Email marketing is a type of digital marketing that’s mentioned a lot in business circles.

But how important is it for new online brand owners really? What should you be doing? And what should you not be doing?

Not to worry— I aim to answer all your questions in this email list building guide.

Why Build an Email List? & How to Grow It

What Is Email Marketing?

First things first, let’s start with the basics.

For all the beginners in the back (I see you!), email marketing involves sending advertising messages to your customers or clients through email campaigns.

An email campaign is a coordinated set of emails that are sent to your list over a certain period of time with one purpose.

Whether you want to send a monthly newsletter or create a welcome sequence, all email marketing is done through dedicated email marketing services (but more on these later!).

Why Build an Email List?

Truth be told, your brand doesn’t need an email list to survive.

That said, if you want to see it not only survive but thrive too, here are some reasons why building an email list is a great idea.

1. It Creates a Loyal Following

Firstly, if you think about it, not just anybody is going to sign up to your email list. As a consumer, you only tend to subscribe to a list if you have an emotional connection to a brand or individual.

You already know and like them, so you trust them enough to give them your email address and personal details. Right?

In other words, the group of people on your email list are like your “ride-or-dies.” They care enough to follow your every move (and every email). And this loyalty can lead to the start of a beautiful and long-lasting relationship.

2. It Offers Control

Why build an email list? There are only two platforms you have complete control over as an online business: your website and mailing list.

Unfortunately, you don’t “own” your social media followers. They’re not in your circle of influence. And you have algorithms to contend with on social media that can affect your following and engagement.

With email marketing, you can manage the contacts in your list and organise them into segments whenever you want. This will ensure that your campaigns are always targeted and personalised, thus increasing their chances of success.

3. It Communicates Your Value

By offering your email list high-quality content for free, you’re letting your audience know the value of what you offer.

This enables more trust. Essentially, if you deliver free value consistently, they may become paying customers or clients one day.

(And wouldn’t that be wonderful?)

3 Popular Email Service Providers

Even though there are many professional email marketing platforms, these 3 are currently the most popular.

1. Mailchimp

It’s very tempting to go with Mailchimp as a startup with limited funds. After all, Mailchimp is free if you have up to 2,000 email subscribers.

I went with Mailchimp for my fashion and travel blog Trendy Tourist. 

It’s super straightforward to set up. That said, when it came to using Mailchimp, I found the interface very confusing (and I’d class myself as fairly technologically savvy!).

Even now I’m often left scratching my head and it’s almost impossible to contact customer support unless you’re on a paid plan.

2. MailerLite

I’m with MailerLite for Dream Scribe and I much prefer it to Mailchimp.

Like Mailchimp, it’s free to use but it has a lower limit of 1,000 subscribers. Even so, the first pricing tier for 1,001-2,500 subscribers is only $15 per month.

I also love how easy MailerLite is to use (especially for new email marketers). The dashboard is simple to navigate and all the forms look super swish.

Why Build an Email List?

3. ConvertKit

ConvertKit is a common choice for an email marketing provider if your business is growing substantially or you have a larger audience.

It’s known for being well thought of in the industry and having high levels of customer satisfaction. However, it can also be pretty pricey. 

You can sign up to ConvertKit for free if you have less than 1,000 subscribers. There’s just one catch though — you’re unable to create automation sequences like you can on the Mailchimp and MailerLite free plans.

The first paid plan is called “Creator,” which includes automation sequences for up to 1,000 subscribers at a $29 monthly cost. For more than 1,000 subscribers, the price jumps to $59 per month.

In other words, which provider you go with all depends on what you can afford, how many subscribers you have and if you’d like to be able to produce automation sequences.

(Hint: automation sequences are totally worth doing!)

How to Grow Your Email List

Let’s be honest, there isn’t a way to wave a wand, cast a spell and magically end up with more subscribers. (Although, wouldn’t it be amazing if there was?)

That said, here are a few of my tried-and-tested methods that helped me to more than double the amount of subscribers from June 2021 to July 2021.

How to Grow Your Email List

1. Offer a Freebie

How to grow your email list 101: offer an incentive for your target audience to subscribe.

For service- and product-based businesses, this could be a special discount, i.e. 10% off any order or service.

Then if you offer digital products or courses, your freebie could consist of:

  • A printable
  • A resource library
  • An eBook
  • An email course
  • A webinar replay
  • A membership teaser

Either way, you have to give your audience a reason to sign up to your list. Nowadays, it’s not enough to say “subscribe to my email list and receive a monthly newsletter.”

Think about what kind of freebie would benefit your audience the most and run with it. You can always tweak or change it later if you fail to see any list growth.

2. Offer a Tripwire

What’s a tripwire, you ask? A tripwire is an irresistible low-priced offer that’s designed to turn a potential customer into an actual customer.

You could even offer a tripwire for a limited amount of time to create a sense of urgency, which is used in marketing to increase engagement and conversion.

For instance, you could offer a product for $5 instead of $10 for 24 hours only.

The idea is to let your audience “test” out your products with a tripwire product in the hopes that they will buy more from you in the future.

3. Sprinkle Forms Across Your Website

Why build an email list if you’re not going to actively grow it? One surefire way to do this is to include multiple email sign-up forms across your website.

I’m talking about a:

  • Homepage pop-up
  • Homepage embedded form
  • Blog sidebar embedded form
  • Blog post embedded form

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not recommending that you plaster forms on every page of your website. This will only frustrate your visitors and make them click off your site faster than the blink of an eye.

Instead, place them strategically where it makes sense.

For example, if you sell scarves, you could write a blog post about the hottest scarves of the season and include an embedded sign-up form halfway through the post. This could offer the subscriber the incentive of 10% off your latest scarf collection.

(Ooh, I love a good scarf!)

Or I could stop telling you about how to do this and simply show you. That would make more sense, right?

Here we go…

4. Use Social Media to Share Your Forms

Social media is a handy tool to drive traffic to your sign-up forms so that you can gain more subscribers. You can easily publish posts with links to blog posts or pages that feature an embedded form. 

Also, be sure to create a landing page sign-up form with your email marketing provider. Then you can share the URL to this page across Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest — you name it.

Link to this landing page in your social media posts frequently. The more you can direct towards a sign-up form, the more likely they’ll subscribe.

You could even put the URL in your bio with some copy about your freebie. This is so that people visiting your profile will be persuaded to check it out and sign up.

5. Send Valuable Email Newsletters

Lastly, growing your email list isn’t just getting potential customers or clients to subscribe. It’s about keeping them subscribed.

After all, once someone has signed up, they can unsubscribe at any time with the click of a button. (Not ideal.)

However, they’re unlikely to unsubscribe if you send regular email newsletters that consistently offer value. (Yes, it’s that darn “v” word again!)

Use email newsletters to connect with your audience on a personal level, educate them and solve their pain points. Include exclusive tips that you don’t offer anywhere else. 

Ultimately, this will “nurture” your subscribers and keep the emotional connection alive.

Why Build an Email List and How to Grow It? The Takeaway

Still wondering ‘why build an email list?’ To put it simply, it’s the best way to build a relationship with potential customers or clients.

As we’ve talked about, there are many ways to grow your email list. It’s all about trial and error to figure out what works for your brand.

And if you need any further help, you know where to find me!