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14 Ways Small Businesses Can Grow Their Email List

From leveraging contests to increase and retain subscribers to creating gated content, here are 14 answers to the question, "What is one way that a small business can grow their email list?"

  • Leverage Contests to Increase and Retain Subscribers

  • Free Demo Offers Boost Subscriber Count

  • Email Linkedin Connections

  • Refer a Friend Program

  • Gated Content

  • Small Business Email List Growth

  • Make Them Feel Special

  • Use Your Facebook Business Page

  • Entice With a Pop-up Promotion

  • Start a Newsletter On Twitter

  • Be Seen and Heard in the Local Community You Serve

  • Make An Unbelievable Offer

  • Promote Enticing Lead Magnets

  • Growing Your Email List Using Collaboration

Leverage Contests to Increase and Retain Subscribers

Think about where your potential customers are engaging with your company and content. Make it easier for them to subscribe to your email newsletters and provide an additional incentive to sign up and stay signed up.

Consider hosting a monthly or quarterly giveaway contest or offering specific promotions only for subscribers. Include a quick mention of the giveaway and what prize you are featuring next to the sign-up form. If you have a physical business presence, leverage printed QR code posters to increase subscriptions from customers visiting your location.

Leverage your social media channels and partners to get the word out about each new contest or promo you launch to increase your reach and continue building your email lists. To encourage engagement, offer additional contest entries if email subscribers share out invite links, visit webpages, watch videos, or share your content on social media.

Free Demo Offers Boost Subscriber Count

Free product demos encourages potential new customers to sign up to learn more about your offering. Incentives are always a great way to get users to subscribe, but offering a discount to every existing visitor can lower your product's perceived value and impact your profit margins. Visitors typically arrive at your site seeking a solution to a problem, so requesting their email address in exchange for a free demo helps prospects learn how your solution can help them. This can turn qualified leads into new customers.

Chris Gadek, VP of Growth, Adquick

Email Linkedin Connections

An easy way to encourage a large group of people to sign up for your email list is to email your LinkedIn connections. You can export their email addresses from LinkedIn and send the same email to all of them simultaneously. However, you should simply offer the chance to sign up for your email list; do not send them your newsletter immediately, as this could be a major turn-off. Plus, you could potentially run into some legal issues. At the end of the day, you cannot force people to sign up for your email list, but you can present the option without being pushy.

Maegan Griffin, Founder, CEO, Nurse Practitioner, Skin Pharm

Refer a Friend Program

Offer a referral program. We offer $15 off a customer's purchase if they refer a friend or family member to us. Their connection will receive $15 off their first order and our existing customer will receive a coupon for their next purchase. We also allow them to stack this offer, so they can refer as many friends and family members as they would like to receive additional savings. All they have to do is enter their name and email, and we'll send them a personalized sharing link. It's been an effective tool in growing our email list.

Melanie Edwards, Sr. E-commerce and Digital Product Manager, Olipop

Gated Content

Gated content is a great way for small businesses to grow their email lists. By creating content that is only available to those who provide their email address, businesses can create an incentive for potential customers to join their mailing list. This content can be anything from exclusive discounts and offers, to educational content such as webinars or whitepapers. By offering content that is valuable and exclusive, businesses can create a sense of urgency and encourage potential customers to join their mailing list. Additionally, businesses can use gated content to segment their email list and target specific customers with relevant content.

Small Business Email List Growth

One great way for small businesses to grow their email list while also collecting detailed information about customers and prospects is to use lead generation quizzes. We've seen these work across many different markets, from service-based businesses to e-commerce stores. A lead generation quiz basically takes a user through a number of questions relevant to the business or industry, then asks for an email address to see their results. These are great for helping website visitors narrow down the selection of products and services on offer to just the ones that are most specific for them and their needs.

A great example of this would be a product recommendation quiz on a Shopify store or an e-commerce website. A quiz can be used to help a customer choose the best product for them out of hundreds of options, while the brand gains a new email subscriber. Founder, Ecommerce Intelligence Email Marketing Agency.

Make Them Feel Special

Depending on your business, people are more likely to sign up for your email list/newsletter when they get something in return. Never buy email lists; chances are, you'll be flagged as spam and your brand will lose a lot of its credibility. Instead, offer 10% off for a product, or an exclusive sign-up bonus, or if you hold events then give them a special pre-event; get creative! People will want to sign up if they know that it's worth it. So, make sure that it is visible; always have a subscribe link on your social media, website, or the emails that you send already. Not only will these help with growing your email list, but they will also help you increase visibility.

Derek Sall, Founder and Financial Expert, Life And My Finances

Use Your Facebook Business Page

As someone who has had success building a small business, I can attest to the fact that there is no better way to grow your email list than by adding a call-to-action button to the top of your business's Facebook page. This will immediately capture visitors' attention and give them the opportunity to join your email list with just one click. Every time they visit, they will be reminded that they can sign up, which increases the chances of people joining and eventually leads to greater customer engagement with your brand. Considering how easy it is, this strategy should be an essential part of any small business's digital marketing plan.

Ludovic Chung-Sao, Lead Engineer & Founder, Zen Soundproof

Entice With a Pop-up Promotion

When a customer visits your website, have a pop-up deal. For instance, we're currently offering a $20-off-your-order promotion by entering your email address. Who doesn't love a deal? If you're thinking about purchasing to begin with, you're likely to enter your email to receive the coupon. It's a win-win. You expand your email list and your revenue at the same time.

Kim Walls, CEO and Co-Founder, Furtuna Skin

Start a Newsletter On Twitter

Start a newsletter on Twitter, and invite users to subscribe. Twitter's newsletter is created on a third-party platform called Revue, and when a user subscribes via Twitter, you gain access to their email address. Of course, before launching, you'll need to commit to sending out regular content that your audience will want to subscribe to. Thoughtfully come up with a content plan, and use high-performing hashtags to help more people discover your newsletter.

Annie Ricci, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing, Prima

Be Seen and Heard in the Local Community You Serve

One way small businesses can effectively grow their email list is by being seen and heard in the local area they serve. This is done through building relationships, being involved in community activities, being a helpful partner or sponsor, joining associations of like-minded business owners, and volunteering. Getting the word out that your business exists can be done by actively engaging with your current community and letting others know you're in business, and clearly articulating who you help and what you can do for them. This is one way to gain new customers, who will eventually join your email list and also help you create a long-lasting relationship with your customer.

Yemisi Iyilade, Project Management Professional, Eminent Coaching Academy

Make An Unbelievable Offer

On your small business website, make an offer that the reader simply can't believe — something completely free that will solve a major problem the reader faces. Often, this is a piece of premium content like a guide, but it can also be a product or service. Make it seem like a bad idea not to give up their email for what you're offering. Make it irresistible and make sure you leverage the value of your growing email list to recoup your upfront costs (and more) down the line.

Promote Enticing Lead Magnets

Many businesses have at least one exciting lead magnet, but few go beyond promoting that lead magnet on their homepage. With many potential clients only interacting with companies on social media, your engaging lead magnet may never even be seen.

There are numerous ways to promote lead magnets both internally—throughout a company's site and social—and externally—through paid ads, promotions, or guest appearances. Internally, lead magnets can be featured on relevant blog posts (midway through content or at the end), throughout website pages where relevant, on social media posts, or in social media bios. Externally, lead magnets can be advertised on social media platforms with targeted ads, or via mentions in guest blog posts, podcast appearances, networking events, and conference appearances.

Don't be afraid to offer more than one lead magnet! And make sure to provide useful content and regular but not excessive contact so that your list grows with quality leads.

Jessica Suhr, Owner & Creative Director, Perennial Creative Co.

Growing Your Email List Using Collaboration

Also known as "borrowing" another business owner's audience, invite collaborators into your world by interviewing them on your YouTube channel or podcast, or ask them to write a blog for your website. Alternatively, feature them on your social media channels if this suits your business best. In return, they should share this exposure with their audience, showcasing both themselves and your business.

Be ready with an email sign-up link to capture the details of anyone interested in what you have to offer. Giving them something useful in return will encourage them to sign up. Of course, nothing is ever guaranteed, but if you do a compelling enough job with collaborating, it can increase your email list quickly, and your network too, of course.

Julie Brown, Visibility and Media Coach, I Am Julie Brown

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