How To Build an Email Marketing List

It’s never been a better time to build your first email marketing list, which is vital for building a relationship with your current and future customers. There are 3.9 billion daily email users today — a number that is expected to climb to 4.3 billion by 2023. People consume email differently than social media, and email converts them to customers better than other media. The more contacts you have on your email list, the more potential customers for your business.

The importance of email marketing is higher than ever.  73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email. From online banking to social media, everyone with internet access will have two or more active email addresses at some point. 

In this article, I will share best practices  to build and cleanse your email marketing lists and monetize them to increase ROI. 

How to create an email marketing list from scratch

Building an email from scratch may seem like an intimidating task. You need to provide visitors different ways to subscribe to your email list. Here are some of the best strategies companies use to encourage contacts to subscribe through their websites or social media accounts:  

CTA (call to action) on blog posts:

A personalized call to action (CTA) on your blog posts is very useful, especially if you offer quality content in exchange. You can invite people to subscribe and offer a tool kit, ebook, or even a link to an exclusive article.

Newsletter pop-ups:

Timed pop-up ads that appear when scrolling or exiting the page are another way to prompt your audience to sign up for an email list. You can set them up so they only appear to visitors that aren’t already subscribed to your newsletter. Offering quality, meaningful content here is incredibly important.

Social media promotion:

Take advantage of your base followers on your social networks. Give them the option to follow you on social media and subscribe to your newsletter as well. You could also put a link on your email signature to promote your newsletter if they want to find out more about your company.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads allow you to reach a wider audience, and similar to the previously mentioned strategies; you need to provide something of value in exchange. Again, the lead magnet should be something your subscriber needs or wants, and they must be willing to exchange it for their email address.

Reaching out to customers:

It costs five times more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones. You need to cultivate loyalty with your current customers so they will become long-term customers.

Types of email marketing lists you can create

Let’s start by going through the various lists you can create:

  • Past customers
  • Current customers
  • Prospects

Or my favorite, the dream list. We’ll talk about this a little later.

When building your perfect list, you should aim for a highly engaged list. It should be made up of contacts that have shown interest in your product or service. You’re probably wondering how you’ll know that they’re interested. Well, it’s simple: if they already gave you their details, they are probably expecting something such as a discount code or a free guide/ebook. 

Or better yet, a 1:1 call if you’re a service; maybe even a free mini audit. It’s good to dedicate some thought to what your potential customers will benefit from and appreciate. It has to be something that they can’t obtain by merely browsing through your website.

I’ve found that building a landing page for each product works best when trying to make an engaged list.

Landing pages are great for ads, such as Facebook or Google Ads. They’re extremely niche due to the nature of the page, allowing you lower-cost ads. This generates high-quality leads and enables you to build email automations based on a specific product or service.

Here is some useful information on these landing pages or “squeeze pages”: 

  • They are specific pages that have no navbar, no distractions, created with a purpose.
  • There is an opt-in form that is customized to the specific service or product, creating a high chance of converting.
  • Each page should have its own form, allowing it to have a personalized tag based on the page they opted in from.

Remember that each segment of your list needs different emails, as they ultimately have different journeys with you and are currently at different lead stages.

How to keep your email list updated

Email lists are like rooms in a house. Every so often, they’ll need cleaning, and things will need to be replaced as they pass their shelf life.

The same concept goes for contacts. To keep your list relevant, you’ll need to understand a variety of different rejections for emails:

  • Hard bounce
  • Soft bounce
  • Invalid
  • Catch-all

I’ll explain them using scenarios for you to understand the importance of keeping your contact lists clean.

Hard bounce - A hard bounce is a permanent rejection notice, meaning this email will never work. This is normally due to the email address being invalid, which is why it’s a good idea to clean your contact list before sending any emails.

Soft bounce - Slightly different from a hard bounce, a soft bounce means the recipient’s server received the email, but then sent it back. We often find this is related to the recipient’s email box being full, their server was down, or the message was too large for their quota. This could also be due to their security settings.

Invalid - An invalid email can mean various things, but one specific reason would be it doesn’t fit the standard email format, meaning it doesn’t have an “@” sign or a “.” in it. Every email needs an @ sign, and a full stop (.) . 

Catch-all - Catch-all emails are emails that the server will accept no matter what format, even to email addresses that aren’t correct. While we can’t confirm that because they were sent, they will actually reach someone's inbox, most of these are counted as a “bounce.”

I use a tool called ZeroBounce to check my lists before sending any emails. Every three months we check our entire database and remove any poor or bad quality email addresses. To send our email marketing campaigns we use a CRM, ActiveCampaign. We have our CRM configuration setup so if a soft bounce occurs more than 3 times, they’ll be put into a “remove list” which automatically gets removed daily.  This is extremely helpful as it doesn’t allow us to lower our sending score.

Ultimately, it’s important to treat your database like that room in your home. Learn different aspects of it, work on configurations that will improve it, and better the system. 

Email is still one of the best ways to promote all your digital marketing strategies, giving you a direct line of communication with your target audience. Don’t forget that people have provided their email address voluntarily, so they have an interest in your product, service, or blog content. With nearly four billion email users worldwide, email marketing is as current as ever. Take advantage of all the automation tools and discover the true potential of building your email marketing list.

This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the independent freelancer listed as the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
Article Author
Author
Ross J.
Expert Vetted
Marketing Expert - HubSpot, ActiveCampaign and Memberium Certified
Kenilworth, United Kingdom
Digital Marketing
Social Networking
Website Administration

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