5 proven steps to build an email list from scratch


The world of digital marketing is large and still growing steadily. It seems like every year a new channel opens or a new method is introduced—and the meta is shifted again and again. With the availability of blogs, websites, apps, social media platforms and so on, it can feel overwhelming for a new entrepreneur to reach their ideal customer through all the noise. In their unending efforts to stay on top of the latest trends, many upstarts drown in the excess of options.

While innovation should be a priority in any business, sometimes it’s best to stick with more traditional strategies, ones that have endured the test of time and remain reliable to this day.

Enter email marketing, the pet method of online businesses since the early days of the internet. Email marketing allows you to develop relationships with your customers and convert them to buyers and loyal customers. Using proven techniques such as list building, you can inform, educate and entertain your customers, and make a lasting impression that leads to sales.

However, emails are hard to come by, and even harder to retain. Most people receive tons of email daily, most of which gets ignored. So, how can you make your emails stand out? These five steps will help you start building your own list of potential buyers and qualified leads, from ground zero.

#1 Use an Autoresponder Service

Autoresponders perform two important functions: 1) they store the email addresses and contact information of your subscribers so you can follow up with them later and 2) they allow you to automate follow up email processes based on time, date and/or certain actions subscribers take. Any serious business can make great use of this productivity tool.

There are tons of autoresponders available with different prices and capabilities. Some are free and ideal for beginners, while others are pricier and fit for larger businesses. Our recommendations include Aweber, GetResponse, ImnicaMail and MailChimp.

#2 Implement an Opt-In Form on Your Website

An opt-in form allows you to build an email list with your website. After you’ve signed up for an autoresponder service, they should provide you with a special code which you can paste onto your blog to create an opt-in form. Users can fill out and submit the form to give you their information. This is essential to email marketing with WordPress as with other web building tools.

Unless you want to turn potential customers away, do not push opt-in forms into users’ faces without offering something of value alongside it, like an informational blog article. In fact, the perfect place for an opt-in form is on the blog sidebar.

#3 Create a Lead Magnet

Now you have the necessary tools to build an email list, but the question remains, how do you grow it? To “catch” subscribers, you’ll need something to “bait” them with first. Giving away free eBooks is one highly effective way of gaining more subscribers. Not only that, eBooks help establish you as a brand and an authority in your industry. People who like your eBook are much more likely to use your products/services.

Other ideas for lead magnets include the following:

  • Special coupons or discount codes.
  • Admission to a VIP club or community where members can access exclusive content.
  • Video seminars about enticing topics.

Some Marketing 101: whatever offer you present, make sure you pair it with a killer call-to-action with clear and simple messaging.

#4 Contribute to JV Giveaways

You can potentially skyrocket your email list overnight to thousands of subscribers by contributing to JV giveaways. Basically, a JV giveaway event is like a giant ad swap. All contributors of an event pool together their information products at a single page or member’s area. Visitors then go to the page to download the gift of their choice.

The only catch is that you’ll need to contribute a free eBook or report—but you were going to do this anyway, right? Besides this, there’s no barrier of entry, so this is a great method for businesses both large and small. To find an event you can start participating in, go to newjvgiveaways.com.

#5 Keep Offering Immense Value

Building an email list is just the beginning. If you want to keep your subscribers, well, subscribed, you will have to offer them things of value in exchange. Keep your blog updated on the regular and direct your subscribers to your best articles, including posts on other blogging platforms. Create an expansive eCourse series and parse it out to your subscribers in multiple parts.

Basically, you want to come across as a friend and educator, not as a salesman or marketer. Only when you offer value to your customers can you expect them to give value back to you. Be generous to your subscribers and you’ll see great returns.