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How to Start Building an Email List to Grow Your Business?

(Last Updated On: February 29, 2016)

Email list building is one of the most popular prospect engagement and customer acquisition strategies in the marketing world. As online marketing is evolving, the importance of email marketing is getting bigger and bigger.

If you haven’t had a chance to grab some insights on the email list building, then you probably feel stunned after reading this article, because I’ve compiled some statistics, examples, and facts under the pile to share it with you.

Still not very clear about email marketing?

According to wikipedia, email marketing is a direct marketing to a group of people using email, whereas, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing.

Want to know about an email list?

The email list is a list of people with their email addresses and names collected by the users’ consent through engagement and sales channels. Email marketing is purely based on the email list building and utilizing the interested audience as prospects to engage, convince, and convert.

Although, the ultimate profit or monetization concept comes when the subscribers of the list purchase the products sold or recommended by the email list owner, but it (email marketing) doesn’t necessarily revolve around getting sales via email list.

In an ethical and moral way, it should be taken as a community building process, not a sales channel.

People join email lists of experts, bloggers, and entrepreneurs because they like what they share with their audience, and if affiliate sales and commission become the ultimate goal, then it might hurt the subscribers growth and people could leave the list.


Don’t be upset…

You can still make money off of your email list.

Every problogger does. You should do it too.

But, money making shouldn’t be the main focus. It could be the secondary and unimportant part in your whole strategy, otherwise, it could hurt your brand’s reputation.

In this article, you’ll find everything about email list building…

Hop in…

Before I get to the main and the most important part, I don’t want to miss three factors that people don’t really tell and even care to reveal…

But, here, it’s not going to happen.

Take a look at four factors in email list building that you should not ignore:

  1. Identify the Right Audience

It’s pretty much related to niche selection. If you’re targeting the wrong audience on your blog, you won’t be able to build an audience on your list. The relevancy of audience is a must. The identification of right audience would only be possible if you know who to target and how to target them. If you want to build an email list with the intention in mind to gather people with online marketing interest, you can’t build that list on a tech-related blog.

  1. Community Building

You can’t build an email list if you don’t consider the group of people associated with you as a community. People might start opting to your list, but when there would no gratitude and affection from either side, the bond will never be built because a relationship between an expert and a reader is always built on the mutual respect and care. The email marketing companies use personalization feature in their software which allows senders (list owners) to add the First name or Last name of the receiver (subscriber).

  1. Value-driven Campaign

This is extremely important. No matter what niche you’re in, if your ideas and suggestions aren’t realistic and value-oriented, you won’t be able to attract the masses. People want to digest the value and leave the rest of it. Why don’t you produce something really helpful?

  1. Problem-solving Content

When did you search on google last time? Probably, a day or two ago when you wanted to know something. It means when you need to solve a problem, you look for a solution. So, it means readers always want solutions and answers, hence, providing them that will change the game for you.

Some of us learn the hard way.

I learned the hard way.

You shouldn’t…

These factors might not look very important to an average list builder, but as you get experienced with the passage of time, you’ll teach the same ethics and standards to the clients and audience.

Do you know Jim Cavale considered list building as one of the key strategies of growing a business?

He is the founder of Iron Tribe Fitness, a personal training and fitness management company. He was being interviewed at The EntreLeadership Podcast.

You might find a number of methods to build an email list. Every blogger and internet marketer chooses his/her own way to attract people to join the email list.

There isn’t any concrete or a single way to build a list.

It could be a dozen of methods to do that.

Similarly, there are a few strategies which might implicate on the performance of any email list building campaign. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, doctor, or a musician, a list of your subscribers and prospects will always benefit you because these are the people who opt to the subscription to listen what you have got to say.

4 Strategies to Grow your Email List

Take a look at these strategies:

  1. Deliver without expectations

Email list building isn’t about quick money making. In fact, it doesn’t really go that way. Although, online marketers claim that MONEY IS IN THE LIST. It is actually true, nevertheless, you don’t have to rely on the sales generated by the email list of yours.

Because, somehow you’re forcing people to buy from your affiliate program.

People who like your work and they want to listen to you.

There is no doubt that email list building is a great strategy of prospect engagement and can’t be ignored by the brands, entrepreneurs, and bloggers, but at the same time, you don’t have to go aggressively to make money off of your email list.

So, deliver without expecting them to BUY anything from you.

Some of you could disagree based on their business models, and I’m fine with that. My point is that don’t serve your subscribers because you want affiliate sales from them, serve not to get any return, then see the results.

Be genuine with the people.

  1. Share Valuable Information

When it comes to a free advice and free stuff giveaway, people might feel that why would someone give the most valuable advice ever to someone for free.

You have to build a trust and relationship with your audience (subscribers) so that you could prove yourself that you really give great stuff to them.

Whether it’s your monthly GIVEAWAY or a quarterly Competition to engage the audience, just try to share what you’ve learned and what could help others.

  1. Utilize Tools and Resources

Tools are a great form of resources, whether you’re sharing with the audience, giving it away, or educating people about them. It just attracts people to STOP what they’re doing and listen to you for a second.

People want to know online tools so that they get utilize them to get their work done. Share the tools you use or know. Not only will you attract the audience, but it will help you engage the audience.

From screenshot browser plugin like Nimbus to email marketing software Aweber, share everything you use, it helps people get their work done, and they won’t forget you.

The simplest way to use this strategy is:

  1. Share the tools you personally use
  2. Also, share the tools you know

In that way, you will add up more and more tools in your content as resources. Sometimes, we don’t use certain tools as we have already chosen some alternatives, so we neglect them while mentioning the tools too, don’t do this, you don’t use them, it doesn’t mean others won’t use too… People use it, so your readers might like it too.

  1. Focus on Quality rather than quantity

This is a golden advice. I believe in this. No matter what type of business you’re in, don’t pursue the quantity of email newsletter subscribers to get more value, attention, and eventually MONEY…

It pretty much doesn’t work that way.

Chase the quality. Always.

Suppose, you’re monetizing your email list with affiliate marketing, and all you need a few people to buy that product you’re promoting and you’re aggressively building up your list without taking care of audience type, and you end up seeing no conversion rate off of your list…

This happens because you didn’t focus on the quality of leads.

How would you know that less-quality leads would buy from you?

So, always focus on the relevant and quality audience, rather than the numbers.


How to Start Building an Email List?

After knowing a chunk of advice and strategies, here are some of the methods to actually make people join your list:

  1. Create an Opt-in Bribe for Subscribers

Most of the people start thinking about how they would collect email addresses of the website visitors or blog readers, which isn’t bad, but I want to ask them this:

Why do you think someone would join your email list in the first place?

Do you a list of thousands of subscribers?

Are you a millionaire who spends hundreds of thousands on online advertising?

Maybe, that won’t be the case.

Well, in that scenario, let’s talk about an opt-in bribe.

This is something we have to offer to the prospective customers or blog readers to engage them on our websites in exchange of their email addresses.

List building won’t be completed without understanding and creating an opt-in bribe. People won’t sign up because you’re promising them to send free tips and web templates every month…

They want a quick response and that kind of promise which shows the quick action. You have probably seen bloggers and online marketers share checklists, cheat sheets, templates, and other download stuff to the subscribers.

social media examiner

Social Media Examiner offers a free copy of social media industry report which will be based on many research findings and updates which will help brands find and reach their audience.

An opt-in bribe is something that will make people interested in proceeding with the offer.

You can’t ignore the fact that industry’s top experts and digital marketing professionals use PDF downloadable for email list building.

email list building

Jay Baer also uses an opt-in popup on his blog. He has been one of the best online marketing experts and podcasters.

  1. Showcase the Value of Your Offer

You got to be generous enough to build an email list and put up a great offer.


What’s next?

Actually, you need to be smart as well.

Once you show a little glimpse of your offer, it might be harder for the visitors to walk away.

It means you offer got to be meaningful and that’s you should be working on.

Jon Morrow’s this email teaches us something and that’s a GREAT OFFER.

email list building

You can’t keep the curtains all the way to the bottom.

Show the people what you got.

It doesn’t have a PRICE or AMOUNT OF MONEY which is being delivered.

There has to be any type of striking thing which excites the audience to take ACTION.


CoSchedule is a popular WordPress plugin for managing your publishing calendar in your WordPress.

They offer valuable 10+ marketing guide for FREE which makes readers excited to DOWNLOAD those guides.

This is how CoSchedule is building its email list.

  1. Provide a Platform

This might be one of the overlooked steps in the email list building strategy. You’ll always find the experts talking about the email opt-in boxes, opt-in bribes, sidebars, under-post sign-up boxes, and email marketing companies, but you won’t find many people talking about the PLATFORM.

The platform refers to the place where you actually want to implement your email list building strategies.

Let’s suppose, you’ve launched your website or blog using WordPress. Make sure your site looks great and you’re pumping fresh content at least every week.

That’s not enough!

Do you know successful bloggers and online marketers use SQUEEZE and LANDING PAGES too?

These type of pages could be built to engage the audience and deliver the crystal clear message about the plan.

And, unlike blogs, readers don’t get distracted because of dozen things.

Use LeadPages or Unbounce to create landing pages.

Once you have the right tool to create a landing page or squeeze page, make sure you have a good opt-in bribe product to offer, otherwise the whole plan isn’t worth it.

download pictures

Death To Stock Photos is a unique photography service which has a premium membership as well as a free subscription. They send an email newsletter with a limited number of stock photos to the free subscribers and provide the full access to the paid members.

They provide so much value.

  1. Use the Professional List building Software

The right software is a must.

You can’t build an email list without a great email list making software.

Most of the times you need a paid edition of the email list software.

There are two elements of a list building software:

  1. Autoresponder: Some of the email list softwares don’t offer autoresponder feature in the free edition such as MailChimp, whereas Aweber doesn’t have a free edition and they provide autoresponder in all packages. Without autoresponder, it’s really hard to build the list at a good pace. Probably, you can’t get those results without proper automated email messages. These automated emails are also known as drip emails.
  2. Opt-in forms: Opt-in forms are the forms where subscribers sign up. It could be anywhere on the site. The sidebars and under-the-post are generally the popular areas for that kind of opt-in forms. If an email list service doesn’t have that feature, it might be a worry for you because, in that case, you will have to use external WordPress plugins or tools for those opt-in forms generation.

The Last Part

When your everything got in place, the next part comes is the start.

Let’s make a start at this point.

You’ve got a website. It means you have a professional online platform.

You have got a landing page or squeeze page alongside the blog/website to engage the audience.

Make sure you bring the BEST OFFER for your opt-in bribe… because this is something it could be a game-changer.

Use the paid tools for email list building a campaign.

You will observe that every successful online marketer and professional blogger uses paid tools to build the email list and grow the blog.

You have to spend a few dollars to earn some.


Growing an email list isn’t the easiest thing to do, but when you start doing it, you start learning it.

When will you start BUILDING AN EMAIL LIST?

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Ali Raza
An Internet Entrepreneur who converts visitors into customers; A Google & Microsoft Advertising Professional with years of experience in Internet Marketing, Social Media and Blogging.
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