Marketers spend countless hours planning email campaigns, honing copy, and creating elegant designs. Yet the most important aspect of email campaign success remains the subscriber list. Everything hinges on reaching the right audience.

Below are 20 actionable tactics that attack email list building from many different angles. These tips will not only help you grow your email list, but build and strengthen the value you provide to your subscribers.

Grow Your Email List...with Email?

Using email to get more email subscribers may sound a little counterintuitive, but it's not! It's one of the most useful avenues, especially after you try these initiatives below.

  1. Develop great email content. Your content needs to be well thought out, relevant and interesting if you want people to stay subscribed. Better yet, great content will lead your subscribers to want to share your email with others that aren't already on your list. It's like a two-for-one! Which leads to the second tactic…
  2. Encourage sharing. Leverage current subscribers to share your content. Include sharing buttons in your email. Also include your "subscribe" call-to-action as a simple text-based link, so those that see the email can easily opt-in.
  1. Promote an online contest. Research shows that multiple inexpensive prizes perform better than a single, high-value grand prize, as people think they have a better chance to win a lower value prize. Choose a prize that resonates with your audience.
  1. Offer subscription options. Do you ever receive an email too many times from a company you like? You go to unsubscribe but notice you can opt-in to receive emails once a week or once a month, versus everyday, which helps you make the decision to stay subscribed. Consider offering several different opt-in incentives for different segments of your audience. This will increase the number of people who sign up, and improve the relevance of the emails you send to your subscribers.
  1. Reinvigorate a stale email list. Opt-in campaigns are an email marketing and deliverability best practice and can be used as a simple reminder of what your email program offers. Use it as an opportunity to reinstate your value.
  1. Add a link to employee signatures. You can, and should, include one useful link in your email signature. Email opt-in is a great option. Keep your "link" call-to-action to one or two lines. Use link tracking to see who's clicking on it, which can help you test the effectiveness.

Use Social for Cross-channel Email Success

Chances are your company is already on various social media platforms. Below are a few ways to maximize your opportunity to gain email subscribers through those platforms.

  1. Promote a strong lead-gen offer on Twitter. Twitter can generate qualified leads at a lower cost than most of the other major ad platforms. Execute a Twitter campaign to promote a service or product to your followers that requires an email address to redeem.
  1. Try Facebook offers. Use your Facebook page to promote an offer that requires an email address submission.
  1. Add a call-to-action button on the top of your Facebook page. Page admins can select from a group of call-to-action buttons - like "Sign Up" - to add to the top of their page. This is a simple and very effective add-on.
  1. Engage on LinkedIn. Publish links to gated offers on your LinkedIn page or in appropriate and relevant LinkedIn group discussions. Participating in group discussions and sharing content can help you grow your company's reach and help you start establishing yourself as a thought leader. From there, you'll have the ability to introduce group members, and your network, to interesting and helpful materials, such as an eBook or webinar. In turn, you'll convert these appropriate group member prospects into leads.
  1. Tap into Google+. Promote offers and email sign ups through your Google+ page through Google+ updates and your Google+ "About" section.

There are some other awesome ways to utilize social media to grow your email list. Check out our other blog post on "How to Feed Your Email List with Social Media."

It Always Comes Back to Content

It can't be reiterated enough - your content needs to be relevant, valuable and interesting. Below are a few ideas to help develop content creation aimed at growing your email list.

  1. Create a new lead-gen offer. What you offer your customer depends on what they value. Do they prize tips and tricks for success from thought leaders? Help videos that are easily digestible? A step-by-step document that simplifies a complicated process? It doesn't have to be a prize or giveaway. The options are endless - just be sure you are focusing on creating value for your customer, and you'll receive valuable leads in return.
  1. Create a free, online tool or resource. Gate the content; meaning require an email address upon download of the tool or resource. What your subscribers want most is value. Tools and resources, such as an eBook or infographic, make them more successful. If your subscribers find that your resources are truly helpful, they will develop a loyalty to your brand (increasing the chance they share out to their networks).

Partner Up to Build Email Lists

There can be real value in partnership. You're delivering all participants great visibility, credibility, and market reach. Below are a few tactics to help leverage email growth in a partnership opportunity.

  1. Cross-promote with influencers. Follow the influencers related to your business or industry and retweet them to get on their radar. After a few retweets, reach out to them with a mention. Some will feel compelled to connect with you since you've shown you're willing to help them (by retweeting their content). If you connect with and help influencers, there is a good chance they will return the favor and help you with your promotion.
  1. Co-market Together. Host a co-marketing offer with a partner, such as a webinar. Ask your partner to promote the registration to their audience. After the webinar is over, swap leads.
  1. Encourage Guest Blogging. When creating content for guest blogging opportunities, include a call-to-action to subscribe to your site's blog or email database.

Rediscover Traditional Marketing and Advertising

Get back to the basics!

  1. Ask in Person. Collect email addresses at offline events. Host your own offline, in-person event or attend a tradeshow. Hold an on-site content or giveaway and require an email address for entry.
  1. Offer Alternatives to Direct Mail. Encourage prospects in a traditional marketing campaign, like direct mail, to opt-in to receive email communications instead. Be sure the URL is shortened (use a vanity URL), and consider using UTM codes to track your URLs . Allow readers to opt out of the direct mail for the best customer experience.
  2. Host an online webinar. You can make signing up a requirement for registration. After the webinar is completed, offer the recording as an opt-in incentive. You can also make signing up a requirement for downloading or viewing the recording.
  1. Leverage paid search ads. Paid search is a powerful way for your business to drive traffic to your website and capture potential customers. A smart paid search marketing campaign is pay-per-click, or PPC campaigns. Potential customers will see your ads only when they're searching for the products and services you offer.

This list provides many different tactics that you can easily start to implement. Why not start today? Your email list is one of the most important assets to your business, after all!

More Email List Building Tips?

Interested in Learning More? Check out 4 Email Practices of Marketing Masters for more insights into how to drive engagement with email.