Why It's Better to Grow Your Email List Organically (And How to Do It)

In 2020, active email accounts surpassed 4 billion. When compared to the global population of 7.9 billion, it suggests that approximately half of the worldwide population possess email accounts.

Email is a precious tool when it comes to marketing. 90% of engagement comes from email. Email marketing reaches out directly to customers and provides them with something extra. It (hopefully) sends them high-quality content, such as informative articles, offers or discounts, and a touch of entertainment. Here’s what we will cover

Email marketing was rated as the most effective form of marketing in 2018, with 18% of businesses considering it “excellent” and 29% “good”, as demonstrated in the graph below.

Effectiveness of different marketing channels

Let’s say your company sells video conferencing equipment. You might offer email mailing list coupons or special offers exclusive to them for their customer loyalty. You could also provide blog posts on related content that would likely be of interest to them. This way, it’s an excellent example of marketing that provides your customers with value and doesn’t just try to sell to them.

Types of Growth

We all want to grow our mailing list. The more people we email, the more likely we will convert these customers or leads into a sale. Simple. But does this allow us to consider the quality of our mailing list? Depending on the method you chose to expand your mailing list, you might find that customers are not engaging with your content as much as you would like. Now’s the time to start asking “why?”.

Inorganic vs Organic Growth

Email mailing list growth can be inorganic or organic - and no, this isn’t a reference to pesticides. Inorganic growth is paid growth - perhaps through paid social, paid advertisements, or a merger in the bigger scheme of things. In the context of a mailing list, though, it is focused on the purchasing of customers.

This can lead to having customers on your mailing list who are not interested in the product you have on offer. In a worst-case scenario, you could be investing in bulk email services for the benefit of customers who never intend to spend money on your brand at all.

Alternatively, you can focus on organic growth. This refers to any growth that comes internally and by increasing output. You do not buy new customers. You entice them and give them a reason to become emotionally invested in your company.

The result of organic growth is that your email marketing campaigns will become more successful, as they target only the most relevant customers. For example, if you’re a company advertising cloud-based communications, customers who have been organically obtained will undoubtedly welcome free conference calls for a set period, in return for signing up to the emailing list.

How to grow your email list organically

How to Grow Your Email List Organically

Growing your email list organically takes work. You can’t just throw money at the problem - you have to throw content at it instead.

The method you employ will vary from business to business, so it’s essential to know your customer expectations and what kind of content will be of most value to them.

Let’s dive straight into a variety of ways to start growing your email mailing list, starting now.

Clear Out the Ghosts

The first thing you should do is to assess the customers already on your mailing list. Are some of them consistently not opening emails? If so, take them off your list. This will help you start from a place of a fully engaged mailing list and focus on the needs of your dedicated customers.

Social Media

Even if you don’t already have a large mailing list, the odds are that you will have a way of communicating with your customers - both current and prospective. Utilizing your social media following can be a solid place to start. You can include links to encourage subscription under posts, in the account bio, and even in temporary posts like Instagram Stories.

This is also a great way to get your affiliates involved if you use affiliate marketing. (If you don’t use affiliate marketing, take note: this is a top method for acquiring new customers. It enables a mixture of your current loyal customers, and social media influencers, to vouch for your company and promote your products.)

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You could ask your affiliates to promote the subscription link and show their audience how your email marketing provides them with high-quality content. If your affiliates have a large following, this can be a perfect way to get prospects to the top of the lead generation funnel, and hopefully, end up converting.

Social media

Start a Blog

Creating a blog is a terrific way to provide value for your customers. A 2020 survey discovered that 24.7% of businesses found their blog to be highly effective at delivering marketing results, while over half considered it to have some positive impact.

This can work two ways - firstly, it helps customers find you. Having a bigger presence online, and with SEO-tailored content, customers can find offers and content unique to your business. Once you have impressed them with the quality of your content, you can promote your email subscription.

Ways to encourage sign-up often come in the form of Calls To Action (CTAs) or pop-up surveys. This is a great way to make signing up easier for the customer. You can also experiment with personalized CTAs, which a 2018 study found to be up to 202% more effective than a non-personalized CTA.

Your copy is paramount in CTAs and surveys. More and more, we’re seeing the use of humor and wit to make them stand out from the crowd. If this fits your brand, it’s worth testing to see if it impacts click-through rates.

If you are unsure as to what kind of content to post on your blog, it could be worth looking at your contact center analytics. Are customers ringing up with repeated questions and complaints? Perhaps you could look out for these trends and address them online. This would also help reduce the number of inbound calls you receive daily.

You can also include your blog in your email marketing strategy - you can link articles and posts in your emails, helping customers stay up to date with the content you have on offer.

Blog survey results

Optimize Your Website

Does your website advertise how to join your mailing list? If not - why not?

Pop-ups and overlays can be a reliable method to draw attention to your subscriptions. While they don’t trigger vast amounts of engagement - a 2019 study found the average to be around 3.03% - they are a tried-and-tested technique of engaging customers.

Make sure you are optimizing your pop-ups. Consider how effective the design and copy are, and if necessary, make some adjustments. Also, be sure that your website domain has protection with DMARC report and check that it is valid to avoid no DMARC record found errors.

Conversion rates for popups


Offer incentives to customers upon subscription. This could be a coupon or freebie or even access to exclusive content. It is worth mentioning that incentives can increase the risk of fraud - take care to monitor customers repeatedly making new email accounts to take advantage of the benefits you are offering.

Track Your Success

Keep a record of your progress and adjust accordingly. If you find one method of acquisition is particularly effective, analyze why and tweak your approaches across the board.

The Takeaway

In summary, growing your email list is down to two factors: ensuring that your customers are aware of the opportunity and providing them with a good reason to take that opportunity.

Once you continue to create valuable content, your customers will stay subscribed and engaged, allowing you to maximize conversion rates.

Grace Lau

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud phone system for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.

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