10 shockingly easy ways to grow your mailing list

A woman using a laptop to send email replies.
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Marketing your business should be one of your highest priorities, but technology has forced us to adapt the way we connect with people. It’s easy to overlook email newsletters in favor of social media, but the humble mailing list still has a very worthy place in today’s marketing strategies. Use it right, and it can even work in conjunction with your social media strategy.

Unlike social media on search engine results, there’s no need to compete with an ever-changing algorithm to ensure that your results appear first. With email marketing, you are in complete control of how much - or how little - you communicate, making it one of the most predictable tools you advertise your business.

Follow these ten steps and watch your subscriber list grow.

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1. Social media 

Above, we hinted at how emailing lists and social media can work hand in hand. That’s because, while mailing lists are often preferred for their dependability, it’s easy to reach not-before-reached audiences on social media, thus directing them to your newsletter.

There are of course other strategies that you can consider when using social media, such as custom hashtags and viral trends, but we’ll save those for another day. Once you have reached potential customers, give them a place to sign up to your newsletter. This can be a call to action in a post or a simple link in your bio.

2. Videos 

Creating videos no longer requires expensive, high-end equipment. In fact, a short clip shot on a smartphone and shared online can be a bigger hit.

People love videos for their engaging and interactive nature. They appeal to our inner social needs, and are a great way for instant gratification (look at TikTok, for instance). 

Chances are, you’re already using videos to market your company, or are at least considering using them. Add value to your videos with the option to stay in touch through a mailing list.

3. Referral programs 

Starting a business can be difficult, but one of the first steps is getting out there. In the early stages, we typically rely on friends and family to spread the word, then turn to our employees’ networks. Why not consider using other parts of your network to branch out?

Entice subscribers to share with their friends and families with referral programs that reward new signups with discount codes and loyalty schemes.

4. Incentive 

Off the back of the above, all potential customers should have a reason to subscribe. Most consumers want to de-clutter their inboxes, but adding value to your emails could persuade them to continue with your mailing list. 

Offer customers things that they would otherwise not be able to get: insider knowledge, tips and tricks, and discount codes throughout the year. Remember, everybody loves a birthday treat.

5. Giveaways 

Running a promotion on an e-commerce site is a surefire way to increase sales, but it’s an opportunity to do so much more, including shamelessly plugging your email subscription. People will willingly hand over their email addresses for product giveaways - where there is a chance to get something for free - allowing you to sign them up for your newsletter.

Returns on investments in email strategies are said to be high, and if you’re willing to give away a high-value product for free, results could be bountiful.

6. Focus on targeted lists 

Using an email service provider allows you to store email addresses and generate email content, but a lot of the work will be done by you which can be both time-consuming and costly. Upgrading to a more comprehensive email marketing service brings the benefit of automation, allowing you to create a library of newsletter templates that are sent out automatically to the right people at the right time.

Subscribers like control, so giving them the option of which mailing lists they wish to be a part of can help you to deliver only the most relevant content. Integrating your mailing list with your e-commerce website can help you to identify incomplete sales, offering specific discounts rather than a company-wide promotion.

7. Gated content 

We’ve discussed offering incentives to entice more consumers to sign up to your mailing list, but in more extreme cases it’s possible to restrict access to your content. So-called ‘gated content’ requires a specific key to gain access; this key can be an account with your website, or more applicable to this story, being a subscriber to your email marketing.

Remember that this is a trade - or transaction - so offering high-value content is a must in order to deliver only our promise.

8. Give users more control 

Linking your email service provider to analytics software can help highlight not only the sources of new subscriptions, but unsubscriptions too. Analytics are hugely beneficial to any business, but they don’t offer a full picture. Consider why people are choosing to stop receiving marketing communications from you - it could be that they are no longer interested, but it could be that the content isn’t relevant, that they are receiving too many emails, or even that they aren’t getting enough information. Avoid unnecessary unsubscriptions by giving your customers a say. 

It may seem counterintuitive, but giving people the opportunity to select exactly what they want to receive is a great idea. You may be surprised at how many boxes people will tick given the option.

9. Increase prominence 

A good mailing list will have many entry points across various platforms, from your website to social media and existing emails to non-web marketing. However you’re advertising your marketing strategy, it should be prominent enough to attract attention - often more so than even the products or services customers are looking for. 

10. Make it easy 

Making your mailing list a prominent feature on your channels is only half of the story though. In business, we cater to the fact that ‘people are lazy’, whether that’s true or false. What this means is that it should be easy to join with minimal effort - each additional click presents another barrier that may deter potential subscribers. 

TechRadar created this content as part of a paid partnership with Constant Contact. The contents of this article are entirely independent and solely reflect the editorial opinion of TechRadar.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!