16 Badass Strategies for Growing Your Email List

Email marketing is a huge topic (hence my epic course about it). Growing your list, getting subscribers, making them feel awesome and then figuring out how to sell your own stuff to them - it’s taken me years of trial and error and experimentation to get it all down. 

The good news is that there are so many awesome little ways that you can begin growing your email list, starting today.

You don’t have to create a huge opt-in freebie, or an email course, or write a million guest posts just to get started.

As creators and makers and doers, we often forget to make the time to market ourselves. These powerful hacks can be implemented in less than an hour and return big results. 

When it comes down to it, your email list = your business.

It is how you communicate with your gang, introduce your new offerings and products, and build relationships with your customers and readers. Your email list is worth potentially tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars, so you need to start growing yours now. 

If you want a ridiculously comprehensive guide to building your email list and launching your first product, my new course Your First 1K® shows you exactly how to get your firsts 1000 email subscribers. You can learn more about Your First 1K® right here. 


1. Create a landing page

A dedicated newsletter page, a simple page for your freebie opt-in, or a landing page for your free course - whatever it is, it should have only ONE possible action and that is to sign up for your email list.

I have quite a few landing pages. Once you start building up multiple landing pages, you create more opportunities for your readers to become subscribers.

We go into detail about exactly what type of landing pages you need on your blog and how to make them in Your First 1K®.

Here are a few examples of a landing page with a single call to action.

Landing page to grow your email list

2. Twitter Cards

Twitter cards are these nifty little embedded “cards” that allow people to join your email list without even leaving Twitter! Amazing right? 

Paul Jarvis has a great twitter card (which is connected to his badass free email course - another great list-building technique). 

twitter cards to promote your email course

3. SumoMe

SumoMe is an app for your site with tons of cool mini-apps inside, but the share buttons alone have helped me grow my blog immensely.

So many people ask me “how do you use Pinterest/twitter/etc to grow your blog?” and honestly all I can say is SumoMe. Probably 50% of my social media marketing is just having this app installed.

I don’t think there’s any black magic besides making good content, creating awesomely Pinnable images, and then making is RIDICULOUSLY easy to share them. 

4. Upgrade your most popular posts

I know I talk about upgrading your content a LOT - but that’s only because it’s so important. It has been such an essential part of my list growth. 

A content upgrade is a bonus piece of content (either a checklist, extra resource, etc - you can grab my free checklist of 20 content upgrade ideas right here) that is POST-SPECIFIC and requires an email in exchange for the download. 

You can read the whole post about it right here, but the basic thing you need to do now is:

  1. Go into your analytics and identify your top 3 blog posts.

  2. Create bonus content for each one.

  3. Offer the bonus content in exchange for an email address.

  4. Watch your email list grow like woah.

Here are a few examples:

This one below is from our site.

Build your list with a bonus


The one below has helped Sarah get hundreds of new subscribers in a few weeks.

freebie for listbuilding


And this one is from Criminally Prolific, make note of the yellow box because that's important!

how to grow your email list 101

Oh, and obviously I have one for you for this post too! A rad checklist PLUS 3 bonus strategies for growing your email list not mentioned in this post.

5. Change your button

If you read this and your opt in button still says “submit” I will punch you in the face. Just kidding, I freaking love you and I will tell you gently why you need to change it. Because “submit” is boring.

“Sign up” is NOT a call to action. 

Be really specific about why someone should join your email gang. 

What will they get? What will they learn? How often will you send them something? 

You need to have a CALL TO ACTION that is specific, enticing, and fun. Okay it doesn’t have to be fun but it should speak directly to your ideal reader and refer to what they’ll get. 

Here are some examples of what I mean:

Sarah has a big, exciting "HELL YEA!", which instantly makes you want in.


I like Kyla Roma's call to action because it reinforces what you'll be getting in a fun way. Also, I love a good joke in an opt-in! Adorable.

website clarity workbook optin

 I used the language "Join for free" because it conveys that it's kind of exclusive and fancy.

PS - you can read more about CTA buttons that are awesome in my other article, Double Your Email List in 30 Days.

6. Welcome Gate:

I love the welcome gate idea. It’s so bold. You literally give people ONE CHOICE. You can either join my blog because you’re cool, or you can move on (or, less obviously, you can read the blog first). 

With Squarespace, I can create these easily with Cover Pages. You can also do this with LeadPages.

squarespace cover pages to help grow your list

And here's the Quicksprout welcome gate in action:

welcome gate opt-in

7. Exit Pop-Ups

I think everyone hates the idea of pop-ups, but doesn’t hate how well they work and how many emails they convert.

My favorite pop-up is Paul Jarvis’ . That “no thanks” is hilarious. Paul has also said that the people who sign up from his pop-up end up being awesome, supportive readers just like people who signed up in the “less intrusive” opt-ins. 

So it turns out the evil pop-up is not so evil after all.

use pop ups to grow your list

8. ScrollBox - less intrusive pop ups

If you're worried about annoying your readers with an exit-intent pop-up, try the ScrollBox - the pop-up's less intrusive sister. 

I set up my Scrollbox with SumoMe - this is one of the awesome features within the app.

scroll box pops for list building

9. Use the HelloBar 

You can use the HelloBar or something similar (Squarespace has a built-in feature like this) to gather email addresses or drive traffic to your landing page.

This example is from the Buffer blog:

hello bar opt-in option

10. Share your landing page

If you use Buffer (you should!) you’re probably sharing your old blog posts, new blog posts, other people’s stuff as well as some images. But you should also regularly be promoting your landing page. 

So go in to Buffer and que up some posts directly linking to your landing page. Make sure the call to action is clear, and there’s a real reason why someone should join!

11. Multiple Opt-Ins

How many opt-ins does your blog have? Maybe one in the sidebar? One in the footer? 
You should have 5+ opt-ins all over your website. Create as many opportunities for people to join your email list as you can. Don’t assume someone will “seek out” your email list. Make it obvious!

5 places to have an opt-in:

  • Footer

  • Header

  • Sidebar

  • Under each blog post

  • ScrollBox

Seriously, don’t be afraid of overdoing it. 

My friend Sarah is a great example of optimizing your site with opt-ins!

12. Go on a podcast

Who knew those “show notes” under a podcast episode convert so well? I included a link to my landing page in the show notes of a podcast I did recently, which led to more than 200+ email subscribers on that day. 

Make sure you provide the podcast host with the links you want them to feature - and either have it go to your newsletter landing page or other free-content landing page! I have mine linking right to Build a Profitable Blog.

Guest blog to build your email list

And here's what my analytics looked like. These are the opt-ins that were a direct result of the podcast and show notes links.

opt-in analytics

13. Add a Downloadable Summary or Checklist to EVERY SINGLE POST

Can’t think of a cool content upgrade? You can still make the most of it by including a basic summary or checklist PDF.

Heck, it can even just be a PDF OF THE BLOG POST so that people can read it later. Just offer something for an email and you’re conversions will go up. It doesn’t have to be a completely new piece of content if you really can’t come up with one. (But you shouldn’t have any trouble coming up with an idea with my handy FREE checklist of bonus upgrade content ideas!).

14. Add social share links to each email 

Every single newsletter you send out should include “share links” in order to “amplify” your reach and leverage your existing subscribers, bringing in new ones every time you press send. 

Don’t just throw the links in there and hope that people see them, kindly ask your subscribers to help you share your content. Use a call to action.

I either ask my subscribers to “share the newsletter” with a link to the landing page, or to share the blog post I’ve just sent.

 In the example below, I asked my email gang to help me out by sharing the free email course Build a Profitable Blog.

social links for list-building

To do this in MailChimp add Social Share buttons, change link from Campaign Archive to Custom URL, and add the link to your landing page or new article.

I’ve found that adding social share links to amplify my reach has had a much better impact then using the “social FOLLOW” links in MailChimp. 

15. Add social proof to your landing pages, blog, and opt-ins

Quotes from other people are SO MUCH BETTER than you talking about yourself and how awesome you are. Here is some social proof I really enjoy and will sprinkle like confetti around my site:

social proof for list building
list building strategies work

Go add some social proof to your landing pages, and on all of your opt-in forms.

16. Launch! 

One of the big mistakes that new bloggers and online business owners make: they think they need to build a huge list BEFORE they launch. Nope! 

Launching is list building. 

Launching means increased traffic, excitement, and social sharing - which means more email subscribers. 

This is a strategy we go into detail in Your First 1K® (like how to find perfect launch partners to drive traffic, how to convert people who aren’t quite ready to buy into email subscribers, etc). 

All of these strategies on their own are pretty simple, but combined they can have a huge impact on your email list growth. Now download the checklist and start taking action!

If you want a ridiculously in-depth, step-by-step guide FULL of practical strategies for building your email list and making money from your own product son your blog, Your First 1K® is your new best friend.

In the course you will focus on both foundation and blitz strategies, so your website becomes a conversion machine AND you're having major windfall days!