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How to Grow Your Startup Email List in 5 Easy Steps
5 min read

How to Grow Your Startup Email List in 5 Easy Steps

How to Grow Your Startup Email List in 5 Easy Steps

Launching or managing a startup is a difficult and dynamic challenge. There are so many aspects to take into account, from branding, marketing, talent to user acquisition, revenue stream, your competitors. Add to this the ever-changing market and the reality of successful startups getting acquired by larger businesses, and you end up with too much to handle for a single person or even for a small team.

With our series, Email for Startups, we offer our expertise on both growing a new business and the space of email marketing. We understand how useful and necessary trusted sources are when researching a topic. And because we make it our mission to support entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, we constantly stay in touch with the latest market development and best practices and extract the most useful information for busy individuals.

Strategies for growing startup email lists

One of the most important aspects when it comes to managing successful startup marketing campaigns is knowing how to grow email marketing lists. There isn’t a universal secret for building email databases, but the best approach marketers can take is to diversify the sources employed in the process of generating new subscribers to email campaigns. Throughout this article, we will go over the most common and successful placements used by startups when growing their email marketing lists.

Social media

Whenever a business needs to convert prospects, one of the most critical questions that requires an answer is where to organically find them. Where does your audience spend its time online? For most companies, the simplest place to find their audience is on social media platforms. Depending on the business case of each company, the specific social media platform might differ, from Twitter or Facebook to Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok.

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How can you use social media to attract new subscribers to your email marketing deployments? The key is creativity and authenticity. You can organize contests, redirect users to a specific landing page, or use an influencer to convince social media users to opt in to receive your email communications.

Another approach you can use is by leveraging thought leadership on platforms such as LinkedIn or Medium. Having a brand ambassador that has a well-established network of professionals relevant to your business will help your company reach new potential subscribers.


Content is, without a doubt, king. High-value content that addresses specific needs is in high demand. Inbound marketing approaches to growing email marketing lists are some of the most common in the startup space. Well-crafted ebooks and whitepapers have the biggest potential of generating new subscribers for an email marketing database. Gated content from a credible, reputable, and serious source will always be one of the best sources of new email subscribers. Afterwards, depending on the quality of your drip campaigns, converting subscribers to users or brand loyalists will only be a matter of time.

Advertising campaigns

Paying for generating new subscribers might sound a bit shady. In most circumstances, we try to never associate purchased email lists with a healthy email marketing strategy. But creating engaging advertising campaigns can actually lead to new subscribers. The only aspect you need to pay attention to is understanding your audience and respecting their privacy. But as long as those are already golden rules for your company, running a Google Ads lead form extension or LinkedIn Lead generation campaign could prove to be a good source for relevant new contacts.

In order to run a lead generation campaign that will result in new subscribers for your email marketing lists, it is important to extend your inbound marketing strategy to include PPC tactics. Pick one of your best-performing pieces of content and share it with new audiences. Those audiences will be able to gain access to your gated content without visiting your website, by providing you with their personal data. Make sure to keep your spending under check, because platforms such as LinkedIn Marketing Solutions can be expensive.


Startups might want to associate themselves with large accelerators, venture capital companies, governmental agencies, or similar startups in order to grow their email marketing lists. It’s no secret that achieving success in the startup field is often dependent on hard work, collaboration and chance. The idea that drives the startup is extremely important, but entrepreneurs know that they cannot rely on ideas alone to grow their business. Personal charisma, networking, and being the right person at the right time play an active role in the success of a startup. The same could be said about your email lists.

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What your business has to offer on its own might be enough for generating the first subscribers. But it is collaboration, networking, and partnerships that will ensure you will be able to continuously grow your email lists. Do not be afraid to partner with an accelerator or with a similar startup, as long that can help you achieve your goals faster.


If your startup has developed an application, that can actually be the best source of new email subscribers. Users will already be interested in your product or service, they will be invested in the type of content you publish, and they could be more willing to engage with your email communication as opposed to users that have yet to hear about your brand.

Probably the best approach you can choose when it comes to using your application and/or website for building, maintaining, and growing your email list is to be transparent. Make it clear to users what you will be using their data for, what purposes will you be contacting them for and how often can they expect to hear from you. Building a long-lasting relationship should always start from a place of trust and respect.

A prompt that invites users to subscribe to your weekly newsletter might be the first thing you want to try out. If that doesn’t bring in the expected results, try to offer users an incentive to opting-in, from discounts, exclusive content, or new features that other users will yet to experience.