A large email list is a priceless asset when it’s built the right way. There are companies with lists containing several hundred thousand subscribers that generates a ridiculous amount of revenue every time the “Send” button is pressed. This is why so much time, effort, and money is spent to collect emails.

It’s still one of the most effective forms of online marketing, both in terms of cost and results. If you know every email address you add to your list will eventually generate $20 and you can add them for $2, shouldn’t you ramp up your list building and scale it as large as humanly possible?

Of course you should, but many businesses simply don’t know where to begin so they either stall and never put in the effort required or they try to take a shortcut and it backfires, resulting in a complete disaster. Doing it the right way may take longer, but it’s long-term success we are after — not a short lived solution that will be useless in time.

In this post, I’ll touch on some important points to consider and focus on when you are building an email list. These apply to those looking to improve their current list building efforts and those that are starting from zero subscribers. I’ve followed this same strategy for multiple lists and I’m confident it can help you build a solid list from zero in no time.

So use this list to build an email list that’ll bring you profit for years to come.


Why every business needs to build an email list.

The biggest draw when it comes to email marketing is the ability to have a captive audience to send messages and offers to at any time, without incurring additional costs in order to find target recipients. Yes, there is a cost associated with deploying each email campaign, but that is minimal, and programs like Mailchimp or Constant Contact make it very affordable to collect, manage, segment, and send mail to your list.

When you launch a Facebook ads campaign you are paying for impressions and clicks every time, even if that person has already seen your offer or shown interest in your brand. When you attract those same people and get them to hand over their email addresses you are able to market to them at any time, and this can be in the form of an automated drip campaign to push them through a marketing funnel for high ticket offers or one-off emails to promote a specific offer or special.

There are endless benefits when it comes to email lists, and absolutely zero drawbacks, making it a must-do for every single business, regardless of industry or niche. Every business, whether offline or online, needs to be building an email list and adding to it daily.



Identify your email list building goals and expectations.

Most companies fizzle out and lose interest in their list because they have completely unrealistic goals and expectations in the beginning. There are ads all over social media talking about adding 10,000 to 100,000 emails to a list every month, and while it’s possible if you want to spend six-figures a month in paid ads, it’s not realistic. So, many businesses give it a try and they add just a few emails and assume it’s not something that will work for their particular business.

If you understand that it will take time and that overnight results are not realistic, then you will not get discouraged. Email list building has a snowball effect. Over time you will discover what offers will trigger your audience to opt-in and how to scale those winning campaigns.

It’s much better to begin with realistic expectations and understand email list building is a long-term play. Imagine if you just add 100 emails the first month, but through your testing you are able to double that every month. Over time it’s going to really exponentially grow your list with quality subscribers. Realistic expectations and goals from day one eliminate frustration from the equation.


Be transparent in your offer to your potential subscribers.

This is something that a lot of businesses never focus on, because their goal is to add to their list as quickly as possible. It all comes down to quality, and if you are 100% transparent in your offer it will attract the kind of subscribers you want — and those are people that are actually interested in your offers — not people you trick into submitting emails.

Too many companies will put up opt-in offers that promise free stuff or misleading offers. If you plan on offering discounts and special announcements to your list, say so. That way you are only attracting subscribers that want to receive that information. Your open rates and conversion rates will be much higher when you are fully transparent.

If you have an offer that promises a free product and you don’t deliver on your promise the consumer is going to remember that and connect the dots. They aren’t stupid — they will unsubscribe and mentally disconnect from your brand. Honesty and transparency attracts exactly what you want — potential customers.


Focus on delivering as much value to your subscribers as possible.

The best way to come up with a value packed opt-in offer is to look at what your competition is offering and then one-up them. Consumers are constantly evaluating their options, so being the more attractive option in terms of value will always give you the upper hand.

I see too many companies that just throw up a generic opt-in offer with nothing more than “subscribe to our list to stay informed.” Informed on what? There is zero value presented, and then companies like that wonder why they aren’t experiencing any growth and their email list size remains stagnant.

You have to have something of value to give someone in exchange for their email. Think of it like a bribe, and then come up with several offers to test. Things like discount codes, access to special offers or insider information can all be perceived as value, but it’s ultimately up to your audience to determine what they feel offers enough value to join your list.

The first few months of any new email list building campaign will be filled with testing offers, starting very wide, and then focusing on what works best and tweaking them to identify a sweet spot.



Present your offers in a way that doesn’t interrupt the visitor’s experience on your website.

How many times have you been on a website, either reading a blog post or shopping and a popup interrupts your experience, saying nothing more than “JOIN OUT LIST!” I’m almost certain you have experienced this, as it happens to me all the time.

Guess how many of those lists I have joined? None. While popups have a time and place, this isn’t one of those instances. And I’m not talking about exit intent popups, which are fine, as long as there is a value-add offer presented. Something like, “Join out list and instantly receive a 30% off code you can use right now.”

But, if someone is reading your content or shopping your store, you don’t want to jam a popup in front of them. There are ways to attract email subscribers without being annoying. Floating bars on the top of your header with a call-to-action work well as they allow the visitor to see them and opt-in without disrupting their visit. Also, offers at the end of your content are ways to attract subscribers that you just provided free value to.


Never scrape emails off the internet or add emails from a purchased list.

People are always looking for shortcuts and overnight success, and email list building is no different. A quick Google search will show plenty of options to purchase email lists for pennies, but they are often full of invalid data and/or obtained illegally.

When you add emails to your list provider you are declaring that you obtained them in an opt-in manner, which is a complete lie. Now, with the new GDPR laws, it’s crucial that you adhere to them. Not only do you want to follow the law, but if you add purchased lists that contain invalid emails it will absolutely kill your deliverability rate and can get your account banned by your provider and your domains blacklisted.

Also, scraping emails off the internet is something that was popular 10 years ago and completely ineffective today, yet so many people still do it. While it may sound appealing to throw hundreds of thousands of emails into a list, assuming some will be interested in your offer, those that try this approach are greatly disappointed and create a huge mess that takes a lot of time and money to clean up. Take your time to build a list correctly for the best results.


Create page-specific email capture offers for your pages with the highest traffic numbers.

This is a little email list growing hack that can result in explosive growth if you are willing to take the time to dig into your analytics and create multiple opt-in offers.

You will want to look at your Google Analytics data and determine what pages on your website attract the most traffic and then create opt-in offers that feature a call-to-action that is related to the page content. For example, if it’s a page that is discussing SEO tips on acquiring high quality magazine links, then an opt-in offer that features an eBook titled “5 High DA Links You Can Secure Right Now for Free” is likely to convert at an extremely high rate.

If you do this on every page that receives a decent amount of traffic your email opt-in rates will shoot through the roof. This is a great strategy that can produce instant results for those companies with in-depth blogs featuring hundreds of posts. If you are running paid traffic to your content this is a must-do, as the additional email captures help to justify the ad spend. Start small, creating a handful of page specific offers and continue to scale if the results are favorable.


Your growth aligns with the value you provide so adjust accordingly.

I mentioned providing value above, and many business owners question whether or not their offer is enough value to attract email subscribers. Your answer is in your email growth. Not all businesses are going to gain 100+ subscribers a day, and if you are gaining one or two a day consistently then that’s on par for your business and consistency tells you that your traffic finds your offer valuable.

Now, if you gain one subscriber a week, then you know there is some work to be done. If your traffic spikes and shows a large growth curve but your subscribers don’t follow that same growth, then you are going to need to work on improving your offer.

When you do have offers that your audience deems as valuable, your email list growth will align with everything else. Sales, traffic, social media engagement — everything. This is why paying close attention to all areas of growth is so important.


Pull subscribers from every channel you have an available audience and reach.

You can’t just put up some calls-to-action and opt-ins on your website and expect your list to grow without any effort. You need to drive attention, and you can do that in areas where you have a captive audience — social media being a prime example.

Posting a message on your Facebook page, sending out a tweet, and highlighting your offer on an Instagram story are all great ways to not only push traffic to your offer, but pre-educate and inform, which gets your audience in the right mindset before even seeing your offer, which greatly increases the chance of them opting in.

The same theory applies to all channels, whether it’s a YouTube channel or a podcast audience. Don’t just say, “join our list” and expect results though. If you are offering an eBook as a downloadable bribe, then explain the value the book provides and make your audience want to claim it. You can even play the scarcity card, and say that the offer is limited, which it essentially is, as you can pull it or switch it at any time.




You know how important it is to have an email list, but many business owners feel that it’s impossible to grow a large list from scratch. Well, after reading this post you should now have the knowledge to start building a massive list, even if you are starting at ground zero.

Building a large email list has the same general concept as attracting quality links and traffic — provide value. When you lead your initiative with a value focused approach you are going to attract what you want. The companies that try to take shortcuts might gain emails, but the quality won’t be there.

Having a large list that doesn’t open your emails or click-through to see your offers is essentially useless. Build intelligently and you will attract quality subscribers that become an asset to your business.

What are some of the most effective email list building strategies you have used? Share your experiences (good and bad) in the comments below to start a conversation.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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