Seven Ways To Build Email List From Zero

Gathering email addresses for your digital marketing program from a scratch can be a daunting process. But never buy email lists. Buying email lists and sending email blasts will not get you the right traffic, not a great reputation. I covered this in this post: Four Reasons Why Your Email Marketing Will Fail Without Permission.

Here are a few suggestions that will help you build your email lists:

1. Subscription forms on Website

  • Have prominent “subscribe to email” links on every page of your website.
  • Give reason why they will benefit from the email. Examples: “Receive special deals via email” or “Latest news in your inbox” or “View hottest trends”.
  • Show them how the email will “look” like.
  • Always send a welcome email without fail.
  • Show your emails as archives on your website, this builds trust and lets people know what kind of content they will be receiving.

2. Other Websites

  • There are various websites that have registered readers. These websites have taken permission from the readers to send them interesting content. If your target audience is similar to the readers of such websites then you should consider keeping aside some budget to send your newsletter to such audience.
  • Make sure you have good content for people to click the email like something free that they can instantly download. It can be a coupon, or a code or a contest or simple a whitepaper.
  • When they visit your website make sure you ask them for their email in a form in return for the free stuff. This way slowly you will build your database of emails.

3. Business Contacts

  • During the course of your interactions in your business, you have been sending emails to hundreds of your business partners, associates, vendors, clients etc. Create a one off campaign to invite them to your email newsletters. Please do not include them automatically as doing that amounts to spamming. Please obtain their approval.
  • Make sure your signature in your emails also has a tagline that invites users to register with your website.

4. Social Media

  • If you use Facebook Page you should consider having a subscription form on it. From time to time post links on your various social media sites asking people to sign-up for your newsletter.
  • Other social media such as twitter and LinkedIn can give you a good list of potential readers, provided you seek their permission first.

5. Offline Tactics

  • If you have offline stores / shops consider asking every customer to fill out a form with their short details. Keep the form short and simple so that walk-in customers will not be daunted. Give something in return, like a lucky draw.
  • If you participate in exhibitions, it is a good time to get people to sign up for your newsletters on your booth.

6. Customer Interaction

  • Every inbound and outbound call that your support team makes, make sure that they have a script which will help them get the email address of your prospective customers.
  • In every invoice, receipt, and email, that you send out include a link to your newsletter sign up.

7. Refer a friend

  • Incentivize people to refer their friends. You can hold a lucky draw for all the referrers and announce it every week or give some similar incentive.
  • Give special stuff, in the form of gifts, discounts to people on your email list. Reserve some special promotions for this channel.


About the Author:
Geetanjali is passionate about Digital Marketing. She’s used Internet enablers for business since the dot-com boom. As a consultant, she helps companies use digital channels to improve their sales. She writes about digital marketing at various magazines and blogs at

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