupt the user experience.
- Your email signature — Clients and potential customers will be reminded of your freebie everytime you contact them.
4. Run a virtual event
Hosting a virtual event is an ingenious way to build an email list, make sales, and build your personal brand — all at the same time. This is one of our favourite methods, as in just a short promotion period you can gain vast numbers of new subscribers.
Virtual events typically require attendees to sign up, where they hand over their email in order to receive event communications and access. This means you organically grow your list with leads that have actively expressed an interest in you and your message. Better yet virtual events cost little to run and rapidly grow trust with your audience.
Get started with events such as:
Because it takes some time to prepare a virtual event, the perceived value is high. This usually drives more sign-ups compared to regular giveaways and content upgrades. You can also record your live event and use it later as a giveaway for opting in.
Want to double or triple your signups? You can partner with a company or influencer with a huge following in your industry so that you also get access to their audience. Even webinar attendees benefit from these partnerships because they get access to you and your partner’s expertise.
Or keep it simple and drive sign-ups through going live on Facebook.
5. Optimize your confirmation page
Did you know that double opt-ins (asking people to confirm their email to subscribe to your email marketing list) are making you lose up to 20% of your would-be subscribers?
That’s such a bummer when you’re trying to build your email list.
Though you have the option to go for single opt-ins, you can actually influence your subscribers to confirm their email by doing one thing. Optimizing your confirmation page.
Instead of using the default template for confirming emails, take time to:
- Remind your subscribers the benefits they’ll get from subscribing to your emails
- Include a strong call to action asking them to confirm right now
- Include steps on how to verify their emails
Your email subscribers will appreciate the extra time you spent personalizing such an often-overlooked page as the email confirmation page.
6. Offer content upgrades with pop-up forms
You can hate those pesky pop-up forms all you want, but if you want to learn how to build an email list fast, give them a shot.
According to Backlinko’s Brian Dean, using a pop-up form increased his email opt-ins from 35 per day to 75 per day. Even a simple-looking pop-up form added over 3,600 subscribers to his email marketing list in three months.
But don’t just say you’re going to deliver free tips every week straight to their inbox. If you want to take things a step further, offer content upgrades. It can boost your opt-in rates by a whopping 792%!
Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to offer content upgrades through pop-up forms:
- Find a page on your site that gets a lot of traffic.
- Think of a resource that will make the content on that page even better. You can offer transcripts, checklists, video tutorials, infographics, or a downloadable PDF version of that post.
- Create your resource and make sure it looks professionally designed.
- Give away that resource to website visitors by placing a CTA box on your post or having a pop-up signup form that lets readers download it.
- Get more email subscribers!
And while you’re at it, make sure that you personalize each CTA. According to HubSpot, personalized CTAs have a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than generic CTAs.
Another way to use these pop-ups is to trigger them when a visitor displays intent to exit your site. A platform equipped with this kind of technology is OptinMonster.
Not a fan of pop-ups? You can use a slider box instead. Instead of popping up and taking over the screen, a slider box only slides from the corner of the screen and draws the visitor’s attention. Still, it does the same thing as a pop-up—collect email addresses.
You can even try a timed pop-up survey, which only appears after website visitors remain on the page for about 10 seconds. At that point, your visitor has already seen the value of the content, making them more inclined to sign up for your mailing list.
7. Create a second option
Have you seen signup forms that have more than one option?
The main sign-up button says, “Download your 30-day exercise guide,” then there’s another link below saying, “No thanks, I prefer sitting lazily on my couch.” Doesn’t this option stop you in your tracks and make you reconsider your immediate decision to ignore the offer?
The options might sound silly, but science shows that two options convert much better than one option. It’s a phenomenon known as the Single Option Aversion.
In the study conducted by Professor Daniel Mochon of Tulane University, people in the market for a DVD player were divided into three groups. One group was shown details about a Sony DVD player. The second group got details about a Philips DVD player. Finally, the third group was given details on both devices.
Only 10% in the first and second groups said that they’re ready to buy right away. On the other hand, 33% in the third group said they were prepared to decide now.
That’s why including a second option in your opt-in form is one of the smartest list building tips.
8. Use social proof
Social proof is a timeless persuasion technique for lead generation that gets people to act right away. It builds trust, adds credibility, and improves your brand presence.
One way to get new subscribers to your email marketing list is to show people how many subscribers you already have. Aside from showing that your emails help people, it also creates a fear of missing out, compelling people to opt in.
But what if you only have 20 subscribers on your list? Bragging about it would hardly put a dent in your email subscriber list.
What you can do instead is ask for testimonials from your current email subscribers. It can be several short testimonials, or even just one glowing testimonial showing the benefits of signing up for your newsletter.
Either way, it works.
Another option is to provide social proof about your traffic. Chances are, you have more visitors than email subscribers, Facebook fans, or X (Twitter) followers.
If your site is SEO-optimized and you get at least 5,000 monthly visitors, you can say, “with over 5,000 monthly readers,” in your bio and boom! You get instant credibility.
9. Send people to your best landing pages
Landing pages or squeeze pages are specially designed to collect emails. If your site visitors don’t even see your landing page, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to sign up hundreds of potential email subscribers.
What you want is to bring people to your best-converting landing pages using the Landing Page Funnel (LPF) technique created by Brian Dean.
To do this, you first need to identify the landing pages that convert well on your site. Once you know the stats, add links around your site to those pages.
You can put these links on your top navigation button and sidebar so that people can readily access them.
You can also improve your landing page by doing the following:
- Have two form fields at most to avoid overwhelming your readers
- Add social proof elements like endorsements from big clients, testimonials, and subscriber count
- Have a strong and compelling value proposition that resonates with your target audience
And don’t just limit yourself to one landing page. You can have as much as 10 to 15 landing pages, which can generate a 55% increase in leads. After all, every person who visits your site needs something different, so it makes sense to have multiple entry points that answer each person’s concerns.
The more personalized your landing pages are, the more appealing they become to a broader demographic.
10. Leverage LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn is definitely one networking platform with a plethora of opportunities for lead generation.
Did you know that you can create a LinkedIn group and use it to build your list?
Once a user subscribes to your group, you can send them a customized welcome email with a link to a confirmation page.
And as previously mentioned, you can personalize that confirmation page to get more opt-ins. You can even lead it to a well-designed landing page to boost your conversions.
To create your LinkedIn group, click “Groups” in the left sidebar, then add a welcome message by clicking “Set up” next to “Automatic welcome message”.
Don’t forget to add a link to your squeeze page!
11. Use “value words” to make your lead magnet more exciting
Are you tired of the usual calls to action such as, “Sign up for our newsletter”, and “Get a free e-book?”
You can spice up your copy with value words that dramatically increase the value of your giveaway, like the following:
- Limited time
- Special offer
Describing your free e-book using these value terms increases the perceived value of your giveaway, compelling people to immediately opt in to your list.
After all, “Download our exclusive free checklist now,” sounds more appealing than, “Get your free checklist here,” right? Just don’t overdo it in a single offer, and we’re all good.
You can also tweak your calls to action and remove words like “join”, “register,” and “submit.” These words sound too formal and make your readers feel like they’re committing to something serious.
Instead, you can use whimsical phrases like, “Let’s do this!” or “Take me there!” to make your call to action buttons stand out and put people at ease.
12. Use your social media accounts
People often think you must build your email marketing using your website. But LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and X are pretty powerful for building lists and lead generation, too.
The thing about social media is that people who follow you already like you, making your email list an easy sell.
Make sure that you pitch your email marketing list on your social media networks regularly to make sure that you’re not missing out on some of the easiest new subscribes you’ll ever get. You can even run marketing campaigns on your platforms.
13. Create blog post series and add teasers
Fear of missing out is one of the biggest motivators for people to act. If you can leverage this for list building, you’ll be looking at a higher opt-in rate than when you don’t make people feel that they might get left out.
You can try doing this on blog post series where your readers are invested in every post that comes out. Simply add a call to action at the end of the post that says, “Get access to the next blog post in this series”, which leads to an opt-in form asking them to subscribe to your list to see the next post.
Imagine using this on all of your article series, and you’re looking at extra email subscribers every month.
14. Turn your blog commenters into email subscribers
Not everyone who comments on your blog posts has already subscribed to your email marketing list.
But you can make them sign up in an instant by adding a checkbox in the comment form that asks them to subscribe to your email list.
It works because people who take time to comment on your blog are usually those who were moved by what you have to say. They like your blog post so much that they’re willing to engage with you and jump into the conversation.
In other words, these people are already in the right state of mind to sign up for your list. All you need to do is give them a little nudge.
Plus, this type of lead generation is so easy to do! They only need to tick the checkbox to accomplish two actions at once — comment on your post and subscribe to your list.
15. Make your About page a landing page
Did you know that your About page is one of the most visited places on your site?
That’s why optimizing your About page to collect emails can help you seriously boost your email marketing strategies and gain new subscribers.
Website visitors to your About page want to learn more about you and are already primed to sign up to your list.
You can add opt-in forms or freebie signup forms at the bottom of the page, together with some social proof. You can even add another form in the middle to make sure people don’t miss it.
16. Create hub pages for your best content
When you produce new content, your old content gets pushed back further and further into the deepest recesses of your site. And let’s face it, website visitors don’t have the patience to dig through your archives!
To make sure that your best content does not get buried six feet under, you need to create hub pages. These are pages that collect posts on a particular topic and structure them in an easy-to-follow tutorial.
For example, you want to create a hub page for content marketing. You can place links on articles about content marketing vs. traditional copywriting, content marketing strategies, and building an audience through content marketing. This way, your hub page highlights all your best content on a particular topic.
Because your hub page contains your best posts, it’s natural for it to generate lots of traffic. After all, these pages often rank well in search engines since they contain lots of keywords and links.
That’s why it’s best if you place opt-in forms on your hub page to take advantage of its list building capabilities. It’s one of the best ways to attract new subscribers to your newsletter!
17. Repurpose your content and add opt-in forms
There’s so much content that you can create online. You can write a blog post, publish an e-book, make an infographic, have a podcast, or create a video.
However, making new content all the time takes a lot of time and effort. What you can do instead is repurpose content — that is, take a piece of old content and transfer it to another medium — so that you produce new content based on what you have in the past.
For instance, you can create a slideshow based on a content piece you’ve done before. At the end of your slideshow, you can put a link to your landing page, where you ask your reader for their email address in exchange for a free e-book download.
The more content you create, the more opportunities you get to encourage new subscribers to join your list.
18. Do a guest post
One of the most effective email list building strategies you can utilize is guest posting on a high-traffic blog.
When you do a guest post, you’re essentially putting your content in front of another influencer’s audience and encouraging them to follow you as well. It’s like a shortcut because you get to leverage another person’s email list to build your own. It can generate hundreds of signups within a few days.
But the truth is, due to the influx of guest posts, a lot of bylines are being ignored these days. To get your post noticed, why not try creating a landing page for your most notable guest posts?
For example, you wrote a post on Copyblogger. Instead of just linking your byline to your usual home page, you can connect it to a landing page that says, “Welcome, Copyblogger readers!” This way, your landing page feels more personal, and people will be more compelled to sign up to receive your email marketing.
Couple it with a freebie, and you’re looking at a considerable increase in new subscribers.
19. Have users create an account before purchasing
If you sell digital products, you’ll be losing a lot of potential subscribers if you don’t encourage your buyers to create an account first before they check out.
Every time a user creates an account, include a checkbox that says, “Sign me up for exclusive discounts and promotions,” so that people will be enticed to join your mailing list.
This way, you’re giving them the option to subscribe to your list without forcing them to do so. They simply have to uncheck the box.
Either way, you get information about them that you can use in other marketing strategies, such as targeting them on Facebook ads.
20. Encourage your subscribers to make referrals
Getting referrals is an effortless way to expand your business network. And what better way to do that than to make it easier for your friends, family, and current newsletter subscribers to refer you?
One way to do this is to ask. You can send a message to your friends and family to share your post (with an opt-in form) on their social media networks so that it gets more traction.
You can also offer discounts to your current subscribers for getting their friends and family to join your email list. Offering incentives for referrals helped one company generate 60,000 email leads in 4 months.
You can also add a share button on your posts so that people can easily share them on their networks, exposing your email subscription link to more people.
21. Create subscriber-exclusive content
Thinking of an opt-in offer to build an email list that’s different than the usual ones?
You can start offering a vault of exclusive resources that’s only accessible when you enter the password. When a person signs up for your email newsletter, they receive a password to the vault and lifetime access to these valuable resources.
This is pretty much the same as offering a freebie, except that it’s more comprehensive and appealing to people.
Imagine, you’re not only getting one e-book, but a whole lot of PDFs, videos, and other content not accessible to anyone else!
To do this, you need to:
- Gather all the free resources you’ve created before, such as webinars, ultimate guides, cheat sheets, and the like.
- Create a page containing all these resources and set that page’s visibility to password protected. This way, only those with the password can access the page.
- Create a landing page for your resource page and funnel the traffic towards it.
- You can keep on adding fresh content to your vault to entice new subscribers to sign up to your list.
22. Drive traffic back to your site
Not a single soul will sign up for your email list if they don’t see the opt-in form. That’s why you have to drive traffic to your site so that people get a chance to view it.
Here are some avenues to help you drive traffic to your landing pages:
Every niche has a dedicated forum full of your target audience. To find them, Google “top [niche] forums” and go to the top results.
But don’t post a pitch in the forum without building relationships first, otherwise, you might be tagged as spam.
Become an active member of the community and post helpful content. Put your link in context when posting it.
- Cold Emails
Send an email to a bunch of people within your niche and invite them to subscribe to your mailing list.
To find the people to email, use Buzzsumo to search for the top articles on a given topic. View its sharers and find these people’s email addresses.
You can also look at the comments in these articles to know who the top commenters are.
When you email them, mention how you found them and refer to a similar article you wrote that you think they would benefit from. Make sure that it has an opt-in link so that people can sign up for your newsletter if they like the article.
When your posts get upvoted on a subreddit, you can gain a lot of new subscribers.
But just like forums, you have to make sure that you genuinely add value to the discussions within the community. Add a detailed summary when you post your link for context.
23. Collect email addresses personally
Do you attend networking events and interact with your potential customers personally? You can ask your ideal clients to join your mailing list, too!
You can launch a rewards program and ask your clients to sign up with their email addresses when talking with them. It allows you to keep in touch with your loyal customers, send them relevant email marketing, and reward them for buying more of your products.
You can also use the same technique to build an email list at trade shows and in-person events. Collect sign-ups in person and import them into your contact database.
Get Started Growing Your List
Now you’ve used this list building guide to learn how to build an email list fast, the next order of business is to put it into practice. Choose your email marketing software and create a plan.
Which tactic to build an email list most aligns with you and your business? Can you put multiple options into practice at once?
To start we highly recommend that online businesses optimize their web pages and add a link to a freebie or lead magnet everywhere they can. But if you are serious about growing your list fast, definitely consider complementing this with some of the more proactive strategies.
Hosting a virtual event is a particularly effective tactic to get an influx of highly qualified subscribers to your list in a short period of time. Check out the exact steps to run your first virtual summit.
With all these tips for your list building strategy, there’s no more excuses to not to grow your email list and start email marketing.