Welcome to the first installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step.

Today’s Topic = Email List Building

In order to have a successful email marketing campaign, you need the people to send your emails to. And so it is that list building is often step one for email marketers.

List building doesn’t get as much attention as other activities involved in email marketing, because it’s not as sexy. And that makes it that much harder for companies just starting out to figure out how to build their lists.

Renting or Buying

First, you can buy emails from a third party. This is never encouraged, but for the company that does not have time to wait and build a list organically, this can be a part of your efforts. Seek out people who have lists that relate to your business, so that the people you end up emailing are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

An alternative to list buying, is a third part email blast (or eblast). Again, here you can find companies that already have a list of people you are interested in reaching. But instead of buying or renting the names outright, you pay them to send an email on your behalf.

Email Collection

With either of the above strategies, you will first need to create a way for people to sign up to receive future emails from you. A simple opt-in form on your website is perfect. Allow people to enter their email address into a form field and hit ‘submit’. You can ask for more information, but be aware that each additional field someone has to fill out will lower the number of people who submit the form.

Why would someone want you to email them? This is another piece of list building. You need your offer. Tell people why they should sign up for your email list. Maybe they will get special offers, maybe a free download or trial, maybe exclusive news and information. The better your offer, the more likely people will be to subscribe.

Other Strategies

To organically grow your list, there are a number of other strategies you should employ from the very beginning. A good content marketing strategy is great for collecting emails. Create content related to your market, that your customers will be interested in, and use that content to drive people to your subscription form at the end of each post with a simple call to action: “For more content like this, subscribe today”.

Social media is perfect for promoting content, giveaways, and offers. Always point your fans back to your signup form so that they can stay in touch with you.

Every email you send out should have a “share” option, so your subscribers can send it on to their friends who might also be interested in signing up.

Every customer should automatically be subscribed to your email list.

And finally, your subscription form should get prominent placement on your website, so that no matter how visitors find you, there is a simple way for them to stay connected.


Building an email list from scratch is no easy task. Early on, it will likely be slow. But as time goes by, if you are committed to growing your list, it will happen. Stick with these tried and true strategies and you’ll be on your way to a healthy email marketing campaign.

Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below.