How to build an email list

5 min read
Will Stevens

Email marketing is a great way to reach your customers, but building your first email list can feel daunting.

In this guide, we’ll run you through the basics of building your first email list so you can use it to reach existing and potential customers.

Please note, prices listed in this article are correct at time of publication.

1 Get a professional email address

If you want to build an email list, you can’t use a free email provider. You’ll need a professional email address based on a domain name you own.

This will make the marketing emails you send look professional and you’ll find that many email marketing tools prohibit the use of free email addresses.

You can get a professional email address from GoDaddy for as little as £2.49 a month (not including the cost of a domain name).

If you’re already a GoDaddy hosting customer, you may have a free email address included as part of your package, so make sure to check.

2 Get an email marketing tool

The easiest way to build an email list is by using an email marketing tool.

A good email marketing tool will make it simple for you to create the sign-up forms which people will use to join your list.

It will also make it easy to manage your list and design and send your marketing emails.

The Beginner package of GoDaddy’s Email Marketing tool starts at just £6.99 a month, but if you’re a GoDaddy Website Builder customer, you’ll get access to the tool as part of your package.

3 Define your target audience

Who do you want to add to your email marketing list? The broad answer to this question will be “existing customers” and “people who might become a customer in the future”.

But you need to go deeper and consider the kinds of people who fall into each group: what kind of things they’re interested in and where you can attract their attention online.

If you’ve already developed marketing personas for your business, you should already have this information at your fingertips.

If not, you need to spend time researching your target audience and creating personas.

By doing this, you’ll help ensure that people who sign up to your email list are actually interested in your business and what you do.

You can learn more about creating marketing personas in this guide.

4 Plan and create content aimed at your target audience

Once you know who you’re trying to reach and what they’re interested in, you can start creating content that will grab the attention of your target audience.

This might be educational blog posts, helpful infographics, entertaining social media content or something else. Anything that people find interesting or useful is a piece of content that has the potential to attract email list subscribers.

If you’re already producing this kind of content, you’re already on the way to getting email sign ups.

Add this guide on how to start content marketing for a small business to your reading list if it’s not something you’re already doing.

5 Add email sign up forms to your content

You can’t build an email list without signup forms, so make sure you put them where people are likely to see them (and fill them in).

The most obvious places to include sign up forms are on your homepage and alongside the content you’ve created to encourage people to join your mailing list.

You might also want to look at adding sign up forms to existing high-traffic pages, but this doesn’t always make sense. For example, it’s unlikely you’d want to add an email sign up form to a checkout page.

Make sure that your forms let people know exactly what they’re signing up for. Generally, you’ll want to keep your forms short and sweet – just a name and an email address should do it.

It’s also important to ensure that all personal data you gather is handled in accordance with data protection rules. You can learn more about that here.

6 Promote your content

You won’t be able to build an email list if no one sees your signup forms. That means you need to promote your content to attract visitors.

Some ways to do this include:

  • Working on your site’s SEO to attract visitors through search engines
  • Post your content on social media
  • Use paid promotion on social media
  • Ask influencers to share your content

You can learn how to get started with content promotion in this guide.

7 Continue to build and refine your list

Getting the first few subscribers to your email list is a significant milestone, and a sign that you’re on the right track.

If you’re attracting email list subscribers through the content you’re publishing and promoting, it makes sense to keep doing that.

But you might also want to add people who buy from your business to your email list.

Or look at adding a “subscribers” section to your site, which people can join and then ask them to sign up to your email list at the same time.

You also need work on segmenting your email list. Segmentation lets you divide your subscribers into groups (similar to customer personas) so you can send people emails that are relevant to them.

A basic example of segmentation would be dividing your email list into existing customers and non-customers. You could then send existing customers upsell emails, while non-customers get emails about introductory deals.

A good email marketing tool will make it easy to segment your list.

Summing up

Email marketing is a great way to connect with potential and existing customers. The sooner you start building your list, the sooner you can start sending marketing emails that will generate revenue.

You can learn more about getting started with GoDaddy’s Email marketing tool in these videos.

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