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Comprehensive Guide to Building an Email List from Scratch

Strategy

Description

Key Takeaways

1. Create Compelling Lead Magnets

Offer valuable content in exchange for email addresses.

Ensure lead magnet is relevant, valuable, easy to access and digest, and effectively promoted.

2. Use Social Media Effectively

Leverage social media platforms to attract new email subscribers.

Use different tactics on each platform, promote lead magnets, engage with your audience, and track performance.

3. Use Pop-ups Strategically

Use pop-ups on your website to collect email addresses.

Design them well, set them to appear at the right time, make the value clear, and track performance.

4. Implement Email Signatures

Include a call-to-action in your email signature.

Keep it simple, direct, and with a clear call-to-action.

5. Organize Contests and Giveaways

Host contests or giveaways to incentivize email subscriptions.

Choose a relevant prize, promote widely, make subscription a condition of entry, and track performance.

6. Leverage Content Marketing

Create and promote valuable content to attract subscribers.

Create high-quality content, use SEO, include a call-to-action, and track performance.

7. Offer a Free Trial or Sample

Offer a free trial or sample of your product in exchange for an email address.

Make the sign-up process easy, offer a clear value, follow up with users, and track performance.

8. Guest Blogging

Write blog posts for other websites to attract new subscribers.

Choose relevant host sites, propose valuable topics, include a lead magnet, and track performance.

9. Host a Collaborative Event

Partner with another business to host an event and attract new subscribers.

Choose a relevant partner, plan a valuable event, promote widely, and track performance.

10. Use Email List Building Tools

Use tools to automate and streamline your email list building process.

Choose the right tools based on your needs and track performance.



1. Utilize Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms offer unprecedented opportunities for businesses to build their email lists from scratch. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn each have a massive user base, providing a fertile ground for potential subscribers.


In your bio section or about us page, include a link to your newsletter sign-up page. Make this even more effective by offering an incentive to sign up, such as a free eBook or access to exclusive content. This tactic makes use of the massive outreach of social media, as outlined in this article about building a better email list through Instagram.


Create a compelling CTA (Call to Action) on your posts to nudge your followers to subscribe to your email list. An effective CTA should be action-oriented and create a sense of urgency.


Organize social media contests or giveaways that require participants to provide their email addresses to enter. This not only builds your email list but also increases engagement and brand awareness.


Leverage paid social media ads to reach a wider audience. Facebook's Lead Ads, for instance, allows people to sign up for your email list without leaving the platform. These forms auto-populate with the user's information, reducing friction and making it easier for them to subscribe.


Make use of Instagram Stories' "Swipe Up" feature to direct followers to your sign-up page. This feature is especially useful as it doesn't disrupt the user experience.


Engage in social listening to find conversations related to your niche, and join in. Providing valuable insights can make people interested in your brand and opt into your email list.


Post regular updates about your email newsletters on your social media channels to keep them at the forefront of your followers' minds.


Collaborate with influencers in your industry. They can help amplify your message and get more people to sign up for your email list.


Lastly, track your results. Use analytics to see which strategies are working and which ones need tweaking. This allows you to continually improve your efforts and grow your email list effectively.


2. Create a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is an effective way to incentivize people to sign up for your email list. It could be a free eBook, a whitepaper, a discount coupon, or access to exclusive content. 


Your lead magnet should offer immediate value to the subscriber. It should solve a problem or provide a benefit that is highly relevant to your target audience. 


The lead magnet should be easily consumable. While a 200-page eBook might seem valuable, it could overwhelm the subscriber. Instead, opt for smaller, bite-sized pieces of content that can be consumed quickly.


The lead magnet should be highly targeted. If you're in the fitness industry, for example, a guide on "10 Easy Exercises to Lose Belly Fat" would be more appealing than a generic "Fitness Guide."


Promote your lead magnet widely. It should be prominently displayed on your website, shared on your social media platforms, and mentioned in your marketing communications. 


Make the sign-up process as simple as possible. The more information you ask for, the less likely people are to complete the sign-up process. In most cases, just asking for an email address is enough.


Make sure your lead magnet is of high quality. It's often the first impression people get of your brand, so it's important to make it a good one.


Test different types of lead magnets to see which ones resonate most with your audience. This could include different formats (eBook, video, checklist, etc.), topics, or delivery methods.


Track the performance of your lead magnet. This could include tracking the number of downloads, the conversion rate from visitor to subscriber, and the retention rate of those subscribers.


Here's an in-depth guide to creating compelling lead magnets for email capture for more details.


3. Use Pop-up Forms on Your Website

Pop-up forms can be a powerful tool to grow your email list. They grab your visitor's attention and make your call-to-action hard to ignore.


Pop-up forms should be timed correctly. Show the pop-up once the visitor has had a chance to browse your website and get familiar with your brand. A time-delayed or scroll-activated pop-up usually works well.


Design your pop-up form to be eye-catching and align with your brand. It should stand out but not look out of place.


Clearly state the value the visitor will get by subscribing. Whether it's exclusive content, special offers, or useful tips, make sure it's clear what they'll gain from signing up.


Keep the form as simple as possible. The fewer fields it has, the more likely people are to complete it. Asking for just the email address can often be enough.


Offer a clear way to close the pop-up for those who aren't interested. Making it difficult to close can annoy visitors and harm their experience on your website.


Use a strong call-to-action that prompts the visitor to take action. Phrases like "Get Instant Access" or "Join Now" can be more effective than a simple "Submit."


Run A/B tests on different elements of your pop-up form, such as the headline, copy, design, and timing, to see what works best.


Ensure your pop-up forms are mobile-friendly. With the increasing number of people browsing the web on mobile devices, it's crucial that your pop-ups work well on smaller screens.


Don't overuse pop-ups. Too many can annoy your visitors and may lead to them leaving your site.


Learn more about why email pop-ups work and how you can leverage them effectively.


4. Run a Webinar

Webinars provide an opportunity for you to showcase your expertise and provide value to your audience, making them an excellent way to build your email list.


Choose a topic that is highly relevant and valuable to your target audience. This ensures that your webinar will attract people who are interested in your niche and are more likely to subscribe to your email list.


Promote your webinar widely through social media, your website, email marketing, and even paid ads. The more people know about your webinar, the more sign-ups you'll get.


Make registration for your webinar simple and straightforward. The fewer barriers there are to sign-up, the more likely people are to register.


During the webinar, provide valuable content that solves a problem or meets a need for your audience. This establishes trust and positions you as an expert in your field.


Include a Q&A session at the end of your webinar. This engages your audience and provides additional value as you answer their specific questions.


Record your webinar and use it as a lead magnet. Those who couldn't attend the live event can still get the valuable content in exchange for their email address.


Partner with other experts in your field to host a joint webinar. This expands your reach to their audience and brings in fresh subscribers to your email list.


After the webinar, send a follow-up email to the attendees with a link to the replay, additional resources, and a call-to-action to subscribe to your email list.


Track and measure the success of your webinar. Analyze the number of attendees, the number of new emails captured, and refine your strategy from there. Remember, these things take trial and error, so don’t be discouraged if you don't get the results you were hoping for. With some thoughtful testing and iteration, you’ll be growing your email list in no time. 


5. Organize Contests and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways can create excitement around your brand and incentivize people to join your email list. They are a powerful tool for attracting new subscribers, especially when combined with social sharing mechanisms.


Choose a prize that is highly relevant and attractive to your target audience. It should be something that people genuinely want and are willing to give their email address for.


Promote your contest or giveaway on your website, through social media, and in your email campaigns. The wider you cast your net, the more entrants you're likely to get.


Make email subscription a condition of entry. This ensures that everyone who enters your contest becomes a part of your email list.


Use a reliable contest or giveaway software that complies with all the legal requirements and automates the process for you. 


Consider adding a social sharing element to your contest. This can significantly increase its reach and bring in more entrants.


Follow up with all entrants after the contest is over. Offer a small consolation prize, such as a discount code, to those who didn't win. This can help to maintain their interest in your brand.


Measure the success of your contest by tracking the number of new subscribers, the conversion rate, and the retention rate of these subscribers.


While running contests and giveaways can rapidly grow your email list, it's essential to focus on attracting quality subscribers who are genuinely interested in your brand. A large email list is of little use if the subscribers are not engaged.


6. Leverage Content Marketing 

Content marketing is a highly effective way to attract and engage your target audience, build trust, and ultimately, encourage them to join your email list.


Create high-quality content that provides value to your audience. This could be blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, or any other type of content that resonates with your audience.


Use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to help your content rank higher in search engine results. This increases its visibility and attracts more potential subscribers to your website.


Include a call-to-action in your content that encourages readers to join your email list. Make it clear what they'll get by subscribing, such as exclusive content or special offers.


Create a content upgrade, which is a piece of additional content that complements a blog post or video. Readers can get this upgrade in exchange for their email address.


Promote your content widely. Share it on your social media channels, email it to your current subscribers, and consider using paid promotion to reach a wider audience.


Engage with your audience in the comments section of your blog or on social media. This encourages them to form a relationship with your brand and makes them more likely to subscribe to your email list.


Monitor your content's performance and adjust your strategy as necessary. Pay attention to metrics like traffic, time spent on page, and the number of new email subscribers to understand what type of content is most effective.


You can learn more about content marketing strategies to build an email list for free here.


7. Offer a Free Trial or Sample

Offering a free trial or sample of your product is another effective way to attract new email subscribers. This strategy works particularly well for software companies, online courses, and subscription services, but it can also be adapted for other types of businesses.


Choose a product or service to offer as a free trial or sample. This should be one of your core offerings that provides a lot of value to the user.


Make the sign-up process for the free trial simple and straightforward. The less friction there is, the more likely people are to sign up.


Make it clear what the user will get during the free trial period. Whether it's full access to your software, a sample of your product, or a preview of your online course, make sure the value is clear.


Offer the free trial or sample in exchange for the user's email address. This not only gives you a new subscriber, but it also gives you a highly qualified lead.


After the free trial period, follow up with the user. Offer them a special deal or discount to encourage them to become a paying customer.


Measure the success of your free trial offer by tracking the number of sign-ups, the conversion rate to paying customers, and the retention rate of these customers.


Remember, the goal of offering a free trial or sample is not just to get more email subscribers, but also to convert these subscribers into paying customers.


8. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging involves writing a blog post to be published on another website. This can expose your brand to a new audience and help grow your email list.


Identify popular blogs or websites in your industry that accept guest posts. Ensure that they have a similar target audience to your own to maximize the potential for new subscribers.


Propose a blog post topic that is relevant and valuable to the host site's audience. Make sure it aligns with the type of content they typically publish.


In your guest post, include a brief bio about yourself and your company. Most host sites will allow you to include a link to your website in your bio.


Consider including a lead magnet in your guest post. This could be a content upgrade that complements the blog post, such as a checklist or a downloadable guide. Readers can get this lead magnet in exchange for their email address.


After the post is published, promote it on your own social media channels and in your email marketing. This brings more traffic to the post and increases the chances of gaining new subscribers.


Monitor the performance of your guest post. How much traffic did it bring to your website? How many new email subscribers did you gain? Use this information to refine your guest blogging strategy.


Guest blogging can be a time-consuming strategy, but it can be highly effective in growing your email list with engaged subscribers who are interested in your content.


9. Host a Collaborative Event

Hosting a collaborative event with another business in your industry can attract new subscribers to your email list. This could be a live event, an online webinar, or a social media takeover.


Choose a partner business that complements your own and shares a similar target audience. For example, if you're a personal trainer, you might partner with a healthy meal delivery service.


Plan an event that provides value to both your audiences. This could be a workshop, a Q&A session, a product demonstration, or a behind-the-scenes tour.


Promote the event widely to both your audiences. The more people who know about the event, the more potential subscribers you can attract.


Collect email addresses as part of the registration process for the event. This ensures that everyone who attends the event becomes a part of your email list.


After the event, follow up with attendees with a thank you email and a special offer or lead magnet. This can help to convert them from event attendees to engaged email subscribers.


Measure the success of the event by tracking the number of attendees, the number of new email subscribers, and the engagement and conversion rates of these new subscribers.


Collaborative events not only help to grow your email list but also strengthen your relationship with other businesses in your industry and provide valuable content to your audience.


10. Use Email List Building Tools

Email list building tools can automate and streamline the process of growing your email list. They can help you capture email addresses, manage your list, and engage with your subscribers more effectively.


Email capture tools, like pop-up forms and landing page builders, help you collect email addresses from your website visitors.


Email marketing tools, like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and GetResponse, help you manage your email list and send out email campaigns.


Analytics tools help you track the performance of your email list building efforts. They can provide insights into which strategies are working best and where there's room for improvement.

Automation tools can save you time and effort by automating tasks like sending out welcome emails, following up with subscribers, and segmenting your list.


Before choosing an email list building tool, consider what features you need, your budget, and the size and complexity of your email list.


Investing in the right tools can make a significant difference in your ability to grow your email list effectively and efficiently.


Growing your email list requires a strategic approach and a commitment to providing value to your subscribers. By implementing these ten strategies, you can attract more subscribers, engage them effectively, and ultimately, grow your business.


For more information on each of these strategies, check out our detailed guides:





Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How Can I Build My Email List From Scratch?

To build your email list from scratch, you can use various strategies, such as creating compelling lead magnets, using social media effectively, using pop-ups strategically, implementing email signatures, organizing contests and giveaways, leveraging content marketing, offering a free trial or sample, guest blogging, hosting a collaborative event, and using email list building tools.


Q2: How Do I Choose a Good Lead Magnet?

A good lead magnet should be highly relevant to your target audience and offer them real value. It should be something that they are willing to exchange their email address for. This could be an e-book, a webinar, a cheat sheet, a discount code, or any other piece of valuable content.


Q3: How Can I Use Social Media to Grow My Email List?

You can use social media to grow your email list by promoting your lead magnets on your social media platforms, engaging with your audience, and tracking the performance of your social media efforts.


Q4: Do Email Pop-ups Really Work?

Yes, when used correctly, email pop-ups can be a highly effective way to grow your email list. The key is to design them well, set them to appear at the right time, make the value proposition clear, and track their performance.


Q5: What Are Some Effective Email List Building Tools?

Effective email list building tools include email capture tools, like pop-up forms and landing page builders, email marketing tools, like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and GetResponse, and analytics tools, which provide insights into your email list building efforts.


Q6: Can Guest Blogging Help Grow My Email List?

Yes, guest blogging can help grow your email list by exposing your brand to a new audience. The key is to choose relevant host sites, propose valuable blog post topics, include a lead magnet in your guest post, and track the performance of your guest blogging efforts.


Q7: How Can I Host a Collaborative Event to Grow My Email List?

You can host a collaborative event to grow your email list by partnering with a complementary business, planning an event that provides value to both your audiences, promoting the event widely, collecting email addresses as part of the registration process, and tracking the performance of the event.

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