There are numerous reasons why starting and growing your email list are beneficial to your career as a content creator. One of the main reasons is that you own your email list without being beholden to any other platform but your own.
An email list is exactly what it sounds like: a list of emails. But before you think “duh,” hear us out. An email list is more than just a list of contacts, it’s actually your ticket to a more prosperous career as a creator, and a direct line to stay connected and engaged with your audience.
As a content creator, your subscribers are essential to you, your business, and owning your audience. Read on to learn the 20 best ways to grow your email list.
20 Simple ways to grow your email list fast
1. Offer a lead magnet
One of the best ways to collect email addresses is to offer your potential subscribers a lead magnet. What’s a lead magnet, you ask? It’s a free asset — often, a digital product — that you offer followers in exchange for their email address. Essentially, to gain access to your free digital product, your followers must provide you with their email, which you can then add to your newsletter list.
When it comes to creating content as a lead magnet, you want to skirt that fine line between offering more than you do in your free content and less than you would in your paid content. The goal of a lead magnet is to capture email addresses, but you shouldn’t be giving away all the answers for free.
A digital product — like a mini-course, ebook, or template — is a great example of a lead magnet because it’s content that shouldn’t take you too much time to produce, and you only have to produce it one time. Long story short, the return on investment is high.
Pro tip: If you’re feeling stumped on how to even get started producing a digital product as a lead magnet, check out The Leap’s digital product generator! Backed by powerful AI, The Leap helps you quickly and effortlessly create compelling digital products that feel as familiar as Instagram Stories and are super intuitive for both you, the creator, and your audience. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?
2. Perfect your welcome email
As you steadily collect more contacts on your email list, you’ll want to consider the quality of engaging content that you’re delivering. Enter the welcome email.
No pressure, but your welcome email is one of the most important emails you’ll send. Why? Because welcome emails have some of the highest open rates out of all the types of marketing emails. The thinking here is that your leads are freshly engaged and eager to learn more about your brand. So you want to make sure you meet their expectations with some super engaging content.
A welcome email is a great opportunity to introduce who you are, what you do, what you offer, and what the value of your content is to your subscribers. It’s also a good opportunity to explain what your subscribers can expect from your emails, define your privacy terms. Additionally, definitely include a link to your social media pages, website, or landing page for your digital products!
3. Leverage social proof
Social proof is that psychological phenomenon we’re all familiar with, where people tend to follow the actions and choices of others, especially when they’re uncertain about what to do.
In the context of growing your email list as a content creator, social proof refers to showcasing positive feedback, testimonials, or actions of your existing subscribers in order to influence and encourage others to join your email list.
In a hyper-digital world full of spam and scams, people are naturally skeptical about giving out their email addresses. And for good reason, because as anyone with an email knows, there’s a lot of competition in our inbox vying for our attention on a daily basis. Social proof is incredibly valuable for content creators looking to expand their email list, in that it helps reduce any doubt while also building trust and boosting conversion rates.
4. Always send emails with a goal in mind
While it’s tempting to use your email newsletter as a place to type out your inner musings, keep in mind that your newsletter isn’t your diary. As your newsletter grows, there will only be more and more subscribers whom you may never meet IRL or online, but they’re people with their own lives and limited reading time. You want to make sure the content you send brings value to your subscribers.
So, don’t just send out emails for the sake of sending emails. Your email list should be treated with the same care and attention as any other content you put out there. That means, getting clear on what your email goals are.
Are you sending an email as a newsletter to share updates about your creative process or brand highlights? Are you sending a discount code or a special offer? Or maybe you’ve noticed a drop in engagement from your subscribers and you’re sending an email to re-engage those inactive subscribers. Whatever the intent of your email, it should always be 100% crystal clear to the reader.
5. Use a two-step email sign-up form
A two-step email sign-up form is a strategic tool for content creators to maximize lead generation. Essentially, it offers your potential leads a smoother, more user-friendly experience, and is a great method for boosting conversion rates.
The biggest difference between a two-step sign-up form and a traditional single-step form is that users are immediately confronted with the email input field in the latter. This can be intimidating and may deter some potential subscribers. A two-step form, on the other hand, first engages the user with a less intimidating initial step — for example, asking for their name or a simple yes/no question related to their interests or your content. This reduces the perceived commitment and friction, making users more likely to start the sign-up process.
Additionally, a two-step form helps you more progressively profile your subscribers. You can start by asking for basic information like your subscriber’s name or a more targeted question related to your content niche like, “What’s your favorite Photoshop shortcut?” Then you ask for their email. This strategy essentially helps you accomplish two goals with one action: acquire more leads while simultaneously learning more about your leads to help you create future content.
6. Include a sign-up link in your email signature
This is going to seem wild, but a great way to collect email addresses is within an email itself. Whoa. So meta. But for real, including a simple CTA button like “Newsletter Sign-up” in the signature of your email can be a great opportunity for sharing your email list sign-up form.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by how to begin growing your email list, the email signature link method can be a great way to start. All you need to do is create a simple landing page to host your sign-up form, and voila!
7. Use CTAs on social media
One of the easiest, least time-consuming, and most financially accessible ways to build your email list is to add a call to action (CTA) to all your social media platforms. This may seem pretty basic, but basic is often overlooked.
The CTA can be in the form of an Instagram post, YouTube video, caption, Reel, or even a link-in-bio to a landing page you’ve set up for an email list sign-up. It’s really whatever works best for you and whatever you feel will resonate most with your audience.
Pro tip: No one likes a bot telling them what to do, so get creative with how you ask your audience to sign up for your email list!
8. Cross-promote with guest spots
Yet another reason why networking is so important. Guest spots on other creators’ content pages, like their blogs, social media profiles, or newsletters, are particularly helpful for building your email list — especially if you’re a guest on a creator’s platform that is within your own content niche.
The cross-promotion tactic has the potential to not only expand your audience reach, but also to build stronger credibility and trust. The guest spot tactic is a particularly useful one for creator educators, since other creators are usually inclined to invite guests who can provide additional value to their audience.
To maximize the benefits of guest spots for email list growth, content creators should have a clear CTA in their guest appearances, encouraging viewers or readers to subscribe to their email list. Additionally, it goes without saying that it’s essential to deliver high-quality, valuable content during these appearances so that you leave a positive impression on the host’s audience and encourage them to connect with you further.
9. Offer incentives for signing up
In general, offering incentives is a highly effective strategy for promoting your digital products, and the same goes for growing your email list. Why? Because, like anything in life, when you provide a clear, tangible benefit, it inspires and motivates potential subscribers to take action. Some strong examples of incentives you can offer are mini-courses, guides, or other exclusive content like ebooks, templates, or discounted and special offers.
Let’s say you’re a creator who produces content about personal development. You could offer an incentive like a free mini-course on “10 Proven Strategies for Living in the Present” in exchange for a visitor’s email address. This mini-course should be exclusive content and contain valuable insights that aren’t available for free on your social platforms. And thanks to The Leap’s innovative, AI-powered digital product generator, you can quickly and easily build intuitive digital products, which means creating a mini-course (particularly a free mini-course) doesn’t even have to be intimidating.
Another great option for incentive is offering a discount or special offer. If you’re a creator or influencer with an online store of digital products, like custom-made fonts or Photoshop templates, a time-limited discount or a first look at exclusive deals can be a powerful incentive. Visitors interested in your work are more likely to subscribe if they get a discount on their first purchase. Not only does this incentive grow your email list, it also drives immediate sales — call it a win-win scenario!
10. Offer content previews
Similar to a lead magnet, a content preview is an opportunity to give your potential email subscribers a taste of your content. It’s a little bit more extra than what you would normally share on your platform, but you want to make sure you’re holding back just enough to hit that sweet spot of wanting more.
Let’s say you’re a graphic designer who shares tutorials or mini-courses on design tips. You can use The Leap’s digital product generator to not only build your content, but the content preview as well. Think of a content preview as a short, well-edited video or post that shows just a bit of what you have to offer. You want to build up hype so make sure to bring all your enthusiasm!
11. Host events
Everyone loves a party, and there’s no better promotion than a really good party. As a content creator, there’s a multitude of reasons why hosting an event can be beneficial, including the opportunity to build your email list.
First things first, decide whether you want to host an event IRL or online (or both!). If you’re hosting an event in person, you have the added advantage of providing printed marketing materials with QR codes, or even an old school sign-up form (yes, pen and paper still exist).
Online events like Instagram Lives or self-hosted webinars are also amazing incentives for potential subscribers to sign up for your email list. Even if the event you’re hosting isn’t planned until sometime in the future, you can use that to your advantage and hype it up, so that people are extra stoked to sign up for an event reminder.
12. Promote with how-to videos
How-to videos showcase your expertise and knowledge, and when viewers find your instructional content helpful, they’re more likely to trust your expertise enough to sign up for your email list with the expectation that they’ll receive even more valuable insights. It’s a good idea to think of how-to videos as a give-a-little, gain-a-lot situation.
The best way to leverage how-to videos effectively for email list growth is to include clear CTAs within the video, encouraging viewers to subscribe. Keep in mind that it’s important to promote the value and benefits of subscribing in an enthusiastic and entertaining way. You want your viewers to feel extra excited about signing up for more content!
13. Create well-designed (aka not spammy) website pop-ups
If you have a landing page or website, then pop-ups as a strategy for growing your email list are probably on your radar. And for good reason! Website pop-ups are versatile tools, but they also need to be well-designed and strategically timed to be most effective in offering value to your website visitors. When it comes to pop-ups, there are a lot of options out there to consider, from entry pop-ups to discount pop-ups, and even gamified pop-ups.
While we dive deeper into some specific types of pop-ups in this article, the most essential thing to remember when implementing website popups is that it’s essential to strike a balance between capturing emails and providing a positive user experience. Be sure to offer value and clearly communicate why visitors should subscribe to your email list, and you’ll be seeing growth in no time.
14. Reach out to existing contacts
Sometimes it’s easy to get swept up in the email marketing of it all. But don’t forget about all those existing contacts (i.e. your existing customers) you might already have. Chances are, if you’re at the stage in your content creator journey where you want to amp up your email list, then you’ve also probably already acquired a fair amount of contacts to begin with.
That being said, while it may be tempting to put every single contact you have on your email list, maybe leave out Aunt Linda or your mechanic, unless you genuinely think they’d be interested in your content. One of the key components to success in terms of building your email list is to first make sure that you’re reaching the right people, meaning your defined target audience.
15. Throw a giveaway
You know what people can’t say “no” to? Free stuff. That’s one reason why throwing a giveaway, or some other type of contest that ends with a prize, can be one of the smartest ways to grow your email list.
Not only is a giveaway or contest a great lead generation tactic, but it’s also a highly efficient way of expanding your audience reach, as well as other marketing and collaboration opportunities. For example, you can consider collaborating with another content creator within your content niche, so that you can both benefit from growing your email lists and building stronger networking connections.
To run a successful giveaway or contest for email list growth, content creators should ensure that the prizes are relevant to their audience and offer real value. The rules and requirements should be clear and simple, and participants should be aware of how their data will be used.
16. Try Facebook ads
If you have a bit of a budget and don’t mind spending some of it on paid advertising, Facebook ads could be a good option for you. Considering that Facebook is responsible for 9% of all digital advertising in the world, it makes sense that the robust advertising platform’s ads allow you to precisely target your ideal audience based on their demographics, interests, and behaviors.
Yes, you do have to shell out a bit of cash. But in general, Facebook ads are relatively cheap and easy to set up. The platform even offers specific ad formats like Lead Generation Ads, which are designed specifically for collecting email addresses. These ads usually include a pre-filled form, making it even more convenient for users to subscribe with just a couple of clicks. Basically, it helps you streamline the sign up form process. Just remember to be clear about what you want your potential subscribers to do (i.e. sign up for your email list) and include a CTA.
17. Ask your subscribers to share your email
Hey, there’s never any shame in asking for a little help! But seriously, never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. When you ask your current subscribers to share your email with their friends, family, or social network, you’re essentially tapping into the power of word-of-mouth marketing. People tend to trust recommendations from those they know, so a personal endorsement from an existing subscriber can carry significant weight.
Plus, when you encourage your subscribers to share your content, you’re extending your reach to a broader audience. Their shares can potentially reach individuals who aren’t yet on your email list, but are interested in your content or niche. This is a way to access a new pool of potential subscribers who might not have discovered you otherwise. Who knows, this could even lead to promotion on other social media channels, which has the potential to go viral.
The first (and hardest) step really, is just putting yourself out there. From there, the sky is truly the limit.
18. Create an opt-in email campaign
“Opt” and “In”: are two very important words in today’s creator economy, which prizes privacy, transparency, and permission-based marketing above all else. An opt-in email campaign is an approach that involves encouraging individuals to voluntarily subscribe to your email list by expressing their explicit interest in receiving your content.
Opt-in email campaigns are based on the principle of permission marketing, which means you’re only sending emails to individuals who have explicitly indicated that they want to hear from you. This not only ensures that you’re reaching an interested audience but also complies with email marketing regulations, enhancing your email deliverability and reputation.
Opt-in subscribers are aware of what to expect from your emails. They know the type of content you’ll provide and the frequency of communication. This transparency helps build a more trustworthy relationship, typically leading to higher engagement rates.
19. Promote with QR codes
QR codes are an effective tool for content creators to build up their email lists, because they provide a convenient and engaging way for potential subscribers to access your sign-up forms or content.
For starters, QR codes win recognition for their overall ease of use. QR codes make it incredibly easy for people to access your sign-up forms or special offers since all they need is a smartphone. This streamlined process eliminates the need for users to manually type in URLs, reducing friction and increasing the chances of conversion.
Content creators can place QR codes in various locations, both physical and digital. For example, you can include QR codes in your YouTube videos, on printed marketing materials, business cards, or even on your website. By offering something valuable like exclusive content or a discount, users are more likely to scan the QR code and subscribe.
20. Try timed pop-up surveys
We’ve all long since grown accustomed to pop-ups, and most people will agree that the general instinct can be to click “Close” before even consuming the content. That’s why timed pop-up surveys are an effective tool for content creators to build their email lists, because they engage website visitors at strategic moments, gather valuable information, and encourage sign-ups.
Timed surveys give you flexibility in terms of when you’d like to trigger your audience’s attention. Maybe it’s right before they’re exiting your website, or when they click on your “About” or “Services” link. At the end of the day, to make the most of timed pop-up surveys for email list building, it’s essential to design surveys that are concise, easy to complete, and relevant to your audience.
Why you need to grow your email list
Having an email list is a total game-changer for your content-based business, especially if you’re diving into the world of digital products. Here are two compelling reasons why:
- First things first, it’s your secret sauce for nurturing leads. When your audience willingly gives you their email, they’re basically telling you, “Hey, I’m interested in what you’re serving!”
Think of it this way: it’s like building the fan club of your childhood dreams. With email, you can send your subscribers exclusive content, updates, and sneak peeks, keeping the engagement alive. Over time, you’ll build up connections and trust, making it easier to convert those leads into loyal customers.
- Possibly the biggest advantage of an email list is that the contacts on this list represent your “owned” audience, as opposed to the followers and subscribers you “rent” from social media platforms.
Creator Millie Adrian firmly believes that moving your audience off of social media should be your top priority. This is because social platforms favor users over creators by default. That’s why your email list is your best first step towards owning your audience!
For a total pro crash course on email list building, check our free mini-course with Millie here.
Ready to grow your email list?
Try The Leap today — a totally free AI-powered digital product generator that helps you grow your email list by building simple and intuitive lead magnets, quickly and easily. For more hot tips on how to build an email list, sign up for our free mini-course here!
How can I make my email list grow faster?
The true key to supercharging your email list growth and leveling up your digital presence is your content.
Create engaging and shareable content that resonates with your audience. Whether it’s participating in TikTok trends, making eye-grabbing Instagram Reels, or posting witty tweets, you want to share your lead magnets (like ebooks or mini-courses) across your social channels.
The goal is to inspire your followers to swipe, share, and click that subscribe button! And don’t be shy — network with like-minded creators and collaborate. Share the love (and emails) and watch your list grow!
How can I grow my email list for free?
While there are plenty of great email marketing platforms out there, you can totally boost your email list without breaking the bank.
First off, dive into the world of social media. Promote your sign-up incentives, like exclusive content or giveaways, across any and all of your platforms to direct traffic to your website and encourage sign-ups. Next, consider using a free digital product generating tool like The Leap, to produce lead magnets that attract potential subscribers and grow your email list quickly!
How do I grow my email list in 2023?
In 2023, growing your email list is all about staying on top of the latest trends. Your audience is smart, and they don’t want to feel spammed or manipulated to buy a service or product. Now, more than ever, it’s time to get creative with your content. It’s also time to make sure you’re offering your content to the right people.
First things first, you want to bring value to your audience’s inbox! If you’re feeling stumped, one consideration is to embrace the power of interactive content. Think quizzes, polls, and surveys that not only engage your audience, but also collect valuable email addresses in the process.
And remember, privacy matters more than ever, so be transparent about how you’ll use your audience’s emails and ensure your data collection practices comply with the latest regulations. Stay innovative and trustworthy, and you’ll see your email list flourish in no time.