I can’t believe that I’ve been using email marketing for almost two years and didn’t make a conscious effort to grow my email list until July, 2019!

Well, it goes to show that sometimes things just happen when you’re ready. Most other times though, you just have to dig in your heels and do the hard work if you want to see progress.

Before we begin, let me clarify that I am one who believes in organic, engaged growth. That specifically means numbers that matter. There is no point in substantially growing an email list if you don’t get subscribers who actually stick around and open your e-mails.

This post contains Referral/Affiliate links. What that means is if you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Read my complete disclosure policy here.

When I launched my Newsletter in November 2017, I started with a very humble number of around 50 subscribers.

Most of them were family and close friends. Over time, I began to dive deep into the idea of e-mail marketing as a way to connect with readers, touch base with clients and yes, sell my affiliate products.

And very, very slowly, I began to see an increase in the number. Today, close to 4 years after I launched my list, I have a little over 700 subscribers who are so incredibly loyal and supportive. What’s more?

I make a decent, steady income from my smaller email list which has less than 200 subscribers.

But here are 3 important things I recommend when you’re trying to grow an engaged email list.

Switch Over to Mailerlite from Mailchimp

As a beginner blogger on a tight budget, I didn’t want to be shelling out too much money on maintaining an e-mail list. I mean, who knew if anyone would even sign up for the list, right?

So, I played it safe and went with MailChimp, since their free plan allows up to 2000 subscribers.

For the longest time, this worked perfectly fine. Contrary to what most people think, I actually find Mailchimp relatively easy to navigate and even used to conduct training sessions on how to use it for your email list.

But there were definitely some limitations when it came to actually converting readers to subscribers.

I kept hearing glowing reports about ConvertKit, but the pricing model was a serious setback. I wasn’t ready to shell out that much money ($29 per month) on a relatively small list. Oh and they have no free plan available; just a free trial.

Recommended Read: A detailed comparison of MailerLite vs MailChimp Vs Convertkit

Then, in early July I heard about MailerLite and I was intrigued. Their free plan was fantastic and their paid plans were way cheaper than ConvertKit. Could a different service provider actually make a difference?

Well, that image above should tell you the answer. And the best part? I got that many subscribers while on MailerLite’s Free Plan.

Sign up here for a FREE trial of MailerLite. It remains free as long as your unique subscriber count per month is under 1000 people.

It was such a runaway success, though, that I finally ended up paying for their second-tier plan ($15 for 1000- 2500 subscribers). 🙂

MailerLite’s free plan has many advantages over MailChimp: multiple sign up forms, free automation sequences, a much easier interface and very good e-mail support on the free plan.

There HAS to be a catch though, right? Turns out there are a couple of them.

  • Well, for one thing, MailerLite has an approval process that you have to pass, in order to start using your account. Nobody actually knows what the criteria are, when it comes to this approval, so your best bet would be to submit it and keep your fingers crossed.

I’ll do an even more detailed review of why I love Mailerlite, on the blog, so watch out for it.

Create a Landing Page on Your Blog

What’s the number one thing people want to know when they have to sign up for your list?


They want to know exactly what they’re getting into, what you’re offering them and how they will benefit from it. Landing pages are perfect for ticking all these boxes.

Mailchimp and Mailerlite both have dedicated landing pages, but the problem? You can’t embed them on your blog.

It’s always better to direct people to your blog instead of a landing page on another server. For one thing you can decide how to make the newsletter form look on your own website. Autonomy for the win.

The workaround that I did was to create a newsletter page on my blog and then embed the sign up form directly on the page.

So simple, right? 🙂

Talk about your newsletter

The only way you’d get subscribers is if you’re actually talking about it on your social media channels or on guest spots on other websites.

In general, whenever I appear as a guest on a podcast, I link to my free newsletter in the details section of my bio. If the audience listening is an engaged one in your niche, there’s a high chance that they will come on over and check your website for more details about the newsletter you send.

Recommended Reading

8 Things to know before you launch a newsletter

How to create an email marketing plan for your blog/business

Shailaja V

I’m a blogger, content strategist & productivity coach who has been writing online and blogging since 2007. Read my story & more about my work here.

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Enjoyed this article? I welcome you to let me know your thoughts on this post via email here: shailaja@shailajav.com