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“Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough at all.” - Malcolm Gladwell, David & Goliath

July 5, 2017

How to Build an Email List When Starting from Scratch

Male Office Worker Sending Email

Building a solid email list from scratch is no easy task even for the most experienced digital marketers. Most people are already so inundated with emails that just the thought of subscribing to another email list adds a tiny bit more stress to their day. Before you even consider implementing the ideas below, make sure you’re sending your subscribers email blasts that are worthwhile and something they can use.

If you’re a yoga clothing and workout wear boutique, send subscribers email updates of the latest arrivals, hot deals and loyalty discounts. If you’re a Windsor mortgage broker, educate subscribers by sending emails with useful information about how they can save on their mortgage or the advantages of choosing a mortgage broker over a bank.

Once you’ve determined a strategy for the type of emails you’ll send your subscribers, you’re ready to start building your email list from scratch.

Please note, if you’re doing business in Canada, you’ll want to review Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) prior to building your subscriber list and sending commercial emails.

Signup Form

First things first. You’ll want to start by having a place somewhere on your website where people can subscribe to your email list. Some businesses dedicate an entire page on their website to gaining subscribers. On that page they’ll have a signup form along with details about how often subscribers can expect to receive emails, what’s included in those emails and the advantages of becoming a subscriber. Others will do something similar to what I have done and include signup forms throughout their website. Mine are located on my homepage and in the sidebar of my blog pages.

Landing Page

Setting up a landing page to build your subscriber list is very similar to dedicating an entire page to building your list with one key difference. Landing pages offer users some type of incentive to subscribe. That incentive can be anything from a free trial of your software, to a discount on your product, to an informative e-book. Just be sure that if you’re using this idea to build subscribers that it is clearly stated that once they’ve clicked the “Submit” button they are automatically added to your subscriber list.

Email Signature

There may be no simpler way to build your list than to add a simple “Signup” link within your email signature. In order to implement this idea, you’ll need to have a dedicated signup form page somewhere on your website so that you can easily link to it. I don’t recommend using this idea if your signup forms are setup similar to mine. I wouldn’t want to send one of my contacts to my website to signup and then force them to find the email signup form themselves. Keep it simple and link directly to the signup form.


If you have a blog on your website that you update on a regular basis, having a signup form at the bottom of each blog you’ve written is a great way to grow your list. The thought here is that users are already engaged with your business/content/information so perhaps once they’re done reading they’ll want to signup to continue to get that quality information emailed to their inbox. The form at the bottom of the blog page should be simple and require the user to only enter their name and email address.

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