8 Content Marketing Experts Share Their Most Effective Email List Building Techniques


Building a relevant and engaged email list is one of the most crucial things you need to do when building an online business. When you have subscribers on your list, your money making opportunities are endless.

But there’s a lot of irrelevant email list building advice on the internet. To grow your business quickly, you need to build your list using smart techniques that some of the top content marketers have already used successfully. Why re-invent the wheel when you can use the tried and tested methods?

To make this task even simpler for you, I asked some of the top online marketers about their favorite list building techniques. There’s a lot of value and wisdom in this post from experienced and successful online business owners. So make sure you read till the end and take action.

1. Neil Patel (QuickSprout)

Neil is a leading content marketing and SEO consultant and the founder of innovative startups like CrazyEgg and KISSMetrics. Here’s what he has to say about email list building

“Your email list is a platform you control. With social media, you have subscribers when people follow you or like your page, but you don’t have total control over the platform. This control makes having an email list crucial for promoting your blog posts.

Each time you publish a new post you can email your list to promote the post and engaging with your subscribers. With valuable and insightful blog content you’ll add subscribers through opt-in boxes.

I suggest using high value freebies as incentives for your visitors to become subscribers, and then nurturing them using a combination of auto-responders and high quality blog content updates.

The simplest ways are through page takeovers, interstitials, sliders, and bars. The beautiful news is you don’t have to be technical to use any of those features…you can just use Hello Bar, which is free.

For managing email marketing, I consider GetResponse heads and shoulders above the rest. I consider it my secret email marketing weapon.”

2. Jeff Bullas (com)

Jeff Bullas is a leading marketing consultant and one of Forbe’s 100 social media influencers.

“Growing your email list is something that should not be ignored by any blogger and should be included in your marketing tactics from day one.

I recommend using light box pup-ups to collect emails. This is sometimes argued about as light box pop ups can be seen as intrusive. The reality is that they work and are used by many top blogs to great effect.

You may find that by putting the settings to a pop up that appears after 30-40 seconds may work best rather than hit them straight away after landing on your blog.”

3. Ramsay (BlogTyrant)

Ramsay is a leading blogger with well over 10,000 email subscribers on his list.

“Just because you have a mailing list doesn’t mean that people will automatically subscribe. Don’t just stick a form in your sidebar and hope that people will give you their details – sell it. Mention it in posts, develop landing pages and talk about it in your guest posts. You need to let people know what’s going on.

Also, offering a free eBook to email subscribers still converts better than offering nothing. People are reading eBooks more than ever thanks to all our new portable devices. If you can give them something good you’ll make an instant impact.”

4. Ann Smarty (com)

Ann is a popular SEO consultant and a seasoned pro when it comes to content marketing.

“Having a mailing list is crucial, and also rather simple. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will reap the benefits. Building an email list is as easy as just gathering names. More important is the work you put in to let it grow.

For me, it’s a 5 step process

  • Create calls to action on your blog, and ask readers to sign up.
  • Use MyBlogU to brainstorm ideas for a high quality eBook or email giveaway. You can also use it for hiring freelancers who can help you create them.
  • Create a landing page and set up an opt-in box with your freebie on it.
  • Generate traffic from social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, using a combination of paid advertisements and timely posts.
  • Host a webinar on a key topic in your niche. Webinars are great for attracting new subscribers to your list.

5. Kim Roach (Buzzblogger)

Kim is a traffic generation coach and a hugely successful online marketer. She’s a strong advocate of Facebook marketing.

“In 2015, Facebook advertisements is by far the most profitable and effective traffic source for your blog. If you’re building an email list, just make sure you have a high quality freebie, a list magnet for your subscribers.

Place it on a high conversion landing page and then use the power of Facebook ads to drive traffic to your list. It’s just like a traffic switch in your hands that you can turn on whenever you want.”

6. Peep Laja (ConversionXL)

Peep is a conversion optimization expert and a consultant for several top-tier blogs and organizations.

“The best way to get emails is to use lead magnets.

A lead magnet is the (free) offer you make to get visitors’ email addresses.

Getting their email is a transaction. You want their email, so you have to offer something they want in return. Your job is to sell the idea of subscribing to your list, and you need an attractive offer to do it.

If what you offer is something people want and it seems to be worth going through the hassle (typing the email address, worrying about spam etc.), you will get their email.

The speed of your list building depends mostly on the lead magnet. Lousy, unattractive lead magnet = very few sign-ups. Attractive lead magnet = tons of sign-ups.

Yes, the design, location and usability of the email capture form all matter – but the lead magnet is what makes the biggest difference.

Naturally you need to deliver on your promise of value. Under delivering will result in useless emails – money is not just in the list, but in the relationship with your list. You want to have an impressive start.”

7. Nadav Dakner (InboundJunction)

Nadav is a content marketing, PR and digital media consultant for some of the hottest tech startups in the world.

“More than just building an email list, you need to focus on attracting the RIGHT subscribers to your list who’re relevant to your long term business goals and have a genuine interest in your content.

For this you need to tailor everything from your SEO strategy and traffic channels to your list magnet, according to your target audience. I found great data-driven insights on my traffic sources and the preferences of my target audience by working closely with the guys at SearchMetrics. We identified the likes and dislikes of our target audience and then optimized the right traffic channels to attract relevant subscribers to my email list.

In short, you need to broaden your focus and view list building as a more strategic part of your business.”

8. Bryan Harris (VideoFruit)

Bryan is an inspirational blogger who has quickly established a hugely popular blog purely on the basis of his high quality content and his email list.

“The #1 most effective strategy I’ve used to grow my list is offering post specific bonuses.

It works like this:

First, I identify a topic that my audience really needs specific how-to knowledge on. Then I’ll use Buzzsumo to research the most popular articles that already cover the topic.

Next, I write an even better article and at the beginning and end of that article I will offer a set of free bonuses and resources that the user can download in exchange for their email address.

These work well because they are relevant. Most site’s offer an opt-in that is completely unrelated to what their post is about.

For example, Pat Flynn recently wrote a post titled “How I increased my Email Subscriptions by 315%.” and instead of offering a post specific call to action at the end of the article he offered his generic prompt to download his eBook about writing an eBook.

Think about it, if you have come to his site to read a post about email subscribers do you really care about an eBook about writing eBooks? Probably not.

What if Pat offered a short 2 page checklist on how to implement the strategies laid out in his post? His opt-in rates would be much higher.

Wrapping Up

There’s a consensus among most of these experts that you need to create a high value email list freebie to attract subscribers. Instead of making isolated efforts at list building, you need to develop a process in which traffic is generated from multiple sources, routed to specific landing pages and then converted into subscribers by offering lead magnets. With such a process in place, there’s no reason why you can build a thriving and vibrant email list in just a few months.


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