Most small business owners know: Continuously building a list of email subscribers is critial to the success of your business. While the format for delivery hasn't changed much in the past decade, email marketing is still one of the best digital marketing tools we have in our arsenal. Why is that?

Believe it or not, people actually DO want to receive promotional emails--especially from companies they care about. Research shows that 61 percent of consumers say they enjoy receiving promotional emails weekly. Another 38 percent in that survey would like emails to come even more frequently. 

That's positive news because 89 percent of marketers say that email is their primary source of lead generation, according to email marketing agency Lyfe Marketing. 

Make growing your email marketing list a marketing priority--but not by spamming your fans and followers. Here are some better ways to add more email subscribers this year.

1. Give them a valuable incentive

Yes, you'll probably be providing your newsletter subscribers with great content, advice on how to do something better, or special discounts throughout the year, but you should also provide a special "thank you for signing up" bonus material. This could be an e-book, an article providing tips and tricks, or even a small discount on a service or product to show your appreciation for them signing up.

2. Create a page that's only for your email opt-in

Design a landing page that's a catch-all so your readers won't get distracted by your blog, sales, Twitter feed, or banner ads. You can throw to this from social media marketing campaigns, ads, and even Pinterest. Here's how to use Facebook to get more email subscribers.

3. Include additional opt-ins on your site

You can have a banner pop-up on your website whenever new or repeat users visit. Let the reader know what they'll be getting in your newsletter and make it ridiculously easy to subscribe: Name + Email Address. Another option is a newsletter opt-in that's in a prominent placement on every webpage so it's easy to enter their information and stay on your site. Discover 10 tips to apply when you're ready to develop a wildly successful email marketing campaign.

4. Show them an example

Include a link to a visual of what the e-newsletter looks like. You might want to include a link to a previous newsletter's content as well so they can see the types of articles and promotions you send out.

5. Inform them of the frequency and timing

Ever sign up for something and then realize you never saw an email come through? Or, realize too late that you're getting too many emails from a company and everything seems like it's breaking news? Let the potential subscriber know if they'll get emails daily (and send them at the same time each day), as well as if there's a specific day of the week they can expect to receive the email. Freelancer Diana Kelly Levey tells newsletter subscribers that they'll receive a weekly email with her freelance writing blog on Wednesday mornings. She says having this information on e-newsletter promo language holds her accountable to stick to a schedule and lets readers know when to look for the email in their inbox.

6. Offer a discount

Whether you're a brick and mortar small business or a direct-to-consumer online company, it's smart to send subscribers emails about the latest sales you're offering. Think about it, you might not be considering buying a new striped sweater or scheduling a massage at your favorite spa on a boring Tuesday afternoon, but when the offer or a special deal surfaces in your inbox, your interest is piqued and you're more likely to consider making that purchase. Remind your customers that you're there.

7. Host a giveaway

I'll admit it: I did once apply every single day (for a month!) to win the HGTV Dream Home. My behavior--and that of millions of other--demonstrates that giveaways and sweepstakes are particularly effective ways for companies to collect more emails. Just beware of email addresses from professional sweepstakers entrants (yep, that's a thing) that may flood your system. Those probably aren't the subscribers you desire. Make sure you're following state and national laws when creating this campaign as well.

Set a monthly email subscribers goal each month and try some of these tips to achieve those numbers.

Published on: Mar 29, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.