Apr 2018

Email marketing has a 4,400% ROI. This means that writing one email can generate a high volume of sales with very little cost to your business. But as more and more companies see the value in emailing their newsletter list, the competition to make an impact in your potential customer's inboxes becomes fierce. The average person receives about 88 emails each day and we can likely assume that the majority of these messages are from businesses -- not correspondence between family and friends.

You might be thinking: "I'm already promoting my opt-in page in all the right places so I'm just waiting for my list to grow". Perhaps you're right, but the way you're selling your email list may have room for improvement. So how can you take advantage of email marketing's incredible ROI, build a newsletter mailing list full of people that are actually interested in buying from you, and start growing your list quickly? Here's what you might need to fix:

1. You're Calling it a Newsletter List

The term 'newsletter' is only used in the title of this article and throughout because it's become such a common term that businesses and people search for and use it all the time. In fact, it's used so often that it's become synonymous with overly promotional, irrelevant marketing emails. Asking your website visitors to "sign up for our newsletter!" may actually be driving them further away. Getting too many emails becomes a burden to many people.

Here are some ways to rephrase your email list so that people actually want to sign up for it:

  • Join the tribe of 1,000+ subscribers <-- shows social proof
  • Exclusive free membership <-- indicates exclusivity and rarity
  • Insider's club <-- promotes community
  • Monthly freebies (or weekly if you're ambitious!) <-- 100% value driven

And please, do not use the word "newsletter" in your email subject line. It's just asking to be marked as read or moved to trash. Don't call it a newsletter internally or externally.

Here are some examples of businesses that cleverly avoid the word newsletter or subscribe to build their email lists.

newsletter opt in examples

HubSpot Newsletter call to action

2. You're Not Providing an Incentive

The competition to get your recipients and open and click emails is high. You need to provide a valuable offer that individuals feel is a fair trade in exchange for their email. Simply putting a form field on your website with a "Subscribe Now" call-to-action probably isn't helping you grow your list very quickly. Create a content offer or freebie that would be valuable to your typical customers. Things like...

  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • eBooks
  • Guides
  • Whitepapers
  • An online course
  • A video series

Here are some ideas for newsletter list opt-ins to spark your inspiration:

email newsletter best practices


newsletter list idea


Depending on where your visitors are coming from (Canada and EU countries in particular), you may need to add a disclaimer to your sign up form that lets users know you may contact them in the future, or you may need an additional checkbox allowing individuals to either opt-in or opt-out of email. Learn more about recent data privacy laws here.

3. You're Not Encouraging Sharing

Word-of-mouth referrals are some of the most valuable sources of new contacts and customers. People trust their friends and colleagues infinitely more than they trust strangers and unfamiliar businesses on the internet. Make it easy for your recipients to share on social media or forward to a co-worker or friend with the click of a button. Your email marketing provider should include this function or your marketing consultant can help you find the most effective way to do this.

share email icons

4. You're Not Leveraging Your Social Media Audience

You've got audiences on different social media platforms so why not dedicate a post to building your email list by promoting your freebie or offer? Instagram is slowly making it easier to access external links and other profiles. Who knows: maybe soon we'll be able to embed links in our captions and comments! Until then, take advantage of a tool like Link Tree which allows you to link to several pages within your bio.

link tree

5. You're Solely Relying On a Pop-Up

There's no question that pop-ups can work to build your email list. In fact, BuzzSumo has collected over 23,000,000 email addresses through pop-ups in two years. BUT, there are still a lot of people that hate the (sometimes) intrusive window that interrupts whatever you're reading. So if the only method you're utilizing to collect subscribers is a pop-up, consider broadening your horizons with these methods:

  • Build a form into your website and on your blog posts
  • Create a specific sign-up page and promote it on social media (make sure it looks really cool!)
  • Use a slide in pop-up instead which are typically less intrusive


6. You're Asking Too Much

Mobile browsing has now surpassed desktop web surfing. This means people are looking at websites when they're on the go on smaller screens. Don't drive your potential subscribers away by asking too much information. The more form fields, the more likely the individual will be to bounce. For an email newsletter, stick to asking for First Name and email address. If you're promoting a content offer or freebie, add an extra form field (but only if it's going to help you learn more about your leads).

What it comes down to is value. If people don't see the value they'll receive by joining your newsletter list, they won't! Make sure you've narrowly defines what it is your readers or personas are looking for and give it to them.

build your email list cta