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The secret to growing your email list

The secret to email list growth is easier than you think

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An important part of email marketing is growing a healthy list. You want your subscribers to be your target audience. That means you need to know how to create list-building forms that work. There’s a knack to it and in this blog post, I’m going to take you through how you do it, together with some examples of forms I’ve built.

When you think about the return on investment email marketing can give you (an average of £38.41 for every £1 you spend), you know it makes sense to use email marketing. And encouraging the right people to join your list is key to making sure you achieve that return.     

Why is a healthy list important?

Firstly, let’s discuss why a healthy list is important. If you’re going to spend time and money on email marketing, you want to aim for that £38.41 return for every £1 spent, right?

The first thing you need to remember is your email list is a precious resource. The people who join have given you permission to be in their inbox and should be treated with respect.

What do I mean by a healthy email list? Well, it’s a list that is made up of people who are interested in your business. They have joined your email list to receive something that benefits them. The more effort you make to keep them engaged and happy to be on your list, the better results you’ll get.

That matters because the minute your subscribers receive anything other than what they expect, they can easily mark your email as spam. The same goes with anyone who hasn’t given you permission to email them.

Here’s the crucial part. The more spam reports you get, the more likely your emails will be blocked by email service providers like Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook.

It’s about how and where you ask

One of my favourite sayings is: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. This applies to asking people to join your email list. You need to make the ask. Let’s break it down.

Permission is a really important part of the email marketing process, and there is legislation in place that governs how we can email customers and prospects.

  • Get express consent – Ask for permission in all touch points of your sales process this could be a checkbox when someone is buying from your website, or you simply asking a question in a face-to-face interaction.
  • Be straightforward – When you ask for permission take advantage of the opportunity to set a couple of expectations. You can tell them how often you will be in their inbox, and the type of content they should expect. If you do this well and follow through, you will have more success.
  • Offer an opt-out – Make sure you have an option to let your contacts unsubscribe in every email that you send. When you use a service like Constant Contact, not only will we include that option for you, but we’ll also automatically manage those who opt out, so you don’t have to!
  • Respect privacy – Posting your privacy policy is a great way to set your contacts or potential contacts at ease when they are joining your list. It helps the feel that their data is protected.
  • Follow compliance guidelines
    • Clear & obvious permission on your sign-up form
    • Clearly identify the person, business, or organisation – brand recognition is crucial.
    • Inform them that they can unsubscribe any time
    • Have a process to record express consent

What information should you ask for?

It’s tempting to ask for as much as you can, isn’t it? After all, you have their attention, you might as well ask, right?


Think about how many times you’ve been faced with a form that’s asked you to fill in lots of information. How has that made you feel? Even if you think the end goal is worth it, it’s a bit of a pain, isn’t it?

Now translate that to asking someone to join your email list. Why would they hand over any more details than their email address? After all, that’s all you need to be able to email them. And you know what, you can make that work. It is all you need to email them.

You can get other information that you’d like at a later date.

That’s why you should only collect information that’s absolutely necessary. I like to be able to address my subscribers by their names in my emails. So, generally, I collect their first name and email address.

Remember, the fewer details you ask them to fill in, the more likely they are to sign up.

What’s in it for me?

That’s why “Would you like to join our email list?” has only a small chance of success. Or even, “Can we email you your receipt?” We don’t trust that we won’t be bombarded with emails, and none of us wants that, do we?

In the time I’ve run my business, I’ve never been turned down when I’ve asked someone face-to-face if they’d like to join my list. Why? Because I’ve explained the benefit to them. In fact, the exact words I use are:

Would you like to receive The Marketing Morsel, my weekly email? You’ll be part of an exclusive club that includes a private Facebook Group, member-only events and more.

What I’ve done there has shown them the benefit to them – marketing tips, exclusive content, and access to me! They will learn something that will help their businesses.

There’s another important thing I’ve done. I’ve set an expectation with them. Right from the offset, they know that my emails are weekly.

You’ll see this online too. My website has a button that says “Weekly marketing tips”, the same is true of my Facebook page and my business cards, and so many other places.

We all make snap decisions every minute of the day. Don’t leave growing your list to chance. Give yourself every opportunity to successfully add to it by working out the benefit of joining your email list. It could be any number of reasons:

  • Exclusive offers
  • Access to your new products/services first
  • Access to your events first
  • Educational content not available elsewhere
  • The chance to input into your product/service development

Examples of how you could do it

These examples are mine! Sometimes, I will lift the curtain on Marketing by Minal and show you what I do. If it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me!

Static forms

These are anchored to your website, either via a link or a button. This example is from my website. You’ll see that I don’t ask for lots of information.

When you join, you’ll get a welcome email from me, which I set up using email automation. Want to know more about email automation? Read this blog post.

Static email list growth form

Landing pages

These are great for when you want visitors to focus on the offer you’re making. So, it’s not attached to your website, which means fewer distractions. I create mine using my Constant Contact account.

Landing page to grow your email list

Pop-up forms

These are hotly debated and, let’s face it, most of us find them annoying. BUT… if you set yours up so it appears when someone’s about to leave your website, then it’s less so. I use HelloBar because it integrates with Constant Contact and adds email addresses directly to the list I choose.

Once again, I use email automation to follow up with people.

Pop-up form to grow your email list

Now you know how to create a good list-building form, you’re ready to start growing your list.

Got a list but not doing anything with it?

Let me tell you that you’re leaving money on the table if this is you! And your list doesn’t have to be a huge one either.

Does this sound like you?

  • You’ve watched loads of YouTube videos.
  • You’ve attended a gazillion webinars.
  • You’ve done a workshop or two.
  • And you’re still no closer to sending an email newsletter.

If you’ve said yes to all of the above, you need to try my Small Business Email Marketing course.

  • Everything is in one place.
  • Bite-sized videos to watch.
  • Manageable tasks to complete.
  • All leading up to you creating and sending your first newsletter.

Head over and buy the course today. When you do, you’ll have lifetime access so you can come back to it whenever you need.

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