When a social media platform unexpectedly goes down, the creators who rely on them often go into panic mode: They have no way to reach their audience.

That’s not the only time your social audience can disappear. The platform can wipe out your account or your account can be hacked.

Some are quick to point out those outages are perfect reminders that the people who have their audience’s email addresses don’t need to sweat the disruptions. 

Not convinced yet on the value of email? Check out: 8 Stats Show Email Subscribers Worth A Lot More Than Social Followers.

But how do you entice your audience on social to give you their email address? Here are four ideas. 

1. Offer a freebie

Give your audience something they value in exchange for something you value (i.e., their email address). On Kimberly Hamilton’s Beworth Finance site, she gives a free Money Moves Checklist to home page visitors who provide their email:

Other creators give visitors a quiz to take and email their results, while some share editable templates.

Creators also develop subscriber-only content that goes deeper than their publicly available content. For example, a creator might publish an overview article about their research and require an email to download the full report. According to WooRise, people should use gated content for list building “only when they are offering exclusive and highly valuable resources.”

To build a subscribed audience, offer a freebie like a checklist, template, or quiz in exchange for an email address. #Audience #ContentBusiness #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

If you plan to use these emails for other purposes, make sure to let visitors know when they complete the form. Don’t just add them to your newsletter or promotional emails.

2. Add pop-ups to promote subscriber-only content

Promote your content offer with pop-ups on your site. Because they suddenly appear on the static site, visitors are more likely to notice them. Schedule your pop-ups to launch halfway through the average time on page. Launching them within a second of when the visitor arrives is less likely to work because they haven’t had enough time to know what your site and content are all about.

Schedule pop-ups to launch halfway through the average time on page, says @TheWisePops. #ListBuilding #Subscribers #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Online educator Stephanie Kase uses a pop-up for her free download for Instagram Reels ideas:

3. Add a CTA button on your site

Calls to action (CTA) are phrases that encourage users to take an action. They can work well for subscription content offerings like a newsletter or ongoing special offers. In the CTA, indicate briefly what those who give you their email receive. Offer more details on the sign-up form page that’s linked to in the CTA. The CTA link should take them to a form to sign up. 

Take a look at how The Country Cook designs its site with a boxed CTA explaining what newsletter subscribers would get – daily recipes and exclusive access to new recipes:

You also could include a CTA at the end of a content asset – that way, visitors have had a hint of your content before they commit to receiving it in their inbox.

Include a subscribe CTA at the end of a content asset. That way, visitors have had a hint of your content before they commit. #Newsletters #Email #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

4. Convert followers from other platforms

If you already have a big following on social media, ask them for their email addresses. For example, share excerpts from your newsletter content and ask them to subscribe. Or simply let them know about the freebies or other benefits they could receive by giving you their email. 

Tori Dunlap, the founder of HerFirst100K who has over 2M followers on Instagram and TikTok combined, says she obtained over 100K email subscribers in a week. She attributes the success to a video that went viral on TikTok. In the video, which garnered 196.2K views, she asks viewers if they’re looking for money advice. In her caption, she writes: “Ready to get started? Take the free quiz linked in my bio.” The link goes to her website, where followers must provide an email address to complete the quiz and get the results.

@HerFirst100K promoted a free quiz on her popular @TikTok channel and converted 100K followers into email subscribers. #ContentBusiness #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Go from followers to subscribers

No matter which vehicles you use to attract subscribers, one thing must occur: You must give or promise to deliver something that your audience truly needs or wants. Otherwise, they’ll just stay a follower or move along to someone else’s content.

How are you obtaining email subscribers? We’d love to hear.

Are you a creator becoming an entrepreneur? Do you already lead a content business? Lean into The Tilt newsletter for expert counsel, inspiring and practical profiles, and timely news. Subscribe today.

About the author

Bonnie owns Word of Mouth, a content agency specializing in social media, content marketing, and editorial writing. She's written for Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Coveteur, Man Repeller, Health.com, and more. She loves wearing fanny packs and laying in the fetal position.