Inbound Rocket

How to Build A Massive Email List From Scratch

How to Build A Massive Email List From Scratch

If you want to grow the traffic to your business, if you want to grow your business, you need to be constantly growing your email marketing list.

The number one rule for building your online business is that you should always be building your email marketing lists AND your relationships with your list.

Think about it… What other channels can you launch something and drive sales immediately?

Your social media fans can be taken away because of a drop in organic reach, your search engine rankings can go away. But no one can take your list away.

Don’t believe us? Listen to Michael Hyatt, talking about his email list of 115,000:

I have literally built a multi-million dollar business on the strength of my email list. Ninety percent of my income comes from it. Even today, my email list is still my number one business priority—and asset.

Or Douglas Karr, writing on the Marketing Tech Blog, about his list of over 100,000:

Without a doubt, our email list is the best investment we’ve ever made.

Only email has the kind of power to keep on engaging and reaching your fans, your customers. The biggest challenge though for startups and for small businesses, is that you don’t have a list yet and or is it too small to see any benefits from email.

After this post, that is all going to change. Imagine if you could make some simple tweaks to your website and see an instant boost in email subscribers?

Keep on reading to find out what you can do today, so you can start growing your list. While you start growing your list, don’t forget the other part of the coin though. Your relationship with your list is as important as the size of your list.

#1 Inline subscription forms

Every blog post and landing page you create should have a call-to-action (CTA). When you’re just starting with your company, and you might not even have launched your product yet, your primary CTA will be to have people subscribe to your email list.

Traditionally, email forms were put in the right-hand sidebar at the top. The only problem with this approach? When a visitor reads your content and scrolls down, they are at the bottom of your page (and not that likely to scroll up again).

Nowadays, it’s much more common to place the subscription form inline, in the content block. You can either do this at the top of a blog post, in the middle or right at the end as we do.

#2 Pop-up boxes

Another great way to get the attention of people and have them convert to your list is by using pop-up boxes. When a reader scrolls, it triggers a pop-up box with a subscription form in it.

You can show these at all sorts of different places on your website like we do use our Inbound Rocket plugin on the right-hand side of this website. Or you cover the entire content. While some people might find these pop-ups annoying they can result in high opt-ins.

These pop-ups can also be shown during “exit intent”, or when the reader finishes the article and moves their cursor to close the tab, you fire the pop-up. This can be a powerful and effective way as well to get people to convert.

#3 Welcome Mats

Using Welcome Mats you can set up a landing page within minutes. Here’s an example of a Welcome Mat we use on our website:

Welcome Mats, Your Instant Landing Page

Like any good landing page, the headline is straight on point to the website people are landing on (in this case an article that helps you build a social media strategy) and promises you to help fix your social media problems in exchange for your email address.

All we did here is created the content, created a Welcome Mat, and then assigned that Welcome Mat to the piece of content we created. An instant high converting landing page within minutes!

#4 Giveaways

Number four on our list is contests and giveaways. If you do this right it will be a small investment on your end but it can lead to a massive amount of new (targeted) leads. Having a bit of an existing (but not yet subscribed audience) on social media does wonders for this type of list building though.

The best way to approach a giveaway is to offer something that’s valuable to your target market. For example, when you’re building an online cooking community, giving away kitchen appliances might be a great way to attract an audience. Of course, there might be a subset that is only interested in the price than what else you have to offer, but in the end, using Giveaways can bring in a lot of new leads.

The folks over at AppSumo have giveaways on a regular basis as a way to keep on growing their list, according to their estimates each giveaway generates an average of $.083 gross profit per subscriber, with their top result being $6.90 gross profit per new subscriber.

Two great tools you can use if you want to do a giveaway to grow your audience:

  • Rafflecopter: starting at $13 per month, it allows you to easily create contests and giveaways you can host on your own website and even on social media platforms like Facebook. Another great feature of Raflecopter is the viral component where the participants can try to get a better chance at winning by inviting their friends.
  • PromoSimple: Starting at almost the same price level as Rafflecopter, Promosimple offers almost the same promise, but it also has a direct link to the most popular Email Service Providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact.

#5 Content upgrades

Next up are content upgrades. A content upgrade is where you offer an “upsell” piece of content within your normal content in exchange for an email address.

We do this for example on some piece of content on our website, where we offer an email an email course on how to become a better blogger:

Using Content Upgrades To Generate New Leads

The most important thing for getting the best results with your content upgrade, just like using a giveaway, is by giving a content upgrade that fits right in with the original article that your visitor is reading and on top of that brings enough additional value that people can’t stop themselves and want to subscribe.

Content Upgrades work best with bigger pieces of content, for example when using the Skyscraper technique and you’ve created an epic post, it might be to much for a lot of people to consume it all at once. Offering the ability to simply download it as a PDF can already do the trick.

However, don’t waste time and energy creating something like this if the original article isn’t getting any traffic. To get started, have a look at your analytics data, find the top five, top ten content pages on your website and think of the content upgrade you can offer your visitors on those pages.

After you’ve taken care of the pages with the highest amount of visitors, you can start moving down the line to pages that still get a decent amount of traffic that it warrants taken the extra time to create the content upgrade.

It might feel like a lot of work, but when executed perfectly it can run forever and let the leads drip in.

#6 Leverage other people’s lists

You don’t always have to do all the work yourself, what better way to get social proof and have someone else vouch for you on their list? All it takes is one referral from someone else to help you grow your list.

Simple finding out a similar type of lists, or lists that addresses the same target audience with a different problem can do wonders.

Just like guest posting you can reach out to the owners of other newsletters and offer to email each other list with a call-to-action (CTA) to join for your opt-in offer.

Make sure to find someone with a similar list size as yourself, to make it easier to broker a deal like this, and of course be sure to pair with somebody in a complementary niche or the same niche that isn’t a competitor.

#7 Building a free online tool

There is so much content being posted online every day that just using content marketing it is difficult to stand out above the crowd. Our last tip revolves around being useful.

When you build a useful tool for everyone to use it can drive a lot of email signups. Two things that come automatically to mind are the website grader by HubSpot or the Headline Analyser by CoSchedule, both of these tools are so valuable and easy to use that they drive a lot of traffic.

Their landing pages are pretty straightforward, and in exchange for just a little bit of information, it will help you get to know how well your website is ranking or how well you crafted your headlines. And they are working like crazy. Just do a simple Google search for one of the two related terms and you will see how well they rank.

Building a useful tool like this can bring in lots of new email addresses. Find a need your audience has and build a tool to help them fix it.

So there you’ve got it, seven different ways to help grow your email list right now. Any business of any size, can’t afford to not start building their email list. And with the above list, you don’t have any excuse anymore to start growing your list.

Which items did we forget and are doing wonders for building your list? Leave us a remark below so we can all learn from each other!

This entry was posted in Email Marketing. Bookmark the permalink.

Found this article interesting?
Subscribe to our newsletter!

No spam, ever. Your email address will only ever be used for notifications regarding our blog posts and product releases. If you want you can easily unsubscribe with a single click at any time.
What others are saying about our newsletters:

  Inbound Rocket's weekly newsletter delivers on its promise. It's action packed full with relevant knowledge to help me drive my business to the next level.  

Martijn de Kuijper

Founder of reinvented newsletter service Revue

  I've subscribed to a bunch of marketing newsletters and unsubscribed to the most of them.
The most value comes from these mails. I like how Inbound Rockets puts an extra dose of great info into the mails as an addition to the blog articles you're promoting. And they are great as well.
Keep doing what you do!  

Andi Herzog

Music Producer

Follow us

Pin It on Pinterest


Awesome, actionable marketing advice. Delivered weekly.

Join over 2,000 good-looking folks who get our latest content first 🙂

Here’s what you can expect from us.

And don’t worry, we hate spam too! You can unsubscribe at any time.