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Growing an email marketing list

When executed properly and consistently, email marketing is still (despite what people say…) an effective way of reaching past, present and future customers. Three quarters of companies (according to Econsultancy) believe email still offers and excellent to good return on investment. You are however reliant on a targeted list of email addresses. This is for some people where the challenge begins, and where growing an email marketing list becomes vitally important.

In this blog, I am going to give you some ways that you can build your email marketing lists. Email marketing lists can decrease by up to 22.5% every year though, so ensure these strategies are in place throughout the year.

1. Create amazing content

Content is king. Creating content on your website that people actually want to read and engage with, will encourage people to sign up to receive future content. This is on the proviso that you have the functionality on your website for people to sign up. If you have a WordPress website, there are a number of plugins out there that will allow you to collect email data. We use MailChimp and recommend the MailChimp for WordPress plugin. Creating amazing email content also important if you want to keep your subscribers.

2. Encourage people to subscribe

This can be achieved in a number of ways. You will want to give people the option to subscribe to your email marketing campaigns when they are reading your content (see image). This will encourage your readers to subscribe for future content. As I explained above, if people like what they are reading, they are more likely to sign up.

email subscribe box

You may find that a giveaway works. You could channel this through a landing page, promoted on social media. Or you could have a pop up when people visit your website. There are pros and cons around this kind of strategy. The latter being that you annoy your readers with constant popups. Google also announced in 2016 that it would be punishing websites, which had popups that made content less accessible. So think wisely before going down this route.

3. Links, links, everywhere!

Link from everywhere. Set up a landing page with the functionality to sign up to your email marketing list. Then, where ever possible, link to it. Social media is the obvious one. When you are planning your social media content, factor in posts that link through to that landing page. Something we have our team do at onefoursix, is link to the landing page from their email signatures. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t have a lot of people subscribe through that means, however we get some.

4. Buy data

Some of our readers will hate this thought. And rightly so. For starters, data can be expensive (depending on the volume). It is also intrusive. We have always found average open rates down at 15% for purchased data lists, compared to 25%-45% for self generated data. What it does offer you though is targeted email data that you may not otherwise have been able to obtain. However use it while you can, because in May 2018 GDPR comes into force which could see purchasing email data much more difficult. GDPR is essentially an expansion on the data protection act. It will however require businesses to have complete documentation as to when and how a subscriber has consented. I will put together a blog detailing its potential effects on email marketing. In the mean time, this article published on Mailing Manager provides a good overview.

5. Don’t forget about your customers

It is far easier to get an existing customer to buy off you again, than to get someone who hasn’t. So do not forget about sending your email campaigns to your existing customer base. Use a CRM of your choosing (we recommend Workflow Max) to record and maintain customer data, and link it up with your email marketing platform. Think carefully about the sort of content you send out to these particular subscribers. You may find it better to send them educational content, or they may wish to get exclusive customer offers. Find out what works for you.

6. Hold a competition

Who doesn’t love a competition?! Competitions by their very nature generate engagement. If you have something of value to giveaway, try holding a competition. Set up a landing page on your website to direct people too and capture details. Make sure you have an ‘opt out’ on the form, and give people the opportunity to sign up to receive future correspondence. An important thing to note for May 2018 however is that GDPR will mean you can no longer have pre-ticked opt in’s.

landing page with a competition

7. Give something away

You may wish to go a step further than just creating amazing content by creating something truly valuable and only making it available to people who subscribe. Again a very useful way to build your email lists. If you go down this route, a 500 word blog style piece of content is unlikely to be enough. If you are asking for people to hand over their precious email address, you want to ensure that what they get in return is of value. Structure is key as well. Writing a 2000+ word essay is unlikely to gain many readers, and may put people off future content. A well structured e-book or white paper are good. Free online tools are another good example.

8. Use calls to action at the end of your blogs

You should be linking everywhere remember. So what better place to encourage people to sign up to your weekly newsletter than in your content. Placing a simple call to action in the closing paragraph of any blog will encourage people who want to read more, to sign up. You have done the hard part already; you have engaged them. Go the extra mile and make sure they stay engaged. (I must remember to add a call to action at the end of this blog post…)

9. Use your YouTube channel

Video is quickly becoming the marketeers platform of choice. YouTube is now viewed on average 5 billion times a day. If you are going down the route of creating videos, and growing your YouTube following, you should consider placing annotations (essentially video popups) on your YouTube videos. You could then have a popup that encourages people to sign up to your regular email campaign to receive future content. To do this, click here and watch a walk through by Derral Eves.

10. Partner up

Partnering up with a local like minded business could see you generate email addresses from a fresh new source. Consider teaming up and running a competition on another business’s website or newsletter. If you are Northampton based, we would recommend teaming up with Northampton Life Magazine, and running one of their competitions. They a paid campaign that will push out your message to their audience,  provide you with the data post-campaign, and help you grow a slightly different audience.


Growing an email marketing list doesn’t need to be that challenging. I have listed 10, but I could recite 50. Let us know what you do to grow your email lists in the comments below. In the mean time, you can get more content like this by signing up to our regular email marketing campaigns here – https://onefoursix.co.uk/email-signup/

I remembered…

Author: Dave Williams

Dave Williams is the founder and director of onefoursix; a digital marketing agency based in Northampton. After setting up onefoursix in 2011, Dave has gone on to grow it to one of Northampton’s finest agencies. His expertise include social media, user experience and SEO.

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