How To Build an Email List From Scratch



In a fast-paced world of Google and social media wonders, sometimes, it feels almost impossible for business owners to reach their ideal customers. Cutting past those clutters is more challenging than it looks. But, it doesn’t mean that’s the end.

Despite the nuisance content overload that’s distracting your customers, there is still a direct access for you to get to your customers. And this creates even better value for them.

What could that be?
Getting your target customers’ email address.

Email is still a huge and relevant medium for connecting with your customers and reach them (instead of hoping they’ll come to find you). Why not take the opportunity to educate them on your services, offer an exclusive coupon, or invite them to join your community?

Remember, customers who have a great relationship with you will also advocate for you. Thumbs up for your brand!

How To Build an Email List From Scratch

Consumers are getting smarter by the minute. Getting their private information isn’t easy to come by. Therefore, here are 6 steps on how you can build your list of potential leads from zero:

Step 1: Set Up Your Email Systems

Before we get into building that list, you’ll need an efficient system to keep and manage it. These are the values of a powerful email system:

  • An email management system (EMS), like EBuzzzz or MailChimp. There are other EMS out there with different features. Choose the ones that fit your business (depending on how your number of subscribers,) and the types of email campaign you will be running.
  • Opt-in forms/landing pages on your website. Don’t miss the chance to collect potential leads who are interested in your products or services. Some EMS systems will help you create embedded forms for your site. Or you can use instant landing page design to help you create, distribute, and manage lead generation forms.

Ensure your list, customers profile and info are syncs correctly. It never hurts to practice sending a test mail to yourself! This ensures you have everything in the right place and things are working properly before you send that email out to your customers!

Step 2: Give People a Reason Why


As mentioned, people are very personal about their data. They are not inclined to give out their info to you unless you have the right reason for them to do so.

Building an email list should not always be about quantity, but also quality. Imagine this, would you want 100 emails from consumers who just give out their emails to you simply? Or, you prefer 50 interest consumers who are likely to convert?

This is why building the list also encourage you to develop the right reason why they should give you their email. Stand in their shoes and ask yourself these vital questions:

  • If I provide them with my email, what’s in for me?
  • Do I want their email to be in my inbox?
  • What kind of content will I receive?

Understanding these answers will bring you to considering the customers’ needs, problems, intention and desires.

Step 3: Provide Value To Meet Your Customers’ Needs.

After answering the questions your customers’ might have in Step 2, you will need to know what kind of incentive you should provide. This little action can drive them to give you their precious information!

Establishing this relationship is a two-way street.

This is when you provide value in exchange for value. Offer your potential customers something, in return of their contact information.

A good lead magnet should be something people really want such as these:

  • Offering special coupons or discount codes for your products.
  • A free sample or a trial period to try your product before buying.
  • Exclusive access to content that no one else receives
  • Always remember to offer these value as part of your opt-in form. And with great call-to-action, you can then drive people to subscribe to you and get the offer!

Step 4: Invite People You Already Know

It’s time to start adding people to your built-from-scratch email list. Instead of focusing on recruiting new subscribers, why not start with people who are within your circle? These are the people who you can activate easily:

  • Existing Customers
  • Existing network of partners, influencers or affiliate members.
  • Friends and family
  • Avid supporters of your brand


Remember the rules of opt-in: Do not add people to your list without asking for their permission! You do not want to add them and have them unsubscribe from you — That leaves them with a bad impression of your brand.

If your unsubscribe rate increases, not only will it affect the health of your email list, but also makes it difficult for you to reach future customers. Because your email could end up in the spam folder, rather than their inbox!

So here’s how to do it the right way:

  1. Reach out to these people personally be it by email / social media/ messaging apps —whichever works best for that relationship.
  2. Share with them that you are working to build an email list for your brand, and you’d like to invite them to join.
  3. Let them know what are the perks! Will they get a special discount? Free trial? Exclusive access to events? Share what’s in for them if they join you.
  4. Send them a link to your sign-up form for opt-in, or add them to your list once you’ve gotten their green light.

Step 5: P-R-O-M-O-T-E !

You have done so much:- From choosing the perfect email system to creating forms and landing page, and of course, connecting with the people and invite them in.

Finally, you should shout out about your list to the world! Start gaining more customers and here are some tips on how to do that:

  • Insert the subscribe form in your website footer/contact/ about page. Make sure your audience sees them easily.
  • Add a link to the sign-up form in your email signature
  • Post the link on social media, and make sure your content engage with the audience (why you’d like them to join you, and what will they get in return!)


There are endless ways you can promote and share your email list. If you own a brick-and-mortar, then you could even invite your customer to join after they have purchased or even walked-in. Just do what works for your business!

Step 6: Engage your subscribers consistently with enriching content

After you have gained your subscribers from scratch, you will need to maintain them and keep the new ones coming. Through this step, you have the potential to convert them into paying customers.

Your content needs to be engaging & provide value.

Always remember that your subscribers can range from various backgrounds and work schedules. Segment them properly and custom the content to ask yourself how you can add value to that person.

Keep these practices in mind and you will gain more quality subscribers and eventually convert them into happy and loyal customers. And remember, if you are squeezing time to set things up, bring your customers over to a landing page with opt-in form easily. Create yours here!

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