In marketing, we're on a constant quest to connect with new prospects, new customers, and new email subscribers. So cultivating a high-performing email contact list should be a top priority for all marketing professionals, no matter what their core business.

Why? Well, the average email list churns about 30% every year. A successful email marketing strategy should include a whole slew of activities to keep that list lively and growing.

Here are four easy steps to help build your list—and boost your business.

1. Make it insanely easy to join your mailing list

Journalists are taught to make the most important details of a news story prominent and easy to find; in fundraising, development pros learn to lead with their ask, followed by supporting facts to establish need. Marketers should follow the same model when presenting an email signup form on their website.

Many company websites corral links in footers for the sake of design; sure, it looks clean, but that's a surefire way to miss opt-in opportunities.

Don't make site visitors work to make a connection. Put your signup form at the top of your homepage and alongside some other engaging content. You'll get the most eyeballs possible on your form without requiring site visitors to scroll all the way down to the bottom.

2. Spread the word; rinse, repeat

As marketers, we're all storytellers. In marketing, your story is at the center of your strategy. Every organization should have 3-5 key messages ready to share with prospects at any time. But many organizations fail to plug those messages into channels that can help grow their list, resulting in missed signup opportunities.

Adapt one of your core messages to create a clear call to action for prospective subscribers. Then, use that new messaging to promote your company's signup link on social media—not just once but continually.

Your social audience has already shown interest in your organization, so don't play hard to get! Invite friends and followers to take the next step in engagement by sharing your signup link across social channels regularly.

While you're spreading the word, don't be afraid to harness the social power of your staff and stakeholders. These "insiders" have a vested interest in your company's success, and they can be some of your best ambassadors.

Also ask those in your inner circle to share your emails with their social networks, or encourage them to post a link to your signup form on their personal social channels so you can get more exposure with new audiences. Third-party validation is powerful, and the really successful brands do a great job of using their fan base.

3. Be a (strategic) tease

There's no better way to show the value of being on your email list than to share snippets of emails on your own social networks. Previewing the goods (your valuable content) can entice interested consumers to sign up for future messages, which is a really big deal.

Email conversion rates are 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter, so moving someone from fan or follower to email subscriber puts him or her in a really good position to become a customer.

So take the time to provide a strategic sneak peek of your email content on social media; you'll draw in quality subscribers who really value what you have to say in the inbox.

4. Create connections from everyday touchpoints

If you're like most people, you send scores of emails every day; now, consider all the emails your colleagues send, too. Each recipient of all those emails could be a future member of your contact list. So consider making a minor change to your company's standard signature block by adding a signup link to each employee's standard email signature. That simple step makes every sent email a gateway for someone new to join your list.

Events are also a great forum for collecting email addresses. If you regularly attend networking functions, conferences, or professional meet-ups, consider ways to convert introductions into signups. A simple pad of paper and pen will do in a pinch, or you can use mobile apps to avoid the messy handwriting guesswork and automatically populate your list with new connections.

* * *

One of things I love about marketing is the ability to use different channels and strategies to accomplish the same goal. Consider deploying a combination of these four simple steps to open up all kinds of new avenues for adding email subscribers.

For more, see Emma's The Ultimate Guide to Growing a Better Email List (email required), a whitepaper with 18 easy-to-implement strategies.

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Four Ways to Attract New Email Subscribers and Grow a Better List

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image of Christopher Lester

Christopher Lester is vice-president of sales at email marketing software and service provider Emma, where he leads the team of experts who provide strategic and tactical services to all Emma clients and specialized support to large senders and significant brands.

Twitter: @ChristophLester

LinkedIn: Christopher Lester