How to build an email list in 3 easy steps

So you want to know how to build an email list? Luckily for you you’re in the right place. In this day and age email lists are crucial for any business. Email lists take time to build but, you will reap the rewards. Let’s get stuck into how to start building yours today.

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Why build an email list?

Email lists are a way of communicating with your subscribers without having to worry about social media algorithms. There’s a very high chance that the emails you send to your list are going to land in their inboxes.

It’s also much easier to personalise emails than it is social media. You can add subscriber names to subject lines and make sure that you only send them content relevant to them.

When people join your list they’re actually giving you their email address, which is much more of a faff than clicking a follow button on social media. So by joining your mailing list they’re telling you that they’re interested in what you have to say.

So how do you start to build an email list?

Email marketing provider

The first step is to actually start a list. The easiest way to do this is by setting up an account with an email marketing provider like MailerLite or MailChimp. If you’re not sure which to choose check out my post from last week where I talk about the best email marketing software.

This will give you all the basic tools you need to manage an email list effectively.

Create your first sign-up form

Once you’ve set up your account with your chosen email marketing platform you need to make your first sign-up form. This is the form where people will submit their email address. 

Try to keep the number of fields on the form to a minimum. People are much less likely to subscribe if they have to fill in a huge form. Try to keep it to name and email address as the maximum.

Once you’ve got your form you’ll need to put it in a brand new page on your website or create a landing page using your email marketing software. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, you just need a link to be able to send people to, to sign up.

Not sure what to write on your landing page?

Grab my 4 page workbook Multiply your Mailing list to help set up your landing page for maximum sign-ups

Tell people about your shiny new list

You’ve got your form and your landing page, so it’s now time to collect some subscribers. Tell anyone and everyone about how awesome it is being on your list. Emphasise the amazing value people are going to get sent into their inboxes.

Make sure you promote it on all of your social media profiles more than once and update your website to have a menu option linking to your brand new sign-up page. Add a link to your email signature, link to your sign-up form whenever you’re a guest expert on a blog or podcast. Literally anywhere you’re allowed to link to your website, make sure it’s to your sign-up form.

How often should you email your list?

Once you’ve got some subscribers you’ll need to think about what content to send them and how often. It doesn’t matter how often you decide to send emails to your list, just make sure you’re consistent with it. If you’re not sure, why not start with a monthly email and see how that feels. You can always increase or decrease the frequency later on, just be sure to communicate it with the people on your list and don’t chop and change too often.

You want to use your list to prove how reliable and trustworthy you are. Showing up sporadically in your subscribers’ inboxes won’t help that.

What should you send to your mailing list?

I say start small. What are you posting about on social media this week? Is it a topic you could go deeper on to send to your list?

Do you have a load of resources on a specific topic that you could send to your list as a handy shortcut to keep referring back to?

You don’t have to create brand new content to your list, get creative with your re-purposing.

Emails don’t have to be, and shouldn’t be too long. People don’t want to spend 30 mins reading through an essay sent to them via email. Make it short, sweet and to the point.

Want to offload getting your mailing list set up?

Check out my Fabulous Funnels package where I take all your tech stress away. I’ll create your landing and thank you pages, as well as making sure your lead magnet is sent automatically, followed by a series of emails to funnel your new prospects to buy your latest offer.

Going forward

So far I’ve talked about the basics of growing an email list. Once you feel comfortable with those steps here are some more tips to help build an email list.

Create a lead magnet

You may also have heard people call them opt-ins or opt-in freebies. A lead magnet is an incentive to get people to join your mailing list. They give you their email address in return for you sending them this thing.

Lead magnets can be anything from PDF downloads, exclusive access to a video series or even a free email challenge. Whatever you decide it needs to be relevant to your ideal client, fix a specific problem for them, needs to be easy to consume and provide them with value. A lead magnet that does these things will help cement you as their go-to-gal when it comes to your niche.

Create a popup or infobar

Love ‘em or hate ‘em there’s no denying that popups get results when it comes to growing an email list. I like to use a WordPress plugin called ConvertPlus on my site which gives me a load of options when it comes to popups and infobars.

It pays to be clever when it comes to popups on your website. Take a look at how long users spend on average on your website and have your popups set to display just before that time. For example if people visiting your site spend 90 seconds before moving on, have the popup display after 80 seconds.

Infobars are a little less intrusive and usually appear at the top or bottom of a screen. I recommend playing with the timings for displaying them and see what works for you. There’s no exact science to this, just keep tweaking until you find the sweet spot.

Create your first funnel

Email funnel is a fancy way of saying sequence of emails. It’s a set of emails designed by you to nurture your subscribers towards an end goal, which is usually to buy your thing.

Email marketing platforms let you automate your funnels and give you loads of options for triggering them too. It could be when they join your list or just a specific date that you want to trigger the sequence from.
If you want to know more about email funnels, check out my guest post over at The Startup Gold all about getting started with email marketing and funnels.

How to build an email list – summary

In this post I talked about the reasons for starting an email list as well as how to get started. The three basic steps are to set up an account with an email marketing platform, create your sign-up form and then promote it.

I also talked about how often and what to send to your email list – let’s face it, there’s no point building a list if you’re not going to send any emails to it.

Finally I talked about creating lead magnets, using popups and infobars and gave a brief introduction to email funnels.

What questions do you have about building your email list?

You may also enjoy:

Which is the best email marketing software?

How to create an email list quickly

Mailchimp to WordPress – 3 tips guaranteed to build your list

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