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How to Build Your Email List

Email is one of the best marketing channels out there. It's free to send an email to someone, pretty much everyone has an email address, and most people tend to check their email regularly, even multiple times throughout the day. Another great positive is that no one can control how many times your audience will see your content with email, unlike platforms like Google, Facebook, and other platforms.

The biggest question that you probably have when it comes to starting an email campaign or newsletter is how to build your email list. People get enough spam as it is, and with new laws, like GDPR, it's important that you not only build a list that people will want to read, but you must also get their permission to send information to them before you start sliding into their inbox.

In this article, we are going to cover some of the best ways to start building your email list out.

First, You Must Get Permission

Some people think that they can just buy an email list online, load emails up into an email software like Mailchimp, and start blasting out emails. This is possible to do, however, you face the following consequences:

● You could get your email account blacklisted by spam servers, causing all your emails to go straight to spam, even if the recipient has opted-in to receiving your emails.

● Your email marketing service could shut down your account. Companies like Mailchimp or Constant Contact will shut you down quickly if they catch you emailing people who have not opted-in to receiving your emails.

● You could also be facing civil penalties under the CAN-SPAM Act. Someone who receives your unsolicited email could sue you for up to $16,000 per email you send them. That's right, if you send someone 10 emails that violate this law, you could face up to $160,000 in penalties.

This sounds gloomy, however, the strategies we recommend are all "white hat" strategies that are proper ways of building your email list.

Email List Building Strategies

Reach Out to Past Customers

Chances are that you have a wealth of email addresses in your current inbox or contact list. Go through and make a list of all the contacts you've made or spoken to, then reach out to them and ask them if it's ok to add them to your email list. Respect them if they say no.

Sign-Up Forms

Whether you display one in-store, promote an online form to your social media audience, or put one out at tradeshows, sign-up sheets are a great way to allow people to give you permission to email them.


People love free stuff. It could be a downloadable guide, one of your products or services, or a popular product such as a Yeti cooler. In order for someone to enter the giveaway, they must give you their email address and opt-in to receive emails from you.

Website Opt-in

People that come to your website are looking for information. Give them an opportunity to learn more from you by putting an email opt-in form in the footer of your website so visitors can easily sign-up.


Especially if you have an opt-in on your website, blogging is a great way to attract visitors who are looking for what you have to offer. Focus on providing value and creating information that people are wanting. Once they read your content and trust you, they might want to hear more from you.

Leverage Other Businesses' Lists

Are there other businesses that serve your ideal customer? Reach out to them and see if you can create a synergistic relationship with them. You can talk about each other in your newsletters which will get you in front of their audiences and it will do the same for them. You can also pay for people who have sizable email lists to mention you if they have an engaged list that matches your perfect customer.

Get Some Exposure

Whether you are active on social media groups, on forums, or you're being interviewed on podcasts and YouTube channels, presenting yourself as a subject matter expert will get you in front of your ideal audience quickly. Make sure that you clearly ask people to join your email list, and give them a way to easily opt-in (like having an opt-in on your website).

Start Building Your List, But Be Careful

Email is one of the least expensive, yet most effective ways to stay top of mind with past and potential customers, and to promote your products. There are plenty of ways to build your list, however, we will end this with a word of caution. It's extremely important that you get someone's permission to send them emails on a regular basis. If you don't, it could cost you dearly, including preventing emails from going through to people with who you actually have a business relationship with.

Always get permission and you should be pretty safe. It's also a good idea to read up on GDPR and CAN-SPAM laws to make sure your emails don't create a liability for your business.

Have any questions on how to best collect emails or email regulations? Send us a message!

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