Be the Captain of your Own Ship: Grow your Email List

Do you want to be in control of your online marketing?

Are you fed up of the blog you poured your heart and soul into reaching 2 people on Facebook?

Do you want to decide who sees what and how often when it comes to posting?

Facebook, Twitter and the other numerous social platforms are a great source of free advertising. But with the amount of online businesses growing faster than weeds in your allotment it’s becoming harder and harder to get your voice heard. Did you know that Facebook’s organic reach (how many people see your content without you paying for advertising) has now declined to around 2.6%.

What is an Email List?

Let’s get back to basics here. An email list is simply a list of peoples email addresses possessed by you. The beauty of the type we are going to talk about is that it is permission based – everyone on your list will be there because they want to. This is one of the reasons email marketing is so effective.

Why Should I Start One?

85% of people using the internet use email compared to 62% using all of the social media platforms combined, a study by Ipsos found. You need to go where the people are, makes sense right?

A survey by Litmus found that the average return of investment for an email marketing campaign was $40 for every $1 spent.

The facts don’t lie. Email subscribers are more likely to engage with emails than any other digital medium.

What Can You Do With It?

There are a number of uses for your list. You can notify people when new content is available, sell services and products, send special offers and so much more. You can even encourage your readers to share your content for you.


Having your own email list has numerous advantages compared to other methods of Digital Marketing.

  • Control: YOU decide when to let people know about offers or when to tell them about your latest posts. You can even target specific groups within your list. You don’t have to rely on your content popping up in a news feed or being shared by others.

  • Concentrated: People on your list will be there because they are interested in your niche. It’s a spam free zone.

  • Consent: People have agreed to give you their addresses. This makes them much more receptive to whatever you send them.

How to Set Up A Mailing List.

Your gateway to email domination is a call to action or “opt-in” box asking people if they would like to subscribe to your list.

They generally look a bit like this:

Mailing list pop up

There are a number of places you can put this. And I recommend putting it in as many as these places as possible:

  • On your side bar.

  • At the end of posts.

  • As a pop up. These boxes spring up on your site when people have been on it for a certain amount of time or are about to leave. A lot of people don’t like the idea of them because they are intrusive but a lot of research has been done proving them to be more fruitful than regular opt-in boxes.

  • At the end of invoices.

Get a Mailing List Provider

Having lots of email addresses can be a messy and complicated process. Luckily there are a number of companies out there that take all of the stress out of the process for you. They provide easy to navigate systems that collect email addresses and allow you to compose campaigns to send out to your subscribers with ease. My favorite provider is Mailchimp. You can have up to 2,000 subscribers before you have to pay a thing.

Building the List

So you have your list provider and you have a sign up box, what’s next? You may have a few people sign up just because they like the look of your site but this certainly isn’t going to pay the rent.

Here are some ways to accelerate your growth:

  • Offer something for free. This is my number one tip for getting people to subscribe. Here are some options:

    Email courses: Such as Elna Cain’s course for budding freelance writers: Get Paid to Write Online.

    Webinars: Check out Lizzie Davey’s master classes in finding lucrative clients as freelancer.

    E-books: These could be offering advice, tips or stories from your chosen niche

    Run a competition: E.g. the winner gets selected at random when you collect 100 subscribers or something similar.

  • Integrate, Integrate, Integrate

    I talk about this all the time for Social Media Marketing. Your strategy is most effective when you have a united front. Put call to actions on your Facebook page, ask people to sign up on twitter, put sign up forms on invoices, you get the idea.

  • Content is still key.

    You may be thinking, I have my opt-in forms and my list. I’m sorted, no more content for me. I’m just going to sit back and spam my followers until the cows come home (other animal based metaphors are available). Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, you still need captivating content. Without it what are you going to entice customers to your site with? In fact, Neil Patel recommends concentrating on one REALLY good piece of content when it comes to collecting emails.

  • Partnerships.

    Find people in your niche or a related field and work together, you promote their list and they promote yours.

So there you have it, by now you should be a fully-fledged email marketeer, so get out there and get some sign ups.

Nick Stephens


Nick Stephens
Nick Stephens is a freelance writer with many strings to his bow. He is fascinated by digital marketing and his passion is helping small businesses to grow online. Nick runs his own digital marketing company and a blog about partner dance. When he isn’t logged on you can find him DJ-ing or attempting to cut a rug himself.
Andy M. / March 18, 2017

This is very nice! I love it. Do you have any tips for actually getting people to find your website! Hah! I think that is the biggest problem. How do you get traffic TO your site?

Nick Stephens / March 18, 2017

Thanks Andy!

There are a number of ways. More on this soon.

But guest posting on blogs with a good reputation and following with a link in your writer biography to your site is one of my favourite and most effective ways.


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