How to Build Your First Email List (8 steps for Best Start)

The first step is always the hardest, they say, and it’s true. You have probably already heard that email is one of the best marketing and communication channels out there.

Sep 23, 2019 - By Skirmantas Venckus


The first step is always the hardest, they say, and it’s true. You have probably already heard that email is one of the best marketing and communication channels out there.

But what to do when you have to start from scratch?

The following guide will show you how to build your email list from ground zero and start with growing your list successful. 

1. Find Where Your Audience Hangs Out

Logically, you need to know where to look for people in order to reach out to them.

That is why your first step should be to figure out your target audience.

In case you don’t already have a customer persona or your target audience defined, start from that.

Use audiences’ demographics to determine what characterizes the majority.

The search for new subscribers can be handled on social media. It will be easier to get their email addresses if you look for them on adequate social media networks, groups, posts, etc.

Take into consideration that men are more active on LinkedIn and YouTube, while women prefer Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

Find Where Your Audience Hangs Out
Image Source: quicksprout.com

2. Have a Professional Website

A website adds to your credibility and is one of the main sources of collecting email addresses.

However, creating some poor-looking website won’t do the trick. You need to show the users that you are a professional.

You don’t need to make some huge website, but a landing page is a must. The landing page needs to have an opt-in form where subscribers can leave their email address.

Some of the essentials of a good landing page are:

  • Attractive design
  • Consistent style
  • Simplicity
  • Call-to-Action
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Noticeable opt-in form

3. Explain Why

You need to give people a good reason to give you their email address.

Whatever you have to offer, whether it is a product, service, or information you need to emphasize it. The users need to see the benefit of giving you their email address

There is one simple word which works wonders for collecting emails and that is “free.” Offer your audience a free chapter, tutorial, guide, webinar, or additional content to get their attention.

Take a look at how PopupDomination does it:

Have a Professional Website
Image Source: Popupdomination.com

In case you don’t have a gift to offer you can find a way different way to interest them such as offering exclusive information. For example, if you are an e-commerce store that sells clothing, ask the website visitors if they would like to know what size of your brand fits them. All they have to do is to give you their email and their measures and they’ll get a personalized mail with this information.

4. Create the Base with Existing Contacts

You probably already have some emails from friends or maybe even previous customers so they can be your basis. 

Use email verification first to check if the emails you have are valid. 

Send to your contacts an invite email with a link to the landing page so that you don’t have to input the email address manually. 

Ask them to share the link with their friends if they know someone who would be interested. You can also, ask them to share the website on their social media if they wish. 

Just avoid being too aggressive or invasive. A friendly and inviting approach is always the best idea. 

5. Get Active on Social Media

Social media can give you the exposure you need. Post the link to your website on your social media accounts.

Put all the social media networks to use, whether you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Snapchat.

Besides adding the link to your contact information, create an appropriate post that will attract the attention.

For example, you can post an interesting Instagram Story that invites people to your website.

Social media gives you an opportunity to be creative and have higher audience coverage.

6. Get Some Backup

When you are at the beginning of your journey, having someone on your side can be very helpful.

Get yourself some collaborators that will spread the news.

For example, you can reach out to bloggers in your niche and ask them to mention you in their post. Some compensation will be needed so you can offer them a free service, product, or whatever is applicable.

Of course, we can’t forget about influencers. Influencers have an important role in the digital world and their power be very useful.

Find a micro-influencer whose audience matches your target audience and see if they would like to help you out. A little shootout in a post can get you some new names on the subscriber’s list. 

7. Use the Most Powerful Digital Marketing Strategy…

You probably won’t be surprised when we reveal that that strategy is content marketing

While the previous methods are a targeted way of collecting emails, content is what will attract the users, retain them, and indirectly get them to share their email address.

One of the best possibilities for content distribution is a blog. It provides value to the users, as well as something to share and spread awareness.

You can use the blog to invite people to leave their email address for more content. For example:

Use the Most Powerful Digital Marketing Strategy
Image Source: Neilpatel.com

Create relevant and high-quality posts with strong SEO and let the content to do its thing. 

8. Wrapping Up

Considering that email delivers the highest ROI it is worth every second you invest in building your email list. After you follow these steps and get yourself a list of subscribers, you’ll be ready to start with email marketing. As you will see, emails can be very effective once you put an email strategy to use. But first, build your list with these actionable tips. 

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About the author: Daniela McVicker is an editor at Top Writers Review. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in Psychological Science. Daniela also has experience in digital marketing, especially email marketing. Besides doing her work as an editor, Daniela has been applying her knowledge of psychology and marketing in order to contribute some valuable insights to business owners.

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