How to Improve Your Email List in 2015

Can you believe it’s 2015 already?! As a marketer, you will need to be ahead of the curve. In addition to planning your digital marketing campaigns, you should also be thinking about how to improve your email marketing lists. The quality of your lists directly relates to how successful your email campaign will be.

How to grow your email list

Sign-up area on your website

Prominently place a text link, image button, or even a text box for users to type in their email addresses. Major retailers, like Costco and Walmart, have easy-to-find sign-up boxes directly on their homepages. For an attention-grabbing method, you could use a slider, pop-up ad, or a menu bar.

Social media sites

Encourage users to sign up through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social media site. You can even add links to your sign-up form on your About pages.

Company email signature

Add a link to your sign-up form in your professional signature.


Ask users to sign up when ordering from your website. However, do not automatically add them to the list. Always ask permission first. Don’t assume they are interested in your products or services. This order may just be a one-time thing for them.


When customers purchase something at your brick and mortar store, have your sales associates ask if they would like to be added to the email list. For example, American Eagle Outfitters and Michaels Arts and Crafts store are two national retail chains that collect email address in during the check-out process.


For post-event emails on webinars, social meetings, or any other organized events, including a link to an email marketing form is a great way to continue the conversation.

White papers

If people are downloading/buying white papers from your online resources, then they are more than likely interested in your company’s other communications. Perhaps include a CTA link after the white paper download that says something like, “Don’t miss another Company XYZ white paper—sign up for our emails today!”

Incentives to sign up

Including incentives to sign up is a great way to encourage subscriptions. For example, you could offer free shipping on the subscriber’s first order or offer a 10% off coupon.

Mobile Apps

When users download/purchase your apps, ask if they would like to be added your email marketing list.

Optimize your sign-up form

Keep it simple

Only make the email address required and keep the form short. You can ask for name, location, and birthday, but never make these required fields.


As a best practice, use validation on your email address field to ensure the email address is in the correct syntax. Validation checks to make sure the email is in the right format. For example, if a user doesn’t include the “@” in their email address, the validation tool will catch this and ask the user to retype their email address.


Always test your form on multiple browsers and devices.

Tips for List Hygiene

Remove bounced emails

After any broadcast, remove any hard-bounced emails from your list.

Remove empty or incomplete email addresses

Scan through your list and remove any email addresses that you know will not work.

Remove do-not-reply email addresses

People sometimes use a do-not-reply email address to receive just one email. Remove these emails as these aren’t true customers on your list.

Remove role email addresses

Remove the “admin” email addresses as well, since an actual user might not be checking this email address. Companies frequently use these accounts as a repository and they are typically unmonitored.

Remove or fix broken email addresses

Fix any email addresses that have obvious typos (i.e. @gmail.cmo for

Have an opt-out form and honor it

This may sound counterintuitive, but always have a way for users to opt-out. Like I mentioned earlier, the quality of your lists is important. If people are receiving your marketing emails unwantedly, they may mark your email as “spam”, which could ruin your sender reputation.

Remember, to maximize your email campaigns and to increase your marketing investments, you will want quality over quantity when it comes to your marketing lists. Create plenty of opportunities for potential customers to be added to your list. List management takes time and dedication, but is well worth it in the end. Once you have created your list, you can start planning and executing your 2015 email campaigns!

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