In the last year, Google released a massive algorithm update that affected nearly every website’s search ranking. Apple’s iOS continues to limit your Facebook ad’s effectiveness, and according to some experts, organic social media reach might be dead. Because of these changes, it’s more important than ever to grow your email subscriber list in 2023.
If Google disappeared tomorrow and social media self-destructed right after, email is the best way to stay in contact with your raving fans. That’s why people always say, “there’s money in the list.”
Building an email subscriber list isn’t as simple as asking for an email or putting a button at the top of your menu. If people are already bombarded with hundreds of emails daily, why should they sign up for yours? Our list of five proven ways to grow your email subscriber list for 2023 uses data and analysis to help you stay in touch with your best customers.
Before Building Your Email List
You must make several important decisions before building your email list. The first is identifying which email service is best for you and your business. To help you make an informed decision, The Loop Marketing put together a quick review of the three most popular email marketing service providers.
Once you’ve chosen which provider to use, the next step is to consider what kind of content you want to send out to your subscribers.
Some websites do well sending out a simple email notifying subscribers when a new post is up. Others utilize their email list to send out full-length newsletters offering exclusive content or interviews. Depending on the type of business you have and how you want to connect with your audience, there is a lot of variety in what you can create.
Lastly, understand that growing your email list should always be a work in progress. What works for one of your competitors might not work for you. To avoid changing how you acquire subscribers all the time, start by understanding what your customers and future leads want.
If you own an eCommerce store, offering discounts is a timeless tradition, but sometimes offering sample products or providing a demo of services works even better.
The benefit of digital marketing today is that you can test all these techniques, identify which ones attract the best leads, and continue building your email subscriber list within minutes.
5 Proven Ways to Grow your Email Subscriber List in 2023
Each of the five techniques listed below is time-tested and proven to work since its inception. Some have more longevity than others, but with enough A/B testing and strategizing, all of these techniques can be used to help grow your email subscriber list.
We also included some of our favorite examples to show you how these work in practice.
1. High Converting Pop-ups
We love them, we hate them, and we’ve probably installed a Chrome extension to block them from showing up.
In 1996, Ethan Zuckerman invented the pop-up as a way to increase ad revenue for the website Tripod.com. Nearly 25 years later, pop-ups have become a detested form of digital marketing, with hundreds of different pop-up blockers existing right now to stop people from subscribing to your email list.
But, the truth is pop-ups still work. According to a 2019 survey by Sumo, the “top 10% highest-performing pop-ups averaged a 9.28% conversion rate.” The average pop-up has a 3% conversion rate.
Putting that into perspective, if your website gets 100,000 users per month, that’s 3,000 new email subscribers on average, just from pop-ups alone. Those are pretty good numbers.
A 2021 study of Optimonk users identified that mobile pop-up ads converted around 11%.
You may have heard that pop-up ads negatively affect your SEO, and while that’s true, it’s not as large an impact as you think. Search Engine Journal says that banner ads, slide-ins, inlines, and tabs that take up 15% or less of the screen are considered non-intrusive and do not negatively impact your SEO. Consult your Core Web Vitals if you are more technically oriented regarding SEO.
Data tells us that despite being widely disliked, pop-ups continue to be an effective email subscriber list-building strategy.
Examples of Effective Pop-Ups
So how do you create an effective pop-up that doesn’t annoy users while building subscribers?
Let’s start with NeilPatel.com. Throughout his website, you’ll find numerous examples of pop-ups as soon as you hit enter on your browser.
On blog posts, there’s a pop-up on the bottom of the page with a simple button asking you to “Book a call.” And when you move the cursor to exit his page, an informational pop-up offers a free service in exchange for your information.
Companies like HelloBar (another Neil Patel-owned product) deliver effective pop-up bars at the top of your webpage that are more subtle yet drive more leads to your email list. Their website states HelloBar converts 83% more of your visitors into leads, although more data needs to be shown as evidence to verify that claim.
Test out various methods, locations, and styles when setting up pop-ups. It’s a fine line, but remember, we want to draw attention to our email subscription service without annoying potential leads.
2. Unique, Gated Content
Depending on the type of information you serve to your customers, gated content is an effective way to build your email subscriber list. Multiple forms of news media have been using a similar approach to attract paid subscriptions—for example, The Athletic and The New York Times gate articles behind a paywall.
Using a similar model, you can attract new leads and subscribers by putting exciting or engaging content behind an email paywall – the user gets access to the material in exchange for their email address.
Unfortunately, the reported stats for gated content are a bit all over the place. Case studies report ranges from as low as a 3% conversion rate to as high as a 45% conversion rate. While I believe 45% is a bit high, a 5-10% conversion rate is excellent and attainable using gated content.
Websites that blend gated and ungated content together tend to convert leads much better. For example, a company creates ungated pillar posts to increase search rankings while offering more in-depth content or independent research as supplemental gated content to download.
There are thousands of how-to guides, eBooks, and infographics on the web, so it’s your job to present something so spectacular that it’s impossible to refuse.
Gated content takes various forms- ebooks, videos, webinar access, infographics, surveys, or white papers. A couple more gated content options include bundling a package of digital products together, presenting exclusive access to a video series, or offering the results of a global survey.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match the types of gated content you deliver. As you’ll see in one of the examples below, multiple pieces of gated content for a particular topic expands your potential audience.
Examples of Effective Gated Content
I’ve subscribed to my fair share of email lists because of promised gated content offerings, but there’s one website in particular that always manages to offer me exactly what I’m looking for: HubSpot.
On nearly every page of the HubSpot website, there is a different gated content offer. For many of their featured articles, HubSpot actually offers multiple types of gated content on the same page.
Take, for example, this Social Media Marketing Guide. There are two pieces of gated content for interested website visitors on this page: the social media content calendar template and the 2022 Social Media Trends Report. Depending on what you are looking for, HubSpot is hoping at least one of their downloadables interests you.
Another example of gated content is Hootsuite’s Q3 Global State of Digital 2022 Survey. The non-gated version of this piece includes valuable information, but they also offer the most critical pieces of data in a bite-size package sent straight to your inbox if you want something more condensed. Once again, mixing gated and non-gated content together is a great way to increase your search rankings and build your email list at the same time.
3. Interactive Quizzes
Often synonymous with Buzzfeed pop culture articles, online quizzes have quickly become one of the best email list-building tools available due to their interactivity and versatility.
Response rates are higher with online quizzes than with other lead generators because the user is invested in the results.
According to a case study performed by online quiz maker Riddle, 80-90% of all visitors to the Minute Media website were recorded starting a quiz. Each participant stayed on the Minute Media website an average of 3 minutes. Those numbers are a bit high in relation to other quiz-related data sets, but there is enough evidence to state that an engaging quiz is more effective than almost any other type of lead generator.
Most importantly, businesses use online lead generation quizzes to identify what their target audience is looking for.
For example, if you sell products, you can now send customized bundles to interested leads based on their quiz responses. Or what if you are a landscaper? A quiz helps you segment and send targeted emails to customers seeking specific services.
Start using online quizzes as an outside-of-the-box way to capture email addresses and gather pertinent information about your ideal customers.
Examples of Effective Interactive Quizzes
Whenever I think of a successful online quiz, River Pools and Spas is the first one that comes to mind. Their quiz not only collects your contact information but by the end of the quiz, the user and the company have a complete pool project to reference when River Pools and Spas reach out.
They use an online quiz to establish relationships with potential clients and capture enough information to begin a consultation.
As you go through River Pools and Spas quiz, you’ll notice how simple everything is: short answers, images, and fast. This simple 3 minute quiz has led to millions of dollars in sales for the company.
Neil Patel’s secondary website, Nutrition Secrets, advertised his LeadQuiz everywhere: in the header, the sidebar, and a pop-up on top of the screen. Combined, all of these pop-ups and quizzes led to an incredibly successful email list-building campaign.
The next time you come across an interactive quiz online, take it and try to identify what information they’re trying to gather from your answers. Use that information to start building your own quiz.
4. Offer Value in the Emails
This might sound obvious, but the simplest way to build and grow an email subscriber list is to create valuable email content. Email newsletters containing full-length articles, exclusive content, or even unique thoughts by members of your organization work well to build up your list.
Creating valuable email content requires two steps: first, attracting subscribers to your landing pages (sign-up page), and two, the content creation itself.
Let’s start with step one: attracting subscribers to your amazing email content. This requires a strong call to action or landing page.
One way of doing this is by re-uploading old email content as articles and including an enticing button at the bottom of the post saying something like, “If you’d like more articles like this straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter below.”
You can also upload previously sent emails to a specific newsletter landing page. Little previews or sneak peeks at upcoming (and past) content allows users to know exactly what they’re signing up for.
Of course, none of this works if you aren’t creating excellent content. Emails containing coupons or ones that are overly salesy will not do much when it comes to open rates (users opening emails) and click-through rates (users clicking on links inside emails).
Emails containing long-form content, podcasts, or videos capture your audience’s attention. You need to make leads look forward to your emails popping up in their inbox.
Sure, this requires extra work, but you’re more likely to get users to share your content with their friends if you put in the effort to create something unique and valuable.
Come up with a catchy name for your newsletter as it separates the email content just enough from your website content that leads will want to subscribe and visit your website too.
Examples of Effective Newsletters
A recent addition to my inbox comes from Puck. As a digital media company focused on delivering news about Hollywood gossip and Silicon Valley innovations, their email newsletter arrives consistently and in various long-form formats.
At least once a month, you receive a full-length article or multiple mini-articles, including new content and sometimes written copy left on the editing room floor. For people who typically only read email on their phones, these newsletters provide an excellent opportunity to interact with Puck’s content without searching various news magazines for similar information.
Another solid newsletter that provides weekly content is Jason Tate’s Liner Notes. While often just under 1,000 words, each email contains some alternative music news, a couple of highlights from the top-performing posts in the community, and meandering thoughts about Tate’s week.
While not heavy on information, these timely emails provide an inside look into Tate’s life, helping build a deeper connection between his audience and himself.
As a business owner, think about how writing a weekly email and sharing an anecdote or a new piece of knowledge can build a connection with your audience.
5. Go Live and Host a Webinar
Hosting webinars is an excellent way to build your email subscriber list (plus think about all the new content you can pull from the videos). All you need to do is develop an interesting topic, set up your landing page, and start collecting email addresses.
There are a couple of different methods to attract users to your webinars. The first is to co-present your live webinar with another company or someone else. If done well, it’s a win-win situation as you can attract not only your audience but the built-in audience of someone else.
This style of webinar could be as simple as conducting an interview to having your co-presenter teach an entire class. There’s a reason why Tony Robbins runs online seminars with Dean Graziosi and Russel Brunson. Each personality brings their unique audience and provides an opportunity to reach a different audience.
Another webinar option is holding a weekly or monthly class. Consistency is critical here as you create a live, interactive event your customers look forward to. Just make sure every live event offers valuable insights your audience can’t find elsewhere.
As for filming the live webinars, there are multiple online service options available. Streamyard and WebinarJam are favorites due to their ease of use. We’ve also seen successful webinars even run through Facebook live (just make sure to capture email addresses before allowing leads to join your Facebook group).
Engaging and effective webinars provide high conversion rates. For example, one webinar from Autodesk had a 25% conversion rate. Amy Porterfield’s webinars grew her email list from 600 to 250,000+ email subscribers. These numbers are astounding compared to other email marketing list-building forms.
Also, remember that you can use the recorded footage for content on social media, email campaigns, and your website. Some businesses even advertise a “live” webinar that’s just a pre-recorded video but still requires an email address for access.
Examples of Effective Webinars
Our good friends at Orbit Media present an event called “Wine and Webinar,” where Andy Crestodina offers a live webinar discussing various topics in marketing. You must sign up with your email address to get in, and a live link arrives before the event starts. Filled with helpful information and user interaction, these webinars feel more like being at an event in person versus watching someone online.
Of course, if you can’t make the event, someone from the Orbit team emails you a replay of the event to re-capture any lost leads.
Russel Brunson of ClickFunnels fame hosts a variety of webinars for his companies. Most of them are pre-recorded but offer enough interesting content that they attract hundreds of leads per day.
Pre-recorded webinars tend to lose that connection you build with a live event, so keep that in mind when creating your webinar strategy.
Need Help Building Your Email Subscriber List?
The Loop Marketing’s email marketing team are experts in designing strategies that work best for you and your business. If you’re ready to take the next step in email marketing, reach out to The Loop Marketing today.