Go Where the People Are to Build Your Email List

Building your list is more about creating relationships than whizbang tools. Go where the people are and open the conversation with them there.

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By now, you probably know how important it is to build your email list as you grow your online presence.  Your email list allows you to control when, how and where you interact with your audience.

And you probably already have things set up well on your site to collect subscriber emails … forms, pop-ups, opt-in freebies, content upgrades.  These are the standard tools for growing and maintaining your list.

But they are all dependent on getting eyes to your website first.  And building your list is more about creating relationships than whizbang tools.  In your face-to-face life, what do you do when you want to build connections with people? Sit in your house and wait for someone to knock on your door?  No.  You go out where the people are.  The same is true about creating the connections that lead to email list subscribers.  Go where the people are and open the conversation with them there.

Jesus modeled this for us.  He didn’t sit in a temple waiting for people to come hear his message and become His follower.  He went where they were … to the fishing villages, to weddings and other public events and even just as he was walking along.  Everywhere he went, Jesus was focused on building relationships with people and meeting their needs, not just gathering a large following.

Here are three ways to reach out and grow:

Promote your list on social media

Your opt-in freebie should be valuable enough to promote on its own.  Facebook and Instagram are especially good places to promote your opt-in freebie with a strong visual that draws your target audience even when they don’t know you yet.

Foundr online magazine gets tons of email subscribers from Instagram posts like this:

foundr inst

A strong image, a compelling caption that establishes credibility, and clear instructions with an easy-t0-remember link.

For this to work well, your Facebook post or Instagram bio should be linked to a simple landing page on your website, or your email list sign-up form that reinforces what they will receive when they sign up for your list.  You can see Foundr’s landing page here.  The less cluttered, the better. The landing page or form should also be optimized for mobile, since the vast majority of people are using mobile devices to access social media.

Guest post content upgrades

Guest posts for other bloggers can raise your visibility, increase your credibility and expand your audience.  Most of the time at the end of the guest post, there will be a little blurb that says, “Connect with Betty on her website, Facebook or Twitter” with links to the website home page and social media pages.  In my experience, even when guest posting somewhere with high traffic, those little blurbs don’t generate much traffic back to my site, and even when they do, people don’t know what to expect or look for when they arrive.

But you can provide additional value to your host’s readers and build a deeper connection with them by bringing them to a landing page for your list.  On this guest post for Baker Books editorial director Chad Allen, I offered a special worksheet related to my post for his readers.

ca example

The link at the end of the post leads to this special welcome page that immediately gives them the opportunity to get what they came looking for, then helps them learn a little more about what they can find on my site.

ca landing

Not all guest post hosts will allow you to do this because they don’t want to send traffic away from their site. But it is worth asking, especially if you can provide extra value for their readers.  And note that if you are wanting to host guest posts by influencers, allowing them to promote their email list in this way is a good way to insentivize them to guest post for you.

Facebook Sign Up button

This is an easy one. If you have a Facebook page for your blog or business, you can add a signup button to your page.  Even better, you can put something in your cover photo about your opt-in freebie with an arrow pointing to the button.

See how Mariah Coz of Femtrepreneur does it:

fem ex

PRO TIP:  Make sure everything important is near the center of your Facebook cover photo, because a photo properly sized for desktop is going to be cut off on the sides on mobile.


So, which one of these list-building strategies are you ready to try?

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