Email List Building Techniques

If email marketing isn’t a part of your digital marketing strategy, then it’s time to get back to the drawing board and fix it somewhere there.

What better way to send direct messages and announcements to your audience than with email marketing?

It’s very likely that your target users have email.

According to Statista, there were about 3.9 billion email users in the world in 2019 [], and the number is estimated to grow to about 4.3 billion in 2023.

Also, 89% of marketers use email marketing to generate leads [].

In general, we can deduct that email marketing is your best bet for generating leads, nurturing the leads, enhancing sales, and retaining customers.

This is because statistics show that it can influence the buying decision of about 50.7% of customers [].

Especially when the email content is targeted towards marketing and advertising.

From a distance, email marketing looks somewhat complicated.

However, it is simple to use, and once you get the hang of it, there will be no going back.

So, let’s talk about what an email list is and how to build it.

What is an Email List?

If you have ever subscribed to an email newsletter on any website or social platform to receive free e-books or weekly email that provides value to you, it means that you are on the mailing list of that website or social network.

Hence, an email list is a collection of email addresses you receive from your blog or website.

It is an avenue for you as an individual or an organization to market your product or services to your target audience.

Or even provide personalized value to them to enhance their relationship with your brand.

While most brands and businesses fight to interact with and keep their audience glued to their brands, an email list is one ‘easy’ way to get it done.

All away from the prying eyes of your competitors.

All you need to do is have your audience (followers on your social platforms or visitors on your website and blog) .

Once they do so (by inputting their email), they automatically become a part of your list… well, unless they unsubscribe.

In simpler terms, your email list or mailing list is the total number of subscribers on your database.

Why Should You Build an Email List?

According to DMA, [] expect an average ROI of $42 for every $1 you spend on email marketing.

This proves the word on the market that email marketing has a massive return on investment and is 40% better at converting compared to Facebook and .

An email list is an asset to your business.

Because once people sign up or subscribe willingly to your newsletter, they can remain loyal to your brand.

So long as you provide them with the kind of value that is worth looking forward to.

So, whether it is your stories, product or service promotions, sneak peek to a new product, or special offers only for those on your mailing list, etc.

You can get them to become your loyal brand ambassadors.

Hence, here are some reasons why you should build a mail list.

Email is Personal

According to 1827Marketing, [] Emails with personalized or tailor-made content have a 50% open rate.

Personalizing emails for your audience sends a message that you care about them as individuals.

And they are more than just an avenue to sell your product or services.

Collecting emails organically (when people sign up for your newsletter) shows that they are somewhat interested in what you are selling- whether products or services.

For instance, let’s say you are a fitness expert.

If you attract several subscribers with the lead magnet “How to live a healthy lifestyle on a budget,” it’s safe to assume that those that are drawn to your mailing list via this topic are looking to improve their lifestyle.

But have a limited budget to do so.

Another lead magnet for you could be “Five ways to burn off that extra weight without going to the gym.”

There is a high probability that those that subscribe to your list via this magnet either cannot afford a gym membership or will prefer to work out in their own space.

A mail list does not only give you the personal data of your subscribers (like names, age and address).

It can also help you split them into subgroups according to their challenges so that you can create a personalized email that tends to their needs.

The Analytics are Measurable

Getting an insight into how well your mailing list is doing will help you analyze and strategize properly for success.

Like Google analytics, you get to see:

  • what devices your audience use to access your mail
  • how many people open your emails
  • those who clicked on the links provided in the mail
  • who unsubscribed, and why they did so (in some cases).

Such are part of the building blocks for a successful brand-customer relationship.

And with the way social media algorithms change without giving you a heads-up, you can rest assured that a mailing list protects you from such.

In general, the data insight you get will guide your:

  • future effort in overall list segmentation
  • the type of content you create
  • creating attractive subject lines and call to action
  • as well as the best time to send the emails, among others.

It is Professional

Email is the best and most professional way for your customers to reach your business’s support team.

Social media seem like an easy way to communicate a request, complaints, etc., to brands.

That said, most people will rather use email as it gives a more professional feel and has a better chance of being taken seriously and replied quickly.

About 64% of small businesses [] say that having a mailing list makes it easy to reach their customers and vice versa.

Usable for Market Testing

Just like polls on social media, a mailing list gives you access to a customer base that can provide you with honest feedback when testing a new product or service.

All you need to do is provide free or discounted samples to your audience via email, plus an additional incentive they stand to gain when they send in their feedback.

This is somewhat cheaper than what you could have spent on several product launches.

And once the reviews are positive, you can easily launch and promote the product and services with just a few hundred dollars.

As opposed to the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars you would have spent on other channels.

Increase Conversion, Engagement, and Retention

The goal is to attract your audience first as subscribers and then convert them into customers in the long term by building trust and providing value over time.

Website conversions are almost impossible and can be discouraging.

Check your Google analytics to compare the number of new visitors you get and the percentage of those that return.

You will find out that about 70% of visitors who leave your website never return.

The best way to bring them back is to attract them to your mail list with a special sale, discount, or promo when they sign up.

Once they do, you can send an email directly to them and invite them back to your website.

Also, a mailing list encourages repeated interaction between your audience and your brand.

Which is why it has a high rate of conversion and increased engagement over time.

Now that you understand the importance of a mailing list, let’s see what techniques you can use in building it.

What Techniques can you Use in Building Email lists?

Building a mailing list does not require your blood and sweat.

However, you need to be strategic about it if you want to be successful and significant.

So, here are some techniques you can implement to build your list and attract the right audience to it.

  • Get an email service provider
  • Create a ‘sign-up or ‘subscribe’ channels throughout your website, blog, or social platforms
  • Create compelling content
  • Run a contest or promotion
  • Use surprise pop-ups
  • Don’t forget to use powerful lead magnets
  • Promote your list through social media
  • Create a targeted landing page
  • Include CTA on all your blog and landing pages

Get an Email Service Provider

Building a mailing list isn’t magic.

You will require an to carry out the various email marketing strategies you have put in place to successfully create a list that is relevant to your brand.

Of course, there are many email service providers available with different features.

Nonetheless, you have to carry out your homework by researching them to know which one best suits your campaign.

And find one that will help you achieve your set goal without technical difficulties or any hassle.

Some of the factors to consider when choosing an email service provider include;

  • Simple user interface with a drag-and-drop editor
  • Different sign-up forms
  • Audience segmentation option
  • Automation
  • Automatic update of categories to avoid sending the same message to those who already opened the mail or engage with the call-to-action
  • Email analytics and statistics
  • Adequate customer support, etc.

Create a ‘sign-up or ‘subscribe’ channels Throughout Your Website, Blog, or Social Platforms

To successfully build an email list, you need to have a website, blog, or social platforms from where you can compel or attract your audience into subscribing to your list.

Once people click on your website, they should be welcomed by a signup form on your homepage.

Sometimes, your homepage isn’t the first place they land on.

Especially if they were redirected to your website via a link of your blog post on your social media or other affiliate sites.

Hence, you need to think about places on your websites where people can easily find the forms- blog, contact page, checkout, etc.

Make the Signup Form Simple

No one wants to go through the hassle of filling out much information just to subscribe to your mailing list.

So, the content of your forms shouldn’t be more than two: email ID and name (if necessary).

For your social platforms, add call-to-action buttons (link to a sign-up form) on each post you upload.

Create Compelling Content

Your customers or website visitors subscribe to your list because they believe that you can offer them something valuable.

So, ensure that whatever content you send to their email is worth their time and effort.

Remember, content is king and should be educational, informative, entertaining, or inspiring.

This is why you need to understand your audience persona to create content that appeals to their needs and wouldn’t look like spam in their inbox.

For instance, Amazon email subscribers get updates on new products, promotions, slash sales, which informs them about every opportunity to ‘spend less’ for quality products.

This will keep the subscribers excited to open their mail each time it hits their inbox.

Yours could be a free supplementary course, a DIY guide, up-to-date information about your industry, or whatever you consider to be of value.

The truth is that this sounds easier than it is.

And this is why you need to carry out thorough research to know your audience and understand what they are looking for.

Run a Contest or Promotion

This is one of the easiest ways of getting people to share their email ID or other personal data with you.

Everyone likes the idea of a brand allowing them to ‘win’ something.

While cash giveaways can get them pumped up, it is better to give out something relating to your business.

This way, you will know that only those interested in the product or service you are offering will join the contest.

And from being just your ideal customers, you can turn them into actual paying customers.

For instance, if you sell fashion accessories, you could run a contest telling the audience to talk about their favorite accessory and uniquely style them.

The prize for such could be one of the latest jewelry, scarf, or even a bag from your collection.

Use Pop-up Reminders

You know those surprise messages that come up when in the middle of something serious on a particular website?

Those are what we call pop-ups.

They are designed to get the attention of your potential subscriber while in the middle of reading a blog post, shopping on your website, etc.

They can be intrusive and annoying when done wrong, but have a high conversion rate when done right.

To make them less annoying and more enticing, ensure that the headlines are clear.

And that you’re offering a valuable reward for signing up.

And if you intend to display your form using this technique, make sure that it is simple with just the requirement for name and email ID.

Don’t Forget to Use Powerful Lead Magnets

Whatever you can offer to your potential customers in exchange for their data is called a lead magnet.

As the name implies, whatever you are offering should attract your ideal customer to subscribe to your mailing list.

At one point or another, various brands have influenced us into joining their mailing list with lead magnets.

You can do the same, especially if you intend to create awareness and connect with potential customers who barely know or haven’t heard about your brand.

Some of the popular lead magnets you can use include;

  • EBooks
  • Premium content
  • Case studies
  • Product samples
  • Webinars
  • Coupons
  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Free DIY videos
  • Free trials etc.

is particularly useful here.

Note that most people who sign up to your mailing list via lead magnets do not know your brand and are looking for quick answers to their problems.

So, ensure that whatever content you use to lure them in offers just the type of value they are looking for.

Promote Your List Through Social Media

Although we know that email marketing is more effective than social media, who says we can’t harness the power of the latter to build the former?

Social media is an easy platform to meet new audiences and make new connections.

And since they all have advertising channels, you can use them to sift through the crowd and find your target audience.

So, you can put up a , which will send your visitors straight to the lead magnet on your website once they click on it, instead of your homepage.

Or you can take advantage of and add a call-to-action button on your Facebook page.

This leads directly to your websites’ landing page, asking your visitors to sign up to your mailing list.

Create a Targeted Landing Page

You can’t overlook a landing page when it comes to conversion.

Unlike your homepage that has lots of elements where your visitors can easily get lost or distracted, a landing page focuses on a single product, service, or offer that will influence your visitor to sign up to your list.

In this context, your landing page is at the bottom of your sales funnel.

Which means that it will either convert or be abandoned.

So, you need to be intentional about setting them right, by doing any of the following.

  • Explicitly describe the benefits of the incentive you are offering
  • Use a single CTA button
  • Boost your brands’ credibility by adding social proofs or reviews from existing customers
  • Make your sales copy customer-centric
  • Use split-test landing pages

Note that your landing page does not require excessive colors and designs, as it can distract your visitors from the main reason why they are there in the first place.

So, use a white background instead, gather all the elements together, and increase color and contrast on the CTA.

Once you have your landing page set up, you can now reroute your audience from different digital platforms there and build your list easily.

Include CTA on All Your Blog and Landing Pages

Boring CTAs are a turn-off for most people.

Why not try something less typical and more catchy or fun for a change.

Instead of using single words like “register,” “subscribe,” or “submit,” why not try something like “let’s do this,” “join the club,” and other engaging phrases.

Also, don’t forget to include CTA on all your landing pages and blogs.

You never know where your potential customer will land on your page, and we are sure that you wouldn’t want to leave anything to chance.

How to Maintain a Mailing List

It’s one thing to build a mailing list and another to maintain it.

Now you understand the various techniques to apply for the ideal mailing list.

How then can you maintain it over time to grow your brand and make it beneficial for both you and your customers?

Read on to find out more.

Keep Your List Organized Through Segmentation

Email segmentation is the process of separating emails based on personalized preferences or data.

The email of those who subscribed to your mailing list because of the promotional offer you dangled before them should be kept separately from those who subscribed to get your eBooks, tips, guides, etc.

This will help you create content that appeals to them personally.

Email segmentation, personalization, and automation (triggered emails) are the top 3 email marketing strategies.

This is because people are more likely to respond positively to an email if it seems like it was created especially for them.

Even marketers who use these strategies agree that it is very effective for their business as they have recorded a significant increase in revenue over time.

Some of the ways you can segment the emails on your mail list include;

  • User demographics-age, geographical location, gender, etc.
  • Purchase history
  • User email update preference-newsletter, coupons, discounted sales, promotions, etc.

Don’t Forget to Analyze the Data

This is where and how you get to know how the strategies you have employed are doing.

The good thing is that you can track just anything on your mail list- the click-through rates, open rates, time spent reading each mail, engagement, and interaction, among others.

Email analytics keep you in charge of the entire process so that you can always go back to the drawing board to improve on what isn’t working for your campaign.

Re-engage Old Contacts

Emails are a channel for direct communication with your audience.

But some people may already be fed up with them, yet don’t want to unsubscribe.

Using analytics, you can see who hasn’t opened or engaged with your mail for a while.

Then segment them, and send them personalized and re-engaging mails.

Statistics show that it is 50% cheaper to re-engage old contacts on your list than to convert new visitors into subscribers [].

Final Words

When all is said and done, you must be building and nurturing an email list.

There are a wide variety of email list building techniques you could employ.

And practice makes perfect.

What do you think about list building?

Let us know in the comments and please share this post.


[1] Statista.

[2] WebFX.

[3] SaleCycle.

[4] DMA.

[5] 1827Marketing.

[6] HubSpot.

[7] CampaignMonitor.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Adam Payne

Adam Payne

Father, traveler and blogger based in Japan with a love for all things Video Marketing related [and food].