It's a sad fact, but your email marketing database degrades by about 25% every year. Your contacts' email addresses change as they move from one company to another, they opt-out of your email communication, or they abandon that old AOL address they only use to fill out forms on websites.
As a marketer, it's your job to make sure you're constantly adding fresh contacts to your email marketing campaigns so you can keep your numbers moving up and to the right. If you're not working on growing your email list already (or you've run out of creative ideas to do so), here are 25 simple ways to build up that email list.
And to learn more about how to build an effective email list, download our ebook about how to optimize your email marketing programs here.
25 Ways to Grow Your Email Marketing List
1) Create remarkable email content. Your content needs to be amazing if you want people to stay subscribed -- and if you want them to forward it to their friends, family, and colleagues that aren't already on your email list.
2) Create a new lead-gen offer -- like a free ebook or whitepaper -- and require visitors to provide their email address in order to download it. If you're having trouble coming up with new offers, this blog post provides suggestions for ways to simply and quickly create lead-gen content.
3) Host an online webinar and collect email addresses at registration.
4) Create a free, online tool or resource and have users sign up with their email address. For example, HubSpot has created plenty of free tools to use for prospect and lead generation -- most recently Marketing Grader.
5) Add a QR code to your print marketing collateral that people can scan to opt in to your email database.
6) Promote an online contest like a free giveaway, and have entrants sign up or submit with their email address.
7) Add an email signup call-to-action as a custom tab on your Facebook page. If you're not sure how, we've written a blog post on the subject! Then feature that tab in the Views and Apps section of your new Facebook page design.
8) Run a promotion on a partner or affiliate website to collect email addresses from a fresh source.
9) Collect email addresses at offline events like trade shows, and import them into your database. Be sure to send these contacts a welcome email that confirms their opt-in to your list.
10) Encourage your current email subscribers to share and forward your emails by including social sharing buttons and an "Email to a Friend" button so their networks, friends, and colleagues can sign up for your list. Include a "Subscribe" link at the bottom of your emails so those receiving the forwarded emails can easily opt-in, too.
11) Create a Google AdWords email capture ad (Note: This feature is still an AdWords experiment but is being implemented by a handful of companies), or simply leverage paid search ads to link to a landing page with and email sign-up.
12) Create multiple email subscriptions types that you use to send more targeted content to specific segments of your marketing personas. Your audience may not want to be in one, general campaign, but they prefer to be in a campaign that's targeted to their specific interests. If you create multiple, targeted subscription types, you'll increase the likelihood of visitors subscribing to one of them.
13) When creating content for guest blogging opportunities, include a call-to-action and link for readers to subscribe to your site's blog or email database in your author byline.
14) Promote one of your lead-gen offers on Twitter. Create a Twitter campaign to promote an offer like an ebook or a free resource to your followers that requires an email address to redeem.
15) Use your Facebook business page to promote an offer that requires an email address submission. In addition to creating a tab dedicated to email sign up, promote offers in your timeline and encourage your leads to share and like your offers on Facebook by adding a social sharing button on your landing pages and thank-you pages.
16) Target offers redeemable using an email address on your LinkedIn Company Page or in appropriate and relevant LinkedIn groups, or recommend an offer as the answer to someone's question in LinkedIn Answers.
17) Promote offers and email signup through your Google+ business page by making use of your Google+ updates and your Google+ about section.
18) Use Pinterest to promote offers that require email signup. HubSpot, for example, created a HubSpot Pinterest page, and by pinning the covers of our useful, information-rich, marketing ebooks, we've been able to generate new leads and grow our email list.
19) Leverage your company's YouTube channel. Add calls-to-action and URLs at the end of the videos you upload to encourage people to subscribe to your list, and include links to relevant landing pages in your videos' text descriptions.
20) Promote an ebook or relevant offer through an affiliate or partner email newsletter that targets a new but appropriate audience. This will give you access to a fresh subscriber base.
21) Encourage prospects in a traditional marketing campaign, like direct mail, to opt in to receive email communications instead. Include a URL to an online signup, and allow readers to opt out of direct mail. You'll even save some trees in the process!
22) Host your own offline, in-person events like meetups, conferences, hackathons, educational panels, etc., and collect registrations online using email addresses.
23) Link to offers that capture email signups throughout your website. Don't make people dig around your site to stumble across subscription options. Keep your offers up front, and include calls-to-action on just about every page of your website. Key places to consider are your website's homepage, the main page of your blog, your 'About Us' page, and your 'Contact Us' page.
24) Reinvigorate a stale email list with an opt-in campaign. Do you have an older list that you think is mostly decayed? Create an engaging opt-in message and send it to your old list encouraging contacts who wish to re-opt-in and promising to remove all contacts who don't respond.
25) Host a co-marketing webinar with a partner, and ask them to promote the registration to their audience.
These are all examples of things you can start doing today to increase your business' email database. Many of them are not complicated or difficult to implement. The key is to attack email list-building from as many angles as possible. As you grow your email list with fresh, opt-in contacts, you'll be able to nurture them with middle-of-the-funnel offers that allow you to convert early-stage leads into sales-ready leads.
What other creative ways to grow your email list did we miss? Share your ideas in the comments. White-hat tactics only, please! ;-)