4 Tricks for Building Your Email List

Email is not dead. Using email newsletters to stay top of mind with your audience and keep them up to date on what’s new and exciting at your company remains a great way to build new and repeat sales. However, before you can use email marketing as a way to leverage visitors and direct them to your website, you first need their email addresses–and you need to build up a certain amount of trust and interest to make them feel comfortable handing over their inbox to you.

How do you sell the benefits of your newsletter to make customers and potential customers feel comfortable signing up?

Below are four handy tricks I recommend.

1. Create a Compelling Offer

If you want a visitor on your site to hand over their personal email address, you need to give them a compelling reason to do so. We’re (rightfully) protective over the sanctity of our inboxes. We don’t allow just anyone in there. For you to get entrance you’ll need to explain to your audience what’s in it for them. What are the benefits they’ll receive for becoming part of your email list? How will it improve their day, life or user experience? Make it worth their time and the invasion of their privacy.

2. Give Them a Little Something-Something

OK, so you’ve gotten their interest. They’re thinking about it and considering whether the offer you just outlined is worth their time. Sweeten the deal by giving them a little something extra upfront. Maybe it’s a free download of a white paper you wrote, maybe it’s a tool or gadget they can download, or maybe it’s a coupon to your site or one of your partner’s stores. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate gift, just something to make their trigger finger a little itchier. We could all use an extra push.

3. Show Them What’s at Stake

Part of encouraging someone toward a desired action is showing them what’s at stake and how your newsletter or your company will help them achieve their goal or eliminate a need. That’s really what they’re signing up for – the answer to their problem. Not only must you show how you’ll be able to do that (as mentioned in the first step), but you should also be able to show what they’ll lose out on if they don’t take the action you suggest.

4. Be Open About How Their Information Will Be Used

This is really important. For someone to feel safe giving you their email address, you need to be really clear and transparent about a couple of things.

  • How their email address will be used
  • The process for unsubscribing should they want to stop receiving messages
  • That their email address will never be sold to other parties

These are huge concerns for the average user, and if you don’t address them, you’re going to have a difficult time getting someone to subscribe to your email newsletter. You should also include information about how often visitors can expect to receive messaging from you. This helps them feel confident that you won’t spam them the death the minute you get their email address.

Your email marketing relationship with a visitor starts when they’re still deciding whether or not they trust you with their email address. By focusing on just a few points like creating a clear call to action and calming any privacy concerns, you increase your odds of getting that email address and opening up a whole new relationship with that visitor.


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

12 Reactions
  1. Thanks, Lisa.

    I like your suggestion of showing them, “what’s at stake.”

    Great idea!

    The Franchise King®

  2. Perhaps this is an homage to the Halloween season, but I don’t think that any of these tactics “tricks” someone into giving you their email. This shows how you deliver value and people sign up to receive that value. Great points.

  3. Something we do is offer our customers the chance to sign up for our newsletter (by giving us their email address) through surveys they may take after they have experienced ordering with us. We find that if their ordering experience was favorable, they may very well sign up to recieve our newsletters, too.

  4. Lionel Bachmann | Model Trains

    This is a very good list. #3 is surprising to me. I never thought of letting them know what’s at stake. It will give them the “I don’t want to miss out on this” feeling.

  5. Good article…… No.1 is fundamental, as everyone wants to know “what’s in it for me?”




  6. Hi Lisa,

    Nice post and thank you for sharing the tricks. Of course email marketing is a potential source of obtaining sales.


  7. Maybe I’ll offer 10 minutes of free therapy for everyone that signs up on my list. 🙂

  8. Peter Netz Lassen

    Hi Lisa!
    This is so good a list… Thx you made my day, week maybe year!! LOL
    have a great day


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