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Gain Email Subscribers: 7 Highly Effective List Building Strategies

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Email marketing offers far too many benefits to ignore.

An email list grants you direct access to your community without being beholden to social media platforms, your ability to rank in Google, and so on. Email marketing also lets you refine your messaging while building a stronger connection with your community.

But, before you can begin reaping all those rewards – the biggest hurdle you’ll need to overcome when building a list is gaining email subscribers.

There’s no magic button that instantly adds thousands of people to your list. On the contrary, building an email list is a combination of your best efforts to bring awareness to your list, along with a variety of strategic methods for landing the opt-in.

Here are several ways to gain those email subscribers (in the least troublesome way possible):

#1: Maximize your Opt-In Box

The least troublesome way to gain subscribers is the proper placement of your opt-in box across your website. The best places for this box are within the sidebar (above the fold – before a visitor needs to start scrolling), at the bottom of your blog posts, on a newsletter page, and linked within the content.

When using a visual opt-in box, try to place call-to-actions that catch the visitor’s attention such as a graphic to an ebook or e-course you’re offering. Other design elements may include a large submit button or a background that contrasts your overall blog theme. 

Play with the design theme and test your results; you’ll find one performs higher than the other which means more subscribers in the long run.

#2: Launch an E-Course

Develop a short, but informative, course around the main topic of your website. This e-course can focus on any topic that provides a solution to the visitor. 

The e-course is generally spread out over a week or two which keeps the subscriber “in the fold” and active within your list well past the time the course is done and over with.

Having trouble creating a course? 

Consider condensing your best information already published but structure it in a way that there are logical steps throughout each email. Here, all you need to do is take a series of posts and add an intro/outro to lead them through it all.

Play with the format so it suits your audience and always make sure you’re delivering quality information – this alone will give people to sign up to your list.

#3: Create an Irresistible Freebie

Some people call it a “lead magnet”, others mention it as a “list freebie”, whatever you call it, it’s still just something free that you’re giving to people when they sign up to your list.

The easiest list-building item to create is an eBook. 

Like the e-course, all you’re really doing is solving a general problem your audience has that also happens to be the main theme of your website. Once you’ve condensed all of this information, you can package it in a nice, attractive eBook format.

To ensure you create a great first impression, make this freebie the best possible piece of content you can muster. Also, include alternate download locations to the book outside of attaching it to your automatic email. 

Be sure to place it on a thank you page and even consider giving it away, without the list-building part, to kick up some excitement within your community when others talk about what you have to offer.

A young woman reading her email via phone

#4: Use a Lead Capture Page

Create a page specific to capturing email addresses for your list – this is a lead capture page.

On your blog or website, create a new page that removes nearly every element that you’d find on your website and replace the features with copy, maybe a video, and your opt-in box. The goal here is to funnel people directly into your list without them going elsewhere on your website.

As a bonus, whenever you’re doing guest blogging or promotion – point people to your lead capture page in place of your home page. 


Well, it’s the same reason: to get people to sign up. 

Don’t rely on buttons and social icons to gain your subscribers either – use a direct call-to-action, on this lead capture page to get the job done. Tell them what you want them to do.

#5: Siphon Social Media

Siphon, in this sense, does not have a negative meaning.

In fact, ‘siphoning’ your social media community is one of the easiest ways to build your email list. 

What you’ll find is that if you deliver a great experience through social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you can generally convince those followers to sign up for exclusive content through the email list.

As a suggestion, try using the prime real estate on your Facebook fan page to send people to a lead capture page. Likewise, make timely updates about some of the information you’re sharing to your email list – this will tempt people to join up because they feel they’re missing out. For other social media platforms, use your profile link to drive people to your opt-in forms.

You can also siphon social users by creating events and gatherings that will act as an icebreaker. There, you can drop in hints and links for your email list. Pretty great, right?

#6: Cross Promote

Now, you don’t want to outright trade lists…


You could connect with other influencers in your market and try to get in front of their audience. And, they’ll make it in front of yours in exchange for the promo.

Keep this in mind though: It depends on who you share your list with – if they’re a buddy or good marketer then they aren’t the type to burn their followers. You want to work with those that always deliver great value so that it’s a win/win for everyone involved.

To get started:

  1. Get in touch with a website owner or business that has a list within your niche (or one that’s adjacent that would benefit from what you’re offering).
  2.  Introduce yourself and provide information about your list and your wishes to do some cross-promotion. 
  3. Approach the cross-promotion like a guest blogging position – deliver great value and drive people back to the lead capture page.
  4. Return the favor (if they request) but do so where their engagement with your community is authentic and genuine (ie. it has real value).

#7: Hold a Contest

Like the old days of sharing your phone number or throwing a business card into a fish bowl to win a prize – you can use contests to your advantage because they will generate a lot of excitement and send loads of traffic in your direction; if you can funnel the traffic, properly, then you’ll build a list very quickly.

Cash is king when it comes to contests but don’t forget that there are other items that can be offered such as gift cards, your own products or services, consultation, physical items, and so much more. 

Find something people want and begin attracting your desired individual to the contest. Make it a requirement that the person signs up for your email list as part of their entry. Viola!

Note: This form of list building may not give you the best subscribers since many will be freebie hunters but you can use your email marketing service to unsubscribe those individuals that aren’t active.


Make sure you set appropriate rules, privacy policy, and the like so that your contest follows appropriate, legal guidelines. Using a contest app or platform is probably the easiest way to make this happen since these include those elements as you build out the contest.

Let’s Wrap It Up

As they say… “the money is in the list”

It certainly is when you begin to promote and maximize your list-building tactics! Try out some of the list building strategies outlined in this article and see what works for gaining email subscribers.

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