8 Easy Ways to Grow Your Email List

Sara Kappler
8 min readDec 17, 2022

As a small business, your email list is one of your most valuable assets, but it rarely grows spontaneously. You need a solid strategy and some elbow grease. Don’t worry, it will be worth it! According to HubSpot’s Email Marketing Stats for 2022, 99% of consumers check their email every single day and prefer receiving information from brands through email. By investing in strong list growth strategies, you’ll be able to connect with more potential customers and increase your return on investment.

What’s a Good Opt-In Rate?

Before we dive into strategies and tactics, let’s talk about Opt-In Rate. If you’re not familiar with the term yet, it’s a Key Performance Indicator for email list growth, and it’s the percentage of people who sign up after seeing your opt-in prompt.

One question we get frequently asked is, “what kind of opt-in rate is good”? The answer will depend on a few factors like the industry you’re in, your competition and how compelling your offer is in comparison, and what kind of traffic you’re driving to your website. For example, if you’re running ads on your website and the promotion on the ads is “save 50% on your first purchase”, then your 20% off coupon may not be driving sign-ups because it’s not that appealing, comparatively.

However, if you want a benchmark (we all do), across our clients we see 3–5% Opt-In Rates. This means, that out of 100 people who view your opt-in, 3–5 are saying yes and signing up. You can see how much faster your email list growth would be if you could go from a 2% to a 5% Opt-In Rate, for example.

Whatever your email marketing strategy, whatever your business, you will amplify the returns significantly when your opt-in rate is stronger. It’s always worth re-examining and reworking your opt-ins to make sure you’re making the most out of all website traffic you may be driving.

Through our work supporting clients with email marketing over the years, here are 8 tried and true ways you can set your email list growth up for success and start maximizing this channel today:

1) Evergreen Giveaway

Providing evergreen giveaways is a great way to motivate customers to sign up for your mailing list. An evergreen giveaway is a type of giveaway that can be reused over and over again. It’s also called an ‘evergreen’ because it never goes out of season and can be used whenever you need it. For a product-based company, it could be giving away a free product or free shipping. For a service-based company, it could be a free trial or consultation. As long as you’re providing an offer that is attractive to your potential new customers, you’ll motivate them to share their email addresses with you and your list will grow.

Evergreen giveaways may not always be easy to set up, but they can remain active for a long time, giving you good ROI over time.

Examples:

  • Sign up for Free Shipping on Your First Order
  • Enter for a Chance to Win our monthly $300 Gift Drawing
  • Start Your Free Trial Today
  • Get a Free Gift With Purchase
  • Take 20% Off Your First Purchase

2) Spin to Win

Branded spin wheels can be a fun way to grow your mailing list, provide a variety of promotional offers, and increase list growth rates. Potential customers browsing your website are presented with a spin wheel, where on submitting their email address they, “see what they win”! With Spin to Win, you’re appealing to consumers’ desire to play and win a prize, everyone likes to win.

Wheelio integrates well with Klaviyo and has a good price point for a trial.

Example:

3) Interactive Quiz

Interactive quizzes help customers answer questions they have about the problems you solve, and get matched with specific items in your collection. Quizzes on finding your style, size, shape, and shade can funnel a customer to a specific product. This is a type of evergreen offer that gives customers insights about themselves and introduces them to your products. It’s a great way to help first-time buyers navigate particularly large categories or complicated service offerings to find the right one to match their needs.

Example:

At Centric Squared we share a short two-minute quiz on our website that allows customers to gauge how a CRM can help their small businesses grow. This provides both the browsing customer and our team at Centric Squared with more information and starts a relationship between the two.

4) Virtual Download

For many B2B businesses, offering value means offering expertise. Developing some kind of virtual, free download gives exclusive access to expertise in exchange for their email address.

This virtual download can be an ebook, a white paper, a swipe file, a how-to guide, a calculator, or a checklist — something the customer can use and find practical solutions for a problem they are facing. It’s an opportunity to not only grow your email list but also showcase your expertise and introduce your brand and how you can support them with any additional questions they might have.

The key here is understanding the problems your potential customer is facing and developing a download that answers a burning question.

Example:

When web browsers arrive at our website, they’re greeted with a pop-up that asks the question, “Curious what customer-driven marketing is all about?”. We offer a free download of our Small Business CRM guide in exchange for their email address. We know that our website visitors have a practical need for more information about customer-driven marketing, and so that’s what we offer them when they arrive!

5) Verify Free Shipping Pop Up

This is a clever take on a free shipping offer that deserves its own bullet point. With this method, you ask website visitors if they want to verify free shipping — asking for their email and zip code. You collect emails at a higher rate than average, as most browsing customers want to know whether they will expect shipping rates at checkout before interacting with your website. If you plan on doing this, make sure to put a disclaimer on where you ship to (International, Continental US, etc.).

6) Exit Intent

You might be familiar with pop-up offers, that display when customers visit your site for the first time, usually with a setting like “show after 10 seconds” or “show on 60% scroll”. However, a lesser-known and equally powerful is an exit intent form — which will show to a customer as they are leaving your website. An Exit Intent pop-up is a great way to present those who have some familiarity with your product, and compel them to “not miss out”.

Examples:

  • Wait, before you go! Grab your free coupon code.
  • Are you sure you want to leave? Here’s $xx off give us a try!

7) Optimizing Opt-Ins with A/B Testing

Developing new list offers is great, but an often overlooked and equally powerful tactic, is to continually be A/B testing and optimizing your opt-ins.

An A/B test is when you are simultaneously running two variations of an offer to similar audiences over time, and using data to pick the winning variation. For A/B testing to be insightful, it’s best to always be running a very small difference between two offers: if you change too much between the two variations, you won’t know which element of the winning variation is causing more opt-ins.

For example, you might A/B test:

  • 2 wordings of the same offer: Save $10 Today vs. Get $10 Off Today
  • 2 buttons: Start Saving or Get My Discount
  • 2 different images to go with the opt-in.

Performing the A/B test, you could find that “Save $10 Today” and “Get My Discount” won, and that the winning version sees a few % increases in opt-in rate.

8) Capturing Anonymous Web Browsers Email

There are an increasing number of technologies that offer list growth services by capturing anonymous web browser’s emails via cookies. You might have heard of some: Retention.com, SafeOpt, or Wunderkind are examples. One of our clients recently integrated our List Growth Services into their marketing strategy and saw an email list growth of 17%. With a customized warm-up sequence, they were able to target these anonymous “window shoppers”, introduce their brand and product, and ultimately see increase in both list growth and sales. This is particularly interesting for those that are already investing in paid ads and are looking to maximize their returns. Learn more about our List Growth Services here.

Email Marketing as a Conversion Secret Weapon

These are just a few simple ideas small businesses can use to grow their email lists. Once on your email list, building trust, explaining your brand and added value, and giving your audience a reason to purchase from you are key to ongoing success from this channel. If you are wondering if your email marketing strategy could be stronger, or you don’t have the time or expertise needed to make it yield results for your business, our team can help. Whether you’re looking to set up email for the first time, migrate from one ESP to another, or implement list growing opt-ins, book your FREE discovery call today.

About Centric Squared:

Centric Squared was founded in 2017 by Sara Kappler to bring data-centric and customer-centric marketing to small businesses. The company has grown 30% YoY, celebrated countless small business successes, and attracted top marketing talent from around the globe. At Centric Squared, we believe small businesses are sitting on a golden ticket: their customer relationships. We partner with small business owners to help them tune into and pay attention to their customers through CRM-Driven Marketing.

Why Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a powerful channel for small businesses because it’s a direct form of communication to your audience, where you can call them by name, and because you own the data. Email marketing typically sees the highest Return on Investment (ROI) of any marketing channel, with industry average being 4300% ($43 for every $1 spent). It’s an opportunity for small businesses to develop a relationship with their customers, and drive sales. At Centric Squared, email marketing is at the core of the marketing services we provide our clients and it’s an art. Data-centric, customer-centric, when you get the combination right it’s a powerful addition to any small businesses marketing strategy.

--

--

Sara Kappler

I run a CRM-Driven marketing agency. Mom of three. Flexible work advocate. Data nerd. Overachiever.