Email List Building with 73 Thriving Strategies in 2021

In this article, we are going to show you how to build an email list with more than 70 email list building strategies!

Are you ready to learn all the tips and tricks?

Let’s do it!

email list building

Why is list building so important?

Fact 1: For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42. (Source)

Fact 2: 93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content. (Source)

Fact 3: In combination with social media actions, website tracking, and joint marketing actions, email marketing is the ultimate, most powerful marketing channel.

As a result, digital marketers aim to find a way on how to build an email list fast and efficiently.

However, growing a list can be a lot of work, depending on the stage that the company is.

The challenge

Growing a mailing list with white hat practices is proof that marketing actions are bearing fruit and that the business is on the right path.

But, inevitably, however fast a business is growing, after a certain point a mailing list cannot keep up with that growth.

That’s where email list building techniques come in.

List building techniques help digital and email marketers to refresh their tactics and reach potential customers and existing customers in more ways.

This is why we created this ultimate list building guide complete with everything from Beginners to Advanced tips.

List Building With Online Subscription Forms

In our 4-part series, we talk about the top 73 list-building techniques to grow your mailing list in 2020.

The first article of this series is all about growing your list through on-site popups, like the ones you can create with Moosend subscription forms!

So, what’s up next?

1. A warm welcome (mat)

Works well with: …bloggers, SaaS products.

What is a website welcome mat?

It’s like a mini landing page!

As a matter of fact, a welcome mat is a giant pop-up like notification that users get when they visit certain pages.

Welcome mats are like full-screen CTAs.

So, when someone visits a page, everything displays correctly, and all of a sudden, a giant popup covers up the screen.

This is what a welcome mat looks like on Sportique.

sportique full page welcome mat for list building

For it to go away, users can simply scroll away from it.


  1. You can’t miss it.
  2. It’s overwhelmingly impressive.
  3. You can’t ignore it.


  1. You can’t miss it.
  2. It’s overwhelmingly impressive.
  3. You can’t ignore it.
  4. Some have criticized welcome mats to be an obtrusive kind of strategy for list building. As a result, this could compromise users’ smooth navigation experience.

The verdict:

There is a growing body of evidence that welcome mats boost conversion rates up to three times as high.

Find out if welcome mats work for your business!

⤑ Takeaway: Pick up your welcome mat from Moosend, and get going!

2. Exit-intent saves the day

Works well with: …all industries, especially ones with high bounce rates.

What is an exit-intent?

optimonster exit intent for list building

Similar to regular popups, exit-intent popups are your best bet to retain those fleeting customers.

Exit-intent is counterproductive for businesses or website/e-shop owners who are running a number of actions and allocated budget in order to drive traffic to their websites.

One way to tackle this phenomenon, rather soothe it, is for digital marketers to set up an exit-intent popup.

Not everything you do to build your mailing list comes from email marketing.

To promote your business, you run promotions and are active in a number of channels.

Driving traffic to your website is the result of a number of actions you have implemented and organized strategically.

Every day, new users visit your website and either make a purchase or browse.

Those who browse might click to return back to their email provider.

You have those milliseconds of pure agony to reach them before they click the “Return” or “X” button on their browser.

Those milliseconds are leveraged with exit intent pop-ups.

The exit pop-up will appear before these visitors and get their emails for you.

Essentially, these series of emails will help you funnel people further down.

Lead nurturing picks up right off where exit intent left off!

For example, you could set up an automation workflow such as a Welcome email sequence or an Onboarding sequence.

Once new users sign up, you should set up an onboarding sequence of emails.

This will be introducing new users to the business/brand/service and suggesting call-to-actions.

As every subscriber goes further down the funnel and considering their stage (new user, existing user) and engagement levels (active user, less-engaged user, disengaged user, unengaged user), you need email automation to scale a personalized experience for every single one of them.

For example, you could set up a Website Re-engagement workflow for those users who visited your website, entered their details, but haven’t purchased or viewed any products following this.

The Website Re-engagement workflow could be composed of a series of emails, one of which could be a discount off their first purchase, or a discount code to enter at checkout before a given expiration date.

The importance of adding an expiration date to the offer is to accentuate the offering and expedite action on the subscribers’ part.

⤑ Takeaway: Exit-intent popups will bring back the last few who (almost!) escaped your charms! Try Sumo or OptinMonster!

But exit intent is not merely your only tool to grow your list.

3. While they were scrolling

Works well with: …blogs or infinite scroll pages.

You are reading a very interesting article on a blog and you are this close to finishing reading it and moving on with your work.

When suddenly something pops up on the bottom right-hand side of your screen.

What is that?

It’s a popup that goes off when really, really engaged readers visit.

site growth popup

Practically, when someone visits your page or blog post and scroll down to the end of the article, they are engaged.

So, what you do is show them a popup box right before they get to the conclusion of the article.

This popup invites users to connect with the brand or writer of the blog post by signing up to receive updates from them.

One good idea would be to create a list specifically for that past 80 % of your content who enter their emails and go from visitors to subscribers.

Those who got past 50% of your article must be interested in what you are writing.

Alternatively, they could be looking for information on a similar topic.

That’s your opportunity window right there!

Your pop-up could promise them specialized updates on the exact same topic as the blog post.

The popup could link to a special landing page, registering users to a specific mailing list so that they receive similar updates.

Did you know?

This popup is also available when a user has spent a certain amount of time on a certain page.

For example, spending two minutes on a page could mean that your users are reading something very interesting.

Or that they opened a new tab and forgot about the previous one – still, they can get back to their tab and see something like this:

wpmu dev popup for list building

⤑ Takeaway: Find out when your users are most engaged and have your popup appear at the right time with Sumo’s list-builder!

4. Wait for it…pop!

Works well with: …blogs or lengthy landing pages.
Sometimes patience is a life savior. Even this means waiting for the right time to ask your visitors for their email. But the truth is that in many cases subscription boxes are most effective when displaying them when your readers are the most susceptible to your message.

And that’s where the time-based popup comes in!

I know what you’re thinking.

“How on earth do I know when this time has come?”

First, take a look at this chart:

It’s from a Microsoft research that collected data in order to analyze page-leaving behaviors. Basically, it shows us that the longer a user stays on a page, the less likely they are to bounce off it.

This means that displaying a popup right after a visitor has landed on your page might not work for you after all. On the contrary, giving them some time to browse and read your content might be just what they need to give your their personal information.

One great way to discover the perfect timing for your form to appear is to discover the average time your visitors spend on your page through your analytics and then set your popup to show at about half that time.

⤑ Takeaway: Giving your visitors enough time to take in the information you are giving them will help you collect their personal information happily and will fill your list with more quality leads.

5. A line that floats

Works well with: …e-commerce, bloggers, and everyone who wishes to promote current content or offers.

What is a hello bar?

A hello bar is that attention-grabbing bar at the top or bottom of a page.

moosend hello bar

It usually features a short description (one-line long), and a call to action.

This CTA could invite users to enter their email address or redirect them to a specific link, e.g. another article or landing page.


  1. Hello bars are considered to be the better alternative to popups which many may find obtrusive, with regard to user experience and navigation.
  2. One more advantage of hello bars is that they can A/B test different variables. For example, you could see which color combination performs better and converts more people. Another parameter you can A/B test is different taglines or call to actions.
  3. A hello bar can appear at one specific page, throughout the blog, or on your website. Of course, you can diversify your hello bars in all aforementioned categories or even have them run all at once.

However, this is not something I would recommend as too many hello bars might create distractions for your website visitors:

predictable revenue popup

This is my expectation; you can always try what your gut tells you and see for yourself!

⤑ Takeaway: Looking for a hello bar for your list building? Well, Moosend’s form builder can give you a helping hand right there! Also, check out the floating bar by OptinMonster!

6. You can’t say no to a floating box

Works well with: …e-commerce, bloggers, and everyone who wishes to promote current content or offers.

In need of something more visible than a hello bar but less obtrusive than a popup? A floating box is what you need!

Bruno Magli online floating box form

Floating boxes are like dogs. Loyal, discreet and always there for you. All they want is for you to feed them. With your email.
Online forms that you place to the side of your website, Floating boxes move whenever the user scrolls. This way, your visitors are always just one click away from giving you their email. Plus, they have all the time in the world to think again, in case they are still not sure if they want to subscribe or not.
It works for many industries, but I would personally suggest using it on pages with lots of content and information that helps your visitors make their minds.
⤑ Takeaway: Being persistent can prove a great element for your marketing strategy. Head over to Moosend to create a cool floating box that converts now!

7. For engaged readers only

Works well with: …blogs and publishers.

Content-heavy site? Inline subscription forms are your best bet!

Grab the chance of targeting your most engaged visitors and flood your mailing list with quality leads.

Moosend inline subscription form

You know us. We love lengthy blog posts, all juicy and informative.

And we also love readers that love to learn more.

So we encourage them to subscribe when they are already committed to reading our content. With inline content upgrade forms that get their attention while reading.

Inline forms are very effective when it comes to subscriber growth and they are also great for collecting not just any leads but quality ones. I mean, what else could you ask for?
⤑ Takeaway: Engagement should be rewarded. For both your subscribers and your mailing list. Optimonster and Moosend can help you create inline subscription forms in a jiffy!


  • Choose from a high-performing welcome mat, a hello bar, a quick popup, a long-scroll popup, and an exit-intent one!
  • Merge your forms in your content to capture engaged readers’ emails
  • Use floating bars and boxed for a more discreet yet effective way of asking for information
  • Wait for the right moment to grab your visitors’ attention


Popups cover a range of levels on the continuum ranging from Conversion to Intrusion.

As a result, it is up to digital marketers to decide which ones best suit their needs and bring the best results.

After all, what may not work now might do so in the future.

And what has been working all along, might not do so forever!

See you in the second part of this post!

How to Build an Email List with Social Media

This entire section is dedicated to the leveraging of your brand’s list building potential through social media.

list building strategiesThe reason why social media is instrumental in growing your list is that by doing so you can bring the different audiences together in one place: email.

Why do that?

In a previous article, we covered why Email Marketing is by far more cost-effective than social media and why it equals higher ROI.

Spoiler alert:

Email Marketing more effective than Social Media.

But this doesn’t mean that Social Media cannot join in your Integrated Marketing Communications plan.

Considering all your hard work to grow your social media accounts, why not create cross-channel synergies to benefit your list building strategy?

These synergies are no strangers.

You see, these have been working just right the other way around!

Every newsletter you send out comes with those social media Share and Follow buttons for easy user access.

So why not reverse this to grow your mailing list?

Let’s take a look at a few ideas to achieve this:

8. Facebook is the second handiest tool to grow your list

facebook like icon

Works well with: …B2C companies.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Facebook reached a new high of 2.2 billion active users per month.

With such a high user acquisition rate and engagement level, naturally, companies have to be on this powerful social network.

Lately, the infamously criticized “improving algorithm” of Facebook is increasingly prioritizing users over businesses in terms of news feed presence.

For that matter, in order to avoid increasing their advertising costs, businesses are looking for more inventive ways to reach out to their audiences, existing and potential, alike.

To grow your email list, here are some free and some low-cost ideas to implement on Facebook:

9. Use your Facebook page’s CTA for list building

Arguably, the easiest thing to implement as it takes a few seconds to set up: add a CTA on your Facebook Page.

This way, user experience is improved as users do not have to look for what they need.

So, head over to your Page and customize the button for signups (change it to “Sign Up”) as shown below:

facebook page's cta

10. How about leveraging your Facebook posts, too?

List building with Facebook posts?


Create a post like you normally would:

For example, share your latest blog post or “NEW IN” item.

1. Write copy that is short (: half-line long to one line long).

2. Add a second line: “One-click subscription:” with a direct link to your subscription page.


If you are a blogger or an influencer:

1. Write a short copy asking your followers what question they would like you to answer.

2. Promote the post (boost) and add a CTA: “Send Message”, which makes it click-easy to collect questions.

3. Set up an auto-reply message: “Hi [Name], what email can I reach you at? I’ll reply back with my answer along with exclusive content: a cheat sheet on *** and a 10% discount for your next purchase!”.

Of course, after you reply to their questions, you should ask them whether they still want to hear from you.

Through a link to a landing page, they could either click that they wish to hear from you or unsubscribe altogether.

This way, you will be transparent about your processes and GDPR-compliant, too.

Now, what if users start posting their questions as comments?

In that case, if there are just a few questions reply as the Page and ask them to inbox their questions, or reply privately with the auto-reply content.

If there is an overwhelming number of questions, post a comment as the Page saying that all inbox questions will be replied to.

Problem solved!

11. Let’s set up a Facebook Lead Ad to attract leads

We are taking you by the hand and heading over to your Facebook page to set up an ad.

By setting up Facebook Lead Ads, you will be able to grow your mailing list in a smart way!

Step 1: Click your Publishing Tools tab.

menu bar

Step 2: Choose “Forms Library” from the “Lead Ads Forms” menu on your left:

lead ads form

Once you do, the following popup appears:

lead form popup

Now, start customizing your form.

i) Form Type: Choose between “More Volume” and “Higher Intent”; the former refers to a single opt-in method, and the latter the double opt-in method.

ii) Intro: This is an optional card; it can be replaced by the following one “Questions”.

Craft your copy around your offer or other incentive.

See how everything looks on the right-hand side of the screen, real-time.

lead form editor

iii) Questions: As done previously, customize the headline, contact details you will request, and add Custom Questions if you wish.

iv) Add your Privacy Policy details.

v) Customize your Thank You screen to see your new subscribers off.

vi) Click Finish on the top right to launch your Lead Form.

As far as I am concerned, I would create a couple of versions of Lead Forms and then boost the one that performs better.

If I were to relaunch it in the future, in order to get the email addresses of the people who recently liked my page, again, I would check the response rate, and A/B test more versions and copy.

12. Now we’re warmed up let’s check out Facebook Custom Audiences

Are you trying to get back to those who visited your website but left without subscribing?

No problem!

Grab Facebook’s pixel (automatically generated on the spot) and add the code to your page or all pages of your website.

13. How to set Facebook pixel up

Simply head over to your Ads Manager and type “Facebook pixel” in the search bar on the top right.

The following bar appears:

facebook pixel bar

Now, back to Facebook Custom Audiences!

Our goals are to drive traffic back to the website, preferably to a page that is subscription-optimized.

Head over to your Ads Manager tab and click on All Tools, for the complete menu to appear. Then, choose Audiences, as below:

facebook choose audiences

You will be directed to another page where you can select Create Audience from the top left menu:

create audience top left menu

Select a Custom Audience and then, choose Website Traffic:

custom audience choise

Last, you customize the audience (see below), and then launch your new Custom Audience:

customize the audience

Remember to make sure that the Facebook ad you create should drive traffic to a page that is subscription-friendly.

14. Reaching out to your influencers on Facebook

Which are your favorite brands and influencers on Facebook?

How about reaching out to them and exchanging favors?

Whatever industry you are in, there are famous influencers who have gained authority and grown their audiences with their posts on Facebook.

You can ask them to post your content on their Facebook Page or tag you in one of their posts.

Alternatively, you can ask these influencers to co-hold a contest.

Their audience and your audience will Like the respective Facebook Pages and then the winner will be announced through, for example.

As soon as the contest has been completed, you will be able to run the aforementioned Facebook Lead Ads to grow your list.

15. List building with Facebook Groups

Another valuable list building tip is to grow by sharing lead magnets.

How so?

If you give users access to your premium content, then they will be tempted to enter their emails to receive as much of it as possible.

This list building technique comes with many side benefits, as you grow your list, so do your authority and expertise in customers’ perception.

So, choose a masterpiece of content and share it on the popular Facebook Groups of the industry you are in.

Do so by including a second, direct link to a subscription-optimized landing page.

This page should explicitly state that users are gaining access to the premium and exclusive content of the brand.


16. Yes, it is! (See question on the Contents section!)

Works well with: …publishers.

Twitter is witty. Twitty. Kthanxbi.

To drive traffic from your Twitter Page to your website and, subsequently, your subscription page, here are a few ideas to go about it:

17. Grow through your Twitter bio

Regularly drive traffic to your subscription page by updating your Twitter bio with a link to that page.

18. Promote your mailing list on your Twitter posts

Leverage your Twitter posts by adding a second link to your subscription page:

“Get more articles like these delivered to your inbox: (link)”.

To avoid the double-CTA (potential) distraction, you should make sure that the link you are sharing also comes with the same CTA.

So, you could mention within the article that “To get more articles like these delivered to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter here” with a list builder popup, as mentioned earlier.

19. Instagram helps you with list building

instagram logo

Works well with: …fashion-related brands.

The dynamics of Instagram, the square-photo app, are growing stronger as we speak.

Since the app’s acquisition by Facebook, a lot of exciting things have been going on over their headquarters and out in the world.

20. How to grow through your “Link in Bio”

Most of you are probably already aware of the absence of link-sharing potential on Instagram.

In fact, users and businesses can post a clickable link only on their bio, which has spurred the common “Link in Bio” tagline across posts.

There lies your opportunity to post the direct link to your subscription page.

Also, you can share links in IMs as well, however that is not a feature of great value for list-building purposes.

Should you use up the only link opportunity, to promote your subscription page?  Read on to find the answer.

21. The hidden gem for Instagram: Link Tree

What happens when you must make the most of your single-link opportunity on Instagram?

You sign up with! enables you to create a hub of links, like a tree with branches.

You post your link on your Instagram bio and, as soon as visitors tap that link, they get a list with a number of options. mobile appearenceThis way, everyone who is interested instantly has an overview of the kind of actions that they can take on your website!

22. The “Swipe Up” feature that helps you connect with more of the right people

Did you know that you can “borrow” your favorite influencers’ Instagram account to post your content?

Now you do!

If you synergize or get in paid partnership with your favorite brand or influencer, then you can ask them to post your content on their Instagram stories.

Those who have more than 10K followers have unlocked an extra feature on their Instagram account, which is called “Swipe Up”!

What is “Swipe Up”?

Instagram stories are short-lived posts that appear on top of the news feed on Instagram.

23. Not so short-lived, actually, since recently, Instagram announced a new feature called “Highlights“.

Users can make their favorite stories immortal by saving them as Highlights and having them appear on their profile.

Now, supposing that you synergize with a brand or influencer, you have probably agreed on a certain number of posts and stories on Instagram, under specific guidelines.

Use one of the Instagram stories that they post to ask users to subscribe to a specific link to get unique content.

That’s where Swipe Up comes in.

Users, through a simple swipe, get access to your premium content (and enter their email address to get it!).

Plus, you get to upload the Instagram story of the influencer to your own account’s Highlights, so that you make the most of it!

24. List building ideas for Pinterest

pinterest logo

Works well with: …fashion-related brands.

To begin with, you could use Pinterest to showcase your work.

People look for all sorts of things on Pinterest.

It’s like Google searching for images, only with a more artistic take.

Your Pinterest for Business profile will help you get your content into this giant pool of visual information.

Your doing so will enable Pinterest users and potential audiences to discover you.

Set up an account with Pinterest and upload images, infographics, and more with direct links to blog posts or subscription pages!

25. Email list building is easier when you run a contest!

Works well with: …fashion-related brands.

Online contests are very popular among Facebook and Instagram users.

An online contest is a way to motivate users to join in to reward by means of providing their personal details (such as email addresses, phone numbers, etc.).

So, with a Like or Follow on Facebook or Instagram, respectively.

How does holding a contest help generate a bigger list?

It’s a call to engage people. You are offering them what they want, and you also invite them to share it with people they know, as a form of referral marketing.

Many businesses engage in such practices.

In terms of budget, how do you attract more leads to your website without increasing your advertising budget too much?

Holding a contest is a very cost-effective way to build your list fast.

The main steps

a) Choosing your offering: What would your audience like best?


b) Put up two choices and invite your audience to choose between the two.

Run this for a couple of days and then set the offering.

If you are a blogger, ask one of your sponsors to join in.

Your sponsors could raise your offering and make it even more awesome by putting more or limited/exclusive editions up for grabs.

If, on the other hand, you are a business, you can upgrade your offering to excite your audience even more!

c) Set the terms and conditions: you can find out more information on this, here.

d) How to pick a winner: There are many legitimate ways to pick a winner. One of the most commonly used ones is that of, but there are also more pages for sweepstakes, etc.

How do you know that the leads are there for your brand and not opportunists who really have to win a contest?

To attract leads that are engaged and relevant, ask a question that your audience would know.

Those who answer are the ones that either know the answer or bothered to look it up.

Either way, this spells engagement.

Remember, users entering their email to participate in the contest cannot be a requirement.

According to the GDPR framework, participants to the contest must tick the box “I wish to receive communication from the brand” themselves – it should not be pre-ticked.

Chances are, though, that participants will want to make sure that they joined the competition right and that they are receiving updates from you, so they will register their emails, too.

Don’t worry if they don’t; you are putting a contest up to reach your real fans.

26. Your LinkedIn Company Page

linkedin logo

Works well with: …B2B companies, freelancers.

LinkedIn is like Facebook for the professional world.

This means that you must be there as you are giving your business the chance to be seen by so many people in the same industry.

Since there is no option to post a direct link to a specific page on your LinkedIn Company Page details, here are a few other tips:

27. Upgrade your LinkedIn Posts with CTAs for list building

For every article or blog post you share on LinkedIn, you can always complement it with a direct link to a subscription-optimized landing page.

28. Promote your list to Linkedin Groups

Did you know that posting on LinkedIn Groups is also a great list-building idea?

Find out today if it works for you:

Join LinkedIn Groups that are in the industry you are serving.

Focus on the most relevant groups.

If this approach is working out for you, then you can consider increasing the number of groups you ask to join.

Aaaand it’s best not to post too often there, but only share your cornerstone content.

29. Answer a question on Quora to onboard more subscribers

Works well with: …freelancers, bloggers.

To grow your list, you must remain methodical and leave no stone unturned.

You must get to your subscribers, not expect them to get to you; Quora is a good place to get started.

Quora is also seeing a lot of developments similar to Facebook, as they have just announced that businesses can now reach audiences on Quora based on email lists!

Suppose you run a technological blog; you usually publish reviews of products, write about the latest technological advancements, and have a loyal audience that turns to your blog for advice.

Now, you’re looking to grow your subscribers’ list.

Turn to Quora to find technical questions that need answering.

Engage with the users and give them tips and advice.

Soon, you will have built yourself a brand name and people will turn to you for updates for the industry.

30. Join the lead party on Lead Forensics and other Lead Generation software programs

Works well with: …SaaS products.

There are tools, such as Lead Forensics, which give B2B businesses insights into what actions their website visitors are taking on their site.

Your Sales and Marketing team can collaborate to grow your mailing list in two ways:

a) Once they see on Lead Forensics that a specific business is checking a few pages on your website out, they can reach out to the company through their “hello@” or “info@” address.

Should the appropriate department be interested in the offering, the Sales team can recommend that the visitor join the newsletter of the company to stay updated.

Alternatively, you could set up a list with points of contact from every company, people you personally have reached out to as the digital manager or CEO of the company.

These might not make part of your primary mailing list, but they could be a mailing list which you address personally about your news, offers, and updates.

b) Another idea would be to check out companies who could be your clients and reach out to them yourself through an email sent to their hello or info addresses.

Then, you could see through the platform of Lead Forensics who check you out and on what pages, and even if you don’t hear from them, to send back more information on what they were looking at.

Top it up with a special offer with an expiry date, and a phone number or Skype ID you could be reached at.

Don’t forget to send them your availability through Mix Max calendar or Book Like A Boss!

31. Just Reach Out… to your most influential audience

Works well with: …SaaS products.

Remember how we talked getting the word out to journalists in hope that you will get your lucky break?

Well, Just Reach Out does just that: journalists who expect to be contacted about content on specific topics.

So, you are not badgering them with unsolicited emails, rather you are attracting them with your pitch.

This way, if you get your “journalist match”, they will add themselves to your mailing list.

This is an excellent way to grow your mailing list and your publicity at the same time.

32. Spread the word on PRWeb and boost list building

Works well with: …B2B companies.

PRWeb is an online press release distribution service.

What they do is that they help you put the press release before the eyes of the right people.

Getting your business out there, at every possible place that you might encounter your prospective clients is your action plan for raising awareness and boosting your list building.

Once you publish a Press Release about a new product/feature/other and send it to journalists you believe will be interested, send it to PRWeb, too.

Doing so will increase your exposure and if it returns a good number of backlinks to your website, you can then register PRWeb as part of your official action plan.

33. Have fori join in in list building practices

Works well with: …freelancer, bloggers, entrepreneurs.

Similar to the concept of sharing your lead magnets on Facebook Groups, you could frequent fori which are relevant to what you do.

So, if you are in the automobile industry and, say, you like to blog about matters, you could set up an account where you could share your insights, latest technological advancements, and so on.

This way, you will be successful at what you do, and make a name by consistently providing useful information.

People will want to hear more from you and thus, subscribe to your mailing list because they will be interested; you will have proven your worth already. List building problem solved.

34. List building through Affiliates

Works well with: …SaaS companies.

Well, for this one, you don’t have to do all of the work yourself!

One of the most effective techniques for list building is through affiliates.

So, you get more subscribers in two ways:

– either through those who register for your product/service purchase, or

– through those who don’t convert, but subscribe to your newsletter to keep an eye on you for future reference, nonetheless.

With Affiliate Programs, you let people who share your vision do the talking.

They are usually your most dedicated fans and act like brand evangelists for your company.

This way, they bring over potential customers and, should they book them, they get a cut, usually 30% out of every transaction.

This is a fair deal for someone who does your work for you and brings in long-term clients!

In any case, you can also ensure that your affiliates communicate your brand and offering appropriately by giving them access to content regarding the perks of someone using your product.

One of them being -would you have guessed?- your newsletter!

One such tool is Ambassador, an all-in-one platform that provides you with all the tools you need to ensure that your brand is promoted by affiliates as it should, enabling you to track actions, make payments, and give cuts, all in a  timely manner.

Interesting? You might want to check out what to look for in an Affiliate Program on our blog.

Before you go, you can see how all of that applies, to our awesome our Affiliate Program!

35. Referral Marketing is your next best bet for list building

Works well with: …SaaS products.

As one would expect, every newsletter you send out to your subscribers features a few social media Share buttons at the bottom.

How about you upgrade these buttons with a “Refer a friend” button?

This would take subscribers who clicked to a landing page where they would be able to invite their friends.

The extra touch? There could be three email templates on your landing page for your users to choose from!

There could be three types of email templates there:

i) first could be a simple newsletter design and a short message in a formal tone (fully customizable, whatsoever),

ii) the second template could be in a semi-formal style, and

iii) last, the third one was written in a more casual tone.

If you are really excited to find out more about Referral Marketing, here’s a couple of platforms you should check out: Referral Hero, Ambassador.

Bonus: If you are looking for offline alternatives take a look at 211 postcard marketing case studies that you can steal successful campaign ideas from.

35. Gamification is the new black


Works well with: …B2C companies.

If you are not familiar with the term gamification in Marketing, allow me to have the honor of introducing you.

In Marketing, gamification refers to the act of applying the main characteristics of game playing to marketing actions.

That is to say, users playing by certain rules, competing against others, collecting points, in order to win something, are all parts of the same picture.

The equivalent in the real world is that of asking users or website visitors to take actions in exchange for a reward of some kind.

As a case in point:

A while ago, I came across a very exciting story on Sophia Webster’s Instagram account:

The first video was a short clip notifying about a “Vault” situation, I had no idea what that was, so I kept watching.

vault countdown timer

The second video was a clip of someone scrolling fast down a page on Sophia Webster’s website, looking for the vault code.

Indeed, below a specific shoe style, there was a code in pink, just above the description of the item.

I AM NOT MEANDERING, this is where your mailing list comes in! 

While the marketing team of Sophia Webster used the gamification process with a different objective, that of selling, you can use this for list building.

For example, you could ask users to subscribe to a mailing list so that they receive vault codes before everyone else.

Great way to have user segmentation sorted out like that, isn’t it?

Think of ways you could reward your users’ actions which matter to you.

In a nutshell

  • Take advantage of all that Facebook ads can offer you. Whatever the cost, you get to laser-target your audience and bring them to your mailing list.
  • Twitter is a go-to for publishers and other industries in the “real-time updates” category. Make sure your writing style is witty to mingle with the rest of the crowd, then show them your subscription-optimized landing page.
  • Instagram has grown to a whole lot more, giving brands more flexibility regarding creative ways to reach out to users and potential audiences.
  • Choose a lead generation software program that works for you, for list building.
  • Be part of the conversation, by joining groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, fori, etc.
  • Promote your Affiliate Program and you will have people talking about you!
  • Engage in Referral Marketing and experience the difference in your mailing list and user engagement.
  • Apply the principle of gamification to your Marketing actions to incentivize users to subscribe to your list.

List Building Strategies: How to Build an Email List without a Budget

You’d think that list building tips can only take you this far, and that from that point on you need three trucks loaded with cash to take your Marketing off the ground.

email list building

Thankfully, there are more actions that we can implement today, most of which do not cost a dime.

Here’s a quick scan of what’s in this chapter of the blog post:

36. Does your Email Signature speak volumes?

Works well with: every business with an email (and a subscription page)!

Here’s a not-so-secret tip for list building:

Update your team’s email signature with a link to your subscription page.

For some businesses, it might be easier to attract users through a link to a premium webinar or blog post.

Your email signature could read this (which doubles

email signature

How to set up a well-converting subscription page:

  • Upper half of the page: Make it all about the benefit. For example, post content about awesome Marketing tactics, e.g.: “This is how your competitors might get ahead of you.”
  • Lower half of the page: Feature a list of tips or other content your audience might find interesting or helpful.

One more thing to consider is that certain departments in your company are more outgoing in terms of communicating with clients or reaching out to potential clients.

For instance, your Sales team or your Support team interacts with many people every day.

Why not direct these people to subscribe to your newsletter where they can get valuable insights from?

37. If only your Blog could earn you emails… oh wait

Works well with: publishers, fashionistas, artists, calligraphers, technology buffs!

No matter the industry you are in; if you keep a blog updated with posts on industry news, and updates, you will soon establish yourself as an expert in the perception of your followers.

And what better way of your enthusiastic readers to stay up-to-date, other than subscribe to your newsletter or newsletter digest?

Add value to your blog subscription by adding free premium content every now and then.

38. Who’d expect that Blog Comments could get you so much traffic?

speech bubbles

Works well with: (as above)

Post comments to other blogs you follow and share feedback, tips or insights. Keep a short link to your website handy. And that subscription form had better pop when someone visits the website!

Indeed, leaving a blog comment to posts regarding the industry you’re in, on blogs that think alike is another way to make your email marketing game even stronger.

By providing those who ask questions with additional insights, stats, or any piece of information that could come in handy, you are engaging in a conversation and you can become the expert they turn to for advice.

In the long run, as soon as other users appreciate your hard work and contributions, they will come to you so that they can keep up with everything you know.

Chipping into blog questions, or leaving a comment or suggestion, more prospective subscribers will become aware of your brand and subscribe.

39. Don’t post it, if it’s not Viral-worthy

Works well with: everyone who wants to grow their list and promote their company.

How can you know in advance whether your content is going to be viral?

You don’t.

But you can try to make sure this content is viral-worthy, and act accordingly.

Before you click “Publish” every time, ask yourself “Is this the best [content] that is out there?”.

How is your content different from the rest on the web or eshops?

What could increase the virality “score” of what you are posting?

Only post your content when you cannot improve it any further, not when you want to get it over with.

In this way, your mailing list will grow through people who want in on that amazing, cool, viral content.

Just get those subscription forms and popups at the right place on your website, so that no visitor isn’t a subscriber.

40. Quadruple your subscriptions with discounts

Works well with: commodities, SaaS, fashion e-shops.

What makes users wildly enthusiastic? Discounts and offers!

Incentivize users to subscribe to your newsletter in order to receive a discount coupon, as well as get notified about upcoming events or flash sales!

Not only is this a compelling incentive, but it makes a great call-to-action to refer a friend, too.

And mind you, good news travels faster than you think!

41. Your pre-order / pre-launch forms can close you deals

Works well with: SaaS, limited edition collections.

Are you launching a new service?

Or a super limited edition of your product?

Are you holding a VIP-only event on a first come first served basis?

In that case, on your landing page, you can collect email addresses for those who wish to be notified as soon as you launch.

Promote your pre-order or pre-launch page heavily through your social media accounts, and so on.

This way, as soon as you launch, you might as well sell out that very moment!

Bonus tip: Remember to add a countdown timer on your landing page. That should increase excitement and amplify urgency!

42. Massive list building while you grow your fan base with free Trial Periods

Works well with: SaaS.

Offering website visitors a free trial is also a good idea for list building, and subsequently your conversion rate.

By allowing website visitors to get to know your service (e.g. SaaS) in practice, you show confidence about what an awesome product you have built.

Especially if your service is a paid one, allowing visitors to test it for themselves for a limited period of time will attract many hot leads for you.

Let’s take a look at how Spotify went about it, while growing its list:

spotify's pricing for email listing

Users who click “Get Free” see this form, whereby the can sign up and grant permission to receive the newsletter:

spotify sign up form for list building

43. Help shoppers track their orders (while you grow your list)

Works well with: all eshops.

Another way to add to boost list building is through your checkout process of your e-shop.

Shoppers’ email addresses are required to create an account. This helps the business to notify them about delivery dates and tracking information.

Check out how Sephora does it:

1. Users, after providing their email address, are prompted to choose whether they are new or existing customers.

sign in to sephora firts step for list building

sign in to sephora second step

2. Subsequently, it is at the fourth stage of the subscription process that users can choose to sign up for rewards.

sign up with security check

When customers enter their email address at checkout, they do so to receive the tracking code and/or other information regarding the delivery of their order.

This does not qualify the brand to send the subscriber more offers and newsletters, whatsoever.

Under the GDPR, effective May 25th, 2018, users must explicitly state their desire to receive further communication from the company through e.g. checking a box stating that.

In that light, a company engaging in sending unsolicited newsletters can find itself facing high fines.

44. Put up great content…with a pass

Works well with: publishers, artists.

What is gated content?

Content that is gold, expert advice that people would be willing to pay for… which they get at the price of their email address!

As a marketer, would you enter your email address for at least one of the topics below?

  • “Watch this webinar to find out how to get GDPR right”
  • “35 major SEO tips to make it to the first page of Google search results”
  • “Grab 300 free email subject lines for sales
  • “How to spend less on Black Friday”
  • “Here’s how I grew my Instagram followers from X to 2X”
  • “Get access to 5 premium sites for $10”

Recently, we at Moosend held a webinar on GDPR.

Everyone who registered for the webinar got a recording afterward, however soon the word was out and more marketers wanted access to the video.

So we gave everyone access to our premium content on the GoToWebinar platform through this link. Users who click on the link get this:

gotowebinar register

As soon as a user enters their data, they can access the actual webinar on GDPR:

gotowebinar starting

45. Educate your users with access to a library of Tutorials

Works well with: bloggers, influencers.

Holding a free tutorial for your most dedicated users is one of my favorite strategies for list building!

Create a landing page and design different ads to promote your events on social media.

Consider holding three classes of webinars, one for every level: starter, advanced, pro.

This series of classes will bring you closer to your followers and you will have the opportunity to turn people from observers to participants.

Also, consider holding these webinars regularly to establish consistency in your followers’ perception as an educator.

46. When did you last educate your users?

Works well with: SaaS.

As mentioned earlier, hold a webinar to boost your subscription rates!

The procedure of signing up for a webinar asks users to enter their first and last names and email address to subscribe. Bingo!

Let your audience know they can send their questions beforehand so that you can integrate them into your design.

Μajor tips to hold the best webinar:

1. Ask your audience to submit their questions beforehand

2. Organize your content accordingly.

3. Add interactive bits (but not Q&A, at this point)

4. Prepare worksheets, free printables or invites to offline events (GoToWebinar allows you to send up to 4 documents) for participants

5. Set up a poll that appears at the end of the webinar.

If you hold webinars on the regular, you will soon marvel at your mailing list!

47. Record evergreen webinars and get insane list building results

Works well with: SaaS.

This is the gift that keeps on giving.

Whenever you run out of trending topics (such as the GDPR, for example) to cover on a webinar, you can always turn to evergreen webinars.

Evergreen webinars can be about all-time-classic topics.

For instance, in the case of Moosend, an evergreen webinar could be a “How to” webinar, as in “How to set up SPF/DKIM”.

48. Line users up for demos and grow your list

Works well with: SaaS.

Earlier we talked about how scheduling a free trial can get your business more subscribers.

Now, imagine users having your representatives walk them personally through the platform, explaining to them how they can use the platform or product to improve their results, and so on.

And all of that for free?

Who wouldn’t sign up Salesforce’s subscription form?
saleforce's subscription form for email list building


49. Record an audience-specific podcast

Works well with: SaaS.

If writing long blog posts is not your thing, then you could record podcasts for your users.

Give users tips, present case studies, bring in other experts from your industry or other industries, and so on.

Usually, this takes place through Apple Podcasts, RSS, Spotify, iHeart, Stitcher, TuneIn, Deezer… but you know what?

Not all people are not tech buffs, therefore, you could consider sending out a newsletter with a link to your latest podcast when you post it.

By doing so, you will be able to re-target subscribers who did not open their Podcast and resend your Podcast to them, in case they missed it.

50. Prepare a Tip Challenge for your inquisitive audiences!

Works well with: bloggers, educational content providers.

One very popular trend currently is that of 30-day challenges; self-love, fitness goals, you name it.

So, what industry are you in?

If the consumers in your market need to be educated into your product, say, you are introducing a new grooming routine or a revolutionary product, then Tip Challenges are a good way to grow your list and build your content!

Tip Challenges are like short quizzes that ask questions covering many areas of one topic.

Your Tip Challenges could be your educational content in various question formats:

i) Question and flip-text answer – (sᴉɥʇ ǝʞᴉ˥ – Get it here)

ii) List of questions followed by a list of answers

iii) List of questions in one email without the answers. Then, you can set up an Email Automation for those who click through your newsletter, to receive another email afterward, with the answers to the challenges. (Because, on Moosend’s platform, email automation sequences only “cost” you one credit per subscriber, regardless of the emails in the sequence.)

This way you can ensure that your subscribers stay up-to-date with the latest news and insights in the industry.

This could also help build a forum where your subscribers could socialize with other members of the community.

Add value to what you do and what your business does.

Instead of expecting them to come back to your website every day for 30 days, make it easier on them by providing users with everything that they need for their own business.

51. Work on a content upgrade for your list building

Works well with: …all industries.
Walk the extra mile for your users!
Craft unique, original content for your users or compile content in ebooks.
Share that content in either through popups or through your blog posts (see below).
What could that content be?
Anything that your audience might find interesting.
What kind of knowledge do they need access to?
Reach out to them through a newsletter, a blog post, your Instagram story or Facebook post and find out.
Create that content and present it in the right format:


kindlepreneur ebook form

Ebooks are great.
True, they take a lot of time and energy to write and leave little room for mistakes.
And since ebooks are downloadable and therefore un-update-able material, you can’t really afford to produce something that will be dated in a few months’ time.
You need content that is the cream of the crop, la crème de la crème.
Either way, you want to go through this procedure once, without having to revisit it every once in a while.
As for the content, it is best to start from the basics.
Write the ebook that everyone starting out in your industry would want to read.
By producing a comprehensive book, users will easily decide to engage in what you are offering.

How to create a valuable lead magnet

You’ll find many tools online that can help you generate an ebook within seconds.
One of our favorite services is designrr.

Spreadsheet with ideas for writers’ blocks

It’s nice to help your audience with cheat sheets, worksheets or other content that could help them get along with their business.
After all, it’s easier for someone advanced to produce content for those starting out.
This is another way in which you can build your email list.

At the same time, preparing content upgrades helps you gain authority in what you do, as well as build a strong brand name.
Content-wise, produce more of what makes your brand awesome and different from the competition.

This doesn’t necessarily mean to produce content for what your company does, but also offer satellite knowledge, such as things to set up or produce (whatever your line of work is) in order to be able to use your product or service.
You must go from 45 degrees to a full 360-degree quality service.

VIP only

You could grow your list by giving your subscribers access to a landing page.
In your welcome email, you could provide them with a password that unlocks the content and allows them to enter.

Content Upgrade through your blog posts

raelyntan content upgrade example

Not every business has a blog.
For a good reason, too: blogs are a lot of work.
The time required to research a topic, then write a comprehensive article, and all the promotional actions following the launch of the new entry can be a handful.
That is why the vast majority of bloggers or contributors won’t include content upgrades to their blogs.
But you… you, my dear, know better.
As you’re reading this paragraph, you understand that a new standard is to be thrust upon you: that of creating extra content.
And yes, preparing a content upgrade is no easy task.
It requires an almost equal amount of work for your copywriters and content marketers, as your blog entries do.
The difference is that content upgrades are value-adding activities.

52. Give subscribers access to premium infographics

Works well with: …all industries.

Infographics fall into the category of content upgrades really, but they add so much value that they deserve their own separate section.

What is an infographic?

infographic example

octopus infographic content upgrade for list building

An infographic presents information in a visual way through graphic design.

Infographics are like comics for industries and offer a concise representation of information on a specific topic.


  • Infographics are growing in popularity, thanks to the lighter, usually colorful presentation, and the compact copy.
  • Another great characteristic of infographics is that they are highly shareable material.
  • What’s more, users who are enthusiastic about your content will easily become the hero of their respective online communities, by sharing great work.
  • At the same time, as infographics are branded content, your work is promoted organically, thus leveraging the potential of this content upgrade.
  • On top of that, provided your infographic is in pdf format, your infographic can also feature clickable links directing users to the relevant pages on your website.


  • Having your infographic shared on platforms like LinkedIn might prove to be a smoother process, compared to that for Facebook.

That is, for your users to be able to share a pdf document on their Facebook pages, groups or online communities, they must post a link of the pdf.

At least, in this way, you can get direct traffic to your website without leaving anyone behind! Here are some tools to help you out with creating infographics.

53. Email list building growth with Conversational Marketing

Works well with: …all industries with a website, blog, or e-shop.
Another website-based feature that can help you grow your leads and email list is a tool like Intercom’s Live Chat.
This is what Intercom’s tool looks like on Moosend’s website:

Moosend intercom tool

Turn your website viewers into subscribers with a customer acquisition tool!
There are two ways in which you can grow your list through Intercom:
By replying to your first-time visitors’ questions you can convert them into subscribers.
Your Support team could recommend articles from your blog and suggest that entering the mailing list will keep them updated.
Even when your Support team is caught up in too much work, you can still collect email addresses.
How? When your Support representatives are too busy to reply instantly, Intercom sends them a message.
This message is a notification that they can leave their email address so that the Support team gets back to them later via email.
Here’s an example:
I reached out to Later’s Support Team through Intercom, and the following messages appeared:

later online chat example

By clicking “No, I’m not a customer”, I got this message on my screen, asking me to provide my email address so that the team can contact me:

later online chat second example

Another tool similar to Intercom’s that I came across is that of Olark.
The following popup is what I came across:

olark chat example

That’s another discreet way to help your website visitors reach out to you (and get their email addresses).
⤑ Takeaway: Check out Intercom and Olark to see which one best matches your Conversational Marketing standards!

54. List building with Customer Surveys

Works well with: …primarily, all B2C industries.

Who’d have thought that a survey could prove to be a valuable list-building tactic?

qualaroo survey example

Apparently, Qualaroo did.

For instance, Qualaroo shows website visitors a short satisfaction survey- how does this help generate leads?

Simply through a form, Qualaroo invites users to answer questions and the call to action is email signup.

Be sure that surveys are one cool way to grow your list!

⤑ Takeaway: Try this for yourself by signing up for Qualaroo and grow your list!


  • Regularly update your email signature and freshen up your subscription-optimized landing page it will lead to. If you lack the time or resources, a simple change in colors should suffice.
  • Write a blog, keep it updated, and promote your work (see Chapter 2 of this blog post), leave comments to other blogs by bloggers you like/admire and watch your list grow daily.
  • Make sure your content is the best there is out there at the time of posting it. Otherwise, it’s not showtime yet. Only really good content will get you more subscribers.
  • Give website visitors the chance to ask for a trial, get a discount, pre-order, or schedule a demo with you. Guess how you are going to contact them.
  • Do you know when’s the perfect time to ask for a user’s email? At checkout! While they enter their address for tracking purposes, you can throw in a box whereby checking it they grant you permission to contact them for offers, etc.
  • Asking users for a review could also involve them entering their contact details for promotions and offers.
  • Holding webinars or designing #30daychallenges for your users is also a great idea.

List Building Offline

In this last part of our post series on List Building, we’ll go over a few ideas on how to promote list growth offline, too.

email list building offline

List building is an ongoing process, it doesn’t end; it diversifies.

Make your List-building cocktail yourself, track your progress, and make adjustments along the way:

55. Brand activation or holding an event

Works well with: B2C brands.

Did you know that your holding an educational or other offline event could also help boost subscriptions or event registrations on your platform?

Depending on the industry you are in, you could interest your customers in giving you their email addresses so as to contact them about news and offers (especially offers).

You could be organizing informational seminars for studies abroad or the Lollapalooza festival, or you could be running crash courses in Poetry or Creative Writing.

In any case, you could offer attendees the chance to get fee discounts, early bird tickets, exclusive benefits, or a chance to get one of the VIP backstage passes, just by entering their email addresses!

You could do this in the following ways:

56. Have a scannable QR code

Visitors will be able to either use the QR scanning app on their phone, or, those who own an iPhone, can switch their camera to “Square” and simply scan it.

Your QR code could link to your subscription page, which you can track and analyze, or a special offer landing page, offering your event participants a unique coupon code to use and get a discount forever.

Depending on the industry you are in, this landing page could feature a signup form in the top half, and a “How to” video at the lower half which would show how your product works.

57. Set up a tablet for quick subscription (and quick list building)

Those who join your event or gathering, meet-up, meet-and-greet event will eagerly share their details.

If they are aware of your brand or offering and have not signed up for your newsletter yet, they would be incentivized to enter their email addresses, if you have designed a 360-degree experience for the event.

For instance, suppose you are a B2B brand in Personal Care products and have just launched a Flower Garden concept at a central spot downtown to promote your new product.

Your customers will recognize your brand and will most certainly stumble to check out the setting.

Your potential customers, meaning those who identify with your branding or simply like what they see on-site, will also come closer to check you out.

Now, if they saw that those lining up to enter their email address walk away with a floral bag or other gift, they’d want in, too.

Before entering their details, participants could also be presented with the option to answer a few quick personal questions, for a chance to enter a contest.

These personal questions would help marketers of the brand to outline their audience preferences.

For instance, the questions could span over consumers’ favorite radio station, favorite celebrities, or places they like to frequent, or dream holiday destinations.

Holding an invitation-free event is exciting for consumers and potential audiences alike and helps build relationships over time.

These relationships can range from a positive predisposition towards your brand/product, which might elicit a positive comment or review in the future, to purchase intent.

Ongoing positive experiences with a brand count towards the customer-based brand equity.

And what is this the shortest way for? Brand loyalty, of course!

58. Give out MAGICAL business cards

Works well with: tech-friendly audiences.

Whether you are participating in an event or you are simply exchanging business cards with a new acquaintance, consider business cards that come with a QR code.

The QR code could link straight to a special landing page with a special bonus for the holder of the card.

What if you have to change the link to the landing page once that offer expires?

No problem!

qr codes help list building

Go for a dynamic QR code instead of a static QR code. This way, whatever your objective is, you won’t have to change the information on print material!

With regard to your business card, to make it stand out, you could just print your first and last name on one side, and the QR code on the other.

Such a minimal design will not go unnoticed.

If anything, it will make people curious to scan that QR code and see what this is all about.

Those who get to that landing page through a business card will get a more advantageous offer.

Remember to clearly state that this offer only stands for a specific period and that the code expires in a few days’ time.

Also, did you know you could get QR codes in color? As long as the contrast does not prevent the scanning of the QR code, you can use the color of your brand identity!

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to create a QR code. There are many QR code generators out there, like beaconstack, that will do the job for you fast and easy.

59. Participate in a trade show

Works well with: B2B brands.

If you are a regular at trade shows in your industry, then I sure hope this isn’t the first time you are introduced to the idea of collecting emails on-site.

At a trade show, you will have the opportunity to serve your content to a large number of visitors.

Odds are you and your representatives might not get a chance to talk to everyone who is interested in your products/services.

However, what you can do is have a tablet (or more), or another way in which your potential customers can enter their details so that you contact them afterward.

Ideally, you could set up email automation for every new email address that is added to that specific mailing list to receive a personal welcome email that you have customized for the occasion of the trade show.

For example, it could read something like this:

“Hi there,

Thanks for dropping by!

Please find attached a quick presentation of our brand and our price list (Wholesale prices and RRPs).

Check them out and let us know when we can schedule a call or meeting with you, by replying to this email.

Talk to you soon!”

Make sure that this is sent from the email address of the person handling the signup procedure, so that sender information reads “George from Moosend”, for example.

No one will know that this is an automation and the process will become more personable and friendly.

As a result, you’ll get a higher open rate and replies or conversions.

After you send the welcome email, wait a couple of days and follow-up with everyone who hasn’t gotten back to you.

To engage more subscribers, reach out with specialized offers and discounts or free shipping fees, etc.

Here an additional: 26 B2B lead generation tips from our friends at Albacross!

60. Hire an automatic photo booth

I was waiting for my Intercity train to Salerno, Italy. I was impatiently walking up and down the platform when I noticed my reflection and as a true narcissist, I approached it.

photo booths are a unique way for list building

There I was on that display mirroring my reflection. I couldn’t make much sense out of what was being shown there (too bad it was only available in Italian). I did manage to take a couple of photos whatsoever.

Then, I was presented with the option to send these to my inbox.

I had forgotten to bring my A-game in Italian but the need for original marketing promotion ideas helped me at it.

Think about it; this photo-smart machine made the most out of our time of all of us in transit. It kept us busy and exceptionally so.

61. Use this survey tool for iPad

Sometimes we spend so much time working on every aspect of our businesses that, when confronted with enhancing our product or service, we don’t know how to.

This is where this cool tool, SurveyAnyplace, comes in.

So, next time you participate at a summit or sponsor an event or launch an activation, have this in place.

Find out about the opinion of hundreds or thousands of people at the tap of a button!

62. Here’s a list building tip from Karl Lagerfeld

Please excuse those shape edits* I inserted, but I was going through a “bad hair day” period back then and my relationship with you guys is not there just yet. *Edits provided by PicMonkey.

As if the sheer pleasure of trying on Karl’s playful collection items was not enough, they added tablets in the dressing room for us fashionistas to take a photo and post it directly on our social media or send it to our inbox. Amazing?

What an intelligent way to make influencers out of us all!

And how inspiring to get a piece of branded material with you, even if you haven’t shopped with the brand: a cool photo!

Have you thought of designing an app, offering printables/downloadable content, or prepare a widget of sorts for your users? The key is to give away something branded.

For example, growing up, I remember it only took us an email to reach out to snowboard and skateboard brands to ask for free sticker packs.

Occasionally we’d send traditional mail, enclose a stamped envelope for them to send back to us; sure, this didn’t help the brand build a solid email database, but it did count towards brand building, brand loyalty, and community building.

63. Ask users to register their reward points card online

Every time you spend a considerable amount of money with a brand, don’t you sort of expect to be “noticed” by the brand? Say, get something special in return, a reward of sorts?

Sometimes this doesn’t happen of course, but when it does… I’m there to write it down.

The first time that I shopped (translate: went on a shopping splurge) with Paperchase (London, UK) it must have been around Christmas time. At checkout, the cashier asked me if I wanted to be a member of their reward program “Paperchase TREATS”.

I said yes, and expected to be presented with a form to fill in or something- instead, they gave me a plastic card on the spot and asked me to register it online to get my points and a free gift. See what they did there?

inglot rewards for email list building

When I went online and entered my contact details, I also checked the newsletter opt-in box so I’ve been actively receiving their latest offers ever since!

64. Give customers an in-store discount/free gift with a code for verifying their emails

You guys are so lucky I am such a shopping addict because I come across all these beautiful marketing strategies and I am always happy to share them with you!

So, it was a couple of months back that I purchased something from Inglot (a girl likes her make-up). I had been shopping with them for a while, but it was the first time I was shopping from their Athens branch.

The difference?

Up until then, I had shopped only from their branches in Milan. I was never prompted to share my details with them. Now, I could attribute this to a number of reasons:

a) Language barrier: It could be that the employees did not feel comfortable initiating this update in English.

b) Workload: Not once were the stores not buzzing with customers, so maybe informing a tourist about registering seemed pointless, given the circumstances.

(Here, let me say that other brands keep universal records across their branches in different countries. So, it does feel warm and fuzzy to be greeted with your name at the cashier’s in London, Brussels, Milan, and Rome. That was KENZO and I LURVED it even more.

As for brands that keep separate records for different countries, I might enjoy the process some times, while others I feel kind of alienated from the brand, considering I’m dressed head-to-toe in their brands. AwkWAAAARD.)

c) Different presence and marketing actions in every country where they have a presence, given the varying external environments (competition, etc.).

Having taken these into account, consider how upgraded my shopping experience was last month when I shopped from their store in Athens; I gave my email and I was notified that upon verifying my email account, I would get a complimentary product.

So I did! I got their signature red lipstick, free with my next purchase, to which I admit I may have rushed it for apparent reasons. I’m a sucker for really, really good Marketing. Heart eyes!

65. Invite your customers to a virtual world of well-being

I love it when businesses go the extra mile and send unbelievably cool emails.

Sometimes, what is unbelievably cool is not that the content of the email per se, but the mere fact that they did use your email address to send something that does not involve upselling you to another product or service. Not on a first reading, at least.

If you own an offline business, an actual physical store, yes, that kind, ask your customers to subscribe to your lifestyle tips, recipes for wellbeing, headspace exercises, and so on.

For instance, I enrolled to these yoga classes at this cute little place in my neighborhood. Of course, they asked for my email but I gave it because:

a) I was curious about their email marketing,

b) doubted they would actually use it,

c) I read somewhere I could shoot them an email to reserve my spot at Aerial and there are days that I really can’t handle over-the-phone communication and sound all awkward and weird and all, so I did.

The result?

I got this crazy “Way to go on completing the first month of Yoga, Ine” kind of thing.

A similar thing happened when I gave my email address to this spa. A few days after my appointment, they sent me their latest offers on therapeutic massages, plus a recipe for a detox juice. Talk about lifestyle branding!

I was sold on the idea that this is going to be the new me from now on: booking massages regularly, detoxing every now and then, keeping up my yoga practice, and so on.

Point being, asking your customers for their emails for something that is not directly related to earning you more money, but instead, is all about them, does help your business.

The aforementioned examples are wellbeing-oriented but I could certainly come up with more. If you own a bookstore and could really use a USP, you could invite your customers to free offline workshops or webinars on watercolor, calligraphy, lettering, freehand drawing. Who do you think they are going to get supplies from?

As we say in yoga “you take back the energy you give away”. I’m hearing that Physics has picked the quote up.

66. Hire a GIF Booth

What is a GIF booth? A GIF booth allows you to create short GIFs in the form of video loops. Essentially, the GIF booth will take a quick burst of photos which can be


Another way to make the most of your event is by installing a long exposure photo booth, or light painting photo booth design (that’s me).

Again, this photo is from a few years back, not a bad hair day I’ll say, so there you go.

Now, there is a hybrid option, namely to combine long exposure with a GIF, so you’ll get something like this:

67. Get the calligraphy pack and get access to the first 3 courses for free

When I first took up Calligraphy I browsed for hours to find free classes before I invest any more money in buying pens and notebooks, which I ultimately did anyway, despite it being strongly advised against by all instructors, cause that’s who I am, a full-fledged rebel. Back to collecting emails in original ways now.

If you own both a physical store and an e-shop, make your customers feel valued by giving them access to gated content online. To get the code, they will need to enter the mailing list.

Keeping your customers in the loop is easier than you thought- check out platforms allowing you to launch courses or gated content, such as Teachable, and so on.

68. List Building like CHANEL, DG- shopping + be notified of events or promotions (secret sales, etc)

“Are you a member? Would you like to be notified of secret sales, invited to private events, and get custom offers on your birthday?”

As these words are uttered by the Sales Representative, and just before they are oxidized into butterflies, glitter, and floating unicorns, I’ve already grabbed the pen from their hands and filled in my first name, last name, mother’s maiden name, anything.

To me, the ULTIMATE way to welcome your in-store customers to your online world of endless possibility and clearly the most customized and consistent way you’ll ever address them is this beautiful card:

chanel form for list building

It’s like a ritual of initiation of sorts, isn’t it?

69. Take it to the streets like the NFL!

Go big or go home, but don’t go home empty-handed, get back in there, go big and get some emails while you’re at it.

I’m inviting you to think creatively, as creatively as a kid who is looking for an excuse for not having done their homework or one who doesn’t want to go to bed already (i.e. the ultimate level of creativity).

a. Are you celebrating the first 111 days you’ve been in business?
b. Have you reached 100K on Facebook?
c. Did your online traffic break a new record this month?

Whatever the reason, celebrate by bringing together your offline customers (a), Facebook following (b), or online customers (c).

Integrate your following into one major mailing list: design an Integrated Communications Plan (IMC) which encourages your on-site customers to join your celebrations by subscribing to your newsletter, run Facebook ads and share posts, incentivize online customers to join in.

I’ll never forget the fun we had at those NFL celebrations at Regent Street in London, a couple of years back. My sister and I took part in a couple of games, one of which required yelling some American Football words at the top of our voices, and our mum was certain we were going to nail this. Sure this sounds supportive, but our mum’s focus was on “yelling”. Joke’s on her, we failed miserably (…we only caught “quarterback” out of all the words).

70. Limited collection launching online- pre-order now

We can all agree that when Rihanna goes on to start an entirely new business she has brought in the cream of the crop, the experts of every single field, right? Correct.

This is why, Rihanna, soon after launching her make-up collection under Fenty Beauty, rolled out the lingerie collection. Besides having VOGUE magazine hype the crowds up and generate buzz across their own mailing list.

In their praising article, VOGUE linked to the (NSFW) website, which was still a holding site. You see, even before launching the actual website, the booming brand was already brewing a mailing list!

The following is a screenshot of the holding site for Savage x Fenty:

Upon registering, I got this personalized message (which always scores higher in my books!):

71. We’ll be back

This must have been what I like to call “cosmic coincidence” because I was writing this article when I thought, “I must get me ankle boots, whatever happened to that gorgeous brand I bought a pair from a thousand years ago?”.

I looked them up and BAM:

I wasn’t thrilled but when I clicked on that Google result, I was:

supertrash list buidling form

72. Share material exclusively available online

One word for you: guest checkouts. Ok, two words. If only you could hold on to them! You did manage to bring them all the way to your site, after all.

Cluster your products by category and match these to gated content. At checkout, offer them the first free bundle simply by entering their email. Don’t forget to inform your subscribers there will be more free content coming up.

Create content for your business and you’ll find soon enough that it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Free content that helps guide your customers around a product or service they just purchased from you, whether it is video tutorial or worksheets or whatever, is what helps build a relationship with people, not customers.

Then, start a private Facebook group (invite-only) and build a community. Don’t wait until your business is big enough to do that; it’ll never be big enough to start. And if you don’t create content, you’ll never be big enough, anyway.

Launch a unique offer for members only on your website. To claim it, users will need to go online and register for the product. This way, you get to join the online and offline world. 

73. List Building via Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Works well with: B2C brands.

Every digital manager wants people talking about their brand.

And while they say that any publicity is good publicity, it wouldn’t hurt to be famous for all the right reasons, now would it?

Tap into Word-of-Mouth Marketing

1. Put great content out there and share it with the world; this is your first step to achieving word of mouth.

2. Give users an excellent after-sales service to add to your reputation.

3. Run CSR programs to give back to the community This counts to your positive brand image.

4. Help users with satellite tasks to the product or service you are offering to align your brand with positive word of mouth.

5. Think of your values. What is your company made of? What is your corporate culture?

For example:

If you are a SaaS company and run hackathon programs around the country or locally, to help young people stay off the streets and help promote knowledge, then you are making an impact. This impact counts for something.

If you are a food market and you all gather to cook for the homeless once a week or part of your proceeds go to a charity program, then you are making a change. And you will have people rooting for you; your existing customers, and prospective customers whose ideals and values match yours.

If you are an educational institution and share some of your textbooks with people who are interested in furthering their knowledge or run community classes, then you are bettering this world by bettering its people who haven’t had it easy.

And, disclaimer, I do not see good deeds as bearing exchange value, but this is a fact:

These actions are creating positive word of mouth, but the bigger picture is that you are making a change.

And, regardless of businesses’ motives behind their corporate social responsibility programs, at the end of the day, to my mind, what matters is that some people’s lives are getting better.

Doing good will bring good; it’s like paying it forward.

And yes, eventually some people will notice and share it on their Facebook profiles or talk to their friends about what you do.

And you will convert them from random or occasional shoppers to regular and loyal customers of your business.

Especially for commodity products, for which there is no product differentiation between brands, research has shown that supporting a cause helps differentiate a commodity product brand from another.

If you run large-scale community programs, then you could double as your advertising campaign, too.

What your team will need to come up with, is a concept and emotional value to build your message around.

Find one that is aligned with your company history, present, and future.

Focus on the ones that resonate with your customers; you can ensure that through the use of focus groups, or other types of qualitative research.

Finally, get your Public Relations right to leverage the impact of your actions.

From sending a Press Release to journalists and local newspapers, to launching an advertising campaign across your social media accounts, you can communicate your CSR.

“OK, but how does this help me grow my list?”, you may ask.

Not all pathways to achieving an objective are straightforward.

Provided you have optimized your website and/or landing pages for subscriptions, and that your popups copy is benefit-oriented, you will get the maximum number of subscribers following these actions.

Remember that your landing pages and website should have no more than two CTAs.

The primary CTA should be to “Sign up for the newsletter” and the secondary to “Register” for your service, or “Schedule a demo”, “Get in touch with our Sales/Technical Support team”, you name it.


1. Find out more about your consumers and potential customers through brand activations and offline events.

2. Turn your business cards into a clickable button that builds your list one card exchange at a time!

3. Participate in a trade show to build your B2B mailing list and engage in some much-needed networking.

4. Do good and it will all come back to your business. Help the local community and it will all reflect back to your brand.

Quick List Building Recap

The quick recap of our 73 ways on how to do list building the right way!

You are short of 73 excuses for not growing a list of millions of subscribers.

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  • Adams Green says:

    Enjoyed reading this article!