Email Marketing 101: How to build an email list from scratch

by | Jul 15, 2019 | E-mail Marketing | 32 comments

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“The money is in the list!”. How many times have you heard this statement as a blogger or an online entrepreneur?

I guess, quite alot.

The reason why top bloggers & internet marketers keep emphasizing on email list building is that an email list is your asset. It makes you money.

You own your email list while you do not own your social media following.

While starting to build your email list you might not know where to start and it might seem intimidating.

Don’t worry! I’m right here to help you with everything you need to know to start building your list right away.

But first of all…

Why is email marketing + building an email list so important?

I believe you don’t know this… but, the number of email users in 2017 was 3.7 billion and this number is going to increase to 4.3 billion in 2022.

That’s half of the population of the third planet of our solar system. (For those who don’t know, it’s called Earth)

And… On average, 269 billion emails were sent & received daily in the year 2017 and this number is going to be around 333 billion in 2022. Insane!

And the most important thing – for every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average of $32 in return. And that’s really alllooottttt!

*Data taken from Statista & DMA, 2018

Since now you know the importance of building an email list we can move on to the next part.

Things to keep in mind before starting

You can’t really start building an email list if you don’t have a few other important things in place first.

At a minimum, here are the things that you should keep in mind before you start creating your email list.

know your audience first

Who are you going to target? Who do you expect to join your email list?

You need to have an idea about your audience before you begin with building your list.

The best thing to do is to create a user persona – a made up personality that represents your ideal customer or reader.

You can easily create a user persona on the basis of how your reader would look like, their age, gender, job, relationship status, salary, etc.

The more you know, the better it’ll be!

For example – If you are a dating & relationship blogger, then your ideal reader or customer would be a single guy (just like me XX) of age anywhere between 18-25.

This can be further narrowed down using sub-niches like In the above case they can be single guys, single dads, single mommas or single aliens. anyone. It’s just up to you.

The whole reason for creating a user persona is that you get an idea of where your potential customers or readers hang out or spend most of their online.

Once you find out where they hang out, You’ll have to go there and gather them out to your place.

Which brings us to our next point…

You need a website

The place where your potential readers or customers will gather is called a website.

You NEED a website. Without it, It’s not possible to build a list.

Creating a website might sound scary to you if you’re not a technical person.

I have a solution for you which is called WordPress. You can easily create a website in a day or two without any coding knowledge.

All you have to do is to get a domain + hosting, install WordPress, get a theme & start building your website in a few clicks of the mouse.

I have a whole post on the technical parts of starting a WordPress blog/website which you can check out here.

I would suggest you go with Divi theme as it has an excellent drag & drop page builder which is really easy to use and has tons of free templates to build a website.


All of my websites are built with Divi theme as well.

An Email marketing service

You need an email marketing service to collect emails & nurture your relationship with your subscribers.

Now, there are many email marketing service providers out there and you have to choose one for you very carefully.

Because once you make a decision, switching between different service providers can be really really difficult.

The biggest mistake many newbie bloggers make is that they go with the FREE services like MailChimp and regret it later.

The reason for not going with these kinds of services is – poor customer support and promotion of affiliate links not allowed.

That’s why I suggest you to go with Convertkit.

It is one of the most popular & highly recommended email marketing tools among bloggers and content creators. I use it myself. And the best part? You can get a 30-day FREE trial if yous sign-up through my link (instead of regular 14)!

You can get a 30-day FREE Convertkit trial from here.

convertkit - email marketing platform

Also readConvertkit Review: The Best Email Marketing Tool

Since everything is in place now, We are ready to get started with building your list.

Getting started: How to build your email list

Now we can actually start working on building your email list.

Build a quality email email list requires three things in place –

  • An incentive or an offer – To tempt your audience to give their email address
  • A sign-up form or landing page – To collect those email addresses
  • A welcome sequence – To form a relationship with your subscribers

Let’s look at each one of them in detail.

An incentive or offer

An incentive or a great offer gives your audience a reason to join your list.

Why would someone want to join your email list if they are not going to get something in return?

That’s why you have to tempt them with such a great offer that they can’t resist.

It can be anything like an ebook, email course, video series, or a mini report as long as it provides value to your readers.

Also read: 11 deadly opt-in freebie mistakes you should avoid

Sign-up forms or landing pages

Once you have your incentive in place, You’re now ready to collect emails.

To do so, You’ll need a sign-up form or a landing page.

Here are a few places where you can put your form for better conversions –

  • Blog posts
  • The sidebar of your blog
  • Homepage
  • Resources page
  • Contact page and About me page

A landing page, on the other hand, is a full-page sign-up form. It has no other distractions.

On a landing page, A user has only two options – Sign-up or leave.

A landing page looks just like this –

landing page

It’s pretty simple, right?

Now you have an offer to tempt your audience, sign-up form to collect emails but what happens once they join your list?

A welcome email sequence

The last thing left for you to do once a reader joins your list is to build a relationship with them through a welcome email sequence.

You can easily set up your autoresponder feature in your email marketing software to deliver anywhere between 2-5 emails.

This will not only nurture your relationship with your subscribers but turn them into potential future customers.

Email marketing 101 - how to build an email list

Quick tips –

  • Ask your subscribers to share your emails with their friends & family
  • Include social sharing buttons in your emails


Isn’t that really simple?

I hope this post will give you an idea of how you can start building your list.

Once you start building your list, you can start testing advanced strategies like webinars & pop-ups to accelerate your list growth.

Must read – How easily get your first 100 email list subscribers

Just keep in mind that it’s not only about building your list but building a relationship with your list by providing as much value as possible.

The money is NOT in the list BUT in the relationship formed with your list.

What strategies are you currently using to build your list?

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How to build an email list from absolute scratch

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Recommended resources:

Pinterest with Ell

Pinterest with Ell

If you want to grow your blog traffic with Pinterest, then this is the course for you. Ell has helped over 4500 (can you believe it?) people with her Pinterest course and the best part? It’s highly affordable!

Legal Page templates for bloggers

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We use Lucrezia’s legal templates on our blogs and highly recommend it. She is an international lawyer (with a Ph.D., big stuff!) and has helped thousands of bloggers. She knows her thing and her legal page templates are the most affordable in the market.

ConvertKit Email Marketing tool

Email Marketing Tool

ConvertKit was specifically created keeping bloggers and content creators in mind. It is the most recommended email marketing tool for bloggers.
Plus, if you choose to try it through our link, you get a special 30-day trial instead of the regular 14.

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Hey there! My name is Rahul Choudhary, the founder of Blog 2 Brand (formerly Your Blog Mentor!) and I am OBSESSED with helping online entrepreneurs and bloggers in making their passions profitable and popular!

I enjoy solitude but I also like to work with like-minded people like you. Make sure to connect with me on social media. ?


  1. Cendu Param

    Awesome guide to email marketing! I’m still trying to figure it all out and what exactly to make for my opt-in offer.

    • Rahul Choudhary

      I checked out your blog. You can try checklists or to-do lists. They might work great in your niche.

  2. Claudia

    Thank you so much for the great tips as I am currently working on one.

  3. Jessie

    Great tips on email marketing! I will definitely need to incorporate some of these ideas. Thanks!

    • Rahul Choudhary

      You are most welcome! I really hope it’ll help.

  4. Poorna Banerjee

    I loved your simple and practical advice, and I agree – email list really helps!

    • Rahul Choudhary

      It can be tricky but it’s really easy once you know what to do & how to do it.

  5. Muideen Samuel

    Great read, I run a tutorial and am finding it hard to grow my list, I hardly hit 30 sub’s monthly.
    I will try out this idea to see how things change.

    • Rahul Choudhary

      30 subscribers a month is really less. You need to take a better look at your strategies and see what works for you best.

  6. anshul

    Nice tips, I have never tried this but I think it will help increasing my blog reach

    • Rahul Choudhary

      You should definitely try it if you’re planning to stay for a long time in the blogging game.

  7. Neil Alvin

    I learned something new today. Thanks for sharing.

    • Rahul Choudhary

      You are most welcome!

  8. Polly

    Hey Rahul, it’s Polly again. How are you?
    You always have perfect timing! Last time I ranted about my nofollow stuff. I got through that thanks to your help. Anyway, I was working on my email list the other night (I use mailchimp for mine btw which I kind of regret now as I’m approaching my quota of 2000 *facepalm*). I’ll try to check out getresponse later today. Thank you again for these helpful tips!

    • Rahul Choudhary

      Hey Polly, It’s always so good to hear from you. I’m really glad I could help. Mailchimp literally sucks. When I first started blogging, I went with Mailchimp as well & they suspended my account for like 12 times without any reason. I never had such issues with Getresponse or convertkit.

  9. Rudy Stankowitz

    Thanks Rahul! This is great. Love when I leave a blog with a greater understanding of the subject. Especially in creating/maintaining email lists. Going to make some changes tonight and see if I can’t do a better job here.

    • Rahul Choudhary

      Hey Rudy! Thankyou for stopping by & leaving such a kind comment. I hope you get the desired results with the changes you make.

  10. Jennifer

    Thanks for the cool tips. I have not been prioritizing my list as much as I should for sure

    • Rahul Choudhary

      You are most welcome. You should really focus on your email list.

  11. Ryan K Biddulph

    Knowing your audience makes list building easier Rahul. I spied how How To emails worked well with my list clicks and opens. Noted for future emails.


    • Rahul Choudhary

      Agreed! Knowing your audience & what they want is the first step towards building a profitable list.

  12. Evan Petzer

    I am not a big fan of popups on my site and don’t like popups on sites, I know it is a form of lead capturing but still…

    • Rahul Choudhary

      “But still…” It works. Whether you like it or not. I use them on my site and they convert pretty well.

  13. Hackytips

    Most of the people think that email marketing in blogging is outdated. But it’s not! Email marketing always helps to reach the right kind of audience.

    • Rahul Choudhary

      True that! that’s what email marketing is used for – to filter out your target audience from the crowd.

  14. Laura Töyrylä

    I think this article will be of great help to me, as I’ve struggled with building my email subscriber list. Thank you so much for writing it!

    • Rahul Choudhary

      You are most welcome Laura!


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