How to Build an Email List

10 Effective Strategies for Building an Email List

Building an email list is the best way to create relationships with prospects and a fundamental part of your email campaign. That’s because people will only subscribe to your emails if they want to hear from you!

With a return of $44 for every $1 spent, email marketing remains the king of all digital marketing channels. So if you’re a small business, building an email list is probably the best marketing asset you can have for generating revenue in the long term.

Think of it as your database of potential customers. It gives you the ability to reach the right people who are interested in what you offer. You can read more about  email marketing here and learn its importance as a potent marketing tool.

It may be overwhelming figuring out how to build an email list with so much information and resources on the topic available online. You’re not sure what applies to your business and marketing strategy and what will work for you.

Don’t stress further on this, though. In this article, we’ll review the essential yet highly effective strategies to successfully build an email list from scratch. Let’s get started!

  1. Place Opt-in Signup Forms On All Landing Pages
  2. Add Pop-ups on Your Homepage
  3. Place Email Subscription Sections on Your Social Media
  4. Personalize Your CTA Copy
  5. Build Personalized Landing Pages Based on Customer Personas
  6. Create Great Content
  7. Build Traffic to Your Website
  8. Offer Freebies Through Contests and Giveaways
  9. Conduct Webinars and Surveys for Your Target Audience
  10. Use Lead Magnets

1. Place Opt-in Signup Forms On All Landing Pages

The first response to the question “how to build an email list?” would be asking your site visitors to sign up! Plain and simple. How you do this and the approach you take matter nonetheless.

The best way to grab your site visitor’s attention and share their email is by providing them several chances to do so. You can do this by placing an opt-in form on your website to prompt visitors to sign up for email subscriptions. 

The key consideration is the location of the signup form and the number of times you add it to the site. People should find the form where they can most conveniently and easily spot it, such as the side menus, footers, or navigation bars. These are sweet spots where users will look for further information about your business once they’ve scanned the site’s main content. 

Putting the opt-in forms on your main homepage is essential, as your main landing page is your first impression and point of contact for the visitors. They should not have to click to other pages to find important information about your company, and many of them don’t stick around beyond the homepage to locate their desired info. So making the most of your main landing page is critical in engaging and retaining your potential customers and your email marketing. Besides all other key elements, don’t forget to put your email signup form on your homepage.

While placing the signup CTA is necessary for the main page, you must put it across your website on every landing page. The more chances you give your audience to come across the signup form, the better the chances that they’ll find it at some point during their website engagement. Often visitors plan to subscribe but then forget about it when they click on other pages. That’s why your CTA should be all over your website in all prime locations so that your audience is sure to sign up.

Create great content to atract more subscribers

2. Add Pop-ups on Your Homepage

Just like you need nets to catch fish from the ocean, you need email collection tools to collect email addresses from website visitors.

Pop-ups are absolute gems when it comes to email collection and the top preferred tools for email marketing campaigns. You can strategically time pop-ups to appear once your website visitors have consumed a certain part of your content using sophisticated email pop-up plugins. This improves the odds of users subscribing to your email list. These types of pop-ups that are specifically timed to appear at a specific point are called exit-intent popups, which work better than popups that appear in your face the second you access the website’s main page. 

As part of marketing automation, these pop-ups also come with a customer targeting option that allows you to only enable the pop-ups for new site visitors and not for those returning to the site frequently. We all know how annoying it can be for consumers to have the same popup appear every time they visit the same site, even when they have already signed up for the email subscription.

For your email marketing strategy, use email marketing software and tools like OptinMonster, Bloom, or SumoMe List Builder. These help to place timed pop-ups for email collection on your site. 

3. Place Email Subscription Sections on Your Social Media and Email Signature

This is the age of social media, and social media alone is a tremendously potent marketing force that you can use to build your email marketing campaign. 

Consumers follow more brands on Facebook and Instagram than visiting brick-and-mortar stores or websites. Social media is the platform which provides them with the latest updates, trends, and new products to look out for. It’s a delectable leisurely browsing process that helps you gain serious customers. 

You can use this consumer behaviour by putting your email subscription forms or buttons on all your brand’s social media platforms. Most platforms provide brands with options on their business accounts to add CTA forms or buttons to their page to engage with their audience.

With a social media marketing strategy incorporated with your email list building, visitors to your channels will be enticed to sign up for your newsletter to gain first dibs on promotions, new trends and products, and discount coupons. It’s a great way to build your email list and divert traffic to your website at the same time.

Place a CTA button on your email signature. Email signatures are a great reference point for our list subscribers and potential customers who are not subscribed yet. In case they miss out on signing up for opportunities on your landing pages or social media, they still have a reminder placed on your email signature.

Build traffic through quality emails

4. Personalize Your CTA Copy

If you haven’t already, now is the time to pay attention to your copy for your CTA buttons and forms. As nominal and insignificant as it may appear, what words go into your copy and which aspect of the consumer psyche they play with is a major determinant of a successful email marketing campaign. 

Are you sticking to the redundant “sign up now” or “subscribe to the newsletter,” or are you using more exciting and enticing terms like “gimme great offers” or “sign up to get 15% off”? Add some fun elements and humour in your CTA copy. You’re bound to get your site visitor’s attention. Phrases like “no thanks! I don’t do yoga…” placed next to “sure sign me up now” will elicit different consumer reactions than regular sign-up forms and popups with a simple yes and no option. 

Research and statistics spell higher conversion rates of personalized CTA copies as these give a humane aspect and a personality to the campaign instead of making it monotonous and robotic, thus working wonders for your email list building. 

5. Build Personalized Landing Pages Based on Customer Personas

One type of landing page for all members of your audience will not elicit the same response as a personalized landing page catering to a specific customer persona. Different customers will respond differently to your CTAs. 

It’s your call to first conduct market research to identify your target audience and then analyze what they want from your website and from your email subscriptions. Getting into the minds of each persona will help you better plan your email marketing campaign. For this, the first step is to personalize your landing pages in terms of content and CTAs for broader segments of your target audience. 

Consider whether your landing page is relevant for all times to all types of audience or are they industry or event-specific. The more landing pages you have, the more chances you have of reaching a wider population and providing something for everyone. When potential customers are happy with your site’s content, they will be more likely to sign up and contribute to your email list building.

Collect email addresses from website visitors
Image Credit: Mobilunity

Email List Strategy

Before you start on the journey of building an email list, you need to think about who your potential subscribers will be. Try building an ‘email subscriber persona’ who’d like to hear from you. Think about the following questions:

  • What topics would be of interest to your audience?
  • Who would like to hear from you?
  • What’s a solid reason for these people to sign up for your email list?
  • What kinds of blogs are they already subscribed to?
  • What do they usually read about?
  • What types of problems are they looking to solve by subscribing to this content?

You can research and find answers to the above by using tools like Google Analytics. This studies market trends and consumer patterns that are useful in crafting marketing strategies. Once you’ve got your info, look into creating a strategy to collect email addresses from them. Think about the following questions:

  • Which online and offline channels would you be using to collect email addresses?
  • If you’re collecting emails via your blog, what tools/plugins would you need to use?
  • If you’re collecting emails via social media, what tools/chatbots would you need?
  • How would you funnel these email addresses to your list?
  • How would you filter genuine email addresses from hoax ones?
  • Where would you store all of your collected emails?

Thinking about the questions above will give you a solid foundation to build an email list that works for your business. Having a specific goal for the number of emails you want to collect is good. It will help you work with a sense of purpose and create the strategies that will get you there!

6. Create Great Content

To attract people to become your email subscribers, you need to give them a reason to look forward to your emails. One such ‘hook’ is great content. It can be written, visual, or video content, that’s entirely your choice. The essential part is that it’s valuable, educational, and engaging.

There are a few tactics to create great content your audience would like. Firstly, it should aim to solve a real problem for the readers. Secondly, you can use tools like “BuzzSumo” to get an insight into the most shared, popular topics in your space, and then create content with your own unique spin on it. Thirdly, you can interview thought leaders and influencers in your domain and then create content based on their wisdom.

With the amount of content being published online every day, it’s an absolute must that you try to differentiate yourself. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. To make people want to subscribe to your newsletter, you need to stand out.

Try using content formats like:

  • Blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers
  • Podcasts
  • Videos, interviews
  • Infographics, GIF images, memes
  • Interactive content

You might grab the attention of your audience by giving them something unique to look at! You can use the above content types to get people to become email subscribers, as well as send it to your current subscribers. So you’re using the same content for attracting new subscribers and nurturing existing ones. Crafting great content is a powerful tool in attracting and retaining members of your email marketing list. 

Let your email subscribers to share with others

7. Build Traffic to Your Website

If you thought a high traffic volume on your website was not directly linked to your email marketing, you’re misguided. The higher volume of site traffic and the right type of visitors play a key role in building your email list.

If you’ve started to create and publish great content, you’ve already won half the battle! Now it’s time to build traffic to your website and social media channels where people can become your subscribers.

  • Facebook Ads: If you want to attract website traffic fast, Facebook ads do the trick. Just start by investing a few dollars to A/B test your results and build on it. You can use Facebook ads to direct traffic to your website, Facebook chat, and even directly subscribe to your email list. So use it judiciously!
  • Guest Posts: You can publish content on blogs and websites with existing traffic to attract attention to your website. Doing even one guest post a week can be a great approach to building traffic for your email list.
  • Influencer Marketing: Reaching out to influencers to create and share content to direct traffic to your website is probably the smartest thing you can do. Influencers have large audiences. By collaborating with them, you’ll generate more subscribers.
  • SEO: Great content is a necessity for great SEO. By putting the right links and metatags, and consistently publishing great content, you will do great SEO over time.

8. Offer Freebies Through Contests and Giveaways

Fun contests and giveaways jack up your email subscription list to new levels. Built on the innate consumer response to free items and competitions, running contests and giveaways are a great way to not only get those much-needed emails but also associate excitement and anticipation with the signup process. Such tactics work wonders for your brand’s promotion to a larger audience, especially when you have a smaller email list and need to accelerate your campaign. Just offer people free goodies in exchange for their emails, and see how your mailing list grows. 

An email list is probably the best marketing asset you can build for generating revenue in the long term

9. Conduct Webinars and Surveys for Your Target Audience

Another effective email marketing strategy for attracting people to sign up to your list is to conduct site-wide webinars or surveys on topics of interest to your target audience or potential customers. 

Surveys encourage regular visitors to your site who enjoy your content to subscribe to get even more interesting resources and information through an email newsletter. While webinars are an excellent way to get quality subscribers to your list. People who value your content or offerings or care about industry-relevant news will be the first subscribers to your webinars. This is a fantastic way to get onboard useful contacts as well as grow your mailing list. 

10. Use Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are the incentives you provide your audience with if they join your mailing list. What would they get if they signed up? As a first step, visitors could be enticed with offers of giveaways, discounts, contests or a loyalty program 

Building further into this, when you employ the lead magnet strategy, you should offer your customers something of value. This could include an eBook, guides, checklists, or resource materials. Remember it’s not about just the numbers adding to your list, and throwing out generic content in your newsletters every now and then. It is about building long-term relationships with your audience and retaining your growing email list. To do this, you must show that you care, and provide the members with something of value that they could use. 

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully, you got some insight into how to build an email list. Remember, building an email list is a marathon, not a sprint race, so be patient with it! 

If you’re still looking for more tips, read our quick guide on how to optimize your email marketing campaigns more efficiently. 

So what efforts do you put into building an email list?

María is an enthusiast of cinema, literature and digital communication. As Content Coordinator at HostPapa, she focuses on the publication of content for the blog and social networks, organizing the translations, as well as writing and editing articles for the KB.

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