For creators, growing an audience takes time, but the wait is worth it. Building a subscriber base of email addresses can set your brand or business up for marketing success. Email lists are permission-based, which means people will have either opted in themselves or explicitly consented to have their email addresses added. That means your email lists represent your most engaged audience: the people who have chosen to subscribe to your emails because they care about what your business is doing.
Many email marketing platforms ease entrepreneurs into list building and don't charge extra up to a certain number of subscribers, or even offer unlimited subscribers, so you can focus on strategy and growth. Learn the best strategies for collecting emails on your website.
Ways to collect email addresses on your website
Businesses can collect email addresses using multiple methods. For example, you can ask for email addresses at any in-person events you attend, and later upload a CSV or spreadsheet of sign-ups.
If you're just starting to build an email list or still growing your audience, you can leverage your website traffic to gather addresses through a few different sign-up options:
A promotional pop-up is an element that appears on your website at a certain time and encourages visitors to take a particular action, including signing up for an email list or newsletter. These pop-ups can greet website visitors immediately, or appear when someone spends a specific amount of time on a page (for example, 30 seconds) or reaches a certain section on a site.
Businesses can customize these promotional pop-ups to fit their brand and goals. Change the look of pop-ups so they match your website style and color scheme, and write a call to action aligned with your email marketing goals. Many pop-ups offer customers a bonus or incentive—for example, a discount off a future purchase or early access to a sale—in exchange for sharing an email address.
A newsletter block
When designing your website, you can include a newsletter block, or a place that lets visitors sign up for your mailing list simply by sharing their email. This is a more subtle way of gathering addresses, since visitors need to be proactive about submitting their information.
A post-transaction opt-in
If you sell goods or products, you can give customers the ability to opt into marketing communications when they check out. This is another low-risk, easy way to gain new subscribers.
A valuable download
Some businesses give visitors something tangible and valuable in return for an email address. For example, they might share their thought leadership in a white paper, or other exclusive content like a worksheet or intro course, if people provide an email address.
No matter how you approach email collection, connect a storage option so that new email sign-ups will automatically get directed somewhere you can access later.
Non-website ways to gather email addresses
Gathering email addresses via your website is a simple way to increase your subscriber base, but you have other options.
Social media promotion
Leveraging social media channels to promote email marketing is an easy win. For example, you can use an app that allows you to include multiple links, such as your mailing list sign-up page, in your social media account bio.
Re-sharing past content
Every email campaign you send has a permanent URL known as a permalink, meaning you can link to these messages as if they’re a stand-alone piece of shareable content. If you're particularly fond of an email you've sent, post it on social media or other online places to drum up interest in your email marketing efforts.
If you sell in-person or attend other in-person, business-related events, put out a piece of paper advertising your email list or set up a device with your website’s sign-up page to collect emails. Be sure to gather first and last names along with emails, so you have a more robust profile.
Email list best practices
In a perfect world, all of your email list subscribers would stay engaged and happy, and they’d always welcome your emails. However, it's inevitable that some recipients will choose to unsubscribe for any number of reasons: Their needs have changed, their interests have shifted, or they simply are trying to pare back the number of emails they receive.
No matter where you’re located in the world, there are specific laws you’ll be required to follow when building your email list. According to U.S. law, all of your emails need an unsubscribe link—and if people do want to opt out, you need to honor that decision within 10 business days. While it might be tempting to ignore this protocol—after all, offering an unsubscribe link may feel like you're encouraging people to leave—the potential for legal trouble isn't worth it.
It's also important to resist the temptation to use shortcuts to boost your subscriber count; among other things, non-U.S. countries also have different email regulations, so you may run afoul of the law outside your home jurisdiction. Don't buy a list of email addresses, and don't sign people up for your email lists without their explicit consent. Remember, people need to opt-in to a subscription.
Ignoring the latter requirement can be damaging to your business growth. If too many people mark your emails as spam, an internet service provider (ISP) could unilaterally issue a denylist. This effectively bans all messages you send from reaching people who use that ISP.
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