How to Build An Email List: 13 Proven Ways

If you’re anything like me, checking emails is one of the first things you do in the morning.

Email remains one of the best ways to have a conversation. Yes, you’re probably rolling your eyes and pointing to social media and messenger apps.

Well, for starters not everyone has a social media account, but  we all have an email address.

Also, when I get notifications on my messenger app, I expect it to be a message from a friend. I get annoyed when it turns out it’s only a marketing message.

Why is Building An Email List Important?

Emails were always here, but now they are even stronger.

These are the stats that we all know, but bear repeating: by 2023, half of the world’s population will be using email.

Also, the average ROI for every $1 spent on email marketing is $42.

So, email is one of the best ways to have a conversation.

However, if you want to build an email list that will bring in leads that grow your business, you can’t use the same tired tactics of yesteryear.

This is why I’ve put together proven tactics that can build an email list that delivers.

Please note, however, that you need to have valuable content to build an email list. All these tactics rely on high-value content to get people to subscribe.

You can’t expect them to subscribe because you ask them.

Alright, here we go!

Table of Contents

  1. Get New Subscribers with a Lead Magnet
  2. Best Performing Content
  3. Attach a Call-to-Action to Blogs
  4. Include a CTA in Your Email Signature
  5. Build An Email List with Referral Marketing
  6. Build An Email List with Facebook Ads
  7. Email List Building with Facebook Groups
  8. Build An Email List with LinkedIn Groups
  9. Pop-ups For More Effective Email List Building
  10. Build An Email List with Twitter
  11. Host a Webinar
  12. Be Clear On Why People Should Subscribe
  13. Build Your Email List Using a Survey

Let’s start off with a classic. Obviously, it’s lead magnets. However, not all lead magnets are created equal. The best-performing ones tend to be:

  • Cheatsheets
  • Checklists
  • Reports
  • Courses
  • Swipe File
  • Tutorials

You probably know all this. You probably also know that everyone now has a “Course to 10X Your Sales!”

The rule of thumb when it comes to lead magnets is that they should give people a fast victory.

So, let’s go over a couple of crucial features of lead magnets that get email addresses:

  • Immediately provides a solution
  • Solves a troublesome problem. It doesn’t have to be a crucial problem, just one that’s gnawing at them

One of the best examples of an effective lead magnet comes from Master Offline Dating:

“How to attract the right guy in under 30 seconds (without saying a word)” is a compelling offer to women who are looking to date.

It provides an effective solution in a short period of time. It’s practically irresistible.

2.   Best Performing Content

While instant solutions perform really well, Ultimate Guides are also great for attracting qualified subscribers. They far outperform blogs, podcasts or social media when it comes to generating subscribers.

Ultimate Guides are comprehensive pieces of content that contain all the necessary information to achieve a specific goal.

They may take months to create – the best ones include interviews with experts, stats, examples and countless tips to get an edge over competitors.

They are worth the investment because they:

  • Rank well on SERPS
  • Get shared a lot
  • Can be used to create blogs, articles, newsletters, and social media posts

Ultimate Guides provide resources to help people achieve their goals, while building your email list.

3.   Attach a Call-to-Action to Blogs

People who read your blogs are there for a reason – they want to learn more about the topic. This is an ideal opportunity to offer additional content related to the blog.

For example, if your blog on lead generation is attracting a healthy amount of traffic, then offer a free lead generation toolkit.

You could also offer a related piece of exclusive content.

By using related content, you’re giving your readers value. As a result, your subscribers will view your emails as helpful professional advice and not some salesy content.

4.   Include a CTA in Your Email Signature

This is a no-brainer. Make sure that your email signature includes a CTA to an opt-in landing page where they can sign up.

Also, you can include a link to free premium content:

You’re probably emailing tons of people on a daily basis. This is a simple tweak that converts people with whom you are already talking.

Make sure that all of your team members do the same.

5.   Build An Email List with Referral Marketing

Most newsletters have social media share buttons. Take this a step further by adding a button that refers friends.

The button could take them to a landing page where they can refer their friends.

We instinctively trust people who are close to us. This is why referral marketing (link to the blog about referral marketing) is so powerful.

6.   Build An Email List with Facebook Ads

This tactic makes sense if you have a product or service ready for purchase. It doesn’t make too much sense if you’re just starting out and want to create some buzz around your brand.

Use Facebook ads to get to your audience by targeting people who resemble your customers.

Facebook ads are great because they get results almost immediately and are affordable. Also, you can track your ad spent – so you know how much it costs to acquire a new email address.

Facebook ads will prompt people to sign up or make a purchase.

This is how the tactic works:

  • Valuable content (obviously)
  • To use Facebook ads to direct people to a landing page where they enter their email address
  • Once you’ve given your new subscribers content, place them into an email series.

The way this works is quite simple. Let’s take a look at an example:

When we click on this ad to get our case study, we’re taken to a dedicated landing page:

Notice that they’re collecting far more than just an email address. Since they’re offering an extremely useful piece of content, they can get more specific.

Using amazing content, they collect more information about their audience.

7.   Email List Building with Facebook Groups

A large percentage of your audience is on Facebook. Also, you can find a Facebook group for any topic.

This doesn’t mean going into a Facebook group and spamming people to sign up. Instead, you need to be an active member who posts valuable content consistently.

As a result, readers will be interested to learn more about your business. When they hover over your name, they’ll see your work information:

By clicking the link they can head over to your website and subscribe. Make sure that you’ve got an eye-catching lead magnet waiting for them on your website.

Facebook groups are where your audience hangs out. If you post actionable and high-quality content in your Facebook groups, group members will want to subscribe.

Go for tips and tactics that can bring about immediate results. Introduce yourself and post your advice:

The great thing about this tactic is that you’ll build your email list and drive traffic to your website.

Don’t include any call-to-action button – don’t ask for anything. Just provide content.

8.   Build An Email List with LinkedIn Groups

This works much like Facebook groups. Find relevant LinkedIn groups in the search bar by filtering for groups.

Share the same type of content as you would in Facebook groups.

9.   Pop-ups For More Effective Email List Building

This is a touchy subject for many marketers because pop-ups can be annoying. In fact, most are because they are by nature disruptive.

However, when done right, they are effective. According to research from Sumo, the average conversion rate of pop-ups is 3.1%:

Marketers dread using pop-ups because people find them annoying. Note that what people think and what they do are two separate things.

Keep it Simple

Pop-ups that get people subscribing share some crucial features. Let’s compare this pop-up:

With this one:

The one with the minimalistic design performed better – over 30% better!

You may think that the second should have performed better. After all, it has a great offer, it’s attention-grabbing, and is visually appealing.

The first one only had the “Submit” button. So, what gives?

A successful pop-up performs best when it builds on top of value or interacts with content. The readers are enjoying your valuable content. Once they start appreciating the value is when you show the pop-up.

Timing is Everything

Obviously, you wait before displaying a pop-up. Don’t be the annoying salesperson who approaches people as soon as they step inside the store. The odds of you buying anything from them is practically zero.

You want to look through to see if there’s anything you like. The odds increase if they approach you after you’ve had a look around. Or if you’re thinking about buying a product.

The same rule applies to pop-ups. If you don’t want to be a pushy salesperson, then you have 3 options:

  • Trigger a pop-up after 30 seconds
  • Trigger a pop-up once the reader has scrolled more than 50%
  • Trigger a pop-up when the user clicks to exit

Once you get the timing right, make sure that the pop-up is conspicuous.

10.   Build An Email List with Twitter

Leverage your Twitter account properly. Include a CTA in a pinned tweet that will stick to the top of your profile. Your call-to-action tweet is the first thing users see when they view your profile.

Joe Hall explains how it’s done:

Make sure to write an engaging call-to-action the way Joe did.

11.   Host a Webinar

This is one of my favourite ways of building an email list. If you execute this tactic correctly, you’ll build your email list and present yourself as an expert.

It’s also a great way of attracting people who’ve never heard of you.

Webinars are a gold mine for email addresses because they resemble mini-courses. People prefer them over content upgrades.

Attendees use their email addresses to sign up so your email list will grow exponentially.

However, while this tactic gets results, it also requires time and preparation. After all, most webinars last over an hour.

Don’t be put off by the amount of work that goes in – you can repurpose this content into blogs, guides, or social media posts.

Go over this useful resource to learn how to properly host a webinar (include link to blog about webinars).

12.   Be Clear On Why People Should Subscribe

The opt-in copy must clearly convey the benefits of subscribing to your email list. If you only include “Subscribe now” without any context, then people don’t know what they’re getting.

Don’t generalise the benefits by using vague terms like “cutting-edge” or “excellent.”

Instead, be specific – the more details you include, the more subscribers you’ll get. Also, try to add emotions to your copy with words that your audience uses.

If your opt-in copy covers all these bases, you will build an email list quickly.

This example pulls it off:

She lists off the benefits clearly and evokes emotion with this incredibly effective copy.

13.   Build Your Email List Using a Survey

Surveys are a powerful marketing tool which can be set up easily. There are dozens of free or affordable tools to build surveys. Tools like SurveyMonkey and Typeform will meet all of your survey related needs.

This tactic not only grows an email list, but it gives you insight into your audience.

The tricky thing with this tactic is to get people to take part in the survey. There are two crucial things to keep in mind when conducting a survey:

  • It should be short so that people complete it
  • You need to give people an incentive to take part

Not enough people are willing to take the time to fill out a survey just because you asked.

Incentives vary across businesses – from gift cards and free trials to free pens and charity donations.

Read this comprehensive guide to learn how to conduct surveys and use interactive content.

Start Building Your Email List

There you have it!

You’ve got all the tips you need to grow your email list with subscribers that will build your business.

Get started!