How to Build An Email List

How to build an email list


Some websites DON’T need an email list. Depending on the niche and the style of website there may be no need for a website or you’ll find that it is very hard and not worth your time to build an email list. However, for the majority of blogs, websites and online businesses YOU DO NEED AN EMAIL LIST. This post will discuss why you need an email list and how to build an email list.

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With the rising popularity of social media, many have predicted the demise of email and questioned the use of create an email list. This hasn’t been the case. According to a Lifewire article “there will be more than 3.8 billion email users before 2019, over 100 million than the previous year”.


There are many reasons to have an email list. Firstly, you OWN the list. It’s not dependent upon Google or Facebook or Twitter, it’s yours! Secondly, it offers a great platform to engage and communicate directly with community. Thirdly you have a list of qualified leads which you can market products and services to. Not only that, you can also use your email list to build some of these products and services, using their feedback and suggestions to build a better product or service.


So how do you build an email list?


From finding an email service provider to creating an incentive to subscribe I’ve listed the main points to help you build an email list.


1. Find an email service provider

I’ve discussed previously the benefits of having an email list and to do this you will need an email service provider. A good email service provider will not only allow you to collect the email addresses of your subscribers it will allow you to seamlessly contact these subscribers.

A good email service provider will allow you to set up various email sequences to your list or will allow you to segment your list to allow a more focused marketing campaign or opt in. The better email

Now the major email service providers on the market have a lot of pros and some cons depending on your size and what type of website or online business that you have. In nearly all cases the email service provider that I recommend (and use myself) is Convertkit.

After a short dashboard orientation, Convertkit it quite easy to use and to set up. If you do have a problem with some part of Convertkit there are plenty of videos and support to help with any queries you may have. It won’t take you long to set up an email sequence, a landing page or a sales funnel. Tracking your email stats is easy to do in Convertkit and if you want to add a gift (such as a pdf) to your email list, this is simple to do using Convertkit.


2. Create an opt in to entice people to subscribe

Whether it’s a free e book, an info graphic or a free email-based course, you want to create an offering to get your readers to subscribe to your blog or website. The simplest way to create an opt in is to offer a pdf and either establish a pop-up form on your website which is linked to your email service provider (ESP) (discussed in point 3 below).

So, what can you offer as an enticement? Anything!

If you run a fitness website it could be a generic free gym or diet program. If you run a cooking site it could be 10 free recipes. It could be an audio or video of you providing advice or a service not normally available to readers or viewers of your content.

For ideas in what opt in you can offer, have a look at what some of the email lists that you have subscribed to offer. Or do a Google search opt in ideas. As simple PDF opt shouldn’t take you too long to put together but if you are struggling for time or ideas then you can always outsource this if you wanted to. I would suggest that you put the opt-in together yourself or at least the outline of it if you were going down the outsourcing route.

What I would recommend you outsource (particularly if you have no design experience) is the “glossing up” of your opt-in pdf. A good designer can work wonders on your basic pdf and by using a freelancer (either or this shouldn’t break the bank (limit your spending to $100 US max) and providing you selected a suitable freelancer you will be pleasantly surprised at how professional your newly created opt in looks.


3. Set up a landing page or pop up form on your website to allow readers to subscribe

Once your opt-in is complete you can build your opt-in form inside your email service provider and set up a pop-up form or a landing page to entice readers to subscribe to your website.

I would also look at creating a landing page explaining to your readers who view the page why they should subscribe to your website and what (if any) enticements you will offer once they subscribe to your website.

Now your email service provider (such as Convertkit) should provide you with an option to build a landing page within your email service provider dashboard or login. At a pinch these will do the job however if you really want to “wow” your potential subscribers I recommend that you get a specialised landing page plugin. The two landing page plugins that I recommend are OptinMonster and Thrive Architect (part of the Thrive Membership that I recommend).

The difference between the basic Convertkit landing page and the “upmarket” landing page plugins such as OptinMonster and Thrive Architects is the number of templates and add-ons that are on offer. The end product landing page from OptinMonster or Thrive architect just looks a lot better than the standard options found inside your selected email service provider and another bonus about using OptinMonster and Thrive architect is that any landing pages created using their plugin can be integrated with your Convertkit account.

The cost for OptinMonster starts at $140 US and Thrive Membership $229 US (Thrive Architect option is $29 US though I recommend the full Thrive Membership as there are so many great site building options).


4. Create your email sequence

It’s one thing to get your readers to subscribe to your website, it’s another to keep them as subscribers.

You need to map out exactly what you want your subscribers to experience when they subscribe to your website or to a particular opt-in.

You might have a sequence for someone who signs up to your website. You might create a specific opt-in that may have a sequence that leads to a product or service purchase.

Usually a new subscriber sequence would start with what they can expect from your site, maybe some tips, how often they can expect to be emailed by you, etc.

Ideas to email your list include: Weekly wrap up email, 5 things email (could be books, websites, techniques, anything relevant to your niche and list), best of email (include your best posts of the month), your email could be of content only for subscribers, you could email a course or even a specialised call to action.

To create an email sequence in Convertkit the steps are as follows:

(Convertkit has great support if you have any queries).


Login to your Convertkit

How to build an email list


On the menu at the top of your dashboard, select Sequences.

How to build an email listClick on the create sequence button at the top right of the page

How to build an email list

Name your sequence then select create sequence

How to build an email list

Add your email that you wish your new subscribers will receive

You will see that Convertkit have added some instructional content in the email text section. Delete this after you have read it and add your content. Once you are happy with this email (make sure you check spelling and add headlines, etc to make the email stand out) you need to add a title for your email. You will also need add in the time frame new subscribers will receive this email. Convertkit has this defaulted to one day however I changed this to zero days so new subscribers receive their initial email straight away. To change this number, click on the pencil next to the number and select the time frame you want.

If you are happy with this click on the Status drop down menu and select Publish.

Now if you only want one email to go to new subscribers then select the save all button in the top right-hand side and new subscribers will now receive this email.

If you would like to create a sequence, then you would click on the Add Email button on the left-hand side of the page and follow the above instructions to add to your email sequence.

Once you are happy with each email in your sequence under the preview option to the right select either Browser or Email to see what email looks like.

How to build an email list


On the menu at the top of your dashboard select Forms

How to build an email list

Towards the bottom of your dashboard select the Create Form button at the bottom right

How to build an email list

Select whether you want to create a landing page or a form. In this example we will assume you want to create a pop-up form for your homepage

How to build an email listSelect the type of form you want to create. I like to collect both the persons email address and their first name (so I can personalise the email) so I would select option 2 in the middle

How to build an email listEdit the form to your requirements, select save, then click on the Settings icon in the menu above the form

How to build an email listYou should now have the Main Settings options on your page. Make sure the just a form to embed option is selected, you can select either the show success message or you can create a thank you for subscribing page on your website and have a new subscriber re-directed to this page and finally you have sequence settings. By clicking on the drop-down menu, you can select the previous sequence you created. Now select the Incentive Email section on your left.

How to build an email listSelect the email address you want your email list emails to come from. To add an email address, click on the From email address drop-down menu and select add email address (unless the email address you want to use is already on the list), add the relevant details then select add.

Then add in the relevant Subject Heading you wish to use, edit the message that you wish your subscribers to receive upon opting into your email list.

Finally, you need to select either the URL option or the Incentive download option for your subscribers to access any incentive you may have created to entice subscribers such as a PDF. It’s up to you whether you want this directed from your website URL or via the incentive download option though I select the incentive download option. Now move to the Style option on your left.

How to build an email list

How to build an email list

The style page allows you to select the style of form you want to display on your site. It’s up to you which option you prefer though I’d select the full option. If in doubt, then do some tests on which works and what doesn’t. Also select the option you would like for the what should we show return visitors then select save form in the bottom right hand side of the page and your pop-up form is now ready to go. Now there is the Embed option, Form Integration and Other Options on the left-hand side however these won’t be needed for you in most cases.

How to build an email list

How to build an email list


5. Allow your email service provider (Convertkit) to connect to your website.

This will involve (in most cases) a WordPress plugin being installed on your website

In the example of Convertkit, you download and install the Convertkit plugin to your website (along with the relevant API codes) and this will allow you to automatically have the above created forms to interact with your WordPress website. To download the plugin, click here. Once the plugin is added to your website and installed then on the left-hand menu of your WordPress dashboard select the Settings options and, in this menu, you will find the Convertkit plugin which you will be able to install properly to allow all your forms and sequences to work via your website.

If you have any problems with this, go to the Convertkit help page or contact Convertkit support and they will sort this out for you.


Now start promoting, marketing and generating traffic to your website and start building your email list!