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How To Build An Email List In 2023

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An email list is one of the most important tools a business can have.

It allows you to stay in touch with your customers, keep them up-to-date on your latest offers, and build a relationship with them that can result in more sales.

In this article, we will teach you how to build an email list quickly and easily.

We’ll also discuss some traffic sources for finding email subscribers, as well as some best practices to follow.

Overview of Email Lists

Before you can start to create your email subscriber list, it’s good to understand the basics.

What Is an Email List?

An email list is a list of email addresses collected from people who permit you to contact them.

Once you have a list of email addresses, you can send out special offers, coupons, new product announcements, or anything else you think your customers might enjoy.

Why Is an Email List Important?

An email list is important because it allows your company to stay in touch with its prospects.

It can become a direct source of revenue for your business.

Many companies make a significant portion of their income by placing offers in front of their email list subscribers.

Who Uses Email Lists?

All types of businesses use email lists.

These might include online retailers, brick-and-mortar stores, service providers, bloggers, course providers, coaches, SaaS companies, and more.

What Are the Costs Associated With Building an Email List?

The cost associated with building an email list depends on how you go about it.

Typically, you’ll pay $50 to $100 or more per month to use an email service provider like MailChimp, Drip, or ConvertKit.

What Is the Fastest Way To Build an Email List?

There are a few methods you can use that will help you build your list quickly.

One method is to offer a lead magnet in exchange for an email address using paid ads.

A paid ad campaign lets you collect leads the moment you put the campaign into motion.

If you have as many as 500 to 1000 unique monthly blog visitors, you can start generating leads immediately as well.

What Does an Email List Include?

An email list includes the following four items.

1. Email Addresses

The most important part of an email list is the email addresses.

These are the addresses to which you’ll send your offers.

2. Contact Information

In addition to email addresses, you can collect other types of contact information.

You might include first and last names, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and more.

3. Demographic Information

Demographic information can help when segmenting your list.

Some of the demographic information you might collect includes the following.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Job title

If you sell high-end products, for instance, you might segment your list by income level and send targeted offers to those who can afford your products.

4. Sales Information

You can track sales information inside an email list.

The data can include how much each person spends, what they purchase, and when they make a purchase.

Creative Ways To Build an Email List

Most businesses use one or more of the following three ways to build email lists.

vector illustration showing how to build an email list

Leverage an Existing Audience

Your existing audience already knows, likes, and trusts you.

They’re also more likely to buy from you.

Existing Clients

If you already have a database of customers or followers, you can start building your list immediately.

To do this, send out an email to your current database inviting them to subscribe to your list.

Include a link they can click on to subscribe.

You might also want to offer an incentive, like a discount code they can use when they make their next purchase.

Existing Followers

Do you have followers on social media?

Invite them to subscribe to your list.

When posting on your social media platforms, include a link they can click on to join your list.

For example, you might teach your audience three quick tips related to your industry.

At the end of the post, invite them to subscribe to your list for additional tips.

Convert Website Traffic

Existing website traffic gives you a leg up on starting a new email list.

You already have people interested in what you do.

Now, you just need to get their email addresses.

Optin Forms & Popups

Adding an opt-in form or popup to your website is an effective way to collect email addresses from your website visitors.

Different pop-ups exist.

For example, you can use exit-intent popups to capture the attention of those leaving your website.

Or, you can add slide-in forms to the side or bottom of your blog posts.

Many businesses will find that embedded opt-in forms on blog posts convert the best.

Offer a content upgrade relating to each article, place an opt-in form inside the content column, and watch your list grow.

Gated Content & Downloads

Another way to convert website traffic into email subscribers is by gating content.

Gated content is content that’s only accessible if the person provides their email address.

For example, you might gate an ebook or an instructional video.

Email Newsletter Subscriptions

If you have an email newsletter, make it easy for people to subscribe to it on your website.

Include a prominent link or button they can click on from every page of your website.

If you don’t have an email newsletter, consider starting one.

You can use it to share your latest blog posts, product releases, or coupon codes.


Try building an email list by running webinars.

Webinars are live or recorded online events where you educate your audience on a particular topic.

They typically last between 30 minutes and one hour.

To run a successful webinar, you need to promote it on your website beforehand and offer something of value.

For example, you might offer a free ebook or an instructional video along with the webinar registration offer.

Once people register for the webinar, they’re typically added to your email list so you can follow up with them afterward.

Run Ad Campaigns

Ad campaigns work well to build an email list.

The key is to make sure to run a targeted ad campaign and that you’re promoting a valuable offer so people feel good giving you their email addresses for it.

Add a Subscribe Button to an Email Signature

If you’re sending emails regularly as part of your work, make it easy for people to subscribe to your email list by adding a subscribe button to your email signature.

That way, every time you send an email, people will see the link and can easily sign up if they’re interested.

How Do I Create an Email List?

To create a new email list, follow these five steps.

Select an Email Marketing Platform

The first step to creating an email list is selecting an email marketing platform.

Some people call these platforms email service providers (ESPs).

Inside these software services, you’ll store your subscribers’ email addresses, send your emails, and track your results.

Take time to research the various ESPs on the market to find the best one for your needs.

Popular email marketing platforms include the following.

Create a List or Audience in the Platform

The next step is to create a list or audience inside your email marketing platform.

The list is where you’ll store your subscribers’ email addresses.  

To create a new list, find the “Lists” or “Audiences” tab in your email marketing platform and click on it.

Then, click the “Create List” or “Create Audience” button.

The software will ask you to provide a name for your list.

It may also help you set some additional options, such as how often you plan to email your subscribers.

Once you create your list, you’re ready to start adding subscribers to it.

Create Optin Forms and Funnels for That List

Create opt-in forms and funnels for your list during the next step.

An opt-in form is a form that people fill out to subscribe to your email list.

Your email service provider will typically make it easy to create these forms.

It’s usually a matter of dragging and dropping the elements you want to show on the form.

Opt-in forms become the first part of an opt-in funnel.

A typical opt-in funnel includes the following steps.

The visitor sees a piece of content (usually a blog post) and clicks on the option to subscribe to your email list.

If they subscribe, they’re added to your email list and receive a welcome email.

After subscribing, they’re taken to a thank-you page where they’re given additional content, such as an ebook or video.

Drive Traffic and Subscribers to the List

Next, start driving traffic to your opt-in forms.

The goal is to get people to subscribe to your email list.

There are a few different ways to do this.

You can use paid advertising, such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads, to drive traffic to your opt-in forms.

You can also organically promote your opt-in forms on your website or blog.

Finally, you can use social media to promote your opt-in forms.

Send Emails to Your List

The final step is to begin sending emails to your list.

Login to your email marketing platform and create a new email.

Add the content you want to include in the email and send it out to your list.

Best Practices for Building an Email List

Now that you know how to build an email list, follow these best practices.

Always Provide Value

The most important best practice is to always provide value.

Your subscribers gave you their email address because they’re interested in what you have to say.

Don’t abuse their trust by sending them irrelevant or sales-heavy emails.

Instead, focus on providing value in every email you send.

It could include helpful tips, interesting information, or exclusive content.

Leverage Automation and Autoresponders

Automation can help you send emails to your subscribers without having to do it manually every time.

Autoresponders can help you send a series of emails to new subscribers automatically.  

Both of these features can save you a lot of time and help you build better relationships with your subscribers.

Clean Your Email List Often

Keeping your list clean will help improve your deliverability rate and ensure that your emails go to people who want to read them.

To clean your list, log in to your ESP and look for the “Inactive Subscribers” or “Unengaged Subscribers” report.

Then, remove any subscribers who haven’t interacted with your emails in a while.

Email List Providers: Should I Buy an Email List?

You might wonder if buying an email list will effectively help you earn money.

Let’s explore this option

Why People Buy Email Lists

People buy email lists for a variety of reasons.

The most common reason is that they don’t have the time to build their list.

Another reason is that some people aren’t sure how to go about building one themselves.

As well, some people believe that buying an email list is a shortcut to building a successful business.

The Pros of Buying an Email List

There are some pros to buying an email list.

The most obvious pro is that you’ll get access to a large number of email addresses.

If you’re looking to build a list quickly, this could be a good option for you.

Another pro is that you can target your ideal customer with laser precision.

When you buy an email list, you can specify the type of person you want to reach.

The Cons of Buying an Email List

There are some cons to buying an email list as well.

The most glaring con is that you might violate the law.

The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits sending emails to people who haven’t given you their permission.

Another con is that you could end up with a low-quality list.

A lot of times, people who buy email lists don’t verify the quality of the list.

It can lead to a high number of bounced emails and low engagement rates.

Should I Buy an Email List or Make One Myself?

We recommend that you make one yourself. It might take a little longer, but it’s worth it.

You’ll comply with the law and you’ll build a higher-quality list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s answer three commonly asked questions about building email lists.

Can I create a mass email list in Outlook?

You can create a mass email list in Outlook by selecting “People.”

Click on “New Contact Group,” name the group, select the contacts to add to the group, and then click on “Save.”

Can I create a mass email list in Gmail?

To create a mass email list in Gmail, find the “Google Contacts” section.

Click on “Contacts” and select your desired email addresses.

Name your group and save the group.

Can I create a mass email list using Excel?

To create a mass email list in Excel, Microsoft recommends that you follow the same Outlook directions above.

Create your group and then copy the email addresses from your Excel sheet.

Wrapping Up

An email list is one of the most important assets your business can build.

It allows you to stay in touch with prospects and customers, promote new products and services, and build relationships that result in more sales.

Do you have further questions?

Please ask them in the comments below.

If you’re ready to start building your email list, decide on an email service provider and follow its directions.

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