5 Ways To Grow Your Email Subscription List

With all the craze around social media and inbound marketing tactics over the past year it might seem strange to write an article about email marketing. Does it still work? What about the filtering of emails that Gmail, the most popular email platform, has implemented? Email marketing does work. If you don’t believe me check out some of these stats from own accounts. 

Link click rate for average tweet sent in my account (JonArmstrong_): 1.7%

Average engagement rate for tweets: 7.6%

Think that is impressive? (Surprisingly its almost double the industry average!)

Here are the stats for my email marketing campaigns:

Average open rate for the Sprout Hack Newsletter: 40.67%

Average link click rate to view full article: 24.8%

Wow! Even I was a little shocked at just how effective email marketing can be. The numbers don’t correlate exactly: the content I tweet gets shared so the followers of accounts that shared won’t know me and might not click my links as much. Likewise people who have signed up for our newsletter have expressed more interest in our work than someone who just happens to follow us on Twitter.

All that being said, email marketing is easily the best way to drive more business. Your subscribers are engaged and interested in what you have to offer. They might only be interested the information and not want to purchase anything, but they are still much more engaged than social media followers.

So how do you grow your email marketing list? First you should setup a way to manage your list once you get subscribers. We use Mailchimp, it works great for us and we have been using it for years.

Now that you have a way to manage your list here are the 5 most effective ways we have grown our list:

Ebook Creation

At Inbound UX, the app development and marketing consultancy I run with Ashley (co founder of this blog), we create eBooks on a fairly regular basis. Each time we create an eBook we offer it as a free download to site visitors and our social media followers.

Pro Tip:

Creating eBooks used to be a time consuming exercise especially if you cared about design. Seeing as we offer design as a service we had to go through this long and time consuming process every time we released an eBook.The time it takes us to create an eBook now has been cut in half with Canva. Canva is a web application with pre built templates for blog graphics, logos and pretty much any graphic design need.

Once we design the eBook we create a Twitter Card (see below), share it on all our social media accounts and send it to our existing subscriber lists. For Inbound UX this is the number one way we generate new sign ups for our newsletter.

Twitter Cards

Twitter Ads are like Google Adwords in the early days. Cost Per Click, or CPC rates are absurdly low and the overall quality of leads is substantially better than Facebook for most of our companies.

That being said you don’t even have to pay to use some of the awesome features Twitter provides when you sign up for an Advertising Account. (This process has changed somewhat recently and some accounts are eligible for Twitter Cards even without signing up for an ad account.)

You can create Twitter cards that allow users to share their email information with just one click. We use this type of card when we give away free eBooks or offer special promotions.

Create and Share Surveys

Surveys are vital for when we need a little more data or want to do some market research for a product we are testing. Survey tools like pandapoll.com or surveymonkey.com can get your poll up and running in no time.

When you share your survey be sure to ask for the survey taker’s email. We make sure they know that they are signing up for our newsletter by adding a checkbox as an option to sign up before submission. About half of our survey takers check the box to signup for our newsletter.

Payment Checkouts

I have consulted for six ecommerce clients over the past three years. The number one question they ask is how to get more repeat customers. Why? Ecommerce sites rely on repeat customers as the cost of a new customer, in terms of ad spend, is extremely high in this industry.

My advice for all six of the clients was to add an option to their checkout processing form that allows users to sign up for upcoming events and promotions. Two of the clients chose not to implement the option. The other four saw an increase in their signups.  One client in particular doubled their already expansive email list with this simple addition.

Guest Posting

Want to tap into the network of other bloggers? There’s no easier way to do so than writing a guest blog post. It may seem a little overwhelming reaching out to other bloggers to submit your content. Trust me, when I first started out I sat at my desk for hours waiting to see if I would get a response to my submissions. Having been rejected dozens of times I know what it’s like to put in a lot of work only to be told it wasn’t good enough.

The feedback that I received from these submissions improved my writing abilities tremendously. Even if you’re content gets rejected there is still a net gain. Now that we are a little more confident to submit here is how to find opportunities for prime guest posting spots.:

  1. Find the editor of the blog
  2. Follow them on Twitter
  3. Share their content
  4. Create a dialogue
  5. Ask to be considered
  6. Craft headlines
  7. Get approval
  8. Write the article

When writing the article be sure to include information about your own company and a link in your bio. The link in your bio should be to a landing page, your blog or even a shareable newsletter link.


Creating a system to ensure that your mailing list continues to grow is the first and most crucial step in creating a sustainable business model. The cost of acquiring new users or customers in today’s world is just too high to overlook repeat customers. The easiest way to get repeat customers… email lists.