Email marketing is here to stay. Not only is it a great channel for promoting new products and building your brand, it’s also still among the best for ROI.

Email list building remains one of the most challenging aspects of email marketing, so it’s important to explore new opportunities to build your database. However, it’s not a question of buying email lists, but of growing them organically.Email List Building

While purchasing data for email marketing purposes does offer some quick wins, it can be a dangerous game to play. You can never be sure of the data’s quality, and more importantly, these people don’t know you!

Sending email communications to people who don’t know you can damage your brand’s reputation, and it can even have a negative impact on campaign KPIs. If you rely on sending unsolicited emails, expect low open rates and large numbers of opt-outs.

In addition to this, popular email marketing providers such as Mailchimp, which has 48.4% market share in the UK, will not allow you send purchased lists – even if the data is from a reputable source.

So what can you do to organically grow your email list? Here are three top tips for email list building.

1. Increase the Visibility of Opt-In Opportunities

Do you you offer an e-newsletter or any other form of newsworthy communications over email? Then make sure it’s clear to your customers.

As an ideal starting point for email list building, you can review how current opt-in opportunities are presented on your website. You may experience more opt-in requests by positioning sign-ups in more prominent locations on pages, or at least above the fold. You could also look at displaying opt-in prompts in different colours to prevent them from blending in with the rest of the content on your site:

Email list building on websites
From clockwise: email opt-ins on, and

There are other design techniques that you could explore, including pop-up windows and floating boxes to create instant awareness of your email communications:

email list building with pop-up windows

Email marketing isn’t all about newsletters and customer retention, so make sure to that you allow new customers to submit an email address if they’re requesting information about your services, or a quote.

You can also gather email addresses through your social media channels. Facebook will allow you to install a plug-in to add an opt-in form to your company page. If you have a LinkedIn and Google+ page, you can also add links to an opt-in page on your website.

Email List Building with Facebook

And don’t forget your more traditional marketing activity, such as gathering email address at events and trade shows. You can even ask your employees to add a link to your website’s opt-in form to their email signatures.

2. What’s in It for Me?

Do you offer an incentive for customers to provide you with their personal information? If you’re offering free updates or valuable and interesting content, then make sure you clearly communicate this on your opt-in forms.

By offering an incentive in exchange for an email address, you more likely to build a high quality list, as anyone who signs up will be genuinely interested in what you offer as a business. The sort of incentives that encourage people to sign up include infographics, case studies, videos, and exclusive whitepapers.

Email List Building with Content
Hootsuite provide insightful reports & downloads in exchange for email addresses

3. Competitions & Customer Surveys

Promoting a competition on your website, as well as on your more traditional marketing materials, can really help to drive email opt-ins.

To make your competitions more effective at gathering email addresses, offer an interesting prize that possesses genuine value. To minimise the chances of people unsubscribing once they’ve entered your competition, you need to then offer consistently valuable content, offers, and insights.

Another technique is to offer a means for customers to submit feedback on your site. Not only is this great for email list building, it will also help you learn more about your customers and your services. Be sure to promote the survey throughout the customer journey to help generate awareness, and ultimately gather more email addresses.

In the example below, Thorntons combine the two techniques – in exchange for feedback and an email address, customers are in with a chance of winning £1,000:

Email list building with surveys

So there you have it! Instead of choosing the path of purchasing potentially unreliable data for email marketing, you can refine current opportunities and explore new ones to build a quality and reliable email list. While it may take a while to build your email list organically, you’re more likely to build a database of people that are more likely to convert.

If you’re looking improve the performance of your email marketing campaigns and maximise ROI, call Hallam today on 0115 948 0123 to discuss your requirements. For any further questions on email list building, feel free to comment below.

If you need help with your don't hesitate to contact us.

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