How to Build an Email List to Grow Your Business

May 28, 2024

By: Emily Harper

How to Build an Email List to Grow Your Business

An email list can be a game-changer for a small business. It allows you to communicate directly with customers, personalize your messaging, and build long-term relationships that drive sales and growth. An email list is more than just a collection of names—it's a powerful tool that lets you reach out to people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

Whether you're running a bustling e-commerce site or a dedicated service company, having an email list is a critical component of a successful digital marketing strategy. In this blog, we'll explore the advantages of building an email list and provide practical steps and techniques to help you set up and grow your own.

4 Benefits of Having an Email List

An email list can significantly boost your business growth, offering a more direct and personalized way to reach customers than many other marketing tools. Email remains a universal communication tool, widely used across demographics. In fact, 92% of adults online have an email account, and 61% of them check their email daily. This widespread usage makes email marketing an effective strategy for engaging with your audience regularly.

Here's why an email list is one of your most valuable marketing assets:

1. Personalized Communication: Tailor your messages to meet your audience's unique interests and needs, increasing engagement and loyalty.

2. Complete Control: Unlike social media platforms where algorithms dictate your reach, your email list is entirely under your control.

3. Long Lasting Content: Your emails remain in inboxes and can be referred back to, unlike social media posts, which can quickly disappear in a fast-moving feed.

4. Increased Sales: Emails typically achieve higher conversion rates, such as more sales or bookings, through personalized and consistent communication that builds trust and keeps your brand top of mind.

Setting Up Your Email List

Choosing an Email Marketing Platform

Choosing the right email marketing platform is crucial for the success of your email campaigns. Look for user-friendly platforms that integrate well with other tools and offer features that align with your marketing goals.

Titan Email

There are many email hosting providers you can choose from, but to make this as seamless as possible, we suggest using Titan Email. has partnered with Titan Email to offer you a professional email using your business domain name.

Titan Email guides you through the process, ensuring you can start sending and receiving emails quickly. Even if your domain isn't registered with, Titan provides clear instructions for easy setup. Titan's platform also allows you to schedule emails and save frequently used responses as templates, maximizing efficiency and ensuring consistent customer communication.


Mailchimp is a user-friendly platform perfect for both beginners and advanced marketers. It features a drag-and-drop editor, powerful automation, and an extensive API for customization, making it ideal for businesses looking to enhance their email marketing efforts. Mailchimp's tools are designed to help you increase sales, whether your business is small or complex.


Zoho Mail offers businesses a secure and private email experience with no ads and built-in encryption. It allows you to create custom email addresses for your domain, adding professionalism to your business communications. Zoho Mail suits businesses prioritizing security and a streamlined, professional email presence.

Google Workspace Gmail

Google Workspace Gmail goes beyond traditional email services, including features like chat, voice and video calls, and integrated project management tools. It works seamlessly with other Google services like Calendar and Meet and third-party apps, making it a comprehensive tool for managing all your business communications in one place.

Each platform has unique advantages, so consider what’s most important for your business. Whether you need simplicity, advanced marketing tools, or robust integrations, an email marketing service is right for you.

Effective Strategies to Build an Email List

Value Exchange with Lead Magnets

Do you give out your email to anyone who asks? Probably not…unless you were offered something unique in exchange for your information. Most of us are cautious about sharing our email unless we're getting something truly worthwhile in return, and that’s precisely what a lead magnet does—it makes the deal too good to pass up.

A lead magnet entices people to give you their email addresses in exchange for something valuable, benefiting both you and your new subscribers. Your audience gets something helpful immediately, making them feel good about the exchange. For you, it’s an effective way to grow your list of contacts who are interested in what you have to offer, making them warmer leads than the average visitor. Just be sure these freebies are directly related to your business or industry to attract the right subscribers.

Check out a few examples you can use to build your email list below!

5 Effective Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List

1. Guides and Ebooks

Creating an ebook that addresses the specific challenges or interests of your target audience is a fantastic way to attract sign-ups.

For example, if you’re a nutritionist, you might offer a free guide titled “5 Simple Recipes for Better Health” to attract people interested in healthy eating. Once they sign up, the free guide will be delivered to their inbox, and they will be added to your email list.

2. Exclusive Discounts

Everyone loves a good deal. Offering exclusive discounts or special pricing to new email subscribers can be a powerful incentive. For instance, a boutique clothing store could offer a 20% discount on the first purchase after signing up. This encourages sign-ups and can also help boost sales.

3. Webinars and Workshops

Hosting webinars or online workshops is another great way to collect email addresses while providing value.

For example, if you manage a fitness studio, you could offer monthly webinars on topics like nutrition, exercise routines, or wellness tips. To make these sessions even more appealing, you could invite guest speakers, such as nutrition experts, who will provide more value to the workshops.

Participants must register using their email addresses to attend the workshops/webinars. This will help you build your email list while gathering useful information about your audience’s interests and goals. You can use this information in the future to tailor your communications and content.

As an added bonus, you can record these sessions and make them available on your website! New visitors can sign up to access past webinars using their email addresses, and they will have access to the past sessions while you continue to build your email list.

4. Downloadable Freebies

Downloadable resources such as checklists, templates, or guides are excellent for capturing email addresses.

For example, a landscaping business could offer a "Seasonal Garden Maintenance Checklist." This checklist could detail monthly tasks necessary to maintain a healthy garden, such as when to plant, prune, or fertilize different plants throughout the year. It serves as a valuable tool for both beginning and experienced gardeners, keeping their gardens flourishing and reminding them regularly of your business’s value.

Similarly, a business coach might provide downloadable templates for goal setting or business planning, helping entrepreneurs organize their goals and strategies effectively.

Each download offers a tangible benefit to the user and is a gentle reminder of the business’s expertise and available services. You can promote these resources across your website and on social media platforms to attract a broader audience. Adding a simple form where visitors can enter their email address to receive the download can convert website traffic into valuable leads, expanding your email list with engaged subscribers.

5. Service Quotes

Offering a free quote or consultation is a smart move for service-based businesses, as it encourages potential customers to sign up for your email list. This approach helps you build your list and open the door to immediate interaction with interested prospects.

For example, a home renovation company can promote a free consultation service on their website, enticing visitors who are thinking about making changes to their home. The homeowner can provide their email in exchange for valuable, personalized information about their project. Highlighting that the quote is free and comes with no strings attached can help lower the barriers to sign-up, potentially leading to more conversions from interested visitors to loyal customers.

Your offers should be closely aligned with your audience’s needs and interests. The more relevant the offer, the more likely they will subscribe to your email list. Make sure that you highlight the value of your offer by using compelling descriptions of the advantages that the subscriber will benefit from signing up for your lead magnet.

And remember, the sign-up and receiving process must be straightforward. The fewer barriers, the better!

Formats and Placements to Collect Emails

Once you've identified a valuable offer to entice users to join your email list, it's essential to consider how and where you'll capture these email addresses.

Here are several formats and placements that can help you effectively build your email list:

Email Sign-up Page

Create a dedicated landing page for your lead magnets and email sign-ups. These pages should explain the benefits of signing up, such as exclusive access to discounts, informative content, or early product releases.

how to build an email list

Opt-in Forms on Your Website

You can embed opt-in forms throughout your website to maximize visibility. Common places include the footer and sidebar during the checkout process. If you have an online store or a service sign-up form, you can incorporate an option for subscribers to receive a lead magnet during the checkout or registration.

Website Pop-ups

Use timed pop-ups that appear when a visitor has spent a certain amount of time on your site or is about to leave. These pop-ups can offer your lead magnet and encourage sign-ups before the user exits. These appear when a user is about to leave your site, providing one last offer to capture their email.

how to build an email list

Through Blog Posts

Include call-to-action buttons and opt-in forms within or at the end of your blog posts. If a reader finds your content valuable, they'll be more likely to subscribe for more insights. Be sure to include relevant lead magnets in your blog posts. For example, if you have a blog post about the benefits of organic gardening, you could offer a downloadable guide to organic pesticides as a lead magnet at the end of the article.

Utilizing Social Media

Promote your email sign-up on your social media channels by including links in your profile bios, creating posts about your lead magnet, or even using paid ads. If you create video content, mention your lead magnet in your videos and include a link in the video description. This can be highly effective, especially if the video content is closely related to the lead magnet.

how to build an email list

Offline Strategies

If you have a physical presence, don’t miss the opportunity to gather emails at the checkout or through in-store events.

Networking Events and Conferences

Networking events and conferences are excellent places to meet potential customers and other business professionals who share your interests. Whether you’re attending a local business meetup, a trade show, or a specialized conference, these events offer a great opportunity to hand out business cards or flyers that include information about your lead magnet. By doing so, you can showcase your expertise and grow your email list with contacts who are likely to be interested in what you offer.

Print Media

Placing ads in local newspapers, magazines, or industry publications is a great way to reach a wider audience. For example, if you run a roofing business, advertising a free roof replacement quote in local newspapers gets your business in front of potential customers looking for roofing services and positions you as a helpful resource.

If you’re thinking about running ads, make sure to grab attention with a striking design and include all the necessary details—what you're offering, what the benefits are, and how someone who is interested can get it, such as visiting your website or calling your office.

Adding a QR code to your ad can direct readers straight to a signup page on your website, making it easy for them to enter their email address and claim their free quote. This straightforward approach helps increase the chances that readers will take action and engage with your business.

In-Store Promotions

If you have a physical location, promote your lead magnet directly to customers as they visit. Set up a sign-up station where customers can enter their email addresses or include information on receipts or purchases.

For example, Penny set up a dedicated sign-up kiosk inside her garden center where customers can register their email addresses. This kiosk features an attractive display with a digital tablet, inviting customers to sign up for a monthly gardening newsletter, including exclusive tips, special discounts, and early access to new plant arrivals.

Penny also incorporates email sign-up prompts on receipts. Each receipt has a printed message encouraging customers to join her email list for a 10% off coupon for their next purchase. These in-store promotions are advertised throughout her store so that her customers know the benefits of subscribing to her emails as soon as they walk in.

Pro Tip: When you promote your lead magnet offline, be sure to mention how people can access it. For example, provide a URL or QR code that links directly to the sign-up page where they can get your offer.

Types of Emails You Can Send

For Potential Customers (Subscribers Who Are Not Yet Buyers)

Newsletters with Educational Content

Educational newsletters are a great way to provide valuable information that are related to your industry, but are not sales-oriented. These types of newsletters can establish your business as a knowledgeable resource and not just one that wants to make a sale.

For example, if you run a gardening supply store, you might send monthly newsletters featuring gardening tips. Each issue could offer advice on seasonal gardening activities, like what to plant in the spring or how to prepare plants for winter. You can also feature new blog posts, upcoming events, or workshops, keeping your content fresh and engaging. The goal here is to nurture a relationship and establish your business as a trusted source of knowledge so that when they are ready to make a purchase, they think of you first.

how to build an email list

Promotional Emails

Occasionally, you can send emails highlighting special promotions, new product launches, or exclusive discounts. These are more sales-focused and aim to convert subscribers into customers. Make sure these offers are enticing and relevant to the interests of the subscriber base.

how to build an email list

Customer Testimonials and Reviews

Sharing customer testimonials and reviews can effectively build trust with potential customers. Seeing positive feedback from others can encourage subscribers to make their first purchase, as it reduces the perceived risk of trying out your products or services.

how to build an email list

For Existing Customers

Welcome and Thank You Emails

Once a subscriber makes a purchase, send a warm welcome or a thank-you email to your customer base. This helps begin the customer relationship on a positive note, showing appreciation and reinforcing their decision to choose your business.

how to build an email list

Feedback and Surveys

Post-purchase emails asking for feedback provide insights into what your customers like and dislike about your products or services. This information is vital for identifying areas that need improvement and can help guide your product development and marketing strategies. This can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty since customers recognize that the business is committed to quality and customer satisfaction, making them more likely to return and make repeat purchases.

how to build an email list

Recommendations Based on Past Purchases

Send personalized emails suggesting products or services that complement what they have already purchased. For instance, if a customer bought a beginner's gardening kit from your store, you might follow up with an email recommending specialized gardening tools or advanced guides.

how to build an email list

Re-engagement Campaigns

For customers who last made a purchase a while ago, consider sending re-engagement emails. These can include special welcome-back discounts, updates on new product lines, or questions about why they have yet to return. Be sure to tailor your re-engagement emails to fit the recipient’s previous interactions with your business. Mention products they viewed or purchased and recommend new items that align with their interests. This personal touch can make customers feel valued and understood, increasing the likelihood of their return.

how to build an email list

Regular Updates

Keep your customers informed about what’s new with your business. This can include upcoming events, behind-the-scenes content, or new features/products. Regular updates help keep your business top-of-mind and maintain ongoing customer engagement.

how to build an email list

Exclusive Member Perks

Reward your loyal customers with special discounts that aren't available to the general public. This will show appreciation for their loyalty and encourage repeat business. Give your existing customers early access to sales or new product launches before the general public. This VIP treatment can enhance their feeling of exclusivity and attachment to your brand.

how to build an email list

The Importance of Regular, Valuable Communication

Consistent Email Engagement

It’s important to keep in touch with your audience regularly to keep your business on their minds. The trick is to find the right balance between frequency and content value to avoid overwhelming your subscribers. Ideally, your emails should be something your subscribers look forward to, filled with engaging and valuable content.

How Often Should I Send Emails?

Determining how often to send emails depends on your business type and what your audience prefers. Starting with a weekly email is a good baseline. Adjust this during special promotions or events based on how your subscribers respond. Watching how they engage with your emails—like which ones they open and interact with—can guide your email scheduling.

Measuring Your Email Marketing Success

To see how well your email marketing is doing, use the analytics tools from your email marketing service to keep track of important metrics, which will help you see how different emails perform. Here are the three key metrics to analyze:

1. Open rates: Shows the percentage of subscribers who open an email. This helps you understand the appeal of your subject lines.

2. Click-through rates (CTR): Indicates the percentage of subscribers who click on links in your emails, which measures how engaging your content is.

3. Conversion rates: The percentage of subscribers who take a specific action, like buying a product or signing up for more information, helping you see the direct impact of your emails on sales or other goals.

Keep an eye on how your emails perform over time to improve your email strategy. Analyze which types of emails get the best response and refine your approach to match your audience’s preferences. Experiment with A/B testing with different elements like subject lines or designs to see what works best and improve your emails based on this feedback.

Why You Should Segment Your Email List

Segmentation means dividing your email list into smaller groups based on specific characteristics like their purchase history or how they interact with your emails. This lets you tailor your messages more precisely to different groups, improving engagement and effectiveness. For instance, sending a targeted offer based on previous purchases can resonate more than a general sales email.

Example of Email List Segmentation in Action

Penny has a diverse customer base ranging from casual gardeners to more serious horticulturists.

Penny’s Email Segmentation Strategy:

1. Purchase History: Penny segments her customers based on their purchase history. For example, customers who frequently buy vegetable seeds receive emails about organic gardening tips and new vegetable varieties available at her store.

2. Seasonal Shoppers: She also identifies customers who primarily shop during specific seasons. For instance, those who buy in spring for garden preparation get emails featuring early bird specials on soil, mulch, and spring bulbs.

3. Workshop Attendees: Penny tracks customers who have attended her gardening workshops. This group receives follow-up emails with advanced tips, upcoming workshop schedules, and exclusive discounts on gardening tools.

By segmenting her email list, Penny is able to deliver highly tailored content to each group, enhancing their engagement and increasing the likelihood of purchases.

Grow Your Business with a Strong Email List

Building and nurturing an email list can transform how you engage with your audience. Remember, it's not just about how many people are on your list but how you engage with them. Start simple, focus on offering undeniable value, and use every interaction as an opportunity to learn more about what makes your audience tick. With consistent effort and strategic tweaking, your email list will soon become one of your most significant business assets.

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