Five Effortless Strategies to Grow Your Email List

It’s the preferred medium of business communications and has the highest ROI. Sorry social media: Email is here to stay.

Ariel Lim
Ariel Lim
Aug 7 · 6 min read
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Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Email is the most effective marketing channel. Period.

  • 91% of consumers open their email on a daily basis

But, in a world where Instagram and TikTok seem to dominate our devices (and free time) what about social media?

The numbers are in. And it’s not great.

  • Email is 40x more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter combined

Let’s face it — compared to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube, email seems old, antiquated, and irrelevant. But, when you step back from the glitter of social media and focus on what’s best for your business in the long-run, you’d realize that email is better. Why?

Because email marketing has higher ROI, more people are using it, and even expected when dealing with businesses. Here are 5 strategies that you can use to grow your email list.

1. Actively build your list

Email marketing databases naturally degrade by about 22.5% every year. That means that after a few years, your current email list will have very little value. If you don’t have a strategy to make up for these lost contacts, the performance of your email marketing campaigns will naturally decline.

Some marketers compensate for this natural decay by buying lists (or similar activities like getting the list from a colleague, or a sister company, etc).

This is one of the biggest mistakes you’ll ever do as a marketer. Not only will this hurt your analytics, but it will also eventually create animosity for your brand.

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect last May 2018, the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica controversy, and many more privacy concerns— acquiring data from 3rd parties are quickly becoming less viable options.

Here’s what you do instead

Create more marketing offers for potential new contacts. This is commonly known as lead magnets. Think along these lines:


  • Checklists

Exclusive Access

  • Videos

Note that newsletter signups aren’t listed here—alone, they’re not very enticing. Instead, offer something more valuable.

2. Categorize your email

56% of email users unsubscribe because the content is no longer relevant to them.

Think about it. These people joined your list willingly, but because you keep sending irrelevant messages, they unsubscribe.

This happens when there is a mismatch of expectations.

  • A person who subscribed to your blog is expecting emails about content from your blog but is not expecting emails about your upcoming promos.

Here’s what you do instead

Plot out what you plan to send in your email marketing software. Here are some of your top choices:

  • Newsletter — these are typically roundups of your latest blog posts or some update about you or your brand.

Go one step further and define the frequency of when you’ll send these emails. If they are enrolled in the welcome series, will they still receive the nurturing sequences? Every when do you send your newsletters? Weekly? Daily? Monthly?

3. Segment your list

Think of your email list as a big database. Not everyone got in it for the same reasons, nor do they have the same problems. Some are leads while some are customers. There are some who will never buy from you.

All these are examples of segments within your email list. It’s a way of grouping people together based on similarities and/or differences.

If you’re like most organizations, your email marketing activities only revolve around sending a newsletter to your list. And if you’re sending that email to everyone, you might as well call what you’re doing spamming.

Here’s what you do instead

Depending on the email marketing software you’re using, you can either use a hidden field in your forms, add some dropdown or checkboxes that allows people to self-select.

You can also incorporate this in your welcome email. Instead of simply saying “thanks for joining your list,” ask them about their #1 challenge related to what you’re doing. Or if you already know, list 3–5 choices in the email and ask them to click on it. Then, that automatically puts them in that segment.

4. Use a real person when sending an email

All of these examples are email addresses marketers typically use when sending newsletters. However, studies show that adding a face behind your organization can improve open and click-through rates.

When you receive an email from a person, you’re more inclined to open it, read it, and take action.

Compare that when receiving an email from an organization — an entity you know nothing about; where you haven’t built any relationships.

There are pros and cons to this approach. But the benefits outweigh the costs every single time.

Here’s what you do instead

Go to your email marketing provider and change the send-from email address to one that you’re using. If you’re a one-man team or in a small company, this isn’t an issue. Select the head of the department (or even the owner) and use their name. An added benefit is they also get to see what customers are saying.

A more advanced setup could be using a shared inbox, but instead of using the generic, use a real person’s name. Then, everyone in the marketing team will have access to the replies. Also helps for when people leave the team.

5. Work with other departments

Email marketing works best when all departments that “talk” to prospects and customers are involved. Generally, these are marketing, sales, and customer support.

Prospects and customers only see one entity — your organization. They don’t see separate departments such as marketing, sales, customer service, and IT.

But, most of the time, email marketing is solely handled by the marketing department. Instead of getting the information your customers need at the right time, they have to actively look for it — which means more work for them.

Here’s an example where this may happen if the customer-facing departments aren’t aligned:

When prospects and customers have questions about a promotion your marketing team is running, who are they gonna call?

Customer support, of course.

The reason is simple: it’s the easiest phone number to find on most business’ websites. But if your team knows nothing about that live webinar your marketing team is currently holding, and a prospect calls looking for the webinar link they forgot to bookmark when they signed up, the customer support rep will have no idea what they’re talking about.


And it’s not just limited to webinars. Marketing might send a promo to the entire database not knowing that some of the recipients are also in touch with your sales reps. Now, the prospect gets a discounted rate from marketing while sales is still talking about regular prices.

This results in poor customer experience. And you already know how important this is, right?

  • 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service

Here’s what you do instead

A simple way to get started is to conduct a weekly meeting to keep everyone updated on campaigns and details. Each department reports on what the plans are, key insights that may be helpful, and provide support to each other’s projects.

An even better way is to use software that everyone uses to manage all your customer interactions. That way, other departments get visibility on campaigns and other conversations that may be happening.

Over to you

Email marketing remains one of the most effective activities marketers can implement. It has the highest ROI across other channels. It also is the most preferred medium of business communications.

If you aren’t taking advantage of email, you are missing out on a lot of potential growth in your business. Apply these strategies to reap the benefits that email marketing has to offer.

Because email is here to stay.

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Ariel Lim

Written by

Ariel Lim

Marketer, freelancer, husband | The Startup, Better Marketing, The Ascent, PGSG | Find out how I grew my organic traffic by 110% in 5 mo:

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +733K people. Follow to join our community.

Ariel Lim

Written by

Ariel Lim

Marketer, freelancer, husband | The Startup, Better Marketing, The Ascent, PGSG | Find out how I grew my organic traffic by 110% in 5 mo:

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +733K people. Follow to join our community.

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