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How to Start an Email List – 5 Practical Ways

How to Start an Email List – 5 Practical Ways

As a marketer, it’s your job to add constantly new contacts to your email marketing campaigns so you can keep your sales moving up and to the right. You probably have many emails and a network you can rely on.

However, the need to expand that list is always present. This process is called lead generation.
In this article, we are going to show you clever ways to enlarge your email list and how to use it to effectively communicate with the people behind it.

The subjects we are going to cover here are:
– Five actionably ways to find new subscribers.
– Four steps on how to utilize your email list (including examples of engaging email content).

A. 5 Actionable Ways to Collect Email Addresses

Let’s begin with five ideas you may haven’t tried yet to find new subscribers:

1Have you used your email contacts?

Your email inbox is filled with contacts of correspondence. Export all those emails into a CSV or Excel file and merge them into one file (Here is how to export the emails from relevant services from Gmail).

Friends, family, and followers are the three groups that you will find in Social Media and could very easily join your email list and even share it. Just remember to write a proper post or send a personal message asking them to enter your email list and share to their social networks.

You can also catch friends’ emails from Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook if they share their email publicly. Now you probably have a few hundreds of relevant contacts.

Use a cold email and invite all those recipients to join your email list. Adding without permission is a huge mistake (especially with the GDPR monster lurking in the shadows). So take the time to follow up with everyone to make sure it’s ok.

2Using Lead Magnets

Lead magnet formats concern any exciting content that offers value to your potential clients. Your lead magnets should be compelling enough so that people pay you with their emails. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Ebooks are the all time classic when it comes to lead magnets. Just about every successful online entrepreneur has dabbled in ebooks at one time or another. These are great for providing comprehensive information. Ebooks don’t have to be long to be valuable.

reading ebook image

Video guides. are a great way to attract your audience especially if you are teaching a skill. Such videos usually take the form of free consultation. You can add a lead capture either inside or outside the video.

Host a webinar. Webinars are a great way to expand your email list and can convert a ton of your traffic (and even people who didn’t know about you) into email subscribers.

video on mobile

Create a worksheet that simplifies a process. For example, create a worksheet in a pdf or excel form that helps people follow certain steps in order to achieve something. People who download this worksheet can use it as a guide as well as a template where they can add their own notes. See for example, how Hubspot offers in a blog post a free email marketing planning worksheet.

worksheet lead capture example

Alternatively, provide a list of useful tools your readers might be interested in.

Course Introduction Preview: If you’ve already created your online course, consider offering your first lesson as a lead magnet. This offer has several advantages: It gives your audience a taste of what your teaching style is like.

Besides, you’ve already done the work. Providing the first module from your course creates an obvious segway to market the rest of your course to them.

Courses have a high perceived value, so people are usually willing to part with their email addresses to be part of them. Post the first day or lesson on your blog or podcast, and then have people sign up for the rest of the course if they want the material.

Α free online course. Providing a complete online course for free is the ultimate lead magnet. You can create a mini course to show your potential customers the quality of your next courses and also capture more leads.

It can be as simple as a 10 minutes lesson that explains a particular concept or teaches a skill (eg., “learn to do this one thing today to become a better entrepreneur/programmer/father/football player”).
Make sure by offering those products that you ask people if they want a subscription. Anyway, they are likely to consent if they see you bring more value to them. So, continue with providing excellent content.

3Capturing emails from your website

Your website is the center of your activities, where visitors come to get more information. It is the one place you have most control. If someone reached your website, it’s a strong indication that they might be interested in what you are offering, so you should be trying to get them into your email list.
How to do that?

1) Welcome Mat:
Create a landing page and insert a static “Welcome mat” landing page. Welcome mats are usually scrollable. Once the visitors see this page, they can just scroll past it and see your typical landing page.

lead capture template from LearnWorlds

2) Create a Popup.
You can use a timed Popup or make it appear once the user is going to leave the page.

3) Set a Pre-launch lead capture
Another marketing technique we often recommend is pre launching your school, before even you have it ready. You can also add a launch date to your course, and offer a discount (eg., 20% or more) for those who subscribe in your newsletter through this lead capture.

lead capture date template

4) Social Media Lead Generation
If you have an active and engaged social media followership, then, why not getting them onboarding your email list? Here are eight ways you may not have thought before about using Social Media to catch new subscribers:

  • Including a call to action (CTA) in your social media bios (eg., “see my blog”).
  • Including an image of your opt-in offer and your URL in your Facebook’s cover image.
  • Setting your Facebook page’s call to action button.
  • Post CTAs on Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram groups and in Google+ communities.
  • Add a link to your landing page in your Linkedin profile.
  • Create CTAs within your videos (Add a callout link over the top the video or include links in the description of every video.
  • Pinning a CTA to your board on Pinterest.
  • Finding your highest-converting blog posts to convert visitors into subscribers. Link those posts to other related articles on social media, emphasizing their value.

5) Have you used Facebook Lead Ads?
Facebook Lead Ads were created to make forms easier to fill out and increase conversions. With only two clicks the user gets subscribed to your email list.

A user clicks on a Lead Ad, and a form opens up to gather the user’s contact information. CTA buttons come with the options of “Sign Up,” “Subscribe,” “Learn More,” “Get Quote,” “Download,” “Apply Now”.

Facebook automatically fills out the fields on the form with information from the user’s profile (name, e-mail address and phone number). A great way to capture more leads.

P.S.: Linkedin, Twitter and other social media offer their own lead ad options. Use the one that better reflects your audience.

B. How should I use my email list?

An email list is your tool to nurture leads into paying customers. It is a direct way of communicating with people interested to what you have to offer.

Firstly, you should strive to give value to your subscribers, as to get them interested and interacting, and slowly push them towards your sales funnel giving them incentives and suggestions for your products or services.

But, let’s not get too far, too fast. Here is what you will need:

1Find the best email service provider

Using your email account, you have no real way to grow your list. Signing on with a good email service provider (ESP) to help you manage and expand your list is incredibly important.

When considering an email service provider, you’ll want to make sure you can build a database of subscribers, tag or segment your users, set up automated follow-up sequences and place signup forms on your website and landing pages.

We do suggest using MailChimp for this purpose and also have a built-in integration with it. Hence, you can easily create your email list and effectively communicate with your students. Students’ emails are sent automatically to your MailChimp account so that your lists are always informed.

At any time you can synchronize MailChimp with all the latest data from Learnworlds: Each of your leads is tagged with the courses they have bought, so that you can segment your list and send personalized messages like special offers and announcements.

We find that Mailchimp combines lots of advantages that good ESPs have.

  • It is easy to use.
  • Has a powerful A/B Testing features.
  • The autoresponder sequences are easy to implement.
  • It’s extremely easy to create triggered emails.
  • It is free for your first 2000 users in your email list and also for this package it allows you to send 12000 per month, a number which is more than enough for your first steps.

2Segment your list

Dividing your subscribers into groups) is essential so you can send more personalized content. Those groups can range from where they opted and their buy intent.

3Drip feed your emails

Your email service provider will help you drip feed your emails.

Drip campaigns are also called automated email campaigns, lifecycle emails, autoresponders, and marketing automation.

With drip campaigns, new subscribers can see the older emails you’ve sent out because the message timing has a set course and arrival. Also, automated messages are released to specific subscribers depending on their status and behaviors.

Research shows that running a drip campaign to a segmented list can drive 18x more revenue for businesses and leads that are nurtured over time make 47% larger purchases (source).

Drip sequences also build a stronger rapport with your receivers. By putting subscribers into different funnels, you can:

  • Run campaigns for rewarding your best customers
  • Educate prospects
  • Welcome new customers or
  • Promote specific pieces of content.

You can learn more about how to drip feed your campaign here.

4Create awesome email content

Effective email campaigns depend on three factors according to SendGrid

  • Sending to the right person
  • Sending at the right time
  • Sending with the right frequency

However, despite the fact that you may have managed well those three factors, lots of email newsletters may flop. This happens because some emails may be an uninteresting mush of content. The result is that people automatically ignore, delete, or straight up unsubscribe from.

What’s the key to avoid creating ineffective emails? That’s right! GREAT CONTENT.
Creating great content is crucial, if your want your recipients to be willing to open and read your emails.

What can you offer your audience to get them excited about learning more from you?

The secret to creating the most appealing content for your subscribers is by treating your numbers like actual human beings.

You may think that 200-300 people on your email list are a small number. But, it can be frightening to think about having this number of people in a single room to hear you speak, right?

Let’s look at some examples of quality content you can include in your emails to increase the open rates:

1Free Webinars

Such email messages yield 67.9% higher open rate and 241.3% higher click rates than standard email messages (Source: Epsilon).

2No-risk CTAs

According to WordStream, merely using one call-to-action (CTA) in an email increases clicks by 371% and sales by 1617%.

By offering no risk, free trials you can convince people that they need your product and must pay for it. The user should realize they need your tool to function properly because, with your tool, they will be quicker, more efficient, more productive, and have an impressive final product.


61% of readers will read a review or testimonial online before purchasing (eConsultancy reports). Get them in front of your audience!


Videos are a great method of communicating or explaining. Videos are much more lively than text, build a strong rapport. Due to their appealing nature videos have brought marketers positive results to their ROI.

5Social and Fun Content

Such emails encourage their readers to enjoy reading them even if they aren’t planning to buy anything at that moment. See for example Chubbies company.

6Sharing News

By mentioning a current topic you can bring in a new audience and make your current users joyful (You can learn how to incorporate news into your marketing strategy here).

7Nice Illustration

Readers spend more time looking through images than reading text when they are relevant (Eye-tracking studies).