9 Experts Share Their Top Recommendations for Growing Your Email List in 20 Minutes

You know what’s cool?

A billion dollars.

You know what’s cooler?

A well-populated email list.

Going after low-hanging fruit can sometimes be the best strategy for email list-building. I’ve found this out from experience.

But only after tossing a ton of other ideas against the wall to see what stuck. Like using a read-later widget on your most popular posts, or increasing an offer’s visibility by making it an exit pop-up…

Whatever you try, a lot of these best practices actually work well.

Of course, a lot of email list-building tips out there take time, something you might not have a lot of.

That’s why we rounded up 9 experts to share their simple, email list-building tactics that you can implement in just 20 minutes.

First, they’ll give you their top recommendation for list-building, then they’ll give you a more in depth explanation of how to implement it quickly.

Ready to see results? Read on.

Want to save this article for later? Enter your email here to get a copy delivered to your inbox.
[wufoo username=”petovera” formhash=”mrb0ms00cc14h3″ autoresize=”true” height=”259″ header=”show” ssl=”true”]

Expert #1: Brennan Dunn, Founder of Double Your Freelancing

Recommendation for List Building: Content Upgrades

How to Do It In 20 Minutes or Less: “Find your highest performing blog post and add a relevant content upgrade to it.

For example, on DYF, we noticed we were getting a lot of organic traffic to our guide to writing emails, so we made a swipe file of email templates that you can download and use in your projects (in exchange for an email address), and we had a huge lift in opt-ins almost instantaneously.”

Expert #2: Matt Ackerson, Founder of AutoGrow

Recommendation for List Building: Create “Read Later” Widgets

How to Do It In 20 Minutes or Less: Read Later widgets have brought in over 1,300 email subscribers to our list to date. It could have easily been double that if we were consistent about using them on our blog articles. The idea is that people may be in a rush and would prefer to read your blog articles later on. Opting in to the Read Later widget solves this problem for them, and grows your list.

Here at AutoGrow, we use Wufoo forms for creating these widgets. You can set up Wufoo to automatically email people a copy of your post to read later. Here’s a video with more detail and an upcoming tutorial. Creating your first one takes just 10 minutes.”

Expert #3: John Hall, CEO at Influence & Co.

Recommendation for List Building: Signup Tactic Recommendations and Real-Life Examples 

How to Do It In 20 Minutes or Less: “A quick and easy way to encourage more subscribers is to add a pop-up to your website or blog that encourages signups for your weekly newsletter or alerts for new content.

You can also use on-site buttons for sign-ups or downloads, but pop-ups give your audience the easiest way to get engaged.

We use pop-ups on our site currently, and we have it set up so that a pop-up to subscribe will appear on the pages of certain blog posts, too. We set this up through HubSpot, our marketing automation tool.”

Expert #4: Tabitha Naylor, Founder of TabithaNaylor.com

Recommendation for List Building: Offer Something of Value for Free, Like Giveaways

How to Do It In 20 Minutes or Less: “I think one of the quickest ways to grow your email list is to offer something of value for free. The keyword is ‘value,’ because too often, businesses offer freebies that aren’t worth very much to people, and that sort of defeats the purpose.

So let’s say you’re a software company and you want to boost your email list in a quick way. Why not offer users a free seven-day test run of your newest software, AND a 50 percent discount for the first 100 subscribers who opt to buy that software after the seven-day trial?

The ‘giveaway’ has tremendous value that your target audience would find attractive, and the additional incentive of the 50 percent discount extends that value even more.

This type of giveaway is something that would target people you know are interested in your software, because the ‘free’ period only lasts seven days, so people only interested in permanent free stuff wouldn’t opt-in, which in the long run isn’t the audience you want anyway.”

Expert #5: Sean Si, Entrepreneur and SEO Specialist at SEO Hacker

Recommendation for List Building: Publish Quality Content Consistently

How to Do It In 20 Minutes or Less: “…For our company blog, intriguing and compelling content helps us bring in more subscribers monthly.

Giving a real-life example of how we use the tactic to drive signups: our company, SEO Hacker, started a blog. I just started to write about the ins and outs of SEO, along with some effective tips that would be helpful to the users.

With the number of people viewing my posts increasing on a regular basis, I added email subscriptions to the website, which now has thousands of users that get content weekly.”

Expert #6: Adam Connell, Founder of Blogging Wizard

Recommendation for List Building: Category-Targeted Opt-In Forms

How to Do It In 20 Minutes or Less: “One of the most effective ways to increase email signups is to make your offer more relevant to the content people are reading at the time.

This usually means content upgrades. And while they can be wildly successful, they can be time-consuming to put together.

A quick alternative is to use category-targeted opt-in forms. But there’s a catch — this method only works using the self-hosted version of WordPress and a paid plugin.

Here’s how it works:

1) Break your content down into 4-6 core topics. These should be the categories you use in WordPress.

2) Grab the most valuable piece of content from each topic and turn them into separate PDFs (this can be done quickly with a tool like Beacon).

3) Install the Thrive Leads plugin (another plugin could work but it must support category targeting).

4) Create a Lead Group for each category.

5) Set up the first types of opt-in forms you want to use in the first Lead Group and save each form type as a template (don’t forget to integrate your email provider).

6) Set up the opt-in forms in your other Lead Groups using the templates you saved as a starting point (huge time-saver).

7) Set the category targeting options for each Lead Group.

8) Add in-content opt-in forms to popular posts.

Then you’re good to go! Now, it’s important to point out that this is a cut-down process that is designed to be as quick to implement as possible. Partly so you can test to see how well this works for you.”

Expert #7: Jordie Van Rijn, Consultant at Email Monday

Recommendation for List Building: Always Be Collecting (ABC Mindset)

How to Do It In 20 Minutes or Less: “Adopt an ABC Mindset and use all your touchpoints.

ABC doesn’t stand for Always Be Closing anymore. In email, it stands for Always Be Collecting.

Literally all your current and future touchpoints can be used to collect fresh opt-ins from interesting leads. There are so many possibilities. For instance, I made an email list growth template to score all the opportunities. That is the same I use with clients in consultancy projects.

List all the ways to grow your email list (per touchpoint), then score them on traffic, data, quality and different types of costs. Now you have a master list of list growth opportunities to last you for a while.

An example of the ABC Mindset? Last year, at a conference I was speaking at, I opted-in the whole room. I asked who wanted to subscribe to my newsletter by a show of hands. I took a picture, and boom! I got 400 new subscribers in a minute.”

Expert #8: Brian Massey, Founder of Conversion Sciences


Recommendation for List Building: Scroll-Triggered Overlays

How to Do It In 20 Minutes or Less: “We are fans of scroll-triggered overlays (we call them ‘wheelie-poppers’). Readers who are engaged in the content will scroll further than most, and a triggered overlay will entice them to subscribe when they are enjoying the content most, halfway down the page.

The offer is pretty simple, utilizing some social proof, like so:

We added a scroll-triggered overlay in early January of last year. You can see the increase in email subscribers compared to overall traffic in our blog pages.

We saw an immediate increase, and it accelerated over time, perhaps due to better content on the blog.

Readers should also consider exit-intent pop-ups (‘Jilted Lovers’), in-content offers (‘coffee breaks’) and sticky headers and footers (‘Lead Tophats’ and ‘Sticky Shoes’).”

Expert #9: Sean Work, Inbound Marketing Vice President at Crazy Egg

Recommendation for List Building: Use Pay-Per-Click on Your Landing Pages

How to Do It In 20 Minutes or Less: “The first thing to do is create a landing page and run some Pay-Per-Clicks on it. This really helps you dial down how you need to frame your email list to your audience.

You’re going to have to think about why people would want to be on this list, what’s in it for them and what they can expect. Nothing really forces you through that exercise faster than jumping in with some PPC.

Finally, after you start getting some click-through data, you can see what ad copy and keywords convert best – which helps you understand the intricate mechanics of your list even more! This will obviously help you refine and tweak your campaign further.”


Want more email list-building tips? Don’t miss our “47 Email List-Building Strategies Checklist”, now with more than 10 bonus strategies!

A well-populated email list is a key driver to more traffic and revenue. Can you really build one in 20 minutes, though?

You won’t be able to build a list of 1,000 subscribers in 20 minutes, but as the experts above noted, there are a few things you can implement in a short amount of time to see quick results.

To review:

  • Content upgrades came up a few times from our experts. These should be free or cheap to encourage more people to opt in. Make sure the upgrades are high-value, too.
  • Follow Jordie Van Rijn’s advice and get into that ABC Mindset: Always Be Collecting. By always looking for opportunities to build your email list (such as at a conference), you’ll come up with unique angles and ideas for getting more customers.
  • Use tools, such as Wufoo, HubSpot and Thrive Leads to automate some processes and save you time.
  • Don’t forget that email marketing and content marketing are still viable ways to get more opt-ins. Sometimes the low-hanging fruit yields the most results!

Which of these expert tips do you plan on implementing to build your own email list? Why? Let me know in the comments.

Keep Hustlin’, Stay Focused,


Leave a Reply

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

Get Quality Marketing Work Done-For-You Fast ‐ Free 29 Examples Guide

Yes, Gimme the Guide!

About Autogrow

AutoGrow.co is a platform to help brands, businesses, and agencies accelerate their marketing success by providing an all-in-one marketing team (12 skillsets) via an easy project management interface. Founded in 2010, we've helped 1,000's of companies, big and small, to delegate and get quality marketing work done fast.

Learn More

Join Over 24,000 Subscribers

Join 24,000 small business owners, agencies, consultants, coaches, and brand marketers as we learn and AutoGrow our businesses — laying one BRICK at a time in our wall of success 💪— together.

Join Us

Download Your FREE Guide to See How We Can Help You

Do You Want to Delegate Your Digital Marketing Projects—Without The Headaches of Hiring?

Yes, Gimme the Guide!

Join Over 24,000 Subscribers

Join 24,000 small business owners, agencies, consultants, coaches, and brand marketers as we learn and AutoGrow our businesses — laying one BRICK at a time in our wall of success 💪— together.

Join Us

Learn the secrets to beefing up your digital marketing, increasing your traffic, boosting conversions, closing more sales, and scaling your agency. We publish quality, well-researched resources throughout the week, every week. We also offer a monthly service that lets you delegate your digital marketing projects without the headaches of hiring.

While you’re here, would you like to see how we can help save you an average of $16,906/mo?

Read previous post:
This “Dumb” Lead Magnet Idea Added 1,300 Email Subscribers to Our List

  The read-later widget is a great tool for quickly building your email list. Tools like Wufoo and Zapier make...