9 Ways to Grow Your Email List

In email marketing for nonprofits, sometimes it can feel like you can’t bring the horse to the water, but you can make him drink. You have solid content and you’ve mastered the 6 Easy Ways to Get People to Open Your Newsletter, but how do you even get a subscriber list in the first place? Email has the potential to have the highest ROI across marketing channels if you can reach a significant audience. With these simple steps, you will be able to grow your subscriber list and capitalize on email’s best features.

1. Optimize the design

Is your email signup hidden, monochromatic, or downplayed in favor of social media buttons? Place your opt-in form at the top of the page near primary content, as well as at the bottom of every blog post. Ensure your sign-up button bursts off the page by making it a dark, contrasting color.

2. Make it Pop

Even better than a bright button is one that magically appears right before their eyes. Make the form impossible to miss by adding pop-ups to high traffic and high exit pages. Through A/B testing, you’ll be able to play with what copy, colors, and messages work best for attracting more subscribers.

3. Link Everywhere

While you’re at it, make sure you link your newsletter signup page to every landing page on your site. That way, visitors who have just finished reading a page or watching a video will be reminded to sign-up for even more content.

4. Segment Your Lists

Good content leads to greater engagement, shares, and buzz. But what is “good” to one person may not be appealing to another; whether they signed up for your list at an event, through a contest, or just organically, every subscriber is looking for something different. Create multiple subscription types and send more targeted content to each list to increase the chance that visitors will subscribe to one of them. Because they have already shown interest in certain content, they will be more likely to engage with similar future content and share your newsletter with friends.

5. Give Them a Reason

Subscribers want to know what they are getting out of your newsletter before they sign up. Do you send free articles or whitepapers? Do you host contests or scholarships? Do your email subscribers get access to media or promotions before anyone else? Whatever the incentive is, make sure the content is evergreen (or easily updated) and clearly advertised on the opt-in form so people are enticed to sign up for and stay on your list.

6. Channel Don Draper

And advertise! Create Facebook lead generation ads and use your Google AdWords Grant to draw visitors to your email newsletter signup page.

7. Be a Good Host

Hosting an event? Make sure all attendees provide their email address and offer them the option of opting in to (or out of) your newsletter.

8. Use Your Social Network

Create Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and LinkedIn campaigns to encourage people to sign up for your email list to access those incentives. For example, post an exclusive whitepaper or ebook on LinkedIn that requires an email address to redeem. Add a call-to-action button on your Facebook page and at the end of your Youtube videos. Leverage the power of your social network to increase your email list’s ROI.

9. Make Friends

Everyone loves a collaborative effort. Contact an industry expert or relevant partner organization to guest-write your newsletter and you can both promote the exclusive collaboration on social media. You could also participate in or host a Twitter chat and advertise your email list with the chat’s hashtag for wider reach.

Let’s get meta. For even more ways to optimize email and social media, sign-up for the Whole Whale newsletter below!