30 List Building Ideas

Idea Innovation Solution

Building an email list is an intricate dance of psychology. You need to get people excited. You need to build trust. You need to create a sense of urgency. You need people to think they’ll get value from your list. You need social proof.

You need to put together all kinds of social, psychological and emotional factors that all combine to create a spontaneous urge to sign up for your mailing list.

How can you increase your list opt in rates and get your list exposed to more of the right people? Here are 30 ideas to help.


  1. Offer a freebie. This is one of the most common and popular tactics for building a list. Give your visitors something for free if they sign up.
  2. Use a lightbox. A lightbox is a popover that greys out the rest of the screen when it pops over. It’s one of the most attention catching ways to build a list.
  3. Give massive free value first. Give a ton of free value on your site before asking them to sign up.
  4. Set expectations for how often they receive mail. People hate spam. But if you tell them exactly how often you’ll mail them, (E.g. “We’ll email you once a week”) they’ll often be much more willing to sign up.
  5. Clearly tell the benefits and have a clear promise. Tell them in no uncertain terms what the benefit is of being on your list.
  6. Link to a sample issue. Link to an issue of your newsletter that people can look through. Make sure to put your best foot forward.
  7. Use PPC to promote your mailing list. Do this once you know you have a good opt-in rate and that your email list converts.
  8. Try contextual ad networks. Buy traffic to your opt-in page from other similar sites.
  9. Try Gmail ads. Try to use keywords that get people who’re similar to the people you want on your list.
  10. Write a guest post around your freebie. For example, write a guest post about “17 Mistakes AdSense marketers make” if you have a free report about how to succeed with AdSense.
  11. Promote your list on social media. Especially try posting relevant responses to popular hashtags in your industry.
  12. Create a viral video. Have a link to your signup page on the video or the video’s description.
  13. Launch a podcast. Promote your list in your podcast.
  14. Offer a “Secret Blog Post”. Tell your blog audience that you’re going to release a blog post only to your email list.
  15. Give a discount. Offer a one time discount to only list members. Let people know they can still join your list to get the discount.Ideas2
  16. Add a signup box on every page. Add it on the right, on the bottom or both.
  17. Give a stern warning, then the solution in the email. For example, write a blog post about how most people’s businesses aren’t setup to scale and will stall out in a couple years. Then offer the solution in an email.
  18. Segregate your list. Split people who’re interested in specific sub-topics into different lists. This allows you to be more tailored in both your marketing and your mailings.
  19. Do a solo ad mailing. Buy solo ads from other people with mailing lists to promote your list.
  20. Do an ad swap. Mail a promotion to your list, then have someone else do the same with their list.
  21. Tell people who email you their question will be answered in the email list. Answer questions on your list rather than privately.
  22. Write a mini-book series to be released via email. For example, a 7 part series on one specific skill. Market the book heavily.
  23. Gather testimonials for list building. This helps demonstrate social proof for your list.
  24. Buyers must sign up to buy. Make it a mandatory part of the process.
  25. Wall off long content. For example, on a 5 page article, make people sign in to their mailing list address after 2 pages to continue reading.
  26. Host discussions about an article only sent to your list. People will join your list just to join the discussion.
  27. Run a CPL affiliate campaign. Pay affiliates for every email signup they generate, rather than for sales.
  28. Make it mandatory for free online tools. Give away free web tools, but make sure they sign up before using it.
  29. Add a signup form to your fan page. Many autoresponders will provide the code for this.
  30. Use Facebook Auto-Fill. Facebook allows you to automatically fill in someone’s email address into a form. This can increase your opt in rates.

2 thoughts on “30 List Building Ideas”

  1. It’s obvious that people are cautious about who’s email list they get on. You need to have an offer that’s really appealing. Great point about Google Ads.

  2. Thanks for the ideas. People are hesitant to get on email lists and hopefully with your ideas they will be inclined to join.


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