Perfecting the Art of Building an Email List in 2020
Written by
Januka Devi

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Perfecting the Art of Building an Email List in 2020

Published : December 27, 2019

Email marketing remains a great way to acquire customers but the challenge is how do you get people to sign up for your email newsletter. The number of subscribers is often seen as a benchmark of the reach you have. Thus building an email list becomes of utmost importance. And not just any email list, you need to perfect the task. Here in this article, we are going to talk about how you can build a perfect email list and some of the hygiene and best practices that you must follow!

Let’s Start!

Many people around the world are proponents of what a journalist once called “Zero Dark Inbox”.

Zero Dark Inbox is like a life hack, a part of the new culture of tidying up, and a way to beat FoMo. For such people, their inbox is a to-do list, each email must be carefully read, and acted upon.

Many of us might not be at Inbox Zero but it’s still a long-standing aspiration.

All this signifies that each of us reads emails—at our own, slow pace, but we do. And while it’s true that email is as relevant as ever, it’s also true that like a prestigious dinner party, invitations to enter (and mingle) are few.

Two main reasons are that trust and patience is in short supply.

According to a recent Edelman survey, just 34 percent of consumers say they trust most of the brands they buy and use. The onslaught of information on the internet also means that people are less patient than they used to be: A study finds that it takes barely 22 seconds for people to feel frustration.

Clearly, the world is competitive and trust and patience is falling, while customer acquisition prices are rising. So why are brands even trying, right?

First of all, companies that only care about acquiring customers might not do to well. Instead, if the focus is on engaging with and building relationships with customers without being overtly salesy, bringing more people into your email fold will become easier.

And this can be achieved significantly if you know how to build a perfect and relevant email list. Getting to the core of building an email list is important and that is something which we are going to discuss in this article.

Building a Perfect Email List

Email marketing is the most high-impact and low-cost way of reaching the customer. And there are multiple ways to build a great email list of people you can target in the future.

Here are six ways how you can get people onto your email list.

a) Start by calling out to people to opt-in on the website

If you have a lot of users visiting your website, don’t let them leave without signing up for the newsletter. Email registration forms could be on every page on the site and people could be nudged via discount coupons and offers. Most brands encourage sign-ups by offering a major discount on the first purchase. When you sign up to their service (and give your email address), it sets in motion a cycle of further interaction. In fact, take sending coupons via email seriously as data finds that 93 percent of subscribers are likely to use coupons they receive via email.

b) Use Content Marketing

One of the best ways to reach out to customers to gather their email address is to give them something they value, something teachable. Share knowledge about the industry or what you’ve identified they are interested in through blogs, and prompt them to leave their email addresses to get more of it. In short, lead with something free and they’re sure to return. Using email marketing effectively is hugely based on the kind of content you use, the better your content is, the more likely users will engage with your emails.

c) Use Social Media

No brand can risk being absent from social media anymore but being present on social media is not the same as knowing how to use it effectively. Social media is for connection, not just propagation. It needs to be used to engage existing users (and potential users) and to create a community. If you see people interacting with your posts, run campaigns that offer them benefits, nudge them to become part of the community, and then gently ask them for their email addresses.

d) Use Targeted Advertising

Perhaps you don’t have too many people coming to your website, how do you get them to visit? Use social media or google adwords to target people of the right gender, age, locality. It might also help to target old customers who have gone inactive.

e) Use the Power of Forwards

Friendly, thought-provoking and well-written content has a higher chance of being shared among peers. People’s faith in brands might be fading but people still trust the word of their colleagues, friends, and family members.

Therefore, a well-crafted newsletter that discusses industry trends or educates can encourage the reader to forward the email to their friends or family members.

To capitalise on this instinct, nudge them to put in a good word through customized text. Of course, you could also offer a benefit to the good samaritans.

A handy tip: Depending on the kind of newsletter you’re sending, design its content as something that includes both features of your brands and testimonials from your existing, happy clientele.

f) Use Other Avenues On The Internet

Social media is not all of the internet. Many forums have a dedicated following which makes them the perfect place to publicise your brand and engage with potential customers. Try answering questions on Quora or Reddit, for instance, and direct the engaged ones to your websites for quick sign-ups. While we’re at it, you should also know that there’s nothing quite like media coverage. Positive media coverage is one of the best ways to find new customers.

So we have looked at six ways how you can build an email list and mind you, I don’t say these are the only methods! There are many and a lot depends on the niche and genre of your business! But in a crux, these 6 methods works most of the times.

Perfecting your Email List

But building an email list doesn’t end up here! This article talks about perfecting the email list and here are four things that you should keep in mind while building an Email List.

Opt-ins are Mandatory

But even as you build an email list, remember that you need an opt-in from every customer before sending them emails. Quite simply, if the user hasn’t signed up for your emails, you shouldn’t be targeting her/him. A typical sign-up might wary: it could be a person manually entering their email address or an opt-in through a store purchase. Globally, the best-practice is to seek permission before sending any kind of email. While most western brands follow this thumb rule religiously, Asian brands are still evolving.

Make Sure The Right Email Id Comes To You

Many times, when marketers try to reach out to those who’ve signed up, they find that the email id is riddled with errors or simply invalid. Here’s where you should integrate an email validation service on your website. This can be used during signup to ensure that a valid email ID is entered. If not, it will prompt the user until the right email ID is entered.

Toy With The Idea of Double Opt-In

A double-opt-in or a method in which the brand or a company asks you to confirm your email ID is the preferred option of onboarding users. However, as double opt-in reduces signups by 70%, brands are reluctant to try it. But at the same time, a double opt-in earns 3X open rates than single opt-in. There’s also a con with single opt-in as a user might enter someone else’s email ID who might not be genuinely interested in your brand. A good way out? Incentivise the new user to confirm their email ID. For example, confirm your email ID and get an additional 5% discount.

Use The Right Communication

Acquiring a customer is barely half the battle won, the other half is making them stay and here, communication plays an even more important role than you think. Use the right language, a form of communication that sounds human. How about starting with:
We aren’t sure what you thought, but it’s real people writing you this email.

At a time when it’s popularly assumed that bots write to people, and bots reply, there’s no substitute for a genuine human conversation—another reason why emails always work!


As with everything that we call science, it’s all about doing experiments. Very likely, if you are doing your own experiments, you might actually have found different results. What are your best email strategies and email marketing tips? Tell us in the comments below!

And if you have enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy our blog on using AMP in Email Marketing.

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