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How to Build an Email List in 5 Simple Steps

Building an email list is easy. All you have to do is slap a sign-up form on your website with an offer for some free stuff and the subscribers will come flocking, right?


Things aren’t as simple as that. If you want people to trust you with their email address, you have to prove that it’s worth it for them.

Given that it’s a great digital media strategy for businesses, we take a look at 5 simple steps you can use to build an email list of engaged subscribers who will look forward to opening (and acting on) your emails.

Step #1: Create Compelling Marketing Offers

Email remains one of the best ways to engage an audience and entice them to join your email list. Building this list is ridiculously simple when you follow the correct process.

Remember that time you signed up for an email list just to get a free PDF? Or that time you gave your email in exchange for a 20% discount? You did those things because the offer was just too good to pass up on. The same thing is needed to happen if you want to build a bigger email list.

Your first step is to create one or more marketing offers and lead magnets. A lead magnet is a special piece of content that you can offer your audience in exchange for their contact information.

This can be anything relevant to them, such as:

  • PDFs (white papers, e-books, reports, etc.)
  • Spreadsheets, checklists, etc.
  • Email courses
  • Free samples/trials
  • Discount coupons
  • Free consultation

With a compelling marketing offer, you will have a proven way to generate leads for your business online. You can also try different marketing tools like showcasing offers and reaching plenty of people by sending bulk emails in Gmail.

A good example that’s straight to the point with no long signup forms would be from 3Wishes – an eCommerce store that sells costumes, Valentine’s Day lingerie, and many more. Their lead magnet is a 10% off for people who give their email addresses.

Regardless of the industry you’re in, you can easily find out the type of content or offer that will resonate the most with your audience. Not only will this entice your customers to join your list but it will increase customer satisfaction once you give out things they are interested in.

If you’re still unsure, simply look at your top three competitors, and find out what type of offers they use in their email lead generation efforts. You can then do something similar (but hopefully better) for your own campaign.

Surveys are a good way to attain this information too. It’s a good initiative to have since the answer comes directly from the people you are trying to pitch. You are increasing your chances of conversion.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have the knowledge, skills, or desire to create the lead magnet and incorporate it into your application or website, you can always hire software developers and web developers, to do this work more efficiently and with quality.

Step #2: Use High-Converting Landing Pages

Once you have your marketing offer, it’s time to create a landing page that is designed to boost your conversions. Landing pages have played a significant role in any marketer’s journey. It has helped create sales, convert prospects, and answered cart abandonment problems.

The design of your landing page will depend on your specific marketing objectives, but the goal will be the same: conversions.

Also, your landing page can have secondary goals. For instance, your landing page is primarily for building an email list, but the landing page can also be used to direct sales purchases, as well.

An example of this concept in action would be a website that sells online marketing courses. They might offer free content, as in the example below:

And then, after someone signs up for the freebie, they are presented with a one-time-offer (OTO) on the “Thank You” page with a special discount for one of their digital marketing courses:

This is an important aspect of a landing page that can help increase the conversion rates for your marketing campaigns and also lower your cost for acquiring each lead or sale.

There are tons of standalone landing page creators that you can use, such as Instapage or Unbounce. But, most email marketing software offers this feature, which means you don’t have to add any more tools to your marketing stack.

For instance, ConvertKit and MailChimp have built-in drag-and-drop landing page builders that you can use to create stunning pages for your email generation.

And the best part is that you don’t have to know anything about web design, video editing, or learn a single line of code to create professional landing pages for your email during this campaign.

Of course, you have the option of using pop-ups or sign-up forms directly on your website or webinar hosting pages, etc. (depending on where you’re generating emails from), but you will have better results with dedicated landing pages.

This is due mainly to the fact that on a simple pop-up form, you don’t have enough space to share the benefits or convince the reader of what they stand to gain by opting into your list (what’s in it for them).

This makes it easy for readers to dismiss your form or pop-up form, and that will ultimately impact conversions.

Step #3: Create Your “Thank You” Email

As soon as your subscribers sign up, you must send them a thank you email. This doesn’t need to be done manually every time, you can utilize an email campaign management tool to automate this whole process.

This email should be designed to supplement your landing page. This means that the email design should be on-brand and consistent with all your other marketing materials.

Every marketer and business owner knows how important branding is. It’s crucial to maintain brand consistency so that your subscribers are not confused about where they landed after clicking on your offer. In other words, your thank you email should be a confirmation of whatever action your user just took.

So, in this case, if your offer is to download an ebook, your email should contain the following two things:

  1. Some text thanking them for downloading the e-book
  2. The link for downloading the ebook

Make sure you choose the best colors and designs for marketing in your emails. And remember, your thank-you email does not have to be complicated and overly formal. It can be as simple as the example below:

Hi [[Name]],

 Thank you for downloading our Guide to Predictive Dialing Software PDF.

 You can access it here at any time.

 All the best,

The Close Team

Your email can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. You can add multiple calls to action, as well as any other pertinent information your readers will find valuable.

Play around with different elements to find out what works best for your brand.

Important Note: If you used multiple marketing offers, you can set the email copy differently depending on which one your subscriber signed up for. This is powerful as it lets you customize each thank you email so that it’s hyper-relevant to the offer. It’s a great way to add value and it helps maintain employee engagement.

Step #4: Personalization and Placement

First off, if you haven’t been using personalization strategies for building your email list, you’re missing out on a lot of conversions. Personalization has been used by various companies of different sizes. Multinational companies leverage it to keep customers coming back. At the same time, small companies use it to get more customers to try them out.

The logic behind personalization is that customers tend to do business with companies that relate to them and understand their needs. Once businesses hit the pain points of these customers and they present a solution for them, these people will be quick to transact with them.

So how do you use personalization to your advantage when increasing your email list? Here are different ways to do so:

Suggest relevant products or services

One way to know what products or services your customers want would be by looking at their purchase history. This is the perfect initiative if you haven’t talked to your customers personally. Looking at the purchase history of a customer can tell a lot of things about what they like about your business.

Use this information to your advantage to show that your business knows what they want. Provide relevant products or pitch new services that they may like to avail. You can then write a short sentence stating that if they want to have more relevant suggestions and be updated on new products, they can join your email list.

Provide hacks and tips for the product they purchased

This is one of the most fun things to incorporate into your business process. Showing your customers that there are other utilities and better ways of usage of your product that they purchased will delight them.

These things could be something they have never thought of. In fact, it could have given some new ideas for them, which they will be grateful for. This indirectly helps your relationship with them and their affinity to your business.

Lead them to interesting contents

After their purchase, you can suggest great contents that are related to their purchase. For example, if they bought a certain outfit, entice them to read up on the different occasions they can wear it to or the style they can mix it up with.

Initiatives like this display your knowledge and expertise to your customers. Sometimes, this is more than enough for them to crave for more of your suggestions. And the only way they get consistent content from you is through your email list.

After incorporating a personalization strategy, it’s time to determine where you can place a sign-up call to action. Wherever you place it, it’s always better to put it on a spot where it’s visible to many.

Here are a few different places where you can place your sign-up calls to action:

  • Your homepage
  • Blog post sidebar (image CTA)
  • “About” page
  • Bio page
  • Your “Contact” page
  • Your website header
  • A popup on your site

Among all of those places, the home page of a website is the most common. Businesses usually highlight their best products and services on their homepage to engage any customer or prospect. To keep the curiosity and engagement going, they also pitch their newsletter as the customer scrolls down further down the home page.

A good sign-up call to action with a style of personalization would be from High Desert Pure. Not only did they dedicate a space for it on their home page but they gave their customers the option of what information they would like to receive – would they like to know more about CBD or THC?

But regardless of where you place your sign-up calls to action, make sure you choose marketing offers that provide tons of value to your readers and you will be able to experience explosive growth in your list-building efforts.

Just do your best not to overdo it though, as this may prove overwhelming for your readers.

So, keep your call to action to just 2-4 spots on your website. And make sure you use the double opt-in process, so you know you only have subscribers on your list who want to be there.

Over time, this will help you prevent a lot of spam complaints, as well as avoid wasting time sending emails to random email addresses that never get opened and bring down your email open rates.

And remember to use email segmentation as a way to help you send relevant information to each subscriber on your list. This strategy is often looked at by many businesses but the impact that it does is just massive.

As you can see, the list of places to add email signup CTAs is vast and you are only limited by your imagination.

Step #5: Distribute Your Offer Everywhere

Most people mistake creating a compelling marketing offer, high converting landing page, and a stellar thank you page – only to post their offer once on social media and then call it a day.

This is not how you achieve great results in your email list-building efforts. Keep in mind that not everyone will see your post at the time you publish it (wherever you publish it), and so you have to work hard to get it in front of the eyes of your target audience.

This goes for everywhere your audience hangs out, not just on social media.

Here are a few tips you can follow to help maximize your reach so you can create a list quickly:

  • Add call-to-action buttons across your site, including the homepage, sidebar, and your posts.
  • Add links to your landing pages on your main navigation menu and page footers.
  • Share your landing page directly on your social media posts.
  • Ask viewers to subscribe to your email in your YouTube video intro.
  • Share your landing page with your current email subscribers.
  • Use email marketing automation tools like Meet Edgar, RecurPost, and Buffer to automatically recycle your posts.
  • Use your signup call to action everywhere, even on order confirmation emails.
  • And remember to limit sign-up detail requirements to make it more likely that your audience will actually complete the action and become subscribers.

Bonus: Best Practices for Building An Email List

To further help you with your email list building, below are different best practices that you should take note of.

Best Practice #1: Don’t purchase email subscribers

We get it, you want to keep the ball rolling and you want this particular figure to inflate but buying an email list is not the right way to do so. It’s inorganic and will not help your business in any form.

So instead of going the easy route, it’s always a more satisfying feeling when you’re able to build an engaged email list from the ground up. These are subscribers that really want to read your content and get information from you.

Best Practice #2: Send a welcome email

If you want your new subscribers to feel like they’re part of an exclusive group or a list that feels like family, send them a welcome email. Use their name, and make them feel welcome. Some businesses even give out small offerings like discounts to show appreciation to the person.

Best Practice #3: Aim for quality emails

You know how the saying goes, quality over quantity. The quality of your email should be your top priority rather than thinking about how many emails you’ve sent to the list this month. Always aim to give out content that’s relevant, informative, or entertaining. Give out what your customers want and enjoy.


Email marketing has been around for a long time. And although marketing techniques continue to evolve, building an email list doesn’t have to be complicated.

Simply follow the 5 steps outlined in this article to help you grow your list quickly and effectively, even when starting from scratch.

 Which of the 5 steps outlined above have you taken to start building your email list? Which do you find most challenging? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Author Bio

Burkhard Berger is the founder of awesomex™. You can follow him on his journey from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors on His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures.