Build an Email List to Get More Customers

Build An Email List To Get More CustomersGetting more customers is a constant battle for any business.

Hopefully they just walk through the door, but often you have to go out and find them yourself

You could knock on their doors. (Too much work, right?)

Or perhaps call people and “offer” them your services. (They usually hang up on you!)

Maybe you can put up a huge billboard in the centre of your town saying how awesome you are? (That’s expensive!)

What about…

The Power of the Email List

You might have heard about using an email list for marketing purposes?

Most internet marketers talk about it. And most will tell you it’s the number one thing you should have:

The money is in the list, they say

And there is a reason for that. People read their email. A lot.

How many times a day do you check yours? Quite a few times I would guess.

And unlike phone or regular mail, you usually read what comes into your inbox.

But if you don’t know who is calling you won’t answer your phone, right?

Pamphlets or brochures get thrown in the trash before you even read them!

So if you can get someone to sign up to your email list…you have them in your hands. (insert evil laugh here)

Having someone’s email address really gives you a lot of power!

Here are a few reasons why an email list is great for contacting your potential customers:

  • your messages lands in the number one place people look each day
  • you can develop a relationship with someone you don’t know personally
  • you can show them your knowledge and expertise and build trust
  • you can market to them over time and turn them into a customer

You are all excited about the email lists now. I can sense it.

But how you go about setting one up?

Setting Up Your Email List

There are two parts to getting an email list going, and we are going to tackle them one by one.

First off, you will need an email marketing service provider.

If you really want to have an email list where you can market to people, you will need to be able to:

  • send out emails in bulk (pasting lots of addresses in your gmail using bcc does not cut it)
  • set up a series of emails that go out automatically (also called an auto responder)
  • track who is opening and who is clicking on links in the email (helps you track what works and what does not)
  • track your list growth over time
  • separate your list into sections, based on how, why, where the person subscribed

Why do you need all these fancy features?

Because your email list cannot be seriously maintained by hand. And you want to be able to run it with some kind of automation.

It will help free up your time too!

Not only that, but because it is one of the most powerful tools you have in online marketing, you will want to use it to it’s fullest.

And that does not mean send and pray. You need serious control of your list.

Email Marketing Service Providers

Some of the common email marketing service companies people use include:

and many many more.

If you want to start off slowly and see how it goes, you can try MailChimp. It is pretty easy to use to get started, and does not cost anything.

But, if you want an auto responder (which I recommended once you get serious) then it will always cost a little something.

Then Aweber also becomes another good option for beginners.

Getting People to Sign Up

Getting an email marketing service is the first step in using an email list to market to your potential customers.

The next trick is getting them to sign up to it.

Let’s break out our magic wands!

Placing Optin Forms on your Website

To get people to sign up to your email list you need to place a form, or forms, on your website.

Here are some of the most popular places people add these forms:

  • in the sidebar (that area on the left or right of your website)
  • sometimes at the top of the home page below the navigation bar
  • at the end of your blog posts (once they are done, if they are happy they will sign up)
  • strategic locations in your posts
  • maybe even on your about page (a place where people get to know you).

In case you have never noticed these forms on websites, they are usually called “optin forms” and are basically a name and email field with a little bit of text explaining why people should sign up.

Here is mine:

signup form

People just fill them in wherever they are on your site, press “sign me up” and get on your list.

These simple forms work, but only to a certain degree.

These days, with people becoming more and more careful about giving their email address away, you might have to entice them with a carrot!

What kind of carrot?

The Giveaway (aka Lead Magnet)

To get people to sign up,  you often have to give them something in return. It is almost a marketing standard today.

People giveaway any of the following to get people on their email list:

  • Ebook
  • Video Course
  • Email Course
  • Free Consult

It all depends on how much time you want to invest in the giveaway, and what you think your audience is after.

This is something you will have to decide on your own.

But from experience, sometimes just a small ebook is enough. Other times it takes a lot more.

It’s worth trying the simplest idea first, then when you don’t get anyone to sign up, try something a little more serious.

Putting It All Together

I hope you now see the how the pieces of the email list puzzle fit together, but just in case here is a quick recap:

  • signup to one of the email marketing services mentioned earlier
  • add optin forms in strategic places around your website
  • come up with a giveaway to entice people to sign up
  • watch your email list grow

Once you have a list of people the next step is to start communicating and potentially selling things to them.

This is a far more in-depth topic and everyone has different ideas on how this should be done.

One tip to keep in mind though: do not sell too much and too often, or you will notice people leaving your list in droves!

If you need any help setting up your email list or optin forms feel free to get in touch.



About the Author Ashley Faulkes

I am an Aussie WordPress Web Designer living in Switzerland. My goal is to make your WordPress website awesome, and get you more customers via SEO and amazing content. I am also a huge fan of the outdoors, so I am often in the mountains doing crazy stuff. I discovered blogging and online marketing while recovering from a shattered leg I got while skiing, and I have not stopped learning since! Join me in reaching for the top!

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19 responses to “Build an Email List to Get More Customers”

  1. I can tell you are practising what you preach by looking at your opt-in forms. They look great. I have been experimenting with email marketing and building an email list for my startup . My tool of choice is MailChimp. The thing I have learnt from the experiments is that segmenting lists based on subscribers’ activities is important. That way I can send follow up emails based on who opened the last email, who clicked where, etc. This should be obvious because it makes no sense to keep sending the same emails to people who are reacting in totally different ways and are at different stages of your marketing funnel.

    As always, getting started is the problem, especially finding ideas for the lead magnets.

    • Hey Churchill

      List building is not easy. but the key is to start.
      Looks like you have that happening, so awesome!

      Giveaways are a little work, but once you really have a think about what a potential reader or customer would want, it comes.
      You don’t have to write a novel :>

  2. Lisa says:

    Hi Ashley, I haven’t been able to grow mine in the past few weeks, I think my form needs an overhaul :) I like how you have yours after the post too. You have given me some ideas of a direction I should go in with it. I do give away my latest eBook if visitors sign up for email.
    Thank you so much for some ideas!

    • Hey Lisa
      Sounds like you have the giveaway sorted!
      But your optin could be a little more prominent from what I can see.
      I sent you some css suggestions to change it a little. Hope you like them

  3. Andrew says:

    Hey Ashley,

    Great post. Email lists are so important and I’m sure alot of people have done this exact same thing, but I didn’t invest in trying to build an email list from the very beginning. It was months later that I decided to start building a list…but the list is truly important.

    Also, you need to have a great lead magnet … like you said, even a small ebook can work but sometimes it may take more. I’m constantly testing out different ones at the moment to find the right lead magnet.

    But the one thing people need to do more of, I think, is email their list. I email my list twice a week. Although I don’t sell anything to them at the moment, I’m steadily building relationships with them and hopefully, down the line, they’ll be more responsive to purchasing a product I have to offer.

    Great post, Ashley. Hope you have a great week.

    – Andrew

    • Hey Andrew

      Thanks for dropping by
      Email lists are indeed a cornerstone of modern marketing, but many of us do not know this at the beginning!
      In the end, it does not matter because as you grow, so too does your email list and the rate at which people sign up.

      But getting the right lead magnet is a trial and error thing for sure. I still find it hard sometimes.

      You should also vary your email send rate, maybe try once a week and see if you get better open rates?

      have a great week

  4. I didn’t see any mention of using a plugin as a reminder to getting people to opt in. I use one, but have it set to be shown every x number of days… and it helps. :)

    • Hi Lorraine
      I am guessing you mean the popup, and I think I did mention that it is a debatable option (some love it, some hate it)
      But I did not cover everything in this post, so stay tuned

  5. Nice article Ashley – thanks for the reminder. This is an area that I have to work on. I know that data, share it with clients all of time, yet spend too little time building (and then nurturing – I find this to be the BIG challenge) my own.

    • Thanks Brent
      It sure ain’t easy, but it is worth it.
      I am constantly trying new ideas for my list. New sub lists, new giveaways. New auto responder series.
      Let me know if you need some ideas :>

  6. Tim Bonner says:

    Hey Ashley

    I’ve been growing my email list slowly but surely.

    I’ve tried an opt in form with and without an image of my ebook. I’m still trying to decide which works the best, although I definitely need to overhaul my ebook’s cover!

    To be honest, the opt in form that works the best is my pop up. I have it set to show when someone looks like they’re about to leave the page and only every 7 days. It also doesn’t show again if someone signs up or at least if they don’t clear their cookies!

    It may also be time to scrap my current ebook and come up with something different. Food for thought!

    • Hey Tim
      No surprises the popup works well. Mine used to as well.
      But the more interesting question there, that is harder to answer, is are these people really reading your emails or were they just “pressured” to sign up.
      I am guessing it is at least a portion that don’t care. But that is probably always the case with a giveaway too.

      always experiment I say

      • Tim Bonner says:

        I know what you mean Ashley about the “pressured” thing.

        I decided I’d give it a go anyway. I tend to get a 50% open rate so I need to tweak things a bit more possibly.

        I don’t really make use of my autoresponder which I should possibly do more of. I think one good way to use it would be to highlight post from my archive. I don’t want to overdo the emails either though.

        I read Wade Harman’s guest post on Basic Blog Tips and he suggested sending a more personal email with no links in it once a week to share what you’ve been up to. I’m going to experiment with that and see what happens. I already send one email a week with a call to action to read and comment on my blog post.

        I suspect 2 to 3 emails per week is the maximum anyone would stand though!

  7. Adrienne says:

    Hey Ashley,

    All great tips of course and all proven to work.

    So I’m still stuck on trying to find a suitable opt-in box to put after my blog posts. Now I know you create a lot of your own because you’re just that good and I’m not a designer but boy would I love to learn how to do that.

    I created the one in my sidebar and it’s really converting well. Of course my header opt-in is the #1 converting one on my blog but I just haven’t put one after my posts although I do have a check box after my comment box. I get conversions there so it would be #1 is my header, #2 is my sidebar and #3 is below my comments. My other pages convert after that but these do the best.

    We all need to be growing that email list and I hope they’ll take your advice on getting this done starting today. We need our list .

    Great job and hope you’re enjoying your week.


    • Hey Adrienne
      The email list is one of the key ways to keep in touch with prospects, or even readers.
      Many people have no idea about this, hence the post.
      And of course coaxing them to sign up is on the agenda, and seems you have yours sorted there with the many optin forms!
      And I am sure your readers love you too :>
      thanks for the comment

  8. Hi Ashley,

    You have all the list building basics covered. Excellent post. I think a nice clean opt in form – like yours is – along with a valuable giveaway makes the list building bit go. Capture information seamlessly and provide monster value for the price of an email and name.

    The secret is to over deliver, both through your free giveaway and your list emails. People want to be impressed, or wowed, and will be loyal if you persistently share your best work with them. No holding back. That persistent giving will flow back to you freely when you sell eBooks, your services or any other product.

    Why? Your subscribers will trust you. When they trust you, they’re on board, and will purchase your product or service because they knew you weren’t trying to make a quick buck off of them….you were trying to help them.

    Email is super convenient, easy to use for newbies and veterans alike and like you said; who doesn’t check their email at least once a day? Most people are in and out 3, 4 or 20 times daily. It’s addictive to most folks so capitalize on that channel so you can share serious value with your subscribers through this medium.

    Thanks Ashley, fab post.

    I’ll be tweeting in a bit.

    Have a great week :)


    • Hey Ryan
      Thanks for the comment as always.
      Email is really one of the best ways to keep in touch with people these days.
      Of course there is also social media, but it is not your turf, so gotta be careful with that.
      Own the list!
      And build it.
      And of course there is a big element of trust there, so even when you have them on the list you have to keep them by being helpful, and perhaps sometimes selling. But not too often. Those lists I leave in a heartbeat!
      have a great week

  9. Hey Ashley,

    I didn’t figure out the importance of an email list until a couple of years into doing online marketing. When that light bulb came on, I was so excited.

    At first there’s some work involved when it comes to setting up your emails. You definitely want to set up your messages and figure out a routine of when to broadcast your own personal messages. You also want to set up different lists. You may have a list specifically for bloggers and you may have other lists specifically for products you promote.

    Once it’s all said and done, your email autoresponder will save you a lot of time as you mentioned. You set up an optin box so you can entice your audience with that will definitely benefit from, then you will start to see some sign ups!

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you’re having a great week!

    • Hey Sherman

      thanks for dropping by.

      List building and segregating correctly is for sure a powerful tool. It does take a little time to learn how to do it, but in the end you can reap the rewards as you say.

      I am sure your list is building slowly but surely as well