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How to Grow Your Email Marketing List [WEBINAR RECAP]

If you’re reading this, it means you’ve probably read at least one email today, and also sent your fair share. You may even consider yourself an expert at the art of writing a compelling subject line.

But there’s a huge difference between writing an email to your mom with the subject “Mom, don’t get upset…” and running a successful marketing campaign.

That’s why we invited Liz Willits, a content marketing specialist at AWeber, to share her tips and tricks around building a healthy email list and and successful email marketing program.

aweber biography

Why is email marketing powerful?

Did you know that 72% of people prefer email to social media for promotional content?

In a world where we’re inundated with messages and advertisements, it’s easy for your marketing efforts to get lost in the noise. However, Liz points out a few important things about email marketing that make it unique, and sustainable.

Readers elect to hear your message on their terms.

With email marketing, your audience has opted themselves in to receiving communications.  This establishes a level of trust and intent that most other advertising channels don’t enjoy. You’ve been invited into their inbox, and if you continue to send relevant, worthwhile content, you’ll stay there. Liz points out that you have the opportunity to build a lasting relationship over the course of multiple emails, it’s not just a single moment.

Email works at every stage in the marketing funnel.  

This level of trust also allows you to reach customers at every level of the funnel. Liz cites the quote that 66% of online consumers made a purchase as a result of email. That shows how you can be effective as a marketer at any point in the funnel, whether enticing them to buy for the first time, or reeling them in as a return customer. The key is to start building trust early, and then maintain your activity through the point of purchase.


It’s worth the money.

According to Liz, the average return on investment for email marketing campaigns is 4,300%. That’s amazing! That means that for every dollar you spend, you’ll receive 43 dollars in return. Another thing to think consider is that when using platforms like social media, you aren’t actually owning your campaigns. The audiences you build, the statistics you compile, they all stay in the system’s backend, and are not owned by you. If you’ve worked hard to amass an audience, and want to change platforms, you’re out of luck.


Why grow your list?

It may sound pretty basic, but it’s important to remember that an email campaign is only as good as the audience you’re sending it to. You can have amazing creative, a perfectly timed cadence, and a well formed funnel, and waste it all on an audience that isn’t qualified or primed to purchase

Also, Liz explains that no matter how large your list, you can expect 22.5% of subscribers to leave, every year. That means you’d need to acquire 22.5% just to break even on your overall numbers. Always be acquiring, as a matter of survival and growth.

3 Mistakes to Avoid

Next, Liz keeps it real by speaking about the three biggest mistakes you can avoid as an email marketer.

  1. Avoid Purchasing Lists

Using a purchased list may sound like a good idea, but you’re undermining the strength that comes from individuals opting-in to your general permission marketing. Names on a purchased list haven’t necessarily met your brand before, so their interest in hearing from you is not guaranteed. It’s also likely that these names have been bought by other organizations, and spammed. Reputable email marketing companies won’t even let you import purchased lists because it hurts their overall reputations. If email marketing becomes too laden with spam and unwanted messages, it will dilute the potency of the channel and hurt their business in the end.

  1. Quantity Over Quality

It’s better to run with a smaller list of qualified leads than to blast your message to a larger, but less qualified, audience.  By focusing on a list that may be smaller, but of better quality, you can increase your return while investing in growth. It may take time to build a list of the same size, but it’ll be worth it.

  1. No Value

Liz’s final mistake to avoid is not including value or benefits in your email campaigns. Why would someone join your list? What are they getting in return? Whether it’s promotions, information, or an invitation to events, you need to give your audience a reason to look forward to opening your emails. Like the old American Express ad from the ‘80s, make sure membership has it’s privileges!

3 Tactics to Grow Your List

To balance out Liz’s three common errors to avoid, she also has three great tips to grow your email marketing list.

  1. Use Sign-up Forms

Sign-up forms are awesome list building tools because they’re always working on your site, even when you’re not, and can make a huge impact with little ongoing effort.

Also, remember that context is important. The highest performing combination of content and pop-ups are those that complement each other. The content of the page establishes the context, and the popup support the claim.

email marketing list

  1. Start Guest Blogging

Being a featured writer (even on a single instance) on another’s blog not only builds a new path for traffic, but it also builds a relationship with other notable figures in your field. If you’re strategic about how you choose where to blog (and who to invite to your blog) you can raise your profile while creating a source for new content.

  1. Webinars

Webinars are another way to create a community of content with other people in your space. Webinars are proven to drive traffic, and provide a good reason for people to fill out a sign-up sheet and enroll in your email program. Plus, webinars are a very tangible way to show that you can provide worthwhile content to subscribers.

At the end of the day, much like growing anything else, what you put into making your email marketing list will directly influence what you get out of it. Start small, take it step by step, and don’t sacrifice increased growth for quality. By making connections with others in your field, and inviting people to join through popups, you’re taking the right steps to growing your list.


Aside from optimizing and compressing assets, caching is another tool Andrew illustrates to save customer’s valuable time.

Browser Cache: temporary storage of web resources used to reduce response time

Browsers save images from site’s your visited so that when you return, the site is much quicker to load. It recalls images and assets already loaded, so they can be quickly served without having to start from scratch. Developers can specify what content is cached, so return visitors have the quickest load time.

Remember to focus back on critical content, and cache valuable parts of the core experience.

Perceived Performance

Finally, Andrew proposes that at the end of the day, some Jedi mind-tricks can be used to help a website seem like it’s loading faster than it actually is. Specifically, users won’t feel something they don’t notice, so keep them engaged by serving quick loading critical content like low-quality image placeholders. Then, replace those graphics with high-quality assets once they’ve loaded.

image placeholders

Also, take advantage of the user’s idle time. Wait for them to interact with the page, and load critical content in the background.

If all that fails, you can always acknowledge the wait for the user. A quick message or progress bar can keep the audience engaged while your site works behind the scenes.

Last modified:  August 8th, 2016