How to Build an Email List For Your Business in 2023
To be successful in business, you need a way to reach your customers.
Building an email list is one of the most effective ways to do this over the short term, especially over a more extended period.
You can start this process quickly with various email marketing software offering easy-to-use list-building tools.
The key is knowing how to choose email marketing software and following a proven step-by-step process.
In this article, I’ll detail how to build an email list for your business, explaining the key steps.
Why Building An Email List Is Important
Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to reach customers.
While social media provides a great way to connect with potential and current customers, people’s attention span on such channels is constantly getting shorter.
Conversely, email has existed for a long time and still offers as much personal communication as required.
Plus, you can reach a wider audience with an email list with your marketing messages.
You’re not limited to those who follow you on social media or who happen to see your ads.
Instead, you can reach anyone who had subscribed to your email list and shown potential interest in what you do – regardless of when they joined or how active they are on social media.
How To Build An Email List
Whether you are starting to build an email list from scratch or already have marketing campaigns that you can leverage to grow your list, there are a few key things you need to do.
Research Your Target Audience
Like any other aspect of business, email subscribers have their own needs, wants, and interests.
Knowing your target audience will help you create email campaigns that resonate with them and encourage them to take action.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to define your target audience:
- Who are your ideal customers?
- What needs do they have that your business can address?
- What are their interests?
- How do they like to be communicated with?
- What motivates them to take action?
Answering these questions will give you a good starting point for understanding who you should target with your email campaigns.
Create A High-Quality Lead Magnet
Email list building refers to offering value in exchange for an email address.
With email campaigns being dependent on the quality of your list and how qualified your leads are, offering the right incentive to get people that opt into your list will help you have more qualified options to get in touch with.
From a free eBook that provides tons of value to sharing exclusive masterclasses and webinars you host, several options exist in this regard.
It’s important to note that your lead magnet should be directly related to the products or services you offer.
For example, if you sell health supplements, your lead magnet could be a guide to healthy eating or a list of recipes that help promote weight loss.
Create An Opt-In Form
The proper signup form will speak to your target audience and encourage them to take action.
As such, take your time and deeply consider the copy you use on your opt-in form, as this will be one of the most critical factors in getting people to subscribe to your list.
You might want to use an AI copywriting software tool to get the best results when brainstorming and creating high-converting copy for your opt-in form.
From the bullet points that explain why someone should subscribe to your email list, to the specific call-to-action (CTA) that encourages them to take action, every element of your opt-in form should be carefully considered, optimized, and tested.
Place The Opt-In Form On Your Website
Whether your opt-in form is on a dedicated landing page, at the end of a blog post, or in the sidebar of your website, there are plenty of ways to proceed with this step.
Typically, landing pages have the highest conversion rates as they have a single objective, allowing website visitors to subscribe to your email list without any other distracting element on the page.
However, your homepage sidebar can also be a great place to put an opt-in form, as it’s one of the first places people see when they visit your website.
Use Social Media Channels To Promote Your Opt-In Form
Social media accounts are a great way to collect the email addresses of people that have already shown an interest in your products or services.
While you might not always be able to embed sign-up and opt in forms on social media platforms (this depends on the networks you use and the type of content allowed in various places), you can still use such platforms to drive traffic to a dedicated landing page where people can subscribe to your email list.
Potential customers that already know what you are about and the value you can offer are more likely to convert into email subscribers than those that are entirely new to your brand.
Consider Paid Options On Social Media
When building your email list through social networks, there are also paid options to consider.
These are relatively quick ways to capture email addresses than organic methods.
However, remember that people coming across your ads might not know who you are or what you do.
When running paid ads, you must provide potential leads with a clear value proposition regarding why they should sign up for your email list.
For example, suppose you’re running Facebook ads.
In that case, you’ll want to ensure that, at the very least, you’re targeting people who have already shown an interest in your industry or similar products or services to those you offer.
Ideally, they would have already visited your website or engaged with your social media content.
Doing so will ensure you get the best return on your advertising investment when building your email list.
Collaborate With Other Businesses
If you can leverage audiences that other online businesses have built, this can be a fantastic way to increase the number of people coming to your opt-in form.
From using referral programs that encourage others to share your content with their network to partnering up with complementary businesses to co-promote each other’s products or services, there are several different ways you can go about this.
You can also decide to host a contest or giveaway, ensuring you collect a site visitor’s email address to allow them to enter a competition.
Here, you can also use software that increases their odds of winning if they invite other people to participate in the contest, further expanding the reach of your campaign.
Doing this allows you to tap into new audiences but can also help to solidify relationships with other businesses in your industry, leading to even more opportunities down the line.
Provide Valuable Content
At the various stages of building an email list, remember that providing value should be the constant in anything you do.
From your email sign-up form and the language used on the relevant landing page to the various emails you send (more on this in the next section), value is the game’s name if you want to get new subscribers that stay signed onto your list.
The best way to provide value through your email list is by sending out high-quality content that educates, entertains, or both.
No one wants to receive a barrage of promotional emails, so focus on creating content that your subscribers will welcome.
Craft An Effective Welcome Email
First impressions count, and they matter a lot regarding email marketing.
The welcome email someone receives should accomplish a few critical things.
- Introducing the subscriber to your brand
- Thanking them for signing up
- Highlighting the value that they will receive by being on your list
- Asking them to whitelist your email address so that they don’t miss any of your content
- Having a CTA that encourages them to take the next step with your brand, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a free trial, or something else.
Keep Growing Your List
From using pop-up forms throughout your website to placing a signup form offering someone access to your latest webinar, there are many ways to keep growing your email list through lead generation.
The more people you have on your list, the more opportunities you’ll have to drive conversions and sales.
Having an open mind regarding how you collect email addresses (as long as they’re qualified and you can help such people with their problems) will also ensure that your list continues to grow for years.
Analyze And Improve Your Results
Tracking your results is essential to continue growing your email list.
When choosing an email marketing platform, ensure that the analytics provided in the package are robust and will allow you to track key metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates.
By analyzing your results regularly, you’ll be able to identify what’s working well and where there’s room for improvement.
You can fine-tune your approach and build an email list that converts.
What To Send To Subscribers On Your Email List
Getting someone onto your email list is a significant first step.
However, what type of content do you send your new email subscriber once they’re part of your email list?
After all, building an email list also means getting people to stay subscribed and inviting others to subscribe.
Here are some ideas that can help you with your email campaigns.
An email newsletter is one of the potential ways to keep subscribers updated on your latest content, getting them to come back to your website or blog.
By sending a regular newsletter, you can build relationships with your subscribers as you explore the topics they’re interested in, providing them with solutions and showing your expertise regularly.
In this case, having an email cadence can be helpful as subscribers can become used to receiving your newsletter simultaneously each week or month.
When you make significant changes to parts of your business, sharing these with the relevant people on your email list can be a great way to generate excitement and get people talking.
While these marketing emails can be a minor part of your overall email strategy (compared to newsletters), they can effectively drive engagement and generate buzz.
Tips And Tricks
From templates that can help new customers perform vital tasks to longer, more detailed, step-by-step guides that show how to get the most out of your products and services, helpful tips and tricks to your email list can be a great way to nurture leads and build loyalty.
Customers typically want to learn how to solve a problem (or multiple ones) they currently have in their life, and such content can be very valuable to them.
Whether you help customers with their SEO and digital marketing strategy or pave the way when starting an ecommerce business, case studies are a great way to showcase the results your business can help potential customers achieve.
Moreover, case studies help break down beliefs around what’s possible and get people to act.
By seeing others in the same situation and what they achieved, your case studies can inspire people to realize that anything is possible.
Showing that you care about the customer also means sharing what they go through and their stories.
Suppose you occasionally send quizzes and questionnaires asking for feedback about your business.
You can use specific information from such tools to craft compelling customer stories you share in your emails.
As a small business, running the right promotions is essential to generating sales and growing your customer base.
From freebies that help introduce a particular offer to coupons that enable customers to get discounts on your products and services, you can run many promotions to grow your business.
If you can tie in a specific reason for running a promotion, such as a holiday or seasonal event, that can also help drive engagement.
Key Tips For Keeping Subscribers Engaged
After going through the types of email content, you can send to your email list, let’s now consider the main aspects of keeping your subscribers engaged while looking forward to the following email.
Keep Your Emails Short And To The Point
When it comes to email, usually less is more.
Remember that an email differs from more extended forms of content marketing.
In addition, many people will read emails on their phones, so getting straight to the point is usually best.
That said, having longer emails is not something that can ever be done.
As long as it makes sense as part of your general email strategy, there is a time and place for it.
Consider Your Email Formatting
No one wants to read chunks of text with no line breaks.
Being creative regarding email formatting can be a great way to engage subscribers and get your point across more effectively.
Remember that most people will skim-read an email before reading it thoroughly.
With that in mind, ensure your emails are easy to scan by breaking them down into smaller paragraphs with plenty of white text.
Also, if an email aims to get someone to click and head over to your site, then ensure that your call to action is clear and is immediately visible above the fold when someone opens your email.
Create A Sense Of Urgency
Whether you want to send someone to your podcast, register for an event, or buy a product, you must explain why someone should act now.
If not, expecting someone to act at a later stage usually results in no action ever taken, and people will often forget about your email.
One way to create a sense of urgency is to include a countdown timer in your email.
You can increase conversions when tied to a plausible reason someone should act, such as a sale ending or an event starting.
Email is one of the most straightforward marketing channels business owners can use to personalize communication.
List-building strategies may get as complex as one desires, but the simplicity of personalization should never be underestimated.
At the very least, using the subscriber’s name in the subject line and throughout the email, the body is a great way to get someone’s attention and feel valued.
More advanced personalization can include dynamic content that changes based on past interactions someone has had with your brand, as well as their location, gender, and other factors.
Segment Your List
Various marketing tools help businesses create subsets of their email lists when sending targeted emails.
From announcements about new products to a small portion of your list that showed past interest to offering a cheat sheet to those who haven’t engaged with your emails within the last few months, segmentation is a vital part of any successful email marketing strategy.
Also, when you segment your list, do not be afraid to clean it up, deleting those that no longer engage with your emails.
It is better to have a smaller, more engaged list than a large one full of people that do not care about your content.
Doing so improves deliverability, increases engagement, and results in higher conversion rates.
Test, Test, Test!
Testing is a big part of a successful email list, from using different email subject lines to the CTAs you use to get the click, along with how you format your email text, images, and other elements.
A/B testing allows you to send two different versions of an email to a small portion of your list and see which one performs better.
Testing can also help implement various email automation through CRM software.
This testing could be based on specific triggers after someone takes a particular action, as requested in an email.
Most often, this can only be found after testing various elements.
Measuring The Success Of Your Email Marketing Campaign
Knowing which metrics matter most in your email marketing strategy is essential to determining what constitutes a successful campaign.
Here are some of the most important metrics you should track when building your list.
- Open rate: The percentage of subscribers that open your email. This metric will give you an idea of how successful your subject line was and whether or not your email was able to cut through the noise.
- Click-through rate: The percentage of subscribers that click on at least one link in your email. This metric will show you how engaging your email content was and whether or not it inspired people to take action.
- Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of subscribers that unsubscribe from your list after receiving your email. You want to keep this number as low as possible and track it over time to see if there is a trend.
- Complaint rate: The percentage of people that mark your future emails as spam. This metric is critical because it can impact your deliverability if it gets too high.
It would help if you also considered other factors, such as the time it took to create the campaign and the resources you used.
These might be tougher to quantify initially, but as you progress, you should get a good idea of how much each email marketing campaign costs you in terms of the time it takes to put together.
Comparing this with the campaign results will help you determine if it is worth your time to continue pursuing email marketing, how you’re doing it, or if something needs to change.
How to Build An Email List – FAQ
What Are Some Of The Best Email Providers To Consider?
Hubspot, Getresponse, Aweber, and Constant Contact are all great options when choosing an email provider for your business.
Can You Add An Email Pop-Up Form As An Exit Intent?
You can add an email popup to your website’s exit intent as an alternative to traditional signup forms.
You can capture interested leads in your product or service who have not yet signed up for your email list.
The importance of your lead magnet once again comes into play.
What Is GDPR As It Pertains To Email Marketing?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union regulates data protection and privacy for individuals within the EU.
Regarding email marketing, GDPR requires businesses to get explicit consent from individuals before adding them to their email list.
While this does not apply to U.S. citizens, businesses must be aware of various federal and state-level privacy regulations.
What Is The CAN-SPAM Act?
The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that regulates commercial email messages.
It outlines specific requirements for commercial emails, such as providing a way to opt out of future messages.
What Is An Email Header?
An email header is any information that appears at the top of an email, including the sender’s and recipient’s names, the subject line, and other information.
Recipients get to know who the email is from and what it is about.
How Do You Use Offline Marketing Methods To Promote An Online Email List?
You can use offline marketing methods to promote your online email list in a few ways.
You can include an easy-to-remember signup link on your print materials, such as business cards or flyers.
You can also mention your email list in any radio or TV commercials you run.
Finally, you can include a QR code allowing people to scan it using their smartphone and be taken directly to your email signup page.
Building An Email List From Scratch
Building an email list from scratch can seem daunting, but with the right strategy, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to effectively grow your email list from scratch:
- Create a compelling opt-in incentive: Offer something valuable in exchange for your visitor’s email address. This incentive could be an e-book, a guide, or even the opportunity to join an exclusive mailing list. Make sure that whatever you offer is tailored to the interests of your target audience.
- Design an attractive signup form: You need to make it as easy as possible for people to give you their contact information, so design a signup form with simplicity in mind. Include only necessary fields, and don’t ask for too much information at once—just first name and email are usually enough.
- Promote your email list on social media: Social media is a great platform to get the word out about your email list. Share regular updates with relevant content, and include a link to your opt-in page or signup form in every post.
- Run ads and build an email list: You can use paid advertising platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, and more to target potential subscribers and grow your email list quickly. However, remember that you’ll need a solid budget for this strategy.
- Collaborate with influencers to grow your email list: Influencer marketing is a great way to reach more people and build an email list from scratch. Connect with an influencer in your industry and ask them to promote your opt-in incentive—they may be happy to do so for a fee.
- Leverage existing relationships to get subscribers: Use existing relationships or contacts you already have—friends, family members, colleagues, etc.—to start building your email list. Ask them if they would share your opt-in incentive with their network.
- Add a link in your website footer or blog sidebar: An effective way of gaining more subscribers is by adding an opt-in form or link in the footer or sidebar of your website or blog. Visitors can easily find the link for the email sign up form required.
- Host webinars and workshops to promote your emails: Hosting regular webinars and seminars on topics relevant to your audience is a great way to build an email list from scratch. Use the opportunity to educate and inform people about your offer, then encourage them to join your mailing list.
- Utilize content upgrades strategically throughout blog posts: Content upgrades are bonus materials that provide additional information related to the topic—think PDFs, checklists, cheat sheets, etc. Offer these as free downloads in exchange for joining your email list.
- Use cross-promotion tactics with other businesses: Reach out to similar companies and offer to cross-promote each other’s emails. This way, you can leverage the reach of their existing customer base and grow your email list rapidly. With a good strategy and some effort, you should be able to see tangible results in no time! These are just a few tips for effectively growing an email list from scratch.
Building an email list of subscribers is an essential part of any business, and it’s necessary to succeed in the modern marketplace.
With that in mind, focus on providing consistent value and delivering quality content to your subscribers, and you’ll be well on your way to success in no time.
When people see that being on your email list has tons of benefits, they’ll be more inclined to stay signed up while waiting for your following email.
Do you have an email list?
Which strategies have you found most effective in building your email list?
Let me know in the comments below.
Further reading on AdamEnfroy.com: Did you know that specific software exists to send cold business emails?
While some frown on this practice, when done right, sending cold emails has its time and place.,
It can be used to reach out to those interested in your product or services who haven’t heard of your brand.
Check out the best cold email software to learn how to use this marketing channel for your business.
Moreover, if you’re looking for a high-quality email marketing tool, here are a few direct comparisons that can help you out: