Email List Building

Email List Building is one of the most important things you can do for your business because it is what bridges the gap between someone showing an interest in your business and making that all important purchase.

Yes, someone may buy from you the moment they first visit your website. But what if they don’t?

Email provides a low commitment first step for someone to take to start in their relationship with your business. Purchasing might be too big of a step for them to take straight away. You might need to build up some more trust & likeability first. Or they might think what you have is great but they aren’t ready to buy right now as they are waiting until pay day or for that special someone’s birthday to come up. It is your job to remind them that you exist – and email provides a perfect avenue for this.

Yes, they may follow you on social media to be reminded of what you offer. But what if they don’t?

Algorithms might not even show them your posts. Or they might not log into their Instagram the day you happen to post your new product. Email, on the other hand, will be waiting for them in their inbox the next time they login. It is then their choice to read it (and not an algorithm). The bottom line is that email provides us with an amazing opportunity to convert more of our audience into buyers because it is all about retargeting those who have already put their hand up and said, yes, I like what you offer.  

In this ultimate email list building guide, I’m sharing all the steps you need to take to get started building your email list. To help you along the way, you’ll also want to download the email list building companion resources list. In this resource, I share all my recommended tools for the steps below! [thrive_2step id=’5407′]Download it here.[/thrive_2step]

But before we get stuck in, a word on “spamming”…

One of the biggest hesitations people have about email list building is that they don’t want to appear as “spammy”. After all, we are bombarded with dozens of emails every single day – why do we want to add to that noise? And I agree, we don’t want to be spammy. We don’t want to just be sending out all of these emails with buy this or buy that. We want to focus on providing value first in our emails. Coming at it from a perspective of giving the majority of the time. Not just asking. This is what will help you to stand out from the noise.  

Step 1: Define your Ideal Subscriber

You don’t want to just have anyone on your email list. Yes it is great to say you have 2,000 people on your list but if none of those 2,000 people will buy from you then it is worthless. When email list building you want to create a list full of people that are your ideal customer. If it was quantity you were after you could just go and buy a list of names or try to get people to sign up to enter a competition to win an iPad. Instead, you want to repel as many people as you attract. You want to focus on quality. To do this, you need to have a clear understanding of who your ideal subscriber is. You need to understand more than their age, gender & lifestyle. You need to learn what their biggest struggles are. What challenges they face, what they desire and what they value. If you haven’t already got your hands on the online marketing starter kit, you might want to check it out as it includes a brilliant target market workbook to get you started on this step. Grab it here.

Step 2: Create an Opt-in Incentive

An email opt-in incentive, also known as a lead magnet, is something that you offer in exchange for an email address. Asking for the to sign up to your newsletter is simply not enough. Remember, people don’t just want more emails to sort through and the word “newsletter” just indicates that this will be another thing to clog up their inboxes. Instead, you want to provide something of amazing value. There are a number of choices for this:

  • A PDF document such as an ebook, worksheet or checklist
  • Email Course
  • Challenge or Detox
  • Resource Library
  • Video training
  • Templates or Swipe Files
  • Discounts or free shipping for the first order
  • Pretty much anything that you can offer free of charge that your ideal subscriber will be interested in will help you when email list building. 

(You can check out a comprehensive list in this blog post).

This is where I see many people trip up. They think that in order to provide great value they need to create the most epic or amazing thing ever. And in the end they have a 20 page ebook on their hands. The biggest problem with this? No-one wants to read a 20 page ebook! Or they think they do and they download it but never actually get around to reading it. Instead, simple is better! People are much more inclined to sign up for something that  gives them a “quick win”. Something that they can read or do in a very short amount of time and then feel like they have gotten something out of it. And, bonus, it means that you can get something created pretty quickly. So don’t overthink this one! [thrive_2step id=’5407′][/thrive_2step]  

Step 3: Create some Mockup Images

A mockup image is a graphic preview of what someone can expect from your freebie. It shows them that it is more than a little one page thing, but something beautifully designed and valuable. You can create an image of fanned out pages (like the one above for the resources list). Or it can be a preview of the document on a bookcover, computer or a tablet like below. You will use these graphics for landing pages and in any promotional graphics you create.

Step 4: Choose Your Delivery Method

Once you have your opt-in created, you need a way to deliver it easily and instantly to anyone who signs up to your list. In addition, you need a way to easily manage and send more emails to these subscribers. The most popular choice for this is MailChimp and this is a great starting point. It provides all the basic functionality you need and is free. However, if you believe you will be working with multiple opt-ins in the future, MailChimp is much more difficult to manage. In this case, I recommend ConvertKit (this is what I use). While not free, the power it has through tagging and automations can really make email a more personalised experience. For further reading on these you can check out these blog posts: MailChimp vs ConvertKit How to Automate your Emails and Still Keep it Personal

Step 5: Setup the Email Tech

Probably the most daunting part of all! Once you have chosen your delivery method you need to setup your system to deliver your opt in. For MailChimp this means: – Creating a List – Creating a Sign Up Form for that List – Updating the Double Opt In Email Confirmation – Setting up an Automation to Receive an Email with the Opt-In attached For ConvertKit this means: – Creating a Form – Adding the Incentive Email – Linking this to a tag or sequence if you want to continue to send more automated emails.

Step 6: Create a Lead Page

Now it’s time to link your new email sign-up form to your website. The main way to do this is to setup a lead page. A lead page is a page on your website dedicated to getting people to signup for your freebie. It has no menu and no distractions. Instead, it just focuses completely on your opt in. It will include: – An enticing headline – A couple of dot points about the benefit of the opt in – The signup form itself – Submit button – A mockup image Here’s a great example:

Step 7: Create a Thank You Page

In addition, to a lead page, you’ll want to create a thank you page that they are directed to once they click submit. This page serves two main purposes:

  1. To advise them to check their inboxes and confirm subscription
  2. For you to link to your Google Analytics goals so you can track your success

In addition, you could include links asking them to share on social media. Once the thank you page is created you will need to go back into your email service provider and change the setting for “on submit” so that they get redirected to this URL.

Step 8: Add Multiple Signup Forms to your Website

The lead page mentioned in step 5 is the main page you will refer people to when promoting your opt-in from outside sources. However, you also want anyone who comes to your website for a different purpose to see the invitation too. You will want to include this in a number of places on your website. At a minimum, you will need it somewhere on your homepage and on each of your blog posts / content pages. Other places you may want to include it are: – As a banner across the top of your site – In your sidebar – In your footer – As a pop-up – Within the text of your blog posts A note on pop-ups Personally, I am not a fan of these, especially when done badly. One of the biggest mistakes I see small business owners make with these is that the pop-up will show up immediately and then never again. This results in this scenario:

  1. I go to your website and the pop-up appears. I click the X as I haven’t had a chance to look at any of the content on your website so I don’t know if I want to get your emails yet.
  2. I then browse your website and think “oh actually I like what this person says, I want to sign up”.
  3. I look around and can’t find another form
  4. I hit refresh and it doesn’t come up again as there is a cookie setup so that it won’t show it again to me for 30 days.
  5. I give up and you don’t get my email address.

Or if you go the other way and don’t have the cookie setup then I get constantly bombarded with the popup and I don’t sign up because I am annoyed at this thing that keeps appearing. So if you want to use pop-ups, please keep a couple of things in mind:

  • Only show it after a preset period of time or at exit intent
  • Give another, easy to find way for me to sign up.

Step 9: Direct Promotion

Now you have everything setup for email list building it is time to spread the word about your amazing opt-in. Opt-in incentives are one of the best things you can promote for your business as it is not asking for too much of a commitment. Instead of asking people to buy something you are seeing if they are interested in receiving anything. This is a much easier sell! There are almost limitless ways to promote your opt-in, but here are a few of the more popular ideas: – Share regularly on your social media accounts – Make it your pinned post on Facebook and Twitter – Use your Facebook or Twitter Cover Photo to promote it – Share in Facebook Groups (within group rules of course!) – Create a Pin for it on Pinterest – Create Facebook Ads Each of these will link to the lead page you created earlier.

Step 10: Indirect Promotion

As you are providing email list building opportunities for any website visitors, any promotion of content can also direct them to sign up. By creating interesting blog posts and sharing those across the channels mentioned above, you provide yet another means for them to get to know you. You can also work on your SEO, get some PR or do some guest posts. Anything that will bring traffic to your site so they can see this offer. If you want more ideas on how to promote your opt in, you can check out this blog post: 54 Ways to Promote your Business for Free.   So there you have it, all the steps you need to get started on email list building! If you haven’t done so already, make sure you also [thrive_2step id=’5407′] download the resources list here.[/thrive_2step] Once you have begun you can start adding more and more opt-ins and ways in which people can join. Then of course, you can begin sharing more about your business to this list via your regular email updates or automated welcome sequences. The result – more of your audience converting to paying customers!! email marketing step by step guide download

More of an audio listener? Check out this related podcast episode!

How to Improve Your List Building Strategy

Ever found yourself frustrated with a stagnant email list, wondering why people aren't subscribing despite your best efforts? I get it.

Firstly, you have to understand that you’ll have this natural growth right at the beginning of your email marketing journey - and that it’s normal to have things stagnate after that.

Second, a lot of your initial list growth will come from your existing audience, whether that’s on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or people you know within your networks.

So, you might get that rapid increase, but at some point, you might exhaust that audience if you aren’t proactively growing elsewhere.

In this ultimate list building guide, I’ll share my best list building strategy that’ll supercharge your list growth massively.

Whether you are a business owner, course creator or service provider, email marketing has the potential to free you from the busy, get sales and create more space in your life!

Here is everything you need to know about how to improve your list building strategy.




Let's start by understanding the importance of giving your audience a compelling reason to join your email list - people value their email addresses so they're not just going to give it away for free.

In my Lead Magnet Magic course, I teach students that to grow their email list quickly, they must provide an irresistible opt-in. By doing this, you can establish a fair value exchange, overall increasing conversion rates and attracting a more targeted audience.

So, forget the generic "subscribe to my newsletter" pitch; entice your audience with exclusive updates or a lead magnet that truly adds value to their business or daily lives.

>> Click here to check out Lead Magnet Magic



Tip 2 - Check Your Stats

Before you scale up your advertising efforts, take a deep dive into your lead page and overall site-wide stats.

A 50-60% signup rate for dedicated lead pages and 1-3% of website visitors for general signups are the benchmarks.

If you're falling short, it's time to focus on improving your conversion strategies!

Checkout episode number 21 of my Easy Email Marketing Podcast, 7 things you need for a high converting lead page if you’re stuck for ideas.



Tip 3 - Make Your Signup Obvious on Your Website

Ensure your signup options are impossible to miss across your website.

Consider using floating bars, popups, or banners to capture your audience's attention and make it crystal clear and easy for them to subscribe.



Tip 4 - Make Your Lead Magnet Prominent on Your Socials

Leverage your social media platforms by consistently featuring your lead magnet.

From updating Facebook and Instagram graphics to pinned posts to CTA’s, remind your audience regularly about the benefits of joining your email list.



Tip 5 - Leverage Your Content

Whether it's blog posts, YouTube videos, or podcasts, seamlessly integrate mentions of your lead magnet.

Use dynamic ads during podcast episodes, share insights within your content, and always provide a direct link to your signup page.



Tip 6 - Mention Your Email List Often

Consistent promotion is the key. Incorporate mentions of your email list into your regular social media posts.

Consider using tools like ManyChat to automate sign-ups directly through Instagram comments.



Tip 7 - Add Event-Style Lead Magnets to your List Building Strategy

Enhance your lead magnet offerings with limited-time events, such as webinars, challenges, or giveaways.

In my List Building Boost course, I teach you how to create these types of opt-ins – the one’s that majorly convert!

You’ll also need to create a sense of urgency to attract new subscribers and diversify your audience.

At the end of the day, it’ll be refreshing for your audience to find different ways to interact with you, rather than just through a PDF or Word Document.



Tip 8 - Use Ads Strategically

Once you've optimised your existing strategies, you can delve into paid advertising.

It's crucial to understand your conversion value before investing heavily in ads to ensure a positive return on investment.

Ads can be a great way to grow your list quickly, especially if you don't want to spend a tonne of time being active on socials et cetera. 



Tip 9 - Participate in Bundles or Swaps

Collaborate with businesses or influencers for bundle promotions or swaps.

Consider formalising agreements where you promote each other's lead magnets to tap into new audiences.



Tip 10 - Get Active with Guest Speaking

Explore opportunities to speak at summits, contribute to courses, or appear on podcasts.

Guest speaking not only broadens your reach but also establishes trust with new audiences, making them more likely to subscribe.


In essence, improving your list building strategy involves a multi-faceted approach. From optimising your website and social media presence to collaborations and guest speaking, these 10 tips have hopefully provided you with insightful methods of how to get more email subscribers.


And of course, this list building guide wouldn't be complete without mentioning my exclusive lead magnet - my collection of 80+ fill-in-the-blank email ideas. If you ever find yourself struggling with what to share with your list, be sure to head over to to grab yourself a copy – or fill in the form down below!


Happy emailing!



15 Practical Email Writing Tips | Episode 103

15 Practical Email Writing Tips | Episode 103

Don’t think you are a good writer? Then this podcast episode is for you! The truth is anyone can be a good writer. It just takes time, practice and a little guidance. The good news? Email is the perfect place to practice your writing as it isn’t so “public”. It is...