18 Ideas to Grow Your Email List with Minimal Budget

Creativity can beat out a big bank account to find new subscribers.

So you want to be an email marketer, do ya? You went and got yourself an email service provider, you created a nice website with a blog, and you’re intimately familiar with how to set up email lists and campaigns properly. You’ve written well-structured emails with copy that informs and converts. All set to go, right?

Not quite. Like any good roller coaster ride, the fun is just beginning, folks. The toughest aspect of email marketing isn’t getting good open rates. It isn’t writing the best type of content to increase sales and it’s not achieving a higher-than-average click through results. The real challenge comes into play when building your email list.

Finding new email subscribers is no easy task, never mind finding the right ones that fit perfectly into your target niche. Everywhere you look online there’s an email signup from, from blogs to company websites to product sales pages. There’s so much competition that there are even services to help you mass unsubscribe from emails marketers!

Assuming you don’t have a massive budget to straight up outspend every other brand battling for email attention, you’ll need to find other ways to build your list while standing out from the crowd.

Creative Ways to Gain Email Subscribers

Like with most marketing efforts, the craftier you can be in the ways you promote your email list and all its wonderful benefits, the better results you can expect. Here are 18 ideas to help kick start your email signups through wider exposure.

  1. Include a signup link in your personal and/or email signature
  2. Write guest posts for industry blogs with a link to an email signup landing page in your author bio
  3. Offer lead magnets on your blog, in guest posts, and in digital ads
  4. Add a Hello Bar to your website linking to your signup form
  5. Tell people about your email list at live events and use a text-to-sign-up tool
  6. Execute product or service giveaways and sweepstakes in exchange for emails
  7. Author a special e-book, price it somewhat high, then make a 100% discount code and offer it in exchange for emails using a tool like Gumroad
  8. Regularly promote your email signup form on your social media pages, including in your bio
  9. Pitch industry organizations on doing co-created webinars together for which the cost of admission is an email address
  10. Include “share with a friend” links and landing pages in emails you already send to your current list
  11. Offer a free, multi-day email course
  12. Institute an official referral program in which subscribers are rewarded for getting friends to join
  13. Add a signup button CTA to your company’s Facebook page
  14. Blog about relevant topics and keywords, integrating email signup forms inside your posts
  15. Buy targeted digital ads on Facebook and Google AdWords specifically promoting your email offer
  16. Install exit pop-ups on your website with embedded email forms
  17. Offer downloadable content inside blog posts that offers more detailed information on a similar topic in exchange for an email
  18. Develop a Udemy or Coursera course and offer free invites in exchange for emails

The vast majority of these tactics emphasize effort and time over money and big-company requirements. As a small business or even a solo entrepreneur, your most powerful weapons involve your knowledge of both the market and your product or service, and ideas like those above are meant to take full advantage of that. With a strong grasp on your buyer personas and deep subject matter expertise in your field, you’ll have a great foundation for creative email list marketing.

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