You live or die by your database: 10 ways to grow your list

Businesses live and die by their database and how it is used to communicate with and serve customers. Your database is a lifeline. And your list is like a marriage. Any day you’re not feeding and growing your list is a day you’re losing it.

The key is to have a mindset of service and value. Companies need to serve the people on their list and spend time answering this key question: how can I grow their capabilities and connections? The value component is what they give away – knowledge, sometimes for love and sometimes for money.


Growing your list should be among your top objectives. You list is a “digital asset”. You own it. Basically all other marketing efforts should serve to drive the growth of your list.

So what are some ways to grow your list?

  1. Social media: Ensure all social media leads to content, and that content should lead to the list. Whenever you share a blog post on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for example, that blog post should be posted in a place that prompts an email sign up.
  2. Pop-ups: I was never a huge fan of pop-ups until I witnessed how they could grow a list. They key is to have a pop-up what allows you to set criteria such as a time delay for the person visiting the site and for them to be recognized so they are only served a pop-up once a month for example for repeat visitors.
  3. LinkedIn lead to something free: Perhaps give away a summary sheet or a report and have those that link be prompted for a newsletter sign up in exchange. This can be done on any social platform, but in my experience, LinkedIn is the most successful in terms of quantified people interested since you can select groups who might be specifically interested.
  4. Compelling blog posts: You can’t beat good writing and good content. It leads to people wanting more and subsequently subscribing.
  5. Cross promotion: If you know others in the online community who might have a list that compliments in terms of offerings and target market, you could consider cross promoting each other.
  6. Simply ask: This one is obvious, but often ignored. Simply asking current subscribers to share your newsletter on social platforms or to forward to friends with the suggesting that they subscribe is a simple and easy way to expand your list. The power of referral is very strong.
  7. Twitter: I started scheduling a few tweets amongst my other material where I simply suggest that you can “get my best stuff weekly” by signing up, then including a link. It amazes me the people that come in this way!
  8. Run a contest: The contest could be on Facebook where you post a link to an informative article and then have people enter to win a copy of your e-book with even more material.
  9. Event sign ups: I always offer people who attend my seminars the opportunity to sign up for my newsletter. The key is to make sure they opt in and you don’t just collect business cards and add them yourself. You need to be compliant with regulations on how you build your list. Permission based and double opt in is the law.
  10. Referral: Every several months I send out a personal request to a handful of business contacts asking them for 3-4 referrals each that might also enjoy receiving this type of information. It’s a personable piece of communication, and it genuinely works. They are always quality contacts, and often turn into clients down the road.

I’m sure there are other clever ways to grow your list that you may be using. Why not share them here?


Mary Charleson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured on


Subscribe to Mary’s Weekly
Five-Minute Marketing Tips.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.