7 Tips on How to Build Your Email List

7 Tips on How to Build Your Email List

With all the technology out there, it’s easy to forget about what the bread and butter of any marketing campaign is. Prospects are the most important element of any marketing arsenal. Having a list of real people to whom you can send personalized messaging is incredibly powerful. If you are just starting out with online marketing, you should take steps to build a very detailed email list. You’ll find that it’s a tedious and time consuming process, but you will thank yourself once you have a good one going. Check out these seven ideas on how to build your email list, along with some examples of companies that are implementing these ideas amazingly well.


Build Email List With EbooksThis kind of content is very effective at getting people to trade their info.  A well-crafted eBook that contains useful information is a tangible piece of material that not only establishes your brand as an authority in your niche; it also enables you to deliver calls to action to other content, products and services that you have to offer. If you are a good writer and a halfway decent designer, these are also pretty cheap to make.

Who’s doing it right?

We often highlight HubSpot on this blog, and we have even been inspired by them. That’s because they have the inbound process down right. They have tons of eBooks, guides and other tantalizing content that users can get for free just by entering an email address.

Free Products and/or Services

The most obvious item of value that you can use to trade for contact information is free stuff or free services from your business. For example, offering a coupon for free services in exchange for contact information is a good way to collect names and emails. Make sure the giveaway appeals to your target market.

Who’s being innovative?

New York Magazine knows that the quickest way to their prospects’ inboxes is through their stomachs. The publication is offering a free cupcake to those who sign up for its New York Deals email list.

NYMags daily deal


Ecommerce Transactions

Obviously, you need to have some sort of ecommerce system set up already, but if you do, you can leverage this tactic. When users check out through shopping cart software, this is a prime opportunity to ask if they would like to receive updates on new products or services that they may be interested in. In these scenarios, you have a lot of information already such as products or services that they like to buy, as well as information related to shipping and billing. As long as you have permission from the visitor to use it, you can add them to your contact list.

Who’s doing it?

This isn’t really a revolutionary thing. A lot of businesses do this on their ecommerce transactions. Starbucks just happens to be one of the less annoying ones. They don’t have their opt-in clicked by default. It’s nice not to be tricked into opting in.



Many businesses have sales teams that do prospecting; maybe you do it yourself. During these calls, it is not uncommon to get emails and other contact info. You can also ask if it’s ok to send the person more information about your company, and also save their name and email for your email list.

Another method of prospecting is simply looking for information already out there on the web. Go to the websites of your target audience. Many times you can find emails, addresses and phone numbers already listed.


This is perhaps the most basic and traditional form of content used to get emails and other contact info. This generally only works well if your company is established and has something interesting to say. Otherwise, no one will care. Don’t take this approach unless you have someone dedicated to producing good content on a regular basis.

If you are able to develop a solid following, your network can grow exponentially. People who are loyal to a publication often stick with it, are heavily influenced by what it says and recommend it to friends.

The Fish Bowl

You have undoubtedly seen the fish bowls at various establishments that ask people to put in a business card in order to win something. You didn’t think these businesses were doing this out of the kindness of their hearts, did you? This a way to collect information from the people that frequent an establishment.


Maybe you don’t have the time, knowledge or inclination to write a whole ebook. You could do a shorter version called a whitepaper. These are similar to the eBook idea; however, they are shorter and even less costly to produce. Like an eBook, you should offer useful information in a whitepaper. These are basically just PDF files hosted on a website or a social media account that people can gain access to by first leaving contact information.

Building an email list is a crucial sales and prospecting task. Without potential contacts to market your business to, growth is slowed and you can’t personalize your message.


How do you build email lists? Do you use any tactics that aren’t listed here? Share them in the comments below.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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