How to Build an Insanely Profitable Email List

research from Shopify, email marketing provides a nearly 4,300% ROI, in addition to roughly 70% of email recipients saying that they use coupons or discounts after learning about them in an email. While those engagement numbers are impressive, you should consider another point when thinking that you can afford to put less effort into building an email list: Your email list is yours. Unless you sell it (which you should never, ever do) you own the relationship between your company and the customer. This is a unique situation because every other marketing channel allows you to “lease” customers and their information. Because you spend money in Instagram, they allow you to market to their audience. What most marketers forget, though, is that Instagram could take all of their audience information away and leave you with next to nothing in terms of a marketable audience. That’s perhaps the biggest selling point behind email marketing – and that’s one of the leading reasons businesses are always searching out tips for building an email list. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most effective ways you can build an email list – and fast.

Sign-up Incentives

At times, email marketing is like negotiating with a toddler. To capture prospects’ attention, you have to give up something your business values in order to get information the prospect values – their contact information. With eCommerce, sign-up incentives almost always offer an immediate discount on certain items, or the promise of future discounts and access to member-only sales. As with most aspects of marketing, though, the creativity of your sign-up incentives directly correlate to an increase in sign-ups. Plenty of companies provide free industry resources – like whitepapers and eBooks – but few give away physical items just for signing up for an email list. Pens, koozies, calendars, and even notepads are great incentives to offer that deliver an almost-immediate benefit after a prospect signs up for your email list. Slap your logo and website on the physical items, eat the few dollars in shipping, and wait for that 4,300% ROI to kick in.


Popups were considered taboo not too long ago, but they’re becoming more and more effective in building an email list. This is largely due to the fact that popups usually contain relevant information, as opposed to whatever ad is scheduled to run next on your site. Best practices also dictate that you don’t populate every page of your site with popups, either. Homepages, select landing pages, your blog, and a reminder if users abandon their cart are generally all the popups you’ll need – or want. The key to seeing success here it to endlessly test your popups to ensure that:
  • They’re relevant to users
  • Achieve a good conversion rate
2% of your users should sign up for your email list. If your popups decrease that number, continue tweaking them until you get it right.

Internal Links

A good linking strategy obviously includes outbound links to industry leaders – but that’s balanced by links to your own content as well. You are the expert on your given products and services, to it’s not arrogant to link to content that proves a point you’re trying to make. These internal links are integral to good SEO, but they’re also hugely helpful in directing people to specific email subscription sign-up forms. Users shouldn’t stumble across sign-up opportunities. They should naturally arrive at them as they peruse your site. Keep sign-up forms on your homepage, blogroll, and your contact page at a bare minimum. Place them elsewhere as you see fit – but always have them on landing pages.

Leverage Social Media

Your social media profiles need to contain sign-up CTAs and/or incentives. On Facebook, it’s as simple as adding a CTA at the top of your company’s page. You’ll need to update it regularly to keep the offer fresh and enticing, but that’s a must if you really want to see your list grow. Then there’s Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Each platform has its unique strengths, and you can use posts on each to promote platform-specific messaging that encourages users to sign up for your emails. YouTube is another platform that gets overlooked yet remains effective. A simple CTA in your videos – and the video description and channel page – works wonders to direct traffic from YouTube to your website.

The Human Connection

Connecting with prospects in-person may be the most underrated yet wickedly successful ways to build a loyal, engaged audience. The human connection is the driving force that keeps tradeshows thriving. If you attend tradeshows regularly and you’re not collecting email addresses for those who visit the booth, you’re missing out on people who are a) already interested in your product, b) can put a face to the name of your company, and c) will feel a sense of connection to your company after meeting you in person. Additionally, for retailers with a brick-and-mortar location in addition to an online presence, you can collect email addresses at checkout. You’ll want to make sure you segment these subscribers from others, though; in-store and online shoppers tend to have different behaviors and respond differently to advertising. You also don’t want to send an in-store-only sale announcement to your online shoppers, and vice versa.

Keep Building

Your work to grow email lists never ends. You have to continue to grow the list, discover innovative ways to connect with your audience, and keep offers and content fresh and engaging. As long as you work on those key aspects of email marketing, the list you build will be insanely profitable.]]>

Greg is the founder and CEO of Stryde and a seasoned digital marketer who has worked with thousands of businesses, large and small, to generate more revenue via online marketing strategy and execution. Greg has written hundreds of blog posts as well as spoken at many events about online marketing strategy. You can follow Greg on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *






Join an E-commerce Newsletter Worth Reading

Subscribe to our twice-monthly, no-fluff newsletter packed with actionable insights to help grow your D2C brand!