5 Proven Strategies to Build an Email List from Scratch
by Julie Weishaar
April 9, 2022

You might have heard a lot about email list building in the past few years.

Or maybe you’ve learned enough about email marketing to know that it is one of the best ways to educate your customers and eventually convert them.

However, it comes with a bit of struggle. For example, the struggle of collecting emails in a world that does not trust anyone so easily.

Well, you are not the only one who is facing this problem. Most marketers find it challenging to get their first hundred emails.

This article will provide you with some of the most effective email list-building strategies. But before that, let’s see why you need to have a list.

Why Do You Need an Email List?

Letting numbers do the talking; According to DMA, you can get a return of $42 for every dollar spent on email marketing.

And when you compare it with other marketing channels like PPC advertising, you get a return of $2 for every dollar paid.

This high return on investment on emails makes it an imperative marketing channel.

Irrespective of what industry you belong to, your email marketing subscribers and prospects can shape the success of your marketing campaigns.

It is also one of the best ways to provide your customers with knowledge about your brand and products.

Moreover, calculating the performance metrics of email marketing is not very complicated.

These metrics like click-through rate, email open rate, and conversion rate give you insights into what’s working in your emails and what you should change.

The requirements for making an email list are pretty simple. You just need a:

  1. Decent amount of traffic on your website and social media channels.
  2. List of proven strategies

When you want something from your customers (their email), they would also like something valuable in return for it. You must ensure that it’s easy for the customer to find something worthwhile.

The following strategies can help you build an email list from scratch.

Embedded Sign up Forms

This is a tried and tested strategy that marketers have followed ever since email marketing gained popularity.

In this traditional method, static embedded forms are placed on high traffic pages and at the most visible area of those pages (like header, footer, and sidebars.)

For WordPress users, there are powerful and user-friendly drag & drop form builders to help you create and embed forms on your site.

This way of building an email list is rated so highly because of its non-intrusive nature. There is nothing concealed behind layers.

It only serves as a humble reminder for the visitors that they have an option to opt-in for your valuable emails.

However, this non-intrusive way is not enough on its own. It works the best when used with more proactive and dynamic strategies. Let’s see more of them.

10 percent off offer

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Encourage Visitors with Gamification

When you introduce some interactive elements to engage with your audience and eventually get their email, it’s called gamification in link building.

Tests, quizzes, surveys, spin-to-win pop-ups, and scratch cards are some of its popular examples.

If you are an eCommerce company, you can offer a 10-40% discount on your products to the visitors by asking them to submit their email and scratch a card.

This will help you add an email to your list and convert that lead into a customer.

If that customer likes your product, they are more likely to shop with you again.

Pop-Up or Slide-In on Relevant Pages

Other than gamification, the option of adding pop-ups is also there.

These pop-ups have a bad reputation for distracting customers, but here we are not talking about the early 2000 ones that said: “Become a Model TODAY!”.

We are talking about timed pop-ups and onsite retargeting. This means that the pop-ups will only be displayed after a user has spent a certain amount of time on the website or has scrolled some percentage of it.

However, you must be very careful about where the pop-ups and slide-ins appear.

For example, if someone comes to the site via the newsletter link, the pop-up will only irritate them as they are already subscribed.

And it should also not appear on the sales page as it might interrupt or delay the purchase decision.

15 percent off offer

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Collecting Email for Important Notifications

If you are an eCommerce company, notifying customers (about sales, stock, and new collections) is one of the best ways to collect email.

Pre-sale notifications: It serves as a convenient reminder to customers who might be busy but want to purchase from your sale.

They will be more than willing to share their email address with you in return for convenience.

New collection notifications: If your website has decent traffic, some of your products might get sold out as you launch them.

In this case, you can offer exclusivity to your customers by notifying them as soon as the new collection launches.

‘Back in stock’ notifications: When customers come looking at your site for a specific product, but it’s not in stock, you can use this as an opportunity to connect with them.

You can ask them for their email and, in return, can notify them as soon as the item is back in stock.

Consider Referral Programs

In this method, we use what we already have to gain what we want.

In the loose definition of the word, we basically bribe our existing subscribers and customers to share exciting offers with friends, family, and colleagues.

This is how brands like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Dropbox established themselves as the industry leaders in their respective fields.

For every referral that an existing subscriber generates, you can offer them a discount coupon, free shipping, or even a gift.

This is a great way to get new contacts and even customers, which is the whole point of collecting emails.

refer and earn

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Start Building Your Email List Today

It’s 2022, and email marketing is still as relevant in the marketing industry as it used to be a few years ago.

Personalization and engagement are where email marketing is unrivaled.

But to make your email marketing campaign effective, you need a good quality email list.

We hope that the five strategies we have provided you in this blog will help you create one for yourself.

5 Proven Strategies to Build an Email List from Scratch

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  1. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Julie,

    All great tips here. Building an email list is as important as ever because ownership plays a huge part in the online game these days. Between owning your blog and your list you insulate yourself from any Google or social media changes.


    • Julie Weishaar

      Hi Ryan, thanks for stopping by and making a great point 🙂 It’s impossible to keep up with the changes from social media and Google lately!


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