Email List Building: 11 Proven Methods to Grow Your Email List (for Beginners)

Emre Elbeyoglu
17 min readJul 12, 2019
11 Proven Methods to Build an Email List

Wondering how to build an email list and increase your email marketing conversions?

If you want to learn how to build an effective mailing list, I provide a useful guide for you. After reading this article, you’ll have a deep understanding of building an email list with the help of some useful hints about email marketing!

Before you start If you would like to review our detailed guide for email marketing from A to Z, you can click here.

The first step is an effective mailing list. Then you’ll need some strategies to turn your visitors into loyal customers. Take a deep breath, we’re starting!

As a highly powerful digital marketing strategy, email marketing converts your visitors into customers and gives you chance to make them your loyal subscribers. Unfortunately, it is not a simple process…

You should make an effort on building an e-mail list for your targeted customers, optimizing your e-mails to support open rates and click rates, and automating the steps for conversion. These are essential for the benefits of email marketing. Sounds great, right?

Let us look at how to build an effective email list with 11 incredibly beneficial methods;

1. Take Your Customers Permission

The very beginning of building an e-mail list is to take your customers permission before actually e-mail them. After taking their permission to send more, tell them exclusive offers about your product, discounts or something special to your business in an interesting manner.

  • If you e-mail people randomly, you may be considered as spam and it is not good at all for your reputation.
  • Buying an e-mail list is not a sustainable, ethical and effective way either.

Know that,

  • You should add someone’s email address if s/he only willingly opts-in to your list.
  • 64% of subscribers open an email based on who it’s from, compared to 47% of subscribers who open emails based on the subject line.

2. Use Opt-In and Opt-Out Links

The important part of building an email list is to create your emails with Opt-In Forms. In this case, you can use PopUpSmart to create smarter opt-in forms and make an A/B test without hiring a developer. Creating dynamic and customizable opt-in forms that can be embedded on your site is a great way to start your journey on building an e-mail list.

Hence sending random or unwanted emails to those who want to churn from your email program leads to be flagged as spam, you should always include Opt-Out links to your audience to have a high quality email list. Clearing your email list regularly will increase your efficiency in email marketing campaigns.

How to Create Opt-in Forms

It is time to discuss opt-in forms and learn how to create it. This is another answer for ‘’ how to build an email list?” question.

Have you ever thought about the reason for its importance? Let me explain it to you properly.

The main purpose of the opt-in form is to convey the ultimate benefit of your lead magnet.

We can describe this process as a transaction. Your website visitors subscribe to your mailing list in exchange for getting your magnificent lead magnet. Sounds easy, right? Well, don’t be so sure.

Creating an effective opt-in form may be a tough process for people sometimes. That’s why you should definitely have a look at these tips to create a converting opt-in form below;

Simpler Form

All you need is your visitor’s first name and e-mail address. Don’t blow their mind by asking too many questions.

An Inviting Headline

Describe the big benefit of your lead magnet with an attractive headline. Make sure it’s a spectacular one.

Supportive Description

Help them scan with the bullet points to transfer your message clearly.

Interesting Visuals

Visuals are always a good idea to increase your conversions. You can include the image of your lead magnet as long as you keep the quality of your opt-in form.

Irresistible Subscribe Button

Make sure your subscribe button is visible with contrasting colors.

We suppose that you created a beautiful, eye-catching opt-in form but before installing it on your website, think about its placement. Placement changes everything.

Where Should I Put The Opt-In Form On My Website?

Splash Page

Splash pages are introductory pages that webmasters use as a gate between the initial loading of the site and the actual site content. So, it’s good to see an opt-in form once landed on the website. By moving the navigation from the top of the page to the bottom of the page, you can manage the structure of your splash page. Moreover, assigning other parts will support displaying the opt-in form. In this way, it will be the main focus of the page.

Welcome Gate

A welcome gate allows visitors to get a brief about the content of the website. Many of them contain headline and call to action button. So it’s a good place to catch the attention of your visitors by adding the opt-in form of to welcome gate.

Floating Bar

Another great way to establish the call to action stays in clear view at all times. Whether it is located at the top or bottom of the page, visitors can see the bar when scrolling on the page.

Considering that the header is located above the fold, it’s one of the best places to put your opt-in form on your website. You allow visitors to see it instantly without having to scroll down your page.

Blog Page

Visitors may consider sign-up forms as another blog post cite. It’s obviously a clever way to add your opt-in form on your blog page.

We gave the most engaging pages for you to put your opt-in form. Of course, you may put it in your sidebar, scroll box or on your ‘about’ page, resource page or a designated sign-up page.

3. Set an Email Sending Frequency

Another important part of email list building is that you should strategically plan your email schedule based on the taste of your audience.

  • Don’t send e-mails to your customers at inconvenient times.

78% of consumers unsubscribe from emails because brands were sending too many emails. Make your offerings easy for people to take advantage of, otherwise you may not be as successful as you want.

4. Generate Mobile Responsive Emails

  • Make your email service mobile friendly.

In today’s world, a common way to have a look at e-mails is opening them from mobile devices. You should make the measurement of any email you send out is easily viewed by mobile phone or tablet.

Emails not optimized for mobile devices get deleted by 80.3% of users. If the emails are not mobile optimized, 3 out of 10 users unsubscribe from the list. You should also make sure to do the same to your landing page. Don’t disappoint your customers with your links. Make sure to provide proper links for them.

5. Utilize Email Marketing Services


As a popular email software service, MailChimp is a valuable step towards your business goal. Thanks to the integration of MailChimp and PopUpSmart, with its intuitive user interface and easy setup, you can add new subscribers to specific segments. It offers a free plan for more than 2,000 subscribers.

If you want to grow your business by using auto respondents or other useful tools, then you must switch to a paid plan. You can reach more details about their payment methods from MailChimp pricing plan page.


As an advanced e-mail marketing service, Mailerlite works with 497,414 businesses, startups and freelancers around the world. They send more than 1 billion emails every month. You can use their easy and creative samples for unlimited emails and advanced features to grow your business.

It’s a great option especially for small businesses cause they offer unlimited emails with access to all of their features. Their integration with PopUpSmart enables you to segment your subscribers. Email list segmentation and personalized emailing were the most effective email strategies of 2017.

6. Create Stunning Campaigns

In order to create an e-mail list, you need to attract people with your compelling campaigns and offerings. Let’s talk about how to do that properly;

Lead Magnets

It’s all about transaction!

Lead magnets provide subscriptions to your list, social media platforms and promote your browsing and purchases. So, it’s better to be efficient enough to do it! The most convincing part of the lead magnets is, they are affordable.

You may create a lead magnet without any cost. You may create a case study, a free trial, a webinar, an assessment or a coupon. It’s all up to your business goal.

Solve a Real Problem

Give your customer’s something they need, otherwise it won’t work at all. Make them trust your solution and trust your call-to-action button.

Use Correct Language & Creative Title

Let your customers understand your offering with a simple and clear language. Do not forget that lead magnet is easily consumed. So, better be creative. You can make A/B testing in order to understand which version of your lead magnet converts better.

Be Goal-Oriented & Specific

Lead magnets should have useful information related to your business goal. So provide something that your customers can apply.

Reflect Your Brand’s Attitude

Make your lead magnets valuable as your products and services. Make it genuine and give them pleasure. Try to use GIF and CSS to catch your customer’s attention. A creative visual always work well.

Make it Relevant

Relevancy is the milestone of digital marketing. It is essential to be relevant in terms of your lead magnets. Solve your customer’s problem and engage with them.

The Most Effective Lead Magnet Ideas

A free Tool, Software, Tutorial, Trial or Sample

People like time-saving tools. Asking their email in exchange for a free trial of a tool or software is a productive idea to create an email list.


You can summarize everything that visitors needs to know with an effective list. Checklists are one of the best lead magnets to grow an email list. Checklists contain useful insights to get the best results from a specific task.

Cheat Sheets

Cheat Sheets allows you to guide your visitors about a specific event or process. They are similar to Checklists and you can use them to build an email list.

Coupon, Free Shipping or Exclusive Offers

People tend to save money and like a free offering. As another effective way of creating an email list, you can use them. Visitors know that they will get an instant discount code on the screen when they sign up. With a clear exclusive offer in your lead magnet, you can increase your mailing list.


Templates can be anything consist of an outline. Website visitors fill in the blanks on the lead magnet.

Swipe File

Visitors are sent to the landing page and see the swipe file resource. They’re expected to click the call-to-action button and after that they see a popup opt-in box that asks their email address. After the visitor opts in, they are redirected to a download page to download the file.


If you want to help your visitors through speaking or writing it’s a great lead magnet option for you. You can offer Scripts to solve their problem and increase your email list.

Webinar or Video Training

This type of lead magnets contains a two-step opt-in process. Your website visitors read the page and click on the “call to action” button to view a pop-up with a form field to input their email.


With little effort, you can get effective results with toolkit lead magnets. Website visitors arrive on your page and read the sales copy with your offer. You offer prospects with the necessary tools, resources, and best practices through Toolkit Lead Magnets.

Case Studies

With this type of lead magnets, you can give email subscribers a free “case study” in exchange for their contact info.

Sales Material

Website visitors arrive on the landing page and signup receive access. Accordingly, you make it possible for them to receive a physical or a digital copy of the catalog. It’s highly effective because they know exactly what they will get through the catalog.


Offering something specific is always a good idea. Through e-book lead magnets your website visitors fill out the form to opt-in and receive the free PDF report via email.


Quiz lead magnets are enjoyable, that’s why they convert so well. Your website visitor answers a series of questions and then spits out a result. However, they must enter their email address in order to get the result.

Where Should I Put My Lead Magnet?

  • In a welcome gate
  • In a floating bar
  • In your site’s header
  • In your sidebar
  • In your footer
  • In a scroll box
  • In a timed light-box popup
  • In an exit-intent popup
  • On a splash page
  • On your About page
  • On a designated sign-up page
  • On resource pages
  • On your blog archive page
  • Within your blog posts

We hope you get as many subscribers as possible with effective lead magnets. You should put your lead magnet in one of the places that we listed above. However, you should know that adding exit-intent popups to your website is a good idea. The exit-intent popup shows up at the precise moment the user is about to leave your website.

The advantageous way of the exit-intent popup is that it doesn’t interrupt the reading experience and only triggers when the user is about to leave. With its perfect timing to ask your visitors to subscribe to your website, they will definitely have a magnificent effect on your conversion rates.

According to Conversion XL, these exit pop-ups (that are only on blog posts — not every web page) generated a 600% sign-up increase, gaining the company 445–470 new subscribers every day (their non-pop-up signup rate was 70–80).

Social Media has a lot of benefits to build an email list if used in a productive manner.
It’s all about balance.

Lot’s of people fully focused on getting a lot more followers on social media platforms other than growing their email list. Unfortunately, this is not wise.

You should concentrate on converting your followers into loyal customers through social media. Otherwise, you may lose people if your account will be suspended or deleted for any reason.

Let’s have a look at some effective strategies to convert your followers into email leads.

Ask Your Followers to Join

If you want to get more follower on your social media channels, better asking for!

Create Lead-Generating Facebook Ad

If you want to quickly get email leads from social media platforms, you should spend a little money. Facebook Ads, allow you to target your exact demographic. Giving the right message is the key. After that, you’ll see the magnificent results in terms of gathering leads. Also, in order to grow your mailing list, don’t forget to add a sign-up button to your business’s Facebook page.

Also, use the new Facebook call to action button to drive email sign-ups and using this button has increased conversions for Dollar Shave Club by 2.5x. (Forbes)

Use Twitter Chats

Well, they’re created to gather people who have similar ideas to discuss particular topics. So, a Twitter chat about something related to your business may bring some of your future customers looking for support. For example, HubSpot hosts a weekly chat about inbound marketing.

Don’t forget to make Twitter Lead Generation Cards in order to get email leads from your Twitter chats. This will be useful for collecting email addresses directly from Twitter.

Promote Your Gated Content

First of all, let’s explain the term. Gated Content is a hidden content and it becomes visible when the visitors enter their email address.

I advise you to use ads and social media platforms to bring visitors to your website. After that, block their way with a gate. Request their email addresses before getting to the good stuff. For example, you may write ‘unlock this article for free’ in your call-to-action button.

It’s an effective method and good answer to ‘’how to build an email list’’ question. It is an easy and effective option to promote on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It is also fay beyond the traditional lead magnets or sales pitches.

Support LinkedIn Groups Network

You should definitely know how to support the network on LinkedIn. That would be great to bring your future clients to your business. You will be able to speak and market directly to people who care about your business.

Better start with an optimized profile to get email subscribers from LinkedIn groups. You may export their email address by taking their permission. It would be a valuable step to build professional networks.

Create a Competition/Giveaway

People like giveaways. They are perfect for both your business’s and client’s motivation. Also, it definitely works.

Coming up with a hashtag for your contest is a good starting point. Don’t forget to use a haunting and demonstrative hashtag to markets your offer properly. Reflect your brands’ personality with humor.

Show a wonderful photo of the product that you give away. Come up with a sign-up requirement with their email address to see the prize, hashtags and a link to the landing page. You can also use social media marketing tools to set up and promote your competition and giveaway.

Create YouTube Tutorials with Call-to-Action Cards

We all learning various subjects from tutorial videos because they’re useful and practical. You don’t need to waste so much time on figuring something out thanks to tutorial videos. You can build a strong following list of what you’re offering.

Don’t forget that YouTube is the second largest search engine owned by Google. It directly helps you rank higher in Google’s search results. So you better add a powerful call to action at the end of your YouTube videos.

Slide Share allows you to take your existing PowerPoint and slide presentations and share them online. More importantly, you can turn that traffic into leads on Slide Share. It has a powerful built-in lead generation tool. You can customize your lead forms with regard to any information you want to gather.

Guide Your Visitors Into the Landing Page

You should share your landing page on Google Plus. Also, direct your website visitors by adding a pin or button towards Pinterest or Foursquare.

Host a Webinar with Google+ Hangouts

Try Webinars and live streaming videos to grow your email list. A Google+ Hangout is a good step to create the mailing list. It’s totally free to use with your Google Account.

Offer a free webinar, promote it and collect the email addresses of those who sign-up to subscribe to the free session.

Watch this on YouTube to learn more about How to Host a Live Webinar Using Google Plus for Free

8. Constitute An E-Mail List With Blog Posts

Offer Your Blog in a PDF Version

Offering your popular blog content in a PDF version by getting email sign-up from your visitors is an effective method to grow your email list.

Provide a Bonus Information

Putting a bonus info at the end of popular blog posts, with email sign-up is a great idea to catch your visitors. If you provide additional useful information in exchange for email sign-up you can build an email list.

Use a Call-to-Action

You may use a plugin to use a call to action end of your blog post such as WordPress Calls to Action.

Embed an Interactive Content into Your Passive Articles

Create a quiz, poll or survey with regard to the topic of your post and make it more impressive and interactive. Believe us, you don’t want to be boring.

Be Clear & Provide Great Content

Amazing blog content + clear call to action = massive email list. You should pay attention to that solution method in order to create an email list.

9. Form an Email List With Offline Marketing

Meet People at a Live Event

Consider meeting great people who have similar interest with you and your business goals. Then, it’s time to take advantage of that offline marketing strategy. The chance of meeting face to face is a great opportunity to build your email list.

Drawings & Giveaways

Drawings are a great way to promote your email newsletter. Also, requiring your customers to sign-up for your newsletter in order to win one of your product is another useful way for your email marketing benefits. Furthermore, be sure not to forget to ask for their business cards.

Inside Packages

If you’re shipping physical goods to your customers and they are happy with their purchase, you better ask for their email. You should put a small slip of paper which includes an URL that they can go to sign up, into the package.

Advertise on Print Materials

If your business prints booklets, cards, menus or brochures to hand out in your store or at events, let people know that they can subscribe to catch online communications on your website.

Promote on Merchandise

Promoting your business through magnets, water bottles, pens, gift cards and T-shirts is another offline marketing method. Vincent Clark says; if you want to bring in new customers and get them on your website to sign up for your newsletter, give the merchandise away for free.

Pursue Direct Mail Opportunities

Lot’s of people prefers digital mail on these days. However, there are many other people still react better to snail mail. You can grab their attention by sending customized postcards with a link to your newsletter sign up. Also, don’t forget to emphasize the benefits of signing up for digital offers and try to encourage them to make the digital leap.

10. Qualify Your Email List With Email Segmentation

What Is Email Segmentation?

Business owners or marketers break their subscribers into smaller groups based on specific criteria. It will qualify your email list based on the specific groups’ expectations and feedbacks. Also, it will work on removing inactive users for a while.


Notify your local subscribers about your local event.


Send an email to people who want to hear about blog posts or something specific.


Subscribers who like A, who like B or who like C. (It can be anything regards to your business)

Cart Abandonment

Remind people who put items into the cart but didn’t complete the purchase.

Lead Magnet

Send emails based on the topic of the lead magnet that the targeted customers opted in for.

New Subscribers

Send welcome mail and welcome series to those new subscribers of your website.


Remind your subscribers who haven’t engaged for a while and didn’t complete next step you want.

Open Rate

Reward the most engaged subscribers with a special offer.

These are some examples of the segmentation. The main purpose of the segmentation process is to find out how did the user get on your email list in the first place.

After understanding the key point, you will be able to send each email to segmented subscribers that will be the most interested in the content. This way, you will be able to increase your conversion rates!

11. Increase Email Open Rates

We should increase email open rates because everything starts by opening the email. Otherwise, people can’t succeed on your call-to-action. In order to make people open your emails, you should trigger them with your creative emails.

Use Engaging Language

Write your emails like a friend and stay away from sale language.

Pay Attention to Your Subject Line

Point out the Subject Line with numbers. Keep it short and relevant. Urgent subject lines are attractive. Try it.

Choose Right time

Choose the right time to email your customers. Have an email schedule and make a successful plan to increase email open rates. You can perform A/B tests to figure out which timeframes perform best.

Segment Your List

Arrange your email list based on different groups. You can segment your list based on demographics such as age, location or specific interest.

Optimize for Mobile

52% of customers are less likely to engage with a company because of bad mobile experience. You should definitely have a mobile responsive design.

Try Autoresponder

Before telling the benefits of autoresponders let’s explain what it is. Autoresponders are automated messages set to go out based on the specific segments of your list. They are useful for managing your campaigns and one-to-one communication with your subscribers as well. Your emails go out on a specific day based on your autoresponder cycle. It is up to contact’s subscription period. Let’s dive into how it works:

i) Choose a Specific Goal

  • Manage your autoresponders in the calendar view and list view.
  • Move messages to different days in the autoresponder cycle.
  • Don’t send messages on specific days of the week.
  • Schedule the time autoresponders are to go out, including adapting the schedule to different time zones.
  • Add or move the contacts to different autoresponder cycle.
  • Edit, Preview and duplicate your message.
  • Check message status and statistics.
  • Check the number of users on a specific day of the cycle.

ii) Monitore & Analyze Your Performance

It is a useful step towards understanding the areas that need improvement. Then, of course, we recommend you to make the A/B test for those improvements.

Congratulations! You’ve ended this article. We hope this useful guide has helped you learn how to create an effective email marketing campaign. Now you have a detailed understanding of;

  • Email marketing
  • The Benefits of email marketing
  • Building an email list
  • Lead Magnets
  • Opt-In Forms
  • Social Media
  • Blog Posts
  • Offline Marketing Elements
  • Email Segmentation
  • Email Open Rates

You can reach many other tips and strategies from PopUpSmart’s Conversion Optimization & Digital Marketing Blog.

Hope you like this guide and if so, please don’t forget to share on Facebook & Twitter.

Thank you for your time!