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    How to build an email list without becoming a jerk

    by Svetlana Zemliankina

    how to build an email list

    Today we are going to talk a little bit more about legal email list building and find out how to build an email list in a  healthy white-hat fashion, so that nobody wants you dead the next day after you send your newsletters (or spam emails, if you are one of those guys).

    If you've already misbehaved and your email list could use some cleanup, check out our handy tutorial on email list cleaning first.

    Any email campaign, lead generation, or drip marketing—all of these tactics have one very important common element.

    Each of them begins with a mailing list, and the quality of the data in this list has a direct impact on the success of each.

    How can you increase the size of your mailing list?
    How can you do it correctly and efficiently?

    Constantly building the mailing list has its advantages, even without considering the apparent increase in its size. For example, new subscribers are often more active than those who have been listed longer. Newly signed-up recipients want to open your messages, read them, and click on links.

    For this reason (and many others), you should always strive to increase the size of your mailing list. This will help you not only to be confident in the future, but will open up new prospects for you.

    Many businessmen who want to increase the number of their email recipients sometimes forget the main thing: everything should be legal! Subscribers must themselves express a desire to receive a newsletter.

    Let's look at "what is good and what is bad" when it comes to harvesting email addresses.






    • Sending messages to people who have subscribed at your own website.
    • Sending messages to people who have subscribed to receive emails from you offline.
    • Sending messages to people who have signed up to receive emails on your site during registration or a purchase.
    • Sending messages to internal lists of employees (for corporate notices, etc).
    • Sending messages to people who have bought one of your products or attended an event, and gave you their address to receive news from you.
    • Sending press releases to journalists who have subscribed at your website.
    • Lists purchased from third parties.
    • Rented lists.
    • Addresses that you have collected from other sites (manually or automatically).
    • Recipients who have not given their consent to receive emails, but you still send messages, assuming that they are interested in your information
    • Members of groups or organizations who have not asked you to send letters to them (even if you are a member of the group or organization).
    • Sending unsolicited press releases to journalists.
    • Sending letters to the addresses indicated on business cards that you have been given for communication (but not for emailing).


    Increasing the size of your mailing list may seem like a complicated process, but with a sufficiently large number of tactics at your disposal, it's only a matter of time.

    In order to determine the most effective methods of email list building, we interviewed a large number of marketers. The research results are listed below, starting from the most effective.


    First place was taken by the honorable "Registration during purchase"

    More than 90% of email marketers state that the addition of a mandatory subscription form in the buying process is a “somewhat effective” method to increase mailing lists. This tactic is probably the only one that 61% of marketers of all industries called "very effective".

    This method is much more popular among marketers who promote online stores (59% are actively using it) in comparison with other industries:

    • Professional and financial services: 31%
    • Software and software as a service: 28%
    • Education or healthcare: 26%

    Second place was taken by "Online events (e.g. webinar, etc.)"

    Offering content or something worthwhile is a common way to build a list of addresses. As you can see, online events are a strong incentive for a contact to provide his or her address. Over 90% of email marketers state that this is a “somewhat effective” method to increase mailing lists, and 41% of marketers of other industries call this tactic "very effective".

    Live events work best in the software sector (46% of marketers call them "very effective"). Percentages fall to 24% in the industry of e-commerce, which is understandable. Have you ever visited online events in order to buy something on eBay or any other online store?

    Third place was taken by "Website registration page"

    A website registration page is the most popular tactic to build an email list among email marketers, 75% of whom are using one.

    Adding a few calls to action to subscribe throughout your site can significantly increase the number of your subscribers. Kodak, for example, has collected more than 33% of their email subscribers by renewing their registration form and adding a large number of calls to action, as well as adding a subscription form on Facebook.

    Of course, there is much more to the equation, but if you've already implemented all of the suggested ways of increasing your newsletter audience and still wonder about how to build an email list, always remember the number one rule: you should have a strong reason to believe that the owner of the email would actually enjoy reading your messages, and be honest with yourself on this one. Of course it's hard to judge about the level of satisfaction of your recipients and correct your strategy accordingly without a solid evidence, and that's where our email tracking service comes into play.

    We wish you success in increasing the number of your subscribers, successful email campaigns, and incredible profits!

    Written by:
    Svetlana Zemliankina
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