The Best Way to Build an Email List from Scratch (Without Experience)

​If you’re trying to build an email list from scratch, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed.

After all, there’s a lot that goes into building a successful list. From creating an opt-in form to promoting your list on social media, there’s a lot to think about.

But don’t worry, I have your back and will help the best I can.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the best way to build an email list from scratch, even if you don’t have any experience. By the end of this, you’ll have everything you need to get started building your very own email list of engaged and targeted subscribers.

First up…

Understanding the Basics of Email List Building

​In order to build a successful email list, you need to understand the basics of email list building.

The first step is understanding what problems you are trying to solve in your industry.

The truth is no one is going to subscribe and follow you if you’re not offering them some kind of value or solving a problem they have.

So first figure out the ONE problem you want to start with. Get clear on that, very clear.

Once you are clear on that problem then you move on to step 2.

You can start thinking about how you want and build solutions that you can give away for free that will attract the right attention from the right people.

This is done in several different ways. Things we’ll discuss in a minute.

But this is how you get started. There are many other factors you need to consider but these two parts…

1. Problem

2. Solution

These two areas are how you begin.

After The Problem and Solution

After you find the solution, you begin to think about how you want to present that to your audience.

What channels do you want to use to grow your list and how do you want to automate it?

This can be done through various means such as online and offline marketing campaigns, referral programs, and lead-generation techniques.

All things we’ll go over in detail later.

After you figure this puzzle out you should begin attracting new subscribers.

Once you have a sizable list of subscribers, you need to start segmenting your list.

This will allow you to send more targeted and relevant messages to your subscribers.

Segmentation can be done based on various criteria such as demographics, interests, and behavior.

Once you have segmented your list, you need to start sending out more targeted email campaigns. Your messaging makes all the difference after they get your freebie.

If it’s not clear, informative, and proves you can help them you won’t get anywhere.

Remember to test different subject lines, content, and call-to-action buttons to see what works best for your audience.

The last step is to measure your results and continuously improve your email list building efforts.

Some metrics you can track are:

Open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, and conversion rates. Understanding your metrics will let you make adjustments where you need to, effectively improving your results over time.

If you follow these basic steps, you’ll be on your way to building an email list that likes you and will help you achieve your business goals.

Now that you have a high-level overview I want to get into specifics so you can start taking action right now.

Let’s talk about…

Creating Lead Engines (Aka Lead Magnets)

​There are many people who think that the only way to get customers to sign up for their product or service is to offer a discount or give away a sample. That can work (the whole try it before you buy it) but solving problems works best in my experience.

Giving away a resource to get someone a quick win in their business is the best possible expression of usefulness.

Here are two reasons why:

1. You prove you can help them

2. You show them how to fend for themselves

Both are powerful. Way more powerful than some silly discount they will forget by lunch time.

If you want to increase customer retention and campaign success solve problems for free, then give them the incentive to act now.

Of course, not all incentives are created equal.

How To Create Lead Magnets That People Want

Ask yourself: What is the dream outcome for your clients or subscribers?

This needs to be a clear 1 sentence statement.

For my audience:

Make as much money as they want using digital real estate and get rid of the fear and nagging feeling of not having enough money or savings when they need it.

Then… ask yourself: What are the first and last things people must do when using my product? Once you understand that list out all the things needed to get from start to finish successfully.

Last: List out all the steps, and then create ebooks, PDFs, videos, and other easy-to-consume content you can give to your audience solving those areas.

The first step for my audience is:

1. Believe digital real estate can help them, sign up for all the software, fill out the questionnaire (DFY), Overcome thinking it will take too long to finish.

Then I get granular.

What I mean is you can break down each section of what people have to do in multiple sub-steps and solve for those, or you can solve one big problem and offer solutions to the rest.

best way to build an email list

This part is up to you. It takes time. But asking the questions above should guide you. Leave a comment below if you have more questions.

What I can do now is give you one more golden nugget.

Value is not based on the amount of content you write or how much you give away.

It’s based on how simple and easy you make success attainable for your client.

Credit to Alex Hermozi for teaching this.

When you’re making your lead magnets consider these 4 things:

1. Dream outcome / desired result

2. Likelihood of achievement (their perception of being successful)

3. How long it will take to see results (shorter the better- small victories if the long-term result is far away)

4. Effort & Sacrifice (try and make this as small as possible – think eliminating work and risk)

Do the above things, have a clear call to action for your audience and you will create lead engines (aka magnets) that drive your email campaigns and business off into the sunset.

As long as you get this next part right as well.

Setting Up an Email System

​You see everything is connected. There is no best way to build an email list.

There is the right way and the wrong way. Then you figure out what works best for you. You can’t do that if you don’t get your hands dirty and make mistakes.

Also, you can’t be cheap and you can’t expect to get golden results without work and using the right tools.

When it comes to email, there are a lot of different options and ways to set up an email system.

It can be tough to decide which method is right for you and your business. Without trial and error.

One of the first things you need to consider when setting up an email system is how you’re going to collect email addresses.

There are tons of providers out there. This isn’t the article to talk about what provider I think is best.

You want to do your research and try out different email providers.

There are tons of review posts on this topic. Read one then find a provider that has an easy UI and gets emails delivered to the inbox, not spam.

This is a great way to quickly grow your email list because the tools you use matter and who you trust to deliver your emails matter.

You’ll find people online talking about all these email marketing strategies, campaign types, and strategies. I laugh because if you’re using a provider that doesn’t get you to the inbox you’re wasting your time.

Focus on the foundational stuff and when people are opening your emails because they are being delivered to the inbox then you can get fancier.

A few popular options you can check out using are MailChimp, Active Campaign, or Systeme.io to name a few.

You can also check out this post about email marketing services (EMS).

These services make it easy to send out mass emails, as well as track things like open rates and click-through rates (more on this later)

Another option is to use a plugin like OptinMonster to collect email addresses and then send out the emails from your own server.

This can be a bit more complicated to set up, but it does have the advantage of not being reliant on a third-party service.

After You Pick A Provider

Once you’ve decided how you’re going to collect email addresses and send out your emails, you need to start creating your content.

This is where a lot of businesses struggle because they’re not sure what kind of content to include in their emails.

Crafting Compelling Content

​You hear this all the time, but what does it mean? To me, it means finding what people are looking for and creating content that helps them get the results they want.

It means answering questions and communicating ideas that will help your readers be better than they were before they found your content.

It also means talking to your ideal audience. If you get this wrong, you can create the best content but the people finding your website or landing page won’t care.

To learn how to write content for your audience check out how to become a content champion.

A good rule of thumb is to focus on being useful and solving problems for your subscribers.

This could be in the form of tips, tricks, tutorials, or even just helpful information that they can use in their everyday lives.

If you’re not sure what kind of content to include in your emails, a great way to get ideas is to sign up for other people’s email newsletters.

This will give you a good idea of what kinds of things people are interested in and what sort of content they’re used to receiving.

But don’t copy, just research how they are helping people.

If you just copy some emails from someone else, you are not making email content personal to your audience and it’s going to flop.

Once you’ve created your emails, it’s time to start sending them out.

These are just a few of the different ways you can set up an email system for your business.

The most important thing is to find a method that works well for you and your business.

Utilizing Social Media Platforms

​Another great way to build your email list and find potential customers is to use social media channels.

You can create content that promotes a sign-up form for your email list or you can even offer exclusive discounts, content, or other perks for people who join your list.

Your social media accounts are also a great place to share links to blog posts and other content related to your industry. This can be a great way to direct new people to your website where they can find more information and even sign up for your email list.

It’s also important to share content that is targeted towards your target audience.

This will help ensure that you are reaching the right people and making sure that they see the content that will be most relevant to them.

Leveraging Your Website

​You would think most websites would be optimized to grow your email list but nope. Even with all the templates and website builders out there people still don’t optimize for email properly.

All I want to say is you should make sure that your website is set up to help people find and sign up for your email list.

If people visit your site and you don’t hit them with a sign-up form, you should be using some other means of collecting emails or you’re missing out on business. 

This could be as simple as adding an opt-in form to the sidebar of your website or even creating a dedicated page for email signups.

You can also add a pop-up that shows when someone visits your website or offers exclusive content in exchange for joining. 

Get crafty with it. 

Finding Prospects Through Paid Advertising

​I love love love paid traffic sources for affiliate marketing so why wouldn’t I love paid advertising for email marketing? 

That’s because it’s not a long-term solution. You can also get burned and end up paying too much if you don’t know what you’re doing.

This is more advanced.

Here’s the thing with paid advertising. Getting email subscribers isn’t a guarantee unless you send them to the right place. 

If you’re paying for clicks to your website but not getting subscribers then your content isn’t awesome. Sooo… you want to create an offer with a specific landing page and promote that. 

This is a much better approach because you can find out quickly if your offer and message for your lead engine are good or not. 

The paid way is the fastest way to build an email list, but you need to lock in on the valuable content part. That means your messaging and what you’re giving away to solve a problem you will waste tons of money. 

Building Relationships with Your Subscribers

Whether you are running an email marketing campaign or managing a social media community, nurturing these relationships can lead to increased trust, brand loyalty, and ultimately, more conversions.

One of the key ways to build relationships with subscribers is through personalized communication.

Meaning just be yourself lol. Don’t try to impress them, help them, be useful. If someone doesn’t like your content and unsubscribes or unfollows they did you a favor.

Scram!! Who needs ya!!

No, but seriously it’s not the end of the world, you shouldn’t try to be everything to everyone in the internet world anyway. You want your tribe and your tribe only.

A great way to talk with the proper tone and messaging is by segmenting your subscriber list based on their interests, demographics, or behavior, you can tailor your messages to their specific needs and preferences.

This is a power tool email marketing software offers. 

This shows your subscribers that you understand and care about them, which can foster a sense of loyalty and connection.

Engagement is another essential factor in building relationships.

Social media is about being social, the better you are at this…encouraging your subscribers to interact with your content… the easier it is for them to say “Yeah I like that person, here’s my email”.

The secret to more engagement is just to ask more questions, don’t leave the emails or social posts one-sided.

create a sense of community and make them feel like they are part of something bigger.

Responding to their comments and messages in a timely and genuine manner shows that you value their input and are willing to engage with them on a personal level.

Consistency is also key when it comes to building relationships with subscribers.

Regularly showing up and providing valuable and relevant content keeps your brand top of mind and reinforces the trust you have built with your subscribers. 

Keeping Track of Your List Progress

​ It’s important to track the progress of your email list. This includes tracking metrics such as open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, conversion rates, and other key performance indicators.

How the heck are you supposed to improve if you don’t know what is happening? Just because your list is growing doesn’t mean you’re doing great.

You know how many people have thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people on their email list and make no money? More than you could imagine. That means engagement rates are not being studied. 

So analyzing these metrics will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your email and social media marketing efforts and can help you identify areas where improvement is needed.

Your social media profile growing organically is good, but you have to post regularly for people to take action. unless you plan on making money with ads. 

Sending people to your dedicated landing page from social is simple especially when you offer an incentive for people.  

Continuing to Grow Your List Over Time

​ Growing your email list should be a continuous effort, and there are several ways to do it.

You can use opt-in forms on your website, create exclusive content for subscribers, create special offers or discounts for email signups, add a signup form to your blog post, link to your email list from your social media accounts or business card, add email signatures with an invitation to subscribe and much more. 

There are marketing tools dedicated solely to the growth of your list and social channels. 

Exclusive offers and giveaways help too.

But when you have good interactive elements and you solve problems for people with eye-catching headlines and content that can quickly demonstrate your experience and expertise, your list grows because people want to be part of that. 

Gated content for some reason also does well. People love to feel exclusive and if you prove your free content useful they definitely will pay, subscribe, and tell others about it too. 

What’s The Best Way To Build an Email List?

It’s the way that puts people first and it’s the way that works best for your schedule, voice, and messaging. 

The technology matters, so don’t try to skimp on that. Get a provider that gets you into the inbox. Focus on the basics and revisit this guide. 

Now I want you to find out the best problem to solve in your industry and then use the insights in this post to make a valuable lead engine. 

What do you think is the hardest part about building an email list? Is there something I’m missing in this guide?

Let me know in the comments. 

Want to learn how to start building your list for free, or skyrocket targeted leads for your business overnight?

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