5 Ways to Explode Your Email List

explode email list - 5 ways to explode your email list

Email list. Email List. Email List.

You’re probably tired of hearing about how important your email list is.

Let’s say it one more time – your email list is super, duper important.

They can take everything else away from you, but they can’t take your list!

Okay, that might be a little melodramatic. But. Listen.






You name it.

Any of them could change their algorithm at any moment and literally snuff out your traffic in an instant. Without warning.

How often do you hear people complaining about traffic drops from Pinterest? Or the new algorithm change on Facebook or Instagram? Don’t even get me started on the Google menagerie (Google updates usually have names like – Panda, Hummingbird, Penguin.)

It happens all the time.

Not to scare you or anything, but that’s why you need to get your readers on your email list.

So, how do you go about that?

You might already have an opt in form in your side bar asking people to sign up for your newsletter, and it’s not getting any takers.

I’m sorry to say but… generally your side bar is wasted real estate. And besides, who really wants to sign up for foggy ‘updates’ or generic ‘newsletters’? Not I!

Sorry guys! Maybe back in the day when getting an email was an exciting occurrence. But now? I feel like I get 10,000 a day. I don’t need one more.

So, how do you convince the jaded modern day audience to give up their preciously guarded email address to you?

By offering enticements.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Come to the dark side (my email list). We have cookies (sweet freebies & more).” quote=”Come to the dark side (my email list). We have cookies (sweet freebies & more).”]

But what kind of enticements actually work?

Well, my friend, I’m glad you asked. There’s whole bunches of different things you can use as an enticement to join your list. Here’s five core ways:

1. E-course

explode email list ElnaCain

Have you noticed that almost everyone is giving away email courses, for free?

It’s not that there’s a sudden wave of generosity going around.

It’s actually one of the best ways to get people to sign up to your list.


An e-course has a high perceived value. (So make sure you bring your A-Game and deliver something awesome.) Your audience expects to learn something from you.

It doesn’t need to be high level or technical – in fact, it should be fairly basic. An introductory course makes the perfect lead magnet e-course.

If you have paid products (or are planning something), try have your free e-course relate to the topic of your paid offering. You will naturally prime readers for more of your content.

In short, e-courses:

  • Have high perceived value.
  • Are time consuming to create and set up.
  • Can be used as part of a sales funnel leading in to your paid offering.

Some examples:

All great courses. But maybe your niche is a little different? And you’re not sure how to adapt? Here’s a couple of ideas for you (feel free to steal!):

  • 6 Days, 6 Different Ways to wear a silk scarf
  • Learn a simple meditation in 5 days
  • How to declutter and organize your garage in a week

Okay. My ideas aren’t the greatest, but they could definitely be refined, improved on and turned into a course that fits with your niche. And gets people to sign up to your list.

2. Challenge

Ah! A challenge. Everyone loves a good challenge – baby steps, goals and support along the way. What could be better?

Which might be why readers are all over them like hot cakes.

Provide daily (or every couple of days) updates and instructions on what to do each day. You can also build a Facebook group around the challenge. Build your list and a Facebook group at the same time – double win!

Some examples:

I’m actually doing all three challenges right now! Yes, it’s hard to juggle this many things…

Other niche examples:

  • 30 day clean-eating challenge
  • 30 day mindfulness challenge
  • 30 day wardrobe detox challenge

If you sit down for a brainstorm session, I’m sure you will find the perfect idea for your challenge.

3. Webinars

explode email list Wonderlass

Does everyone go through the same “aww crap” thing at the thought of getting on video? It is a fact however that webinars are extremely popular.

If you want to stand out online you need to be willing to step up and do things that others aren’t or can’t. The higher barrier to entry means you will stand out from the noise.

Allison from Wonderlass credits webinars as the biggest factor in building her business to where it is now.

I know, I know.

Technical stuff. Getting on video. It seems difficult and intimidating.

But, it doesn’t have to be.

Have a read of this post from Wonderlass, it should help you get started.

Oh, and I’m in the same boat guys. I haven’t done a webinar or a video yet, but I know I need to – plus I’ve been invited to do one in the fall so… better get on that, yo!

Okay, so let’s just put the FEAR aside and talk about how webinars are awesome –

Webinars are awesome for building your list.


  • Webinars are considered high value.
  • People like to connect with you in person. (So a live webinar is more valuable than a recording).
  • Get people to subscribe to your list to be notified of the webinar.

What about some actual results?

Elna from Twins Mommy recently did a webinar – Pinterest Perfection – and got 200 subscribers. That’s pretty sweet, right?

And you don’t need to have a product to sell.

So don’t let that hold you back.

4. Content Upgrade

Content upgrades are one of my favorite ways to entice subscribers to join my list.

They’ve also been exploding in popularity across the blogosphere.

First up, what is a content upgrade?

You’ve probably seen them – if you’ve been reading my blog, I try to throw them in every post – here’s a couple of examples:

You see, content upgrades can be anything that relates to the topic of the blog post and adds value to it.

Want 16 examples of different types of content upgrades? Download my list below.

A few quick pointers:

  • Content upgrades should be quick and easy to create (around 30 minutes)
  • Include things like checklists, worksheets, or even a PDF version or printable of your blog post.
  • Make sure you consider user experience when deciding how you will deliver your content upgrades.

explode email list killer content upgrades

5. Giveaways

Giveaways can be a big hit and can explode your email list.

The key here is to make sure you’re giving away something of value, but niche-specific. For example – if you run a giveaway for the newest iPhone, you’ll build a huge subscriber list, but how many of those people will ever open your emails again?

Super Hero Example

Marina (Not a Model) gained 17,800 email subscribers in 6 weeks using a combination of Facebook ads and giveaways – her giveaway item was a $300 bracelet. While the method was not cheap, the results speak for themselves.

Some ideas for giveaway items:

  • Software subscription;
  • Paid course membership;
  • Physical items – microphone, crockpot, baby carrier.

Wrapping it Up

So, now you have several list building methods up your sleeve.

Your email list is so important. Don’t let another moment go past before committing to growing yours. It’s critical to your success as a blogger.

If you’re not quite ready to leap in the deep end with some of these options, you can at least get started with the easier ones.


Which method are you going to start using to grow your list?

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16 thoughts on “5 Ways to Explode Your Email List”

  1. I love the part about the challenges. I would love to create one – do you have a hint for me which tool I could use? I don’t even know what to search for when I seem to need a tool that sends out mails in a specific rhythm.
    Same when it comes to sending out a document automatically after a user has registered. Which tool does the trick?

    1. Hey Steffi!
      Challenges are great 🙂 You need an email service provider – like MailChimp or ConvertKit – with automation capability. MailChimp has that on their free plan now. ConvertKit is a lot easier to use though… so up to you which you go with 🙂

  2. Hey Cath!

    Great advice. You know I was looking for Melyssa’s challenge for a client post and for the life of me, couldn’t find it! So thanks for linking it in your post. I’ll forever bookmark this for future reference 🙂 ha..

    I L-O-V-E growing my email list. I just love building a loyal tribe. People get upset when the lose subscribers, but I’m like, good! They aren’t my target audience.

    Thanks for mentioning my free course on getting paid to write. It’s the start of my sales funnel and it’s going good!

    1. Hey Elna 🙂
      Glad you like my post! I had to do some creative Googling to bring up MG’s challenge – she doesn’t link to it from her home page ANYWHERE. I guess she’s focused on other things right now.
      That’s a great attitude to have about unsubscribers. I hope I can be as cool about it when it happens to me, lol. I like to think I will be… but we’ll see.
      Your free course is so awesome 🙂 I had to mention it!

  3. I love this post. I’m struggling because my email subscribers are not growing in proportion to my traffic growth. I’m a food blogger and just trying the content upgrade strategy on an upcoming post. Hope it works!

    1. Hey Jenna,
      That’s great! I hope it works well for you. 🙂
      You might also consider doing a challenge – I signed up for a lunchbox challenge a while ago (each day, cooking a batch of something freezable for kids lunchboxes) which was great fun!

    1. Thanks Siya! Content upgrades can be really awesome.

      I’m starting to feel like I need an e-course as well, as a main free offering. So many things to work on!

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