Email & SMS

7 Ways to Build Your Email List Into a Marketing Powerhouse

By Tinuiti Team

Growing your email list is the first step to harnessing the power of email marketing — your most important marketing channel for accelerating customer relationships and generating cost-effective ROI.

The truth is that many businesses miss out on acquisition and retention opportunities because they don’t leverage the full range of tactics for email list building.

Here’s what the experts have to say on how to build your email list and optimize it for your email marketing campaigns.

“By strategically approaching opt-in opportunities for email marketing lists, brands can convert quality site traffic into engaged email subscribers who can then be nurtured into loyal customers.”

kaylyn hinson

Kaylyn Hinson, Senior Manager, CRM & Email at Tinuiti


Know the Basics of Email List Building


Before you get started with collecting email addresses and leads to power your email marketing lists, it’s important to recognize the basics of email list building:


1. Focus On Email List Quality Over Quantity


Too often, marketers make the mistake of focusing on building the largest email list possible, with no regard for the quality of the contacts study of diff eyewears email list growth with picture of example email

When building your email marketing list, it’s essential to keep in mind that email is a personal channel, and the quality of your list is the backbone of your email program.

You want to make sure you are gaining subscribers that are ideal customers to support your email deliverability, open rates, and more down-funnel business performance.

Don’t just grab subscribers for the sake of having subscribers; it will dilute your list and drag down your channel performance. Focus on building your list with your ideal customers that find your email content relevant and engaging.

List health goes a long way to ensure your email success is scalable, measurable, and data-driven.


2. Grab Attention With Onsite Email Capture Popups


Your number one source for attracting more visitor signups to your email list is with onsite popup overlays.

Deploying your email capture popup early allows you to convert visitors as early as possible in the journey before they become occupied engaging with other areas of your website.


gir email overlay popup for growing email list onsite
Get It Right’s overlays are personalized, seasonal, and include an offer most visitors can’t refuse.


Like every other opt-in placement in this list, make sure your offer is valuable and not interruptive to the user.

The last thing a user wants is another pesky popup, so make it personal (based on whether if they are brand-new or a returning visitor) and offer an incentive that makes them happy to join your list.

“Sign-up rates and same session conversions tend to be higher when an enticing incentive is offered,” explains Hinson.

“One Tinuiti client saw a 47% lift in email captures when offering an incentive versus no incentive. If a discount isn’t an option for your brand, highlight access to exclusive content, sneak peeks, or the ability to pre-shop new arrivals.”


Make Your Email Capture Overlays Compelling


Quality opt-in overlays feature compelling design, a value prop, and a clear call to action.


ivory ella email overlay example onsite
Knowing that strong subscriber acquisition is a critical component in the growth of an email program, Tinuiti recommended additional email capture points, including an onsite overlay. Upon launch of the overlay, Ivory Ella saw a 237% increase in email sign-ups MoM.


Some tips from the experts for making the most out of your email overlays:


3. Don’t Forget About Privacy


I’ll say it again: email is a very personal channel. An email address is a direct communication line to a person, so keep privacy considerations top of mine when it comes to your collection, use, and sharing of that information.

“Managing consumer rights and privacy has been top of mind in recent years, with legislation like GDPR and CCPA requiring marketers to critically evaluate how they collect data, and consumer consent to use that data.”

— Mandi Moshay, Associate Director of CRM & Email at Tinuiti


“To maintain compliance, brands must tailor their data collection and use to the specific countries in which they operate or where their customers might reside. In general, adopting the highest standards across the board is your best bet to stay ahead of new legislation pending across several states.”


4. Capture Emails From Your Website’s Global Header & Footer


Beyond static overlays, your website’s global header and footer are also important for optimizing your website for email list growth.

Your visitors scroll to these parts of the webpage to find menus and other navigation links no matter what page they’re on, which is why having an opt-in located here is important.

“Giving site visitors an opportunity to stay in touch via a static sign-up form is a must for any brand. Some Tinuiti clients see as many as 10% of their new contacts come from this source, as site visitors will naturally navigate to the bottom of the page when attempting to opt-in without prompting.”

kaylyn hinson

Kaylyn Hinson, Senior Manager, CRM & Email at Tinuiti


5. Grow Your Email List From Your Blog Pages


If your visitors are engaging with the blog of your website, chances are that they are warming up to your content and are open to receiving more.

It’s the perfect time to start a relationship by offering them a chance to sign up for more content via your email newsletter.


email capture on a blog example
Outdoor Voices‘ unique content site, The Recreationalist, features newsletter signup on the right panel.


The email opt-in on your blog should be tailored to offer something relevant to their interests: the ability to stay up-to-date on all of your blog content as well as promotions.

“Providing value-adding content in the form of email newsletters gives your brand the opportunity to build a relationship with these contacts, and the chance to convert them into long-term loyal customers,” explains Hinson.


6. Entice New Subscribers To Join Your Email List From Checkout 


Most marketers think of email capture at the beginning of the funnel, but why not give customers a chance to opt-in at the end of their journey?

Your checkout page is a great touchpoint to give customers a final chance to sign up before they complete their order.

It’s key to keep it simple and enticing, don’t make the mistake of overloading someone with too much information when they are trying to buy your products, says Hinson.

“Motivate sign-ups with enticing verbiage that communicates the benefits of your brand’s email program: being the first to hear about new arrivals, access to exclusive discounts, etc.”

“If you’re driving new customers to create an account, keep it simple by only asking for basic information you’re sure to utilize for future content targeting.”

kaylyn hinson

Kaylyn Hinson, Senior Manager, CRM & Email at Tinuiti


7. Segment Your Captured Emails For Future Campaigns


Growing your email list is only the first step to email marketing success.

If you want your campaigns and messaging to be relevant to each and every customer (and show them that you care), then you will need to use all of your data available to segment your subscribers into different lists based on who they are, where they are, and what they are interested in.

“You want to create a better subscriber experience by sending contacts engaging emails that are relevant based on their browse behavior, purchase activity, demographics, and/or acquisition source.”

kaylyn hinson

Kaylyn Hinson, Senior Manager, CRM & Email at Tinuiti


The smarter your segmentation, the better ROI you will see with your email campaigns and promotions.

To get started, consider breaking out your master list into segments based on the following:


For a full list of segmentation possibilities, check out 11 Email Segments To Build Today.


Think About Personalization When Segmenting


Have you ever received an email that was so irrelevant that made you immediately trash it, or worse, unsubscribe from the list?

So has everyone else. Most people call it spam.

The difference between someone becoming a customer (or repeat customer) and you losing a subscriber forever is one personalized message.

The key to avoiding looking spammy (and make your messages valuable) is email personalization, which is the next logical step after number seven on this list.

email segmentation and personalization for diamondback covers example email
By segmenting DiamondBack’s email audience, we were able to target contacts with the most relevant products and messaging to help drive them to convert, increasing total channel revenue by more than 541%.


Once you have your audience data carefully segmented, you are then in a position to design and write emails that speak to your subscribers based on their interests and not just yours.


Email List Building Conclusion


Building and maintaining a quality email list is the foundation for any successful email program.

If you want your email marketing campaigns to engage your subscribers and support your business objectives, then make sure you are leveraging all of the necessary tactics to grow and optimize your email lists.

1. Focus on quality over quantity and practice list hygiene

2. Onsite email capture overlays are your best friend for gaining new subscribers to your email list

3. Keep consumer privacy and data regulations top of mind

4. Take advantage of your website’s global header and footer as a signup placement

5. Capture engaged visitors from your blog page

6. Give your shoppers a chance to opt-in at checkout (with a good incentive)

7. Segment your emails and customer data for personalization opportunities


Want to learn more?

Email Deliverability 101: What is it and why should you care?

What’s New in 2020: Expert Insights for a Successful Email Marketing Program

Optimizing Your Site for Email List Growth

11 Email Segments To Build Today

7 Proven Email Personalization Tactics

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