opt in email lists

5 Methods of Building an Email List from Scratch

Building an email list from scratch sounds like a lot to take on… and it is. It’s work, but remember, everyone started with zero subscribers at one point.

First, you need to give someone a reason to join your email list, or opt-in. Teasing to your “newsletter” won’t cut it anymore. Have you ever received a newsletter that blew your socks off? Probably not.

[Tweet theme=”tweet-box-shadow”]Teasing to your #newsletter won’t cut it anymore. #emaillist[/Tweet]

So, back to the opt-in… it has to be something your readers and followers actually want and need. I’m going to tell you how I started building my email list from scratch.

Build a Foundation for your Email List

A.) First, I started using ConvertKit. Why ConvertKit?

It’s email marketing designed for bloggers, course creators, podcasters, and others. It’s extremely easy to use, ensures your email list is targeted, integrates with other software (like WordPress), and makes automation a breeze. (Automation is what makes being a solopreneur possible!)

B.) A subscription to ConvertKit also includes forms and landing pages to capture a person’s first name and their email address. It’s so nice to have it all in one place.

C.) The next step is creating a great offer for your audience so they choose to opt in. I have a few opt-in that include a free email course, 10-day challenge, media guide, planner PDFs, and others.

Now you’re ready to build your email list and put these opt-ins out into universe… or online in various places like:

1. In blog posts as a “content upgrade”

Because most of my blog posts focus on publicity and ways entrepreneurs can earn more visibility for their brands, my opt-ins do the same and serve as a bonus in the blog post. Here’s an example.


2. As social media posts

I am posting at least once a day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Sometimes I link to a blog post that includes the content upgrade, but sometimes I will send people straight to a landing page.

3. As social media ads

This is just like a social media post, but with some money behind it. If you’re going to promote your opt-in through ads, targeting the correct audience is key. Then, tracking their behavior and your success with a pixel will determine if your money is well spent or if you need to make some ad tweaks.

4. As a “freebie” shared in a podcast interview

This is my favorite method of growing my email list because you don’t only see results right away, but the people opting in already know, like, and trust you… that’s why they are taking the second step to opt-in and accept your offer.

Building an Email List from Scratch

After I was on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast, a link to my free eBook was posted online. Shortly after the page went live, my email list saw a big jump. When I was on EOFire with John Lee Dumas, I told listeners where to go to get the free eBook with the same result.

5. Emailed to a potential customer or client

Many times a business owner will reach out to me through an email or a phone call to discuss my services and pricing. Because my audience is small business owners, solopreneurs, and bloggers, the conversation usually ends with me directing the person to a free course or challenge to achieve their goals.

While I haven’t built my email list by creating and promoting an online summit, my friend Lisa Simone Richards has and she has had amazing success with it. For more on how to create an online summit to grow your email list, click here.