How to Build an Email List Fast in 2021?


How to Build an Email List Fast in 2021?

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Email Marketing

Feb 22 2021

7 min read


7 min read

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With all the craziness that happened last year, it’s time to stick it to 2021 by doing something AWESOME. One way to do that is to build an email list as fast as you can.

Why? Because it has the potential to generate $40 for every $1 spent compared to any type of marketing strategy - that’s why.


Think about it - the faster you can build your email, the faster you can make money! It’s the least you can do for your business after the debacle that was 2020.

But while we all want an endless source of targeted and highly-engaged email subscribers, a lucrative goose that lays golden eggs of revenue, actually building a great email list is much easier said than done without resorting to shady tactics, i.e. BUYING EMAIL LISTS.


How to Build an Email List Fast?

Use sign-up forms and pop-ups on your website

Sign-up forms are the easiest way to capture the details of website visitors.

You can create a signup form using your email marketing platform of choice and embed it on any page of your site - preferably a landing page. It usually asks visitors to enter their email addresses and name.

Next, the information is then stored in your email list. From here, you can segment your contacts accordingly to send the HIGHLY TARGETED emails in line with their interests.

The problem with these forms is that you need to get people to visit the page where the form is embedded. Else, they won’t be able to sign up and you won’t be able to grow your email list!

A solution to this is by using pop-ups instead.

They can appear anywhere on your site. That means there’s no reason why your visitors won’t see your form and have the chance to sign up for your email list.

However, there’s one slight problem with pop-up forms:


Imagine going to a page wanting to gain information about a topic, only for the pop-up to plaster all over your screen. This could lead visitors to leave your site!

That’s why you need to TONE DOWN using them on your site. For starters, don’t make the popups show IMMEDIATELY after your website page loads. Give it a few minutes or let the visitors scroll down the page first before loading the popups

In other words:

Allow visitors to browse your site first!

You can experiment with different types of popups to see which gets the best results, but research has shown that an exit-intent pop-up, which appears only as users are preparing to leave the site, performs better than an immediate pop-up.

Aside from exit-intent, there are other types of forms you can use to show to visitors:

  • Scroll box
  • Notification/floating bar
  • Lightbox
  • Full-screen
  • Gamified

Play with gamified interactive popups that offer incentives like this one from The Purr Shop above, send different popups to different segments of your target audience, add extra fields to collect SMS details too... be creative and test, test, test!

Additional tip: Make sure that you practice permission-based marketing when you build an email list. The fact that they get consent by giving away their details at their own will means they are more likely to ENGAGE with your brand!

You also get to stay on the right side of GDPR, an EU regulation that requires users to fully agree before giving away their personal information online.

Optimize your call to action buttons

“Click here to subscribe!”

“Receive our weekly newsletter!”

“Press Here!!”

Let’s face it, you’ve seen these call-to-action buttons on pop-up forms before. And how many forms with CTAs like this have you signed up for before? I rest my case.

There are two elements you need to worry about with your call to action: the color and copy.

A lot has been about which color you must use for your CTA buttons. This post pits green and red CTA buttons against each other to see which converts more.

But determining the color you need to use for your call to action is like choosing which outfit you want to wear for the day - IT DEPENDS on a variety of factors.

But what the post proves - which is relevant to most of the tips here - is you must keep testing and see which colors produce the best conversion rate. You can start with either red or green then work your way up to different colors and match the results.

Regarding the copy, you must be mindful of ‘power words’ to convey a direct benefit to the user. This way, you make the choice of joining your email list an easy one — who wouldn’t want ‘Instant Access’ to your amazing community for the price of some basic details?

Some good power words to use on your CTA button might include:

  • Explore
  • Join
  • Save
  • Start
  • Upgrade
  • Find
  • Free
  • Try
  • Get
  • Create

These verbs create a sense of action and urgency, and when combined with bold button colors, the benefits that you offer for signing up, and a hassle-free experience. Check out the example by Avanchy below:

Offer something of value

There are two ways you can do this: lead magnets and hosting an online event.

Lead magnets - also known as content upgrades - are HIGH-VALUE content pieces that you’re giving out for FREE but only if visitors will join your email list.

Examples of a content upgrade are as follows:

  • Ebook
  • Checklist
  • Cheatsheet
  • Template

By offering a piece of content FOR FREE, you’ll gain the goodwill and trust of your visitors as you build your email list.

The best lead magnets and content upgrades are related to your area of EXPERTISE. Take the above pop-up by AdEspresso, for example, which offers a free ebook with insights into advertising on Facebook.

Alternatively, if you have the resources, you could consider hosting an online event. This could be something like a free course, a panel discussion, or an interview with a celebrity or influencer connected to your field. Simply build an email list when people register for the event, with a clear clause indicating consent for further correspondence.

Your expertise signifies an authority in your field, which in turn builds trust for newcomers to your website — people are more likely to purchase from a retailer with a deep understanding of its product.

Incentivize customers to receive "Email Only" specials

A good email list is an extremely valuable asset, so it’s certainly worth spicing the deal up a little bit by offering something nice in exchange for a visitor’s email address. It doesn’t have to be anything intricate or fancy — maybe free shipping on the first purchase, or a giveaway of one of your products for email subscribers only. Check out the example below:

Launch viral giveaways on social media

Harness the power of social platforms by creating competitions and promotions on platforms like Facebook or Instagram, with an email address required to enter. Because while social media might have a greater reach, email boasts 3x higher conversions and customers have consistently shown to prefer receiving promotional messages by email rather than their Facebook.

So rather than advertise your products directly on social media (and pay a hefty fee in the process) it makes sense to use it primarily to create a buzz while gathering email addresses for your list, instead.

You can create a competition with one of your products as a prize, with the number of entries increasing with the number of times a user has shared your post or followed one of your other social accounts. This will both increase your reach and get people talking about your brand — all while your list grows organically.

Use affiliate and referral marketing

Similar to the above tactic of using existing subscribers to attract new ones, referral marketing is a good way to get your followers to share your offers with their friends, family, and colleagues.

There are ways that you can get referrals for free — you can simply add an easy ‘share’ or ‘forward’ option to your newsletters, lead magnets, or welcome emails. However, to sweeten the deal, you could offer a reward in return for a referral, something along the lines of a discount, free shipping, coupon, or free sample.

Because nothing is more powerful than word-of-mouth, referrals are an incredibly effective and time-tested technique. Add it to your list-building arsenal and watch your list grow exponentially!

Promote your sign up page aggressively

Build a landing page on your site where people can join with their email addresses so you can grow your email list.

From here, you must ramp up your promotions strategy for this page.

I don’t mean you SPAM your visitors and friendly BEGGING them to hand over their email addresses just so you can grow your email list.

There’s a way of being aggressive without being ANNOYING - you just have to be creative about it!

In this case, you can link to your dedicated landing page from different platforms. Here are a few places where you link to your sign-up page aside from your website:

  • Social media bios (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram bio link, etc.)
  • Email signature
  • Author bio whenever you write guest posts
  • Quora bio
  • Forum/bulletin board profiles

The idea here is to make your landing page been seen in as many places as possible! This way, you increase awareness to your sign-up page and allow you to grow your email list faster.

Another method of growing your email list via promotions is going the paid ads strategy. Market your landing page using Facebook Ads or Google Ads by bidding for keywords relevant to the offer of the form. When done correctly, you can instantly appear on top of Google search or in the feeds of your target audience, allowing you to turn people into subscribers!

Ready to grow your email list?

Congratulations! Your email list goose is now well-fed and happy, laying you endless golden eggs of conversions and revenue.

Because if you look after your list, nurture it and keep it healthy, it will continue to be your best source of revenue long into the future. But remember the golden rule — it’s about quality, not quantity. A shorter list of engaged, interested subscribers making referrals and moving down the sales funnel is far better than a long list of inactive, disinterested contacts!

Here’s the thing, though:

You will need an effective email platform to grow your email list quickly!

There are a plethora of smart, automated email marketing services on the market that can make curating your email list easier than ever before. The key is finding one that best meets your needs and budget, and that offers at least the following features:

  • A range of eye-catching and effective signup form templates
  • The ability to send different forms to different lists
  • Smart segmentation of subscribers based on their demographics and behavior
  • Testing and reports based on the effectiveness of each signup form
  • Automated messaging based on all data collected

With a solid automation platform and these features up and running, you should be collecting signups automatically, and getting them sorted into highly-targeted lists based on a variety of factors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I make an email list quickly?

You must display a valuable and irresistible offer on your pop-ups and forms that you must strategically use on your site. You also need to build landing pages where you can link from other sites and promote on social media.

How do I create an email list?

Using an email platform, you must create a list where you can organize and segment your subscribers. Then create a form for each segment that you can embed as a sign-up form or make it appear as a pop-up on any page on your site.

How do I build an email list from scratch?

You must set up the forms where people can sign up to become subscribers in your list and place them at strategic places on your site. To get more subscribers, you must drive traffic to get more people to see your forms and encourage them to join.

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August 20, 2021
12:20 PM

Really very useful article. I will use this tips to create my Email list.

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August 21, 2021
5:55 AM

Great article @lauran! Thank you for recommending Optimize call to action buttons .

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July 17, 2021
2:07 PM

Hey, I just read your comment this is the same situation that I’m going through but now with this help, I’m more focused. Thank you

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July 18, 2021
4:10 PM

Really superb post and I found something more interesting and deep content. I enjoy it!

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July 4, 2021
9:12 AM

I enjoyed the practical tips in the article. I will use these techniques to build my list

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August 22, 2021
12:23 PM

This article added so much value I even had to opt-in the email list. Great job really needed this right now