The Secret to Building an Email List of over 100k

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

In this article, I have interviewed experts from various industries where they have shared their secrets to building an email list.

A lot of experts have over hundreds of thousands of Email subscribers.

Without any further delay, let’s see what they have to say:

Munmi Sarma, CEO at Tiny Piglet Publishing

Giveaways are the best way to build an email list. I am sure, the other experts will surely talk about gaining email subscribers using giveaways. Hence, I want to talk about something more specific when it comes to making an email marketing strategy,

We have recently started using an Exit Screen which acts just like your traditional exit pop up but converts 10 times better.

An exit screen will cover the whole screen unlike an exit pop up. Whenever a visitor tries to leave your website, an exit screen will pop up.

We can customize the exit screen to show any page. We can even show a 3rd party website like CNN or even an affiliate landing page.

At Giveaway.Rocks we are testing a lot of pages. Currently, we have an opt-in page as an exit screen.

For email marketing we are using Mailzak. . We have shifted from Mailchimp to Mailzak because they are extremely cost effective.

For $12 and $24, we can store upto 10k and 100k contacts respectively.

You have the ability to send unlimited emails to your contacts.

Now we are saving hundreds of dollars every month. We are reinvesting the same on gaining more leads.

Daniel Nainan, Comedian

I used a script to extract every single email address of every person who has ever emailed me at my Gmail address. I have literally tens of thousands of people on my email list. I use a free service to email them occasional, non-annoying updates of what’s going on, and of course they are able to opt out.

The key is not to email my list every single freaking day like some entertainers do. I email only once every couple of months or so, when I have something genuinely interesting to report.

Ray Higdon,

We have built our 175,000 email list by simply providing consistent content with relevant calls to action in our content. This helped us to hit the Inc 5000 this year (#754) and has helped us have near million dollar product launches and a 529% growth over the last three years.

The biggest suggestion to entrepreneurs is to know their target market and their problems or what they want and then create online content (Facebook lives, blogposts, podcasts, etc) that helps them with their problems or desires and to have a relevant call to action at the end.

Our suggested format for video content is:

● Intro (who are you)

● Question (what are you going to cover in this video that might

● Pertain to the audience)

● Content (teach what you are going to teach)

● Call to Action (tell them where to go to dive deeper or get more

● Insights on this topic)

This will most likely mean having more than one giveaway. We find most successful companies have at least ten different giveaways they may plug in their content.

Doing this consistently will almost guarantee you build a list of people that are interested in what you have to offer then it is up to you to convert them to customers!

Patrick Baker, Senior Manager at

Here are my top 3 tips when it comes to email marketing.

● Design your emails in a mobile-first format. Now, more than ever, customers are using smartphones to engage with emails.

● Strike a balance between promotional content and inspirational content. This will create multiple engagement opportunities for your customers, and will also keep the subject matter fresh.

● Make sure that the user experience is consistent across email outreach and email subscription, and ultimately the website. Continuity between channels will lead to more engaged customers and will grow your brand along the way.

Naresh Vissa, Founder & CEO of Krish Media & Marketing

To capture names, make sure you have plenty of newsletter opt-in boxes and maybe even a pop-up asking visitors to subscribe to your free mailing list so they can stay up to date on your latest deals, special events, content, and other goodies.

I’ve had clients force users to enter their e-mail address in order to browse around the site or get something of value. Take this example from a podcast client: When visitors click the “Play” button or “Listen” for a podcast, a pop-up comes up immediately asking the user to enter their e-mail into a box so they can listen to the episode. The only way they can listen to the podcast would be by entering their e-mail address. This seems forceful, but it’s a great way to collect new e-mail leads.

You could post coupons on your site. Once users click them to download, a pop-up comes up asking them to enter their e-mail address so the coupon can be e-mailed to them.


Here are examples of what businesses can give away to their sites’ visitors free of charge:

● Special report

● E-book

● Special audio or video interview

● One-year free trial to a product

● Free consultation

● Coupon or discount code

You want to highlight your giveaway as much as possible. The copy should clearly say what you’re giving away, why it’s of value, and how people can take advantage of this offer (i.e. “Enter Your E-mail Address Below To Get Your FREE XYZ”).

For one former podcast client of mine, I ran a campaign where we gave away free digital subscriptions to a paid newsletter if people entered their e-mail on a landing page we created on a vanity URL. We plugged the URL on-air during the podcasts. We built our mailing list to more than 10,000 subscribers from scratch over a one-month period because of this campaign.

You can easily fulfill the “giveaway” through an autoresponder e-mail within your ESP (Email service provider). Just search for the “Autoresponder” section of your ESP to set it up.

You could give customers a questionnaire, and in return for filling it out (with their e-mail address listed), they received a free pizza slice or beer or Tequila shots.

I’m thinking of ideas off the top of my head and sharing them. The point is to get YOU to start thinking about how you can apply these principles to your own business.

How to Grow your List if you already have Customers?

I once had a client who had more than 2,000 clients. He grew his business in a traditional, man-to-man fashion. He asked me how he could better cross-promote his products and services.

I told him to get the e-mails of all his clients and put them in a mailing list. He could do this because he had to get approval to perform services or file paperwork for his clients every year. So he didn’t have to go out of his way to get e-mails. He also had two assistants working for him, so he didn’t have to spend any additional time to collect this information.

The mailing list changed his business dramatically. Gone were the days of hunting down clients on the phone to communicate or cross-promote them.

Ben Shaffer, Digital Marketer

My top choice for building an email list is doing it in such a way that the prospect receives highly personalized information in return for their email address.

This may be done through them filling out a survey or questionnaire and then emailing them the results whilst also adding them to a list.

Why is this so powerful, because it means that they are expecting your first email and are enthusiastic to receive it. In addition, it means that you build credibility in their mind so that future emails are received happily.

Last but not least, it means that you also have data on each subscriber so that you can build campaigns which are highly specific to them.

This can also be done using a ‘calculator method’ in many different niches such as:

● Weight loss — giving them a BMI calculator

● Finance — giving them a mortgage calculator

Russab, Founder of SMC Digital Marketing

In my experience the best way to build an email list is to create incentives for referrals. Individuals today trust their friends over basically everything else, at the same time they have huge distrust for advertisements.

If you create incentives to share your brand (perhaps a 50% discount or a free video consultation) individuals who truly enjoy your content will share it like crazy. This leads to their friends (who are likely similar) signing up for your email list and getting presented the same offer.

This might not grow your list exponentially at first, but it ensures you get dedicated subscribers. Once you get a decent sized list (say 10,000) and begin to offer tiered offers — based on the amount referred- you begin to see exponential gains. I’ve seen a client of mine go from 20,000 to 60,000 in a matter of weeks using this tactic.

Sean Hay, Director of Retention Marketing at

As a higher volume sender, giving customers the opportunity to throttle down their send volume rather than unsubscribe completely has netted us a 5% larger active and engaged list than we otherwise would have.

We have also learned a lot about email list growth by experimenting with lightbox/popup offers. Lightboxes or popups have become somewhat commonplace in ecommerce but don’t discount their value.

Think of them as a welcome mat or soft intro to your brand for new customers. If these offers or tactics make sense for your brand, then they can be a great way to build your email list or convert customers on the fence about purchasing. Experiment with various welcome offers and display methods to find what works best for you.

Stan Kimer, President and Founder of Total Engagement

My number one way of building my email distribution list for my monthly e-newsletter is to collect business cards and conduct drawings for books related to my topic when I speak at various human resources groups.

I let the attendees know that I will be emailing them, offering to send them my presentation files and letting them know that I will be adding them to my email list. I also have blank business cards to hand out to people who do not have one so that they can provide their name and e-mail addresses.

Since, I formed the business with an initial list of 80 newsletter subscribers, I am now up to over 2,300. I estimate that over 75% come from business cards collected at business events.

I also have a decent e-mail open rate since these are people who heard me speak and know that I have passion and expertise in my speaking areas.

Brock Murray, Co-Founder/COO, SEOplus+

One of the most effective ways that our agency has found to build an email subscribers list is to promote an online contest, like a free giveaway or incentive, and have entrants sign up or submit using their email address (and don’t forget to promote your contest on social for more buzz!). You have to provide value to entice users, so my three go-tos are to provide a discount (works best with e-commerce), a guide/ebook/whitepaper, or an attractive giveaway, which works best for companies with a vast social following.

Depending on your business, there could also be an opportunity to create a fun and/or useful online tool, like a fantasy football team name generator, or a mortgage calculator. You can offer the tool for free, but make users sign up using their email addresses. This is a simple way to gather emails for new, relevant users. This strategy can be two-fold, as you could also get a popular tool like this to rank very high in search, which will drive traffic to your site for many years to come.

Alexander Grosu, Digital Marketer at inSegment

Due to the relatively “new” nature of digital marketing, there are just a few tactics that could be labelled as completely “bad” for a business — so it can be said that there’s no actual “right” or “wrong” in online marketing.

At the same time, there are tactics that have proven themselves to be more successful than others — and email marketing makes no exception from this. One of our top-favorite choice for building email lists is making sure that we constantly provide people with genuinely qualitative content — both on our blogs, as well as through our free-to-download whitepapers (which require users to enter their contact information when the whitepaper is accessed). All of these content pieces are built with the end-user in mind, offering actual tips and advice that business owners and marketers can use to build better, more efficient digital marketing campaigns.

I would also like to add that, once the email lists are created, it is highly important for a business owner/marketer to know what to do with them. For instance, segmenting the email lists according to the different user groups you are targeting can help you build better, more user-focused content in your emails — content that builds a genuine audience and ultimately contributes to the users’ conversion into buyers.

Likewise, it is also essential to incorporate email marketing in your other digital marketing efforts too. For example, if you have a limited-time offer for a free-to-download eBook on your site (and if you use this to grow your email lists), you should also promote this on Twitter and Facebook as well — which makes more people learn about the offer in due time and subscribe to your email list.

David M Burrows, Co-founder, Martin+Michael Agency

I have a startup and a digital ad agency and use a myriad of tactical actions to increase email lists. Starting with our dry cleaning delivery app, Laundri. ..

The most effective list building campaign continues to be offering customers a $25 credit towards their account when they both download the app and provide us with their name, email, phone, address and birthday. This also allows us to send a greeting and gift to them a day in advance of their actual birthday. To date, in eleven months, we’ve grown our list from 0 to over 3,800.

For other clients we serve under the Martin+Michael Agency (M+M), we use limited time promotions for discounts, account credits and contests to drive email sign ups. These offers come from social media, PR and app-driven notifications. App notifications ask users to invite their friends and family to sign up for the same benefits and to increase their own chances of winning whatever is part of that marketing campaign.

Cody Miles, Creative Director at Brandcave

There’s really no way around it: quality content is crucial to building a healthy email list. That’s the approach we take with our clients, because it’s the only approach with a predictable level of success. To be successful, however, there are many things that need to work well together.

The website needs to have great UX, there should be multiple opportunities to become a subscriber, content should be optimized for identified search terms, etc. etc. But, you will not make a dent in gaining subscribers unless you have established your company as a thought leader in your industry.

When you have truly become a resource for your audience, marketing stops feeling like marketing. When marketing stops feeling like marketing, visitors can trust you with their email.

Jason Rueger, Email Marketer for Fit Small Business

Here’s my #1 tip for growing any email list.

Provide an offer your customers can’t resist and then deliver:

List growth is all about knowing your customer. Who are they? What motivates them? What messaging do they respond to? There is no one-size fits all best-way to grow an email list. It is completely different depending on what each business is and what their customers and potential customers are like.

But, if I had to give one full-proof tip for list growth, it would be this: provide an offer your customers can’t resist and then deliver.

Here’s an example:

Irresistible offer: Let’s say you are a retailer who specializes in discounted name-brand clothing. What are your customers going to respond to? They are going to respond to anything that gives them more discounts. That’s the whole reason they are shopping at your store in the first place.

So, offer a one-time 40% discount for anyone who joins your email list. You can have sign-ups at your register, a pop-up on your webpage, etc. The vehicle doesn’t matter as long as lots of customers are going to be exposed to your irresistible pitch.

Then Deliver (and keep on delivering): Once you have your irresistible pitch figured out, then you have to deliver. Obviously, they need to get what they were promised, their 40% off coupon. But, to truly build your list, you have to keep providing value. Why? Because of word-of-mouth referrals. If you have a local customer that is on your list and you are providing consistent value to them, they will tell all of their friends about how much they save because they are on your list. Bingo . . . free advertising and automatic list growth.

Wesley Flippo, Co-Founder and CMO of Buy the Best Drone

Regarding your piece, a great way to build an email list of potential customers could be done through an application called Scrapebox. Scrapebox allows you to complete several hundred Google searches at once and organizes all of the results in an Excel sheet. If you have the right keywords with Google’s advanced search operator (such as inurl: intext:, etc.), you can pull together a list of thousands of ‘emails’ from bloggers and companies that have ‘contact’ pages.

Once you have the list of URLs, you can manually pull out the email address

or use several online tools, such as, to collect that data and put it into your email program.

The most important part of this tactic is to have a solid ‘value adding’ email to send out. People hate spam advertisements, but if you can send out an email blast that provides value in addition to marketing your services, you will see a great return on investment.

Sean Ogle, Founder of Location Rebel

The best thing I’ve found for building my email list has actually been using a Welcome Mat — or a full screen that slides down to make an offer to people visiting my site.

It’s necessary to test different versions of it. But I’ve found that using a big, beautiful photo, and offering a free PDF directly related to the main theme of my site usually results in a 3–5% opt in rate.

My daily email signups doubled after implementing this.

Lisa Chu Founder of Black N Bianco Kids Apparel

One of the most unique ways to build an email list is by hosting a giveaway on a popular blog in your industry. The giveaway is a catalyst to accumulating emails from your target audience. To ensure the emails are legitimate you require all of the users to confirm their email if they enter the giveaway contest. The giveaway has the potential to even grow your email list further by sharing it with their friends and family. Building an email list is nastiness to growing any business in the internet age.

Andrew Choco, VP of Marketing at Directive

Depending on your industry, there are different tactics for building an email list. We work with a lot of B2B SaaS companies, and one of the way’s we’ve been able to build up email lists is by sending people to an optimized landing page where we offer a 5-minute demo video of the software. While this doesn’t necessarily bring in massive amounts of emails, it brings in really high quality emails, which is ultimately the goal. We’ve found in the B2B software industry, many people are trying to gain information by having their potential clients schedule a demo. We used to do this with our clients, but when we switched our Call to Action from Schedule a Demo to Watch Free 5-Min Demo Video our conversion rate increased by 15%.

Austin Miller, Head of Digital Marketing at Bookly

I prefer a two-pronged approach when it comes to building an email list. They would be divided as such:

Inbound (Content)


We provide a pop-up that asks readers to subscribe to our newsletter

One of the best tactics for capturing email subscribers in this way is to provide validation by mentioning your subscribership. As I’ve noted before in a podcast, I made a simple change in copy that greatly enhanced our lead capture. Instead of writing “Join our newsletter to get killer articles”…we now use “Join over 30,000 people who love reading our articles”. This change in copy gave us a 4.7% increase in lead capture.

Strategic Alliances


We have partnered with legal firms and b2bs like Staples that add an opt-in form at the point of checkout. In turn we offer either a commission on all conversions or directly purchase the leads. All leads are legitimate and know beforehand that they will be contacted with an offer for a free month of online bookkeeping. This ensures quality responses and a near 30% email open rate at the point of contact.

If chosen, I can provide further insight and tips on how to grow an email list. Of course, we would also be sure to share the article with all of our readers!

Craig Bloem, Founder and CEO of

Incentives are key for building an email lists. Build a great product that users can use for free. At FreeLogoServices, we have over 18 million emails on our email list.

We’ve built up this list by offering a great product that makes our customers happy to register an account and offer us their email address. Users can use all our design tools and capabilities for free they just need to create an account and give us their email address.

Kaila Yu, Boss Babe of

My favorite way to build my email list is by creating surveys which ends up killing two birds with one stone. I can grab data about my potential customer and their contact information at the same time.

To use the survey list building technique, first create a quick survey with about three questions and ask for their contact information at the end.

Next up, promote the survey on all of your social media accounts. It’s definitely worth spending a couple bucks promoting the survey on Facebook. Since FB allows for highly targeted ads, you can target your desired customer.

Sam McIntire, Founder of Deskbright

The key to building a large e-mail list is setting up effective incentives. When people give out their e-mails, they don’t do it just for fun — they expect something in return.

If you request your visitors’ contact information and offer them vague promises of ‘updates’ or a ‘newsletter’, they won’t respond. After all, the average office worker receives over 100 e-mails a day, and doesn’t want to have to wade through any more, unless absolutely necessary.

Here’s what works: offer your visitors a specific, incredibly valuable piece of content in exchange for their e-mail addresses. This content should be so useful that it will make an exchange of contact info irresistible. It could vary significantly depending on your website and industry:

For example, you could provide subscribers with a free .pdf guide; a cheat sheet; a set of tools and templates; an infographic; or a complimentary mini-course on your subject.

With the proper incentive in place, your conversion rate could increase by orders of magnitude.

Dev Horn, Vice President at

We build our email list of prospects by mailing physical postcards (we mail about 8,000 per month) with our offer and (1) a toll-free number to call and (2) a website address (landing page) to visit.

Many who want to learn more visit the website (landing page) and enter at least their name and email address.

Once they hit submit, their contact information goes into (1) Zoho CRM and (2) Infusionsoft.

Infusionsoft initiates an email sequence (drip campaign). The recipients can opt out but most do not because they just asked for more info.

We have accumulated thousands of email addresses that have opted in for our marketing communications, but we are very careful about abusing the right to email to prospects after our drip campaign completes. We have some strategies for follow up beyond that; the key is we always try to provide some value even if they don’t buy our services. We are always giving to the community of our prospects, and that builds a spirit of reciprocity — they will interact with us in the future because we have been helpful in the past.

It’s about more than an email list — it’s about creating and building a long-term relationship. We want our prospects to know that we have their back, whether they join our team or not.

Heather Knapp, Director Marketing/Advertising at Scenic Landscaping

In our industry, we find email campaigns to be vital as a way to keep in touch with our current client base.

While we serve 200–300 different clients each year, we rely on our email campaigns to keep our clients debriefed seasonally.

Whether we need to remind them to turn on sprinklers, turn off sprinklers, order mums, order bulbs, taking orders for seasonal displays, or getting in touch to help after climate or natural disasters, email campaigns are the easiest to stay in touch instantly and let our clients know we are thinking of them first and foremost.

In order to gain add new or potential clients to our email campaigns, we take down their information over the phone when they call us for a consultation.

This way we can reach out with any promotional material, and send them newsletters with inspiration and project updates that may interest them. We have salesman attend tradeshows and take clients information into notebooks, to add them to email lists as well.

Very often, in order to generate interest at trade shows or events, we will raffle off a free flowering tree that includes delivery and planting. Potential clients will leave their name and email to be considered, and we obtain their information to add to an email list this way.

We always give away a tree to one lucky winner and very often that will turn into a larger job for us!

Divya Bhansali, VP of Marketing at AccountantsWorld

The best way to build an email list is to produce content that your target customers can’t live without, and require an email address to access it. For example, you can launch an e-book, webinar or infographic that provides them with unique insights or answers to challenging questions.

There are three reasons, this is my preferred route to growing an email list. First, great content will draw precisely the targeted, motivated audience that you’re looking for — people who have interest in your message and are willing to take time to digest it. Second, the tools to create fantastic content have never been more affordable (often free), nor easier to use. And finally, once you build credibility with your core audience via indispensable content, then you’re in a much better position to ask for something in return — providing more data about themselves, recommending your emails to a friend, or giving your business a no-risk try.

Elizabeth Adams, Owner/Designer at ExVoto Vintage Jewelry

I am a jewelry designer and I began by selling only wholesale to boutiques and through private trunk shows in different cities. Whenever I held an event in a boutique which represented my brand, sold at a bazaar, or held a private trunk show, I would create a giveaway with an item and guests would register by joining my email list.

I would also ask the trunk show hostess to send me the email list for their guest list and I would create the evite through a bulk email management subscription like constant contact.

By the time I began our ecommerce website in 2011, I have thousands of emails in my database and I sent out an eblast announcing our website launch. Today our showrooms in Nashville, Birmingham and Montgomery all hold giveaways whenever we have a special event.

We ask for emails when we checkout customers and when a customer checks out online it is a required field. We have a guest book that visitors sign with their email and birthday (we send out an email with a special discount code on your birthday) this helps us build our email list as well.

I would say that giveaways and trunk shows built our list the fastest.

Shawn Chhabra, Entrepreneur and Author

“I have used my book to build a subscribers list, in fact, we have used several books to help our client companies to build multiple lists. This method is my top choice because this is very effective, inexpensive and scalable.

Write a book with your top goal to get laser target leads and subscribers then copy my success.

There are two ways; I have used my books to get the subscribers from particular niches. I used my own websites to give away pdf copies in combination to Facebook ads.

Here are couple of examples:

The real magic happens when you leverage the power of Amazon’s powerful platform. The KDP Select is magical. You can get hundreds of subscribers in the first week, if not in a day or two.

That happens by using the right strategies and combining with additional marketing efforts, your own effort in addition to whatever Amazon is going to do to promote your book’s free downloads as a part of their KDP promotions. Amazon will promote your book and make it available at zero price, and you know that we all love free stuff. People will jump on this offer, and you will have thousands of people downloading your book. If you tell them to opt in and get additional free stuff, your subscriber’s list will skyrocket. Start offering free stuff from page one and give away additional free stuff at the beginning of every chapter.

You must start enticing people (the readers) for free stuff to opt-in to get free goodies, the bonus items. Your free bonus, the giveaway stuff must be valuable and useful to people and related to your book.

These results aren’t reserved for the only few lucky ones who are already established and have big followers (audiences). I have done all of them, so can you too.”

Lauren Smith, Content Marketing Manager at Litmus

Start by collecting email addresses where your customers and prospects are already close to a point-of-purchase or customer service interaction, since that’s where potential subscribers are interested and engaged.

Optimize your signup forms

Include signup forms throughout your website. Indicate why subscribers should sign up and what benefits they’ll receive. Maybe it’s the promise of deals or great content.

Provide multiple subscription options

Offer subscribers multiple subscription options, such as a monthly or a weekly newsletter. This enables you to provide more tailored content, which can increase open and conversion rates.

Host or participate in a webinar or event

Collect emails through event registrations, or from collaborating on an event with a partner to increase exposure to their audiences.

Offer opt-in incentives

Require visitors to provide their email addresses to view a piece of content such as an ebook, report, or video. Don’t gate everything, though — we recommend only gating the high value pieces to remain friendly and accessible.

Use social media

Promote your emails on social media by sharing including a call to action to your subscribe page on your website. You can also generate leads through paid promotion, such as Twitter Cards.

Send viral emails

Encourage subscribers to share your message. Including a “share” call-to-action could increase sharing likelihood by 13 times . In addition, emails that are personalized, focused on events, or transactional updates are more likely to be shared.

Experiment with different methods! Try a combination of the above to see what works best, and see your email list grow.

Adam Binder, Founder Creative Click Media

Creative Click Media has been able to build its email list substantially by continuously creating unique content that can only be accessed through subscriptions to our weekly e-newsletter.

We like to include either exclusive webinars, videos, ebooks, whitepapers, and infographics that reflect our monthly themes.

For example, October is Cyber Security Awareness Month so during the month of September we prepare content that reflects the theme. So, in order to view our exclusive cyber security awareness content you must first sign up for weekly email blast.

Persuading visitors to sign up for weekly content could lead to high levels of engagement from subscribers but attempt to think outside of the box when it comes to building your email list.

Stephanie Zercher, Practice Lead: PR and Engagement Marketing at Marsden Marketing

Using forms and offering content in exchange for a prospect’s information is a great marketing practice to build a database and generate new leads. Here are some dos and don’ts:

● Consider the value of your offer. What type of content are you providing? Meatier content allows you to ask for more information on your form.

● Decide what kind of leads you want. Shorter forms usually result in more leads, but they may be less qualified, and vice-versa.

● Know your buyer personas. If you know which leads turn into customers, you can use that demographic information to determine what you collect about new contacts.

● Don’t ask the same thing over and over. Use smart fields to eliminate the need for people to re-enter information.

● Place your form above the fold. Don’t make people scroll or search for it.

● Put a clear, customized call-to-action on the form. Customize the text on your submission button to make it more relevant to what people are getting.

● Make required fields obvious. Few things are more irritating than an error message saying a field is blank.

● Make your privacy standards clear. People want to know that their information is protected and not shared in any way they haven’t approved.

● As you build or refine your database, forms are a must-have tool to learn about your site’s visitors so you can attract more of them and create a mutually beneficial system that helps your business grow and leads get the content they want.

Kelly Chase, Digital Strategist at The Content Factory

One of the best ways to build your email list is through keyword research and SEO. Many businesses create gated downloadable assets (videos, checklists, how-to guides, templates, etc) to grow their list.

However, they still faced with the issue of driving traffic to those landing pages (usually with paid ads) and then hoping that traffic converts into subscribers.

At The Content Factory we’ve managed to more than triple our existing email list in four and a half months with zero ad spend by using keyword research and SEO techniques to guide the creation of our downloadable assets. By starting with keyword research we were able to identify the specific sorts of assets that people are already searching for.

From there, we chose the opportunities that we had the best chance of ranking for and created long-form content focused around that keyword. Then we created the asset itself as a supplemental gated asset on that page so that people who downloaded it were added to our list.

Not only does this technique mean that our sales funnel is being filled by free, organic traffic as opposed to costly ads, but by using SEO techniques to guide asset creation we’re ensuring that we’re giving searchers exactly the kind of asset that they are looking for exactly when they want it — which has lead to huge conversion rates.

Before we started using this approach, a typical download on our website would usually convert anywhere between 5%-20%.

However, our keyword targeted assets consistently convert in the 50%-65% range, allowing us to rapidly grow our subscriber list using our existing site traffic.

Jess Tiffany, President of Marketing and Networking University

Capturing emails is a very important key to building an ongoing sales funnel. The classic method of email capture still works fantastic today and that is to offer something of value in exchange for the email.

Typically, what we like to do on our site is offer a free e-course on topics like Facebook Marketing, How to rank in Google or on how to capture more email addresses.

Once you have established a relationship, asking for referrals is a second method of generating even more emails from the email list that you already have.

At this stage we may offer another course for free or a discount on a premium course for a popular business coach or guru. Some people will take this even a step further and ask to scan your entire email list and send invites to all of your address book.

This step takes a large amount of trust that you will not abuse their list. If you can get to this point of trust then you can organically gain mass numbers of emails and almost an endless list of new prospects for your business.

Christopher Van Buren, President and Founder of LaunchMoxie, Inc

Your first step in building an email list is to create an IFO, or Irresistible Free Offer. The IFO is a critical step in your success. It’s where your visitors become fans of your work — from cold prospects into warm leads.

● It’s where you make your first impression.

● It’s the beginning of your long-term, profitable relationship.

● It’s where you begin to establish trust.

Many entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of the IFO and make one of these common mistakes:

● Recycling existing material — making it easy for the author, but not ideal for the visitor.

● Giving a sales pitch, without giving the visitor anything of value. The visitor goes away feeling they got the “bait and switch”.

● Giving too much value and leaving the visitors wanting more.

So, now that you have the recipe for the perfect free offer, how do you get people to see it? Where will they come from? The good news is, there are only FOUR ways to drive traffic to your IFO…

● You can PAY for it. This includes banner advertising and PPC click-advertising. This is when you pay someone to reach THEIR audience.

● You can SHARE for it. Called Performance Media or Affiliate Marketing, this is where you pay a commission to the person who has the audience.

● You can TRADE for it. Called Exchange Media or Cross Promotion, this is where you promote someone and they promote you in return.

● You can WORK for it. Called Organic Media, this is where you create content that leads people to the IFO. It includes social media, article marketing, blogging, podcasting, video channels, and online publicity.

● Each of these four types of media (traffic) has Pros and Cons. Your job is to choose the perfect mixture for your unique situation.

Here’s my trick: Give a physical thing away for free.

It’s just really appealing to people to get something they can hold in their hand in exchange for merely providing their email address.

I just used this effectively for my smallest client: my wife’s new company Gráinne Baking Co (

She has been doing farmers’ markets all summer and getting a couple of email sign ups here and there. I made her these cards that say. This card entitles you to two free fruit and nut granola bars at and includes a coupon code. Out of 100 cards distributed at a recent event, 30 went to the site and signed up. That’s a pretty good ratio! And better than a sign up on a clipboard because it brought people from the event to the website.

Julia Spano, Sr Director, Marketing Partnerships at Bounce Exchange

Email is, and will always be, the primary communication channel for the majority of businesses despite the availability of cooler, sexier mediums.. email is controllable, reliable, and transparent as to its success or failure for a specific campaign, making testing and optimization easily executable.

The first step in making email a viable, revenue generating channel for your organization is to grow a healthy email list. And you can grow a healthy, engaged, responsive email list through Behavioral Marketing.

Behavioral Marketing identifies the behavior of engaged site visitors and the precise moment that a visitor is most wiling to enter their email address, using this powerful email address as a unique identifier, across browsers and devices, to create relevant behaviorally driven communications. Behavioral Marketing uses this single, powerful email address as the conduit to creating true people based communications tailored to the behavioral profile of that individual consumer.

Organizations without the assistance of Behavioral Marketing technologies can only identify approximately 5% of their site visitors. By empowering your marketing practices with Behavioral Marketing technologies, visitor identification is upwards of 30–40%. Through Behavioral Marketing, not only do you grow the most powerful email list, but overall consumer communications are based on the most relevant, behaviorally driven data.


What’s your favorite email marketing strategy? Would love to hear from you in the comments section below.