How to Build an Email List From Scratch: A Step-By-Step Guide




Are you looking for ways to grow your business? If so, then you need to build an email list.

This email marketing strategy is one of the most effective ways to reach more customers and increase sales.

In this blog post, we'll provide a free guide on how to do it.

Follow these simple instructions, and you will be able to create a powerful email list that can help your business grow!


  1. Choose Your Email Provider
  2. Create an Email Account 
  3. Build Your Opt-In Form
  4. Create Your Newsletter
  5. Fill Your Website With Blog Posts
  6. Add a Personalized CTA on Your Posts
  7. Create Landing Pages
  8. Add Relevant Pop-Ups
  9. Strategise Your Content Production
What is an Email List?

What is an Email List?

Before we jump into the email list building steps, let's first look into the more profound definition of an email list.

An email list is essentially a group of email addresses used in email marketing that have been collected from various sources and compiled into a single database.

Email lists are used for a variety of purposes, such as sending out newsletters, promotional material, or other types of information.

They can be purchased from third-party companies, or they can be compiled through opt-in forms on websites.

In order to build an email list, businesses need to have a way to collect email addresses.

This can be done through opt-in forms, subscription forms, sign-ups at events, or other methods.

Once an email list has been created, it can be used to send out mass emails. This can be done manually or through an automated system.

Email lists are a valuable tool for email marketing used by online businesses that want to stay in touch with their customers or fans.

Why Is Building an Email List From Scratch Important for Business Owners?

In the age of social media, some business owners may wonder what's the reason to build an email list from scratch.

After all, doesn't everyone use Facebook and Twitter these days?

While it's true that social media is a powerful marketing tool, email still offers some distinct advantages.

For one thing, email marketing allows you to reach a large audience with a single message. While your Facebook page post may only be seen by a few hundred people, your email can reach thousands of customers.

In addition, email is more personal than social media. Your message will go directly into someone's inbox, where they are likely to see it and read it.

This makes it more likely that they will take action on your message, whether that means making a purchase or simply subscribing to your newsletter.

Email marketing may not be the newest form of communication, but it is still an essential tool for reaching and engaging customers.

Email Service Provider

Step 1: Choose Your Email Service Provider

If you're starting an email list from scratch, the first thing you need to do is choose an email provider.

There are a number of different providers out there, and each has its own set of features and benefits. 

One of the most important factors to consider is price. Some providers charge per month while others charge per email sent.

If you're just starting out, you may want to choose an email marketing platform that charges per month so you don't have to worry about how many emails you send. 

Another important factor to consider is the provider's reputation. Some providers are known for their deliverability, while others are known for their privacy policies.

Make sure you research each provider before making a decision. 

Finally, you'll want to consider the features each provider offers. Some providers offer automation tools, while others offer more robust list-building tools.

Choose the provider that offers the features you need.

Looking for some suggestions when it comes to email service providers? My personal favourites are:

  1. Convertkit - ConvertKit is my #1 recommended email marketing platform because it has been built with care to the exact needs of creators building online businesses.
  2. ActiveCampaign - Active Campaign is an advanced marketing automation tool that allows you to set up virtually any automation you can think of – triggered campaigns, sales follow-ups, automated segmentation, dynamic email content and so on.
  3. Mailchimp - Whether you’re getting online for the first time or scaling, Mailchimp has tools and insights to help you sell more stuff.
Step 2 Set up your Email Service Provider Account

Step 2: Set up your Email Service Provider Account

The first step is, of course, to create an account. As I mentioned, my tool of choice is Convertkit so I will outline the initial steps relative to that platform although it will be similar for whatever provider you choose.

One thing I love about ConvertKit is that you can get an account for free if you have less than a 1000 subscribers. This free plan will help you to see if ConvertKit is for you.

ConvertKit also offers several plans based on how many subscribers you have on your mail list. If you have 1000 subscribers, you pay $29 a month. The price is higher the more subscribers you have.

Enter all your details in the Account Info, Profile, and Email settings. (If you’ve chosen the free trial option, you can leave billing for later when you make a decision).

In the Email Settings tab, you will see the word ‘pending’ next to your email address. You’ll need to confirm your email address before ConvertKit allows you to send emails.

This is required by international spam laws, so don’t skip this part, or you might face fines if you’re reported.

So ensure that you check your email; there will be instructions on confirming your email address.

On this page, you’ll also notice that you need to add your physical mailing address.

While you don’t necessarily need to put your actual home address, you cannot leave it blank according to international laws.

You can use a PO Box or look for companies that offer a free address and only charge you if you receive anything.

Step 3: Build Your Opt-In Form

Step 3: Build Your Opt-In Form

An opt-in form is one of the most important elements of a successful email marketing campaign. Not only does it help you to gather email subscribers, but it also gives you an opportunity to make a good first impression. If you want to create an opt-in form that sells, there are some tips you can follow.

Make It Easy To Find

Your sign-up form should be prominently featured on your website or blog. A good place to put it is in the sidebar or header area. This is an important thing to do since creating a form would be pointless if the reader does not see it.

Keep It Short and Sweet

The fewer fields there are in your form, the more likely people are to fill it out.

Stick to the essentials, such as name and email address. Adding a lot of unnecessary words and sentences would make your form less attractive to your blog readers.

The main goal of creating an opt-in form is to make a form that is easy to read and informs the reader of what you're offering.

Include a Strong Call to Action

Your CTA should be clear and concise. Use active language, such as “Sign up now” or “Get my free ebook.” Having a strong call-to-action is a powerful way to invite readers and website visitors to your email list.

Offer an Incentive

People are more likely to sign up if they know they’ll get something in return.

Offer a freebie, such as a checklist, ebook, video series, or other free resources, in exchange for their email address.

Freebies are definitely worth the price if you want to capture email addresses and build an efficient email list.

A freebie is also known as a lead magnet, and they are an effective marketing tool to collect emails.

You can create lead magnets to, which are great help for collecting email addresses.

Step 4: Create Your Newsletter

Step 4: Create Your Newsletter

Growing your email list can seem like a daunting task, but with a little effort, you can quickly start to see results.

One of the most effective ways to build an email list is to create a newsletter. This will allow you to reach out to potential email subscribers on a regular basis and give them valuable content that they can enjoy.

Sending out newsletters is a common practice in email marketing. And interestingly, there are various steps you can follow to create a newsletter that sells.

Know Your Target Audience

Figure out who your target audience is and what they want to hear from you. What kind of content will they find valuable? Once you know this, you can start creating content that appeals to them, which helps you collect emails.

Make Your Form Visible

Make it easy for people to sign up for your newsletter. Add a newsletter signup link to your website or blog, and make sure it's visible and easy to fill out.

You can also promote your newsletter on social media channels, and include a link to the opt-in page in your bio.

Send Out Quality Emails

Once you have a few subscribers, start sending out regular emails with great content. If you can keep your readers engaged, they'll be more likely to stay on your list - and maybe even tell their friends about you.

However, it's important to take note that your email marketing technique wouldn't be successful if you don't focus on producing quality emails.

Step 5: Fill Your Website With Blog Posts

Step 5: Fill Your Website With Blog Posts

Any good marketer knows that website traffic is essential to the success of a business. After all, without website visitors, there can be no conversions. However, simply driving traffic to a website is not enough.

To be truly successful, businesses need to find ways to encourage their visitors to take action, such as joining an email list.

One of the best ways to do this is by filling your website with high-quality blog posts.

By providing valuable information and allowing readers to get to know your brand, you can build trust and increase the likelihood that they will sign up for your email list.

Additionally, by including links to your email sign-up page in your blog posts, you can make it easy for visitors to take the next step.

If you're looking to attract more subscribers, then filling your website with blog posts is a strategy that's worth considering.

If you're looking to attract more subscribers, then filling your website with blog posts is a strategy that's worth considering. - Andrew Wallis, Founder of AW Consultancy & Fitness Marketing Blueprint

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Tips in Writing a Blog Post

There are a few key things to keep in mind when writing a blog post that will help ensure your post is engaging and interesting for your readers.

First, focus on a specific topic or theme. Trying to cover too many topics in one post can make your writing feel scattered and unfocused.

Second, make sure to include plenty of detail and examples to illustrate your points.

And finally, be sure to proofread your work before you hit publish! Taking the time to double-check your spelling and grammar will help give your blog an air of professionalism and expertise.

By following these simple tips, you can write blog posts that will keep your readers coming back for more.

Step 6: Add a Personalized CTA on Your Posts

Step 6: Add a Personalized CTA on Your Posts

These days, almost every business has an email list. After all, email is still one of the most effective marketing channels available.

If you're not building an email list from your blog, you're missing out on a valuable opportunity to connect with your readers.

One of the best ways to add an email sign-up form to your blog is to personalize your call-to-action (CTA).

Instead of using a generic "subscribe" button, try something that speaks to your specific audience.

For example, if you write a lot about travel, you could use a CTA like "Get exclusive over 40's health tips sent straight to your inbox."

Alternatively, if you offer plant-based recipes for gym goers, you might use a CTA like "Never miss a power plant-based recipe - sign up for my mailing list."

By personalising your CTA, you'll be more likely to convert readers into subscribers.

And once you have a subscribers list, you'll be able to stay in touch with your audience and build deeper relationships over time.

Writing an Attractive CTA

If you want readers to hit the sign up button, you need to have a CTA that sells.

When it comes to creating a CTA, you have to introduce the importance of your product or service so that readers would easily be interested in clicking your link.

The best CTAs are short, sweet, and to the point. They make it clear what the reader will get by subscribing, such as exclusive content, deals, or access to a freebie.

Your CTA should also stand out from the rest of your blog post.

This can be done by using a different color or font than the rest of your text, or by placing it in a prominent spot on the page, such as at the end of your post or in the sidebar; you can also add it on your email signature.

By following these tips, you can write an effective CTA that will help you build your email list from scratch.

Step 7: Create Landing Pages

Step 7: Create Landing Pages

A landing page is a web page that allows you to collect email addresses from your customers, generally in exchange for an offer or discount.

You can create a landing page on your website by adding a form where visitors can enter their name and email address.

Once you have collected this information, you can add them to your email list and send them updates about your product or service.

Creating multiple landing pages with different offers can help you to build a larger email list and reach a wider audience.

A landing page is an essential email marketing tool for any business that wants to grow its online presence. An online business can benefit more from this technique.

By taking the time to create an attractive landing page, you can significantly increase the number of people who are interested in what you have to offer.

What To Put in Your Landing Page?

Your landing page should be designed to persuade visitors to sign up for your email list. To do this, you need to include an attractive offer and a strong CTA.

Your offer could be something like a discount code, exclusive content, or early access to a new product. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that your audience would find valuable.

Your CTA should be clear and concise, and it should tell visitors exactly what they need to do to sign up for your email list.

For example, you could use a CTA like "Enter your email address to receive a discount code."

Step 8: Add Relevant Pop-Ups

Step 8: Add Relevant Pop-Ups

Website pop-ups can be an effective way to build an email list, but they need to be used carefully.

A well-designed pop-up will appear at an appropriate moment and offer visitors something of value in exchange for their contact information.

Common strategies include offering a discount on a first purchase, providing access to exclusive content, or giving away a free eBook.

Promotional pop-ups can also be used to encourage visitors to subscribe to a newsletter or follow a brand on social media accounts. This is a great time to capture the visitor's email address.

When used correctly, pop-ups can be a valuable email marketing tool for growing an email list. However, too many pop-ups or pop-ups that are poorly designed can be off-putting and drive visitors away.

Therefore, it is important to use pop-ups sparingly and make sure that they are relevant and useful to your audience.

What To Put in a Page Pop-Up?

One way to help build your email list is by using page pop-ups, which can be highly effective if used properly.

So, what should you include in your page pop-up?

First, make sure the pop-up is relevant to the content on the website pages.

Don't try to force people to sign up for your email list; give them just a few reasons to want to receive your emails.

Second, keep the form simple and easy to complete. The fewer fields there are, the more likely people are to fill it out.

Finally, make sure you offer something of value in exchange for an email address.

This could be a discount code, a free ebook, or access to exclusive content.

By following these tips, you can increase the chances of people signing up for your email list.

Step 9: Strategise Your Content Production

Step 9: Strategise Your Content Production

Any good marketer will tell you that content is king.

In order to attract readers and convert them into customers, you need to have high-quality, well-written content on your website.

However, simply having great content isn't enough. You also need to have a solid content strategy in place.

This means creating a plan for what kinds of content you will produce, how often you will produce it, and how you will promote it.

Only with a well-thought-out content plan can you hope to improve your website's presence and attract readers to join your email list.

Some things to keep in mind when creating your content strategy include your target audience, your goals, and the resources you have available.

You'll also want to consider the different types of content you can create, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, and ebooks.

Once you have all of this information, you can start putting together a plan that will help you achieve your online marketing goals.

How to Be Consistent?

One of the most difficult things about email marketing is being consistent. It can be hard to find the time to write quality content, design eye-catching graphics, and come up with new offers on a regular basis.

Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can use to make sure you're always putting your best foot forward.

First, take some time to batch create content.

This means sitting down and writing several blog posts or designing several infographics at once. This will help you to have a stockpile of content that you can use when you're feeling pressed for time.

Another helpful strategy is to create an editorial calendar. This is a document that outlines what kind of content you will produce and when you will publish it.

Having an editorial calendar will help you to stay on track and ensure that you're always publishing fresh, relevant content.

Finally, make use of automation tools.

There are a number of email marketing software programs that can help you to automate work. This means you can schedule your emails in advance and take some of the pressure off of yourself.

By using these strategies, you can make sure you're always putting your best foot forward and providing value to your subscribers.

What Are the Benefits of Having an Email List?

What Are the Benefits of Having an Email List?

Email lists are a great tool for businesses of all sizes.

They provide a way to stay in touch with customers and prospects, build relationships, and drive sales.

As mentioned earlier, there are various steps you can follow to build a reliable email list from scratch. These include adding opt-in forms to your website, creating landing pages, and using pop-ups.

Each of these strategies can help you to reach a larger audience and grow your business.

To learn more about the benefits of building an email list, check out this section.

Stay in Touch With Customers and Prospects

Stay in Touch With Customers and Prospects

Email lists allow you to stay in touch with customers and prospects, even if they don't visit your website or online store every day.

You can use your email list to send news updates, special offers, and other information that will keep your business top of mind.

Whether you have a small business or a medium-sized enterprise, creating a solid email database is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and prospects.

Build Relationships

Email marketing is a great way to build relationships with your customers and prospects.

When you send valuable information and offers, you nurture the relationship and build trust. This trust can lead to increased sales and loyalty over time.

Drive Sales

Drive Sales

Email lists are a great way to boost sales. You can use your email list to promote new products, special offers, and limited-time discounts.

This can encourage people on your list to buy from you more often, which can help increase your revenue.

Get Feedback

Email lists also provide a way to get feedback from your customers and prospects.

You can use surveys and polls to gather data about what people want, what they like, and what they don't like.

This feedback can be invaluable as you strive to improve your business.

How Can You Keep Your Email List Subscribers Engaged?

How Can You Keep Your Email List Subscribers Engaged?

Building your email list is one thing but keeping your subscribers engaged is another.

Email list subscribers are only valuable if they're engaged.

Engaged subscribers are those who open and click-through your emails, and they're the ones who are most likely to make a purchase from you. So, how can you keep your email list subscribers engaged?

Make sure that you're sending relevant and targeted content. If your subscribers don't care about what you're sending them, they're not going to bother opening it.

In addition, use an engaging email subject line. A subject line that piques curiosity or promises value is more likely to get opened than a bland or generic one.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your email list subscribers engaged and improve your chances of driving conversions.

Creating an Engaging Email Subject Line

Creating an Engaging Email Subject Line

In today's age of constant emailing, it's more important than ever to make sure your email subject lines are engaging.

After all, you want your recipients to actually open and read your emails!

So how can you create subject lines that will grab attention?

First, avoid using generic phrases like "just checking in" or "news update." Instead, be specific and concise.

Email marketing requires you to get straight to the point by including key information like dates, times, or quick stats.

Second, try to evoke some level of emotion in your subject line. Whether you're promising a solution to a problem or highlighting an exciting accomplishment, make sure your readers feel something when they see your email.

Finally, keep it short! Long subject lines are often skimmed over or cut off entirely, so stick to around 50 characters or less.

Common Mistakes When It Comes to Building Email Lists

Common Mistakes When It Comes to Building Email Lists

Business owners who are building an email list and practicing email marketing for the first time often make the same mistakes.

One common mistake is not clearly defining the purpose of the list. Is it for announcements, for sending out coupons or special offers, or for keeping customers up-to-date on new products?

Once the purpose of the list is clear, it's easier to determine what types of content to include.

Another mistake is not growing the list organically.

This means adding names to the list without getting permission first, which can lead to high unsubscribe rates and could get the business in trouble with spam laws.

Instead, business owners should focus on providing value and building relationships with subscribers.

Finally, another mistake is not segmenting the list.

This means grouping subscribers together based on interests or demographics. Segmenting helps to ensure that subscribers only receive content that is relevant to them, which can increase engagement and reduce unsubscribe rates.

By avoiding these common mistakes, business owners can set themselves up for success when it comes to their email lists.

Best Ways To Grow Your Email List Quickly and Efficiently

Best Ways To Grow Your Email List Quickly and Efficiently

Growing an email list can be a great way to connect with potential customers and build a relationship of trust.

However, it can be difficult to know where to start.

We've already discussed the steps you need to take in order to build an email list.

Now, let's take a look at some of the best ways to grow your email list quickly and efficiently.

Utilize Social Media

Utilize Social Media

Social media is a great way to reach potential customers and generate interest in your product or service. A page with a lot of social media followers could significantly help build organic traffic.

Be sure to include a CTA in your posts, inviting people to sign up for your email list.

Creating constant stream of content in your social media platforms would significantly help build traffic and eventually additional leads for your email list.

Host a Contest or Giveaway

Host a Contest or Giveaway

People love free stuff! Hosting a contest or giveaway is an excellent way to incent people to sign up for your email list.

Just be sure to clearly state the terms and conditions of the contest, so there are no surprises later on.

Leverage Your Existing Customers

Your existing customers are some of your best advocates. Ask them to spread the word about your business by sharing your sign-up form with their friends and family.

Referral programs are known for utilizing your existing subscribers to gather new subscribers.

A successful referral program is ideal to build your email database. You could even offer exclusive discounts for your referral programs.

Make It Easy To Sign Up

Don't make people jump through hoops just to subscribe to your email list.

Include a sign-up form on every page of your website, and make the process as simple as possible. The less friction there is, the more likely people will be to subscribe.

How To Make Sure That Your Email List Is Effective and Profitable?

How To Make Sure That Your Email List Is Effective and Profitable?

Before you can even begin to think about making money from your email list, you need to make sure that your list is effective.

An effective email list is one that is full of engaged subscribers who are interested in what you have to say.

There are a few key things that you can do to ensure that your list meets these criteria.

First, segment your list so that you are only sending relevant content to each subscriber.

Second, make sure that your emails are well-written and offer value to the reader.

Finally, don't be afraid to experiment with different types of content and promotional offers.

By taking these steps, you can be sure that your email list is both effective and profitable.

Final Thoughts

Email lists are an essential tool for any business, big or small.

They provide a direct way to reach your audience, and they can be a powerful marketing tool. Building an email list from scratch can seem daunting, but it's actually not that difficult.

If you're a business owner and want to reach more prospects and new clients, building a solid email database is an excellent digital marketing strategy.

Just remember to avoid common mistakes, utilize the best practices for list growth, and make sure that your list is effective and profitable.

About the author, Andrew Wallis

From two decades in the corporate world to finding my freedom in fitness, I'm known as Braveheart—a Personal Trainer turned marketing maestro for Fitness Professionals. I'm all about unlocking potential and empowering Fit Pros to grow their businesses. 'Finding Your Freedom' isn't just a mantra; it's a collective journey I embark upon with my clients.

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