Skip to content
Home » Blog » How to build an email list from scratch. 4 tried and tested methods you can start using today.

How to build an email list from scratch. 4 tried and tested methods you can start using today.

Email Marketing – Build That List

The foundation of your email marketing is “the list.” The list of people who subscribe to your website because they want to hear from you. They want to get to know you and find out about the services you offer.

Until you start building your list of contacts, everything is just theory. 

Here’s a few reasons to be speaking to your customers and landing in their inbox

  • Email marketing has the highest ROI (return on investment) of all forms of marketing, averaging about $36 in return for every $1 spent.
  • 91 percent of US adults like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with (MarketingSherpa)
  • Email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers. (McKinsey)
  • According to 80 percent of professionals, email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. (eMarketer)

So, let’s not dilly-dally, let’s start building your contact list. Below are 4 tried and tested methods to get you started. 

1. Add a sign-up form to your website

This is the bare-bones, absolute minimum you need to be doing to start capturing email addresses. Your customer email addresses are your gold. 

You can put the sign-up form in the sidebar or in the footer. You can also add a pop-up to your site, asking people to sign up before they navigate away from your page. 

Before you start capturing these email addresses, you’ll want to select an email marketing platform that connects to your website. The email addresses will be added automatically to your list. 

There’s a host of email marketing softwares. Popular ones to get started with are Mailchimp or Mailerlite. 

Having a sign-up is a big step in the right direction. But remember, it’s passive and relies on the visitors to your site seeing the form and acting on it.

There are other direct routes. 

2. Use a lead magnet

If you’re asking people to hand over their bright, shiny email addresses, they may expect something in return, right? 

That “something in return” is called a lead magnet. In the online marketing world, lead magnets are often freebies. You might consider offering a discount code for their first booking in return for their email address?

If the idea of offering a discount makes your stomach churn, no problem. Honestly I’d rather add value to a booking than offering a discount. If you’re an accommodation, consider adding a bottle of fizz or luxury chocolates to their first booking. If you’re a venue you might share tips on how to create that cocktail your customers go crazy for, or Chefs most loved recipe that can be recreated at home? If you’re a tour operator consider offering a list of of your favourite restaurants and bars in town – local knowledge is priceless. 

Another option — do a social media giveaway. Have your followers sign up to your email list. 

Free stuff = more email addresses. It’s scientifically proven. 

3. Capture email addresses with Wi-Fi

The email capturing method requires you to invest in software. The return on investment is capturing beaucoup email addresses.

This works best “in-house”, so if you’re an accommodation or venue when your customers want to access your guest Wi-Fi they will provide their email address, and opt-in to your marketing emails.  

If you have a constant flow of new arrivals, or your venue hosts many events this system allows you to collect a substantial number of email addresses. 

As a bonus — some of these guest Wi-Fi services will also track guest movement. So you’ll be able to tell how long it’s been since that guest’s mobile device has connected to your network. You could send an email to everyone who hasn’t visited in six months, telling them how much you miss them and inviting them back. 

Which brings us to … 

4. Segmenting your list

You’ve started building your list. Next you want to separate or “segment” your list into sub groups, so that you can create razor sharp messaging campaigns.

There are a zillion ways you could segment your list depending on your business type. Segments to consider are: one off existing customer, repeat customers, potential customer who made an enquiry or a new subscriber to your list who hasn’t bought yet, geographical location, birthday, anniversary, special interests….. Once you start deep diving on your customers history and behaviour you’ll soon come up with lots of potential sub-groups. Segmentation can get really detailed.

Another point worth mentioning is that you may want to segment your list by lead capture method. Using the methods laid out above, you could segment your list like this: 

  • Segment 1 – People who signed up through your online sign-up form or lead magnet. These are people who have shown interest in your business by visiting your website, but may not have booked yet. How can you get them to book? 
  • Segment 2 – People who scanned the QR code or used your Wi-Fi. These people have been at your property. Fantastic! Let’s thank them — and get them to come again. 

There is so much value to be reaped in segmentation. You can send targeted emails, increasing your email open rate and reducing unsubscribes. Win win. 

You’re cooking on gas, your contact list is growing. What messages are you going to send? Next step – email marketing.

I can help you. This is where my passion for words comes in.  

Let me tell your fabulous story to the world.