6 Tactics to Build a Mailing List from Scratch

Building a mailing list is the first step to create an effective email marketing strategy for your business. As of today, email marketing has the best return on investment. According to DMA’s report, you can make $52 in sales for each $1 you spend on email.

6 Tactics to Build a Mailing List from Scratch 1
Image by Neenuvimalkumar from Pixabay

Not only that, but email marketing has a plethora of benefits. To name but a few, building a list will give you loyal subscribers who will regularly engage with your content.

Compared to your social media following, a mailing list will allow you to deliver more personalized content to your audience. The more personalized your content is, the easier it’ll be to engage your subscribers and send them a step further down your marketing and sales funnels.

If you haven’t built a mailing list for your business, today we are going to look at some effective tactics to start your first list from scratch.
Let’s dive right into it!

1. Find an email marketing automation platform

The first step to build your list is to find a great email marketing automation platform to manage everything.

With the right tools, you’ll segment your audience into different categories and even run A/B tests to discover the elements that work best. Segmentation is a valuable process where you’ll manage to divide your audience based on set criteria like their age, gender, or profession. When you group them, you’ll have a better understanding of what your subscribers want to see and how to target them better.

While there are many great email marketing services to choose from, always make sure to test out a few free plans and trials before finding the one. That way, you’ll save valuable time and money, and save you the trouble of switching between various services.

For instance, Moosend can provide you with all the necessary tools to build and manage your list.


Now that you got your email marketing platform to build your list, you have to create leading capturing forms to collect your visitors’ emails.

2. Create a newsletter signup form

Creating a newsletter signup form is the best way to convert those visitors into your subscribers. While designing your form isn’t rocket science, you have to familiarize yourself with an online form builder first. You can find numerous great form builders in the market. Also, you can even get one with an all-in-one email marketing platform. Whatever you choose, make sure that your builder is easy-to-use since you’ll spend much time on it!

Here’s an example from Kylead’s online form builder, where you can add your copy and use images that suit your business.


An effective newsletter signup form should capture your visitors’ attention at first glance. So, make sure to make your copy as promising as possible. Adding a nice offer or a discount will also help your audience give you their email addresses more easily.

Here’s how Birchbox has come up with the perfect newsletter signup form to expand its mailing list.


Especially for eCommerce business, capturing your visitors’ emails is your top priority. According to Adam Enfroy, email marketing is among the top eCommerce marketing strategies. So, having a list to send marketing emails and newsletters will help you increase your sales and engage your audience.

3. Design a lead gen landing page

To start building your mailing list, you have to create an amazing newsletter signup form. However, your popup forms aren’t the only lead capturing tool you have at your disposal. Creating an appealing landing page for your audience will also help you capture your visitors’ contact information. And to do that, you need the right landing page.

Lead gen landing pages, in this case, are perfect for list building since your customers can enter their information in exchange for a free resource or an offer. To make your lead gen landing page work, you should always keep the following things in mind:

  • Your value proposition should be concise and highlight the benefit of joining your mailing list.
  • Use your words wisely to boost the effectiveness of your value proposition and inspire your audience to take action.
  • Images are necessary for a high-converting landing page, so use relevant and high-quality visuals.
  • Create a call-to-action that stands out on your page. Choose bright colors and always optimize your CTA copy.
  • Minimize any distractions by removing clickable links and the navigation bar.

If you follow the above tips, you’ll manage to create a high-performing lead gen landing page for your target audience like Lattice:


4. Leverage Your Social Media Accounts

Social media is perfect for engaging your audience, posting amazing content, and building a loyal audience. Having an active social media presence, though, will not only allow you to keep in touch with social media users but also build your list.

Let’s take Facebook, for instance, the most popular social media network out there. Facebook will help you turn your followers into your email subscribers in no time. What you need is to leverage your tabs and your main Facebook CTA to promote your signups.

For example, SXSW has turned its main CTA into a signup button to let its followers know that it has a mailing list they can join.


Clicking on the CTA leads SXSW’s followers into a dedicated page where they can add their contact information and subscribe. Furthermore, you can also use your newsletter signup page to let your news subscribers choose their preferences and deliver content tailored to their needs.

Apart from your main CTA, you can leverage your tabs by adding a new newsletter signup section. Sacrificing your main CTA, especially if you want to promote your sales, isn’t always the best option. So, adding a tab will help you hit two birds with one stone.

5. Create Personalized CTAs

Speaking of CTAs, did you know that the more personalized your calls-to-action are, the more effective they get?

According to data, personalized CTAs perform 202% better than CTAs with an irrelevant or non-personalized copy.

Smart buttons addressing your visitors’ needs will help them see the value of joining your mailing and boost your subscription rate. To create a high-performing CTA, you need to have a high-quality piece of content that will capture your subscribers’ attention. Then, display your button at the right place to make sure that they’ll click on it.

Here’s an example of how Ivory Mix uses its CTA copy:

Ivory Mix

In short, here are a few things that make this CTA button ideal for building your list:

  • The supporting copy is concise and offers value at first sight.
  • The use of “your” both in the copy and the CTA make the message all about your subscriber.
  • The use of words like “grab” and “now” make the message more actionable, adds urgency, and excites the visitor.
  • Telling your subscriber that they’ll get something free in exchange for their email address makes this CTA button an instant hit.

To get your list building efforts to higher heights, make sure to always add your CTAs on your blog posts, homepage, and your campaigns.

The key to success, according to G2, is to understand what your customers want, what excites them, and then create a tailored marketing campaign to accommodate their needs.

6. Plan a Giveaway or Contests

Planning a giveaway or a contest is another way to increase your subscription rate effortlessly. If you think about it, people love getting something for free. So, giving their email address in exchange for an email address is practically nothing for them.

Giveaways and contests are the best means to engage your audience and show them how much you care about them. However, if you want your audience to offer you their valuable email address, you have to consider a few things.

While giveaways and contests can work miracles, don’t make your visitors take multiple steps. Multi-step giveaways will discourage your impatient users. Since your main goal is to build your list, you should make the process as easy and fast as possible. Now, when it comes to choosing the right platforms to host your giveaways and contests, social media is a no-brainer.

Here’s an example from Maggie Louise Confections on Instagram:


The brand ran an amazing Instagram contest that its followers responded with excitement. To turn them into subscribers, though, the brand redirected them to its profile bio, where subscribers had to click on a link and signup to win.

According to Multimediax, Instagram is very popular among young audiences with 71% of users being under 35.

So, having an Instagram marketing strategy in place to capture their attention will not only help you engage them but also expand your list of future customers.

Start Building Your First List

Building a mailing list is of paramount importance for the success of your business.

While it sounds like a lot of hard work, if you follow these simple tactics, you’ll create your list, engage your subscribers, and lead them a step further down your marketing and sales funnels.

About the Author

Marilia Dimitriou

Marilia Dimitriou is a Creative Writer working for email marketing automation software Moosend. Her passion for writing has made her find new ways to combine the art of Creative Writing with SEO Copywriting. When she’s not writing articles, you’ll find her enthusing over marketing tech and automation.

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