Social media can be a great place to connect with your audience, but the problem with social media is that you don’t own any of those platforms. Your Instagram profile and Facebook page are rented spaces that you do not control.
At any given moment, the rules of engagement can change. Whether that’s an algorithm update or policy changes that make it more difficult for you to reach your target audience without paying.
This is why it’s so important to build an email list. When you have an email list, it becomes easier to communicate with your subscribers. Email is direct permission-based communication—which means subscribers on your list have asked to be on your list by opting in through a signup form whether online or offline.
This means they’re interested in your offer and won’t treat your emails like the kind of interruptions that ads can sometimes feel like on social media. But most importantly, you can reach them whenever you want to, without worrying about algorithm changes or issues with a social media platform.
How to grow your email newsletter
But how do you grow your email newsletter, especially when you’re starting with zero subscribers or a small list?
It can be daunting to start from zero, but these 5 tips will make it easy for you to get started and grow your list. Just remember, email list building is a long game, so be patient and celebrate your small milestones.
1. Start with great content
A huge part of having a successful email newsletter is writing content that your subscribers want to read. That means having a clear understanding of your target audience and knowing what interests them.
Here are a few examples:
If you’re a restaurant owner, your subscribers may want to hear about your meal offerings. Share behind-the-scenes information about the chef and what inspires meals on the menu.
If you have an online store, share information on your products or share inspiration on how other customers have been using your products. Your newsletter is also a good place to share reviews if you have them, as well as special offers.
If you’re a church or other faith-based organization, consider sharing a list of weekly events, information about event speakers, as well as inspirational information that may help members and visitors on their own spiritual journey.
If you’re looking for more ideas for content for your email newsletter, this post will help.
2. Use a well-designed template
If you’re not a fan of designing emails from scratch, templates are a good place to start. With PosterMyWall’s extensive library of email templates for all types of businesses—real estate, retail, corporate, restaurants, churches, salons, and more—you never have to start from a blank canvas.
Filter by industry to find a design that works for you, then modify the colors and elements and use it as your own.
3. Send your email newsletter consistently
Once you nail down your content and design, it’s important to send your newsletter consistently. If your audience knows they can count on you to show up in their inbox every week, they’re more likely to become loyal readers.
It’s up to you to decide how often to send out your newsletter—weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. The most important thing is to pick a frequency and stick to it.
Author James Clear sends his newsletter every week, and he does this without fail. He’s been sending the 3-2-1 Newsletter consistently every week since August 2019.
4. Encourage subscribers to share your newsletter with friends and family
A referral program is another great way to get people to subscribe to your newsletter. If you commit to creating great content and sending your newsletter consistently, it becomes easier to ask your subscribers to share it with their community.
You can do this by adding a line in your email encouraging readers to share your newsletter, or you can use a referral tool as Ash Ambirge uses in her Meat & Hair Daily Newsletter.
5. Add an opt-in link to your email signature
Email signatures are a great place to promote your newsletter. If you’re an organization, this can be even more beneficial.
Have everyone use custom email signatures and include a call to action that promotes your email newsletter to grow your audience.
In the example below (created using Wisestamp), a simple one-liner at the bottom of the email signature invites the email recipient to subscribe to the Church’s free email newsletter.
6. Offer a lead magnet
People love valuable free resources. Share a useful checklist, ebook, worksheet training video, or another resource with your audience to grow your email newsletter.
This resource can be shared on your website or on your social media pages. The key here is to use an email service that has automated emails so the free resource can be delivered as soon as your subscribers sign up.
Once you share your free resource, be sure to follow up with a welcome email sequence that introduces your new subscribers to your brand.
7. Promote your email newsletter on social media
Social media is great for promoting your email newsletter, especially if you have an engaged audience.
Promote your newsletter in your header image
Your social media header image is prime real estate. If you have a profile on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube, these platforms all allow you to upload a custom image or graphic for your header. Use this space to promote your email newsletter and your brand.
Social media templates make this easy by eliminating the stress of starting from scratch.
Promote your newsletter in your bio link
All social media bios include at least one link option to add a website URL. Use this opportunity to link to your email newsletter.
If you’re active on social media it’s very likely that your bio will get a lot of profile visits. Since your profile is prime real estate, it’s a good idea to include this link to promote your newsletter.
8. Offer a discount coupon or code
If you sell a product, a discount coupon is another great way to grow your email newsletter. Offer your website visitors a discount code in exchange for their email addresses. Then you can send the discount code to their inbox.
Candle retailer Otherland uses a 2-step popup on their website to collect email addresses. Step one asks website visitors if they want 10% off their order.
After clicking yes, a second popup asks for the email address.
9. Add an opt-in at end of blog posts
If you have an active blog, your blog posts are another opportunity to promote your email newsletter.
You can use an email opt-in box (most blog platforms or websites will allow you to integrate a service to do this) to encourage your readers to sign up for more content similar to what they just read on your blog.
Shopify uses an opt-in box at the end of each blog post to encourage their blog readers to sign up for their email newsletter. Notice how they mention what readers can expect when they sign up — “behind-the-scenes merchant stories, industry trends, and tips for creating standout brick-and-mortar experiences.”
PosterMyWall makes it easy to get started growing your email newsletter
Even if you’re starting from zero subscribers, these 9 tips will help you to grow your email newsletter if you take action now.
PosterMyWall makes it easy to design your email, so that’s one less thing to worry about as you work on growing your email newsletter. Our email templates are customizable and easy to use, so you can focus on your content.
Anna is a conversion copywriter and email marketing strategist at AFIWI MARKETING.
She helps SaaS founders, e-commerce brands, coaches, and online service providers get more customers and increase sales using email marketing and copywriting.