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7 ways to build your email list into a marketing powerhouse

Stephanie Faris
6 min read

Growing your email list is the first step to harnessing the power of email marketing — your most important marketing channel for accelerating customer relationships and generating cost-effective ROI.

The truth is that many businesses miss out on acquisition and retention opportunities because they don’t leverage the full range of tactics for email list building.

Here’s what the experts have to say on how to build your email list and optimize it for your email marketing campaigns.

“By strategically approaching opt-in opportunities for email marketing lists, brands can convert quality site traffic into engaged email subscribers who can then be nurtured into loyal customers.”

Know the Basics of Email List Building

Before you get started with collecting email addresses and leads to power your email marketing lists, it’s important to recognize the basics of email list building:

  • Email address quality vs. quantity
  • Overlay design and the user experience
  • Consumer privacy

1. Focus On Email List Quality Over Quantity

Too often, marketers make the mistake of focusing on building the largest email list possible, with no regard for the quality of the contacts themselves.

When building your email marketing list, it’s essential to keep in mind that email is a personal channel, and the quality of your list is the backbone of your email program.

You want to make sure you are gaining subscribers that are ideal customers to support your email deliverability, open rates, and more down-funnel business performance.

Don’t just grab subscribers for the sake of having subscribers; it will dilute your list and drag down your channel performance. Focus on building your list with your ideal customers that find your email content relevant and engaging.

List health goes a long way to ensure your email success is scalable, measurable, and data-driven.

  • Maintain privacy compliance with ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, Apple, etc.) or risk being penalized by their algorithms
  • Clean out invalid email addresses
  • Implement re-engagement campaigns to win back inactive subscribers to your email list
  • Identify spam traps and know how to avoid them
  • Ensure your new contacts receive a welcome series so that they stick around

2. Grab Attention With Onsite Email Capture Popups

Your number one source for attracting more visitor signups to your email list is with onsite popup overlays.

Deploying your email capture popup early allows you to convert visitors as early as possible in the journey before they become occupied engaging with other areas of your website.

Like every other opt-in placement in this list, make sure your offer is valuable and not interruptive to the user.

The last thing a user wants is another pesky popup, so make it personal (based on whether if they are brand-new or a returning visitor) and offer an incentive that makes them happy to join your list.

“Sign-up rates and same session conversions tend to be higher when an enticing incentive is offered,” explains Hinson.

“One Tinuiti client saw a 47% lift in email captures when offering an incentive versus no incentive. If a discount isn’t an option for your brand, highlight access to exclusive content, sneak peeks, or the ability to pre-shop new arrivals.”

Make Your Email Capture Overlays Compelling

Quality opt-in overlays feature compelling design, a value prop, and a clear call to action.

Some tips from the experts for making the most out of your email overlays:

  • Use imagery relevant to the customer journey (personalize!)
  • Offer an incentive and be clear about what they are signing up for
  • Include a clear call to action
  • Test different promotions
  • Test your overlays for mobile audiences

3. Don’t Forget About Privacy

I’ll say it again: email is a very personal channel. An email address is a direct communication line to a person, so keep privacy considerations top of mine when it comes to your collection, use, and sharing of that information.

“To maintain compliance, brands must tailor their data collection and use to the specific countries in which they operate or where their customers might reside. In general, adopting the highest standards across the board is your best bet to stay ahead of new legislation pending across several states.”

4. Capture Emails From Your Website’s Global Header & Footer

Beyond static overlays, your website’s global header and footer are also important for optimizing your website for email list growth.

Your visitors scroll to these parts of the webpage to find menus and other navigation links no matter what page they’re on, which is why having an opt-in located here is important.

“Giving site visitors an opportunity to stay in touch via a static sign-up form is a must for any brand. Some EcoBrandNow clients see as many as 10% of their new contacts come from this source, as site visitors will naturally navigate to the bottom of the page when attempting to opt-in without prompting.”

5. Grow Your Email List From Your Blog Pages

If your visitors are engaging with the blog of your website, chances are that they are warming up to your content and are open to receiving more.

It’s the perfect time to start a relationship by offering them a chance to sign up for more content via your email newsletter.

The email opt-in on your blog should be tailored to offer something relevant to their interests: the ability to stay up-to-date on all of your blog content as well as promotions.

“Providing value-adding content in the form of email newsletters gives your brand the opportunity to build a relationship with these contacts, and the chance to convert them into long-term loyal customers,” explains Hinson.

6. Entice New Subscribers To Join Your Email List From Checkout

Most marketers think of email capture at the beginning of the funnel, but why not give customers a chance to opt-in at the end of their journey?

Your checkout page is a great touchpoint to give customers a final chance to sign up before they complete their order.

It’s key to keep it simple and enticing, don’t make the mistake of overloading someone with too much information when they are trying to buy your products, says Hinson.

“Motivate sign-ups with enticing verbiage that communicates the benefits of your brand’s email program: being the first to hear about new arrivals, access to exclusive discounts, etc.”

“If you’re driving new customers to create an account, keep it simple by only asking for basic information you’re sure to utilize for future content targeting.”

7. Segment Your Captured Emails For Future Campaigns

Growing your email list is only the first step to email marketing success.

If you want your campaigns and messaging to be relevant to each and every customer (and show them that you care), then you will need to use all of your data available to segment your subscribers into different lists based on who they are, where they are, and what they are interested in.

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