In today’s world, building an email list can seem easy (who isn’t building one these days?) and then at the same time, tricky. (again, everyone is building one and everyone sets out the bait) Coming up with ways to set yourself apart and capture your audience is key; both capturing their email address and capturing their attention. There are endless ways to do this, however we’re highlighting three easy ways on how to build an email list.

How do I build an email list?

First and foremost, we need to establish that it’s best to build an email list in genuine manner. While it might be legal to purchase an email list, the chances of your email being marked as ‘spam’ are pretty high. Haven’t we all received an email we didn’t sign up for? Yeah. It’s annoying. Keep your name and brand on the up-and-up and build your email list with people who want to hear from you. You’ll not only keep your name in good standing, but you’ll also build a rich list – a list containing people who are engaged. In the email marketing world, engagement rate is everything. 

Select an email provider that fits your needs best. Do some research, read reviews, and request demos. Most platforms are very user friendly, and full of tutorials. Email platforms we’d recommend are MailChimp and ConvertKit

Step 1: Create Opt-In Forms

Opt-in forms come in a couple different ways, most commonly in the form of pop-ups, and subscribe buttons. All of these are easily built in your email platform so opt-in forms are great if you’re learning how to build an email list. 

Typically, if we give our email address to something or someone, we are wanting something in return. Very seldom do we give it in good faith. Make sure you’ve thought about your opt-in’s design and copy because you want to encourage your visitors to give you their email address.

Example: “Save 25% Now!” Sounds so much more appealing than “Click here to subscribe to our newsletter”

how to build an email list

Example of a bad opt-in

  • Copy is boring and unappealing
  • No visuals or anything representing your brand
  • No instant benefits for the person subscribing
  • Too many fields! If something takes too long to fill in, potential subscribers aren’t going to do it. Have 2 input fields at the very most
how to build an email list

Example of a good opt-in

  • The number of input fields is kept to a minimum
  • Value-add words – like “download now” or “Get free gift” are used in order to make the subscriber feel like they are getting something in return.
  • Any call-to-action is colorful and grabs their attention

We all love and hate pop-ups, right? They are, however, a necessary mode of marketing. Instead of bombarding someone with a pop-up after they have landed on your website, maybe have them specifically set to appear on a more valuable page of your site like your blog.

SEO and content marketing is one of the greatest ways to attract new readers and visitors. By writing Google-friendly content, you’ll be picked up in searches. This is important because you’re capturing the attention of someone who is searching for exactly what you have to offer! 

Blog readers are more valuable leads than random visitors because they already clearly have an interest in your content.  If they’ve remained on your site long enough to read a blog post, they probably like what you’re saying, they are learning, and they’re more likely to want more in the future.  Setting up a pop-up or modal opt-in to display after 60 seconds can be an effective way to reach this audience. Capturing blog readers is a great way to build an email list.

how to build an email list
Step 2: Offer freebies for signing up

Someone signing up for your email list is giving you something, a piece of their information, so they should be getting something in return. You want them to feel valued. Depending on your business model, offering a discount is a wonderful way to give your viewer a gift. It’s something that costs you nothing to give away until it’s used – and you still make a profit. #winwin

Downloadable freebies are also extremely effective. Consider offering a PDF, an eBook, a checklist, or a sample of your product.

If you’re a nonprofit, you might be wondering what you can give away. Make the subscriber feel like they are getting exclusive content. Loop them in with your supporters to get special updates or pre release access to podcasts. Write your emails and tell your stories in such a way that subscribers look forward to opening your newsletter and updates. 

“Let’s stay in touch. See how we’re impacting the world around us,” sounds so much better than “Subscribe here.”

how to build an email list
Step 3: Create a Call-to-action (CTA) for every blog post or landing page

Create something personalized to what you just spoke about on the blog or make the CTA button relevant to your landing page. Basically, if you want to build your email list fast, you want to create an opportunity at every turn to collect an email address. And you want to make it as easy as possible for the reader. If someone is visiting your website, usually it’s for a very specific reason, and the CTAs need to match that. If you offer content that’s directly connected to the visitor’s needs, they will view your newsletter as valuable, not gimmicky. They will want to hear from you!

The point of a call-to-action is to urge a user to take action in whatever way is desirable for your business or organization. In this instance, we’re talking about a call to acton that relates to signing up for your email list. You want to encourage your audience to move one step closer to grab what you’re offering.

Places to put a CTA:

  • At the bottom of every blog post
  • In the footer of your website
  • In the about section of your website

What now?

We promise you, your email list will be one of your most precious marketing tools. Like anything, it needs attention, love, and care to keep growing and stay engaged. Hopefully, with these three easy steps, you’ll be off and running in no time! 

Stay tuned for more on email marketing here at