Everything About Building An Email List From Scratch

Usually, mailing list building is quite a time-consuming laborious process that requires a lot of attention and effort. However, if you know the right tricks, you can easily speed it up and reach your desired mailing list size in practically no time.

Theresa Cofield
Theresa Cofield
Freelance Writer
February 26, 2021

No matter what anyone says, email marketing remains the absolute most effective digital marketing strategy. It is capable of generating a marvelous ROI of as high as 4400%, which means you get $44 for every $1 invested.

However, to unlock the benefits of email marketing, you need to make sure that you have everything in place for it. Email marketing is so popular and common that it is no longer a "set and forget" type of strategy - you need to be continuously working on applying new and new practices to keep up with the latest trends. And, of course, you need to have an audience to introduce your practices to. It does not matter how good and innovative your email marketing campaign is if no one gets to see it.

In order for your email marketing to be successive, you need to build an email list to send your campaigns to first!

Usually, mailing list building is quite a time-consuming laborious process that requires a lot of attention and effort. However, if you know the right tricks, you can easily speed it up and reach your desired mailing list size in practically no time.

First things first, let’s look into what an email list is and what types of email lists there are.

In its essence, an email list is a collective name for all the email addresses (and other relevant information that accompanies those email addresses such as names, companies etc.) that your business has access to and can send out its business materials to. A robust mailing list is a foundation for marketing and sales success as it allows a business to engage with the target audience and effectively convert leads into customers.

There are several different types of mailing lists depending on its origin. The three main ones are rented mailing lists, paid mailing lists and built mailing lists.

Paid mailing lists are the lists that you purchase. You acquire all the email addresses that those lists contain and can use them for your own purposes. A quick and efficient way to get your hands on a large mailing list that is ready to use at any time. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Not quite. In modern realities, buying a mailing list can get you a huge fine. According to the relatively new GDPR guidelines, all businesses must ensure that the email addresses they email their campaigns to are obtained from people who actively and willingly opt in. Besides, it is always tricky with paid mailing lists as you can never be sure about how interested the audience will be in the products or services you offer.

Rented mailing lists refer to the mailing lists that are given to you on a one-time basis. This means that you do not actually own the addresses to distribute your mailing campaign to. Instead, you turn to a relevant third-party list owner who distributes your campaign on your behalf. It is a very time-efficient way of disseminating your marketing and sales messages at high volumes (rented mailing lists are usually quite large in size) but there are also considerable disadvantages associated with them. Since you do not own the addresses for your email marketing efforts, you don’t have permanent access to them. Therefore, you have to pay the rental costs every time you use them. Moreover, you do not have much control over targeting precision.

Therefore, the best way to obtain a mailing list is to build one yourself. There are a lot of GDPR-compliant ways in which you can collect email addresses to grow your mailing list. The best thing is that you do not have to stick to just one technique. Instead, you can mix and match them to find the combination that works best for your particular business.

Here is a compilation of the best methods and techniques for building a healthy and robust mailing list.

1. Standard Opt-In Forms

A classic is always a classic. Nothing can beat a well-designed, neat opt-in form. These are very true, very honest and give you the highest quality subscribers. The reasoning behind it is that there is not a trick you use to lure new people to join your mailing list. They do it willingly, seeking a form to fill out themselves. This means that they are genuinely interested in what your business has to offer and are looking forward to receiving your business updates into their inbox. These subscribers are the most likely to stick with you for a while and improve your email marketing KPIs such as open rates, CTR and response rates.

The only thing you need to consider when placing a standard opt-in form to collect email addresses is that it has to be easy to fin and fill out. Make sure that it does not have too many fields that promote your potential mailing list subscribers to share too much information about themselves. They are already doing you a favor by sharing their private information with you, do not push it too much.

Moreover, you should also make sure you have a visible link to the form at every location on your website so that your potential subscribers would not have to spend ages trying to find it.

2. Pop-up Forms

Another method of acquiring new subscribers the inbound way is by encouraging them to join your list as they are exploring your website or blog. Although popups are often perceived as aggressive, they are also one of the list intrusive mail building tools and allow you to invite new subscribers without being too pushy. The best way to implement popups is by being a little bit cheeky - make them reactive i.e. trigger-based. When your potential subscriber is about to leave, kiss them goodbye with a gentle reminder to join your mailing list if they liked your content and would like to receive news about it straight into their inbox.

3. Promise Freebies

Nothing incites people to take action as a promise of some sort of added value they will benefit from upon taking that action. Therefore, the best way to encourage people to provide their email address is by offering something in exchange. For instance, you could give them a little discount for a signup to your mailing list or offer a coupon for their first purchase. That way, you will not just acquire a new subscriber and grow your mailing list, but you will also efficiently convert leads into customers as they will likely want to utilise their discount.

4. Make Use of Gated Content

Another technique that falls into the "freebies" category is offering exclusive, highly useful content in exchange for a mailing list subscription. To do this, you need to develop a couple of high-quality marketing pieces (a tool, a checklist, an e-book, etc.) to share with those who decide to sign up to your mailing list.

5. Put a CTA into Your Employees’ Email Signature

Use email to grow your mailing list! If your employees regularly communicate with the target audience via email, put a link to your opt-in form in the signature section. Coupled up with a neat and effective CTA, such a link is capable of increasing visibility of your opt-in form and attracting more and more people who could be interested in joining the list.

Besides, if your employees are helpful in their emails, there is a chance the recipients will forward those to their network, which gives your link an even better exposure.

All in all, email list building is a fairly long and complicated task. However, if you do not just build the email list for the sake of growing it, you will see that your efforts will soon pay off. After all, if your email campaigns are genuinely good and interesting for your subscribers, they will talk about it and spread the word of mouth to their network. Then, you can expect new subscribers to join naturally.

The main secret is to not give up too early! The process is not always smooth but is definitely worth the effort and time.

Written by
Theresa Cofield
Freelance Writer

Theresa Cofield is a freelance writer who has a love for creativity and a passion for helping others. She works as a blogger at csgobettingg.com where she covers the topics of esports and the gaming industry.

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