How to Build an Email List From Scratch

Email marketing gets solid results, but you can’t just send emails at random; it’s easier than you might think to build a targeted, good quality email list from scratch. You’ll need to sign up with an emailing service, decide how you’ll collect emails and follow the best practices for emailing (you wouldn’t get the results you want if your recipients see your emails as spam).

Building an Email List from Scratch

follow up emails, email list

Choose an Email Marketing Service

You don’t have to do everything alone; an Email Service Provider (ESP) makes it easy to launch, monitor and measure the success of an email campaign. While ESPs offer different levels of service and pricing, most offer the same basic tools and templates, it’s just a matter of choosing the model you like best. Some ESPs are free to start, particularly if you are just growing your list; charges don’t kick in until you have a thousand or more email addresses in your list. MailChimp, ConstantContact, AWeber and GetResponse all offer amazing features.

Create an Asset

What do people get in return for signing up? You must have something to offer web visitors to compel them to hand over their email. It can be an eBook, Webinar or even a deal or discount on their next purchase. For example, when you capture customer’s emails as part of a feedback survey following a visit to a restaurant or retail store, their first email from you can be the discount you promised.

Make an Opt-In Form

This part is easy; every ESP has a different process, but each offers an opt-in form for your site. While you can easily capture in-person emails at the point of purchase, online visitors will need to use the opt-in form. Sign up forms should either live in a prominent location on your site or should be served as a pop-up when a visitor is consuming a piece of content such as a blog article.


Setting up automated emails is fast and easy with most ESPs and with automation, you can make sure that the people who shared their emails with you get the ebook, discount or other perk you promised. Automation also makes it easy to send drip campaigns as you build your email list. Since you’ll have plenty of prospects at different points in the sales funnel, automation can ensure they’re getting the right information at just the right time.

How to Get Names for Your List

Partner Marketing

Partner marketing works – you likely already do it. If you display brochures in other local, non-competing businesses, you know the power of sharing. You can do the same with email lists, provided you have permission to do so. Asking a non-competing but complementary business to include a link or offer in their own newsletter or campaign can boost traffic – and you can return the favor.

Include with Feedback

You already know the power of real-time feedback; add an email opt-in form to your instant feedback survey requests and you can collect targeted customer emails with ease, right at the point of purchase from your health clinicretail store, restaurant or spa etc.

Make an Offer

Done correctly, a contest or giveaway can generate new, highly targeted leads. Running a contest on your site, on your social media channels or in person at your business allows you to collect emails and gain permission to get in touch. Offering an entry in return for a quick feedback survey from your customers right at the point of purchase makes it easy for them to enter and opt in and grows your email list naturally.

Be a Guest

When you create a guest post for another site, you not only get valuable inbound links and traffic, you have the chance to add subscribers to your list, too. Whether you contribute to a niche website that relates to your core business or post regularly, guest posting is a fast and easy way to build buzz and grow your email list.




Also published on Medium.

Deepa Christina Radh

Deepa Christina Radh

Brand & Community Manager at QuickTapSurvey
Keeping it fresh and engaging with all things content and community. Let's chat! Find me on Twitter @quicktapsurvey or email deepa@quicktapsurvey dot com
Deepa Christina Radh