How to Build an Email List from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

My Post (6).pngIf you’ve already got your first online store or landing page promotion set up, the next step is to get it in front of an audience. Because unfortunately, most people won’t just find you by random happenstance. (“If you build it, they will come,” doesn’t apply to online marketing. Sorry Kevin Costner fans.) The next step of the game—and the most effective way to grow your online business—is to build an email list of interested prospects.

This can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re starting with nadda single person in your database. But it doesn’t have to take years to get a sizable number of subscribers. There are some easy steps you can take today to grow your email list much faster.

Despite what you may have heard from some of the marketing Nostrdramuses over the years, “email is most definitely not dead.” (Seriously, an article like this one has popped up every year since 2007. It’s been over a decade—maybe we should all stop planning the funeral?) The truth is that email is still one of the best ways to reach customers online, especially if you’re a small business. And it delivers some of the best ROI out of all the marketing channels out there.

Unlike SEO (which can be competitive and complex), social media (which can be wildly inconsistent), and online advertising (which can cost mucho money), email is practically made for marketers. It’s straightforward, predictable, affordable, and easy to use. And with email, you can build relationships that turn one-off customers into repeat business.

But first—you need to start building that email list. So let’s get started.

Step 1. Get an Email Marketing Tool

Before you start building your list, you’re going to want to sign up for an email marketing tool like ActiveCampaignCampaign Monitor, or Mailchimp. These are some of the most popular pieces of software for not only building and sending emails to your customers, but also collecting and organizing your email list. (Because trust me… you’re not gonna want to keep track of all this on an Excel spreadsheet.) The initial costs for these tools are very low—and all of them offer free plans or trials that make it easy to get started.

Once you’ve chosen a tool, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with how it works. Each platform is slightly different, but some of the first steps you’ll want to take include…

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