1. Email Marketing

How to build an email list [2024]

Whether you’re running a business or sending a newsletter, without an active email list you’re going to struggle to reach customers / readers in cheap and effective ways. This is why it’s important to start thinking of ways to build and grow your email list from the first day itself.

Let’s start by understanding why an email list is important, and it benefits, and after that, we’ll discuss strategies that you can implement to build and grow your email list.

What is an email list and its benefits

In simple terms, an email list is a collection of email addresses of people interested in your business/content. Once you have an email list, you can use an email marketing tool like EmailOctopus to produce and send great looking marketing emails to your contacts.

Benefits of an email list:

  1. Instant direct communication: ****Unlike ads or social media posts, emails allow you to send your message instantly and directly to your contacts, which is a great benefit to start with.
  2. High return on investment (ROI): Email marketing has a high ROI – according to Direct Marketing Association (DMA), email marketing results in 4,300% ROI on average (that’s $41 profit for every $1 you spend on email marketing)!
  3. Drives traffic: As email marketing is so affordable, it’s a great way to get more customers to visit your website, explore and make more purchases.
  4. Targeted marketing: Most email marketing tools come with an email segmentation feature which allows you to create multiple segments which can be used for targeted marketing.

Ways to build and grow an email list

There are many great ways you can build an email list, but depending on your situation they might not all be suitable for you. So let’s go through the most popular ways to build and grow an email list. Also, we’ll understand when you should be using them.

Look for existing lists

One of the easiest ways to give your email list a jumpstart is to pull together any existing or slightly old email lists that you may have stopped using. This can be an email of your past customers or any other list which you have built organically (e.g. waitlist signups), where customers have provided consent for you to contact them.

Leverage your network

Another great way of building an email list is by leveraging your existing network, like your social media followings. If you have a good number of social media followers, then you can simply share your email subscription link as a post and ask your followers to subscribe.

Alternatively, you can also plug in your email subscription link along with your popular post as a comment.

Example of using social following for email list growth
Example of using social following for email list growth

Ask website visitors to signup

If you already have a website with a good amount of traffic, then you can also try to convert visitors into email subscribers. For this, you can either show them a signup form alongside the content or use a pop-up which asks them to share their email.

Email subscription pop-up on MarketingExamples.com
Email subscription pop-up on MarketingExamples.com

Do note that your sign-up form should be eye-catching and motivate the viewer to enter their email. Here’s a detailed blog talking about newsletter signup form optimisation.

Distribute freebies

We live in a “give and take” world, and it’s important to give something when you want something someone else has in return – their email in our case.

By giving away freebies, you can easily collect emails at zero or limited cost. These freebies can be some downloadable e-book, digital content, coupon codes or some physical goodies if you are feeling generous.

Example of getting emails in exchange of freebies
Example of getting emails in exchange of freebies

Above is an example of a YouTuber who uses a free downloadable PDF in exchange for an email subscription.

Run giveaways (or competitions)

Similar to freebies, giveaways (or competitions) can also be a good growth driving channel for your email list. Giveaways often do better than freebies as they are generally linked to some monetary or equivalent benefits, which attracts a bigger audience.

Create a referral program

If you already have some engaged subscribers, then you can use their help to grow your email list. EmailOctopus allows you to setup a newsletter referral program using SparkLoop where your subscribers get something in return when they refer someone.

Your referral benefits can include simple digital downloads, access to a paid/restricted community, or even branded merchandise.

EmailOctopus – best tool to start building your email list on

EmailOctopus is an email marketing tool that’s popular for being affordable and easy to use. It lets you create email signup forms and landing pages with zero coding knowledge that you can easily use while you build and grow your email list.


Using EmailOctopus, you can easily automate welcome emails, newsletters, and other marketing promotions. It can also be integrated with tools like Shopify and Google Analytics to extend its capabilities.

Popular features of EmailOctopus:

  1. Email automation
  2. No-code email, form, and landing page builder
  3. Segmentation
  4. Friendly support

Pricing: EmailOctopus has a free plan that allows you to send 10,000 emails to 2,500 subscribers. The Pro plan for 2,500 subscribers will cost you $16/mo., which comes with a few additional features like the ability to add additional users and get access to priority support.

The do’s and don’ts of building an email list

There are several do’s and don’ts when it comes to the whole list building process, and not following these might get you in trouble. For example, Google keeps banning multiple email senders daily for sending spam emails (mostly due to non-compliance of guidelines).

Let’s go through these dos and don’ts so that you are well aware of things you should and shouldn’t do.

Don’t buy an email list

The first and most important tip to remember throughout your email marketing journey is to never buy an email list from anyone. It’s unethical and also breaks many privacy laws which may get you into legal issues.

Also, these lists are generally of low quality and may contain spam traps which might get your domain blacklisted. Use organic channels to grow your email list and, if you have a budget, try ads.

Keep list clean

Keeping your email list clean is another important tip that everyone should follow. Ideally, you should clean your list by only keeping active emails in your list (e.g. those who have opened your emails at least once in the past 6-12 months).

By removing your inactive emails, not only do you save cost but also prevent your emails from being marked spam by those contacts.

Ensure domain verification

Domain verification is another important step that you should ensure is been done by you before you send any email. It’s a process of adding DNS records to your domain, which helps verify that you are authorized to send emails from the domain.

Not doing these steps will increase your chances of landing in spam.

Have a reliable email marketing tool

Last but not the least, having a reliable and easy to use marketing tool with features like form and landing page builder is also a good addition. Try to look out for email marketing tools that have a good reputation – you can get started with EmailOctopus for free if you are out searching for one.


That’s all you need to get started building and growing your email list. If you haven’t started already, then do sign up for a free EmailOctopus account, which allows you to have 2,500 contacts for free and provides lots of great form templates you can use to collect and automatically update your email list.

Remember to follow the dos and don’ts, and you’ll soon have an email list that you can send your marketing emails to.

Comments to: How to build an email list [2024]

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *