Simple ways to grow your email list

Growing your email list is an important element of running a viable campaign. It can be expensive. It’s time consuming. And if done haphazardly, it can hurt deliverability. Here are 5 (mostly free) ways to grow your email program from the ground up.   

1. Require an email sign up for everything

Whether it’s for attendance to a Zoom event or to gain access to exclusive material, you should be requiring an email signup for literally everything. This is the simplest way to retrieve emails from your supporters and add them to your list. Your website should include a signup form to collect data, ultimately integrating emails collected with your email service (e.g. MailChimp, ActionNetwork, or dozens of other toolsets). 

Deliberate website design is important in collecting leads. Many websites have a sign up form buried in the footer, but with quick design changes, you can make email collection front and center. Email sign up pop-ups are also helpful in retrieving emails. By making the participant either add their email or close out of the pop-up, you’re giving them the option to sign up without the hassle of finding the form. 

Another great way to get opted-in emails is by offering a report or free service such as a complimentary digital consultant meeting. Simply require an email signup before users can access any service. This free service incentivizes users to give over their email, ultimately growing your email list.

2. Integrate with ActBlue and other tools

Don’t let your data exist in a silo. Make sure that data accumulated in any of your toolsets are being fed into your ESP so you can stay in touch.

ActBlue collects email addresses from all of your donors when they donate. Don’t simply leave the data in ActBlue! Make sure you integrate ActBlue with your email tool and turn one-off donors into active email subscribers and ongoing supporters. ActBlue integrates with most of the common tool sets used in Democratic campaigns including ActionNetwork, NGP Digital 8, and Salesforce.

You can use the strategy with other tools like NGP Van, NationBuilder, Mobilize and more.  

3. Cross post on social media

Cross-promoting your email signup list on social media is a great way to grow your campaign email list for free. Consider pinning the post to the top of your Facebook and Twitter so it’s the first thing people see when they’re visiting your page.

4. Add ‘Share This’ button

Do you have a way for folks on your current email list to share and forward your emails with family and friends? If not, you’re definitely missing out. Subscribers are far more likely to share your content if you make it easy for them to do so. 

This can be simple: if you send out a petition, prompt signers with frictionless sharing buttons to share a call to action after signing. In the confirmation email? Ask them to forward the link to friends. 

5. List Acquisition through swaps, buys, and ads

Swapping email lists is not a new strategy but it has proved time and time again to be a great way to grow your campaign email list if done carefully. You can ask similar campaigns to do a swap of an agreed to number of active emails. Be sure to dedicate time to an onboarding series so the new names get a chance to learn about your campaign or organization. 

Swaps are free but two other notable low-cost options exist. Companies like Opt In Strategies, an email acquisition service, charge Democratic campaigns and progressive groups to send emails to its list of prized online donors, allowing those groups to solicit contributions and expand their own email programs. The cost of emails ranges but usually costs around $0.50 an email. Alternatively, campaigns may opt to run online acquisition ads for opted-in emails at a cost that can be similar.

The Upshot

Growing and revamping your email list isn’t as hard as it may seem. All it takes is some time and a bit of creativity. By using these strategies from creating “opt-in” opportunities to allowing email recipients to share emails with friends, you’ll grow your campaign email list in no time!