January 6, 2022

List Building Basics: How to Build a Successful Email List

Written by Karli Stone

Any sales or marketing professional knows that email remains one of the most effective and influential communication channels available.

According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 Report, content marketers rate email newsletters and email communication as their highest performing content type for securing and nurturing leads.

Email marketing still has loads of potential.

However, the success of your email marketing efforts largely depends on the strength and accuracy of your email list and your email capture strategies.

So, the question remains, how do you build a great list that improves your email campaigns and breeds great results for your business?

This short guide is here to help. Read on to learn more about how you can use list building strategies to take your email marketing to the next level.


What is List Building? Why is it Important?

The term list building refers to the process of growing your mailing list by collecting email addresses from visitors, customers, and other patrons. When you list build, you can use websites, social media accounts, events, in-store sign-up sheets, online forms, etc., to gather your email list data.

The goal of list building is to grow your subscriber database and boost your future sales communications with current and potential customers.

Email list building is an essential business strategy. Take this statistic into consideration for a moment:

Over 59% of consumers state marketing emails either positively or negatively influence their purchasing decision.

This means that the majority of people on your email list will either be deterred away from your product or more interested in your product solely based on your email strategy. 

List building is a valuable process because it contributes to your business’ owned media. 

Your email list is a media channel that you have complete control over. It is an outbound sales method that is not only cost-effective, but personalized in messaging and content marketing. It also gives you:

  • Wide outreach. List building allows you to identify prospects from anywhere and everywhere, while simultaneously building brand awareness.
  • Marketing protection. A marketing worse-case scenario – Google drops you from SERP rankings. But with list building, you can overcome the Google algorithm because email lists always remain untouched.
  • An idea of your buyer persona. Gathering the email addresses of those interested in your product or service and sending personalized emails is a great way to learn from your customers and their needs. List building can also help with customer segmentation.

Tips for Building an Email List

Building a high-quality list doesn’t take a ton of learning or resources, but it does require patience and strategy. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of methods to help you gather a database of loyal subscribers!

Create Incentive

Creating incentive is ‘Sales and Marketing 101’. But it is an important thing to re-emphasize when you’re looking to expand your mailing list.

There are infinite ways to provide incentives for people to join your email list, and it will vary depending on the type of organization you are and what you are marketing (i.e. a sustainable jewelry company will offer its target audience a vastly different incentive than a financial services firm).

Here are some ideas that are worth considering. You can offer:

  • Discounts and offers
  • Early access and exclusive promotions
  • A content upgrade
  • ‘Insider’ information
  • eBook access
  • Free email courses
  • Entry in a contest or giveaway
  • Free trial memberships

Regardless of which route you choose to take, it is important that the incentive you give is valuable to your target audience. Make sure it is attention-grabbing and brand consistent.

Subscription Opportunities

Building a large and usable email list means making it incredibly easy for people to subscribe across your website and social channels. A website visitor should have multiple opportunities to become a new subscriber.

Check-out Process

If your business sells something online, you can use email signup on checkout forms to capture email subscribers.

You’ve seen it a million times, but check out how clothing brand, Nau, implemented this option in their checkout process:

Nau email signup page

This is a great method because people are already entering their names, email addresses, and phone numbers as part of the checkout process, all it takes from them is a quick ‘tick’ of the box.

Website Contact Form

A website contact form is another great place to engage with a potential subscriber. If your site has a place for visitors to request a quote or to get in contact with a customer service representative, you should add a subscription tick box.

Again, these people are already entering their details into the form, and they are displaying a clear interest in what you have to offer.

Here’s an example from ConversionLab:

Conversion Lab

Twitter Lead Generation Cards

If your business is active on social platforms, using Twitter Lead Generation Cards is a great way to expand your list building efforts to social media.

A Lead Generation Card is a simple link that you can include in your business’ promotional tweets. Users can click the link and easily and securely share their email address with a business without leaving Twitter or having to fill out a full and cumbersome form.

Twitter Lead Generation Cards

To learn more about marketing campaign opportunities on Twitter, visit their Ads Help Center here.

Email Signatures

A single sales rep send hundreds, many even thousands of emails to customers and potential buyers each month. There’s no reason why sales reps shouldn’t be using their email signatures to their full advantage. It is an easy, free, and convenient way to promote a message.

It is also the perfect place to promote your mailing list. Especially because we know the people we are targeting with this method regularly use email.

Be sure to include a link to a landing page or signup form in your email signatures. It is that simple.

Create Awesome Calls-to-Action (CTA)

Sometimes all it takes to create an engaged subscriber is the perfect CTA.

HubSpot Research found that personalized calls-to-action have a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than generic CTAs.

Your landing pages’ CTAs need to meet the unique needs of your viewers. 

For instance, if you have high traffic to your “Cold-Calling Tips” blog post, why not end that page with a simple CTA like this: “Subscribe to our mailing list for a cold-calling guide today!”.

Offering content that is directly related to your potential clients’ needs shows them that your mailing list gives them value.

Try to create unique CTAs for each landing page.

List Building Tools

Let’s be honest: the reason why your email lists are small and outdated to begin with is because finding the right emails and employing list-building campaigns is time-consuming and expensive.

Before you jump in headfirst, find a third-party tool that offers advanced functionality.

Ideally, you want a tool that will not only help you find accurate email addresses, but will help you manage the entirety of the outbound lead generation process.

Here at Apollo, we are an all-in-one data platform.

We help you during every stage of the list-building process. When you create an Apollo account you can:

  • Use accurate and large contact databases for sales prospecting
  • Seamlessly integrate your CRM and existing technology and data stack
  • Use advanced filtering to find in-depth contact information (i.e. occupation, industry, revenue and funding, technologies used, # of employees)
  • Employ sales and marketing automation features that process social triggers
  • Add email subscribers into personalized sequences
  • Use a Chrome Extension to build your list across the web
  • And more!

A great email list includes more than just email addresses.

In closing, just keep this statistic in mind.

For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average expected return is $42 (For reference, the average ROI of other channels, is $2 for every $1 spent).

Putting strategic efforts into building your business’ list is never a waste of time.

What are you waiting for? Start boosting those mailing lists today.

Get started with Apollo

Karli Stone headshot Karli Stone

Karli Stone is copy writer and content creator living in Los Angeles, CA and a proud University of Washington grad. When she’s not wordsmith-ing, you can find her biking along Santa Monica Beach, following the Seattle Seahawks, or catching a flick at her local cinema.