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Building email list

Building email list

Why having an email list?

Having many social media accounts won’t make you secured! Why? Because it’s not a real asset. By analyzing all the platforms you’ll discover that your email list is a precious treasure as it’s something you actually have control over it!

For instance, Facebook recently narrowed the scope of people you can reach and made it payable. But this is not the main back draw as you can always pay for more audience if you have a big budget. The real issue lies in the odds of someone actually reading your post. The same goes on twitter and any other social media channel. And to sum , your mailing list is your only real marketing asset for many reasons. When someone hands you his email address that’s a huge sign of trust. People are already receiving many emails per day so adding one additional source is a huge deal and indicates that they saw a great benefit from subscribing to your list.

People check their emails on a daily bases and many times and it’s a rare thing to find someone checking your website on a regular bases so having your audience emails is like being invited to their homes everyday for dinner.

Curiosity! Yes you might be surprised but as we said your email is the most attractive thing to your audience. Not your facebook page or any social media channel you have. What make people really curios is the little circle or packets with “ 1” that appears as a notification of a new mail in the inbox. Their instincts are going to drive them always to click and open it to see the content, maybe not immediately but eventually. People can’t ignore their inboxes for eternity but they can easily scroll your new post in the news feed. Let’s face it, people on the social media are not that serious about making purchases.

As a conclusion, you should be using your mailing list to generate revenues and all your other social media channels to generate more subscribers to your list. this might be strange but guess what? People making money digitally are using email marketing.

So now you must have realized the importance of having email list and why it's critical in today's world, and you must be wondering.. How am i supposed to create a list and get subscribers into it if I’m going to start from scratch..well, it’s not rocket science!.

Actually you can find a lot of articles online talking about “How to get your first zellon email subscribers in 30 days “. these articles shows a lot of techniques used by businesses in order to generate more subscribers. You might find some of them silly or ambiguous.That’s why we've collected some of the tricks we think are most reliable in today’s marketing world later on this chapter.But from our point of view what makes all these effective is how you mix and tailor them together according to your needs.

Building your list

Whatever techniques you’re going to follow, remember that you always should start by identifying the segment to which you're directing the mail to. Not all the customers are interested in hearing about all your offers so choosing what to send and when forms a great deal of the game. Email marketing is proved to be an efficient tool but only when used to target certain segments not anyone and everyone. Keep this concept in your mind “ building a mailing list is like building a community of people who share the same interests and have things in common.”Regardless of your content type, those people will be always interested in hearing from you as long as you’re talking about something they can relate to.You can start by focusing on one segment, outlining its demographics like age, gender, hopes, dreams, idols, problems and putting a long term content strategy. Don’t worry,the time and effort spent doing this now will be converted to ROI later.

And in order to know your users better, start by researching what they value the most and read regularly, a good place to start according to Neil patel is kindle.It’s a pretty smart move to start from there as you’ll be sending your readers pieces of content that are similar to what they download and purchase so it's wise to search what your readers spend their money on. Studying your competitors resources can be beneficial too as they already have an idea about the type of content your market consumes. Browsing their blog, subscribing to their list or seeing the resources offered for free or at a certain cost will certainly inspire you. And maybe help you create a competitive advantage as well. Imagine offering something for free that your competitors are doing at a cost!.This will not only make people get attracted to you but if the resources you’re offering is of a good quality they will start thinking of how good your paid products will be if your freebie has this quality.

It’s always recommended to start by a giveaway offer.It could be anything from content upgrade, free email course, webinar, case study or a list.Before asking your users for something, you need to giveaway something first. There are no secrets in the creation process of a giveaway you just need to identify something that your users want badly and then give it to them for free. The research you conducted earlier will help you in identifying what this thing could be. Later on, you can start promoting your list using various techniques and generating subscribers who would spread a word about you.

Tricks to get subscribers:

Growing your list and attracting more visitors turning them into loyal and building strong relationships is directly related to your business growth.Going through many written pieces of content we found that there is no limit to what can be created to boost your email efficiency.That’s why we don’t recommend copying the following tactics rather than using it as an inspiration list that would help you create your own. There are some main factors that affect the number of subscribers you have on your mailing list and managing them will guarantee you a successful email list building.


Users are always in the statues of looking for information that could help them function,look or feel better. Your email content could be your best strategy for generating more subscribers if you tailored it around what would position you as their savior, but if made in the wrong way, it would totally break your business.So while creating your content you should consider its relevance to your users when it comes to the time of sending and the topics tackled. You’re asking people for their precious email address so you have to offer something exclusive and of value from their point of view. Most importantly, don’t forget that you’re using your content in order to generate more subscribers for the list, so if your current subscribers are not interested in what you’re offering, your emails won’t go viral as wish.

Social Media

Yes that’s right! Your social media platforms could be the best friend of your email. The integration between these two mediums could happen using many techniques that are so simple. Publishing a piece of content on your channels and asking people to enter their email to receive an exclusive offer will certainly expand your reach.

Using Facebook for example, many brands recently like GAP and H&M started using their supporting their email lists by adjusting the signup buttons and creating promotional offers.

Sign up for emails

Also Udemy gated their content to drive interest and released an announcement about a free course that you can enjoy if you only entered your email. On the other hand, pinning your mailing list on Twitter with the right message, will allow more people to see and engage with it. There is no limit for social media usages and the more you dig deeper the more you can leverage on it. And generally, don’t forget that you’re on social media so sharing excerpts of your content and supporting that with visuals will attract your audience interests.

And as social media is the most customized platform for commercials and promotions, running contests there would be perfect for that nature. One of the most successful contest campaigns is “Tell a friend” by basecamp which encouraged users to add their friends in order to get 10$ discount and for their friends to have a chance of winning the grand prize.


No, we don’t mean using the email itself to promote for your email list. Because that would sound really weird, wouldn’t it? What we mean here is customizing your email list in a way that makes it easier for the users to opt-in. This customization can be implemented on different levels starting from your opt-in form. A common place could be on your site bar where users can see it first. This will make them dig less for the information as they would stumble upon it first.

Sign up to website

Also,many bloggers use the first widget section of their website to promote for their mailing list as people would want to get a private advice from a professional they trust.However, some prefer having the email inside their about page or in the contact us section. Eventually this depends on what’s the message you want to communicate to your audience.

Another common form are the pop-ups which is proved to increase the number of opt-ins massively. Although many email marketers think it’s not favorable. In fact, the users’ opinions is the only thing that should be considered. And according to eConsultancy reports, an average overlay will increase opt-ins by up to 400% so better testing than guessing.

If you’re going to use email pop ups, you may need to consider giving some time for designing it. Make it look like a special guest invitation by adding your brand identity. keep in mind that your users will neglect any advertisement messages so don’t sound like one. This feeling could be passed through design and timing of the message appearance. Some marketers believe 15 seconds is the ultimate, others say that 60 seconds is the optimal. But the best way to actually know is to test for yourself and see what works for your own audience. The same goes with the size of the banner and the headline, if you can’t figure out what’s best for your targeted segment no one can tell for you. And if you can’t figure out what your customers really want you can simply ask them and add opt-in options with what they expect.Setting expectations with your users about what you’re going to mail them will save a lot of time later.

Sign up-box best practices

Minimalism is the trend

When creating the subscription process, it’s always beneficial to eliminate the unnecessary steps and required information.The moment of signing up is not suitable moment for requiring details so make sure you get the email first. Having it in your database without much details it is better than not having it all. And always ask your yourself why..

Why make the user enter their desired password twice?

Why not simply require only an email address the first time around?

After all, what you need is more optins and making the process long and complex without a powerful reason will drive people away from you.The simplest things could affect the customer’s decision of subscription, the inline text used, the call to action and even the message that your brand communicates. Also minimalism is the design trend so try to limit the amount of fonts, graphics and colors used and focus on the function of your design.

Go creative with your text

“Sign up now” or “ Enter your email address” are not the lines that will motivate your users to sign up and you can do better than that when writing the texts of your signup box.

People are tired of hearing the same message and would appreciate creativeness , one way to get out of this trap is by using your brand tone to add some uniqueness to your message.

While writing your text, assure the privacy eliminate to your subscribers and state that you’ll never sell, rent or use their data in other way that might annoy them.Also, you need to stress on your value proposition by making it prominent in your design.

Sign up now

Use white space wisely

Believe it or not but the inline white space can influence your number of subscriptions directly. In a recent study, it was proven that changing the space color decreases the number of opt-ins as users are not comfortable with it as much as they’re not comfortable with deleting text from the box before writing their address. Another interesting discovery was that using sample text inside the box like an email format example increased the number of opt-ins because users became more aware of the action they’re required to perform.Your subscribers don’t want to think so don’t make them.

Landing pages as a sign up box

Some websites -especially in the pre-launch stage- use landing pages in the collection of emails which makes it -somehow- the signup box. And order to call a landing page effective, it has to include five main elements:

  1. Headline: choose your headline carefully, spend time and test. You will never know what works best with your users until you try everything.
  2. Benefits: as we stated earlier, users are looking for the benefits whether it's a free ebook, 5 days free trial or a coupon. They’re always interested in what you have to offer.
  3. CTA: simply tell users what to do “ in details”.
  4. Optin-form: If the optin form is not accessible and visible enough for the users then all your efforts are wasted.
  5. Social proof: Add credibility to your offer. A word from an influencer about your offer can change your prospect’s mind and present you as a more trustworthy brand.
Landing pages as a sign up box

Keeping your list clean

If people sign in into your mailing list this obviously means they want the content you're offering and willing to open every email you send them. Well, not exactly. It doesn’t matter how much effort you put in segmenting and targeting, there will always be a ratio that opts-out and your list will shrink at the rate of 25% annually. And that’s a natural thing as long as you’re being in touch with your contacts you’re on the safe side. But if not you may need to change this if you want to keep the rest of your list alive as 86% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly.

Your welcome email is gone now and you need to start crafting regular pieces of content for your email marketing channel. Mail your list once a month at least to be present in their minds. And if they still opted out, it’s something in your favor and will make your list cleaning job easier but you’ll need to get your hands dirty.

If you’re using email as a main communication channel then cleaning your list is not optional. According to australia post, 3 million people switch their active email addresses yearly which and in order to avoid losing people you may send an email with information update request for those who want to continue as subscribers. Not regularly checking your list is considered a waste of investment as you spend money on inefficient resources.

There are four interrelated stages for cleaning your list:

  • First, make sure that the emails on your list are free of typos and misspellings. In the entry process it's common that people might make mistakes, and conducting a simple data check will help you spot on errors like or baianat@gmailcom. During the process you should also look for duplications, updates in contacts, and remove emails that are irrelevant or not created for the purpose of receiving offers like this and too generic. For example other company’s sales emails.A good shortcut to all this is using an email software that would filter emails during the signing up process and allow the ones that fitting the criteria setted.
  • Secondly, check your hard bounces list and remove those addresses. Those will never reach their destinations.. Ever! In fact, they’re harming your list with their existence by affecting your ability to analyze and get right deliverability reports and conversion analytics.ISPs track the number of bounces you generate and determines your reputation based on it. The continuous recurrence of the bounce can damage your sender reputation and block you from sending messages to other email addresses. This is totally unlike soft bounces which is a temporary deliverability problem, such as a full inbox or a server that is down. But if those occurred more than once it might be a good idea to remove the email address causing it as well.
  • The third stage is removing complainers. Although they might have opted in with their complete freedom and requested your messages, they still can report you as a spam. You can easily spot on complainers by using your feedback loop and remove them with one click saving a lot of wasted time trying to convert them.
  • The last thing you need to check is the dead people on your list. Those who subscribed and disappeared. Never engaged, shared, or even reported you as a spam. This silence can be killing as Many spam filters are set to detect if someone is sending recurring emails to a user who isn’t opening them,that’s usually a strong indicator of spam.And yes it might sound insane at first but what’s the benefit of keeping inactive subscribers who are not going to convert and might be deleting your messages. But before doing this, you can have a last trial with them through a re-engagement campaign that includes an offer, we miss you message or even that asks directly if they want to continue on your list or want to opt-out.Try to find out why they’d leave as such a feedback can help you improve.

After all, you should keep in mind that the quality of your list is not measured by the number of emails rather than the quality.

The previous notes and advices were given with the acknowledgement that your list is purely generated not a purchased list as it’s the worst thing you could ever do to your sender reputation. These paid lists are against anti-spam laws in many countries as they violate the privacy terms.The same goes to third party marketing and the usage of your email to promote for another business.

Why you should segment your list?

It’s basic term meaning, list segmentation is a technique that email marketers use to send highly targeted emails by dividing their list into smaller groups.

According to mailchimp recent research, there were a huge increase in the open rates and CTRs due to segmentation. Also unsubscription rates decreased because the two main reasons for unsubscription (sending irrelevant content and flooding users’ inboxes disappeared). These numbers indicate that segmentation a must in the world of email marketing. A recent Econsultancy Research in 2016, 83% of companies use at least basic segmentation for their emails. However, only 42% of marketers send targeted messages as it takes time and effort that most of them can’t afford. Which outlines a golden chance for businesses to grow and have a leg up their peers.

List segmentation works because it provides a personalized experience. You have to understand that your buyers aren’t all same whether they differ in terms of their business types,ages and countries. This creates variety of needs and if you don’t have a certain targeted segments your email marketing efforts will be all in vain.And as we mentioned earlier, not all your customers are on the same level interaction with your brand or on the same stage of customer journey. Some of them just stumbled on you and others maybe purchasing from you for the second time. The whole point of segmentation is sending relevant content. It makes no sense to direct the same message to those two different segments .With segmentation you can increase your email reputation as your targeted segmented emails will make you look more credible and will encourage people to recommend your list to their interested friends.

There are many different criteria for email list segmentation as every company knows different stuff about its customers based on the product they offer and it mainly depends on the information you obtained during the signing in process about them. Some of the following techniques better be combined together and you can always come up with new segmentation methods.Remember list segmentation is always a work in process.

Segmentation based on demographics

It's the most common type of segmentation in general. It depends on many different aspects that tackles the who and what:

  • Age: Technology is now accessible to everyone literally so you could emailing a retiree,a child or a college student. if you’re promoting a tech product to millennials your message should be edgy and showing all the features of it, but it’s not the same with older generations who might find your email too technical and complicated to read and understand.
  • Geography: Segmenting your list will protect you from doing things that might be embarrassing like targeting areas that your business doesn’t function within or people who are not included in your target audience. it’s Also Languages and slangs can be your best friend or your worst enemy. You’re the one who decides based on how you’re going to use it.
  • Occupation: If your product service different types of industries you can use that it as a segmentation factor. For example if you’re selling an ERP, you should approach those who are using it at point of sales differently from people using it in HR.
  • Job title: CEOs consume content that is more about strategy, while technicals consume how-tos and other industry news. This could be a great segmentation bases especially if you want to earn the heart of other companies CEOs and position your business as a thought-leader in their minds in case they ever wanted to have partnership with you.
  • Business type: Different types of businesses require different treatments so you should pay attention to whether you’re mailing an enterprise or a startup, a non for profit or fortune 500 company.
  • Affiliate list: creating a list of your business evangelists is an important criteria to consider. Those are your top business promoters so awarding them with treatment could be a nice move that turns into ROI.
  • Birthdays: who doesn't want to remembered on their birthday?. Imagine your favorite restaurant giving you an on house dine. You would feel appreciated and probably engage more with after that. Even a simple birthday wish could mean a lot to customers but don’t make that your only segmentation criteria and add more personalization through more segments.
  • Interests: Like amazon does, it collects information about top fields their customers are interested in during the signing-up process.

Segmentation by behavior

The mistake most people do is not taking advantage of the behavioral data they have about their users. Although it requires high observation and analysis of all your users moves and interactions with your business it’s an extremely effective way of segmentation.

  • Website activity: information like pages viewed, items clicked, how long did the user stay on each page is like a gold mine if used wisely in segmentation. Your users’ behavior can tell you everything about their preferences and needs. This can be used to offer special treatment to first time visitors and old customers as well.
  • Past purchases: going through your customer's purchasing history- especially if you’re in the field of e-commerce will enable you to create lists based on which type of products they’re interested in the most or what items they browse frequently.
  • Amount spent: your customers purchasing power identifies which type of offers will suit them and what kind of products they can afford.
  • Buying frequency: It can be weekly, monthly or annually. So If your product is something that requires renewal or subscription, you can take advantage of that and send an email with an offer or reminder on these dates.
  • Content type: yes they love your brand and wants to hear from you, but certainly they love something specific. Some subscribers are just here for the sake of new updates, others for educational videos and maybe some looking for discounts and offers. You should keep an eye on your customer behavior and interaction with your previous email in order to best create future ones.
  • Service usage: segmenting based on whether they’re using your freemium or premium product. These already provided their credit card number don’t need sales focused emails. You just need to keep them updated with your product new versions or updates.
  • Device used: more than 65% of emails opened on smartphones first. And 49% of email marketers still don’t segment their lists based on device habits. Keeping that in mid will guide you through your designing process into creating a more efficient email that converts.
  • Change in Engagement: considering users level of engagement can reduce churn and improve conversion rates. Sometimes customers get busy and stop engaging with you or probably lose interest. This would require an engaging campaign and segmenting your data based on engagement level will make it easier for you to determine to whom this campaign will be directed. A good way of measuring your user's engagement level is by allowing them to respond to your emails. This will allow you to dive deeper into segments could also pave the way for a two-way conversation.

Segmentation based on life cycle stages

Another effective list segmentation method is using the customer life cycle through which you can simply be present on the time your customer needs you. identify what customers want easily based on their relationship with your product or service. For example, During the trial period you want to show your users how much their life will get better after using your product.

If people just signed up to your newsletter and are prospects, you will need to send content that makes them interested in what you have to offer and turns them into leads.This goes along the way until you have brand advocates promoting your business.

Segmentation requires a lot of work so putting some efforts in the planning process can save a lot of time later in addition to using software that automates half of the process. In order to start segmenting you need first to analyze the data you have already collected from your customers, look through it and define what else you need to know and how you will gain it. After that tailor your personas and select your brainstorm different segmentation bases with your team but you can keep it simple at first. You can have more than one segmentation base for your data depending on your product, industry and your customers preferences.Then go through all the ESPs software and see which offers suit your budget and requirements best and start crafting your content. Send, test and iterate based on the results you get and you have your segmentation process done.