Email List Building: 5 Tips to Grow Subscribers

You’ve built your website, crafted some great content, and added a prominent “subscribe” button, front and center. So why aren’t people signing up? Perhaps you're stuck in the wrong decade and your email marketing strategy needs an upgrade?

If you’re getting consistent web traffic but not a growing email list, then you may need to rethink your conversion path. Here are a few things to consider getting your email subscribes back on track.

What is Email List Building?

Email list building is a marketing tactic of growing your email subscriber base through lead or customer opt-ins. Typically, a form-based lead offer, online purchase or registration (like a webinar), will add to a growing list. Email lists can grow or shrink as people opt-in and opt-out over time.

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How to Build an Email List

1. You Haven’t Tested Enough

When is the last time you refreshed your messaging or your call to action? Did you measure your changes? It’s easy to neglect analysis when you’re lost in the creative process. But a message that resonates perfectly with you—its creator—may not have the same ring for your readers.

Look at everything with a critical eye—copywriting, website forms, CTAs, etc. After you’ve made an honest assessment, ask an objective third party to evaluate your content. Make changes only after you’ve done the proper research.

After each adjustment, step back, test and measure your results. It will save time in the end and help you quickly get the heart of what your visitors need to elicit a sign-up.

2. You’re Keeping Your Email List a Secret

You might feel like your call-to-subscribe is obvious, but is it? Ask a friend, family member or colleague to take a look at your site to see if your CTAs are clear and easy to locate. Be bold with your request and make sure it doesn’t just appear once.

Try a slide-out bar on a few pages and a pop-up window on a few others. Different visitors notice different styles. Cover your bases and ask for those subscriptions!

Pro Tip: Don't use a boring CTA like this. Come up with something more eye-catching.

Sample sign up call to action button. CTAs can help lead conversion that build your email list over time.

3. You Aren’t Making Yourself Clear

If your call-to-action doesn’t resonate with your specific audience, they aren’t going to sign up. They need to know that future content is relevant to the want or need that brought them to your site in the first place.

Instead of “subscribe here” try something like “click here for more money-saving tips.” Use targeted marketing to tie the request to the value your content will bring to your reader. They’ll know what to expect from you, and you’ll ensure that your subscribers will be promoters of your message.

Get More Email Opens With a Higher Email Open Rate

4. You Aren’t Conveying a Quick Return on Investment

Readers are sick of giving out their email addresses in the hope that they might get something valuable in return. They’re constantly getting hit with worthless content and sales pitches for products and services they don’t want or need.

Your readers came to your site for a reason, though, and your job is to show them the value of joining your email list. Give them a taste of the content to come, in the form of a free e-book, printable template—something related to your product or services.

By providing value at the first contact with your visitors, you’ll build a sense of trust with them that you’re worthy of their email address and there is plenty of great content to come.

Concept image for email subscribers on a mobile phone

5. You Aren’t Planning for the Future

Consider lead generation to be a long-term relationship. You can’t pull out all of the stops to court your new web visitor only to leave them hanging after a few emails.

Offer your new readers some indication of what’s to come. By giving them a promise of the long-term value your email subscribers receive in future communications, they’ll be willing to “commit” to you and your message and stick around to hear what you have to say.

Over to you

By creating a clear call-to-action, and providing both quick wins and long-term value to your readers, you’ll boost subscription rates and create a loyal tribe of prospects and customers. Don’t be afraid to stop, assess and readjust to refine the right strategy to attract the right readers.

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Eric Steiner

Eric Steiner

Eric Steiner graduated with an MFA in professional and creative writing from Western Connecticut State University in 2014. He's worked on a number of professional writing projects with clients such as Pearson Education, WatchMojo.com, and Michael Mailer Films. Giving brands a voice is his passion.