How to set up and grow your mailing list

Why should you have a mailing list? You've probably heard this a million time by now, not from me yet. What does a mailing list have to do with branding?

A mailing list is a great tool to build a long-term relationship and keep present in your audience's mind. The idea is for you to stay in touch, be informative, not making a sales pitch out of your emails but a gentle nudge, reminding them from time to time what you have to sell, but also inviting them to take part in surveys, special events, promotions, share your unique insight and get feedback.

How to set up and grow your email list

How to set up and grow your email list

If you haven't started setting up a mailing list, I invite you to do so? Why? It's great that your list of followers is growing on social media, at the end the day though these followers don't belong to you, you are at the mercy of any algorithm changes. Did you know that only about 6% of your followers see your posts on social media? 

Having a mailing list to share your content does make sense, your message is 5x more likely to be seen in email than via Facebook. 

If these arguments are not convincing, I will give you another stat, 66% of consumers have purchased something directly from email marketing! Sounds enticing doesn't it?

What is your next step then?  You had a mailing list which has been dormant for ages! Your opt-in form says sign up for my newsletter. Maybe this worked ten years ago, but nowadays where everybody is competing for our attention, you will need to provide something more to your audience, to trigger their attention.  Before you set up your mailing list consider your audience and what you will offer them in exchange of signing up to your list. 

Here are some examples of what you can offer as a freebie

  • Cheat sheet

  • Worksheet

  • Ebook

  • A guide

  • Email course

  • 7 day challenge

Put yourself in your audience's shoes and offer them a solution to a problem they have, what is their biggest challenge, how can you help them resolve it.

Make this free download enticing and make sure it works for your audience. If you're not sure about which topic to write about, go to your Google analytic account and look for your most popular blog posts, the statistics should give you a hint. You can also use these guides as an FAQ to the most pressing questions you receive when working with clients. 

To create your freebie that are some great tools out there, you can buy templates on Creative Market or Etsy, and use Indesign or Photoshoot to customise these for your business, you also have the option of using Canva either creating your design or buying a template whatever, it has become straightforward to develop beautiful informative PDF's.

Setting your opt-in

You have a few options for your opt-in form, use a lead box on your website,  a box on your website might not be enough to convert a cold audience, set up an opt-in page which is a page entirely dedicated to promoting your freebie with no distractions on it.

  • Create an opt-in page directly on your website, I'm currently using Squarespace for my site, with Squarespace, you have the option to use a cover page, you can use this page to send people directly to your opt-in offer.

  • Use your email provider either Mailchimp or Convertkit to create lead boxes and opt-in pages.

  • The other option is to use a provider like Leadpages it is not free and not cheap either but a great tool to create opt-in and thank you page that directly connect with your email list provider, you can now also generate Facebook ads directly from Leadpages which is another asset.

Create a sales page and a lead box for your opt-in,  use your lead box directly on your website as a pop-up, in your blog sidebar, on relevant blog posts. Be creative with your opt-in page. Put effort into the design, add images or a video, write your copy with your ideal audience in mind, tell them what they will learn with the free guide you're giving them in exchange of their email. 

  • Give a clear description of the benefit of your freebie

  • Align your branding of the page with your brand

  • Use numbers that will jump off the page

  • Add a description but don't give too much info otherwise there's no point signing up! Make it brief and clear to the point.

  • Add personality and your tone of voice

  • Address the most significant challenge and aspirations of your ideal subscribers

  • Don't forget the visuals and use images that are in line with your brand

  • After creating the page, you want to promote your opt-in? Where?


A word of advice, before you promote your page and lead boxes, test, follow the process. What happens once someone signs up, you want to say thank you, tell them that their guide is on the way if you've asked for their email confirmation and make sure they receive their free guide. 

Check every step, create a sequence after someone signed up with a welcome email telling your story, what they can expect from you, how you will help them. Create a sales sequence after the Welcome sequence, but don't deter them, this is the first encounter they have with you, it might be relevant to give them an offer to buy your $20 e-book not so much to invite them to book your high ticket product /service, you've just started the conversation, you don't want them to unsubscribe right at the beginning unless they're not your audience anyway.  Keep building a relationship in mind rather than doing a sales pitch an e-book might be a great intro to you and your brand.

After thoroughly checking the process you're ready to promote.

On your website use a pop up on the most visited pages, create a toolbar with an opt-in, add a box to your blog sidebar, and use the lead box on the most read blog post under the condition that what you're offering is relevant to the blog post content.

Create Facebook ads using your opt-in page, clearly, state the benefit of receiving the free guide, make your headlines appealing and customise your audience. 

Promote it on your facebook page, create a link to your opt-in on Instagram with Linktree don't forget to promote it on Pinterest creating 2-3 pins for your opt-in using different images and copy to pin to 5 of your most relevant boards and groups. 

I know it looks like a lot of work and you might want to get help from a VA if you don't get help take one step at a time. Use Asana, Trello board or a spreadsheet to create a checklist and a process to follow that you can tick off each time you set up a new opt-in page or make changes to stay consistent.

Make your email list a priority. Creating your opt-in and setting up your email list will all be worth it in the end, don't forget to keep in touch with your audience, give special treats, entertain, be informative and help, you will have a devote audience, ready to buy what you have to offer. 

Nurture and treat them well they will give back ten times what they've received from you!

Tell us in the comments your challenges with email marketing?

Rachel xx