Email list building is crucial for email marketing. A high-quality email list can be your most valuable business asset. In this article, you’ll find practical tips on how to build an email list.
Bonus: We’ve recently run a webinar on “How to build an email list fast and on a tight budget”. If you want to watch it, you’ll find the recording at the end of this post.
How to build an email list FAQ
What is email list building?
Email list building is the process of attracting and adding new contacts to your database. It is the core of all email marketing activities.
For more information on the fundaments of email marketing, read Email Marketing for Beginners.
Why is list building important?
List building is crucial for effective email marketing for an obvious reason – the bigger your contact list, the bigger the conversion rate opportunities. The more people receive your emails, the higher are your chances of generating sales revenue and achieving your other business objectives.
What is a high-quality email list?
A high-quality email list is a list built with email addresses of people representing your target audience. People who will benefit from using your product or service. Overall, it makes sense to market your offer to people who are likely to become your customers.
How to build an email list from scratch?
In email marketing jargon, building an email list from scratch is called organic email list building, and means that you find out ways of reaching your target audience and ask them to sign up for your email marketing program. Organic list building strategy is permission-based, which means that only people who have expressed explicit consent are added to your list.
How to build an email list fast?
The fastest way to build an email list is to run PPC ad campaigns and partner up with other brands to co-promote an ebook or a report. The goal is to attract as much target audience as possible. In this article, you’ll find plenty of ideas that will help you build your contact list in no time.
Basic email list building tools/resources:
A subscription form a.k.a. a web form or a signup form is an HTML form that is installed on a website to enable visitors to sign up. There are different kinds of forms to choose from, e.g., a subscription form, download box, scroll form, fixed bar, lightbox, or an exit pop-up.
Choose the right form and customize its design, so that it efficiently attracts new subscribers.
When designing your webform think about the quality/quantity ratio. If you want to reach a specific target audience (e.g., to generate B2B leads), you might need to create a longer webform asking for more details: company name, company size, position, etc.
On the other hand, if your goal is to reach a broader audience (e.g., to reach potential ecommerce customers), you might ask only for basic information like name and email address.
The rule of thumb is that the longer the form, the fewer people subscribe. The shorter the form, the more subscriptions you get, but you can’t be sure how many people actually meet your criteria. The trick is to know your goal and ask only for relevant information to balance the quality/quantity ratio accordingly.
A landing page, also known as a “lead capture page” or a “squeeze page”, is a single web page that is designed with a single call to action for hig conversion. In email marketing landing pages are most often used for lead generation.
Related post: The Anatomy of a Killer Landing Page
A webinar also known as an “online seminar”, “web conference”, or an “online meeting” can serve as a great way to build an email list with high-quality contacts. The idea is simple – you offer valuable information for everyone who signs up to your contact list.
Carefully planned webinar content will certainly attract your target audience. You can promote your webinar via other online marketing channels to maximize outreach.
If you’re interested in this particular list building method, this article talks more about how webinars can help you grow your business.
A lead magnet is something valuable for your target audience that you offer in exchange for contact information. The goal of the lead magnet is to incentivize subscription and maximize the number of targeted leads captured via a web form.
Lead magnet examples
- Resource kit
- Educational materials
There are of course other types of “freebies” or “opt-in bribes” you can offer.
43 List building ideas
To help you with your list building efforts, here’s a regularly updated list of list building ideas. We’ve organized the content into two dimensions. First into online and offline tactics, second into owned, earned, and paid media.
- Conduct a webinar (a web-based seminar) for which your visitors must register. On the registration form, get permission to send them future mailings.
- Create a squeeze page designed solely to capture new subscribers.
- Create strong lead magnets.
- Add a video to your squeeze page. Not only can you speak to your prospective subscribers, but even point where the subscription form is located on your webpage!
- Request your employees to use an email signature such as “Subscribe to the Company X Email Newsletter”.
- Offer incentives like a product discount for purchasers who subscribe to your newsletter.
- Ask your subscribers to tell their friends about your newsletter.
- Offer customers a VIP or loyalty program for signing up for your list.
- Collect email address at each point of contact with customers and prospects.
- Add a subscription form to every page of your website.
- Use a pop-up form and incentivize the subscription – be clear, persuasive and honest as to what your subscribers will receive and what your visitor will gain by subscribing.
- Keep your blog readers notified of new posts when they sign up for updates. This has a 3-prong benefit: build your email list, maintain relationships with your readers, and get more traffic to your blog.
- Joint venture with other newsletter publishers and mention each other’s publications.
- Perform a cross-registration campaign with other newsletter owners by adding a link/banner to the other newsletter on the confirmation page. Subscribers won’t see it until after they’ve joined your list.
- Submit articles to Article Directories like GoArticles, SubmitYourArticle or EzineArticles. Include a bio box at the bottom with a link to your website or the email address to be added instantly (if you are using an autoresponder).
- Visit discussion boards, forums, Yahoo! Answers and similar sites to provide helpful answers, while including a link to your newsletter subscription page in your sig file.
- Add your newsletter sign-up link to your email signature.
- Promote sign-ups in Confirmation and Transaction emails.
- Include newsletter subscriptions in Trade Show Lead Generation form. Ask booth visitors for permission to send your monthly newsletter to them.
- Make it easy for your audience to subscribe by including a link to your newsletter subscription page on the footer of your PowerPoint or webinar presentations.
- Find hundreds or even thousands of relevant keywords with services like Wordtracker, and then promote your squeeze page using PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, such as Google Ads, Bing Ads, Yandex Ads, Yahoo Sponsored Search, MSN adCenter, and more.
- Sponsor other people’s contests and get exposure for your newsletter. Give away freebies that don’t cost you money.
- Use remarketing for growing your list. Exclude people who already are on the list, tell them something about future values and maybe give them something extra – a discount, free delivery or free extra content.
- Some social media networks (like Facebook or LinkedIn) have special lead ads, perfect for email lists campaigns. You can use banners or short videos, where you talk about your business or pros of being a subscriber. What’s more, these campaigns have a shorter marketing funnel – most of the information in lead campaigns is filled in automatically from personal profiles and our user doesn’t have to leave the social network. Test it on remarketing first.
- Don’t “attack” people who don’t know you – create a short “email list builder” funnel instead :). Create an interesting video, promote it on YouTube or Facebook and create a remarketing list with people who already watched video. After creating the list, reach out to them by remarketing.
How to build an email list without a website?
- Network at trade shows and conventions. When exchanging business cards, ask permission to send them your newsletter/report. If they say “no”, write an “X” on the back of their card. Otherwise, add them to your list.
- Hand out sign-up forms promoting your newsletter when speaking to groups or at seminars.
- Look for ways to collect email addresses if you are a brick & mortar business.
- Display opt-in forms at the Cash Register to receive weekly discounts, etc.
- Advertise email promotions on Product Shipping Boxes, Packing Slips and Direct Mail Cards, with links to your site.
- Call Center and Sales Employees can ask customers and prospects if they’d like to receive newsletters or promotional emails and get their consent by phone.
- Encourage email subscriptions by printing on Direct Mail, Catalogs, and all Print Ads.
- If you have a physical mailing list from your offline business, send a postcard to your customers, offering a special for opting-in to your email newsletter.
List building optimization tips
- Make it quick and easy for your visitors to sign up. A first name and email address are all you need initially.
- Tell visitors how often they can expect to receive your newsletter or other emails. Do not inundate your subscribers with too many messages.
- Mention your newsletter during your webinar and provide a subscription link. This will give those who haven’t opted-in an additional chance to do so.
- Add a link or button on your website and newsletter taking them to a “Tell-A-Friend” form, where they can invite 3-5 of their friends.
- Incorporate social proof through testimonials on your squeeze page (written, audio, or even video!)
- Include an opt-in link on customers’ credit card receipts.
- Add an opt-in message to Warranty and Product Registration Cards.
- Use a sign-up message on all Invoices.
- Study each offline advertising piece with the thought of integrating a list building component into it.
- Get more traffic to your website. Even if your opt-in percentage doesn’t change, this will automatically result in more visitors.
Which methods to build an email list do you use?
Watch the recording of the webinar “How to build an email list fast and on a tight budget”.