Do you want to build an email list but are unsure why it is necessary? When they first start out, many bloggers and business owners underestimate the value of building an email list.

Most people, however, change their minds after seeing the impact email lists can have on someone else’s traffic and revenue.

In this article, we will discuss the top five reasons why building an email list is essential (with real case studies). We will also walk you through the process of building your email list step by step.

We will cover the following topics in this beginner’s guide:

  • What exactly is an email list?
  • Why is it crucial to create an email list?
  • Email marketing vs. social media marketing
  • What marketing professionals are saying about email marketing
  • What do you require to begin building an email list?
  • How to Select the Most Appropriate Email Marketing Service
  • How to Increase Your Email List Subscriptions
  • Discovering new list-building techniques and resources

By the end of this article, you should have answers to all of your email list-building questions.

What exactly is an email list?

An email list is a list of people’s names and email addresses who have given you permission to send them updates and promotions from your company.

You can use email marketing software to build your email list and then send bulk email notifications to everyone about your blog updates, online store, or other business services.

Why is it crucial to create an email list?

Email marketing creates a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the United States, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

Email subscribers are extremely interested in what you have to offer because they joined your email list through your website and verified their identity by clicking on a link (double-optin). As a result, they are more likely to become paying customers.

In our business, email list conversions outperform social media campaigns by a factor of ten.

This makes sense when you consider the reasons why email is such an effective communication tool:

  1. Email is private.

Email allows you to reach a user’s inbox. There is no ranking system that restricts your reach. It’s direct and personal.

  1. Email Has a Purpose

A user fills out a form to sign up for your email list and confirm their email address in order to receive updates from you. Someone who is putting in this much effort is obviously interested in hearing from you, and they are much more open to your message.

  1. Email Marketing Is Targeted

As previously stated, the user has expressed an interest in your product or content. Because you already know what they like, you can target them with highly relevant offers to improve your results. This is known as segmentation, and we will discuss it further in the article.

  1. You are the sole owner of your email list.

You do not have control over Facebook, Twitter, or Google. When these platforms’ policies change, your social media campaigns and SEO efforts may be rendered ineffective. On the other hand, you own your email list, and it is unaffected by the decisions of other companies.

  1. Email is a one-on-one communication medium

Email is read in the privacy of one’s inbox. The message is not accessible via a public timeline or newsfeed. They can confidently ask you questions directly in private. This contributes to the development of trust and connection.

  1. More people use email multiple times per day.

You’ve probably heard that Facebook has 1.4 billion users and Twitter has 100 million daily active users. What you may not have heard is the sheer number of people who use email on a daily basis.

Everyone who uses the internet has at least one email account. According to a recent Radicati study, there are 3.8 billion active email accounts. That is half of the world’s population.

This is why every smart business on the planet has an email list.

Big name brands realized this long ago, which is why they spend thousands of dollars on social media campaigns to get people to sign up for their email lists.

They recognize that email marketing is the best long-term investment with the highest return because people will continue to receive their message at a low cost for a longer period of time.

Email Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Wait a minute.” What about social media platforms?

Indeed, we’ve been asked several times if email marketing isn’t kind of dead now that social media has taken over everything.

The best way to answer this question is to look at the information required by Twitter and Facebook before you create an account:

Yes, that is an email address.

These businesses understand that emails are the most direct and dependable way to communicate with their customers.

Even if you sign up with your phone number, they will continue to ask for your email address in order to help you find friends, recover passwords, and, most importantly, send you targeted email messages.

Here’s a look at the social tab in the inbox of a typical Gmail user.

All of these emails are from major social media platforms in order for them to engage you with the content on their platform and entice you to return to their app or website.

Because they are smart business owners, all social media platforms are building an email list. This increases the value of their company when they sell it.

While social media is an excellent way to reach out to your target audience, it is important to remember that social media platforms are not always up to date.

They appear and vanish.

We used to have MySpace, FriendFeed, Google Buzz, Plurk, and a plethora of other social networking sites. The majority of them are either deceased or no longer relevant.

Today, we have prominent platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, but not everyone enjoys them. Some people prefer Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and other similar platforms.

Basically, your users are dispersed across multiple platforms. According to studies, at least 91 percent of consumers check their email on a daily basis.

We are not dismissing the importance of social media. It is, and you should take advantage of any opportunity to reach out to your target audience.

However, you should put in more time and effort into something that will yield better results.

What Are the Experts Saying About Building an Email List?

Don’t just take our word for it; hear what all of the top marketing experts have to say about email marketing:

Out of all the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them.

– Neil Patel – Crazy Egg and QuickSprout

Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is, and hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort.

– Joe Pulizzi – Founder Content Marketing Institute

If you’re not building an email list, you’re making a HUGE mistake.

– Derek Halpern – Founder Social Triggers

Email is the most predictable driver of growth and sales in our business. I prefer email marketing over all other traffic channels.
– Syed Balkhi – Founder WPBeginner

Many expert marketers admit that not building an email list when they first started out was their biggest mistake.

With all of the reasons listed above, we hope you are convinced that building an email list is essential for all businesses.

You may now be wondering, “How do I build an email list?”

This brings us to the following section.

What Do You Require to Begin Building an Email List?

You should now understand why building an email list is critical, and why ignoring it can be a costly mistake.

So, let’s look at what you’ll need to get started building your email list.

To build an email list, you’ll need three things:

  • A blog or website.
  • A service that provides email marketing.
  • Opt-in forms with a high conversion rate

All three of these are relatively simple to set up and do not necessitate any programming or design skills.

For the purposes of this article, we will only look at the last two items on the list. If you don’t already have a website or blog, follow our step-by-step instructions on how to start a blog or create a website.

Choosing the Most Effective Email Marketing Service

There are numerous email marketing services available. Beginners frequently use the free option to save money, which is understandable. Some of these free platforms, however, are not the best. Why is this so?

Some platforms mislabel themselves as “email marketing services,” when all they really provide is free blog subscription via email. This allows your users to receive an email notification whenever you publish a new blog post.

However, this is not true email marketing. The following are some disadvantages of using a free blog notification service:

  • Private email newsletters are not permitted. To send an email, you must first publish a new blog post, which means the information you want to share must first be publicly available.
  • The email message cannot be personalized. It will frequently be delivered in the same format with no branding or personalization.
  • Subscribers cannot be classified based on their interests, demographics, or content type.
  • There will be no reporting. You have no idea how many people received the email, what percentage of users opened it, or how many clicked on your links.
  • If you later attempt to transition to a paid service, your users will be required to re-confirm their subscription. Many of them will refuse, and you will lose subscribers as a result

This is why we ALWAYS recommend starting with a professional email marketing service.

Yes, they are expensive, but they are an investment in your business that will pay off handsomely.

The following are the advantages of professional email marketing services:

  • You have the option of sending private mass emails to your subscribers.
  • You can view subscriber activity and categorize your subscribers based on their actions.
  • A/B split tests can be used to determine which email subject lines, content, and offers work best with your subscribers.
  • You can use reporting tools to see which countries have the most subscribers. You can change your time zone preferences and send emails at the appropriate times.
  • Finally, and most importantly, you can view all of your subscribers’ email addresses.

There are a plethora of professional email marketing services to choose from. To make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best email marketing services based on usability, cost-effectiveness, features, and performance.

We recommend Constant Contact for small businesses because it is one of the world’s largest email marketing services.

They provide a 30-day free trial. This allows you plenty of time to set up and begin seeing results. After 30 days, your email list will most likely have paid for itself (at a cost of $20 per month). Begin your free trial.

If you need something more advanced, such as powerful marketing automation, we recommend Sendinblue or ConvertKit. They’re both very popular among business owners, and they both offer free trials.

After you’ve signed up for an email marketing service, you’ll need to add opt-in forms to your website so that your users can subscribe.

Increasing the Size of Your Email List and the Number of Subscribers

Did you know that more than 70% of visitors who leave your website will never return? It’s true; just look at the percentage of new vs returning visitors in your Google Analytics.

That is why, before they leave, you should convert every website visitor into an email subscriber so that you can send them relevant messages to entice them to return.

The average internet user only spends a few seconds on a website. This leaves you with very little time to interact with them. Users will leave your website without ever subscribing if your email sign up forms are not visible.

The most common mistake we see beginners make is failing to strategically place high-converting opt-in forms.

Some WordPress themes include built-in sidebar widgets, but they don’t convert as well as others.

Your email marketing service may also provide you with codes to embed in your theme, but you’ll need to know how to code to do so.

This is why we recommend OptinMonster to our users. It is the most effective conversion optimization software for converting website visitors who are about to leave into subscribers and customers.

Instead of boring sign-up forms in your sidebar, you can easily create high-converting opt-in forms such as lightbox popups, floating header and footer bars, slide-in scroll boxes, fullscreen welcome mats, inline forms, and more.

The behavior automation and personalization features, however, are what make OptinMonster truly powerful. OptinMonster allows you to show different opt-in forms based on where the user came from, which page they are on, and what they are doing on your website.

Exit-Intent®, for example, tracks your users’ mouse behavior and displays a targeted opt-in form just as they are about to leave. This assists you in converting abandoned visitors into subscribers.

Exit-intent is used on the websites of influencers such as Michael Hyatt, Neil Patel, and Social Media Examiner. It aided Social Media Examiner in gaining over 95,000 new subscribers in just 7 months.

Nicolas Gagne, a small business owner, increased his email list by 500% by combining Constant Contact with a single exit-intent optin. This enabled him to triple the revenue generated by his online store (see the full case study).

You can also read a ton of other case studies and OptinMonster reviews.

WPBeginner’s founder, Syed Balkhi, founded OptinMonster because he wanted to get more email subscribers faster. It assisted us in increasing our email signups by 600%. We made this tool available to the public due to popular demand, and it is currently the most recommended lead generation software on the market.

Aside from OptinMonster, you can also use a viral giveaway plugin like RafflePress to rapidly grow your email list and social media followers at the same time.

It enables you to turn your website visitors into brand ambassadors by using giveaways. As a result, you receive more traffic, email subscribers, and social media engagement without spending any money on paid advertising.

Give it a shot.

List Building Techniques and Resources

Having the right tools is important, but knowing how to use them correctly is what makes the biggest difference.

The most important aspect of your email marketing strategy should be segmentation.

What is the definition of email list segmentation?

Email list segmentation is the process of categorizing your subscribers in order to better personalize your emails based on their interests.

It aids in increasing open and click-through rates. This comprehensive guide to email marketing contains everything you need to know to segment your email list like a pro.

If you want to start growing your email list quickly, check out our tried-and-true email list growth hacks.

If you don’t know how to make an opt-in form, check out this 63-point checklist for making a high-converting optin form.

Content Upgrades are the most effective opt-in forms. It’s a strategy in which you offer bonus content at the end of your most popular blog posts. These typically convert at a rate five times that of a standard opt-in. Here are some content upgrade ideas for you to consider. We have a comprehensive guide on how to use content upgrades effectively in WordPress.

There are numerous methods for capturing email leads, and we have discussed them in depth in our beginner’s guide to lead generation in WordPress.


It makes no difference what type of business you run, what type of website you have, or what industry you work in.

If you have a website and want to convert visitors into returning customers, you must add them to your email list.

We hope this article has helped you understand why building an email list is important and has gotten you started in the right direction.

You might also be interested in our tutorial on how to add web push notifications to your website. This is another way to stay in touch with visitors after they leave your website, and it works best when combined with an email list.

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