When you start your email marketing campaigns is important to clean the house first and establish some ground rules to start from. To start growing your list the following things are important:

  • Send regular emails (1x/month)
  • Deliver relevant, valuable, engaging content
  • Monitor your inbox placement

When someone enters the email list for the first time make sure to send them a welcome email. This can be done for new subscribers, clients or prospects alike.

To avoid being marked as spam try to clean out bad addresses and repeated regularly from your list. Most email marketing tools do that already by removing the unbounced emails from your list. Sending emails to bad email addresses will increase the risk of getting penalties from email providers. Apply the same principle to people who unsubscribe. Here you can always ask them the reason they leave. This is always good feedback about what you can do to decrease the unsubscribes.

In the case of inactivity, consider trimming inactive subscribers (or sending them less frequent email campaigns). When someone is not opening your emails you can have various reasons, because they have put your address in a promotional folder or they don’t use that email anymore. Let’ say around 40% of them they don’t get to even open the email.

Before removing them from your list is quite important to try to engage them first. This can be with better content or an explicit invite to come back. It is still important to take this action but do not expect to have a great conversion rate.

Obviously, you want to put the focus on the rest 60% that actually engages if not always at least from time to time.

In order to reduce the chances of getting in someone else’s spam list there are a set of actions you want to avoid:

  • Don’t buy, rent, trade, or borrow lists. People from these lists are not expecting an email from you so getting them on your mailing list is only putting you at risk and increase unsubscribes.
  • Don’t harvest addresses. Scraping emails from the web or guessing them is illegal.
  • Don’t assume permission. Is not only illegal in most countries but you will get a bad quality list growth tactic globally. Ask for and EARN your subscribers’ permission.

Some tools you can implement to increase the deliverability of your emails are Fresh Address and SiftLogic. They tell you what is the quality of your email list and validate the addresses that are part of it.

Strategies to grow your email list

How to grow your list with Opt-ins on your website

We have mentioned the risks of purchasing or acquiring emails in the wrong way. Well, now its time to talk about how we actually grow our list the right way. For this, we will start with optimizing sign-up form(s) on your website with the 4 Ps.


Your call to action button needs to be placed at the end of the content. But this depends on what page your customer lands on you want to test what opt-ins work better (e .g. sidebar, lightbox or at the end). We do prefer to use lightboxes for this purpose as it drives 4–8 times faster growth.

Prominence is about requesting an email address in exchange for larger content offers such as webinars or eBooks. Another invite to join the email list is the homepage either through a primary or secondary goal. IHOP nailed their signup forms to attract and convert to more email subscribers.

email marketing example

Promise is about what we can offer. This is about what you are going to offer to your customers in exchange for their information. Some examples are news, education, coupons or downloads. Is important in this case to set frequency before and mention it on your opt-in.

Lastly, promise privacy. An example of privacy promise is mentioning in your terms and conditions that you are not going to share your customer data with third party businesses or applications.

kcdma email marketing example

We are looking to provide value to our customers and mention how many other people are part of our email list. This is going to give you credibility and make you feel part of a community. An example is Orbit Media Studios that mention they have over 16.000 marketers on their list.

Well isn’t this enough proof you are going to receive valuable content when so many people join their list?

Progressive Profiling

We don’t want to bombard subscribers with many questions from the beginning. We want to ask for this information gradually. Having a long-form to subscribe or request information is just going to turn your customer off.

How to grow your list with referral campaigns

Your fans are your brands biggest advocates and you can turn them into a sales channel. Referrals from another client are way valuable than just a cold subscription to your email list. A referral is a very straight forward way to promote your list. Someone gets a benefit each time one of your advocates brings a new subscriber. A great idea is to use referral software for instance that can automate this part without you having to worry about the management of it.

This is the moment for you to brainstorm. A great exercise is to check what 2 ways you have to either increase your existing sign-ups or collect sign-ups from a new campaign or source?

This will help you define your offer, promotion or referral program you can deliver to attract more subscribers. This is your opportunity to brainstorm about new partnerships, collaborations and even new content to create. All these resources will help you tap into your subscriber’s preferences and grow your email list.

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