If you want to grow your email list, using a lead magnet is a sure fire way to get new subscribers.

Lead magnets are a great way to demonstrate your expertise by providing exclusive content that gives a solution to a specific problem.

However, I want to talk about another way that doesn’t use a lead magnet.   And that’s by using referrals.  What this method does is use trust.  

What do I mean by trust?

How many times have you seen a friend’s post on Facebook along the lines of “Hey, can anyone recommend a ……”.  

We trust our friends don’t we? If they’ve received good service from a business then it’s likely you will too.  This means your time researching is decreased and your likelihood of getting value for money is increased.

Lots of business is done on referrals and recommendations.  I got a message only today from someone saying that they’d been told I was the best person to contact to help them promote their business.  They don’t know me yet they’ve obviously trusted the recommendation of their friend.

So what’s this got to do with email marketing and growing your list?  Well, referrals are a great way to get new subscribers and there are three ways you can do this as outlined below.


1. Ask for referrals


This is the easiest way for you and your subscribers.  Go ahead and ask directly in your emails.  Ask your subscribers if they know people who would enjoy the content as much as they do.  

We often feel a bit icky about asking people for help but you’ll be surprised at how much people will be willing to help you grow your business.

Ask subscribers (and friends and family who aren’t subscribers,but love you enough anyway to support you) to let their audience know about your newsletter. 

They could do this directly by word of mouth or mention your email in their social media posts.  Ensure your referrers point their friends in the direction of your sign up page, be it a landing page or your website.


2. Include a Forward link in your emails


You can use your email to subscribers to help do the work for you and your referrers.  This method means people don’t have to leave your email to make the referral. Doing it this way also means they don’t have to make sure they are posting the correct sign up link on their social posts.  

All email service providers will give you the ability to have a Forward link at the bottom of your email.  

This is what it looks like in Mailerlite.

Example of Forward Email link

By clicking this Forward link, my subscribers are sent to another page where they can input the name and email address of their friend, with the option to add a personal message.  On clicking submit, this forwards my email directly to their friends.

Forwarding in this way doesn’t automatically subscribe the friend.  

Hopefully the friend will love what they have been sent and want to sign up immediately.  Now, they could take themselves off to their website but to make it easy for them and reduce friction, add a link at teh bottom of your email to you sign up page.

Speak to them directly and invite them to sign up as IT Business Growth Expert Richard Tubb has done in his regular mailings.

Richard Tubb email

3. Using a referral program


Ok, admit it, we all like to be incentivised to do things.  That why affiliate marketing is popular.  People can become an affiliate of a brand and receive a monetary reward  when someone else signs up through their unique link.

For email marketing, SparkLoop have created an excellent referral programme to help business owners grow their list by rewarding subscribers who refer a friend.  

Those rewards can be whatever you want them to be from a cup of coffee to a VIP lunch, a free book to a place on a training.  The more people your subscribers refer, the better their reward.  With some thoughtful planning, you can use the rewards strategically.

When you have an account with Sparkloop, you can then place a message at the bottom of your emails.  This message, which you can customise, gives your readers a unique link to share with their friends.  

Via this link, Sparkloop will keep a tally of how many subscribers have signed up.  Once a reward level is reached, say 2 sign ups – and you can set this – , your original subscirber will receive their first reward.

Sparkloop email footer


Sparkloop integrates with a wide range of email service providers and is relatively quick and easy to set up.  

Their onboarding process is smooth and guides you through each step with images or video tutorials along the way. 

You’ll need to add some code to your email template but it’s simple to do even if you aren’t that familiar with code.  Sparkloop helpfully provide a video tutorial tailored for different email service providers.



Some of the best ways to grow an email list are organic.  You don’t have to be pay to play.  Try one of the above ways and let me know how you get on.


If you would like more email marketing tips with content that I only share with my subscribers then get yourself on my list.


If  you’d like help setting up Sparkloop then get in touch and we could get this done in one morning.





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