6 Reliable Ways To Build A Successful Email List

Imagine a room with 71 people in. It’s not a huge room so it feels pretty busy and guess what? They’re all here to listen to you. You’re going to stand up on a stage and talk to these 71 people about what you know. You’re going to give tips, provide guidance, maybe do a little bit of promo here and there - but mostly, you’re going to try and engage with them. You want them to ask questions, follow your leads, and connect with you on a personal level.

Scary, huh?

Now, imagine fast-forwarding a year and speaking in front of 2,654 people. That’s a big jump in numbers right? That’s the difference between a wedding toast and a TED talk.

Lucky for you, these people aren’t sitting in an auditorium waiting to hear you speak (or squeak as I would)! These 2,654 people are waiting patiently on your email list for you to provide value and engage with them.

So, how do you go from 70 to 2,600+ email subscribers in one year? I’m going to tell you exactly how I did it!

Keep reading to learn:

  • 💌 Why having an email list is so important
  • ⚒ How switching my email marketing software kick-started my growth
  • 📈 My 6 surefire ways to build your email list from scratch
6 Reliable Ways To Build A Successful Email List | Starting an email list from scratch is hard work. That's why I'm telling you my favourite email list building methods from Pinterest strategy to opt-in freebies to virtual summits. If you want to learn more surefire ways to grow your email list, click through to read the full blog post and sign up to my free email course. This guide is perfect for new bloggers, online business owners, and creative entrepreneurs.

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Why do you need an email list?

Social media. Blogging. YouTube. Podcasts.

There are SO many things to focus on in your business marketing. Why the heck should you add one more thing to your to-do list?

Growing your email list should be your primary mission, especially if you’re just getting started in your blog or business. (Tweet this!)

If you’re reading this post, you probably already have an email list OR you know you want to grow one from scratch. However, if you’re just perusing on by and you don’t truly understand the importance of email marketing, let me break it down for you.

  • 🙋 Ownership. Unlike your social media followings, you actually OWN your email list. If Instagram suddenly shut down or went bust, not only would I self-implode but my followers would be lost forever. I would have no way of finding them or regaining their 'following'. Your email list is yours to keep and utilise as your business (and social media) grows and develops!
  • 📣 Exposure. Emailing your subscribers regularly (at least once a week) means that you are increasing their awareness of you. Your little emails are like virtual reminders to say "hey, I exist"! If you are relying on your readers to regularly check your blog for new content, then you are missing out on gaining more exposure through an email list.
  • 🤝 Connection. Having an email list has done wonders for me in terms of building a connection with my audience. The more vulnerable and 'real' I get in my emails, the more people hit reply and tell me their stories too. You can have similar results on social media but not everyone sees your latest posts - if you're regularly popping up in your audience's inbox, you're much more likely to build that relationship with your tribe.
  • 💰 Sales. To put it simply, my email list has brought me more product sales than any social media platform. I can provide my audience with killer in-depth emails that genuinely help them with pain points, which helps them along the path to purchasing a product or using an affiliate link from me. You could see the same results for your business!

How switching to ConvertKit kick-started my growth

Flashback to March 2016: I had 71 newsletter subscribers on MailChimp. I wasn’t emailing regularly - or at all - and I had one opt-in freebie driving my blog readers to my list.

I wanted to create a free email course but didn’t know how to best achieve that in MailChimp. I’d heard lots of people talk about ConvertKit but I wasn’t sold until Regina Anaejionu gave a tutorial on it in one of her awesome free workshops!

Making the switch to Convertkit gave me an opportunity to:

  • Organise my subscribers into specific segments (i.e. ‘Interested in Instagram’ or ‘Business Owners’
  • Offer more and more lead magnets and opt-ins to my audience - my current opt-in total is 16 (at time of writing)!
  • Create a sequence of emails to welcome new members of my community onto my list
  • Build free email courses to gain even more subscribers and establish authority in my niche

My email list grew rapidly after implementing all of these changes and I went from 71 to over 2,600 subscribers in less than a year! At time of writing, I’m at over 3,600 subscribers and growing!

If you’re ready to kick-start your email list and start taking email marketing seriously, I strongly recommend investing in ConvertKit!


My 6 surefire ways to build your email list from scratch

I know there are all kinds of email list growth blog posts out there - I’ve read my fair share - but not path is best for everyone. Like I’ve said before, “One size fits all” doesn’t exist in the realm of the interwebz.

I want to make sure you’re growing your list in the most organic and authentic ways possible. So, I’m sharing the most effective ways I have grown my email list over the past 18 months:

Have a Pinterest strategy

Pinterest is an incredible way of getting fresh eyes on your content and new subscribers on your list. If you’re still not *sure* about how to use Pinterest to grow your blog, you need to read this post!

I didn’t really have a strategy for Pinterest until I invested in Pinfinite Growth by the lovely Melyssa Griffin. I was hesitant to invest actual hard earned money back into my blog and business but Melyssa’s strategies could grow my blog and, in turn, my mailing list.

You can read my full review of Pinfinite Growth here but since taking this course:

  • My Pinterest following grew from 45 to over 4,900 followers
  • I reach over 268,000 Pinterest users each month
  • I am pinning over 130 pins per day without doing anything, thanks to BoardBooster
  • My repin/save rate increased by over 2,180% - that's just crazy talk
  • My monthly pageviews grew from 1,500 to around 10,000 pageviews per month. That's a BIG difference for someone just starting their blog!

Most importantly, when Melyssa’s strategy started to kick in my email list started to grow by 120 to 170 subscribers per month!

Related post → 8 Surefire Ways To Increase Blog Traffic With Pinterest 

Offer an opt-in freebie for every blog post

For every blog post you publish, there should be a relevant opt-in freebie.

Sounds like a lot of work, huh? Well, it doesn’t have to be. (Tweet this!)

You can reuse the same freebies across multiple blog posts! Say you’re a lifestyle blogger and have 4 main categories for your blog or video content: Home, Travel, Food, and Beauty. You only need four opt-in freebies that you can reuse for every new post in the relevant category.

If you created a ‘Home Cleaning Checklist’ or ‘Bedroom Decor Guide’, you could offer it on every blog post under the ‘Home’ category.

This may sound repetitive - but remember that, with a Pinterest strategy, the majority of your blog traffic will be brand new. The opt-in you keep reusing will seem brand new and exciting to them!

On the other hand, you can be like me and offer LOTS of freebies - some that are only relevant to one blog post. I like to make my content upgrades to work across multiple posts but sometimes I write an article and can’t seem to fit a current freebie into the content.

If you want to see all the freebies I have up and running at the moment, you can click here to join my free resource library where they are all housed!

Create and offer free email courses

Okay, so I’m not exactly riding the original wave here. Free email courses are an old favourite that have welcomed over 900 new subscribers into my community. Heck, I still sign up for free email courses from other creators!

ConvertKit is a great way to create and deliver these email courses to your audience and is the primary reason I switched over from MailChimp at the time.

If you want to learn more about what a free email course looks like or how to structure them, you’re more than welcome to sign up for one of mine! I have four free email courses on offer at the moment:

Take part in a virtual summit within your niche

Joining a virtual summit lineup not only increases your exposure and builds authority in your niche but it provides you with a whole host of new email subscribers. (Tweet this!)

When I was first approached to take part in Sam Bell’s Ladyboss Breakthrough Summit last year, I had NO idea it was going to result in over 800 new members of my community!

Just in the past few weeks, I’ve added another 800 new subscribers to my list thanks to Terra Dawn’s Traffic Whoosh Workshop that I took part in at the beginning of December.

Virtual summits can be scary but they have some serious list growth game and you should be utilising that!

If you want to learn more about virtual summits, I’d recommend listening to this episode from The Brand IT Girl Podcast.

Host a giveaway with others in your niche

Giveaways aren’t something you can realistically do all the time but they are certainly a reliable way of growing your email list.

The first time I hosted a giveaway was to celebrate the launch of my first online course; Influencer Marketing Masterclass. I partnered with other creative entrepreneurs and pulled together a bundle of courses and infoproducts to give away to one lucky winner!

Related post → How To Validate And Pre-Sell Your First Digital Product

I asked lots of authorities within my niche to get involved and promote to their own audiences. The giveaway lasted for about a week and, with pretty minimal effort promotion-wise, we had over 180 entries! If I hosted another giveaway now, I think the results would be much higher as I have a larger social presence and more connections with influencers in my niche.

Share opt-ins in Facebook group threads (where relevant + allowed!)

If you’re hanging out in Facebook groups with your ideal audience, you may notice people asking questions or posting problems relevant to your area of expertise.

This is your chance to provide your opt-in as a solution to their problem!

Now, there’s ways to do this and there’s ways to piss a lot of people off. You need to make sure the freebie is relevant to the original post (i.e. don’t just throw the link around anywhere and everywhere) and you need to make sure that the group allows you to share links in comments.

Some groups have strict ‘no link’ rules, whilst others are happy for you to share links if it’s relevant and helpful to the original poster.

If you’re unsure, just message the admin and ask if it’s okay to share. None of this “I’m not sure if this is allowed but” B.S.

Join my Facebook Group → The Mindfulpreneur Community


Want to build your OWN email list?

I have a FREE email course all about the basics of email lists, growth hacking tips (with some extra pointers), brainstorming content upgrades, segmenting your list to get more sales, and email content creation!

Sign up by clicking here and you can  get instant access to Lesson 1!