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Building Your Brand

14 Email List Building Strategies for 2024

Try these 14 list building strategies and watch your email list grow!

By Mighty Team

October 30, 2023

15 min read



    Anyone who’s ever followed a marketing expert or taken a webinar knows that an email list is a part of business. While social media platforms come and go, the lowly email is STILL ruler of the marketing world. Most of us still get up every morning and check it.

    The popularity of email means that it’s a necessity for any marketing strategy. And there’s something all marketers swear by… the list. Last year, HubSpot did a roundup of some email statistics and reported that there are 4 billion daily email users, 64% of small businesses use email marketing, and 77% of marketers have seen an INCREASE in engagement via email!

    That’s awesome. But it makes building an email list priority 1.

    Whether you’ve got no list, a few hundred, or thousands, chances are you want it to keep growing. So in this article, we’ll walk through how to build an email list including some tried and true strategies.

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    Secrets of email list building

    • Targeted personas. You need to know who you actually want on your list and who you don't.

    • Clear value offer. You offer value and follow it up with emails that deliver.

    • Built into a sales funnel. If you are building an email list to grow your business, you don't just want people to sign up. Your email campaigns should exist within a sales funnel.

    • Great subject lines and solid content. People need to open your emails and then be thankful that they did. Too many companies are spamming and losing their customers' trust with bad email outreach.

    • Market segmentation. Not every customer wants the same thing. You can customize the value you give by breaking your subscribers into segments.

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    How to grow your email list the right way

    Before you even think about creating your 1st or 100th opt-in, walk through the steps below. Doing this background work will increase the chances of people wanting to sign up.

    Do this work to get people to the YES!

    Know your Ideal Member

    ideal members - falling in love

    There's a simple premise to great list building. You need an Ideal Member. You need a crystal clear idea of who that person is who will join your list, what they'll love about being on it, and what they need to succeed.

    For example, do they need:

    • special product offers?

    • information or hands-on learning?

    • special access to something?

    Knowing your Ideal Member makes this possible. Spend some time interviewing and doing a deep dive on your Ideal Member--we suggest interviewing 20 or so.

    Figure out who they are and what they need. And let being on your email list give THAT to them.

    Ideal Member Results

    Match the intent

    When someone sees an opt-in on a website, there's a really clear way to know how to give value. Match the search intent.

    • For example, if I run a career website, I could create a site-wide opt-in: say, "5 Steps to launch your dream career today!"

    • But I can dig a bit deeper. If someone lands on a blog post called "14 resume tips," I know EXACTLY what they're looking for. They're building a resume and they need help.

    So the "dream career" opt-in might be interesting; what they actually want is resume help.

    What about an opt-in that simply said "Steal this Google Docs resume template."

    Now you're matching the search intent of your reader.

    You can grow your email list quicker by:

    • Understanding who your Ideal Member is

    • Understanding what they NEED in a given moment

    • Giving a clear value add to joining a list

    Here's an example of what that "Free resume template" opt-in might look like. It's not even a little bit fancy. But if you match the intent of the people using your webpage, the results can be incredible.

    Resume template

    Choose the right format

    One of the ways to bring potential subscribers from "Leave me alone" to "Heck yes" is with the right format.

    There are different ways to give value. But for some reason, they all ring differently.

    For example, there's a big difference between:

    • "Get our free guide"

    • "Get an email course"

    • "Get the PDF"

    • "Get my newsletter"

    • "Get access to our community."

    These are all offers, but the format changes our response to them.

    • Some people might like the PDF download because it feels tangible and valuable.

    • Some might love access to a community--it feels special and you don't see it that often.

    It's going to come back to your Ideal Member and what they want. For example, this simple community opt-in is more than a download. It can be a chance to meet people who are similar.

    *Inviting people to a community can be a unique opt-in that gives a cool value add. "Really? There's a community of people talking about this and I could meet them RIGHT NOW?!"

    Convertkit - Community Optin

    Skip the gimmicks

    "You have 5 minutes to claim this offer!"

    Have you ever seen something like that on an opt-in?

    They obviously worked for a while, tapping into FOMO. But we've seen them so much they're kind of overdone. AND they feel a bit gimmicky.

    It's better just to focus on how you can give value to your Ideal Member.

    How to build an email list (14 strategies)

    1. Pop-ups

    If you own a website, it's hard to deny the effectiveness of pop-ups. So many studies have shown that pop-ups generate more email signups than any other method on your website.

    The problem? They're the most hated of any type of opt-in. And 37% of web users have some sort of pop-up blocker.

    But there's a reason you're still seeing pop-ups. They work. And that's why a lot of websites still use them.

    Here are a few tricks to make your pop-ups effective:

    • Have a clear offer: “Get our step-by-step guide to getting 10 new clients this week” is so much better than “Want your business to grow?”

    • Keep it simple and visually appealing. High contrast and not too much wording.

    • Keep the required fields to a minimum. Just a first name and email address is best. If you ask for too much, people are less likely to complete it.

    • Deliver something valuable in their inbox the minute they sign up.

    Travel Pics Opt-In

    In fact, G2 has done some research around pop-ups and found that 1. Yes users hate them, but 2. You can do these things to DECREASE the hatred your website users feel:

    1. Test with timing: Pop-ups that appear after reading 3/4 of the page or at exit-intent might be less annoying.

    2. Use capping: Any good email software should let you limit how much members see pop-ups. (e.g. In ConvertKit, you can easily adjust these in the form settings -- see image below)

    3. Offer a gift or a chance to win: If there's a great incentive, people don't mind as much (G2 found this can multiple signups 300%).

    4. Create an engaging design: A beautiful design, or even an unusual shape (like a circle) can increase signups).

    ConvertKit Form Settings

    Checklist for popups

    • Keep the offer simple and valuable

    • Get the timing right (either after a while on the page or at exit)

    • Use A/B testing to see what works best

    • Make sure your opt-in is mobile friendly

    • Check for compliance (e.g. GDPR in the EU). A good platform like ConvertKit has compliance features built in.

    • Make opt-out easy

    Case Study: SemRush

    Semrush is a search engine optimization tool that helps with SEO strategy and keyword planning. So no surprise, it knows who its Ideal Member is: people who want to get more web traffic on their sites. They've given their Ideal Member EXACTLY what they need with this opt-in--a chance to have an expert tell them what to do.

    SEM Rush opt-in

    This does a lot of things right. It creates urgency, offers unbelievable value, and delivers EXACTLY what the reader is looking for--even though there's a purchase involved.

    2. In-Line

    The inline opt-in is the pop-up's less annoying cousin. Some people opt for this because it can feel less intrusive, or they might have a pop-up plus inline offers.

    An inline opt-in basically lives in the text on your website. As readers are scrolling, they will see a box that offers them something. Or, in some cases, it's as simple as "join our email list."

    Inline opt-ins may capture less of your traffic, but chances are these will be the quality leads that really want to hear from you. And the cool thing about inline is it's really natural. People can either skip and keep reading OR opt-in. It's easy for them.

    Case Study: Career Contessa

    This cool example from the Career Contessa blog shows exactly who the Ideal Member is and what they want. They want to save money and they're ready for some great tips! But the best part? We noticed that the inlines across the site are customized to fit the post topic!

    Career Contessa - Inline

    One final way to generate email subscribers from an existing blog or content site is with header or footer bars. These work a lot like the other opt-ins, but they will float above or below the content - usually staying in place as someone scrolls.

    All the same tips we talked about above apply. Keep it simple. Offer value.

    Best practices for using opt-in bars

    • Keep them REALLY simple & concise. You can't fit much on there!

    • Make sure they fit with a responsive design. If you're using a "sticky" format (that floats above the text as you scroll), make sure it looks right.

    • Check that it's mobile friendly

    4. Landing pages

    What if you don’t have a website?

    The thing is, you don't necessarily need one. It's easy to set up a one-page landing page using a tool like Convertkit or ClickFunnels.

    These tools let you build your email list without a website, and you can create awesome landing pages and opt-ins that are standalone and hosted.

    ConvertKit Landing PAge Templates

    5. Paid ads

    Once you have some way of collecting emails, which we talked about above, paid ads are an option for driving traffic. Even if you just have a Convertkit landing page, you need something for your ads to point to.

    Once you have that, you can start to invest in paid advertising. Advertising is a discipline in and of itself, but here are two simple ways to think about it:

    • Social media ads: this is where you use a social media platform like Facebook to custom design an audience and get an ad in front of them. Most social media platforms let you choose from all sorts of demographics, including filtering your audience by age, location, interests, and more. For example, on Facebook, you could pay to advertise to people who have liked pages in your niche already. You could even build what's called a "Lead Ad" that's made to get email sign-ups.

    Facebook Lead Ads

    • Google CPC ads: this is when you advertise with Google, bidding on specific keywords. When people type those keywords into google, your page will come up on top as a sponsored link.

    Again, these two options are the most common forms of internet advertising–not the only ones. But in general, any advertising needs to drive people to somewhere they can put their email in.

    Google Display Ads

    6. Community

    One super effective and low-lift way to build your list is with a community. You can use a platform like Mighty to build a beautiful community space with discussion boards, messaging, member profiles, and more. Then, you just invite people in!

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Discovery Course

    It could be free, meaning that people are incentivized to drop their email to create an account, knowing that they'll get a ton of value inside. You are then growing not only your list, but also your impact, as people in your community can stick around to get the value you have to offer.

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    We use our free community to educate and inspire Mighty Hosts. Check it out here.

    Resource Insert- 2- Mighty Community

    7. Ask subs to forward it

    This is one of the most overlooked tricks to email list building. Use your existing subscribers.

    These are the people who signed up to get your emails. They already know who you are and are interested in what you have to say.

    If you want to grow your subscribers from your existing subscribers, you'll need to create so much value in your emails that they forwarded to a friend and say, "You gotta read this!"

    But instead of waiting for them to forward, why not ask them? When you create a super valuable email, ask them to forward it to a friend. Add a link to your landing page in the email itself. You can even add a prize or referral link to incentivize your readers to forward emails.

    8. eBooks & guides

    Publishing an eBook might seem like a big lift. But if you have something important to say and you feel like you're the person to say it, why not?

    Of course, you can publish an eBook on sites like Amazon. But you might also use it as an opt-in. There are a lot of opt-ins out there. But very few people are offering an eBook. Hopefully, that will make it more exciting for your audience and they'll take it more seriously.

    The good news is, your eBook doesn't have to be War and Peace. Even if it's 30 or 40 pages but formatted nicely and super helpful, it will probably work as an opt-in.

    We built a guide of 1,000 questions to help community-builders start conversations. It's an example of how long-form guide content can be used to give value!

    1000 questions guide

    9. Quizzes

    Fact: quizzes are probably one of the best email list-building tools out there. If you've ever tried a personality quiz or a "Which Disney princess am I?" quiz, you know you put your email in that thing.

    Something about the urgency and curiosity of a quiz moves us from skeptical, rational readers to "Shut up and take my email address!!!"

    If you can incorporate a quiz of some sort onto your website, you might have the secret to a great opt-in.

    Example: 16 Personalities

    The website 16 personality has one of the coolest opt-ins on the internet: their in-depth Myers-Briggs test that helps users understand themselves better.

    16 Personalities


    When you land on a website and see an offer to "download our free guide," you're looking at a download opt-in.

    PDF downloads are probably most common. But things like templates, worksheets, calculators, heck even coloring pages, can make great downloads.

    11. Webinars

    Webinars have been the darling of internet marketers for a decade now. And this is because they work super well for email list building.

    A webinar gives you the exciting feeling of a live training, especially if it's with a big-name person you follow.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - Courses and live streaming - Galaxy DAO

    They'll send you a link. And you show up and watch the webinar. Simple as that.

    If you’re list-building, can you create a webinar that will be valuable for your potential subscribers?

    And can you offer it for free, as a lead magnet, to get people to sign up? It can be live or pre-recorded–either one can work great for building an email list.

    12. Virtual event

    If you're looking for a way to grow your email list, try a live event! Creating a super valuable and exciting live event and publicizing it is a great way to get new people onto your list.

    Mighty Networks - Graphics - MC - Mastermind EventSeries Paired Light

    You could do things like interviews or free training. Heck, even a networking or coworking session might do it.

    If you can invite your audience to something they might get excited about, and include a sign-up component, you can get them on your list.

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    13. In-person event

    How about running an in-person or hybrid event to build your email list? We often think about email as the realm of internet marketing, but there's no reason why a solid in-person event can't also help you grow.

    You need to publicize it and create something people want to show up for. Collect emails as a part of this: either when they sign up to come or once they're at the event.

    14. Partnerships

    As you're contemplating how to grow your email list, it's probably occurred to you that there are creators out there with thousands of people on their lists – people who are your ideal clients or customers.

    This is where building strategic partnerships can be super valuable. It might be as simple as appearing as a guest on someone's podcast or writing an article for a popular website. Anytime you can capitalize on someone else's audience, you are growth-hacking your own.

    The ultimate and best way to do this? It's probably inviting people with large audiences to appear on platforms that you own. Let's say there's an influencer in your space who has 10,000 followers. If you invite that person to appear on a live stream or webinar with you to be interviewed, you've given them a reason to promote it to their list. But any sort of sign-ups would be happening on your end and growing your list.

    Of course, some people pay for this type of exposure through influencer marketing. You can decide if that fits your brand or not, but it is an option.

    Partnerships are tried and true. You need to find what works for you and have a mutually beneficial arrangement. But a great partnership can grow your email list quickly.


    We hope this article has given you some exciting options for how to grow your email list! You don't need to do all these things. Just executing on one or two of them and figuring out what works for you and your brand will work.

    And if you're looking for a great platform to build on, come try Mighty. Mighty Networks is a cultural software platform that lets you mix community, courses, content, and commerce. And our flexible Spaces add live streaming, live events, discussion forums, member profiles, chat and messaging, and more.

    Best of all, Mighty has a built-in ConvertKit integration, making it super easy to grow your community and email list at the same time!

    Come give it a try! It's free for 14 days, no credit card required.

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