May 20, 2021

#1 Growth Hacking Secret to Boost Your Email List Growth


Apple’s recent iPhone anti-tracking feature is devastating for Facebook but even more so for small businesses that used the platform as their only lead generation channel.

It just goes to show how important it is for brands to own their data and not depend on external channels for such a crucial part of a business – getting new customers.

Over the years email marketing has consistently been at the very top of the marketing arsenal. And in this article, we’re going to learn how you can growth hack your email list and use it as your internal platform for driving new business.

Convert Your (or Competitors) IG Followers To Subscribers

Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you add a Linktree or ShortStack link in the bio leading to a landing page with an email form. That’s not enough.

Instead, today we’re going to cover a real growth hack that’s already making rounds among advanced marketers.


We’re going to cover how to find and use emails from users that follow you or your competitors on Instagram and how to reach out and make them subscribe to your email list.

Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users and there’s a good chance that you can find tons of subscribers on the platform.

But to do that you can’t use mainstream marketing tactics.

The “link in bio” strategy works only for the biggest fans among followers, which is roughly 2-5 percent of the audience.

Advertisements are also not an option because you cannot target followers of any account unless it’s a super popular one like Nike or McDonald’s.

1. Where can you find emails on Instagram

Since you’re reading this I guess you already know the value of having a person’s email address right?

With an email address, you can reach a contact multiple times for free or at (almost) no additional cost!

And, believe it or not, there are over 200M publicly available email addresses on Instagram.

Get Targeted Emails from Instagram

I randomly noticed this when I was stalking Instagram profiles that followed my competitors. I found out there are two places where you can see the email address of a user.

Instagram biography.

0 to 15% of all Instagram users include their email addresses in their Instagram bio. The main reason to write down your email and make it a piece of public information is to of course get business inquiries. This is an important note that we’ll cover more in the legal part of this strategy.

An example of where one can find contact email on an Instagram account.

Instagram email button.

30% of all users choose a so-called Instagram business profile. Don’t be put off by this because most of them are just regular consumers or creators and not businesses. There are two reasons why one would opt-in for a business profile. First of all, it’s super easy to make the switch and the second and more important reason is the additional statistics they get like follower engagement, geo, etc. But when they opt-in for a business Instagram profile they automatically make their contact details public, in a form of a button.

After you click the “contact” or “email” button you get a popup with the personal email of the user.

Important note: The “contact” button is only visible through the mobile application and not the desktop.

FYI, some profiles also include their phone number. If you like to learn more check our article on how to get phone numbers from Instagram users.

2. How do you get emails from Instagram at scale

Collecting publicly available emails from Instagram followers can be done in one of two ways, depending on your specific case.

Email list for personal use

Let’s say you’re a blogger that wants to get less than 100 emails from people that follow you. You can easily do this by manually visiting each of your (<1k) followers and copy-paste the data into a spreadsheet. Beware that visiting more than 1k Instagram profiles may lead to getting your Instagram account suspended.

Email list for business use

If you have multiple competitors with lots of followers you’ll need to find an alternative way to scale the process.

Important note: Please be advised that automatically accessing Instagram is against their terms of service.

This is just an educational resource showcasing technologies. For those of you who don’t have the time or the resources for this, and want to be 100% on the legal side of things, get in touch with Influencers Club and just buy validated email addresses from anyone’s Instagram followers. Other than emails from followers of an account they offer additional targeting options like:

You can check out their pricing here.

3. Three ways to (legally) contact your cold email list

According to GDPR laws, it’s forbidden to do email marketing to people that have not opted-in to your email list. However, by tweaking you’re approach there’s a way to send up to 100k emails per day while remaining GDPR and CCPA compliant.


SaaS companies for example can do cold email at scale with freebies like ebooks, infographics, and guides. The point is to not sound salesy at all and offer free stuff with high value instead.

Let’s take Mailchimp as one of the biggest email marketing platforms out there. Currently, they have over 138k followers on Instagram. By getting emails from their followers they can get approximately 40k validated emails.

To hack their email list growth they can offer free access to their podcast episodes, “exclusive” short films, or original series.

How MailChimp can use growth hacking to increase the number of new email subscribers.

The email can be just plain text with a simple, logical explanation as to why they’re receiving that email.

Here’s an example of how MailChimp would grow their email list using Instagram followers.

“We saw that you follow us on social media and love our content so we just wanted to say thanks.

Our new podcast is getting a lot of traction and we’d like you to get lifetime access to it for free (current price $15 per month)!

Use your email address and name to create a new account and listen to a ton of exclusive content.“

Is there anything promotional about this email? Well…yes.

Is it legal? In the US, yes. In the EU, it’s probably in the grey area, but growth hacking generally is! 🙂

How many of their followers would refuse the offer? Only people that didn’t open the email.

The Break-Even Email List Growth Hack

This marketing hack is best suited for B2C (eCommerce) brands that sell products at relatively low prices.

The break-even strategy essentially means getting a new subscriber by selling a product without profits or losses.

To sell a product at the break-even point you need to offer a discount that will equal the profits you’re making off of one purchase.

If the price of an engagement ring is $100, while the cost of production of that ring is $30 then you need to offer a 70% discount. That way the final price is only $30 and you reach the break-even point (costs of production equals the revenues for a product).

But how are you going to sell something with a (nonpromotional) email and abide by data protection/privacy laws?

Easy, by playing to their ego as a creator. What I mean by that, and why I truly believe Instagram is the king of B2C emails, is because all valid emails that are publicly listed (reminder that 20% of all profiles!) are from creator accounts. So that means that:

a) These people left their email publicly available in order to receive emails from brands
b) They fall within any kind of creator category

So, by simply asking the creator for feedback and as payment they will receive a gift in the form of a discount or gift card, you’ve already made this a B2B use-case and not a B2C one, and that’s 100% legal. Plus, the creator benefits as well from my book so that’s a good email to send.

Let’s learn with an example:

Say Nike wants to try our email list growth hack by reaching out to people that follow Adidas on Instagram.

Adidas has 25.9m followers on Instagram.

At the time of writing this article, Adidas has 25.9m followers so, with the help of Influencers Club, Nike can roughly get millions of follower emails.

Here’s how Nike can do its cold outreach:

“We noticed that you’re actively following sports-related social media profiles so we wanted to ask if you’d be willing to help us launch our new Special Edition shoe line.

The survey takes less than 30 seconds to answer since you only need to answer one question: What model you like best?

As thanks for your contribution, we’re offering a 75% discount on all products in the section “Shoes $100 & Under” that you can find on our website. “

If you follow Adidas you’ll probably like Nike as well. Even if Nike is not something you’d wear, at 75% you’d gladly buy a pair for your best friend.

Let’s do some realistic predictions and try to calculate the number of new email subscribers Nike could get with this growth hack.

If they’re using the Influencers Club’s strategy for sending mass cold emails they can expect a 40 to 50% open rate which amounts to a minimum of 2M email opens.

How many respondents do you think Nike will get? It’s difficult to give an estimate but if only 2% of them make a take the survey that’s 20k new customers/subscribers.

How many followers does your biggest competitor have?


Another growth hack that can help you legally do outreach to your cold email list is by inviting them to your webinar, conference, or similar event. Just remember, whatever type of event you organize it needs to be absolutely free (at least for your potential email subscribers).

The starting point is to find out what Instagram profiles does your target audience follows. It can be your closest competitors, some brand that’s complementary to what you sell, or a relevant influencer in your niche. Check this article to learn more about finding your target audience on Instagram.

After you get emails from the followers of your targeted accounts you need to create an event that you know that audience will like to attend.

For example, if you target followers of Gary Vee then you need to know what type of content is popular on his page. He often talks about entrepreneurship and marketing so the theme of your event should reflect those topics as well.

We don’t want to spam people with things that aren’t interesting to them!

So let’s say you’re a small online publication covering start-up business news and you want to grow your email list.

Here’s how I would go about emailing Gary Vee’s followers:

“We noticed you follow Gary Vee on social media so as his fan you’re getting a free VIP ticket for our upcoming webinar.

Our special guests are self-made millionaires that owe all of their success to Gary Vee’s advice on life and business.

You can reserve your seat and read their stories on this link.

“Love your family, work super hard, live your passion”- Gary Vee“

No easier way to get new subscribers to join your email list.

One Extra Hack to Grow Your Email List

Having an email list of people that follow your competitors is a huge opportunity for your business. But other than emailing them is there another way to squeeze out even more new subscribers to join your email list?

Using Custom Audiences in Facebook Ads you can market only to people within your email list.

Custom Audiences for getting new email subscribers

Custom Audiences is an option in Facebook Ads that lets you find your existing audience among Facebook users. There are three types of sources for you to choose from to create them:

  • Website or app traffic
  • Engagement on Facebook (likes, comments)
  • Customer Lists
Custom Audiences for getting new email subscribers in Facebook Ads
Courtesy of Zapier

In our case, we’re going to use customer lists. Now, the funny thing about “customer lists” is that Facebook doesn’t bother to verify whether the email list you have is from your customers. This leaves an opportunity for us to do our growth hacks. Meaning, we can import an email list of people that follow your “biggest enemies” and target competitors’ followers with Facebook Ads.

How to use Facebook Ads to get people to sign up to your list

There are two ways we recommend using Facebook Ads for getting new subscribers.

1. The first acts as a complementary channel to email marketing and the strategy we’ve discussed so far.

Here’s how to do that no matter what type of business you’re in and whether you use Freebies, The Break-Even Email Growth Hack, or Invites.

Essentially, what we want to do is warm up our cold leads before doing email marketing outreach.

Using social media advertising you can display your website, a relevant blog post, specific landing pages, case studies, or other social proof in front of people within your email list.

People will get familiar with your brand, products, and content. Follower emails + custom audiences is an awesome marketing hack to grow your email list it can be just one part of something much bigger.

2. The second option is to skip email marketing altogether and use Custom Audiences as a stand-alone strategy

Marketing to followers of a specific IG account means you can adapt your promotional message so that it reflects the strengths or weaknesses of that page. If you know that your prices are much lower than your competitors then that will be the USP of your ads. And since we’re trying to grow hack our way into list building, the call to action should always include:

  • Join Our Email List
  • Only For Our Email Subscribers
  • Only For Our New Customers
  • Create a Free Account
  • Sign up Using the Form

FYI – custom audiences are also available on Twitter, Quora, and Reddit so you can use this approach depending on your favorite marketing channel.

Alternative Email List Growth Hacking Strategies

We also wanted to include some general growth hacks that will help you increase your email list without much hassle.

1. Use Pop-Ups to Turn Visitors Into Subscribers

Most of you are on WordPress so if you still haven’t experimented with top bar plugins I highly recommend you do. It’s a non-intrusive way for desktop visitors (excluding mobile) to sign up for your ebook, podcast, webinar, or other types of content.

Using top bar plugin for growing an email address list.
Courtesy of SiteKit

What are the best free top bar plugins?

  • Hello Bar
  • SiteKit
  • Justuno (perfect for eCommerce)
  • Icegram
  • Thrive Leads

You can also use free exit-intent popup plugins and test which ones perform better. For our website, we ran the experiment for a month and saw that exit popups convert 150% more leads compared to fixed top bars.

On our site, we use Hustle to show a popup form when someone tries to exit the page. People leave their email in the form and continue to our sample page.

PS some of our biggest clients would have just left our page if it wasn’t for the popup so it’s definitely worth at least testing it.

2. Identify visitors that don’t subscribe

Imagine a sort of retargeting that’s done via email marketing. It’s called email-based retargeting and it’s a unique category created by GetEmails.

Since only a small percentage of your visitors end up being your subscribers or customers you lose a lot of quality leads that never hear about you again. With the help of GetEmails you can identify anonymous people on your site and then instead of showing them display ads (or in addition to them) you can send them an email. They’re not opted in to receive your emails but they have opted into your network to receive emails from your partners.

The important thing is to immediately email these people after you receive their contact data. If they visit your site once and leave, they won’t remember who you are unless you email them right away.

The email can be as simple as thanking them for stopping by your site and continue with valuable content.

Finally, offering an opt-out link is a must. Instead of putting it as a footnote in a small print try being forthcoming about it with a clear opt-out button.

For example, Marin Magazine does an awesome job in first thanking the visitor for checking out their website and then offering them a clear option to unsubscribe if they’re not interested in receiving further newsletters.

Marin Magazine Offer a Clear Way to Opt Out
Courtesy of JeffBullas

3. The Good Old Word-of-Mouth

How many times have you found yourself purchasing something based on a recommendation from a family member, friend, or coworker?

There’s no denying that word-of-mouth marketing is powerful, so rather than sit back and hope for conversations about your product or service to organically begin, know that there’s much that can be done to facilitate them yourself.

For example, ImpactPlus has seen a ton of success by including “email to a friend” buttons on assets like our thank-you pages and email newsletters.

Word of mouth example for growing your email list.
Courtesy of ImpactPlus

Over To You

There’s still a lot of truth in the old marketing mantra “the money is in the list”.

Every business owner knows they need to prospect for customers. But for some reason, marketers focus all their attention on organic, paid, and social campaigns.

Yes, these channels do work, but you never really “own” them.

A change in the algorithm can tank exposure to your message.

This is why you need an email list. Fortunately, anyone can do this with the right mindset, toolkit, and email list growth hacks.

So, if you want to get emails from people that follow your competitors and do the hack we explained in this article, book a free strategy call with our team and learn how you can implement the hack.


If you are interested in learning more about how you can get validated data, make sure to schedule a quick call with our team, where you can discuss the details related to your targeting.