How to Grow Your Email List: The Ultimate Playbook for 2024 and Beyond 

How to Grow Your Email List

Growing your email marketing list can feel like an uphill battle. You pour time and effort into various strategies, only to find your list growing at a snail’s pace, if at all.

But there’s good news: if you focus your efforts on the right steps, you can achieve organic growth that’s not just rapid but sustainable.

That’s why, instead of bombarding you with a mish-mash of tactics, we’ll explain how to grow your email list using a systematic approach that’ll work in 2023 and beyond. Let’s dive in! 

How Do You Grow an Engaged Email List?

Growing an engaged email list demands a ton of effort and planning. There’s no shortage of strategies to try, but the overall process boils down to these steps:  

  1. Target the right people who genuinely want your content.
  2. Offer compelling incentives to lead to more sign-ups. 
  3. Gain maximum exposure from diverse channels, including social media and SEO.  
  4. Optimize your operations via A/B testing. 
  5. Regularly clean and segment your list to keep your communications targeted. 

Remember, the easiest way to grow your email list is to stay consistent and have a plan! 

Step 1: Build the Foundation for Email List Growth 

Growing an email list takes more than implementing a few clever tactics. You should set yourself up for success by taking the time to figure out who you’re targeting, how, and using what tools. Let’s get into the details. 

Define Your Audience 

Failing to define your target audience is the number one reason you won’t get people to give you their email addresses. It’s like throwing a party without knowing who you want to invite – you might have a well-decorated venue and delicious food, but the guests you’re hoping for remain a mystery.

Let’s say you run an online clothing store. If you send emails showcasing various clothing styles without understanding your audience’s preferences, your messages will get lost in crowded inboxes. 

But if you define your target audience as “fashion-forward young professionals seeking sustainable and trendy clothing options,” your emails can highlight eco-friendly fashion lines, exclusive promotions, and outfit ideas tailored to this specific group.

Create Irresistible Content 

If you want your subscribers to open your emails and share them with others eagerly, your content has to be valuable and unique.

Valuable content delivers knowledge, insights, or solutions that cater to your audience’s needs. And unique content puts your individual stamp on the topic by showcasing your expertise and presenting a fresh perspective.

For example, there’s a genuine need for practical workout and nutrition tips in the fitness niche. So, you can be valuable by providing science-backed advice in your emails. 

But why not create an unforgettable experience by infusing an element of entertainment? You can create engaging workout videos peppered with laughter, funny workout mishaps, workout memes, or witty captions. 

Choose a Reliable Email Marketing Platform

Email marketing platforms let you create, send, and track email sequences. The best ones give you email templates, list management, automation, analytics, and A/B testing. 

But what’s the one feature that sets one platform apart from others? 


Deliverability measures how many emails end up in the recipient’s primary inbox—not the spam folder or promotions tab. 

This metric matters because consistently landing in recipients’ inboxes leads to trust, engagement, and growth in the long run. 

At Campaign Refinery, we’re all about email deliverability. That’s why we’ve made domain authentication a core component for all our customers. Domain authentication protocols confirm that your messages are sent from a legitimate source, and you’ll be protected from spam filters. This proactive approach enhances your sender reputation, builds trust, and increases engagement rates. 

Encourage Engagement 

When subscribers engage with your emails by opening, clicking, or responding, email providers take notice. They flag your emails as “important,” giving you a huge chance to stand out from everyone else in your subscribers’ inboxes. 

Crafting compelling subject lines is your secret weapon here. Go beyond inserting the recipient’s name in the subject line. Add urgency or pique curiosity to increase the likelihood that recipients will open your messages. 

Which subject line are you more likely to click on? 

New Blog Post on Tech Trends vs. Unveiling Tomorrow’s Tech Trends

How about these two? 

Health Tips for a Balanced Lifestyle vs. Unlock the Secret to a Thriving Life

Inside the email, invite your subscribers into a two-way conversation. Ask them to reply with their questions, feedback, or thoughts. You can even incentivize them to give you a reply. 

Here’s an example from Kieran Drew, an online entrepreneur, who injects humor in his welcome email to ask new subscribers for a reply.

Email reply prompt meme Kieran Drew to help you grow your email list

Step 2: Convince 1000 People to Give You Their Email 

A joint study by Google and the Boston Consulting Group reported an interesting finding: 

Only 30 percent of people are willing to share their email addresses willingly. But when you introduce a tempting incentive into the equation, that number shoots up to 90 percent. 

In other words, a compelling incentive is key to growing your email list. Now, let’s discuss the most effective strategies for achieving this. 

Reach Out to Your Customers  

We asked our founder and email marketing expert, Travis Ketchum, to share his best way to grow your email list. His advice may sound unconventional, but it works: 

To collect more email addresses, you need to revisit your existing customers and ask them to subscribe. 

These individuals already have a relationship with your brand. So, your message is more likely to resonate with them, and you’re more likely to gain repeat business from these subscribers. 

You can include incentives, such as discounts and free educational material, to incentivize your previous customers to sign up. 

These incentives, which we’ll discuss below, work on previous customers and new opt-ins. But a subscriber who’s already made a purchase is always more valuable than a new opt-in.  

Offer Discounts 

According to the Google study we mentioned earlier; many users prefer receiving discounts in exchange for their email addresses. Participants rated recurring discounts as the most enticing incentive, while one-time coupons came in fourth place.

So, promise access to exclusive discounts, members-only offers, free shipping, and limited-time savings, and you tap into your audience’s desire for discounts and exclusivity. The allure and the opportunity to enjoy special benefits encourage individuals to share their email addresses.

Here’s a simple discount pop-up by the jewelry brand Futura:

Futura email sign up page showing how to grow your email list

How to Grow Your Email List with Lead Magnets 

Lead magnets are incentives designed to deliver instant value to your audience in exchange for their email addresses. They come in all shapes and sizes: PDF guides, ebooks, checklists, templates, webinars, video series, email courses, quizzes, and more. 

To turn your lead magnets into weapons that grow your email list fast, make sure the content and format align with your audience’s needs and interests. 

For example, if you own an online clothing store, you can create: 

  • A “style lookbook” for each season to showcase your products and provide styling tips and exclusive discounts.
  • A “fashion personality quiz” to help subscribers uncover their distinct style preferences and get tailored style tips. 
  • A video series on fashion hacks where experts provide tips on wardrobe remixes, dressing appropriately for various events, and closet organization. 

As a best practice, we recommend creating multiple lead magnet offers. This way, you can choose the most relevant one for specific marketing campaigns, audience segments, or customer journey stages.

Selecting the perfect lead magnet that clicks with your audience and matches your business situation can be a challenge! Use the table below to discover your ideal lead magnet. 

Business TypeLead Magnet Type
Lead Quality

Long-Term Value
Solopreneur/ Coaching Educational contentMediumMediumHigh
Audit or quoteHighLowLow
Ecommerce DiscountsMediumLowMedium
Free shippingMediumLowMedium
Free gift with first orderHighLowLow
Service BusinessesDiscountsMediumLowMedium
Educational contentMediumMediumHigh
Free online toolsMediumHighMedium
Software Businesses Educational contentMediumMediumHigh
Free trialHighLowHigh
Freemium accountHighLowHigh
Free online toolsMediumHighMedium
Select the Best Lead Magnet

Sell High-Value, Low-Ticket Products

Most leads aren’t ready to buy when they come across your offering. Many will never pay you any money. But if you can identify the few who have their wallets out, you can find new customers and grow your email list at the same time. 


By asking leads to invest a small sum in exchange for a value-packed digital product or bundle. 

Imagine you’re a personal development coach. Create a coaching toolkit bundle with a self-assessment workbook, a goal-setting guide, and access to an exclusive monthly group coaching session. Offer this bundle for a discounted price of $9.99 to attract potential clients serious about personal development.

When a lead buys this offer, they automatically give you their email address. So, you can stay in touch and guide them toward more profitable options, such as: 

  • Personalized coaching packages.
  • Exclusive workshops and courses.
  • A paid membership community.
  • Books and speaking engagements.

Run Contests or Giveaways to Grow Your Email List

How can you inject a bit of excitement into your email list growth strategy? 

With contests and giveaways. 

A contest involves participants actively engaging in a competition or task, such as submitting a photo. On the other hand, giveaway participants simply share their emails for a chance to win a prize.  

The prize doesn’t have to be expensive, but it must be enticing. A run-of-the-mill gift card won’t spark much enthusiasm or attract the right kind of participants who genuinely engage with your brand.

Woodup promo gamification sign up showing how to grow your email list

Use Gamification 

Remember those thrilling games from your childhood? Whether it was completing intricate puzzles or embarking on scavenger hunts, those moments of anticipation left a lasting imprint. Now, as an adult, picture infusing that same excitement into your sign-up process. 

Picture this: your viewers spin the wheel and stand a chance to snag exclusive rewards in exchange for their email addresses. Scratch cards, quizzes, and puzzles can each add a delightful touch of playfulness to your pop-ups. 

Wheely sales promo gamification email sign up

When you gamify your sign-up form, your brand stands out, and users are more likely to share the enjoyable experience with their friends. Your conversion rates also soar as you grow your email subscriber list. 

Campaign Refinery redefines email gamification by seamlessly integrating it into the entire email experience. Subscribers don’t just open and click; they earn points and unlock rewards like discounts and VIP access. This shift in approach can amplify your engagement metrics eightfold while also building a positive sender reputation.  

Other Ways to Capture Emails 

Here are five other creative ways to grow your email list fast:

  1. Organize events: Host webinars, workshops, and in-person gatherings that resonate with your audience’s interests. People share their email addresses to secure their spot at these experiences. 
  2. Give quote estimates: Encourage website visitors to exchange email addresses for customized quotes. It’s a win-win – they receive valuable information, and you gain potential leads.
  3. Build an app: Develop a mobile application relevant to your industry. Ask users to register using their email addresses to access exclusive features.
  4. Use chatbots: Implement customer service chatbots on your website. When users need assistance or have questions, capture their email addresses as part of the interaction. 
  5. Book a consultation: Offer free consultations or appointments aligned with your services. Interested leads can secure a session by providing their email addresses. 

Step 3: Drive Traffic to Your Offer 

Growing your email subscriber list eventually becomes a numbers game: the more people in your target audience learn about your offer, the more people will sign up. 

Our email marketing experts at CR recommend using these channels to fuel your growth: 

  • Content marketing: Produce high-quality content blog posts, articles, videos, and infographics that provide value to your audience. Include your opt-in forms within your content to collect email addresses.
  • Social media: Promote email sign-up incentives on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Use eye-catching visuals and compelling copy to grab attention and drive conversions.
  • Paid advertising: Use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on platforms like Google Ads or social media to drive traffic to dedicated landing pages with opt-in forms.
  • Referrals: Encourage existing subscribers to forward your emails to friends and colleagues. 
  • Collaborations with other businesses: Collaborate with businesses or influencers in related niches to cross-promote sign-up incentives. 
  • Podcasts: Appear as a guest on podcasts or host your own podcast. Promote your email list during episodes and on podcast show notes pages.
  • Guest blogging: Write guest posts for reputable websites or blogs within your industry. Include links to your landing pages or opt-in forms in your author bio or within the content.
  • Website pop-ups: Design attention-grabbing pop-ups that offer valuable incentives and time them to appear when visitors are engaged or about to leave your website. Use clear calls to action and minimal form fields to encourage sign-ups.
  • Email signatures: Add an email signature with a link to your sign-up page or a brief call to action. This way, every email you send becomes an opportunity to capture subscribers.
  • QR codes: If applicable to your business, use QR codes on physical marketing materials, such as flyers or business cards, that link to your email sign-up page.

Step 4: Master A/B Tests to Grow Your Email List Right

With traffic flowing to your sign-up form, you need to seize every opportunity to capture email addresses. 

Is your offer enticing enough? Do viewers react positively to your form design? How about your copy? 

A/B testing lets you answer these questions. You can experiment with variations of your sign-up form, including different colors, layouts, and placements, to identify the most effective combination for increasing conversions. 

A word of caution, though! 

It’s easy to fall into the over-optimization trap. The goal isn’t to test for the sake of testing but to improve your results. So, focus on changes that meaningfully contribute to your email list growth and engagement. 

Step 5: Keep Your Email List Lean and Engaged 

Email lists degrade over time. Some subscribers become inactive or change their email addresses. Others lose interest in your content, find better alternatives, or don’t need it. 

That’s why you need to remove inactive subscribers and incorrect addresses. Doing so enhances email deliverability and reduces the risk of ending up in spam folders since you don’t send emails to non-existing addresses. Plus, it’ll lower your costs since you won’t have to pay for unengaged contacts. 

Campaign Refinery’s platform is powered by advanced built-in features for prioritizing list cleaning. We automatically verify emails before launching campaigns and help you send highly targeted content to your subscriber segments. This strategic approach significantly improves engagement rates and sends positive signals to email providers. 

Take a look at our service packages and apply to become our client.

NEVER Buy Email Lists 

Organic subscriber list growth takes time and tremendous effort. While the temptation for shortcuts is understandable, you should think twice before paying for a list of “verified” email addresses

Here’s why: 

  1. Lack of loyalty: When you buy a list, the people on it are complete strangers to your brand—no prior connection and no voluntary opt-ins for your communications. So, they’re less likely to engage with your content, make purchases, or become loyal customers. 
  2. Low-quality leads: Purchased email lists are notorious for containing outdated, inaccurate addresses or those belonging to individuals with zero genuine interest in your products or services. 
  3. Legal ramifications: Sending unsolicited marketing emails without explicit consent violates anti-spam laws and regulations, such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States or the GDPR in Europe. 
  4. Reputation damage: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email security organizations always monitor their traffic for spammy behavior. If recipients report your emails as spam, your domain and IP address get flagged, and your emails won’t land in the inboxes of legitimate subscribers who have willingly opted in. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Campaign Refinery only lets you send emails to subscribers who have opted in voluntarily. We have a firm policy against using purchased or scraped lists within our platform. Engaging in such practices will result in an immediate and irreversible suspension from our platform, with no refund options.

Unlock the Power of Your Email List with Campaign Refinery!

Ready to elevate your email marketing game? 

In this blog post, we outlined a five-step process to supercharge your email marketing list growth. Now, imagine having a reliable platform that supports these steps and takes them to the next level.

Campaign Refinery isn’t just an email marketing platform; we’re your strategic partner for high-volume emails and unbeatable deliverability. With premium features like automatic list cleaning, engagement gamification, and mandatory domain authentication, we ensure your messages land where they matter—in your audience’s primary inbox.

But that’s not all! 

As a premium product, Campaign Refinery comes with expert support to guide you every step of the way.

To share part of our expertise with you, we’re offering our brand-new Lead Magnet Mini Course for free. In this course, you’ll learn insider techniques from our founder, who used the same techniques to boost our own click-through rates by 7.56x! 

Sign up for the Lead Magnet Mini Course

There’s one condition, though! 

You’ll have to complete all four mini-trainings within a week to retain lifetime free access. 

Happy learning! 

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