5 Proven Tactics to Build a Killer Targeted Email List from Scratch

. 8 min read
5 Proven Tactics to Build a Killer Targeted Email List from Scratch

Running an online business is incredibly challenging, especially in the initial growth stages. One of the most overlooked business growth tips is leveraging the power of email marketing. Though it may seem simple, a business email is a powerful marketing tool. It gets you directly into the inbox of your audience and offers excellent ROI. For every $1 you spend on email marketing, the average ROI is a whopping $42; that's an impressive return of 4200%!

Sending out business emails and newsletters are proven business tips to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers, as 21% of all emails are opened within the first hour of delivery. It increases your brand’s recall value.

Why do you need a targeted email list?

A targeted email list can showcase your products, promote new launches, offer discounts, share news pieces with your subscribers. Besides nurturing your relationship with a customer, it also enables you to generate leads and turn casual subscribers into long-term customers.

For successful email marketing, you need to reach out to the right audience. Remember, you need to focus on quality over quantity.  Let's say you run an online store for pet products. Sending dozens of expertly crafted emails to 1000 non-pet owners serves no purpose.

So how do you get the right subscribers for your email marketing campaigns? The answer lies in building a targeted list. This includes subscribers who have shown interest in your products and services and are more likely to buy. In this guide, we share the top tactics to build a targeted email list of subscribers for your online business.

#1: Provide Customers with Multiple Locations to Sign Up for your Emails

An effective business growth tip is to grow your email list organically from scratch by collecting email addresses on your site. Pop-up forms make it easy for site visitors to share their email addresses with you. Though it sounds simple, it's an effective tool to grow your audience. Research by Mailchimp shows that businesses saw an increase in email list growth rate by 50.8% after adding a pop-up form on their site.

Here are a few online business tips to keep in mind while including a pop-up form on your website:

  • Keep the headline catchy and attractive. Let customers know the benefits of subscribing to your email list.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t burden the customer with a multi-step form. Just a simple form to collect the email address is sufficient. Don’t complicate the process.
  • Set the pop-up form to appear on your site after 5 seconds (if site visitors leave quickly) or after 20 seconds if site visitors stay on your site to browse.
  • You can also set the pop-up form to appear as soon as the user clicks the close button.
  • Use a welcome mat, smart bar, or other handy widgets to get the user's attention and get them to sign up.

#2: Give Subscribers an Incentive to Join the List

Everyone loves a freebie. You can get customers to sign up for your email list when you give them a reason to sign up. The right incentives depend on the nature of your online business. Here are some examples of sign-up bonuses:

  • Free shipping on the customer’s first order
  • A discount code that the customer can use on their next order
  • A free workbook, e-book, or other digital resources
  • First to receive new product notifications

The best incentive is one that doesn't cost you much but adds value to the subscriber.

woman using social media on her phone and laptop

#3: Use your Social Media Channels to Get Email Subscribers

Social media is an indispensable marketing tool. It doesn't matter whether your business is small, B2B or B2C; an engaging social media presence has become necessary for companies today. Here are a few proven business tips and tricks for collecting email addresses using your social media pages.

  • Pair your email sign-up post with a visually attractive image or video.
  • Let your audience know what they get when they sign up – a special discount, first to know about product launches, etc.
  • Make it easy for your target audience to sign up. Avoid unnecessary steps like getting contact numbers, first and last names. Keep the form simple with just a box for collecting email addresses.

Using marketing channels like social media to build your email list offers the best returns. This is because your social media audience has already shown interest in your products/services. By following it up with emails, you can convert them quickly.

#4: Make use of Auto Responders

The reason people sign up for an email list is due to an interest in the products/services offered. Don’t let their interest wane. You need to keep the momentum going once they sign up.

Autoresponders help you capitalise on their initial excitement. You can set up a series of welcoming messages, spread over three to five emails, over several weeks. Autoresponders are sent automatically to every subscriber once they sign up for your email list.

The goal of these emails is to get new subscribers to take the necessary action – encourage them to visit your site, connect with your brand on social media, or complete a purchase.

#5: Email Your Subscribers Periodically but Not Too Frequently

Building a targeted email list isn’t just about getting people to sign up. You need to work on keeping them on the list. The autoresponder welcome sequence is just an introduction. It gives your subscribers an idea of what to expect from your brand.

The next step is to provide your subscribers with something of value. This way, they stay on your list and avoid unsubscribing. The frequency of your emails plays a crucial role in maintaining your list. Here are a few business growth tips to keep in mind while sending out emails:

  • Nail the "Goldilocks" syndrome. If your emails are too frequent, your subscribers will get annoyed. Too few, your subscribers may forget your brand. You need to get the frequency just right. The general rule of thumb is 1 or 2 emails per week, depending on your business.
  • Test different frequencies. Measure the CTR (click-through-rates) to decide the frequency that works best for your brand.

Final Thoughts

Taking the time to build and maintain your email list will give you a better chance to market directly to your target audience. Every minute you spend on expanding your list is an opportunity to grow your customer base.

Just like the other marketing techniques, email marketing also evolves as your business grows. Make sure to analyse and understand your email subscriber list. Watch out for any red flags. Are many subscribers unsubscribing after a few weeks? How about the click-through rates? Are you able to achieve the desired action with your emails?

Your subscriber list is more than a marketing tool. It’s THE ultimate contact list of old and new customers. Take the time to build it right using the tactics suggested here.

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4) Top 20 Small Business Ideas In 2021
5) OkCredit: All you need to know about OkCredit & how it works.


Q. Can I take a shortcut and purchase email subscriber lists?

Ans. Buying contacts never work in the long run. Sending marketing emails to people who never signed up for your emails is annoying and detrimental to your brand image. It can cause your emails to be marked as spam, damaging your chances of connecting with authentic contacts.

Q. Can I use my regular email to send marketing emails to subscribers?

Ans. Using your regular email service like Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo for sending bulk marketing emails is a sure way to get your emails reported as spam. Instead, use a third-party email marketing service provider like Litmus, MailChimp, SendGrid, ConstantContact, etc.

Q. Is it enough if I have one email subscriber list?

Ans. It's a great idea to segment your master list into different groups based on where the customer is in the buying journey. To give a basic example, you can maintain three separate lists: customers who frequently purchase, one-time customers, and subscribers yet to buy. This way, you can send different targeted emails to each group instead of sending the same content to all. This is just an example. You can segregate your email subscriber list in several ways based on your goals and targets.

Q. Why are my site visitors not signing up for my email list?

Ans. Check if you’re making any of these mistakes:

  • Using a complicated sign-up form. Just ask for the email address. Try to simplify the process as much as possible.
  • Not offering incentives to sign up. A simple offer like a 10% discount code for the first purchase can motivate people to sign up.
  • Check if the sign-up form appears on the right pages of your website. See if it’s easy to find.

Q. I have built my list. What’s the next step?

Ans. Building the email list is just the first step. Next comes the crucial part: you need to keep your audience interested by providing them with high-quality and valuable content. Some content ideas for email newsletters include:

  • Video tutorials
  • E-books
  • Product announcements
  • Early access to sales, offers, etc.

Get creative and think of new ways to add value to your audience.