How to Build Your Mailing List, A Small Business Guide


Chiara Russo

Mar 6, 2021


category folder



Marketing experts will continually tell you that growing your email list remains one of the most effective forms of digital marketing tools in this day and age. A recent article in Forbes states that email marketing is still considered the top strategy for getting the best return on investment (ROI) compared with other methods. Compared to social media, pay-per-click, and different popular digital marketing strategies, a laser-focused email marketing campaign can bring in as much as 40 times the marketing spend.

The Value of Email Marketing‍

Hand holding a phone with an image that says "Email Marketing"

Many retail store owners, bloggers, and other online business entrepreneurs often regret not building their email list early on. Often, without a concrete list of email subscribers, it is possible to lose them forever--the chance of introducing your brand more, show your new offers or give the latest updates in your content. Thus, keeping (and growing) an email list will provide you with a quantifiable way to see how much your audience responds to your business.

However, joining your email list isn’t just about creating a popup on your website saying, “Subscribe to our newsletter!” This old and tired method is sure to bring little to no subscribers, understanding that people are always bombarded with websites trying to get their contact information. In this post, you will discover some surefire yet straightforward strategies to grow and maintain your mailing list no matter what type of business you are.

How To Build Your Mailing List: Top Strategies

Present an irresistible offer

The first stage of growing your email list is making potential subscribers sign up on your opt-in form. To do this, you have to present an offer they can’t resist--so enticing that your target audience will be willing to exchange their emails for what they will receive.

Now, this offer depends on the type of business you have. Here are some attractive freebies or promotions you can place on your website to encourage people to join:

  1. Give a huge discount code for online retailers, such as 40-50% off your whole store once they sign up for your email list. You can also offer regular discount codes, giveaways, and other promotions exclusive to your email subscribers.
  2. For service-related businesses: Provide a free consultation, estimate, or any other no-commitment type of service to collect email addresses. You can also present a special discount on your services exclusive to your mailing list.
  3. For content marketers: Offer a free ebook, checklist, magazine issue, or any other useful digital product related to your business in exchange for your audience’s email.

To know which offer is excellent for your type of business, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your audience--if you were them, what is something valuable that you would like to receive and are willing to give your email away? This simple question can give you insights into presenting an irresistible opt-in form.

Have well-written email marketing campaigns

Paper, lightbulb and pens - Writing Content concept

So now that you’ve got people signing up to your mailing list, what’s next? The second thing you have to think of is knowing what type of content you’re going to place in your emails. Although you have succeeded in building an email list, it is equally important to keep your audiences engaged.

What is the difference between an email sent to the trash and one that is opened and read? Many times, it is all about how you write and present your email content.

Do you ever notice how some types of email flow so enticingly, and others sound spammy? It can all be a matter of copywriting. Copywriting is the technique of writing to “sell” or “convince.” You can hire an email marketing team to do these tasks for all your campaigns:

  1. Landing pages: Landing pages to your website should be simple, attention-grabbing, and will allow you to present your offer right away in exchange for an email. An important part is including a clear and large link for them to place their email and get their offer. To create useful landing pages, it is essential to leave out large chunks of text and make readable one to two liners. This will help engage your potential audience and will make your offer easy to understand.
  2. Email content: Another way to prevent unsubscribes to your email list is to avoid spammy and poorly written campaigns. If you have a campaign such as a product launch, a seasonal discount, or an ongoing sale, it is crucial to create the most attractive yet simple email headline, text content and include a call to action.
  3. Other strategies for email opt-ins: your subscribers should consistently see Well-written campaigns in your other methods to get emails, such as social media posts and PPC ads.

Create content consistently

Content Creation (Videos, Files, Blogs) coming out of a letter

Another strategy on how to build your mailing list is creating content on your website. Creating content such as a blog post, podcast, video, or any other digital type of information will increase the chances of a new audience coming across your business. Not to mention, this is also one way on how to increase word-of-mouth referrals, especially if your content is exceptional.

Many businesses make the mistake of not creating content regularly. They assume that having their “About” and “Products and Services,” pages are enough to keep the company going. Sadly, if you do not have any other website content that drives your target audience to your business, it will be challenging to grow your email list.

It is vital to integrate content marketing with your email marketing strategy. As you publish blog posts consistently, you can include signup forms on every content you have. Content creators can also encourage sign-ups by mentioning joining their mailing list of exclusive offers. Always including an email sign-up offer in your content can dramatically grow your list.

Choose the right kind of opt-in form for your audience‍

Aside from the content, one should also pay attention to the technical side of creating opt-in forms. Sometimes, this overlooked factor can cause potential subscribers to click the “X” button before even looking into your offer.

Some tips that can help your target audience consider subscribing include:

  1. Using a scroll box: A scroll box that will stay while the user is navigating around your website will help them process your offer when they are ready. This helps get rid of the annoyance of email opt-in pop-ups which happen so often on many websites.
  2. Timed pop-ups: If you plan to create opt-in campaigns using pop-ups, make sure that they don’t appear after quite some time on your website. Leave at least a minute or two for them to browse through your list, and then make the pop-up appear from there. Placing pop-ups too early will cause them to scroll away or close the form.
  3. Integrated signup forms: To even increase your chances of getting more emails, you can integrate opt-in forms in your blog posts and landing pages as much as possible.

Grow your list based on your audience category‍

Hand selecting an audience from a pool of people on a tablet

The best of email marketers don’t just use a single campaign for their audience. As you grow your business, you will notice that your target audience isn’t just a single, homogeneous demographic--they have different agendas on why they went to your business.

Some people would only like information-related content--they don’t want to be bombarded with your offers. Others would like to know more about your products and services. Thus, it is essential to create various opt-in forms and campaigns for these groups of people.

To do this efficiently, you need to start by creating email list categories before making your forms. For example, if you are a multi-platform business owner, you can create lists such as “Blog opt-ins,” “Store opt-ins,” or “Social media opt-ins.” This way, you can customize offers based on where they signed up to keep their engagement. You can also wisely cross-promote and introduce other offers subtly, rather than aggregating a single promotion and losing your audience automatically when they sense that your email campaigns are turning spammy.

Building Your List, Building Your Empire‍

Your email list is the only non-third party way to grow your audience. Even if you lose search engine rankings or social media platforms have shut down; your email list will stay with you. As you incorporate these strategies to grow your mailing list, you are sure to build your empire, one subscriber at a time.

To know how to do all this, including SEO for corporate websites, reach out to the Small Business experts at E-Marketing Associates.

Ready to Grow Your Business?