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12 Tips to Build an Email List that Converts

58% of people check email before they check the news or social media in the morning. There’s no doubt that email marketing is a powerful tool to reach potential customers. However, before you can send the email, you need to build the email list.

How can you build an email list of people who are likely to convert? In this guide, the Philadelphia email marketing experts at Forge Apollo cover 12 ways to build your email list with contacts who want to hear from you.

The Importance of Continuous List Building and Cleaning

Some people think building an email list is a one-and-done process. But list quality degrades over time. Contacts may move companies, change email addresses, or lose interest.

Maintaining an email list with high-quality contacts who receive, open, and engage with your emails requires removing stale email addresses and adding new ones.

The likelihood of receiving, opening, and engaging with emails plays off each other. Your sender reputation controls the probability of landing in your contacts’ inbox instead of the spam folder. 

The percentage of existing contacts who open and engage with your emails is what determines your sender reputation. That’s why it’s vital to continuously clean and build your list.

Why Unsubscribed Contacts Can Be A Good Thing

Contacts unsubscribing from your emails should not cause panic. In a few ways, it actually helps you.

The people most likely to open and engage with your emails are the people who want to receive them. For example, if someone doesn’t care about your emails and never opens them, that hurts your sender reputation. Then, other contacts are less likely to see your emails in the future.

People who unsubscribe from your email list were unlikely to convert anyway. So, it’s best for your deliverability rate if they leave your list. Plus, them opening your email to click the unsubscribe link counts as someone opening and engaging with your content.

The unsubscription rate is only concerning if it’s very high. That’s a sign that your audience doesn’t find value in the content. If that’s the case, you need a significant change to your content or audience.

Opt-In and Consent

While statistics show that email marketing certainly isn’t dead, contact lists of people who don’t want to hear from you should be. Make it clear to new contacts that they’re opting in and consenting to your emails. That will result in better open rates and conversions over time because communication starts from a place of trust.

If an existing email list feels stale, an opt-in campaign is a great way to segment out the people who really want to hear from you. Send your list an email asking if they still want to hear from you, and segment out the people who select yes.

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How to Build Your Email List

Okay, so you want to build an email list of people who want to hear from you. How do you do it?

Here are some tips that fit into a basic, three-phase process:

  • Create content worth signing up for
  • Make it easy to sign up
  • Promote the value of signing up

Let’s go over some email list-building tactics for each phase.

Create Content Worth Signing Up For

The best way to grow your email list is to create email content worth signing up for.

1. Create Valuable Content that People Want to Share

Instead of bland company updates, offer valuable content, like an insight-rich newsletter. If your content is valuable enough, existing subscribers can help you grow your list by recommending it to friends.

Include a link or a prompt in your emails that says, “Did you find this helpful? Share it with a friend!”

2. Provide a VIP Experience

When people feel like you’re giving them exclusive access, they feel special. Frame the copy in your email signup forms as signing up for “exclusive” content, discounts, and other offers.

3. Offer Enticing Gated Content

Create some valuable offers that people are willing to trade their information for. By starting on a helpful note, they’ll also be more likely to open future emails in the hope of more value.

For example, Philadelphia marketing agency Forge Apollo offers a free website audit as a gated offer.

 Some other examples of gated content are:

  • Guides
  • Ebooks
  • Checklists
  • Reports
  • Tools
  • Webinars

4. Host a Contest

Hosting a contest is one of the classic ways to build an email list because it works. For example, Forge Apollo recently ran a contest that celebrated Manufacturing Day with a contest offering free marketing services to one lucky manufacturer.


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Make it Easy to Sign Up

In the age of spam and stolen identities, people are wary of sharing too much information. They’re not going to search out an email sign-up form. And when they come across one, they’ll need to trust you before sharing their information.

5. Keep Lead Capture Forms Simple

Try removing some fields if your lead capture forms have low conversion rates. Essentially, the only thing you need to get someone on an email list is their first name and email address. You can build trust from there and share future offers to get more information.

6. Add Sign-Up Forms to Valuable Web Pages

Do you have a guide or a helpful blog post that gets a lot of traffic and view time? Add a form that prompts readers to “sign up for more content like this!”.

7. Utilize Pop-Ups

Put a sign-up form for your newsletter, discounts, offer, etc. in front of website visitors so they don’t have to search it out. Include one of these call-to-action examples to motivate conversions.

8. Internal Links

Link trust-building pages throughout your website to pages encouraging sign-ups, like your contact page.

9. Gain Trust with Testimonials

Include testimonials on offer landing pages to build trust with the people that you want to sign up.

Promote Your Value to Build an Email List

This may seem obvious, but some companies put effort into creating valuable email offers and forget about promoting them. Or, they do a great job of sharing initially but fail to keep sharing over time.

10. Leverage Social Media

Promote your gated offers and newsletters on social media. If you get a lot of clicks but not many conversions, try warming visitors up with a blog post about a related topic that gets people interested. Also, add a link to your bio to sign up for your email list.

11. Partner for More Reach

Working with a trusted industry partner on a mutual gated offer, like a webinar or ebook, is a great way to get in front of each other’s audiences and build your email lists.

12. Host or Attend Live Events

Virtual or in-person live events are great places to connect with new people and get them to sign up for more content from you.

Create Quality Content with an Expert Email Marketing Agency in Philadelphia

If the idea of building an email list and creating valuable content to serve them overwhelms you, the digital marketing team at Forge Apollo in Philadelphia is here to help. Our team of strategists can help your plan ways to build your email list. Our copywriters can create valuable offers, newsletters, and more to serve your audience. Contact us today to learn more about how to build a profitable email list for your business.

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