How to build an email list

Building a good email list is crucial when it comes to email marketing; your contents and offers can be amazing, but if you don’t have valuable addresses, they’re worth nothing. So in what follows we’ll show how to build a killer email list in nine steps and grow it consequently.

But before that, a foreword.

The only valuable mailing list is a list of addresses whose owners have given explicit permission to receive messages from you. So here we’ll focus only on how to build an opt-in email list and nothing else: to buy a mailing list is always a bad, bad idea – and the same goes for rented ones. Email marketing is a matter of trust and engagement based on relevant content spread at the right time to interested people: all the rest is just spam – and we don’t deal with spam.

And now, here’s how to create your permission-based email list:

1. Put a sign-up form in a relevant place of your website.

On-site subscription forms are still the best way to build a mailing list and acquire new prospects. eMailChef is here to help you creating a beautiful and effective sign-up form (also with advanced information fields) and to manage all the acquired contacts with a simple list organization tool. Don’t be afraid of this “slow and steady” strategy; even if takes time, it’s safe and sound: all addresses obtained this way are pure gold. Of course, it’s best to integrate this basic practice with quicker or more modern ideas, like the ones that follow.

2. Offer some relevant content in exchange for subscription.

A free ebook; a paper about some email marketing news; or even a quiz. Anything valuable that can be downloaded/enjoyed in exchange for a free subscription to your email list. Remember also that this kind of stuff works pretty great on social media – it’s highly shareable – so it can go viral and augment the chances to get more addresses. (See also point 6).

3. Host a webinar.

A similar tactic, a bit more refined: if your business has the chance to host a quality webinar on-site, don’t hesitate. Then you simply have to advertise it saying that the “ticket price” is simply a registration.

4. If you run some print marketing stuff, add a QR code.

Email marketing can take advantage also of your offline marketing tactics! If you have flyers or other papers about your activities, don’t forget to add a QR code pointing directly to your subscription page – to help people “stay in touch” online with your periodic newsletter. (Tip: to create flawless QR codes you can take try LabelJoy).

5. Collect addresses at events.

Another offline trick: each time you go to an event or a meeting or a business fair – best if you have a stand – always give people the chance to subscribe directly to your newsletter. Sure, you can also give’em a sheet and ask them to write their email address if they want: but why not use a tablet instead, and make them opt-in in seconds?

6. Use social media to grow your email list with fresh addresses.

Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn can be an amazing tool to spread your content and also make it appealing to subscribe to your newsletter. For instance, you can share something – an article, a post, some news, – and add that only people who subscribe to the email list will receive more content right in time.

7. Entice future subscribers with better offers.

When it comes to advertise the advantages of your newsletter, consider also to prepare some dedicated offers (discounts or deals): it’s always a very good incentive. Don’t exaggerate, though: it’s important to collect new addresses, but you should never sacrifice your ROI!

8. Keep your list clean.

Once you have built it and you have started growing it, don’t ever forget to keep it clean – it’s a central part of the strategy. So: periodically check your database to find and remove misspelled and doubled addresses, and contacts that provoke a hard bounce (proving them to be non-existent). eMailChef provides you a smart tool that will make this task much easier – subscribe now and get our lifetime free plan!

9. Nurture the customer relationship with great content.

And finally, remember that maintaining an email list in good shape means that you should always respect the implicit promise you made to your subscribers: always great content, always in time. If you let them down and simply blast some newsletters “just because you have to”, they will run.