6 Email List Building Strategies That Still Work in 2017

Filed in Email Marketing by on February 6, 2017

So, in the blink of an eye, we're into 2017.

A lot happened last year in the IM world and a lot more will happen this year too.

Video content has taken over everything else.

Facebook groups are booming.

More digital products are being launched than ever before

And Google has become smarter at understanding its users.

However, one thing remains unchanged.

In fact, it hasn’t changed in years...

The importance of email marketing for online businesses.

I’m not alone in saying that either.



Source: Smart Insights

According to Pew Research, 92% of online adults use email.

With 61% using it on an average day.

Another research shows that email marketing is 40x more effective at customer acquisition than social media.

But here’s the most eye-opening stat.

Every dollar spent on email marketing returns $38.

That’s an insane ROI of 3800%.

There’s a small problem, though.

Getting people to subscribe to your email list has become harder since everyone is collecting emails and users are just blind to the “Enter Your Email” requests.

As a result, “Subscribe for FREE Blog Updates” isn’t as exciting an offer for your blog readers as 10 years ago

In fact it’s so boring nobody even looks at it anymore.

And you know what:

Having in your face pop ups that block your content just annoys the life out of people now.

So how do you get people on your list?

Don’t worry I’ve got your back...


Note: I'm assuming your blog generates enough traffic that can be converted into email subscribers. If it doesn't, don't forget to download "101 Traffic Hacks" , an awesome product Stuart created just for you to build your traffic and email list.



What You'll Learn in This Post

  • How a simple change to your lead magnet can double your subscribers.
  • The exact pop-up strategy six-figure marketers use to build their list.
  • The hottest email list building strategy most experts are using but not telling anyone about it.
  • How you can use live videos to build your email list.


(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 34 ways to grow your email list click here or the image below)



derek halpern"Instead of building their email list, people focus on pointless things like social media… or worse… pageviews...BIG MISTAKE!" - Derek Halpern (Social Triggers)

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1. Use Content Gating To Generate Curiosity and Pull in More Subscribers

If you’re a serious marketer (which I’m assuming you are) you must be creating really in-depth and actionable content that solves the problems of your readers and helps them move forward.

People seriously love that kind of content and would hate to miss out on any new posts that you publish.

But people are lazy.

So, many of them will still not subscribe to your list unless you push them to.

This is where content-gating comes in.

Not sure what that is?

Let me explain...

If you’re a regular reader of the The New York Times website, you must be familiar with this pop-up message




“You have reached the limit of 10 free articles a month”

To read more, you need to pay them.

That’s content gating for you.

Many other leading publications like The Economist, Copyblogger, HBR do it in various ways.

But I’m not asking you to be that harsh.

Instead of asking your readers to pay for your content, you could simply use content gating to gather email addresses.

Give them free content as usual, but only after they give you their email address.

MarketingProfs, one of the leading B2B marketing blogs, asks readers to sign up for free to read their content




An alternate approach is to hide certain portions of a blog post instead of completely gating it. We do this here at NicheHacks to generate more social shares. But the same can be done to collect email addresses as well.

There are several WordPress plugins that can be used to add basic content gating features to your site.


2. Use Live Videos To Capture Highly Engaged Subscribers

Live video broadcasts are everywhere.

Facebook, Twitter and many other social networks are quickly becoming video-first platforms.

Facebook Live, in particular, generates much greater interest than recorded videos or text content and is a great way to keep users super-engaged with your brand.




Facebook Live videos currently enjoy higher organic reach as well, which means you don’t need to spend money to market live videos.

Why not take advantage of this engagement and turn viewers into subscribers?

You could create a free giveaway for your Facebook Live audience to get them on your email list.

For example, if the topic of your live video is “5 Ways To Reduce Weight Quickly”, create a bonus 6th tip as a downloadable lightweight eBook.

Or offer a downloadable checklist at the end of your live video which covers all the actionable tips you discussed in your video.

Set up the giveaway on a landing page, share the link in the comments section of your video and ask your viewers to download it from there.

Amy Porterfield, one of the leading social media marketers, uses this technique to not only get more subscribers but also to promote new content on her blog.



michael-stelzner"Live video is one of the best ways to build an email list right now" - Michael Stelzner (SocialMediaExaminer)

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3. Host a Niche Virtual Summit To Sky-Rocket Your Email List Growth

What if you could get subscribers from some of the top experts in your niche?

Sounds crazy, right.

There’s one marketing and list building technique which does exactly that, and it has been rocking the online marketing world for the last 1-2 years.

I’m talking about virtual summits.

You might not have heard of it, but hosting and participating in virtual summits is one of the hottest marketing techniques right now and experts in every niche are doing it now.

From parenting, weight loss and dating to public speaking and online marketing, I’ve seen virtual summits in virtually every niche.

In the IM niche, experts like Neil Patel, Michael Hyatt, Pat Flynn and dozens of others are regularly hosting their own virtual summits or participating in someone else’s event.

You might have seen banners like this one on your Facebook timeline.




Or this




So what exactly is a virtual summit and how does it build your list?

Good question.

In simple words, a virtual summit is an online event, on a very specific topic in your niche, which features live or pre-recorded video interviews of anywhere between 6 to 60+ niche experts.

It’s like a video version of round-up posts that most bloggers use.

Every expert promotes the summit to his own subscribers and asks them to attend his talk.

Users need to register for free to attend a virtual summit which builds the email list of the summit host.

“Why would any expert come to my summit?” – I heard that voice in your head

When dozens of influencers come together for a virtual summit and everyone promotes it to their lists, it creates a huge pool of viewers and potential subscribers

Influencers promote their own free resource or giveaway at the end of their interviews, which gives them an opportunity to grab new subscribers from that pool.

Viewers get to see so many experts in one place, and the experts get more subscribers and product sales from the event – it’s really a win-win!

But guess who the real winner is?

The summit host, of course, since he gets ALL the subscribers.

And once the summit is over, the host can sell it as a separate product to his subscribers.

Organizing a virtual summit is a pretty hectic job, but once you manage to pull it off, it can boost your email list quicker than most other strategies.


4. Use Content Upgrade Pop-Ups to Open Subscriber Floodgates

I’ve written a lot about lead magnets and how they can help you build a targeted email list.

However, the way you deliver a lead magnet is equally important. And there’s one delivery method that outperforms everything else.

You guessed it right, I’m talking about content upgrades.

Content upgrades work so well because they’re not generic email lead magnets. They’re highly targeted giveaways closely aligned with the blog post a visitor is already reading.

Suppose you’re running a niche blog in the parenting niche and your main lead magnet is an eBook on “10 Common Traits of Parents Who Raise Successful Kids”.

Will it be attractive enough for a mom who’s reading a blog post on your blog on “How to Put Your Toddler to Sleep without Losing Your Mind”?

As compared to a generic lead magnet, a content upgrade like a free downloadable checklist on “5 Diet Changes That Affect Sleep Patterns in Toddlers” would be much more interesting to the people reading your blog post.

If you're short on time, a simple checklist that outlines everything discussed in your main post should suffice as well.

For example, I recently did this guest post on Sleeknote blog about building your email list with guest blogging.

Here’s the content upgrade used with my post




Many of the top marketers I follow, for example, Bryan Harris, Neil Patel, Brian Dean, Noah Kagan etc. use content upgrades with every blog post.

We do it on NicheHacks as well and it works like a charm every time.

But let me give you a secret that will really make your content upgrade irresistible.

Combine content upgrades with exit intent pop-ups and watch your email list flooded with subscribers.

Brian Dean got 65% more conversions with content upgrade popups as compared to his generic lead magnet.

Seriously, it works so well I’m surprised why so many bloggers ignore this simple trick.



You can create separate exit intent pop-ups with your content upgrade for every post by using Optin Monster. Chelsea wrote this detailed Optin Monster tutorial to teach you everything you need to know.



Brian DeanBrian Dean got 65% more conversions with content upgrade popups as compared to his generic lead magnet

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5. Run Facebook Ads to Market Your Lead Magnet To Relevant Facebook Pages

In the last 1 year, more articles have been written about Facebook advertising than any other IM topic.

I don’t have the stats to prove it, but it’s just my gut feeling.

Facebook marketing is everywhere, and rightly so.

With nearly 2 billion monthly active users and such advanced audience targeting features, Facebook advertising is any marketer’s dream platform.

So it’ll be foolish not to use it to build your email list (and that too on auto-pilot)

The first thing you need is a lead magnet, of course (you can’t build an email list without it)

If you don’t already have one, read this, this and this post to know exactly how to create a super targeted lead magnet that brings in flocks of subscribers to your list.

Create a landing page for your lead magnet and get ready for fun.

We’re going to target the users who have liked the Facebook Pages of your competitors. They’re already interested in your topic and are likely to download your free giveaway.

To do that, go to Audience Insights in your Facebook Ads Manager




From there, select your target location (USA in this case) and enter the name of your competing pages in the “interest” section.




Let’s take NicheHacks as an example.

I tried looking up sites like Smart Passive Income, ViperChill etc. that have similar audiences as NicheHacks.




Other than that I entered a few generic interests like affiliate marketing and make money online. If a page or a topic has a large following, it will show up when you search for it in the interest field.

Broadly speaking, the followers of these pages and interests are your potential target audience as well.

But you can do more with Facebook advertising.

Click on the Page Likes tab to see the other well-known pages that your selected audience follows.





The audience I’ve selected also follows these pages, most of which are very similar in nature to the topics NicheHacks covers.

So you can target them as well when promoting your freebie.

All you need to now is to create a new Facebook Ad, and enter these pages in the audience targeting section. Here’s a step by step guide to help you do that.


6. Use Twitter Chat Summary as Giveaway To Your Followers

If you’re an active Twitter user, you might have participated in Twitter chats. If you have a large enough following, you might even host your own Twitter chat sessions.

It’s a great way to engage with other like-minded Twitter users, increase your following and build relationships.

But you can use it build your email list even if you don’t host your own Twitter chats.


Let me explain.

The normal pattern of a Twitter chat is that the host decides a hashtag for the chat, and asks questions that other participants answer using that hashtag.

For example, Buffer uses #BufferChat, Ann Smarty uses #MyBlogU.




Every question the chat host asks gets dozens of responses.

But most participants never manage to read all of them.

You can simply follow the chat hashtag, and compile all the questions and answers in a separate PDF file, and make it available for download on a landing page.

Once you do that, reach out to the chat host and share the link to your landing page with them. Most chat hosts would gladly share it with their followers.

But even if they don’t, you can Tweet the link using the official hashtag of the chat to share it with anyone who’s following it.

It hardly takes 5-10 minutes to copy/paste all the questions and responses, but it will give you a quick and easy way to get more subscribers.


(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 34 ways to grow your email list click here or the image below)


Are You Ready To Build Your Email List?

Online marketing is evolving faster than the speed of light with new tools, platforms, and techniques popping up every other day.

But list building as important as it was 5 years ago.

In fact, it is absolutely crucial for the long-term success of your niche marketing business to build a list of subscribers who trust you and willingly open your emails.

So if you haven’t started building an email list yet, start doing it now.

Do you know any other effective ways to quickly build an email list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.



Jawad Khan
Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blog, WritingMyDestiny, Twitter and Google+

Comments (1)

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  1. Amar kumar says:

    Hey Jawad,

    Most of the time, inspiration is easy to find because most marketing content is publicly available. An email marketing strategy is part of your overall marketing strategy and business plan. It helps you market your products and services with the use of the email channel with the best chances for making a profit and reaching your goals.

    Email marketing can work for pretty much any kind of business. It doesn’t matter whether you sell houses, lingerie, or consulting; we can get lots of sales as long as we use the right email marketing strategy in the right place. And we can promote practically anything relating to our business. For many businesses, building a relationship with their leads is the primary reason for sending any emails. Eventually, thanks for sharing your worthy tips regarding this valuable topic.

    With best regards,

    Amar kumar