Growing Your Email List: Seven Tips for Success

Wondering just how important it is to build and maintain an email list for your business or non-profit? Consider this statistic from Internet marketing professionals: the average email list degrades by nearly 23 percent each year due to opt-outs, changes in addresses and more.


That statistic may seem insignificant until you consider how many people visit your webpage, attend an event or engage your organization on your social media pages. Then, each of those captured email addresses takes on special importance: they’re your lifeline for staying in touch with your customer or supporter base so you can keep them informed about new products or fundraising initiatives; they’re your main mode of communication when sending out event invitations: and they’re the best way to keep them interested in what you’re doing.

If you’re still not convinced, think about this number as well: research firm MarketingSherpa found that 91 percent of consumers like to receive emails from the companies and non-profits they do business with or support.

So how do you both grow your email list and keep it up to date? Read on for these simple and effective steps.

1. Great email list results begin with great content. In order to get people to subscribe—and to keep the subscribers you already have—be sure the messages you send out are compelling, interesting, timely and important. Use an amazing photo to grab attention, keep your text short and to the point and always emphasize details in a way that stands out. For instance, if your email is an invite to a special event have the time, date, place etc. front and center, not buried in the text. Make a visual splash and you’ll vastly increase your chances that existing subscribers will forward the email on to others.

2. If your current subscribers aren’t passing along your emails to friends, encourage them to do so by utilizing share or “email to a friend” buttons and you’ll make inroads to new networks. And always include at the bottom of your emails a simple text-based “subscribe” option so that those receiving your messages for the first time can easily and quickly opt-in.

3. Promote an online contest such as a free giveaway where entrants must sign up using their email addresses. And be sure to promote the contest via social media channels as well.

4. Target specific content to segments of your supporter or customer base by creating multiple email subscription types. Studies show that recipients are more likely to click through messages that have been targeted towards them, and once again you increase your chances that a good deal of them will subscribe.

5. Don’t be afraid to recharge a stale or old email list by launching an opt-out campaign. This is useful for older lists that aren’t generating much response. Additionally, offer not only to remove opt-outs from your list but also give them a chance to re-opt-in at the same time. This strategy of emailing only engaged contacts actually improves the quality of your deliverables and increases the chances of email shares that are outside your current database.

6. Always be sure that the chance to subscribe to your email list is visible, whether it’s on your website or at a physical location such as a storefront, office or event. With online sources, be sure people can subscribe via a blog, a social media profile etc.

7. Along the same lines of making the chance to subscribe visible, also make it as easy as possible. At an event or in an office or storefront, a paper-sign in sheet—as antiquated as it may seem—actually still gets fantastic results. You can also consider a mobile app such as or that allows you to collect email addresses seamlessly.


Creating Digital Destinations that Build Communities and Change Lives.

Our non-profit clients consistently tell us their biggest challenges are improving donor engagement and promoting their mission online. At Byte Technology, we understand that creating a successful online presence for non-profits isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” undertaking. By choosing the right tools for your organization, Byte Technology can help you create online strategies that foster engagement with your volunteers, patrons and donors specifically—allowing you the capability to build stronger relations with the people that matter to your organization most.

Learn more about Byte Technology’s strategic web consulting for nonprofits.

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