Email marketing remains one of the most powerful tools in any digital marketer’s toolkit—for a good reason. Email is the workhorse of the internet, facilitating communication between friends, family, and colleagues, driving e-commerce sales, and connecting us with our favorite brands.

Statistics show that more than 4 billion emails are sent daily, and email marketing has an average return investment (ROI) of $36 for every $1 spent.

That’s so much power for something so easy to use. Just think—all you need is an email list and a way to send emails, and you can start building relationships with your audience, driving traffic to your website, and selling products or services.

But email marketing isn’t just about sending messages to people who already know you. It’s also about building relationships with people who don’t yet know you exist. And that’s where things can get a little tricky.

After all, how do you add people to your email list if they don’t even know you have one?

This article will share ten tips for building an email list from scratch. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start your email list-building journey.

1. Know Your Why

Before you start building an email list, it’s essential to know why you want one in the first place. What are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish by connecting with your audience via email?

Are you looking to build relationships and engage with your customers? Drive traffic to your website or blog? Sell products or services?

Your email marketing strategy should be built around your goals. So, take some time to think about what you want to achieve with your email list before you start growing it.

The best way to start is by brainstorming a list of all the potential ways you could use email to further your business goals. Once you have that list, narrow it down to the strategies that will be most effective for you.

This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it’s worth it. By taking the time to think about your goals, you’ll be able to create an email list that’s focused and effective.

2. Find Your Target Audience

The next step is to find your target audience. Whom do you want to connect with via email?

This may seem like a no-brainer—of course, you want to connect with your ideal customer! But it’s essential to be specific. The clearer you are about your target audience, the easier it will be to find and connect with them.

To help you get started, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • What are their demographics?
  • What are their interests?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What solutions do they need?

how to build an email list

Answering these questions will help you to create a buyer persona – a fictional depiction of your ideal client based on actual data and research. Once you have your perfect buyer persona, you’ll have a much easier time finding your target audience.

There are a few different ways to find your target audience. You can use social media, forums, and other online communities to see where your ideal customers hang out most. You can also use Google AdWords and other paid advertising platforms to reach your target audience.

3. Create Amazing Content

Creating great content is one of the best ways to build relationships with your target audience. This could be blog posts, e-books, infographics, videos, or anything else that provides value and helps your audience solve their problems.

When you create high-quality content, people will start to see you as an expert in your field. They’ll be more likely to trust you, and they’ll be more open to hearing what you have to say.

Content is also a great way to generate leads. You can include a call-to-action in your content, encouraging people to sign up for your email list. For example, you could offer a free e-book in exchange for an email address.

Make sure you promote your content to get the most out of it. Please share it on social media, submit it to directories and forums, and reach out to influencers in your industry. The more people you can get to see your content, the more leads you’ll generate.

4. Utilize a Standard Opt-in Form

One of the first and default ways of collecting email addresses is through a standard opt-in form. This simple form asks people for their email addresses in exchange for something valuable, like a free e-book or an exclusive discount.

You’re missing out on many potential leads if you’re not using a standard opt-in form on your website. Include an opt-in form on every page of your website and make it easy for people to find.

opt-in form

It is important not to underestimate the importance of a good opt-in form. Your form should be well-designed and clearly state what people will get in exchange for their email addresses.

If you’re unsure how to design an opt-in form, plenty of tools and resources can help. LeadPages is a popular platform that allows you to create beautiful opt-in forms easily.

5. Develop a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is an incentive you offer people in exchange for their email addresses. It’s valuable and relevant to your target audience and helps you generate leads.

Some ordinary lead magnets include e-books, cheat sheets, templates, email courses, and webinars. When it comes to lead magnets, the sky’s the limit—it just needs to be something your target audience will find valuable.

Consider your target audience’s problems and develop a lead magnet to help them solve them. Once you have a lead magnet, promote it on your website and social media channels.

You can also use paid advertising to promote your lead magnet. This is a great way to reach people who would otherwise not see your content.

6. Use Pop-Ups and Slide-Ins

Pop-ups and slide-ins are practical tools for growing an email list. They’re attention-grabbing, giving you a chance to make a robust offer that encourages people to sign up.

There are a few different ways to use pop-ups and slide-ins. You can use them to offer a discount on your products or services or to give away a freebie like an e-book or an infographic.


However, be careful with how you utilize pop-ups and slide-ins on your site. Please don’t overdo it because you don’t want to annoy your visitors. Ensure your offer is relevant and valuable and the pop-up or slide-in doesn’t interfere with the user experience.

7. Run a Promotion or Contest

The truth is that email list building is all about offering value and incentives to your target audience in exchange for their email address.

One of the easiest ways of incentivizing your target audience to share their email addresses with you is to run a contest. People love winning, especially when all they need to do to stand a chance of winning is share their email addresses with you.

Contests are an excellent way to grow your email list because they’re shareable. People will want to tell their friends and family about the contest, which means more people will see it and have a chance to enter.

To run a successful contest, ensure the prize is relevant to your target audience. It should be something your target audience would want to win.

Also, make the entry requirements easy to complete. All you need from entrants is their email addresses. Otherwise, you’ll find that people are less likely to enter.

8. Host a Webinar

Webinars are a great way to generate leads and build relationships with your target audience. They’re interactive, allowing you to share your expertise and connect with people on a personal level.

To host a successful webinar, you must promote it effectively and prepare well. Create a landing page for your webinar and use social media and email marketing to promote it.

host a webinar

In addition, create a script and PowerPoint presentation to help you deliver value during the webinar.

When promoting your webinar, ensure you offer a strong incentive for people to sign up. This could be a discount on your products or services or a freebie like an e-book or an infographic.

9. Implement Exit Intent Pop-up

Exit intent pop-up remains one of the most excellent forms of lead generation. Typically, it serves as a last-ditch effort to grab the email address of your site visitors if everything else on your site has failed.

The exit intent pop-up is triggered when a user tries to leave your site without taking action. This could be clicking the back button on their browser or using the mouse to close the window.

When the exit intent pop-up appears, it gives you one last chance to make an offer that encourages the user to stay on your site. You can offer a discount on your products or services or give away a freebie for their email address.

Make sure you don’t overdo it with the exit intend pop-ups. You don’t want to annoy your visitors or interrupt their user experience. Use exit intent pop-ups sparingly, and make sure the offer is relevant and valuable.

10. Create a Landing Page

A landing page is a standalone web page designed to convert visitors into leads. It’s typically used with ad campaigns and mainly features a form where visitors can enter their email addresses in exchange for something.

For example, if you’re running a Facebook ad campaign to promote a webinar, you can send people to a landing page where they can sign up for the webinar.

how to build an email list

When creating a landing page, ensure it’s simple and to the point. The headline should be clear and concise, and the form should be easy to fill. You don’t want to overwhelm your visitors with too much information or make the landing page too complicated.

Final Thoughts

While you can use many effective strategies to grow your email list, it’s important to remember that the key to success is offering value and incentives to your target audience.

The strategies we’ve outlined above are all excellent ways to grow your email list quickly.

However, you need to make sure you’re offering something of value in exchange for people’s email addresses. If you can do this, you’ll be well on the road to building a successful email list.

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