Are you trying to learn how to grow your email list? It can feel overwhelming to start with nothing, but it’s well worth the effort to increase your business contacts. Email continues to be one of the most lucrative ways to connect businesses with customers. According to research firm Radicati Group, more than 3.9 billion people use email. That's over half the population of the entire world. When it comes to marketing methods with high impact results for low cost, learning how to build a massive email list is one of your best options. 

Marketing experts agree this form of marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers. While people may overlook traditional advertising or even a banner online, it's hard to ignore email. In fact, 58% of adults open their email first thing in the morning. Further, studies show that email marketing consistently outperforms other digital marketing efforts, including paid search and even social media. Learning how to create an email list for business is a marketing tactic that should be a part of your comprehensive strategy.

But what if you don't have an email list? Where should you begin? If you are starting from scratch or need to beef up your email list, keep reading for the strategies you can implement to grow your subscriber base fast.  

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How Do I Create An Email List?

For many entrepreneurs, getting started with the task of developing an email list is the hardest part, but it doesn't have to be. Email marketing service providers make it easier than ever, and it's possible to find low-cost options to help you get started.

Providers such as Mail Chimp, Keap, AWeber, and Constant Contact can enable you to leverage email marketing automation to streamline the process and deliver your messages to large groups of contacts in less time. They can also provide you with insightful statistics for each message you send, which helps you to tweak your campaign as you go for maximum impact.

Your Opt-In Form

When it comes to gathering email addresses, these services offer a hassle-free way to capture them right on your website. One goal of every business should be to build an email list of customers to whom you can send offers or provide information regularly to establish rapport and nurture relationships. Including an opt-in box on all the pages of your website will enable you to capture the information you need to build your list.


Segmenting Your List

For a reasonable monthly fee, typically based on the number of emails you send and the size of your list, you can organize your current mailing list into groups. When prospective customers visit your webpage, they have an option to "opt-in" or sign up to receive information or your newsletter.

Adding Social

Email marketing providers offer templates for Facebook pages, Instagram, and customized newsletter templates that coordinate with your brand. They will include your custom colors and logo, so your correspondence to your customers is easily identifiable and consistent with your brand.

There is also the option to create templates on websites such as Canva to customize and optimize your message for flyers, email, and Pinterest boards.  You can go as basic or creative as you want, whatever it takes to compel your prospects to open the emails and click-through to your site. 

How Can I Make An Email List Quickly?

When time is of the essence, you need an email list building method that can ramp up quickly. Rather than trying to track down new contacts one by one on your own, offering opt-in opportunities on all of your online profiles will help you to ensure your email list is growing fast. Here are some tips for gathering as many prospect emails as possible in a short time:

Devise a Giveaway

Offer your customers something of value in return for providing their email address. It could be a product or service that you offer; something donated, or even a gift card.

Write a Blog

What better way to keep your business name in front of your customers than to write a weekly or monthly blog? You can provide engaging content about your products or services and show readers how you can meet their needs or solve a problem for them. They can opt-in with their email address right on your blog page. End each post with a strong call to action (CTA) and a link to encourage your readers to engage with your content and submit their email address to stay connected.


Opt-In Form on Every Page 

Make sure your website enables visitors to "opt-in" on every single page. Include a pop-up box to capture email addresses before they navigate away from your site. 

Collaborate to Grow Your List

Consider collaborating with neighboring or complementary businesses by sharing email lists. You could also allow them to write an article in your newsletter or your blog.

Optimize Social Media 

Create social media groups and generate followers through them. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, for example, are all ways your business can reach and cultivate new audiences.

Hold a Contest or Competition 

Ask customers to send a photo or video. Post it to your Facebook or Instagram page and allow others to vote for the winner. Add an email opt-in for everyone who votes and have a prize for the winner.

How Do I Grow My Email List in 2020?

Perhaps you've been using email marketing somewhat sporadically and have decided that 2020 is the year you're going to devote time and energy to getting that existing list up to speed. You are already familiar with the basics but want to energize your email marketing.

Connect and Serve, Don’t Just Sell

Keep in mind that today’s best practices for email marketing do not involve continually trying to sell something to your list. This may have been a method marketers employed in the past, but it simply does not work in 2020. In fact, many entrepreneurs have discovered that focusing too much on the sale is a fast-track to unsubscribe requests. To increase engagement, commit to offering real value to your readers. If you want them to be excited and enthusiastic when they see an email from you in their inbox, offer them something they want to open.

Create attention-grabbing subject lines to get them to click on the message. Craft the first sentences of your email to connect with your reader in a meaningful way, so they want to keep reading. If they expect interesting and engaging content, they will be happy to open, read, and ultimately share your content, and that’s when you begin experiencing effective lead generation momentum.

How Do I Get My First 1000 Email Subscribers?

Do you have a big goal for your email list? Going for your first 1,000 subscribers is a great place to start. Here are the tips to get you there:

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Keep Your Opt-In Simple 

Whether your opt-in is on a landing page, a blog post, social media profile, or a newsletter – and it should be present on all of these – be sure to keep it simple. If customers have to provide too much information, they are likely to provide none at all. Just ask for a name and email. Make it easy for them to sign up. Never make your customers (or potential customers) feel that you are looking for too much information. Once they have engaged with you, you will be able to collect more data. Assure prospects that you will never spam them.

Consider a Reward

Create a reward for people who opt-in or sign up for your newsletter. It might be an e-gift, a coupon, or a discount. Even a small incentive can be amazingly effective.

Sponsor a Free Webinar 

These days, it is relatively easy to create a webinar. Sites such as Zoom, Go To Meeting, or Easy Webinar can walk you through the process. Make the signup free with an email address, and be sure to provide excellent information for your audience. Perhaps offer an additional incentive to those who remain until the end.

Publish a White Paper 

White papers can be especially useful in Business to Business (B2B) marketing. Offer the free white paper in exchange for an email address. If you can't write one but have a topic worthy of a white paper, consider hiring a skilled writer. A well-designed white paper will make your business stand out as an authority in your industry. While a white paper does not sell anything, it provides researched solutions to a particular problem.

Write an Ebook 

Ebooks tend to be more Business to Consumer-oriented. Select a topic related to your business – presumably of interest or concern to your customers – and write about it. Prospects can download it from your site in .pdf or one of a variety of e-book formats. Ask for an email in exchange for the book, and then you can add the email addresses to your database.


Don't overlook the value of using testimonials on your web page or social media. More and more consumers read testimonials before they make a purchase. Showcasing the words of your satisfied customers is a powerful tool to encourage new customers to work with your business and share their email addresses to get more information.

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Social Media Sharing 

Any article you post on your blog should have social media sharing buttons. Make it easy for your readers to share an article or information they like on their own Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts. People love to share interesting articles with their circle of friends, and that introduces you and your business to an entirely new audience. Include an opportunity to collect emails in every piece of content and post you share.

Gated Content 

Another way to encourage readers to opt-in is to make some of your content, 'gated.' This means some of the content is only available to those who have provided their email address and opted in to receive the additional content. Some providers, such as OptinMonster, offer unique features that gate your content and can help grow your email list fast.


How Do I Grow My Email Database without a Website?

It's hard to imagine doing business in 2020 without a website. While it’s ideal to put one in place as soon as you can, even if you don't have a website, or if your website is currently under construction, it is still possible to grow your email list in the meantime. Here are some ideas regarding how to build an email list, including how to build an email list for free, even if you don’t have a website.  

A Landing Page

Creating a simple landing page allows customers to find you online. A landing page is a single page with one sole purpose – to provide prospects with information about a specific ad or offer. Sometimes called a capture page, visitors arrive there after clicking a link in an email or a Google or Facebook ad. Here, you place an opt-in, so you can obtain the email address of the visitor to add it to your list.

It’s worth your time and marketing budget to consider taking advantage of Google Ads or Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your landing page. Both ads are easy and fast to create. The providers will direct you step-by-step on how to publish them. Additionally, there are sites such as and that provide helpful information on how to maximize advertising funds using Google and social media ads.

Lead Magnets

Even without a website, you can incorporate lead magnets to collect email addresses. A lead magnet is some type of offer or content that you give to people in exchange for their contact information. People need an incentive to provide you with their email address; offering an irresistible checklist or article makes it easy for them and more willing to hand over the info.

An example of a lead magnet is an e-book that contains information on a topic of specific interest to the people who click on your link. Include a catchy title along with a description, so the subscribers know exactly what they are getting. The most important thing is to provide value to readers. If they don't feel they are getting information or a resource that is meaningful to them, they will opt-out as quickly as they opted-in.

Create Opt-Ins on Social Media for Fast List Building without a Website

Utilizing social media sharing is yet another way to build an email list without a website. Encourage your social media followers to share your posts with their friends. Include buttons for easy sharing at the end of everything you post. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others are easy to add and will get your content in front of an entirely new audience. The more people who see your content, the more likely it is that they will opt-in on your email list.  

Facebook, in particular, is the largest social media platform on the planet. According to Omnicore, the network now has over 2.5 billion monthly users worldwide. Learning how to build an email list on Facebook is an essential tool to take advantage of this vast audience.


Consider an App

Providers like MailChimp, Keap, Aweber, or Constant Contact make it easy to automate email list building through social media. These email list building services will help you to add an app to your Facebook page that allows your readers to opt-in directly from Facebook. Simply search Mail Chimp/Keap/AWeber/Constant Contact Facebook App and follow the directions the service provides. For example, Constant Contact has a "Join My List" app. You can add it to your Facebook Page in a few easy-to-follow steps. Every time visitors come to your page, they will have the option to join your email list.

Take Advantage of Video to Engage Your Audience

Facebook also has a feature called Facebook Live. You can use the video option to live stream information to your followers and build your list. The quality of the video is excellent, and there is a four-hour maximum time limit on the video. You can provide a lot of information in four hours! Statistically, lengthier videos get more views as the longer time allows more people to join. You can also send a message to your followers, letting them know whenever you plan to go live.

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Video Reaches People

Today, many consumers prefer to watch a video rather than read a message. Video also allows your followers to get to know you and put a face with a name. You can connect with them in a way not possible through email or a website. It provides a personal touch, so viewers can see they are doing business with a real person, not just a corporation or a brand, which is an effective way to build rapport with your audience. In the video, you can let your personality shine, and you can make your video interactive by encouraging your audience to "like," comment, or share.

To maximize opt-ins during videos, incorporate special promotions and discounts for the people who are watching. It will make them feel special and lead to more signups. This is also a prime opportunity to promote any other content you have available online, such as a YouTube Channel, other social media profiles, or a blog.

Consistency Counts

Using video doesn't have to be a one-time event either. Designate a specific time each week to go live. Encourage your watchers to "follow" you so they will receive a notification each time you are on a live feed. As you develop your audience and following, you will have regular opportunities to provide useful information. Your audience will look forward to it. 

Can You Buy Email Lists?

The short answer is yes. The question actually ought to be: "Should I buy email lists?" And the answer to that is, "Probably no." If you are in a hurry to obtain a list, you might think that working with a list vendor or provider is a quick and easy way to get started. The vendors make it seem like you plug in a few demographics, and voilà, a list of names and emails appears. All it takes is answering a few questions and plunking down a credit card to pay for the list.

You may also find opportunities to rent a list. The same idea, except you never actually own the list so you can't see the names or email addresses of the recipients. You are dependent upon the list provider to send your message.

Not a Great Idea

The problem is neither of these methods is sustainable. Good email lists are not for sale. Reputable email service providers won't mail to purchased lists. Also, purchased email lists do not comply with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that went into effect in Europe in 2018. It requires that there be a clearly available opt-out option for anyone who wishes to stop receiving email. Updates to this law that governs all email in Europe require that the sender have explicit consent from the receiver to send them emails. This means the receiver has actively clicked an opt-in box to accept the emails. Purchased lists do not comply.

Going this route can result in hefty fines as well as the potential loss of your email account. Even if your business and audience are not in Europe, following this guideline is simply good business practice. Reputable email providers such as Yahoo and Google don't want spammers as customers. Being labeled a spammer will also destroy your business reputation and brand. The truth is, buying lists is never a good option and can end up being a colossal waste of money for your business.

Maximizing Your New Email List

The best way to generate fresh business leads is by creating an opt-in list. The people who voluntarily opt-in to your content know your brand, follow your blog, or read your newsletter. You have developed a relationship with them, and they have given you permission to communicate with them via email.

By utilizing the methods we’ve covered here, you will offer valuable content to your prospects and customers. You will be giving them a reason to provide their email addresses to you; therefore, you will have earned the right to continue the relationship.

Be Patient

Like most things of value, growing a robust and healthy email list doesn't happen overnight. It is the result of consistency and continued work over time. You engage your target audience, develop a relationship of trust with them, and provide valuable information or content. They follow your brand because they view your business as something that interests them or offers meaningful information or products.

Email marketing enables businesses to connect and interact with customers in unique and engaging ways. Through targeted marketing, with information you collect as customers comment and respond, your business can deliver a personalized experience—one that compels them to stay connected. Customers can explore video and interactive content, familiarizing themselves with a brand before they take any kind of action on a site.

Give Them What They Crave

As you establish a relationship with your audience, ask them what kind of content they want to see from you. This allows you to tailor your written content and videos to meet specific needs and interests, and it shows that you are in-tune with your audience, which only helps to build credibility and rapport.

Keep up with your list growth efforts by cleaning out old emails and checking your statistics. These maintenance tasks will ensure you use your marketing dollars wisely to experience the highest ROI. 

The Takeaway

While some marketing methods require extensive planning, with the information we've provided, you can get started with email marketing today. Take action by finding the right email marketing provider and placing opt-ins on your website and all social media profiles. As your list grows, you can begin creating compelling messages to turn those prospects into loyal customers.

All month in The One Percent, we’ve been hearing from experts who’ve mastered the art of building and monetizing audiences. If you’d like to hear what they’re doing right now (because it works!) join us and look for the March 2020 lessons in the Members Area.