How to Grow a High-Quality Email List

Learn how to develop the right type of email list that will deliver an amazing return on investment and help you grow your customer base.

Email is the most effective marketing channel on the planet because you get to talk directly to the people who want to hear from you. This opens up amazing opportunities to build relationships and sell your products and services. But before you jump for joy, there is one major hurdle — building a high-quality email list.

Your subscribers are the lifeblood of your email marketing. You need to grow your list to keep your campaigns healthy. How?

By understanding what your audience needs, you can create compelling offers that entice more people to sign up to your list.

And when it’s time for someone to opt-in, MailerLite provides the sign-up forms and landing pages that you need to collect subscriber email addresses.


What you need to start building your list

Building your email list is similar to finding a new friend. When you meet for the first time, you want to make a good impression and find shared interests.

The same is true with email marketing. When someone comes across your brand, it’s up to you to find a common connection and offer them something that kicks off the relationship. This is the basic formula for growing your subscribers:

  • Know what your audience wants.
  • Create offers that they will like. 
  • Make it easy for them to subscribe.
How to Grow a High-Quality Email List
Step One - Audience Insights

Do you know your target audience and how to meet their needs? Once you understand the pain points, interests and business needs of your potential customers, you will be able to start creating content and incentives that they will gladly exchange their email address for the value.

TIP: Get feedback from your current subscribers by sending out a survey to see what value people are getting from your services. For example, MailerLite has a large customer base of book authors who need landing pages designed to highlight their books. With this knowledge, we attract more authors highlighting landing pages designed just for them.

Step Two - Compelling Offer

People are always searching for things that will help them. Whether it's knowledge, good deals or anything that will make their lives easier, your job is to offer your audience something of value that compels them to engage.

TIP: Offer people things that have a high perceived value that no one else can get without signing up. Things like eBooks, special discounts, or exclusive access to content work well to promote sign-ups.

Step Three - Subscribe Quickly

When your audience accepts your offer, you need to make it super easy for them to opt-in right away. Always having a subscription opportunity available at the right time and place.

TIP: Don't get greedy and try to ask for too much information. All you really need is their email address. You can get more info from them after you build trust.

These three steps make up the basic foundation of what you need to acquire subscribers. But you'll still need to engage them at the right time when they are most likely to share their email address. 

Here are a few ways to ensure your opt-in forms are ready to go.


Optimize your website to convert subscribers

In the offline world, the best time to engage a potential customer is when they come to you. You already know that they are curious about your business. 

It’s your job to make them feel welcome, figure out their needs, and clearly explain how you can help them. Your website, blog and landing pages serve the same purpose online. People are on your pages because you offer something that they want. 

The best time to ask people for their email is when they are highly engaged with your content.


When done correctly, you can transform your site into an email list-building machine!

Add Sign-up Forms

Every page of your site could be an opportunity to build your list. Make it really easy for people to find the sign-up forms.

The more opt-in forms that you place on your site, the more chances you’ll have to convert visitors into subscribers. The key is to never interrupt their user experience. There are plenty of places that allow visitors to spot the form no matter where they are on your site or blog.

MailerLite provides a Web Form Builder that allows you to design sign-up forms for your website or blog. You can customize the form to fit your brand and style. 

Here are some places on your site that convert well:

The top of the sidebar is the most popular location to place a form, especially on your blog. It is one of the first things a reader will see when they visit. 

How to Grow a High-Quality Email List

Your blog is a great place to grow your list. If readers are engaged with your thinking, they will want more. Place an opt-in form at the end of each blog with a call-to-action, allowing readers to connect while you are top-of-mind.

How to Grow a High-Quality Email List

Placing a sign-up form permanently in your footer ensures that the visitors who like what are reading have an immediate way to take action.

How to Grow a High-Quality Email List

Finally, it's a good idea to review your Google Analytics to find your most popular pages. For many sites, the About page is one of the most visited pages. Try adding a form in the middle with an enticing call-to-action or offer.

How to Grow a High-Quality Email List

Pop-ups work

Pop-ups have a mixed reputation, but can be extremely effective when done right.

For many people, pop-ups interrupt the user experience which is the worst thing you can do if you are trying to attract new subscribers. At the same time, studies have proven that pop-ups work really well, increasing your conversions by over 30%.

How can you use pop-ups without ruining the user experience?

There are new ways you can use pop-ups that minimize interruption. For example, MailerLite's Pop-Up feature enables you to set the timing of when the pop-up arrives. Give your visitors some time to read the content before triggering a pop-up.

Many businesses find success with an exit pop-up, where the form pops up right when the visitor leaves.

How to Grow a High-Quality Email List

Another location that catches the visitors eye without being annoying is the sidebox pop-up. Most of the time the pop-up doesn't cover important content so the interruption isn't that bad.

How to Grow a High-Quality Email List

The key is to balance a great user-experience while still using your blog and website to acquire email addresses. When you use pop-ups, keep an eye on your analytics to ensure the pop-ups aren't negatively affecting your time-on-site, page views or bounce rates.


Lead generation landing pages

All your social media channels and outbound marketing initiatives (such as advertising) should link back to a custom landing page designed specifically to capture email addresses.

For social sites, such as LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter, you can find places to include links that drive your followers to a landing page. Remember, you have to offer something of value that motivates people to click. Running contests, offering free downloads or exclusive product discounts are good ways to attract attention.

More Ways To Use Social Media To Grow Subscribers
How Email Marketing and Social Media Work Together for Good

When a potential customer clicks a link to your offer, it is up to you to make sure your landing page entices them and gives them all the details they need to ultimately convert. 

How to Grow a High-Quality Email List

MailerLite makes it easy for you to design custom landing pages or choose from a library of pre-built templates so you can have one up and running in minutes.

Landing page best practices

Don't make the mistake of including too much information. The goal is to make it a no-brainer to input their email address. While there is no one-size-fits-all way to design a landing page, it is good to keep these elements in mind:

1. Strong headline – Your headline should clearly describe the most attractive benefit of your offer.

2. Support points – Back up your claim with a brief description that supports the benefit. Many use bullet points to help the reader scan quickly, but a simple sentence also works well.

3. Appealing imagery – Humans react instantly to visual information. Beautiful imagery can boost conversions as long as it is relevant to the offer.

4. Quick form – It is simple: The less the person needs to do, the higher your conversions. Just ask for their email address.

5. Visible subscribe button – Use a contrasting color for your subscribe button, so that it pops.

We recommend testing your landing pages to see what works best for your audience. Sometimes video works, while other times a list of bullet points does the trick. You can create as many landing pages as you wish with Mailerlite, allowing you to test and experiment until you find your perfect formula.

Embed lead generation forms on Facebook

If your Facebook followers are not part of your subscriber list, you are missing a huge opportunity to engage with people who already want to hear from you.

MailerLite's integration with Facebook lets you easily embed sign-up forms on your pages so you can grab emails directly from Facebook without people ever having to leave.

How to Grow a High-Quality Email List

What about collecting subscribers offline?

We’ve talked a lot about finding subscribers online, but what about offline? We still live in the physical world and there are tons of opportunities to meet potential subscribers and ask them to sign up.

Whether you are on a sales call, at a trade show or someone walks into your place of business, every encounter offers a chance to build your list. But remember, you still need their permission.

While manually collecting business cards to build your list is fine, MailerLite built an app to give you an even better solution to acquire offline subscribers.

How to Grow a High-Quality Email List

MailerLite's iPad app makes it easy to collect emails and obtain permission. The emails are automatically linked to your Mailerlite account for a seamless list-building program.

More importantly, you get proof of the opt-in, which is always a great data point to keep in the system.

Download the Free iPad App Here
iPad Subscribe App

Why a quality email list matters

Simply put, a quality email list is full of engaged subscribers who want to hear from you.

When you build your list organically, your subscribers become a treasure trove of potential revenue just waiting to be tapped. Think about it. People who are interested in your business actually gave you permission to start a relationship. This is an amazing opportunity!

On the other hand, if your email list is full of people that have no interest in you, your emails will fail to connect, or even worse, get marked as spam. This happens when you buy lists or keep subscribers on the list that have become inactive.

List quality is more powerful than list quantity.


Keep your subscribers happy

Congratulations, you implemented the right tactics and you are starting to grow your list. While your list is growing, don't forget about the people that already signed up.

Did you know that your email list naturally degrades by about 22.5% every year?

You work so hard to acquire your subscribers, the last thing you want is to lose them. While it is normal to lose a percentage of your email list every year, there are several things you can be doing to minimize the churn.

Yes, it is important to keep your subscribers engaged with great content and offers, but there is so much more you can do with MailerLite to maintain a healthy email marketing program.

The remaining chapters of our Ultimate Guide To Email Marketing will help you develop the right kind of email marketing approach to keep your subscribers happy and your business thriving.