One of the most effective ways to engage with your prospects and customers is having them on your email list. This way, you can find ways to provide helpful content, offer your services, and promote discounts to your audience.


However, if you’re an SME just starting to build your email list, it could be a challenge. It costs five times more to attract a customer than to keep an existing one. It would be best to focus on customer retention because it could serve as a valuable solution for increased revenue and sustainable growth.


Engaged customers lead to loyalty, and loyalty can pave the way to increased revenue.


How to build your email list from scratch?

  1. Personalise your call-to-action (CTA) for every blog or landing page.
  2. Create a pop-up or slide-in for each page of your site.
  3. Craft timed pop-up survey.
  4. Add flairs to your CTA’s “no, thanks” copy
  5. Describe “value” upfront in your CTA
  6. Pitch your email newsletter on your social media accounts and email signature.
  7. Create specific landing pages.
  8. Immediately invite them to sign up.
  9. Always have a CTA on your About Us page.
  10. Identify when your customers are ready to take action.

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1.Personalize your call-to-action (CTA) for every blog or landing page

People love it when you personalise things for them and it factors into the overall customer experience of your brand.

It creates a genuine connection with them. And even when emails are done remotely across a screen of a digital device, they prefer to view emails than those who do not have a personalised CTA.

A study found that emails with personalised CTAs are viewed 42% higher than emails with a standard CTA for all visitors.

It makes sense since people who access your website or blog are looking for specific topics that concern them. So having a personalised CTA in place would help you gain more potential email subscribers.


Case in point:


You have an Australian real-estate firm that released a blog on “How to Evaluate Foreclosed Properties” and has generated a ton of traffic.

You can maximise the reach this particular blog entry has and entice people reading it to subscribe to your email list. You can include a simple CTA like, “Click here to download a FREE e-book on “Pricing Trends for Foreclosed Properties from 2010-2020” which will help your readers further their knowledge on property pricing and evaluation of foreclosed properties.

However, personalised CTAs will work if you have enough resources to create the quality content people would sign up for.

Offering your content to the primary target audience will not appear gimmicky and sales-y if you’re addressing why they searched for your content in the first place.

Informative and helpful content will always be welcome to the eyes of the audience who need them.


2.Create a pop-up or slide-in for each page of your site.


Let’s admit it, pop-ups are annoying. However, it will be annoying to your audience if it’s irrelevant to the topic they searched for.

Pop-ups and slide-ins can be a driving tool for increased email subscribers if you use them right. You can use re-targeting on your on-page content.

For instance, you may adjust the time when the pop-up appears. It could be after they spent 15 seconds viewing your content. It could also be an exit pop-up that appears as they try to exit your site. You may also use slide-ins which could appear as users scroll a portion of your content.

The pop-up can be another resource material that could entice your audience to sign up. This way, your pop-up or slide-in would not be seen as annoying or intrusive. Instead, your audience will view it as helpful content to further satisfy them.


3. Craft timed pop-up survey


A good email marketer does not only reel any email subscriber. While having a huge amount of email subscribers in your email list looks great at first glance, it can be detrimental when those subscribers are not fully engaged with your brand.

Sometimes, it’s better to get quality email subscribers who regularly engage or invest in your content. You might want to reach out to visitors on specific pages with quick surveys related to the content they are viewing.

Tip: You can create a quick Yes/No poll at some point of your content which asks “Would you like to sign up for our newsletter?” Options could be: Yes (please enter your email) or No, thanks. Sometimes, being direct with your audience works wonders.


4. Add flairs to your CTA’s “no, thanks” copy


While being direct with “Yes or No” options do the job, you may likely convert those who would want to say no by adding flair to your “no, thanks” copy. Using humour or sarcasm can help in changing their minds in a heartbeat.

Sometimes, keeping people entertained and making them hesitate increases your chance to have them sign up on your email list. Creative messaging makes your content more interesting and eye-catching which likely converts casual viewers that inevitably helps build your email list.


Case in point:


Suppose you are offering website services and your content was centred on the most common errors you can find on SME websites. Then, your CTA is encouraging them to sign up to your email list.

Your copy can appear like this:

“Download a FREE e-book on 10 Most Common Website Errors and How to Fix Them”

Option 1: Yes, sign me up!

Option 2: No, I don’t want my website fixed


5. Describe “value” upfront in your CTA


So far, most of the tips involved in formatting and various approaches you could use to build your email list. However, we have not talked about how you would encourage them to sign up using words.


As said in No.4, adding flair to your copy can make or break a sign up from your audience. Using humour and sarcasm could help, but you can rely on better copy more than that.

First of all, you have to describe the value your emails could give the audience upfront. Having a copywriter who can come up with various options capturing the message helps, too.

Instead of using direct words like “sign up” or “subscribe” on your copy, you should opt to describe the value you can offer. People will not sign up for possible junk mail in their inboxes, so it’s crucial that you highlight the benefits they will be getting by signing up.

Words like “Download,” “Featured,” “Exclusive,” “Access,” can invoke actions from your audience to sign up because they should not miss out on the resource you are offering.


6. Pitch your email newsletter on your social media accounts and email signature.


Social media is a great platform to promote your business in general. It would be greatly beneficial if you would also maximise its reach to promote your content. A common approach would be offering a resource on social media available for downloads posted on your account’s timeline, and boost the post in the platform to amplify its reach. People who follow you on your company social media could not be signed up yet, so give them an option to do so.

Using your company email signature would be beneficial too since your connections will also reach the content you might be offering. You may need to provide a link to your email signature, whether it’s a blog link or a landing page with email subscription CTAs.


7. Create creative landing pages.


Creating more personalised landing pages could increase your leads significantly. By having more personalised landing pages, you can customise your messaging and approach better to appeal to a wider and varying demographic.

When people recognise that you’re catering to their individual concerns, the more they would likely to sign up for the mailing list. Think of it as a specialty traditional restaurant that features particular dishes that could suit the palate of various kinds of customers.


8. Immediately invite them to sign up.


The attention span of your audience is getting shorter throughout the years. Studies show that the average attention span of a person is until 7 secs. This is the reason why short adverts are getting more popular –you only have seconds to get your audience hooked to subscribing to your content.

If your newsletter centres on just one or two topics, you can immediately invite them to sign up on your so you can add them to your email list.

It can be as simple as, “Want more FREE email marketing hacks? Sign up for our newsletter!” Being direct and straightforward in your messaging could move your interested audience immediately, too.


9. Always have a CTA on your About Us page.


Your “About Us” page on your website is probably one of the most viewed pages of your website after your homepage or the landing page where your audience came from. A new user could expect to learn more about the brand and its offerings.

So it is crucial that your “About Us” page contains the information a new user would be enticed to read. If you’re successful in enticing them, you might end up convincing them to avail your products or services. Having a CTA on the page would support the effort to convert consumers in the long run since it’s easier to invite than to have a “buy now” plea.


10. Identify when your customers are ready to take action.


Timing is everything when it comes to encouraging your audience to subscribe. You have to know when they would likely take action so you can be successful in getting as many quality sign-ups as possible.

Figure out your visitor behaviour through A/B testing, then place your CTA where it fits.

Would it be best to include it towards the bottom of a blog or would it be best if you place it along the scroll bar to capture their attention? How should I approach this CTA?

It is important to keep all these in mind because these options have both advantages and disadvantages. However, the deciding factor would be the kind of audience you are aiming for as you place your CTAs.


As the golden rule in digital marketing goes, “Always think about your target audience.”


These are just some of the most effective ways to build your email list from scratch. With a handful of talented email marketers, you can start the journey of better engagement with your target audience, prospects, and customers.


Do you have other effective strategies for building on an email list from scratch? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!


Bernard is a well-motivated and hardworking person who has acquired extensive training and experience in digital marketing. His broad experience in working with various international brands has helped him developed a strong capacity to manage multiple projects on strict timelines that adhere to brand identity and values. With his years of experience in digital marketing, he goes beyond the average marketers to help businesses achieve outstanding results.

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