I wasn’t surprised to learn in a recent small business marketing survey from Andrew & Pete that over 50% entrepreneurs surveyed had under 50 subscribers.

When you consider that
74% of Baby Boomers prefer email as the channel through which to receive communications from brands, followed by 72% of Gen X, 64% of Millennials, and 60% of Gen Z. (Bluecore, 2021), you could well be missing out on a major marketing tool if you aren’t growing your list.

Also consider that the average click through rate is 3.62% (
Klaviyo, 2022).  So if you have a small list, that rate is going to mean very few people are clicking your link to your offer, let alone buying.

So why do some businesses have so few subscribers?  If you’re  having trouble building your email list, you’re not alone. But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to remedy the situation.

In this post, I list five reasons your email list isn’t growing and how to fix it.

1. You aren’t promoting your email list

If prospective customers don’t know about your email list then how can they subscribe?  It’s really as simple as that.  You need to ensure you offer lots of opportunities for them to sign up! 

People don’t go searching for email lists to join (ok, apart from us email marketers), so you need to be talking about it on a very regular basis.

:  Tell your customers!  Here are three ways you can do this


  • When your customers buy on your site, you’ll get their email address but this doesn’t mean you can send them marketing emails. Ensure you have an opt-in box at checkout.
  • Promote your list on your social media posts several times a week. Posting multiple times per week will increase responses greatly. Put the link to your sign up form in your bio, in your Stories and in the comments.
  • Use social media ads to promote your business AND get people on your list. You could promote a special offer or contests go down well.


2. Your sign up form isn’t visible on your website


Many websites include a tiny box in the footer of the website. But tiny is not what works. It’s like the sign up form is whispering to you to join when you should be shouting about it. It’s almost apologetic! 

But most of your website visitors aren’t going to your footer intentionally and so you need to disrupt their visit and present them with the sign form.  

:  Ensure your sign up form is visible to them as soon as they arrive on your Home page, so above the fold and before they start scrolling.  You could also use a pop-up – this is a form that literally pops-up.

Some people can find them annoying and click away straight away which is why I like to use pop-ups that fly in slowly from the corner as they aren’t quite so in-your-face!  


3. You aren’t giving an incentive or the right incentive.  

Ok, so you’ve told people about your list, you’ve got eyes on your sign up forms but people still aren’t signing up.  The problem might be your incentive for them to join. 

Rarely do people join an email list to, well, join an email list (unless you’re an email geek like me who does it for fun). 

An email address is a valuable asset to you and you need to offer subscribers something in return.  There are so many different types of lead magnet you can offer, but not all are equal.  Think about what your audience
really needs to get them unstuck and moving forward away from their pain point and towards their desire.

Whatever you offer people be it a guide, ebook, checklist, recipe, templates – give people as much value as you can but without overwhelming them.

I loved the quiz lead magnet Denise Duffield Thomas used which identifies your top 3 money archetypes. There was so much value in this including a free workshop where I learnt more about my #1 archetype.

For ecommerce businesses, a usual incentive is a discount or free p&p – that’s ok but think about what else you can give them that adds value without affecting your bottom line too much.  How about buy one, get one for £1? 

Gruum offered £20 worth of products for just the price of postage & packing.


4. Your sign up form is too complicated

You’ve managed to get more eyes on your forms but conversions are low.

The beauty of email marketing is that you can collect a staggering amount of first party data that allows you to personalise your emails.  Sign up forms are a great way to collect this data BUT if you asks for too much  information straight away, you risk overwhelming or boring your contacts so much they click away.

Yes a sign up form takes no more than a minute to fill out but these days that’s a long time in the online world!   At most you want first name and email address in the initial form.  If you start asking for other custom information such as shoe size, dress size, birthday or phone number, you may find you repel potential contacts.  Whilst this information is useful to you, it may feel too one field too many for your contact.  

:  Ask these questions on your thank you page using either another form or a survey. If someone has reached your thank you page, they’ve joined your list so it doesn’t matter if they click away.  You can also survey them in future emails.


5. You aren’t sending enough emails.  


List growth isn’t just about new subscribers but also keeping the ones currently on your list and reducing your unsubscribe rate.

Have you ever received an email and not recognised the sender?  You click on the email and the content doesn’t really ring a bell so you think it’s spam and click unsubscribe.  

If you are sending emails sporadically, contacts can forget who you are and so unsubscribe.

I always recommend sending at least one email a week.  If you’re sending one a month and someone misses one of your emails, it will be 8 weeks between them reading your emails, by which time they’ve forgotten you or turned to a competitor.

:  Be consistent.  Send more emails –   I promise you that you have more than enough content to send at least one email a week to your list.


So, if you’re finding that your email list isn’t growing as fast as you’d like, it may be time to take a step back and look at what you can change. Try some of these simple tips to get your sign up form in front of more eyeballs, make it easier for people to sign up, and start sending out more frequent emails.

Need some help with your email marketing? 
Book a free discovery call and let’s chat about how I can support you.



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