Why You Need to Build an Email List – And How to Get Started

Digital marketers have more means to reach customers than ever before. Not only do we have new platforms and channels to interact with customers and fans, we also have access to large amounts of data. This data highlights unique customer trends and usage patterns we might not have noticed previously.

Even with social media platforms and new technology like AI, VR, video and chatbots getting lots of attention, digital marketers know that some things never change: email is still the most valuable digital channel; it is still king.

Email marketing is still going strong today, and is possibly the best possible communication strategy for your business. It has evolved over the past few years. New technology has made it possible for digital marketers to do more with emails and distribution lists. We’re now seeing more interactive elements as part of everyday campaigns. Marketers are also more conscious of the different devices their customers are using to read their messages.

Benefits of Building an Email List

The benefits of building an email list are too great to ignore. An email list can have a mind-blowing impact on your website’s traffic and revenue. 

Building your email list should be a top priority if your goal is to communicate regularly with your customers. 

Because email subscribers joined your email list from your website and verified their identity by clicking on a link (double-optin), they are more inclined towards what you have to offer. This is why they are more likely to convert into paying customers.

Here are some strong reasons why building an email list is so important:

  1. Deliver value to your subscribers
    Due to the nature of social media, your subscribers are much more likely to miss your update in their feed than your message in their inbox. An email list is the perfect way to deliver amazing little treats to your subscribers. The moment someone opts in to your email list, you have the chance to truly win them over to become a regular. Each time you show up in their email inbox, you have the opportunity to offer them those delicious little treats that just make their day special. This is why email lists are important and much more effective at getting your message in front of your customer than social media.
  2. Stay At The Forefront of Their Minds
    96% of the people who visit your website aren’t ready to buy yet. So, even if you’ve got the perfect product or service to offer, they’re not going to take action until they feel prepared and ready to invest…don’t let them forget you in the meantime! Use your email list to stay fresh and present, reminding them that you exist and have the solution that they’re looking for.
  3. Grow Your Business Without Breaking The Budget
    Businesses and budgets go hand in hand. None of us are cheap skates, just thrifty! We’re in business to make money. And a budget is often stretched in too many directions, all at once. Luckily, there are a lot of free list-building tools and resources that you can use right off the bat to get started without breaking the bank.
  4. Build A Successful Business…Naturally
    The benefits of building an email list aren’t confined to developing a stronger sense of trust with your clients. Rather, building a strong, consistent relationship with your audience tends to result in something pretty spectacular: a stronger income and loyal clients. There are so many awesome stories of new business owners who quickly built up a 5-figure business through the power of their email list. There are others who stress that the time they spent focusing on building an email list the right way ultimately allowed them to live the life they were longing for.

Never Buy An Email List

It may seem tempting to buy an email list over building one organically, but buying an email list is never a good idea.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.

What would you do if you receive an email from a company you’ve never heard of? At best, delete it. At worst, mark it as spam. Either way, sending emails to people who haven’t asked to receive them from your brand is a bad idea. Plus, it’s unlikely they’re interested in your products if they’ve never been to your website.

Not only could you be breaking the law — it’s likely to violate the CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S. and GDPR in the EU due to not obtaining expressed consent from the recipient — it’s also unlikely to get you the results you’re looking for.

You rarely get what you pay for when you buy an email list.

How To Create Your Mailing List

Once you’ve aligned the benefits of building an email list with your own mission and purpose, it’s time for action. The best strategy is to take it one day at a time, and use a trusted method to get started.

Here is a step-by-step guide to creating your mailing list.

  1. Tap into your network
    Even if you have zero names on your email list right now, you can probably think of at least 10 people in your network who would be interested in receiving your newsletters.
    Send an email to contacts in your network asking permission to add them to your email newsletter list. You need to retain records of securing permission for compliance.
  2. Optimize your subscription forms
    One of the first steps in building and managing your email list is to create what are called “subscribe forms” to capture your customers’ details. This could be in the form of a popup, a static web form, or a specially designed landing page. The design, copywriting, and position of these forms are crucial if you want a good signup rate.
    Only ask for what you need…a name and email address should be all that you need to get started.
    People think, ‘In order to build my segmented lists I need all the demographic information up front.’ That’s not the case. If you want to build segments and get hyper personalized with your email marketing, there are ways to pull that information out of the user based on their actions and what they read or view on your website. 
  3. Incentivize signup
    People normally don’t give away their contact details for free. You need to offer them an incentive and provide value. This could be in the form of a lead magnet, a webinar, a giveaway or a competition.
    What’s important is that you recognize the submission of personal information as a kind of currency exchange in its own right. You have to offer something of equal value if you want people to go through with it. Don’t be afraid to change up your offer from time to time.
    Many marketers offer a free eBook download or a whitepaper in exchange for your email information. You may be able to offer a free trial, free sample, or discount that can be used in your online store.
  4. Use Content Marketing
    One of the best ways to reach out to customers to build your email list is to give them something they value, something teachable. Share knowledge about the industry or what you’ve identified they are interested in through blogs, and prompt them to leave their email addresses to get more of it. In short, lead with something free and they’re sure to return. 
    Offer unparalleled blog content. This serves as a way to bring people into your site as well as an incentive to subscribe (to receive future content updates and/or exclusive content).
    Add multiple call-outs for email subscription on your blog, including a sidebar form, popup, and even in-line forms.
  5. Make it easy to share
    Word-of-mouth marketing drives results. People are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend. And what better way to grow your email list than to get your current subscribers to share your newsletters with their friends and family?
    Imagine that someone shares a feature of your email, like a coupon code or a piece of content. All of his or her social contacts will see this message, and if they enjoy it or profit from it, then they’ll have a natural inclination to join your email list for future offers.
    Sharing isn’t just about getting more email subscribers to engage with your content, it’s also about getting more people interested in becoming customers.
  6. Use Social Media
    Social media is for connection, not just propagation. It needs to be used to engage existing users (and potential users) and to create a community. If you see people interacting with your posts, run campaigns that offer them benefits, nudge them to become part of the community, and then gently ask them for their email addresses.
  7. Create personalized CTAs (call-to-action) for each blog or landing page.
    People visiting your blog post or web page are looking for something specific, so your CTA needs to meet those unique needs. For instance, if you’ve got a ton of traffic visiting your “List-Building Strategy” blog post, you should entice those people to subscribe to your email list by including a simple CTA like: “Click here to download a free list-building toolkit.”
    Your email newsletter won’t feel like a gimmicky advertisement if you offer content directly related to your visitor’s needs. Instead, it will feel helpful and valuable — key principles for a long-term customer retention plan.

We have given you more than enough reasons to stop mulling and start taking action for your own mailing list. As a time-tested marketing method, email continues to be the most reliable and effective tool to bet your company resources on.

If you have any tips and experiences you would like to share regarding email lists, we’d love to hear them. Our comments section below are waiting for your feedback.

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