Your Email List Strategy

email list

Want More? Traffic, Customers, Sales?

By keeping your email list updated with valuable things to read and do, you attract the attention of those people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say and improve the chances that they will become a lead or a customer.

Why? Because with an email list, you have a virtually unlimited number of prospects who you can market to over and over again. Not only that, those prospects are already sold on you (or your products/services). They want to learn from you. All you have to do is talk about your area of specialty and give them what they want.

You can develop a list of people who are interested in your product based on what you’ve built, or you can build it from scratch. Either way, building community helps drive traffic to your site.

Build a community around your product, and then build other features around that community.

How valuable is your email list?

For too many people the answer to this is strictly in the number of subscribers. But are all subscribers equal? Of course not!

When it comes to email lists I’m a skeptic. I check my email every few days and it goes something like this. Delete everything from Facebook. Delete everything from Amazon. Delete. Delete. Delete. Of the ten or so emails that I don’t delete, I may open two.

If your email is one of those two, then I’m worth having on your list. If you are one of the 8 I didn’t read, then I at least want to be on the list. For the other 1000 or so? It’s not worth it at all.

I wanted to start with this example because the value of your email list is not in how many people are on it, it’s in how many people want to be on it, and how many people care about what you have to say enough to read your messages.

A reader who opens all your emails is much more valuable than the one who just hits delete. We recommend cultivating quality readers who look forward to your content, and that is what this strategy was developed to accomplish.

How To Create an Email List Of Your Own From Scratch

Email lists are the foundation of your business. You can share high-quality content on your blog regularly and notify your list. Ask them to share with others, and you’ve got more people sharing your content. This can be a valuable way to grow your audience and engagement over time.

In this article, we’ve put together a strategy to help you grow your list with high value subscribers.

Build your community first

Newsletter signups can often lead to lots of low-quality traffic. Let’s take a look at why.

My biggest pet peeve is when I go to a website and 10 seconds later – about the time I’ve managed to figure out where the advertising ends and the article begins – a pop-up interrupts my reading and asks me to subscribe. This normally keeps me from even reading the blog post – making me a completely worthless visitor to the site. Even if I do subscribe, I will probably never open any of the emails I get unless it is to look for the unsubscribe link.

To avoid this happening to YOUR visitors – be sure you let them read your posts before asking them for their email. If a person hasn’t interacted with your brand or product before, they aren’t going to feel comfortable inquiring about something, or hearing from you directly. For this reason, you need to be careful when asking for their email address.

You can do this passively by including a “subscribe to my list” box at the end of each post – or in your sidebar. If you want to be more assertive in asking for the email address, then wait to show your pop-up until your visitor is leaving your website.

Built Trust with Your Email List

An email list is the most important asset you have online. When you build an email list, you’re building trust and establishing authority. When you answer questions or share comments from your subscribers, you are building customer trust in both you and the subscribers.

An online marketer with a strong email list consistently makes more money than someone with lots of Twitter followers or website traffic — because their emails are acting as magnets, pulling new people into the sales funnel.

Look for more ways to engage your community

Email lists are a great way to build your business. Not only do they provide a huge list of potential clients who can become your loyal customers, but they also provide the opportunity for you to build a relationship with them and build trust with them.

Your email list will be come a valuable asset not only to make sales, but to get feedback and suggestions about how you can offer more value. This is an important way to connect with your customers, although it’s often ignored or underutilized. When you consider the suggestions your subscribers make you will find help for everything from writer’s block to product design and even ideas for new products and services to offer.

Offer Value at Every Point

When you ask for an email address, be sure to offer something in return. You might have a free report or a chance to win an one-on-one consultation. But don’t let their initial sign-up be the one and only time they get something for being your subscriber. Be sure to offer your subscribers a little extra for being on your list… it may be extra content that isn’t on your website (or isn’t there yet – like free previews of your blog posts), or it may be a “lite” version of new products – or a free trial.

Look for ways to say “thanks for subscribing” on a regular basis.

You can also customize your email campaigns to send more or less email depending on how often your subscribers actually open/read/click on your emails. To set up this kind of advanced email campaign you will want to use a service like HubSpot that includes CRM features.

Treat your Email Subscribers Like VIPs

Whenever you have a chance to interact with your subscribers be sure you are treating them like VIPs – because they are! Not only are your subscribers your most likely clients and customers, they are also like a volunteer sales and marketing department. They will give you the best reviews and recommendations. So be sure to treat them like the “gold you hope to mine from your list”.

Keep in touch with your audience to grow and nurture your relationships!

Email Lists Are Valuable, But How Do I Get Started?

To get started building your list you need two things. The first is a way to sent email, the second is a form that will help people subscribe to your list.

Most web hosts have some limit to the number of emails you can send. The details are often in the fine print. If you want to run a large email list, you will probably exceed those limits and so will need to pay for additional emails with your current provider, or sign up to a service like HubSpot or MailChimp that can send those emails for you.

Maintaining a list can also be difficult if you try to do it by hand in a spreadsheet, or with your personal email account. Sooner or later you will want a more sophisticated way to manage your contacts and keep those subscribers separate from friends and family. You also want to avoid accidentally adding people to your list without their permission and getting accused of spamming.

Below are a few good ways to get started with your own email list:


If you are using WordPress you may find a plug-in is the easiest way to manage your list. We like the Nooptin Newsletter plugin. The email services mentioned below also have plug-ins to easily integrate their service with your website.

  • Nooptin Newsletter lets you write emails just like you would create a new WordPress post. We also like the integration with WordPress that allows you to add a checkbox to your comments to ask those interested enough to comment on your post to subscribe to your newsletter. There are a number of other features that let you manage your list right from inside WordPress including importing and exporting your list.

Email Services

You may find on of these email services helpful if your web host limits the number of emails you can send. They offer free services for small lists and charge you when your list

  • HubSpot offers more than just saving email addresses. They allow you to set up marketing campaigns and track your subscribers with sophisticated CRM tools, many of which are available for free with additional features available if you upgrade.
  • MailChimp allows you to manage up to 2000 subscribers for free. Additional features and increased subscriber limits available to paid subscribers. (50,000 subscribers for $10/month and 100,000 subscribers for $15/month)


I’m gonna go and spend some quality time with my email lists 😉 If you have any suggestions or questions I can help you with please reach out to me at

About the author


Karen Freeman-Smith currently makes a full-time living from a small portfolio of websites. She has 25+ years of experience in programming and web development for companies like Lockheed Martin, PBS, Daimler and many others. She has a BS in IT with a minor in Business Systems Analysis. Karen lives near Portland, OR with her partner, two grown children (in and out of the basement), and a cats: Havoc and Shiva.

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