How to Build an Email Subscriber List for Your Business

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By Boris Dzhingarov

Having a solid email subscriber list can be invaluable for any business. Email marketing has one of the highest return on investment ratios of any marketing channel. Plus, you can use your email list to directly reach customers and promote your products, services and business.

Follow this step-by-step guide to start building and growing an engaged email list for your business:

Choose Your Email Service Provider

The first step is selecting an email service provider (ESP) to host and manage your email list. Popular options include MailerLite, MailChimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, and ConvertKit. Compare features like automation, analytics, list management tools, and pricing to choose the best ESP for your needs and budget. Most providers offer free plans for smaller lists.

Create Signup Forms

Once your ESP account is set up, create signup forms to capture email addresses. Offer an incentive like a discount, coupon, free ebook, or other content upgrade in exchange for the email address. Make signup forms prominent on your website, in your store, and anywhere else you interact with customers both online and offline. The easier you make it for people to sign up, the faster your list will grow.

Include signup forms or popups on:

  • Your website homepage and blog
  • Product and service pages
  • Online shopping carts and checkouts
  • Receipts and thank you pages after purchases
  • Social media profiles and ads
  • At events and conferences with a tablet or sign-up sheet
  • Brick-and-mortar storefronts and receptions

Offer a Lead Magnet

Offering a compelling lead magnet or freebie in exchange for an email address can encourage signups and grow your list faster. A lead magnet is usually a piece of content like an ebook, whitepaper, guide, checklist, resource list, free trial, or coupon. The lead magnet should provide value and appeal to your target audience. For example, an ecommerce store could offer a free guide to using their products. A business consultant might offer a checklist for evaluating consultants. A lead magnet gives people a reason to subscribe and establishes your expertise.

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Promote Your Signup Forms

Once your signup forms are ready, drive traffic to them through marketing and promotion. Here are some easy ways to get the word out and grow your subscriber list:

  • Add a popup or banner to your site asking visitors to join your list
  • Promote your lead magnet and signup page on social media
  • Talk about your lead magnet on a blog, podcast, or YouTube
  • Run social media and search ads targeted to your audience directing them to a signup form
  • Add a blurb about subscribing to your email list in your email signature
  • Spread the word at events, conferences, and networking activities

Import Existing Contacts

If you have existing contacts from your CRM, customer database, or mailing list, import them into your new email service provider account. This gives you an instant starting list. But be sure to get consent before adding contacts to marketing emails. Simply let them know you have valuable new content, product updates, etc. to share via your business email newsletters which they can opt into.

Send Welcome Emails

The first impression is critical for subscriber engagement and retention. Send a welcome email as soon as someone subscribes introducing yourself, sharing about your business, and highlighting the value they can expect from your emails. Outline your content focus and frequency so they know what to anticipate.

Add Email Signup Forms to Your Emails

Use every email you send as an opportunity to grow your list. Include a prominent call-to-action with a link to signup forms in your email footer. Segment your lists so current subscribers don’t keep seeing signup links welcoming new subscribers and telling existing contacts about new products, content and promotions.

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Offer Relevant, Valuable Content

Your emails need to engage subscribers by offering something useful and relevant to their interests. Focus emails on delivering value through helpful tips, actionable advice, industry insights, product updates, special discounts, or sales announcements. Well-crafted content presented in a readable format keeps people opening and engaging with your emails.

Pay attention to deliverability factors like permission, authentication, content quality, and list hygiene. Following email best practices helps your emails reliably reach the inbox.

Send Consistently

Decide the ideal frequency for your audience, whether that’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Then stick to your schedule as much as possible so contacts know when to expect your emails. Sending too sporadically loses momentum while over-emailing annoys subscribers. Segmenting your list lets you send different frequencies to different groups.

Automate Workflows

Email service providers make it easy to set up automated email workflows triggered by subscriber actions. For example, you can automatically send a series of emails to new subscribers welcoming them and delivering your lead magnet content. Other workflows may send follow-up or re-engagement emails to inactive subscribers, promote new content, offer win-back incentives, or survey customers post-purchase. Workflows increase engagement at scale.

Integrate with Your Website

Integrating your email provider with your website and CRM enables seamless data sharing. Instantly add website visitors to your email list by embedding a signup form on your site. Connecting your CRM pulls in contact details for current customers to grow your list. Two-way integration sends data on email metrics, clicks, and opens back to your CRM. This helps you track engagement and attribute conversions.

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Analyze Metrics

Continuously monitor email performance and subscriber engagement metrics. Carefully evaluate open rates, clickthrough rates, conversion rates, churn, and unsubscribe rates. Adjust your emails based on what subject lines, content and offers perform best. Refine your list by removing inactive subscribers. Use analytics to fine-tune and optimize every aspect of your email marketing strategy.

Launching a regular email newsletter is one of the most effective channels for driving repeat traffic to your website and converting subscribers into loyal customers. Following this step-by-step guide will help you build an email list from scratch and continually grow your subscribers. A well-cultivated email list delivers huge value for minimal investment for any business.