How to Build an Email List for Your Marketing Campaign

Jan 19, 2022
If you are a business owner or marketer, you probably already know about the effectiveness of email marketing for communication with your customers and increasing engagement and conversions.

However, how successful your email marketing campaigns are will depend on not only the size but also the quality of your mailing list. Keep reading to find out more about what an email list is and how to build one that is going to help you get the best results for your company.

How to Build a List – What is an Email List?

If you have heard about how useful email marketing is for business but aren’t sure to get started, then you’re not alone. To start out, it’s important to define exactly what an email list is. Simply put, your email list refers to a list of people who have provided you with their email addresses and permission to send marketing content to them. There are many different ways that you can put an email list together including purchases, in-store visits, sign-up forms on your website or blog, landing pages on social media, events, and more. If you have ever seen a pop-up window on a website asking you to subscribe to a newsletter, or a form inviting you to sign up for more related content after reading a blog article, then you are already aware of some of the most common methods that companies use to build their mailing lists.

You can create an email list with most email service providers by choosing the option to ‘Create New List’. Name your list and start adding subscribers by inputting their email addresses. Most ESPs provide the option to import email addresses from files such as spreadsheets. Once you have created your list, the next step is to create a signup form to begin harvesting email addresses on your website.

To start with, make sure that you have one or two must-have fields for your sign-up form, such as a first name and email address. Consider adding fields that gather more information about your subscriber so that you can segment your list into different groups to personalize messages and ensure that your subscribers are receiving relevant content. Adding a list to the checkout process is an ideal way to offer more personalization as you can also gather data on the products that this subscriber has purchased or added to their basket.

Getting Started With Building Email List

An email list or mailing list refers to a list of individual email addresses that you have gained permission to send email marketing messages to. You can build an email list in a number of different ways, and they may include people who have subscribed via your website, purchased a product from you, signed up for a subscription or service, or even people who have given you their details at an event. For marketers and business owners, building an email list is one of the most important things to focus on, for two main reasons:

Get Your Brand, Products, and Services Seen

Whether your emails contain offers and discounts to drive sales, updates on the latest products you offer, invitations to events, or something else, focusing on building your email list ultimately results in more people being aware of your products and services and clicking through to sign up or purchase.

Keep Your List Up to Date

Occasionally, email addresses will become invalid. People might change their work email addresses as they move to a different job, and people might move platforms to something more modern such as Gmail. Focusing your time and energy on building and maintaining your email list will help you ensure that you keep it up to date and avoid emails going to addresses where they are never opened.

How to Build an Email List for Marketing

Building a high-quality list does not require many skills or qualifications, however, you will need to be prepared to be patient and persevere, as it’s not usually something that can be done overnight. You can use a two-step process to build your email list.

Step One: Create Subscribe Opportunities

The first step to building your email list is to make sure that it is easy and simple for people to subscribe. Some of the best ways to create subscriber opportunities include:

  1. Your website: If most of your customer interactions happen on your website, including a subscribe form in the footer or somewhere else that is prominent on your website is one of the best ways to build your email list. You can also include the signup list in the checkout or signup process or in the contact form. If you provide information via a blog, this is another great place to consider adding your subscribe form since people who subscribe to your blog are likely to be some of your most valuable readers.
  2. Social media: If you have built a social media following, it’s a good idea to consider converting them into email subscribers. There are various methods that you can use to allow people to subscribe to your email list from your social channels including posting links to your subscribe form frequently and using lead generation strategies such as Facebook Lead Ads and Twitter Lead Generation Cards. You can also use organic activities – schedule Reels and gather leads in comments. 
  3. Email signatures: Bear in mind that you are already likely to be sending out emails to people who are not subscribed to your marketing campaign, such as product confirmation emails to your eCommerce customers. These emails are likely to be highly engaged with, which makes them an ideal place to insert links to become a subscriber to your newsletter and learn more.
  4. In-person: For some companies, in-person interactions are the best ways to get email subscribers. For example, if you run a retail store, you can get your employees to ask each customer at the point of sale if they would like to join the email list in return for a small discount on their purchase.

Step Two: Offer Valuable Incentives

Once you have made it as easy as possible for people to subscribe to your email list with a variety of different options to do so, the next step is to incentivize them to provide their information. There are plenty of different options for incentivizing your customers to join your email list, and the right one for your business will depend on the type of company and products or services that you offer. Some of the best incentive options to consider include:

  1. Content: If you run a blog or attract visitors using other content marketing techniques, offer high-quality and exclusive content to people in return for joining your mailing list. For example, you can offer to send an e-book or content that is not available anywhere else online.
  2. Offers and discounts: If you sell products online, discounts and offers can be a great way to encourage more people to join your email list. For example, once people sign up to receive marketing emails from you, their first email could be a voucher code that they can then use to get money off their next purchase on your site.
  3. Early access and exclusive promotions: If your business has built up a lot of brand awareness and a large following, offering exclusive promotions and early access in return for subscribing to your email list can be a great way to get more subscribers.

What to Consider When Building an Email Marketing List

When building your email marketing list, it’s important to remember that an email list with quality subscribers is more important than having a lot of email addresses. When it comes to building your email list, quality should always rule over quantity, for many reasons. A quality subscriber is more likely to engage with your emails and click through to make purchases or engage with your content.

To make sure that you are building an email list that delivers the right content to the right recipients, it’s important to gather more than just email addresses. The more insights that you have into your customers, the easier it will be for your brand to deliver highly relevant, useful content that will keep your subscribers happy. The more information you can gather, the more successful your strategies will be, as this will allow you to optimize content for certain segments of your email list. In order to do this, consider designing email subscription forms that capture further information at the same time as getting names and email addresses. Consider adding some extra fields that help you to find out more about your customers such as their gender, occupation, location, opinion of your brand, and more.

However, bear in mind that making subscription forms longer might reduce the number of people who subscribe, so only include custom fields that you are actually going to use to segment and target your email campaigns. Alternatively, you could send out surveys to gather this information once you have gained a subscriber.

Getting started with building an email marketing list can be easier than you think, with plenty of different options to gather high-quality subscribers.

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