Email Marketing: How to Build an Email List from Scratch

Today we’re going to be talking about one of the most important things that you can do for your business or blog and that’s building an email list. Did you know that email one of the highest return on investments come from email marketing? For every $1 spent you can expect to see on average about a $38 return on

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investment and that’s just one of the advantages of email marketing, so if you’re just starting out and don’t know where to begin, or if you’ve simply been wanting to grow your email list for a while but just aren’t sure how, then you’re in exactly the right place. In this article,  we’re going to cover everything you need to know about building your email list from scratch. We’re going to be talking about:

  • What an email list is
  • Why it’s important
  • How to get started.

Before we dive into the really juicy parts, let’s define what an email list is.

1. What is an Email List

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An email list is a collection of email addresses that you have permission to send marketing messages to. Think of it like your own VIP Club, but instead of saving them champagne and fancy hors d’oeuvres, you’re sending them out your personalized marketing content. Now, the key here is permission . Simply buying email lists or adding people to your list without their knowledge,  is a big No-No and can lead to some serious legal consequences and a badly damaged reputation.

2. Why It’s Important

So what is it about an email list that makes it so valuable exactly. Well for starters it allows you to communicate with the audience directly, unlike with a third-party platform like social media, in turn this gives you much more control over your marketing and allows you to build a much stronger relationship with your subscribers. Let’s not forget about the conversion rates. Email marketing has an average conversion rate of 2.3% (percent) compared to just 1% (percent) of social media.

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So, in Practical terms that means, if you have a list of 1000 subscribers, you can expect to convert 23 of those into paying customers, but I’d say that, the most important reason to own and build an email list, is that, it’s an asset that you own again, unlike social media, it’s like the Golden Goose that keeps on giving your email list something you can use for years to come to generate revenue and build your business. So now we know exactly what an email list is and why it’s so important. Now let’s move on to the fun part: how to build one from scratch, but before we get into the actual execution there are a few steps that we need to take first. Building your email list is kinda similar to making a new friend when you first meet. You really want to make a good impression, and find some shared interests, and it’s the same with email marketing. When somebody comes across your brand, it’s up to you to find that common connection and find that spark that gets their interest. It’s like you and me, we both have an interest in marketing and building an email list and that’s why we’re becoming good friends, because we are, right?

What Makes a Great List in Email Marketing

Engaging this parameters, the best email list can be built.

  • Know what your audience wants.
  • Provide them with offers that they will like.
  • Make subscription easy for your potential subscribers
  • Provide them constantly with engaging content.

(a). Know What Your Audience Wants.

So let’s work backwards through that. First things first,

(i). You need to know your audience more than you know your favorite coffee order

(ii). Who are they

(iii). What do they like

(iv). what keeps them up at nice, besides being watching Netflix series.


Once you have a handle on what it is that they’re looking for, you can create offers so irresistible that they’ll be more than willing to give you their email address. So, back to creating offers.

(b). Provide Them with Offers That They Will Like.

People are always looking for things that will help them whether it’s an ebook, free whitepaper,  a discount code, or maybe exclusive access to some content as  


relevant to them, they’ll be interested. Once they see and are interested in your offer, you need to make it super easy for them to opt in as soon as possible.

(c). Make subscription easy for your potential subscribers.

Always having a subscription option there in the right place at the right time and once you’re up and running, and they’ve signed up, you need to keep your audience engaged with regular relevant content, otherwise, their eyes might wander towards that unsubscribe button and finally before building your email marketing list be sure to Define your email marketing strategy.

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(d). Provide Them Constantly with Engaging Content.

Think about questions like:

(i). What will your welcome email look like.

(ii). How often will you be sending emails to your subscribers.

(iii). What are you gonna do in the long run to keep them engaged.

Be organized. Don’t just jump in blind, without a plan establish, a clear content strategy before building your email list, so that you can offer strong compelling content from day one as soon as they sign up. Now to the nitty-gritty how to build your email list from scratch

3. How to Build Your Email List from Scratch.

So, an important preface, just before we start the most important time to ask people for their email, is when they’re highly engaged with your content, and we’re going to go through some of the best ways to do that right now first and foremost


(a).  Add Sign Up Forms to Your Website

Add signup forms to your website. Every page on your website could be seen as an opportunity to build your list, but you have to make it easy for your visitors to find. Infact, it should be so easy that your grandma or granddad should be able to find it.

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No offense Grandma. Generally speaking the more opt-in forms you have on your website, the higher the chance that you’re going to turn your visitors into subscribers, but remember, it’s key not to interrupt their user experience too much.

(b).  Personalize your CTA (Call-TO-Action)

Let’s be honest, a generic Personalize your CTA (Call-TO-Action) sign up form is kind of like a plain bag with no toppings it’s boring. so be sure to personalize your CTA, to match the needs and desires of your audience. You can try something like “Get 30 days for free try it now” or ” Get 40% off, Claim my free chocolate biscuit.” whatever it is that works for you, and if you feel it’s appropriate, you could try and lighten the tone a little bit. Make it light-hearted, add some humor some sarcasm. Try and put a bit of a smile on  their faces, and make it a more unique experience for them. It might just encourage them more to make that click now.

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(c).  Create Pop-Ups

Let’s talk about pop-ups, and I know what you might be thinking “not another pop-up.” I know, but hear me out on this one. The right one can be like a little sprinkle of magic dust, that really encourages people to sign up to your list, in fact, studies show, that when pop-ups are used at the right times, they can increase conversion rates by 40%. 40%! that’s a pretty decent number right? So, maybe you should reconsider all that hate that you might have had towards pop-ups and start using them to build your email lists. Just make sure, they’re not too intrusive and easy to close.


Nobody likes the pushy ones. There are a few ways you can actually use pop-ups that minimize Interruption, for example, GetResponse, you can set the timing if when the pop-up arrives, give your visitors some time to read your content, before triggering the pop-up or maybe trigger one just as they’re about to leave their website. Pretty awesome right? next up use lead magnets to add value.

 (d).  Use Lead Magnets to Add Value.

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Use lead magnets to add value. Yeah! but what’s in it for me? We’ve all heard this question, and to be fair, there’s a lot of truth to it. It’s natural to want to know what the benefit is to us. A lead magnet is an item or a service that’s given away for free in exchange for somebody’s contact details. It’s nice to add a little bit of an incentive into the mix. Kinda like dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit, and I’m gonna keep dropping these metaphors in, until you smash that “Subscribe” button. So whether it’s a downloadable guide, a free e-book, exclusive access to a podcast, the key is make signing up worth the effort, and let’s not forget about Online and offline events.

 (e).  Online and Offline Events.

Online and offline events, they can be an absolute gold mine for building your email list. Whether you’re hosting a virtual event, or mingling in person when it comes to online events, you could for example host a webinar, where you’re covering some of the key pain points that your target audience has, and for them to sign up, they have to provide you with their email address, I mean that’s a pretty cool way of capturing some new email addresses and getting some leads, and the same goes for offline events, because believe it or not, people do actually exist outside the digital world still.

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Shocking I know, so if you have a physical address, or you’re attending offline events, make sure that you’re always building that email list. Remember, once you acquire the email addresses, don’t forget to follow up with that killer email that’s going to encourage the click. So whether you’re signing on digitally, or shaking hands, don’t miss that opportunity to reel in new subscribers and build that deeper connection with your potential customers.

(f).  Use Social Media.

Another great way to build your list, is the use of social media. In order to use social media, all of your Social channels and your outbound marketing initiatives, can be linking back to custom built landing pages, specifically designed to capture those email address. We know that social media is a powerful platform to build your business and your brand, and so is email marketing. So why not combine forces with social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, etc.

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There’s always a place to include a link that drives people to your landing page, but remember, you’ve always got to be incentivizing that click, so be sure that on the other side, there’s something of value waiting for them, whether it’s a contest, a giveaway or exclusive access to some free downloadable content, to grab their attention.

(g). Optimize Your Landing Pages.

Finally, be sure to optimize your landing pages. Pages are like the VIP lounge of your website, the way the cool kids hang out. AKA your potential email subscribers. So, make sure that they’re on point.

  • Use clear and attention-grabbing headlines.
  • Benefit driven
  • Simple form fields.
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It’s kind of like creating a killer dating profile, you want to put your best foot forward and attract the right match and here’s some great news, GetResponse makes it easy for you to design your own custom landing pages, or you can choose from a selection of pre-designed templates, so you can be up and running in a matter of minutes by following these tips. You’re well on your way to building a top-notch email list and remember, email marketing is about building that relationship with your subscribers, so treat them like the VIPs they are and watch your email list sorting New Heights. Honestly, there are so many more strategies tips and tricks to go through, that we haven’t even covered today. So, if you’re interested be sure to subscribe to our blog and check out other additional related resources. There you have it “the basics of building an email list from scratch” and now that you have all of this knowledge what are you waiting for.

Get out there and build a thriving email list and use it to help achieve your business goals! And if you’re looking for an easy to use email service provider then be sure to check out GetResponse. We offer a wide range of tools and features, to help you grow and engage your email list. In our next article, we’re going to be diving into how to manage your email lists and keep it clean. This is a critical step in building a successful email list. So be sure to check in. Thanks for your time.  If you like this article, be sure to hit that subscribe button to get notified for more tips and tricks.  Happy marketing !

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