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The Definitive Guide to Building a Quality Email List

Vision6 Email Marketing Guides

The Definitive Guide to Building a Quality Email List

Vision6 Email Marketing Guides

The Definitive Guide to Building a Quality Email List

Vision6 Email Marketing Guides

Growing your email list is such an important goal for your business

It’s kind of obvious but having more subscribers on your list means you’ll be emailing more people and therefore able to generate more leads and sales. But what’s interesting is that list growth often gets chucked in the too hard basket.

And while it can be hard to find the time to work towards growing your business when your days are already jam packed, growing your email list needn’t be a time consuming, laborious task. This guide outlines easy ways to grow your database and keep it clean..

You might be wondering why it’s important to keep your list clean? If you send to a disengaged email list your campaigns will generally severely underperform. Plus repeatedly sending to stale email addresses can impact your sender reputation. Luckily we’re here to help you maintain a clean and healthy email list!



27 Actionable Ways to Build a Quality List

Offer Something Of Value

We know you can’t just add any random person to your list and expect to get better results. You need to add people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say and have given you permission to email them.

Yes you want to be emailing more people and have a bigger email list, but you also want that list filled with high quality contacts who are likely to buy from you at some point. So what’s the best way to increase your list with quality contacts? Offer people something of value and ask them to provide an email address in order to access it. Here’s a couple of ideas to get your started.

  1. Offer educational resources in exchange for email addresses. Create an e-book, tutorial, white paper, checklist or infographic.





  2. Offer a series of emails or videos that are available for subscribers only. Create exclusive content that will make people feel like they have to sign up or they will be missing out.

  3. Hold a competition and have people submit their email address as they enter. Be careful with what you offer as a prize because almost anyone will enter a competition to win an iPad. You want to attract quality entrants who are genuinely interested in your business.

  4. Host a webinar or online event and include a tick box to receive marketing emails during registration.

  5. Offer a coupon or discount to newsletter subscribers





Create Powerful Web Forms

Now we know we need to offer our subscriber something of value to get people to subscribe. To physically do this you need an easy way for people to provide their email and request your incentive. This is where a well designed web form comes in.

Web forms can be used for many things and they come in all shapes and sizes. But when it comes to using them to grow your list by offering content, there are a couple of key things things to keep in mind. Your web forms must:

  • Make a promise – clearly describe the benefits to the new subscriber and tell them what’s in it for them, what they can expect to receive from you and how often.

  • Offer proof – include a customer testimonial, showcase customer brands or show the number of subscribers and social media followers that you have (if the numbers are impressive enough). This provides evidence that your content is not only legitimate but is also valued by other people. And it’s a very powerful way to persuade people to submit your web form.

  • Respect privacy – include a privacy statement or link to a privacy policy page to help overcome any barriers people might have towards submitting your form.

Make It Easy For Customers To Subscribe

Right, now that we’ve got our subscription forms sorted it’s all about getting them in front of your customers! If people are going to submit your form, they obviously need to find it first.

  1. Add a form to your website. Businesses that have a subscribe form on their website average 193% more email subscribers than those who don’t.




  2. Don’t forget to always have a link to your subscription form on the ‘about’ and ‘bio’ sections of your social media pages.

  3. Include a tick box to receive your emails on all website forms including ‘contact us’ and ‘request a quote’ forms. Basically anytime you ask for an email address give your customers a chance to subscribe.

  4. Include a link to your subscription form in employee email signatures. Think about how many people you email each week, there’s a huge opportunity to boost sign ups with this technique.

Embrace List Building Technology

A large number of your website page views most likely come from your home page. So if this is where the action is happening it’s important you can capture email addresses here. This is where list building technology comes in.


  1. Welcome mats work as landing pages that you assign to web pages, such as your homepage. They’re an easy alternative to coding out landing pages.

  2. Smart Bars sit at the top or bottom of your browser no matter where your customer scrolls. They don’t take up much space, which means more space to show off the good stuff - your products and services.




  3. Create a Popup. This is the window that appears in the foreground of your web page. They can vary in size from fullscreen to a smaller window. These can be timed to give your reader a chance to read your content, or popup immediately.

  4. Exit Intent Popup. This popup window will trigger when someone moves their mouse cursor towards closing the page. These work as a last-ditch attempt to get your visitor to interact with your site. We recently implemented this at Vision6 and have since doubled our subscribers.





If you’re keen to get started with this sort of list building technology there’s a bunch of different platforms you can use. To keep your list building practice as simple as possible our plain HTML forms make it super easy to integrate with tools like...




Leverage Social Media

There’s a common misconception that email marketing and social media need to compete against each other. In fact, they actually compliment each other. While it’s great to have a huge following on social media, it’s important that you capture their email addresses as well - that way you own the data, rather than it being in the hands of a third party like Facebook or Twitter.


  1. Promote your newsletters to your social networks and ask your followers to sign up. Be careful, you don’t want to over do this to the point of annoying your followers.

  2. You can also pin a Tweet or Facebook post to the top of your profile that links straight to your email list. As this is the first post someone will see when they land on your page it’s prime real estate.

  3. Every Facebook page has a Call to Action button. You can edit this to lead straight to your webform with the CTA ‘sign up’.




  4. If you’re offering an incentive in the form of content (gated behind a web form of course), share it with relevant Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ groups. Just remember you need to be adding value to the discussion, not spamming the groups!

  5. Get involved in forums and Q&A platforms like Quora. Use this as an opportunity to share your expertise and build relationships. From here you can share your gated content, as long as it adds value.

Increase Your Reach

A great way to grow your list is to leverage your existing subscriber’s networks. That way you access a bunch of people that would otherwise be outside of your reach. The key to this is to create really valuable content that your subscribers will want to share. But that’s a whole different topic! Here’s a couple of ways to leverage your content.


  1. Encourage others to forward your emails to their colleagues, clients, family or friends. The easiest way to do this is to include a send to friend link so that it’s simple for people to forward your email on.

  2. Add social sharing buttons to your emails to encourage readers to post your emails on their own social networks.




  3. Explicitly ask your readers to share your content if they find it valuable.

During the Purchase Process

If someone is making a purchase from your business they’re clearly interested in your products or services. During the purchase process is the perfect time to invite people to subscribe as you know they’re engaged.


  1. Invite people to subscribe to your newsletter when they purchase from your online store during the checkout process.

  2. Don’t forget about transactional emails. Add a link for people to sign up for your email newsletters to the bottom of receipts, invoices and delivery notifications.




Don't Forget About Offline Opportunities

Now that we’ve well and truly covered online opportunities, it’s well worth your time to investigate ‘real world’ opportunities. Even though the e-commerce industry is booming it’s important to remember that almost 92% of sales still occur offline, so you don’t want to miss out on the chance to convert your customers to subscribers.


  1. Ask for emails during customer calls. If someone has called your business they’re already engaged. Just make sure it’s clear you’ll be adding them to your email list.

  2. Ask people to sign up to your email list at trade shows, industry events, conferences or exhibitions.

  3. Use mobile technology and apps such as email clipboard, to collect email addresses. Remember you still need to get your subscribers permission to send marketing or promotional emails.

  4. Create a QR code that links to your subscription form and place it on printed marketing collateral like brochures, fact sheets and leaflets. This is great for event marketing.





A Word of Warning: Avoid the Temptation to Take Short Cuts

If you’re just starting out in email marketing, or you’re looking to expand your reach, it might be tempting to purchase a marketing database as a quick solution. List buying is illegal in Europe and Canada, and although it is still common practice in the US, there are few reasons why we strongly recommend you never buy a list.

  • Sending an email to a 3rd party lists results in lower open rates and higher bounce rates

  • Your IP reputation and future deliverability can be harmed

  • Most Email Service Providers won’t let you upload 3rd party lists into the product



Maintaining List Hygiene

Use Double Opt In

To help you maintain a clean list and the best possible deliverability rates, we recommend considering having a double opt-in process set up for your contact lists. A double opt-in process is where a contact who subscribes is asked to confirm their subscription to your list by clicking a link in an email which is immediately sent to them when they subscribe. Using the double opt in method will improve your deliverability rates and reduce spam.


Identify Inactive Subscribers

As a team you should create the definition of an inactive subscriber. For example, you may decide that if a contact has not opened any of your emails for 6 months, they should be classified as inactive. How you classify an inactive subscriber will also depend on the frequency of your sends. A company that sends emails weekly will have a shorter time frame for identifying inactive subscribers than one that emails every 6 months.

Use Email Automation To Re-engage Your Database

Set up an automated campaign to win back your inactive subscribers. As you work so hard to build your list in the first place it’s important to give your subscribers ample opportunity to stay on your list before considering removing them.

Take for example the re-engagement email below from Type form, a gentle last chance attempt to re-engage a subscriber before removing them from the database.

The thing to remember with any re-engagement campaign is that you need to do something different to the email marketing you normally send. If a subscriber is disengaged you need to really grab their attention to get them to open this campaign.

Ready to Start Building Your List?

It’s really important to note that with all of the above suggestions, you need to be explicitly clear about what you’ll be using people’s email addresses for.

It isn’t about being sneaky and collecting emails without people realising, it’s about creating opportunities to encourage people to willingly sign up for your newsletters.

If you're ready to get more customers and grow your email list, start free with Vision6 today. Create awesome webforms to collect leads and send automated campaigns to nurture them.



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