17 Unconventional Ways to Grow Your List

List building is the one thing you can do where everything else you do for marketing either becomes easier or even unnecessary. I want to share 17 out-of-the-box strategies with you. One of these is bound to speak to you—so just start with whatever resonates with you first. Then, try another strategy. It’s all about innovation and being willing to try new things.

Offer a Freebie on Your Packaging

If you have a physical product, it might be sold through a seller like Amazon where you don’t have access to the buyer’s email address. Add a freebie or a contest to your packaging with a link to your website. This will automatically get your consumers to go directly to your site, where you can capture their email address and add it to your list. This creates a valuable list of people who have already interacted with and purchased your product.

Set up a contest with a bonus offer

When you set up a contest with a bonus offer (like a 10% discount), you can ask people for their email address and they will happily give it, since they are getting something in return. This is just about thinking of clever ways to get people on your list. Tell them they get ten extra entries in the contest if they give you their email address.

Pick a high-value offering for your list-building contest

Whatever you are offering has to be both a high-perceived value and a high actual value. This is really, really important. If you’re doing retreats, offer an all-inclusive spot. Think of the lottery-it’s the ultimate high-value reward.

Send out a “Find Out Who the Winner Is” Email

To wrap up your contest promotion, send out an email with the subject line: Find Out Who the Winner Is. This is going to get your email clicked, which sends a positive response to the email services and helps with your open rate and getting your emails out there. Also, you can still offer them something, like a 72 hour discount, even if they weren’t the winner. This is a win-win!

Start a loyalty program

Set up a system where people can earn points by using your product, which then gives them a discount in the future. For my company Epic Matcha, when someone earns 500 points, they get $5 off. And when someone signs up (with their email address), they earn 200 points right away. This is a great way to offer incentive for sharing their email with you.

Offer gated content

Many people are looking for case studies. So on my marketing agency’s website, we include an opening teaser and then the option to “Read the Full Case Study” by entering an email address. This ensures we’re getting high-quality leads that are interested enough in our agency that they want to read a full case study.

Add a chat box

Start a conversation with your website visitors with a chat box. It’s really important to write a natural, organic script that makes them feel as if they’re chatting with a live person. Nine times out of ten, we’ve received an email address this way. Be sure to always use Yes/No questions as they’re the most natural.

Offer downloadable worksheets with your blogs

When you’re offering advice, a great way to help people take it one step further is by offering them a downloadable worksheet. They are already engaged with your content and if they want to learn more, they enter their email address and get a free worksheet that coincides with the blog topic.

Have a pop-up on your website

This may seem like a no-brainer, but adding a pop-up is one of the best ways to capture email addresses. There are many tools to help you do this—and you can time the pop-up so it has a slight delay. Or add a setting like: Show this pop-up when people are 50% of the way down the page. People will have to click to close the pop-up window anyway—and the chances of them entering their email are quite high!

Set up an exit pop-up

This is a very, very powerful strategy. Add copy like: “Hey leaving soon? See why (insert number of followers) like (your brand). Try it for free—and ask them to enter their email. Be clear about what it is you offer. This is a great way to break through the distraction, regardless of their exit intent, and offer them one last chance to understand what it is that you do.

Join virtual groups and post your offering

This is a great way to build your list and make connections. Search for groups on Facebook and Slack with hashtags relevant to yours—and make a post about what you offer. You don’t want to be spammy, but if you join the community and have something valuable to offer, people will respond.

Post on Coupon Sites

Do a Google search for coupon sites and a million will come up. Post a discount on coupon sites to drive traffic to your business. This is one of the best ways to capture new customers and their email addresses.

Create Your Own Facebook Group

When people like your product, they’ll find you on Facebook and join your Group. When you create a Group, it’s a community space where you can connect directly with people who love your product and your brand. For the most part, you’re going to be the leader of that group.

Attend a MeetUp

If you don’t know about MeetUp.com, it’s a way to join small gatherings of people who are interested in different things. This is definitely a grind-level tactic, but if you’re just starting out and trying to build your list, it’s a great way to meet and build genuine connections with people who will want to hear what you have to say in your emails.

Get active on Pinterest

Outside of Facebook and the other social media platforms, Pinterest is a great platform to post about your product. You can actually pin a call to action on Pinterest—and this is an excellent way to capture email addresses. Join group boards or even create your own group boards. I highly recommend Pinterest.

Pin your CTA on all your platforms

On Twitter and Facebook, you can pin a post to the top of you feed, ensuring people see that first. Pin your call to action at the top of your feed—and this will lead to list building from anyone who looks you up on social media. The first post or tweet they’ll see is asking them to interact with joining your list.

Optimize your Instagram profile

Make your call to action your profile link. You can even use LinkTree to offer multiple ways for people to engage with your brand. And this is also a great place to rotate your evergreen content—the top 50 posts and ideas that are relevant to your people.