Marketing Pros Share Their Top Email Subject Lines of 2014

Someone in your audience is probably checking her email as we speak. You only have seconds to grab her attention with an engaging email subject line.
The headlines of email marketing play an important role in whether or not your emails get opened. According to the latest email marketing statistics
Nearly one third of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. tweet this
I’m not discounting the importance of sending email that your audience actually wants. Without great content, your subject line becomes useless.
The best subject lines give your subscribers a reason to open your email and effectively introduce your email content. But there’s no perfect formula to get great results.

Every sender has its own audience and unique brand voice.

So instead of elaborating on how to write perfect subject lines, I thought it would be best to ask the pros what’s working for them.

I reached out to hundreds of entrepreneurs, bloggers, CMO’s and other marketing professionals and asked them to send over their top email subject lines of 2014.

Let’s see what they had to say…


Vertical Measures is a content, search, and social marketing company.

1. Why I Am No Longer President of Vertical Measures tweet this

Being direct works, especially if you send a personal message from someone on your team. This subject line is especially strong coming from a high-level executive, but you can use a first-person approach for a message from just about anyone on your team.

Subject Line Formula: “Why I Am No Longer [Title] of [Company]“

2. What a great webinar! tweet this

Your audience probably wants to hear about something great. But mostly, they don’t want to miss out on it. This subject line triggers an anxious, excited feeling and promises to tell your audience what they missed or might miss if they don’t open your email.

Subject Line Formula: “What a great [something]!

3. How Google’s Panda 4.0 may (or may not) affect you tweet this

If something happened, and it may affect your audience, this subject line is a great example of how to engage them. You can apply this to pretty much any newsworthy event or situation that may have an impact on your audience.

Subject Line Formula: “How [something] may (or may not) affect you”


Neil Patel is the Co-founder & VP of Marketing at KISSmetrics and the Co-founder of Crazy Egg. He also runs a popular online marketing blog called Quicksprout.

1. [insert first name], it’s easier than robbing a bank… tweet this

Your audience probably wants to know how to make money and doesn’t want to rob a bank to do it. The personalization and loudness of this subject line make it stand out.

Subject Line Formula: [insert first name], it’s easier than robbing a bank…

2. hey, have you seen this? tweet this

The ambiguity of this subject line makes it especially intriguing. Nobody wants to miss out on something that they haven’t seen, especially coming from a sender they trust.

Subject Line Formula: hey, have you seen this?

3. [insert first name], i have some bad news for you :( tweet this

Bad news is especially engaging when it comes from someone who usually sends good news and useful emails. Make sure you have a good reason to “scare” your audience.

Subject Line Formula: [insert first name], i have some bad news for you :(

Neil shared a takeaway on his top email subject lines of 2014:

If you notice all of the subject lines are lower case as if a friend was casually emailing you. I’ve found that subject lines that are lower case and casual tend to get the most opens.


Hubspot is an inbound marketing SAAS product that helps companies generate traffic, convert leads, and close sales.

Rather than sending over three specific subject lines, Hubspot shared three approaches that work great for their audience. Let’s take a look:

Subject Line Approach #1: An Offer To Help

A short, sweet offer to help has been our highest performing email subject line because it’s not about you, it’s about the recipient.

Subject Line Approach #2: A Simple Question

Nobody wants to overthink their email, so asking a concise, simple question often drives engagement and opens a productive conversation with a prospect, lead, or customer.

Subject Line Approach #3: A Very Clear Name of An Offer

People value clarity, so providing the name of a very clear offer (for example: Free Ebook: How To Do X) gets to the heart of their marketing challenge and helps them act on it quickly.


Wordstream offers online marketing tools and software products designed to make search marketing campaigns more organized and profitable.

1. Welcome to Wordstream – We Love Agencies tweet this

People are usually curious about why you love them. This subject line targets a specific segment of a general email audience – agencies. You can use a similar approach for a welcome email to one of your segmented audiences.

Subject Line Formula: Welcome to [Company] – We Love [Subscriber Segment]

2. How’s it going? tweet this

This subject line is as personal as it gets and focuses on your audience. It shows that you care. This example can work for a personal message from someone on your team or a general offer to help.

Subject Line Formula: How’s it going?

3. More Keyword Research Tips [Free Guide] tweet this

Sometimes, the best subject lines are those that provide a clear offer for your audience. If your audience values the offer, this simple approach helps them take action quickly.

Subject Line Formula: [Explanation of Offer] [Free Guide]

4. PPC + WordStream = Better Together tweet this

Use a simple formula to explain that your product or service improves a common professional activity of your audience and you should have a winner. Notice how this subject line clearly promises to make PPC more effective for the audience.

Subject Line Formula: [Professional Responsibility] + [Company] = [Benefit] Together


EntrepreneurOnFire is one of the top ranked business Podcasts in the world. It features John Lee Dumas interviewing inspiring and innovative entrepreneurs.

1. Disaster in Europe tweet this

People are drawn to extreme events. Using the word “disaster” makes this particularly engaging. The email itself explained to the audience how EonFire set up their systems to take a disaster-free, unplugged trip to Europe.

Subject Line Formula: Disaster in [Location]

2. no subject line (seriously, they left it blank) tweet this

Leaving a subject line blank is rare in email marketing. But once you build trust with your audience, a blank subject line can spark curiosity. It worked especially in this instance because the email itself explained how important it is to deliver valuable content to email subscribers.

Subject Line Formula: no subject line 

3. I’m leaving, but EOFire is in good hands tweet this

If you or someone on your team that has built a strong relationship with your audience is going out of town, let your audience know. This subject line makes the audience wonder if John is leaving forever, and thankfully the email reminds them he’ll be back soon!

Subject Line Formula: I’m leaving, but [Company] is in good hands


SocialMouths is one of the top online marketing blogs on the Internet covering topics such as blogging, social media, content marketing, and email marketing.

1. 10 Facebook Ads You Should Be Running Now tweet this

If your audience should be doing something right now, they probably want to know about it right now. This subject line creates a sense of urgency with readers and gives them a reason to open your email immediately.

Subject Line Formula: [Something] You Should Be [Action] Now

2. This Little Trick Could Make A Huge Difference In Facebook tweet this

A little trick that makes a huge difference? Sounds worth reading. After all, people want the best results with the least amount of effort. Just make sure the trick actually makes a big difference for your audience, or they will lose trust in you.

Subject Line Formula: This Little Trick Could Make a Huge Difference in [Something]

3. “Organic Reach” is Dead… And now what? tweet this

This is a great way to break bad news to your audience. First, you let them know that something they used to cherish is gone. Next, you give them hope that things will get better with a promise to help.

Subject Line Formula: [Something] is Dead… And now what?


Orbit Media is a web design and development company that creates some of the most useful and compelling content marketing material on the Internet.

1. 131 Words that Increase Website Traffic tweet this

Orbit Media uses its blog headlines as subject lines. If you create articles that are useful and exciting for your audience, this approach helps your audience act quickly.

Subject Line Formula: [#] [Something] that Increase [Something]

2. The Ideal Length for Blog Posts, Tweets and Everything Else in Your Marketing tweet this

Your audience wants to know what works and this subject line makes a promise to teach them. Notice how this subject line also zooms in on specific topics of interest (blog posts and tweets) but then zooms out to “everything else” the audience might care about.

Subject Line Formula: The Ideal [Quality] for [Something Specific] and Everything Else in Your [Something]

3. Beat the Big Boys Online With Content Hubs tweet this

People want to win and this concept of beating “the Big Boys” is especially intriguing. Your audience probably wants to know how to beat the big guys. Teach them.

Subject Line Formula: Beat the Big Boys [Location] With [Something]


Zillow is one of the largest online real estate databases in the world.

The top subject lines for Zillow in 2014 are personalized and include: saved home updates, saved searches, and new listing updates on neighborhoods.

It makes sense that these deeply personalized emails perform the best – they are exactly what Zillow’s audience is looking for to help them on their real estate search.


Global Copywriting is a content marketing agency that develops content and content marketing strategies for clients all over the world.

1. Content Shock: Why The Content Marketing Party is Over tweet this

Nobody wants the party to be over. In this subject line, Global Copywriting “shocks” its audience and then promises to explain why something very dear to them is now over.

Subject Line Formula: [Something] Shock: Why The [Job Responsibility] Party is Over

2. A Not So Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Content Translation tweet this

People seem intrigued to hear the “not so funny things” that happen in life. In this case, the subject line ties in an event that the audience cares about and promises to share a particularly juicy story. Tempting…

Formula: A Not So Funny Thing Happened on the Way to [Event]

3. The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Content Marketing World Sydney tweet this

If you are writing an event recap for your audience, they probably want to hear more than the fluffy details. This subject line promises to reveal everything about the event - the good, bad, and ugly.

Formula: The Good, Bad, and Ugly of [Event]


TalentCircles is a cloud-based social recruiting platform that helps customers engage, manage, and screen job candidates.

1. 4 Ways to Hire a Seasonal and Temporary Workforce Online tweet this

Your audience might need immediate help that only matters at this very moment. This subject line invokes a sense of urgency because it helps the audience solve a “seasonal” and “temporary” problem.

Subject Line Formula: [#] Ways to [Action] a Seasonal and Temporary [What's Needed]

2. Applying SWOT Analysis in Recruitment tweet this

Your audience probably knows something that they never thought to apply to one of their job responsibilities.  In this subject line, TalentCircles promises to teach its audience how to apply SWOT to recruiting.This implies that there is a small learning curve, making it a painless process to learn.

Subject Line Formula: Applying [Something Your Audience Knows] in [Job Responsibility]

3. 4 Ways to Add Content Marketing To Your Employment Branding Campaign tweet this

Your audience wants to know how to improve its campaigns. In this case, TalentCircles uses a copy-the-headline approach and offers its audience ways to incorporate a practice of interested (content marketing) into a job responsibility (branding campaign).

Subject Line Formula: [#] Ways To Add [Something] To Your [Job Responsibility] Campaign


Copywrite Matters is an educational blog and copywriting company that helps its customers and readers create engaging online content to attract new customers.

1. Want to pick my brain for 30mins? For FREE? tweet this

Your audience values what you have to say, or they wouldn’t want your emails. I’m sure they would love a chance to talk to you or someone on your team for free. This offer shows that you care and encourages your audience to build a deeper connection with you.

Subject Line Formula: Want to pick my brain for [duration]? For FREE?

2. [Exclusive discount offer] Protect your new Ergoflex memory foam mattress tweet this

This subject line introduces the audience to a special deal on a product that will enhance or complement a recent purchase. It is particularly strong because the product itself is an investment, and “protecting” it is likely important to the audience. You can use a similar approach to up-sell your customers.

Subject Line Formula: [Exclusive discount offer] [Action] your new [Product or Service]

3. Why Facebook marketing will never really work for you unless… tweet this

Don’t you hate when someone reminds you of something that isn’t working? When it comes to subject lines, this anger can be a powerful trigger. After all, your audience probably wants to know what to do to make it work.

Subject Line Formula: Why [Job Responsibility] will never really work for you unless…


AudienceBloom is a content marketing and social media marketing company recommended by some of the top marketing and technology companies in the world.

AudienceBloom sends the same email subject line every week, differentiated by issue number or date. It looks like this: AudienceBloom Top 10 – June 2014 Issue 1

If you send a recurring newsletter, this approach could work for you. Your audience will know how to find you and what to expect.


Kim Garst in the Founder and CEO of a personal branding and social media consulting company called Boom! Social.

1. 7 How To SEO Tips To Boost Your Ranking tweet this

Your audience probably wants to know relevant tips on how to get better at something they value. This subject line uses the common copy-the-headline approach and effectively communicates what’s inside the email.

Subject Line Formula: [#] How To [Something] Tips To Boost Your [Something]

2. 12 Simple Reasons To Use Twitter To Grow Your Business tweet this

If people are going to do the work, they want to know why it matters. This subject line will help the audience understand why it should use Twitter to grow its business. Sounds valuable to me.

Subject Line Formula: [#} Simple Reasons To [Action] To [Professional Goal]

3. Facebook Traffic Dead? tweet this

Kim asks her audience a very simple question that likely hits a major pain point for her audience – dwindling traffic on Facebook. If you can identify something that is a common problem for your audience and ask the right question, they will probably want your help.

Subject Line Formula: [Something Important To Audience] Dead?


The Conversion Scientist is a website conversion optimization blog that helps its audience build high-converting online businesses.

Rather than sending over their top subject lines, Brian from The Conversion Scientist shared this note:

The most telling experiment we did this year was changing the subject line for our weekly email, The Conversion Scientist. This email teases the three to five blog posts we release each week.

We went from subject lines that read “New This Week from The Conversion Scientist” to a subject line that simply copied the headline of the first story in the email. tweet this

Open rates went from 22.5% to 26.7% and Click-through rates went from 3.8% to 5.1%. We consider this a win.

What can you learn from this? If you send a recurring newsletter, try using a headline from a story within the email for the subject line instead of the same subject line every email.


Email Monday is an email marketing consulting company and email marketing blog run by email marketing expert Jordi Van Rijn.

Jordie shared this note to introduce his subject lines:

These are open / engagement focused, which doesn’t automatically translate into conversions or clicks. But email tease marketing does have the potential to do so if the quality of the content is a natural fit with the audience.

1. Get ready for fireworks! tweet this

This subject line hints that something as exciting as fireworks is coming. Your audience probably loves fireworks just as much as you do – but what they really want is to be prepared for whatever is on the way. Hopefully it is as exciting as it sounds!

Subject Line Formula: Get ready for [something exciting]!

2. Worst Advice Ever? tweet this

This subject line makes your audience wonder if they listened to the wrong piece of advice. They probably want to read on to make sure they haven’t been fooled.

Subject Line Formula: Worst Advice Ever?

3. $25.00 tweet this

Money talks. This simple subject line is exactly what you think it is – mysterious. It makes you wonder what the heck the email is all about. If you are going to use a subject line this ambiguous, make sure it really connects to your email content.

Subject Line Formula: $[dollar value]

simple-relevance-email-subject-linesSimpleRelevance is a technology company that helps businesses send deeply personalized email and web marketing campaigns.

Because SimpleRelevance uses such deep personalization tactics, they did not have specific subject lines to share – instead they offered subject line approaches:

For one client, each send shows the subscriber’s #1 product recommendation in the subject line. For instance, “Lover not a fighter coaster”.

For another, we include the subscriber’s name: “Bailey, New events for Chicago for 8/19/14

Finally, for another we use the subscriber’s #1 deal recommendation: “$50 for a $250 e-Gift Card

Personalization can make a huge difference when sending email. If your audience has a personal connection to the subject line, it gives them more incentive to read your email.


BigMarker is an online platform that allows users to create, join, and host unlimited free webinars and web conferences.

1. Introducing Chip-in tweet this

This is a simple way to introduce something new to your audience. This subject line is as straightforward as it gets. If your audience cares about you, this can grab their attention.

Subject Line Formula: Introducing [Something New To Your Audience]

2. Suicide & veterans online discussion tweet this

Covering a topic that is particularly alarming such as suicide can certainly grab your audience’s attention. Highlighting a discussion centered around an engaging topic can generate opens.

Subject Line Formula: [Alarming Topic] online discussion

3. Now featured on BigMarker tweet this

Using “now featured” here gives this subject line a sense of urgency. It clearly tells the audience what they can expect in the email and makes it easy for them to take action.

Subject Line Formula: Now featured on [Website Name]


Glen Gilmore is a digital marketing and social media strategist, author, educator and attorney voted as a Forbes Top 50 “Social Media Power Influencer” for the last two years.

1. Wearable Tech Soars – Add Fashion Please! tweet this

Insert one of the most talked about trends in the industry – wearable tech – and then include a way to make it bigger or better and you have a winner.

Subject Line Formula: [Industry Topic] Soars – Add [Something] Please!

2. Nest, Uber, Fitbit Hint at the Disruption of Everything by the Internet of Everything tweet this

Mention three big companies in your industry and why they are planning to change everything and people will likely take interest.

Subject Line Formula: [Company A], [Company B], [Company C] Hint at the Disruption of Everything

3. A Human Voice and Connection Still Triumph in a Data-Driven, Hyper-Digital World Where Businesses Know What You Want Before You Do tweet this

Tap into the people vs. machines discussion and you will likely grab people’s attention. But it’s not just the topic here – this subject line is so descriptive that it makes you want more.

Subject Line Formula: A Human [Something] Still Triumph in a [Something] World


BizSugar is a social bookmarking site where small business owners and entrepreneurs share and find content about small business news and trends.

1. 80 Ways Your Business Can Use Twitter tweet this

Your audience wants to know as many ways as possible to utilize the platforms they use to achieve their professional goals. In this case, the subject line is all business, no fluff.

Subject Line Formula: [#] Ways Your Business Can Use [Platform]

2. Everything You Need To Know About Mobility! tweet this

People want to know everything they need to know about topics that they care about. In this case, the audience wants to know about mobility, and the subject line makes a clear promise.

Subject Line Formula: Everything You Need To Know About [Something]!

3. Get Financially Fit With These 6 Tips! tweet this

There is something about getting fit that encourages action. Instead of offering “6 Financial Tips” this subject line transforms the topic into something more engaging.

Subject Line Formula: Get [Some Kind Of] Fit With These [#] Tips!


DMA is the world’s leading independent organization for data-driven marketers.

1. Networking, ROI, and strategic marketing: Get it all at DMA2014 this October! tweet this

When you are hosting an event, your audience wants to know what they will get out of it. This subject line opens with explaining the benefits of the event, then introduces the actual event and when it is coming.

Subject Line Formula: [Event Benefit #1], [Event Benefit #2], and [event benefit #3]: Get it all at [Event] this [Month]!

2. Check Out #7, But Watch Out For #2 tweet this

The ambiguity here is particularly strong. Your audience probably wants to see what #7 and #2 are all about. This subject line draws you in to solve the mystery.

Subject Line Formula: Check out #[Number}, But Watch Out for #[Number]

3. Chicago, My Kind Of Town | Register Today`tweet this

Your audience likely has some kind of emotional connection to a pop culture reference when thinking of a particular city. This subject line uses a popular Frank Sinatra song title to create a nostalgic connection with the audience.

Subject Line Formula: [Event Location], [Emotional Pop Reference To Event Location] | Register Today


SoMeConnect is a Chicago-based digital agency that offers content, social, and email strategy and campaign management services.

1. “Do Your Feet Smell…Like Strawberries?” tweet this

I wish. But seriously – this subject line was for a client that was selling scented shoes. This creative twist on the product is a good example of how to think beyond the product itself.

Subject Line Formula: no formula for this one – think way outside the box

2. A Special So Secret It’s Not Even on the Menu tweet this

Your audience probably wants to know about whatever secrets you may have. Whether it’s a secret food item not on the menu or a secret page on your website, this is a great example of an enticing subject line to introduce something secretive.

Subject Line Formula: A [Something] So Secret It’s Not Even [Typical Location]

3. We host. You toast. Discover All the Event Possibilities at BIN 36! tweet this

This is a fun take on an event invite. It tells the audience that all they need to do is drink at the event, while the host does all the work. The promise is strong – your audience will discover ALL of the event possibilities by opening the email.

Subject Line Formula: We host. You toast. Discover All of the Event Possibilities at [Event]


The email subject lines that perform the best all have one thing in common – they connect with their audience. To write a subject line for your audience, it’s important to…

  1. Understand your email. Think about what your email is all about. What is the purpose of sending it to your audience? What are your goals with this email?
  2. Understand why your audience cares. Think about why your audience wants this email. Why is it valuable for them? Why do they care? How does it help them?
  3. Empathize with your audience. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Why do they want to open this email? How can you speak directly to their emotions?

Whether you are programming a deeply personalized subject line like Zillow or writing a spinoff of a blog headline like Orbit Media, it’s essential to understand your audience on a deep level to write high-performing email subject lines.

We don’t want the inspiration to stop here. Share your top 3 email subject lines of 2014 in the comments below! :)

About Paul Gavin Jorgensen

Paul Gavin Jorgensen is the Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

16 Ways To Get Your Email Past Spam Filters


Spam filters are often overlooked, undervalued programs working hard to make us happier and more productive. They keep our inboxes clean and we barely ever notice them. But like all things designed by humans, spam filters are not perfect.

The reason we love them as subscribers is the same reason we hate them as senders; they are very protective of the inbox. And for all of the good they do, we usually only notice them when they block our email campaigns.

It’s painful to see our hard work end up in the spam folder. We all want our email to get delivered. To get past spam filters you must first understand what they do.

What Is A Spam Filter?

Spam filters are programs that identify unwanted or unsolicited emails and prevent them from reaching inboxes. Major ISPs like Google and Yahoo! have built-in spam filters and filtering processes to ensure their users are protected from “junk” email.

How Spam Filters Identify Spam

Spam filters identify spam based on a long list of criteria, but generally they consider:

  • Relationship with subscriber
  • Reputation of IP address and sender domain
  • Quality of email subject line, teaser, and content
  • Quality and safety of links in email
  • Presence or absence of images
  • Ratio of images to text and links to text
  • Inclusion of text version of email

This isn’t even close to an exhaustive list of factors that spam filters consider, but these are likely the most important. The list of spam factors is growing, because spam filters track subscriber actions to become better at identifying spam.

Spam filters track the following subscriber actions:

  • If subscriber opens email or not
  • The amount of time subscriber takes to read email
  • If subscriber scrolls to bottom of email or not
  • If subscriber enables images
  • If subscriber flags email as spam
  • What tags subscriber applies to email
  • What folders subscriber adds email to
  • If subscriber forwards email
  • The number of times subscriber opens email

Tracking subscriber actions gives spam filters valuable data to shape their complex ranking formulas. Spam filters use these formulas, comprised of weighted spam factors, to determine an email spam score that is unique for each email to every individual subscriber.

Sound complicated? This simply means that the same email for two different people could be ranked differently. Spam for one, ham for another. Spam filters rely heavily on subscriber engagement to learn how to become better at identifying what is and isn’t spam for each individual subscriber.

How Spam Filters Deal With Spam

Spam filters use the spam score to determine what action to take next. An email with a passing score moves to the subscriber’s inbox. If an email is flagged as spam, filters generally take one of the following actions:

  • Send email to spam folder
  • Block or bounce email for policy reasons
  • Slow delivery rate from sender (stuck in a tar pit)
  • Block email from sender
  • Block email from IP address
  • Block all emails from a range of IP addresses

Big ISPs such as Google are good at identifying spam on a case-by-case basis and sending it to the spam folder. But no spam filter is perfect. It is impossible to guarantee that every opt-in email will make it to the inbox of each subscriber. However, there are steps we can take to give our email a good chance of reaching our audience.

Let’s dive right in…


Tactic #1: Produce quality email content.

The best way to get past spam filters is to send high quality email to people who know you and expect to hear from you. If you give people what they want and expect, you can expect healthy subscriber engagement. You also want to take care of the following:

  1. Clean coding. Coding yourself is not for faint-hearted because it is incredibly difficult to code email by yourself. If you don’t want to do it, use ExpressPigeon’s drag-and-drop editor which produces clean, 100% compatible code for you.
  2. Professional formatting. CAPS LOCK, dozens of exclamation points, and wild colors should be avoided. BELIEVE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  3. Wise words. Avoid spammy words and phrases. Don’t mention getting rich quick or making tons of money or getting free everything today.
  4. Healthy linking. Don’t send emails with 40 links and minimal text. This is a popular tactic by spammers. Keep a balanced text to link ratio.
  5. Balanced images. Spammers often use images to send ‘special offers’ because spam filters can’t read them easily. Emails that contain a large image and very little text are often filtered as spam. Keep a balanced text to image ratio.


Tactic #2: Read and understand the CAN-SPAM Act.

The CAN-SPAM Act is a US federal law passed in 2003 that sets the rules for commercial email. With fines as high as $16,000 for every email that violates the law, it’s worth understanding.

I’m not your lawyer, in fact I’m not a lawyer at all, but below are a few general tips on how to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act:

  1. Do not deceive. Never use deceptive headers, subject lines, reply-to addresses, from-names, or call-to-actions.
  2. Make unsubscribing easy. Include an unsubscribe link, which must stay live for at least 30 days after sending. Remove unsubscribes within 10 days of opt-out. (At ExpressPigeon, we honor instant unsubscribes.)
  3. Include your real mailing address. You must include your actual physical postal address in your email.
  4. Never send without consent. Use our subscription forms to help people subscribe.

To learn more, visit the FTC website.


Tactic #3: Use double opt-in.

When building a signup form for your email subscription, you have the option with ExpressPigeon to do single opt-in or double opt-in.

We recommend double-opt in, a process that looks like this:

  1. User subscribes for emails via signup form on your site.
  2. User receives email with confirmation link.
  3. User clicks a confirmation link and is added to your email list.

Double opt-in protects your list from bots and ensures that your subscribers are real people who want your emails. People who are more committed are less likely to flag your future email as spam.

When you get a new subscriber using double opt-in, we collect the following information:

  • Timestamp
  • IP address
  • Browser
  • Operating System

This information protects you. If a subscriber marks you as a spammer in the future, we have a record to prove that permission was given.

Using double opt-in is a simple way to increase the odds of getting your email delivered.


Tactic #4: Grow your list ethically.

Misleading or deceitful list-building tactics can crush your deliverability. Why?

People who don’t explicitly give you permission to receive your emails don’t want to hear from you. They are likely to mark your email as spam.

A few examples of what not to do:

  • Add all of your contacts to your list. Every person you know does not necessarily want your marketing email. Give connections, customers and friends an option to subscribe for email before adding them. Send them a nice invitation.
  • Use shady offline list-building tactics. People who drop a business card in a fishbowl or sign up for a chance to win a trade show giveaway do not necessarily want email from you. Be clear when collecting emails. There are healthy ways to build an email list offline.
  • Buy an email list. It’s a really bad idea to purchase or rent an email list. Not only is it illegal and punishable by US law, it can crush your email marketing program and do long-term harm to your brand.
  • Scrape websites for email addresses. It goes without saying that this will only get you in trouble. Do this, and you’ll probably end up on blacklists.

To get past spam filters, you want to attract people who are truly interested in your email. There are hundreds of healthy ways to grow your list.


Tactic #5: Design professional-looking emails.

If your emails look cheap or unprofessional, you can come across like a spammer. Check out our newsletter templates for inspiration.


Tactic #6: Craft relevant and engaging subject lines.

Spam filters and your audience don’t want misleading subject lines. Make sure your subject line engages subscribers and tells them what your email is really about.

Avoid spammy phrases like “click here” or “open now” or “act today” or “limited offer”. Also, don’t use ALL CAPS or too many numbers or special characters.

Use our teaser feature to extend your subject line and entice people to open the email.


Tactic #7: Personalize your email.

The more you personalize, the better. The least you can do is address your subscribers by their names. Use the following text in a subject line or body or an email to do so:

Hi, ${first_name}

Subscribers appreciate receiving an email with a personal touch. The better your subscribers know you and trust you, the less likely they are to flag your emails as spam.


Tactic #8: Use a human reply-to address.

Your reply-to address should be a real company email connected to someone human who your subscribers can communicate with.

Avoid using an address like This sends a selfish message to your audience and limits the possibility for healthy two-way communication.


Tactic #9: Use descriptive text instead of URLs as link text.

Spam filters try to block phishing attacks, where attackers encourage readers to click on a well-known text URL that links to a different URL (attacker website). For example, a victim of a phishing attack would see “” in an email but upon clicking the link, they would be directed to “”.

Because of this shady tactic, you should avoid using URLs as link text. Instead, use descriptive text. Every link in this blog post is an example of descriptive text. 

Here at ExpressPigeon, we offer phishing attack and composer protection to make sure you never forget.


Tactic #10: Start sending email right away.

You should be sending email the minute you get your first subscriber. Why?

If you wait until your list reaches a certain size before sending, your first email will seem like a total surprise to early subscribers. And what do subscribers do when they are startled? They mark emails as spam.

Instead of being stagnant, jump-start your list and send email from day one.


Tactic #11: Be consistent with send frequency.

If you don’t send emails for long periods of time, and suddenly send, subscribers may forget about you and mark the email as spam. If you’re sending too often, subscribers may get irritated and ignore you completely.

Finding the right frequency for your email program requires testing, but consistency is key. Once subscribers know how often you send, they expect to receive emails at the same rate moving forward.

When you meet their expectations, subscribers are more likely to become engaged readers and less likely to mark your emails as spam.


Tactic #12: Use a corporate email account as your sender address.

If you use a major ESP and send email using a personal email address such as or, ISPs like Google will block your email. Why?

Yahoo! and AOL tell them to! The solution is to use your corporate email address or owned domain. Learn more about DMARC and what it means to marketers.


Tactic #13: Avoid spam traps. 

If an email address hasn’t been used in years, ISPs sometimes convert that email address into a spam trap, called a honeypot. You will never know if an email address is a spam trap.

The best way to avoid spam traps is to never scrape websites or buy rented lists. As long as you follow ethical list-building tactics, you should be fine.

We recommend running a reengagement campaign every six months to make sure you have a healthy, engaged list.


Tactic #14: Make sure you are not on blacklists.

ESPs advertise which IP addresses they send from. Reputable ESPs (like ExpressPigeon) track this themselves, so you don’t have to worry about it.

If you are sending from your own IP address, you can use tools like MX Toolbox to verify and get alerted if your IP gets on a blacklist.


Tactic #15: Include a text version of your email.

It’s easier to hide shady call-to-actions in HTML than it is in text. Even if you know people are not opening up a text version of email, it’s not a bad idea to include it.

At ExpressPigeon, you can easily convert your HTML design to text. We offer a simple “Text Version” button that allows you to pull the text from our drag-and-drop editor.

Nowadays, most spam filters are advanced enough to dig into HTML, so including a text version is not as important as it once was. However, adding a text version can help you if you have subscribers using outdated email services or text-only reading settings.


Tactic #16: Use a reputable email service provider.

The best thing you can to do to get past spam filters is to use a reputable ESP like ExpressPigeon. We work hard to make sure your emails get delivered. You can try ExpressPigeon for free.


Getting past spam filters is a complicated process, but it foundationally comes down to sending useful email to an interested audience using a reputable email service provider. Beware of anyone who tells you otherwise. They might be out to spam you. ;)

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email.

Happy mailin!

About Paul Gavin Jorgensen

Paul Gavin Jorgensen is the Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

ExpressPigeon President Igor Polevoy Talks Email Marketing on Media Shower


Social media is a hot topic these days but business owners would be crazy to overlook the power of email marketing. With an ROI over 4,000% and the biggest marketers in the game calling it critical to content marketing, email is truly king.

ExpressPigeon President Igor Polevoy knows this well. To constantly improve the ExpressPigeon email software and keep us updated on important email issues, Igor lives deep in the mysterious land of email. And lucky for us, he occasionally does interviews. ;)

Igor aired his thoughts on Media Shower last week, covering topics including:

  • Best practices for building a newsletter
  • Biggest mistakes in email marketing
  • The future of email marketing

Read the full interview here and sign up for our free email marketing newsletter below.

Send better email.

Join thousands who receive
timely email marketing tips.

No SPAM. We promise.

About Paul Gavin Jorgensen

Paul Gavin Jorgensen is the Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

DMARC in Plain English and what it means to Email Marketing


DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance and it is yet another technology trick ISPs and ESPs use to ward off SPAM in addition to SPF and DKIM.

DMARC is a configuration of a domain record that tells the receiving computer what to do with messages if they are coming from a computer with a different domain compared to the one specified on the “Reply To” field.

For instance, at ExpressPigeon we configured our DMARC policies such that if someone else sends an email from their computer (which cannot have our domain), but set the Reply To as: “”, then the accepting computer should report this incident to us.

So far so good? Well DMARC – being a relatively new technology – has been used sparingly for some time. Different companies were doing pretty much the same as us: just reporting these incidents. This changed in April 2014 when Yahoo! took a deep dive into DMARC requiring receiving computers to reject emails if they are not sent from Yahoo! computers.

Soon AOL followed the path after Yahoo!, which means you also cannot use AOL-based return addresses.

How does DMARC affect email marketers?

If you are sending emails from our servers (or if you are using any other ESP), and you use your personal Yahoo! (or AOL) email as a “Reply To”, then most ISPs like Microsoft, Google etc will simply reject your emails because Yahoo asked them to!

The solution to this is to use your corporate email address. Yahoo! and AOL logic is easy to understand: they provide free email service to individuals. If an email address they provide is also used to send mass emails from another ESP, than this is kind of a violation of the agreement on your end (I’m not a lawyer, do not hold my feet to the fire:)).

Instead of sending from, you will have to switch to to solve this problem.

Bottom Line

If you are sending mass email on behalf of your company, use your corporate email for this. If you are a blogger, and represent yourself then take this opportunity to get your own domain and build a better brand for yourself!

Happy mailin’

Send better email.

Join thousands who receive
timely email marketing tips.

No SPAM. We promise.

About Igor Polevoy

Igor Polevoy is the President of ExpressPigeon, the easiest way to send professional email. He has over 15 years of experience and passion in developing high quality software, which culminated into ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter

101 Ways To Seriously Grow Your Email List


Imagine having the ability to reach thousands of people at the click of a button. Once you learn to build an opt-in email list, this will be your reality.

Every Business Needs An Email List

Every single one of your current and future customers has an email address, a direct line into the palm of their hands. Email is one of the most personal and economical ways to stay in touch.

In fact, current statistics show that email marketing performs better than social media, PPC, content marketing, offline direct marketing, online display advertising, mobile marketing, and affiliate marketing. So where do you begin?

You Need An Email Service Provider

An email service provider is a company that gives you tools to send marketing email. Here are some of the most important criteria for choosing an ESP that is right for your business:

  1. Deliverability. You need to make sure your emails make it to inboxes. Otherwise, the rest of your work is wasted. The most reputable ESPs (including ExpressPigeon) hover around 99% deliverability.
  2. Setup. Setting up your ESP account should be a painless process. Whether you’re uploading a list or designing your first email, you shouldn’t need hours to make it happen. The best ESPs are user-friendly and intuitive.
  3. Management. Managing your email campaigns should be easy. If you find it difficult to navigate an ESP, it will only get more complicated as you develop your email program.
  4. Tracking. Reports should be beautiful and straightforward. Make sure to look for analytics integrations and see what reports your ESP offers before signing up.
  5. Support. An ESP should be easy enough to use without any support, but there will be times when you need a hand. It’s important to know that someone will be there for you.

If you want to build a massive email list, start with ExpressPigeon. We host your list and make it easy to design and send emails that are beautiful and mobile-friendly. You can try ExpressPigeon for free today.

You Need To Send Amazing Emails

It goes without saying that in order to build an email list, you need to send emails that people care about. Without awesome content, you can use all of the list-building tactics in the world, but nobody will want your emails.

How can you develop great content?

  1. Do the research. Subscribe to competitors to see what types of emails they send. Make a list of content categories and brainstorm the types of emails you want to send. Use competitor emails as inspiration but seek to create a program that is truly original.
  2. Create an email content calendar. Once you determine content categories, create an email content calendar with specific email topics and dates for delivery. Sending frequency should be consistent but test multiple delivery dates and times, content types, and designs to find what works best.
  3. Design a branded email template. Use the ExpressPigeon email editor to design a beautiful template that reflects the look and feel of your brand – in minutes. You can easily replicate each newsletter and create variations for testing.

Here are a few email content tips to help you…

  • Make emails easy to share. Add a “forward to a friend” link in seconds with ExpressPigeon. You can also add social sharing buttons using “tweet this” links from ClickToTweet or other social buttons.
  • Share your best content. Whether its your latest blog post or ebook, make sure to share your best performing content via email.
  • Curate. Shine the spotlight on someone else. Promote content from industry leaders and let them know you will be sharing it in your newsletter.
  • Ask your audience what they want. Instead of just trying to read the minds of your customers, ask them what they want. Who doesn’t want to have their voice heard or their questions answered?
  • Tie in current events. Try to find ways to integrate important holidays and major events within your email content.
  • Experiment with subject lines. Check out our post on email marketing statistics to find a few subject line tricks that might work for you.
  • Give extra value. I’ll cover this more extensively under the “Incentives” category in the deck below but the idea here is to run subscriber-only contests or give them something they can’t get anywhere else.

Once you have your email plan ready to go, it’s time to start building your list…


  1. Sidebar. Add opt-in form to your sidebar. Add a subscription form to the sidebar of your blog with this WordPress plugin or develop a custom opt-in form.
  2. Hello Bar. Add a Hello Bar to the top of your website. You can encourage email signups directly in the Hello Bar or drive traffic to a subscription landing page.
  3. Main Menu Page. Add an “Updates” or “Subscription” page to the main menu of your site. This should link to a page dedicated to your email subscription. Highlight the most important benefits of your email newsletter.
  4. Custom. Create a custom opt-in form on your homepage. This is important if your primary goal is to convert visitors to email subscribers. Great for bloggers.
  5. Popups. Annoy people with popups. There is evidence to support that popups work but it’s up to you to decide if the conversions are worth the interruptions.
  6. Blog Footer. Create a custom opt-in form for the footer of your blog posts. See the bottom of this post for an example.
  7. Opt-ins Everywhere. Flood your site with opt-in forms. Ok, maybe not flooded, but consider adding an opt-in form to every page of your site. Visitors should always have an easy entry point.
  8. Brilliant Copywriting. Write amazing copy for your opt-in forms. Grab attention with the headline, nudge with the body, and trigger with the call-to-action. Communicate the incentives.
  9. Something Extra. Add something extra to your opt-in forms. Including a dollar value of your incentive or a testimonial or adding social proof can spice things up.
  10. The Simple Ask. Don’t ask for too much information before opt-in. Generally, all you want to ask for is an email address. The more you ask, the less visitors convert.
  11. Special Promotions. Customize opt-in forms for special promotions. Are you anticipating a traffic surge from a new campaign or guest post? Tailor your forms to the guest audience.
  12. Optimization. Optimize opt-in forms to improve conversion rates. Test small changes to your opt-in forms such as location, design, copy, call-to-action, and more. Something as small as changing the voice from first to third person can have a major impact.
  13. Interactive. Develop a super unique opt-in form. Want to really stand out? Create an interactive signup form or video game that prompts signups. This can quickly turn into PR opportunities.

Learn more: 16 Opt-in Tricks To Grow Your Email List


  1. eBook. Create an ebook on a popular industry topic. Combine your most popular blog posts or choose a topic based on industry demand.
  2. Email Course. Create an email course. This series of emails should educate your audience on an in-demand industry topic. Use autoresponders to schedule emails.
  3. Webinars. Run recurring webinars. Live video conferences can educate your audience and encourage them to sign up for emails.
  4. Contests. Run recurring giveaways or contests. Select a product or service to give away every so often and announce winners via email.
  5. Special Club. Create a club for subscribers. Brand your email subscription as a special club and offer a variety of incentives.
  6. Audio Gift. Record an audio. Take one of your ebooks or popular blog posts and record an audio version. Give this away as a free gift with a subscription.
  7. Discount. Offer a discount. Select a special deal or discount on a product or service for new email subscribers. Deliver the deal in the welcome email and set up a reminder email for subscribers who don’t make a purchase.
  8. Free Trial. Offer a free trial. In exchange for an email and other information, give people an opportunity to try your product or service for free for a select time period.
  9. Free Samples. Offer free samples. Do you have product or services that you can afford to give away for free? Offer to send free samples to people who sign up for your emails.
  10. Video Gift. Give people a valuable video. Create a screencast video for your audience and teach them how to do something important. Or create a tutorial video.
  11. Unique Tool. Develop an online tool. Companies like Hubspot offer online tools that require an email subscription, whereas marketing leader Neil Patel, who believes tools can be a better investment than content, offer tools for free without requiring subscription.

Learn more: 10 Powerful Opt-in Incentives That Will Get You More Email Subscribers


  1. Confirmation Page. Create a custom email subscription confirmation page that welcomes new subscribers into your email community.
  2. Gratitude. On the confirmation page, show gratitude to new subscribers by offering them a genuine thanks and links to free content they might find valuable.
  3. SPAM Avoidance. On the same page, request subscribers to add your email address to their contact list to avoid SPAM filtering.
  4. Sharability. Near the bottom of your confirmation page, add social media links and encourage subscribers to share your subscription with friends.
  5. Confirmation Email. Create a custom confirmation email with ExpressPigeon that redirects subscribers to your confirmation page after they confirm subscription.
  6. Welcome Email. Create a custom welcome email with ExpressPigeon that effectively delivers on the opt-in gifts you promised in your opt-in forms.


  1. Friends & Family. Tell your friends and family about your email subscription. People closest to you are likely to help you in the beginning, and you never know who they know.
  2. Reengagement. Reengage your old email list. Send an email to subscribers from your old opt-in list inviting them to join your new one.
  3. Old Contacts. Send individual emails to old business contacts. Even if you haven’t stayed in touch with all of your connections, they might be interested in your emails.
  4. LinkedIn Connections. Find connections on LinkedIn that work in industries relevant to your email subscription. Send each potential subscriber a unique private message.
  5. LinkedIn Groups. Introduce your email subscription to targeted LinkedIn Groups. You want to have a presence before promoting your emails so get active early.
  6. Public Announcement. Make a public announcement on all of your social media accounts to encourage your fans, followers, and connections to sign up for emails. Tailor the post to each audience.
  7. In-House Promotion. Develop a system for in-house promotion. Encourage your team, but do not require, to reach out to family & friends and promote your subscription on social media accounts.
  8. Craigslist. Promote your subscription on Craigslist with an ad that highlights the benefits of your subscription. This works best if building a list for a local event or product launch.
  9. Email Signature. Add a note and a link to your email subscription in your email signature. This gives everyone you email a chance to sign up.

Learn more: 7 Overlooked Ways To Jump-Start Your Email List Today


  1. Paper Sheet. Add a paper sheet at your business where visitors can sign up. Make sure to highlight the incentives of subscribing and place the sheet where people can see it.
  2. Conversation. Ask people to sign up for your emails in conversation. This works particularly well for B2B. After a meeting with a prospective client, tell them about your newsletter and ask them if they want you to add them.
  3. Phone calls. Turn phone calls into subscribers. If someone calls you trying to pitch you on their business or you have a call with a prospect or customer, give them a chance to subscribe to your emails. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
  4. Signage. Use your outdoor or window signage to promote your emails. Let passerby know about the benefits of your emails and give them an easy URL or QR code to easily find your subscription form.
  5. Print Materials Add-On. Promote your email subscription on all print materials. This works best when you offer irresistible opt-in incentives.
  6. Dedicated Print Materials. Create postcards or other print materials dedicated to your email subscription. This works great if you have a special club for subscribers or run recurring contests.
  7. Trade Shows Display. When you have a booth at a trade show, give people an opportunity to sign up for emails. A contest can be encouraging, but make sure people know what they are signing up for.
  8. Hosting. Organize industry events. Put together a one-time or recurring Meetup, seminar, blogger dinner, or hackathon, and collect emails at each event.
  9. Industry Events. Attend key industry events. Bring your email subscription print materials with you to the next event you go to. Beyond making connections, you might attract new subscribers.
  10. Direct Mail. Include email marketing in your direct mail campaigns. Request an email address or include a URL and QR code to your subscription page. Encourage direct mail recipients to go paperless.
  11. Phone Line. Does your business have a phone line? Replace that dreadful elevator music with recordings about your website and email sign up. Even your answering machine can help you get the word out!

Learn more: 6 Quick Tips To Grow Your Email List Offline


  1. Website Advertising. Advertise your subscription on a site with similar audiences. Getting featured isn’t easy, and advertising placement can get you powerful results.
  2. Google Advertising. Run a Google AdWords campaign. Make sure you already offer compelling opt-in incentive and have a landing page for your subscription to direct ad clicks to.
  3. Social Media Advertising. Run social media ads. Promote your email subscription on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, with highly targeted social advertising. Drive traffic to a subscription landing page.


  1. Checkout. Place an opt-in form on your checkout page. Checkout is a great time to convert one-time customers into email subscribers. Offering a product discount on a future purchase is a great opt-in incentive.
  2. Email Receipts. Offer an opt-in option on email receipts. Some people are weary of subscribing during checkout, so make sure you reinforce your subscription benefits and offer an opt-in option directly in email receipts. This could be the reinforcement they need.
  3. Abandoned Cart. Send abandoned cart emails. When someone leaves your site with products in their cart, it’s important to send an email reminder. Once they come back and complete a purchase, they should have an option to subscribe for email on checkout and in their receipt.
  4. Special Offer. Offer a product discount in exchange for subscription. This is a great incentive to encourage visitors to sign up for emails. Who wouldn’t sign up for emails if it saves them 10% on their first purchase?
  5. Recurring Deals. Run recurring deals only available to email subscribers. Give people a reason to sign up for deals. This keeps retention up and gives visitors incentive to sign up.


  1. Goodbye? Offer an option for subscribers to tell you why they are leaving when they unsubscribe. This helps gives you ideas on how to improve your campaigns.
  2. Come Back! After subscribers unsubscribe, give them an option to sign back up. This seems contradictory, but you’d be surprised at how quickly you can turn them around with a special deal or a funny photo.
  3. See You Soon. When you have to take a break, whether it’s for a vacation or family situation, let your audience know. This builds trust and makes sure they don’t forget about you.
  4. Inner Circle. Develop an inner circle. Do you have a few subscribers that seem to really love your emails? Give these fans an option to become a part of a more exclusive subscription and offer them special deals.
  5. Spotlight. Feature subscribers. Ask your subscribers to offer their tips or ideas and feature a new subscriber in every issue. This gives subscribers an opportunity to become a part of your team, on a deeper level.
  6. Suggestions? Ask for suggestions. Don’t be afraid to ask subscribers what they want to see or hear about in your emails. This can help you tailor your content before subscribers do that awful thing they should never do and unsubscribe!


  1. Check This Out. Tweet a link to your subscription form and tell followers why they should sign up.
  2. Coming Soon. Tweet about upcoming deals or content available only to email subscribers. Tell your Twitter followers to sign up for emails to get access to the deal or content before you send your email.
  3. Bio Link. Include a link to your email subscription in your Twitter bio. Use a URL shortening service like to avoid taking up too many characters.
  4. Content. Make sure you have opt-in forms on every page you link to on Twitter. When you promote a new blog post or eBook with a tweet, visitors should be able to easily subscribe.
  5. Direct Messages. Send a welcome direct message (DM) to new followers and include a link to your email subscription. Some people hate automated DMs, so consider personalizing them to each follower. You can also link to specific content that might interest them.
  6. Email Tweet Links. Include “tweet this” links in your emails. You can use a service like Click To Tweet to add links to your emails that encourage subscribers to share your emails on Twitter.
  7. Embedded Tweets. Include tweets in your emails. You can use content from Twitter in your newsletter, and when you do, reach out to those Twitter users and let them know that they were featured. You might want to request permission before using their tweets.
  8. Incentive Promo. Develop a Twitter campaign to promote one of your eBooks or email courses. As long as you have your opt-in process optimized, driving traffic to your content is always a great way to build your list.
  9. Miss It? Send a “did you miss our newsletter” tweet. No one enjoys feeling left out, especially if other people that follow him or her received something that they didn’t.
  10. Thank you. Thank people or send retweets to people who are tweeting about your business, newsletter or emails. This adds exposure to those who may have missed your tweets about your emails.
  11. #Hashtag. Join discussions and mention your site. You can target your audience by observing hashtags and joining appropriate discussions. Once followers begin reading and retweeting, it’s easier to grab their interest in your newsletter signups.


  1. Subscription Tab. Add a subscription tab to your Facebook page. Design a beautiful call-to-action image for the tab and link it to your subscription page. Or use Facebook Email Sign Up to create one in minutes.
  2. Content Tab. Create tab for gated content in your Facebook page. You can build a custom tab that houses your free ebooks, email courses, or other content that requires email signup to access.
  3. Contest. Run a contest on Facebook that collects emails for entry. Learn how to do this in my recent post on how to integrate email and social media.
  4. Cover Talk. Add a call-to-action in your Facebook page cover. Include a message that encourages people to sign up for emails in your cover.
  5. Pay To Play. Run a Facebook ad or create a promoted post that highlights your subscription.


  1. YouTube. Promote your emails in YouTube videos. At the end of videos, encourage viewers to sign up for emails. Include an ending slide with a visible URL for your subscription page. In video descriptions, you can add a link to your subscription page or a piece of related content.
  2. Google+. Share your email subscription in a Google+ community. Just like LinkedIn Groups, Google+ communities
  3. Vine + Instagram. Create a short video for Instagram or Vine that tells people about the benefits to your emails. You can share your video on other social sites and embed it in a blog post.
  4. Pinterest. Promote on Pinterest. Create “Pins” that link to blog posts and especially content on your site that requires email signups, like eBooks or email courses.
  5. Leaders. Learn from the best. Want to know how to use social media to better reach new eyeballs? Take a peek at what other prominent bloggers and other thought leaders are doing in your space to build their email audience via social.
  6. Talk To Audience. Engage your audience while you create your emails. When you’re working on a newsletter design or content for your next send, don’t hesitate to tweet about why you like working on it and why you find it interesting.
  7. Something New. Get out of your Twitter and Facebook comfort zone, and jump into the world of Google+ and Pinterest. The more platforms you’re on, the more opportunity you have to reach new users.
  8. Follow Us. Encourage users to follow you on different platforms. If someone already follows you on Twitter, give them an option to connect with you on Google+ or another channel and you build a deeper connection. The deeper the connection, the more the chances they have to find your content and eventually subscribe.
  9. Become The Solution. Were you hoping to find a way to integrate your social media with your email acquisition but found the options available lacking? Create a better way! There’s no better way to become an authority than creating the next great tool.
  10. Buttons. Make your content easy to share on social media. Add social media buttons at the bottom or on the side of your blog posts and emails to encourage readers to share your content with one click.
  11. Content. Create posts that highlight specific incentives that you use to promote your email list. Promote each incentive separately on all social channels.


  1. Guest Blogging. Guest blog on industry sites that target an audience likely interested in your emails. Make sure to link to your email subscription page in your author bio. You can also link to your emails in the post, but only if it is genuinely relevant.
  2. Partner Up! Team up with a partner or affiliate site and run joint promotions. Hosting a webinar with a partner site or running a collaborative blog series can help you attract a valuable audience, or people who instantly trust you, to your site and your emails.
  3. Blog Link. Mention your email subscription in the context of your article. Try to tastefully slip in a hyperlink to your email signup. It makes for a good article.
  4. Industry Talk. Engage on industry sites. Is there a blog that you read regularly? If you have true value to add, leave a comment. People will recognize your tips and click on you, finding your website, and eventually will find your email. Don’t comment just to comment. There is enough noise already online.
  5. Interviews. Unless someone wants to interview you for a site that goes against your beliefs, do the interview. Showcase your expertise and make sure to drop your URL and tell the audience about your emails. Embrace your inner celebrity! ;)
  6. Outside The Box. Contribute outside of your niche. Take your expertise to a leading site in another industry, create a guest post that benefits that audience, and watch your list grow. This is a great way to reach new markets and try new guest blogging tactics.
  7. Start A Conversation. Content marketing expert Andy Crestodina wrote a great article on how to start a conversation online. A new connection can often lead to a new email subscriber, directly or indirectly.
  8. Speak Up. Turn any interaction into an opportunity. Anytime someone engages with your site by posting a comment or doing anything interactive, try to get a prompt in front of them to get them on your email list.
  9. Be The Answer. Actively seek out questions on discussion boards, like Quora, on topics related to your industry. Provide detailed, thorough responses for people. This establishes your expertise and will ultimately drive traffic to your site and help you grow your list.
  10. Get In Touch. Contact key targets in your industry. Don’t be afraid to reach out to important thought leaders in your space via email or Twitter. Let them know about your emails and you might open up a world of cross promotion or add value to them and their business.
  11. Go Local. Don’t sleep on locality. Look for prominent businesses and bloggers and news publications in your community. Reach out to them, and let them know about your emails. People are generally more likely to support other locals to help enrich the community.
  12. Clean It Up. Get rid of your website design clutter. When you give people too many options on your website, they often walk away and choose to do absolutely nothing. Clean up your website and watch your list grow!
  13. Patience. Email marketing can be quite a bit like fishing. Just because something doesn’t take at first doesn’t mean you should completely abandon your fishing hole right away. Take the time to test out your ideas before moving on and trying a new one.
  14. Keep Learning. Never think you know it all as there is always something new coming on the horizon. Every list like this you read is merely capturing the best practices of internet marketing today.


Building an email list is a long-term commitment. To implement the tactics above, consider an incremental approach, testing each tactic individually to discover what works for you. Along the way, I’m sure you’ll come up with dozens of tricks of your own!

How do you grow your email list? Any ideas to add here? Leave a comment below and keep the ideas flowing! :)

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About Paul Gavin Jorgensen

Paul Gavin Jorgensen is the Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

6 Quick Tips To Grow Your Email List Offline

One of the most overlooked ways to build an email list is to get off of your computer. Let’s take a look at 6 quick tips to build your list away from the digital world.

Tactic #1: Promote your email subscription on print materials.

When you develop print materials, consider adding information about your email subscription. Each handout gives you an opportunity to attract new subscribers.

If you offer a particularly compelling opt-in incentive, this can be especially effective for building your list. How do you go about it?

  1. Develop an email subscription page. You want to create a page dedicated to your email subscription. Give it a custom URL to make it easier for people who receive your print materials to find the page.
  2. Give people a reason to sign up. Make sure to highlight opt-in incentives that are targeting the audience you anticipate reaching with these particular print materials. Your incentive must be compelling to encourage offline to online signups.
  3. Include URL and QR code. Include the custom URL to your subscription page as a QR Code and in written form. How else will people sign up for your emails if they can’t find your subscription form?

When you give people a physical handout and ask them to take action online, there is a lot working against a conversion. But adding information about your subscription to print materials goes beyond just converting.

People who received your handout may wind up on your website in the future, and the initial exposure to your brand will stay with them. Make sure you have the opt-in tricks in place to convert these primed visitors into email subscribers.

Tactic #2: Develop print materials specifically for your email subscription.

If you offer a particularly compelling incentive for new subscribers, consider creating postcards or other handouts dedicated to your email subscription. The focus of the handout should be the opt-in incentive. This works especially well if you run recurring contests or have an “exclusive” club for email subscribers.

For example, let’s say you run a bi-weekly book giveaway for subscribers. You could create a postcard that promotes the chance to win a free book every other week. The link and QR code could take you to an opt-in landing page that elaborates on the contest. You could give away the postcard at trade shows, Meetups, and other industry events.

Tactic #3: Collect emails at trade shows.

This can be a very tricky tactic. People have no problem signing up for emails if they want to receive emails. They do have a problem with being unwillingly added to your list after dropping an email at your booth in hopes of winning a one-time toaster giveaway.

If you want to collect emails at a trade show, promote the benefits of your email newsletter. Make sure people know that they are signing up for emails, not just signing up for a chance to win a one-time giveaway.


If you want to incorporate a contest, announce the winners later on via email. Let people know that they are signing up for emails for a chance to win something and to find out about more contests in the future.

Nobody likes getting random emails after events, especially if they don’t intend to. If you’re going to collect emails with the intention of building a list, be transparent. You’re likely to get a few fake addresses, but having an email sign up form at a trade show can be an effective way to gather interested contacts.

Tactic #4: Organize events in your community.

Organizing an event in your city can be a great way to make memorable connections with people with similar interests. While benefits to hosting events span way beyond list-building, events are a great place to collect emails.

Whether you organize a Meetup, educational seminar, or a hackathon, you should encourage attendees to sign up for emails. If they enjoy the event, they will likely want to hear about the next one. Recurring events, like the Orbit Media Wine & Web series in Chicago, are especially effective for building that sense of community.


If you feel like you don’t have the social capital to host a successful event on your own, find someone to co-host with you. This is a great way to get more attendees and gain access to someone else’s audience.

Tactic #5: Attend key industry events.

If you’re not ready to take on event organizing, consider attending industry events. If you target the right audience, you give yourself a chance to interact with people who are the ideal subscribers.

You can bring print materials with you to the events or send people a quick email after you meet them. You might get inspired to host your own or become more deeply connected to a community of experts in your field.

Tactic #6: Incorporate email marketing into your direct mail campaigns.

Do you send direct mail? That’s so 90′s. But seriously, some businesses still get great results from direct mail campaigns. If you’re like us and you want to save trees and money, tell your direct mail audience about your email subscription. Encourage them to sign up, and when they do, give them an option to unsubscribe from direct mailers.

Here’s a great example from my dentist, who sends reminders to patients when they are ready for a screening, and requests recipients to go paperless:dog2dentist2

Of course your approach might be different than my dentist. You might want to send a direct mailer designed specifically to promote your subscription. Either way, it’s an easy ask when someone is already receiving direct mail from you.


Building your email list offline is not as hard as most people think. Keep it natural and people will want to subscribe.

How do you grow your list offline? Have any ideas to add to the list? Leave a comment below and let us know! :)

About Paul Gavin Jorgensen

Paul Gavin Jorgensen is the Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

Content Marketing, Email, ESPs & The Future of Marketing with Andy Crestodina


I recently interviewed Andy Crestodina to give you a look inside the mind of a content marketing genius. Andy is co-founder of Orbit Media, author of Content Chemistry, and a contributor to dozens of industry-leading marketing blogs.

Below, Andy shares his thoughts on a variety of topics including content marketing, email marketing, ESPs, and the future of marketing. Let’s jump right in…

Content Marketing

Some businesses don’t have resources to develop a full-blown content marketing program. What are the most essential ingredients to content marketing success?

When you break it down, content marketing comes down to just a few things.

  1. Creating something useful that answers questions your audience is asking.
  2. Making it visible through search (keyword research), social (shareable, stimulating and network-friendly) and email (gets opened and grows your list).
  3. Measuring what’s working and optimizing your approach accordingly.

You don’t need to do this every day. Depending on the competition in your niche, monthly may be enough to start building relevance. If there is a lot of competition, you’ll need to be more focused and structured. Websites organized around content hubs often do well, even against big competitors.

Content marketing is time consuming and slow, especially at first, but if you don’t do it, someone else in your industry will. Your audience is looking for information and someone is winning the battle for their attention. Someone is answering their questions, becoming relevant, being shared and staying top of mind.

If you’re not being helpful to your audience with great information, promoted well, don’t be surprised if you become less relevant over time and your competitors emerge as influencers of your audience.

Email Marketing

Why does email play such an important role in content marketing?

Email is possibly the most important content promotion tool there is. There’s a saying among social media marketers: “Don’t Build on Rented Land.” It means that not everything in your marketing is owned by you. You don’t own Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google.

But you do own your website, your content and your email list. That’s one big reason email is important.

There are others: virtually everyone uses email. Email is permission based. Email is easily measured. Email is the number one method for sharing content. Email marketing is absolutely critical in content marketing.

You run a thriving email program at your web design and development company, Orbit Media. Why is email marketing important for your business?

People need a new website once every 3-5 years. If we have a great conversation with someone who doesn’t need us at the moment, we need an efficient way to keep in touch with them for the next several years. Email is the answer.

It’s an autopilot mechanism for keeping in touch with loads of people for years, until that day when they need our services. If our content (delivered via email) has been helpful to them for the last few months and years, we’ve got a better chance of being top of mind.

Bottom line, along with search optimization and social media, email is one of the three main website traffic sources. How could we ignore it?!

Email Service Providers

In your book Content Chemistry, you mention that an email service provider is one of five essential tools for content marketing. What characteristics should you focus on when selecting an ESP for your business?

Here are some of the big criteria for selecting an ESP:

  1. Deliverability: It should be 99% or close to it.
  2. Easy Setup: The first time you setup your email template, it shouldn’t take 6 hours of design and programming time.
  3. Easy Management: After it’s all set up, creating subsequent emails should not be difficult.
  4. Reports: They should be easy to read and very pretty. Beatiful reports somehow have a way of motivating the marketer to pay close attention.
  5. Support: In a distance fifth place is support. An ESP should be self-service, but there are times when you need a little help. It’s nice when help is available.

You left Mailchimp over a year ago for ExpressPigeon. Why the switch?

We took a close look at ExpressPigeon and knew right away it would be an easy switch. The tools for creating and managing emails are the best I’ve ever seen.

Since flying with ExpressPigeon, has your email marketing process changed?

The time is takes to manage our email program has gone down. Deliverability is as good as it ever was.

The Future Of Marketing

In Content Chemistry you talk about the history and evolution of marketing. How do you see marketing evolving over the next five years? How do you see email marketing and content marketing in the mix?

Lots of niches are getting more crowded, so the winners will be mostly in two camps: those that produce more detailed, practical, honest content, and those that produce content is higher quality formats, videos, events and podcasts. Of course, both of these work beautifully with email.

Every serious marketer I know is aggressively growing their email list. It’s the main factor in long-term growth. If you do everything else right, but leave out email marketing, you’ll have to work much harder for much longer to get the same results…

You can follow and connect with Andy on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Be sure to sign up for his bi-weekly web marketing newsletter on Orbit Media.

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About Paul Gavin Jorgensen

Paul Gavin Jorgensen is the Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

7 Overlooked Ways To Jump-Start Your Email List Today

Whether you just heard about the insanely high ROI of email marketing and decided to build an email list or you’re already running a successful email program and hit a dead end, I’m sure you’re looking for ways to jump-start your list. Before we dive in, make sure you…

  1. Sign up with an email service provider. Current email marketing statistics show that businesses using an ESP are more likely to be satisfied with their email program than businesses who do not. An email service provider gives you tools to easily design and manage your email campaigns.
  2. Content, content, content. You need to have something to say in your emails. Without producing high quality content, consistently, there is no point in email marketing. What are you going to send to your audience? Without great content, everything else falls apart.
  3. Create opt-in incentive for your audience. You need to give people a reason to sign up for your emails. Check out these 10 opt-in incentive ideas to help you choose the right subscription incentive for your audience.
  4. Update your opt-in process. There are dozens of tricks to make sure your opt-in process is optimized to convert website visitors into email subscribers. Check out these 16 opt-in tricks to help you.

Now you’re ready to grow your list. There are hundreds of ways to get new subscribers but we often overlook the most obvious tactics. The 7 list-building tactics below are perfect for building an email list from scratch or jump-starting your program today. Let’s dive right in…

Tactic #1: Reach out to friends and family.

When you’re building an email list, don’t overlook the power of your personal network. In the early stages, some of the best support you’ll get to grow your list can come from your strongest connections – friends and family.


Sure, some of the people closest to you might have no interest in your emails. But what about their friends? What about their professional connections? You never know until you ask.

Reaching out to friends and family can be difficult, so try this:

  1. Be serious. If you’re not serious about building a list or you don’t actually care about it, why would you want to tell your friends and family? Make sure you plan on following through with what you’re selling. Otherwise, you’ll hear about it forever. It’s not worth ruining your personal relationships unless you are 100% committed.
  2. Don’t be serious. Contact your friends with your usual communication method. If you usually call your cousin, don’t email her out of the blue with a request. Call her, and if she wants to help, send a follow-up email. Keep it fun, keep it casual. Just because you’re looking for help with your business does not mean you should suddenly change your approach or tone.
  3. Make the ask. Make it easy for your friends and family to help you. One of the best ways to do this is to share a link to your subscription in your email page and provide a clear call-to-action. Do you want them to share the link with one friend they know would love your emails? Or simply share the link on their Facebook wall? It’s up to you to choose the ask – you know them better than I do. ;)

Friends and family are usually willing to help unless you stole the last piece of turkey on Thanksgiving. If you are confident in what you’re building, you should have no problem turning to friends and family for their help. This is a very overlooked way to build a list.

Tactic #2: Send a reengagement email to your dated opt-in list.

Are you sitting on an opt-in email list that you built years ago? Send a reengagement email to give subscribers the option to re-subscribe to your emails. This is a great way to build your list and ensure that subscribers are engaged and interested in your campaigns. Remember, this is for opt-in lists only – buying email lists is illegal.

Tactic #3: Send one-to-one emails to old contacts.

Over the years, I’m sure you’ve emailed hundreds, if not thousands, of people that are interested in the topics you cover in your email campaigns. Even if you haven’t stayed in touch with these connections, you can still engage them to sign up for your emails. But how do you go about it without spamming?

  1. Make a list of connections. Take a look at your address book and make a list of connections that might be interested in your emails. You can easily export contact lists from most ISPs.
  2. Draft a template email. Write an email that explains the general benefits of your newsletter and links to your subscription form. This will be your template to work from when sending one-to-one emails to each contact on your list.
  3. Send personalized emails to each individual connection. Working from your template, write an email to every contact on your list. Make sure you include a memory cue or hint to showcase that this is a one-to-one email and not spam.

This tactic sounds tedious, but you’d be surprised by how many of your old contacts will respond to your email. Even if you don’t get as many subscribers as you want, your outreach can refresh professional relationships that will add value elsewhere. Don’t get lazy and try to send an email blast – spam is illegal.

Tactic #4: Take advantage of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is an extremely powerful social channel for professional networking and promotion. Here are a few ways to take advantage of LinkedIn to promote your email subscription and attract new subscribers:

  1. Send private messages to key connections. Identify connections that are in industries that might benefit from your email subscription and send them private messages. Make sure to keep each message somewhat unique because LinkedIn users can mark messages as spam.
  2. Share your email subscription in LinkedIn Groups. If you’re not already an active member in LinkedIn Groups, get active today. LinkedIn Groups are a great place to communicate with industry peers on a variety of topics, and a great place to promote your new subscription. Make sure you review Group Rules before or you might get yourself kicked out.
  3. Share your email subscription on activity feeds. Make a public announcement on your personal profile and company page to let people know about your emails. Let people know why they should sign up for your emails.

LinkedIn promotion is great for first-time subscription promotion and for a more developed email program. As you continue to develop your email campaigns, tap into LinkedIn Groups and your activity feed to promote your latest content or email newsletter.

Tactic #5: Encourage in-house sharing.

If you’re just introducing email marketing into your business, engage your team to encourage them to help you drive awareness to your subscription. The whole team will benefit from better company performance so promoting your email list should be a win-win for everyone, but don’t force the issue.


If your team supports your business and its direction, they will likely have no problem promoting your email list. Consider using some tips from this post to give them direction on how to spread the word. Getting every member of your team excited to share your subscription can be a valuable step to reaching more subscribers.

Tactic #6: Post an ad for your list on Craigslist 

Craigslist can be a surprisingly useful resource to attract new subscribers. Not only is it free to post ads, but you can get specific in terms of location and subject matter you’re addressing. Don’t believe me?

When I was promoting the launch of an online social network for music artists, over 80% of our beta users came from Craigslist. I encouraged people to submit an email address for a chance to join our beta community and focused on benefits of joining in my messaging. I tested ads in Chicago, and expanded to other markets once they were successful.

Craigslist won’t work for every business but it is especially helpful if you are building a list for a product launch or a local event. Instead of creating an ad that sends people to your subscription page, I recommend communicating the value of your product or event and requesting people to share an email address directly.

Tactic #7: Update your email signature.

Almost no explanation necessary on this one. Simply add a line to your email signature encouraging people to sign up for your email list and include a link to your subscription page. Every email you send can help you get the word out!



Building an email list takes time but when you’re trying to get your first 500 subscribers or inject new life into your email program, direct outreach and simple promotions can make all the difference. Whether you’re calling friends or posting ads on Craigslist, sometimes its the weird & overlooked tactics that give you the boost you need to see consistent growth.

How would you jump-start a list? Any tactics to add? If so, keep the ideas on flow and leave comment below! :)

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About Paul Gavin Jorgensen

Paul Gavin Jorgensen is the Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

10 Powerful Opt-In Incentives That Will Get You More Email Subscribers

You probably aren’t a fan of people who visit your website, take a look, and leave. You want some way to keep in touch with visitors and email is still the best option.

Smart business owners and bloggers have been enticing visitors to subscribe to emails for years – usually by offering a newsletter with tips and tricks. But as attention spans get shorter and people get busier, it’s harder than ever to win over email subscribers.

One of the most important ways to attract new subscribers is to come up with a subscription gift. I’m sure you’re picturing yourself plugging away for months to come up with the perfect incentive, but don’t give up yet.

Coming up with a subscription gift is not as hard as you may think.

I’m going to introduce you to some of my favorite ways to create incentive for an email subscription. Every business is different, so I’m including ideas ranging from simple to complex. It’s up to you to create the perfect incentive for your audience.

Let’s dive right in…

Incentive #1: Create an eBook on an in-demand topic.

Have you considered writing an ebook?

Ebooks are extremely popular email subscription gifts. Why? If you choose the right topic for your audience and add unforgettable value, you can build a list of engaged subscribers who trust you and care about what you have to say next.

Take a look at the ebook KissMetrics offers in exchange for an email address:kissmetricslandingpage

Notice that Kissmetrics covers an important topic in the analytics industry – measuring data that matters for making “the right decisions”.

This ebook targets valuable subscribers for Kissmetrics – people who are interested in analytics and might eventually purchase its analytics software subscription.

Ideally, you want to create an ebook that attracts new subscribers, showcases your expertise, and introduces subscribers to your products or services.

So how can you write an ebook for your audience?

  1. Choose the right topic. This is not a guessing game. One of the best ways to choose an in-demand topic is to find your most viewed blog posts and expand on your favorite. Make sure you pick a topic you know and care about because you can expect follow-up conversation.
  2. Write your ebook. Draft an outline, set deadlines, and begin writing. Use existing blog posts and competitor ebooks for inspiration. An ebook should be conversational like blog posts, but more comprehensive. Reach out to a respected friend or connection to edit and make final edits yourself.
  3. Design & upload your ebook. The cheapest and easiest way to present your ebook is to create a dedicated webpage. If you want to step it up – create a custom PDF version of your ebook. You can outsource on Dribble or Behance but don’t forget to get a beautiful cover design and a cover thumbnail for your opt-in forms.
  4. Update your welcome email. Use ExpressPigeon to add a button to your ebook URL in your welcome email. You don’t want to promise an ebook and not deliver!
  5. Update opt-in forms. Update your opt-in forms to tell visitors about your amazing ebook. Check out these opt-in tricks to help you with the process.

Is an ebook the perfect incentive for your audience? Or would you rather…

Incentive #2: Create an email course. 

An email course is an incredibly powerful way to encourage people to sign up for emails. With an email course, you can deliver information to subscribers broken into a series of emails that they can digest over a period of time.

For example, Copyblogger offers Internet Marketing for Smart People:


As you can see, the Copyblogger course introduces subscribers to Copyblogger’s high-performing content through a 20-part email series and welcomes them into its current email subscription.

So how can you create an email course for your business? 

1. Identify overall course subject.

What will you teach subscribers in your email course?

You need to have a clear direction and understand the overall goal of your email course. Looking at Copyblogger’s Internet Marketing for Smart People, it’s clear that the goal is to help subscribers “understand & implement effective online marketing”:


One of the best ways to come up with a clear direction is to review some of your most popular blog posts or ebooks and identify a common greater goal they are building towards. This will help you come up with a valuable subject to cover in your email course.

2. Identify & develop lessons to support overall goal.

What specific lessons can you teach in your emails to support your overall goal?

You should break down your email course into a series of individual lessons. For example, Copyblogger offers content marketing, SEO, effective headlines, keyword research, and more – which all support the greater subject of online marketing.


Identify lessons you want to teach in your course. Make a list of content that supports each lesson – blog posts, ebooks, videos, presentations, podcasts. You can link to this content within emails that support each lesson.

3. Create emails & landing pages. 

Once you have an overall subject and specific lessons to cover, you’re ready to create your emails. With ExpressPigeon, you can design beautiful emails with no technical knowledge.

Some lessons may require multiple emails whereas others can be explained in just one. Your emails can link to supporting content or if you need to further elaborate, you can create a custom landing page for each email in the course.

Use ExpressPigeon’s widgets to add beautiful buttons or videos to your email designs. You can easily duplicate emails to maintain a consistent look and feel throughout the series. Once you’re done designing your emails, you’re ready to…

4. Set up your email sequence. 

You will need to take advantage of the ExpressPigeon autoresponder feature to deliver your emails. Read this to learn how to use autoresponders to set up your email sequence.

Using autoresponders, you can set up your emails to deliver at specific intervals from the time that each new subscriber registers. Once your course is created, it automatically delivers to new subscribers.

5. Update your opt-in forms.

Don’t forget to promote your new email course. Neil Patel swears by email courses and even uses one himself to promote his email subscription. Check out his subscription form for inspiration:


Is an email course right for your business? Give it a shot! 

Incentive #3: Run recurring webinars.

Webinars come highly recommended for converting website visitors into loyal subscribers and customers. Running weekly or monthly webinars can help you stay ahead of the competition by showcasing your expertise on the latest industry topic.

In case you’re wondering… A webinar is a live video conference where you can share a presentation or screencast with your audience. Attendees can ask questions and interact via voice or messaging – one of the most engaging forms of content marketing there is.

Here’s an example of one of Moz’s recurring webinars:moz


Moz uses webinars to educate their audience on online marketing in an effort to build their email list and ultimately upsell attendees on Moz online marketing tools. I’m sure you’re wondering how you can use webinars to build your list.

Let’s get into it…

  1. Choose the right topic. Similar to selecting a topic for your ebook or audiobook, a great way to find a topic for your webinar is to look at your most popular blog posts. Select a topic from one of your best posts – how-to’s, list posts, and case studies usually make for great webinars. Make sure you pick a topic you know and care about or you might get crushed in a Q&A.
  2. Choose your software. Hosting a webinar comes with a small price tag. There are free services, but you’re better offer paying for quality and capturing leads than messing around with software that might crash. Most marketers use GoToWebinar.
  3. Promote your webinar. Creating a blog post to promote your webinar is essential to getting the word out. You might want to launch the post a month in advance – especially if you are just getting started. Use social media and your email lists to let people know. Everyone who signs up for your webinar will need to register with an email address – good news for you!
  4. Create your webinar presentation. Your presentation should be a simple slideshow that leaves room for conversation. Remember that the focus of a webinar is to educate – if you get too salesy people will run away and never come back. Don’t forget to prepare a Q&A. This is where you really establish yourself as an expert and build a deeper connection with your audience.
  5. Send a follow-up email. After the webinar finishes, email your audience with a special offer and invite them to join your email subscription. This is a great way to convert your webinar attendees into ongoing subscribers.

While this incentive is not as direct as the others, it certainly is effective at converting visitors into subscribers and customers. Give it a shot!

Incentive #4: Run a recurring contest or giveaway.

Let’s say you have a great product but cannot afford to give samples to every new subscriber. What about running a recurring contest or giveaway?

Giving away something valuable regularly is strong incentive for people to subscribe. Why wouldn’t people want a chance to win something free on a regular basis?

For example, I helped launch Tiesta Tea in the social media space a few years ago. We gave away free bags of tea on Twitter every Friday and earned thousands of paying customers in the process.tiestatealong

Looking back – I could have improved the giveaway by making it exclusive to email subscribers. Here’s what I would do today…

  1. Choose a giveaway and a time frame. What product can you give away? How often can you afford to give it away? Is this giveaway enticing enough to get people excited about your emails? With the Tiesta Tea example, we would give away 5-10 free tins of tea every Friday.
  2. Create entry points on your website. Entry points for the contest are your opt-in forms. Update the forms to let people know about your contest. With the Tiesta Tea example, your messaging might be: “Sign up for the Tiesta Tea Club for a chance to win free tea every Friday.”
  3. Announce winners via email. You can send an email to all of your subscribers on select dates to announce the winners. In the email, you can include a special discount for “losers” to encourage them to make a purchase.

Running a consistent contest or giveaway is a great way to encourage people to sign up for emails, stay engaged with your emails, and visit your blog or store consistently.

Is a recurring contest the right incentive for your audience? Or should you…

Incentive #5: Create a special club for email subscribers.

What if you could turn your email list into an exclusive club? Wouldn’t people rather be a part of something special than something they see everyday?

The concept is simple – transform your email list into a “club” or “membership” and offer subscribers multiple incentives for joining. This is more of a branding tactic than anything but it can be very effective for building a list.

For example, Pillsbury calls its email subscribers “Members” and promotes the club heavily on its website:pillsburyoffer

Notice that Pillsbury offers members free coupons, samples, and a newsletter subscription. When you dive deeper, you’ll find they also give members a free calendar and entries to recurring sweepstakes.

Here’s how you can create a club for your business…

  1. Come up with a catchy name. What will the name of your club be? It’s ideal to make people feel like they are a part of something important. What name is cohesive with your brand? Is it a club? A membership? A community? It’s up to you to decide.
  2. Choose incentive for subscribers. What is the value in joining the club? People need to know what’s in it for them. You can choose multiple incentives from this post to generate ideas. Consider offering ongoing benefits such as recurring contests or giveaways.
  3. Update opt-in forms & process. Be sure to update your opt-in forms and process. One of the most fitting opt-in tricks to consider is creating a page dedicated to your club and adding it to your main menu.

Is creating a club the right way to go for your audience? Or should you…

Incentive #6: Record an audio gift.

Your audience is busy and sometimes they need an option to learn on the go. That’s where an audiobook or podcast becomes such a valuable subscription gift.

Developing audio for subscribers gives them an opportunity to listen and learn – on the way to work, relaxing at home, or driving their kids to school.

See how Audible offers a free audiobook to encourage people to sign up for its service:


Why couldn’t you offer the same deal to your email subscribers? Would your audience value a free podcast or audiobook?

Here’s how to create an audio subscription gift…

  1. Choose your topic & write the script. One of the best ways to create an in-demand audiobook or podcast is to select a popular blog post or ebook and expand on it. If you write conversationally, this could be a very simple process.
  2. Record your audio. Once your script is ready, you can outsource the voiceover on Craigslist or do it yourself at a local studio. If you’re considering developing a podcast series, you might want to look into a USB microphone.
  3. Upload audio file & create landing page. Upload your audio file to an audio platform like Soundcloud. Make sure you enable free downloads for the file. Once uploaded, you can create a custom page on your website and embed the audio, with script, for easy downloading & streaming.
  4. Update your welcome email. You need to add a button or text link to direct subscribers to the page with your audio gift.
  5. Update opt-in forms. Update your opt-in forms with these tricks in mind. You might want to design a custom cover for your audiobook or podcast to make it more visually appealing.

Is an audiobook the ideal subscription gift for your audience? Or should you…

Incentive #7: Offer a discount on a product or service.

Everyone loves a good deal. Offering a special discount on products or services is a great way to build your list and encourage subscribers to make an immediate purchase.

Look at how NFL SHOP offers 10% off for new subscribers only:nflshop

Notice that NFL SHOP uses a custom opt-in form to collect information about new subscribers. Don’t worry… you don’t need a major budget to pull this off.

Let’s see how you can offer a discount to subscribers…

  1. Choose your discount. Will you offer a discount on all products or services? Or a specific product or service? Or just a specific brand? Are there any products or services you want to exclude from the offer? Make sure to choose a deal that is financially responsible for you and extremely attractive to your audience.
  2. Generate a promo code. Create a custom promo code for your email subscription offer. Make sure subscribers can only use it once but avoid an expiration date. Why? If subscribers haven’t redeemed the coupon in a certain time period, you may want to send them a reminder email.
  3. Update your welcome email. Use ExpressPigeon to easily insert a button or text link that directs subscribers to a page where your discount applies. Make sure the page only houses products or services that are eligible for the offer – you don’t want to mislead new subscribers.
  4. Update your opt-in forms. Now that the offer is in place, you need to update your opt-in forms. This might require custom development but at the very least, make sure your opt-in copy communicates your new offer. Consider testing new opt-in tricks to better transform website visitors into email subscribers.

Offering a discount is a great way to attract attention to your email subscription, encourage an immediate purchase of your products or services, and set yourself up for an enticing reengagement campaign for inactive subscribers.

Is a discount the perfect subscription gift for your business? Or should you…

Incentive #8: Offer a free trial membership.

Do you sell a product or service that requires recurring payments?

Consider giving away a free trial membership. This attracts people who are interested in your products or services – exactly the type of audience you want on your email list.

A free trial gives people a taste of your expertise and a very direct path to becoming paying customers. Even if they don’t covert into customers after the trial period, you can continue the conversation via email.

Check out how BJ’s Wholesale Club offers a free 60-day membership:


Notice in the bottom-right corner of BJ’s subscription form, visitors have an option to “Subscribe to BJ’s Emails”. This is one way to do it. Another option is to simply require email subscription to have access to a free trial.

Offering a free trial to your website visitors is a great way to learn more about your prospects. Once you have their emails, you can easily let them know more about your business and their benefits.

Is a trial membership right for your business? Or should you…

Incentive #9: Offer free product samples.

Sometimes the best way to entice people to sign up for emails is to give away exactly what you’re selling… Everybody loves free samples.

This is especially powerful if you sell products that people can buy over and over again. For example, MOO offers free business card samples for website visitors:moobusinesscards

In order to receive the cards, you have to create a MOO account. Once you’re a member, MOO emails you special offers and reminders to finish your project.

Giving free samples can be a great way to entice people to sign up for emails and become paying customers. If you have a great product, can afford to give away samples, and are confident people will come back for more – this could be the perfect subscription gift for your business.

Will you give away free samples to every new subscriber? Or should you…

Incentive #10: Create a quick video for your audience.

Interview yourself…

Use a webcam to record yourself sharing expertise on your industry with your audience. Offer a few tricks and ideas and share some stories to help your audience relate. Upload the video on YouTube and when someone subscribes, share the link with them.

Don’t worry that the video is available publicly on your YouTube channel. If the content of your talk is valuable, subscribers will appreciate it. Your video should deliver what you promise in your opt-in forms.

Create a tutorial video…

Show people how to do something the right way and they’ll love you for it.

Give people a tutorial video as an email subscription gift, but make it something important. What can you show your audience how to do that nobody else is doing better than you?

The topic you choose should be something that is broad enough to engage anyone in your audience but different enough to entice them to sign up for emails. Once you know what to record, you can create your video.

Programs like Camtasia or Screenflow make it easy to record a screencast – a video of what’s happening on your computer screen. A screencast gives people the visuals they need to follow your how-to’s and they’ll be grateful for subscribing.

If you’re doing something more hands-on, you can always create a how-to video that shows the actual process. Don’t be afraid to fly different.


Coming up with the perfect opt-in incentive for your business can be as simple or as complex as you decide is right for your audience. No matter what incentive you choose to create, it’s essential to give people a reason to sign up for your emails. You can use all the opt-in tricks in the world but if you don’t offer any incentive, why would anyone subscribe?

Remember, your subscription gift should be…

  1. Attention grabbing. The gift should be unique enough to get people excited. You can have the most educational gift in the world but nobody will ever know unless they subscribe. How can you communicate your gift to make it grab visitors?
  2. Valuable. Subscribers want to get something out of the gift. If it gets their attention but lacks originality or substance, be prepared for unsubscribes.
  3. Brand consistent. A gift that is valuable but has nothing to do with your business can attract subscribers who are only in it for the gift. New subscribers who don’t care what you have to say aren’t likely to stick around for the long haul.

Coming up with the perfect subscription gift is ultimately up to you. Only you will devise the perfect email subscription gift to attract new subscribers and excite them for what’s to come next. So how are you attracting new subscribers?

Have any ideas to add to the list? Leave a comment below and keep the ideas on flow! :)

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About Paul Gavin Jorgensen

Paul Gavin Jorgensen is the Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.

ExpressPigeon Ranks Among Top ESPs In New Industry Research

According to reviews from 450 marketing professionals, ExpressPigeon’s user satisfaction and feature ratings place it next to Mailchimp, Constant Contact, ExactTarget, and other industry-leading ESPs.


CHICAGO – April 10, 2014 – Innovative email service provider changing the way marketing email is prepared and sent, ExpressPigeon, was named one of the top email marketing software vendors on G2 Crowd’s The Grid℠, a proprietary software recommendation engine. Nearly 450 marketing professionals reviewed their email marketing tools to provide user satisfaction and feature ratings. ExpressPigeon users ranked it among the highest in its category. In fact, 100% of ExpressPigeon users on G2 Crowd believe it is headed in the right direction, putting it in a strong position against major competitors including Mailchimp, Constant Contact, ExactTarget, Aweber, and dotMailer.

G2 Crowd awarded ExpressPigeon High Performer recognition, an award for products that are rated highly by users but have not achieved major market share. ExpressPigeon outperformed all other email marketing tools in user rankings for ease of use, ease of setup, ease of admin, and ease of doing business with. In addition, ExpressPigeon users rated the platform’s features highest among email marketing solutions.

ExpressPigeon received the following scores from marketing professionals:

  • Number One in Ease of Setup. ExpressPigeon earned a 96% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 83%.

  • Number One in Ease of Use. ExpressPigeon earned a 97% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 85%.

  • Number One in Ease of Admin. ExpressPigeon earned a 93% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 83%.

  • Number One in Ease of Doing Business. ExpressPigeon earned a 96% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid average of 85%.

  • Number One in Average User Satisfaction. ExpressPigeon earned a 96% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 85%.

  • Number One in Email Marketing Features. ExpressPigeon earned a 97% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 87%.

  • Number One in Platform Features. ExpressPigeon earned a 98% user satisfaction rating compared to The Grid℠ average of 86%.

“These rankings are a strong validation of our continued emphasis on listening to customers and improving our platform,” said Igor Polevoy, President of ExpressPigeon. “Having used other ESPs while managing large IT projects, I did not have the best experience, and saw an opportunity to build something better. After spending more than two years developing our product, we’re excited to make it the most intuitive email marketing system. When we get rave reviews, I feel we are moving in the right direction.”

ExpressPigeon ease of use eliminates the usual stress of email marketing. The platform helps its users design fast, deliver on time, and track everything, with no technical knowledge required. Partnering with predictive analytics engine, SimpleRelevance, allows ExpressPigeon to offer its customers industry-leading personalized email content such as unique product recommendations, optimized deals, images that fit each customers’ preferences and more. It eliminates the need to manually segment because each email is specifically targeted to each customer.

To learn more and view The Grid℠, go to G2 Crowd here.

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timely email marketing tips.

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About Paul Gavin Jorgensen

Paul Gavin Jorgensen is the Marketing Director at ExpressPigeon. You can find him on Twitter and Google+.