Are you in midlife or mid-career?
If you are — lucky you!
You can build your email list in ways that aren’t available to someone with fewer turns around the sun.
All that life experience — that’ll help.
All those connections you’ve made over the years? You’ll tap them now.
And that patience you’ve developed? Fire it up — you’re going to need it!
Before we launch into my simple ways to grow your email list, let’s talk about the obvious.
Why should you build an email list in the first place?
Why should I build my email marketing list?
Here’s a bold statement:
Of all the ways we can get our business messages in front of people, email is the best.
Email marketing is cost effective:
“For every dollar brands invest in email marketing, they receive 42 dollars in return.” – From a study by Litmus.com
That’s impressive! What else in our lives gives us that kind of return on investment?
Email marketing is fast. Want to reach out to your audience? Write and send an email.
- No ads to copywrite
- No graphics to design
- No videos to film
- No blog posts to write
No need for this (thank goodness!):
Just write your email and send it.
It’s quick, it’s direct, and it’s one more thing …
Email marketing is personal. When you do it right, email feels intimate. Your messages show up where your audience is interacting with family and friends — their inbox.
When you’re building a business online, your email list is one of your most important business assets.
But what if you don’t have an email list — or your list is tiny?
You might be tempted to hire someone to help you build your email list fast.
Do I need an email list building service?
No, you don’t need to hire a company to do this for you. You are smart, persistent, and patient.
You’ve got what it takes. You’re more than capable of growing your email list yourself!
You’re the best person for the job. You know who you want to serve. You know how you want to serve them.
Read on to learn the best ways to grow your email list all by yourself.
Do I need an email list opt in?
Yes — it’s smart to offer a valuable, downloadable gift to entice people to join your email list.
This new subscriber gift is known as:
- An opt-in incentive
- A lead magnet
- An ethical bribe (my least favorite name)
No matter what you call it, a lead magnet is one of the smartest ways to grow your email list. You develop something to give people as a thank you when they sign up to your email list — you impress your new subscribers from Day 1!
How can I grow my email list with social media?
You can absolutely use social media to grow your email list.
Using paid ads to grow your email list. You can pay to run ads that lead people to a page where they can sign up for your lead magnet.
Using organic social media posts to grow your email list. Weave in occasional mentions of your lead magnet so your social followers sign up to get it.
Adding a link to your lead magnet to your social bios. Every social platform gives you a place to add a short bio. Use this space to promote your lead magnet landing page (more on creating this page below).
Here are seven simple ways to grow your list, from easiest to hardest.
1. Personal outreach to your “lookalike” network
By the time you’re in midlife, you have a long list of contacts (formerly known as “having a big Rolodex.”).
The best way to begin to grow your email list is to start with personal outreach from your private inbox — the same way you email a friend or colleague.
Which friend or colleague might be interested in the topic of your online business?
- Let them know what you’re up to.
- Invite them to participate.
- Ask them to share with someone they know.
Reach out to your friends and colleagues individually with a message like this:
Big news! I’m going to start writing and sending emails about [____].
The emails will show you how to [DO___, FEEL ___, ENJOY___.]
I thought you might enjoy them — want me to include you on my email list?
PS: Please share the name of anyone else I should contact — I appreciate it.
Most email marketing software will allow you to add individual names to their database. Add your contacts’ names and emails as they say “yes.”
2. Create a lead magnet opt-in form and put it on a landing page
Your lead magnet entices people to join your email list.
The opt-in form is generated by your email marketing software (here’s my review of ConvertKit, the company I use).
Once you’ve created the form where people can sign up, why should you put the form on a separate landing page?
Can’t you just embed the form on your site? You can simply embed the form on your site (and you should), but …
When you embed the form on a page that’s about something else, your lead magnet is competing with all the other page elements.
If you send someone to sign up for your lead magnet page from social media, for example, they may get distracted by everything else on the page.
When you create a landing page that’s 100% focused on your lead magnet, more people will sign up.
Make the link to your landing page easy to remember so you can share it without thinking about it.
Read on for more ways to grow your email list that take a little longer but are still easy to do.
3. Post about your lead magnet on social media
As you plan your social media posts, be sure to include occasional mentions of your lead magnet.
Let your followers know it’s available. Tell them who it helps and how. Let them know where they can sign up for it.
Be sure to share the landing page link — remember, that page is designed solely to promote your lead magnet.
4. Link to your lead magnet landing page in your email signature
Every inbox-style email you send is a chance to share your lead magnet.
Create a basic signature style that includes a link to your lead magnet. If they person you’re emailing is interested in learning more from you, your lead magnet link is easy to follow.
Creating a custom email signature takes a few minutes, but of all the ways to grow your email list I’m sharing here, this one’s the most hands off.
5. Add your lead magnet landing page link to your social bios
Use the bio area on social platforms to promote your lead magnet landing page.
Here are ways to grow your email list with your social bio on each of the most-popular platforms right now:
- Twitter: Pin a tweet about your lead magnet to the top of your Twitter account
- Instagram: Link to your lead magnet landing page in your Instagram bio
- Facebook: Create a button with a link to your lead magnet landing page for your Facebook Page
- LinkedIn: Add your lead magnet landing page to your LinkedIn Featured section
- Pinterest: Use your bio to share a link to your lead magnet landing page
6. Promote your lead magnet around your website
- Home page
- About page
- Content pages (in the sidebar or above or below the content)
- Contact page
Once it’s created, embed the subscription form on your:
This gives people a 1-step place to join your email list.
Alternatively, you can send people to your lead magnet landing page using a text link or a button. You could even make your lead magnet landing page an item in your navigation menu!
7. Create a pop up form
I’m leaving this one for the end. People are passionate about pop up forms! Mostly because they can’t stand them.
So why do site owners still create pop up forms?
Site owners use them because they work. People who use pop ups report that they get more sign ups from their pop up form than any other kind of form they use.
You’ve probably experienced the form that pops up seconds after you land on a page and temporarily blocks out everything else on the screen.
There are lots of other pop up styles to explore — and most of them are less annoying.
- “Exit intent” pop ups appear when the site visitor is about to leave the page
- “Scroll trigger” pop ups appear when the site visitor scrolls past a certain point on the page (25%, 50%, 80%, for example)
- “Scroll in” pop ups appear from the corner or side of the screen
- “Floating bar” pop ups start at the top of the screen and remain there as the site visitor scrolls down
- “On click” pop ups appear when your site visitor clicks on a button, image, or text link
You have options.
Because pop ups are proven to work, don’t be afraid to explore them: they’re one of the most powerful ways to grow your email list.
Looking for ways to grow your email list? Here are seven …
Here are the simplest ways to grow your email list in midlife:
- Personal outreach to your “lookalike” network
- Create a lead magnet and put it on a landing page
- Post about your lead magnet on social media
- Link to your lead magnet landing page in your email signature
- Add your lead magnet landing page link to your social bios
- Promote your lead magnet around your website
- Create a pop up form
Email list growth takes time.
Use the advice here to get started today!
This post, The 7 Simplest Ways to Grow Your Email List Fast When You’re in Midlife, is part of a series about the seven challenges to making money online in midlife. Read the first post here:
If you’re in mid-career and you want personalized, in-depth help growing your online revenue, the next step is to apply for the Offer Accelerator.