Build an Email List from Scratch: Effective Strategies and Tactics

Build an Email List from Scratch: Effective Strategies and Tactics

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Importance of Email Marketing
  3. Building an Email List from Scratch
    1. Email Co-Marketing
    2. Influencer Marketing
    3. Creating a Mini Course
    4. Collecting Email Addresses on Shopify
    5. Holding Contests and Giveaways
    6. Using Quizzes to Capture Emails
    7. Non-scalable Tactics for Email Collection
  4. Conclusion


In this article, we will discuss the power of email marketing and how it continues to be relevant in 2020. We will explore various strategies that you can use to build your email list from scratch, even if you are starting with zero subscribers. Email marketing has proven to be a highly effective method for reaching and engaging with your audience, ultimately leading to increased sales and revenue for your business. So, let's dive in and uncover the secrets to building a successful email list.

The Importance of Email Marketing

Email marketing is a powerful tool that allows businesses to connect with their audience on a personal level. While social media platforms may be popular for engaging with customers, email marketing provides a more direct and targeted approach. It allows you to send the right message to the right customer at the right time, leading to better conversion rates and increased sales. In fact, statistics show that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $42. This is why nine out of 10 marketers use email marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy.

Building an Email List from Scratch

Email Co-Marketing

One effective strategy for building your email list is through email co-marketing. This involves partnering with complementary brands to promote an offer to a shared niche audience. By collaborating with other brands that align with your target audience, you can create mutually beneficial campaigns that solve a problem your customers are likely to have. For example, Pottery Barn and Sherwin-Williams collaborated on a campaign called "Color Your Room," where they created an exclusive line of paints that complemented Pottery Barn's furniture. This partnership anticipated the problem of choosing complementary finishes when decorating a new home, ultimately driving sales for both companies.


  • Expands your reach to a new audience
  • Increases brand visibility and credibility through partnerships
  • Solves a common problem for your target audience


  • Requires finding compatible brands to partner with
  • May involve additional coordination and communication efforts

Influencer Marketing

Another effective strategy for building your email list is through influencer marketing. This involves partnering with influencers in your industry who have a significant following and influence over your target audience. By having influencers speak to your offer and driving traffic to a landing page where customers can redeem their offer, you can collect email addresses and grow your list. When choosing influencers to partner with, it is important to consider their audience's similarity to your desired audience, their engagement rate, and their emotional connection with their followers.


  • Reaches a highly engaged and targeted audience
  • Builds brand credibility through influencer endorsements
  • Establishes long-term relationships with influential individuals in your industry


  • Requires research and careful selection of influencers
  • Can be costly depending on the influencer's fees

Creating a Mini Course

A creative tactic for building your email list is by creating a mini course. A mini course provides valuable educational content to your audience while also capturing their email addresses. Start by identifying a common problem or pain point your target audience faces. Use tools such as Google Autocomplete, Google Trends, and Google Keyword Planner to research the questions and topics they are searching for. Once you have determined the topic of your mini course, create a landing page where people can sign up for the course. Distribute the course content and bonus materials through a series of emails, and include information about your product or services at the end to generate further interest.


  • Provides value and builds trust with your audience
  • Establishes you as an expert in your field
  • Segments your email list based on interest


  • Requires time and effort to create informative course content
  • May need additional resources to support course delivery

Collecting Email Addresses on Shopify

If you have an online store on the Shopify platform, there are several tactics you can employ to collect email addresses from your customers. Adding an email sign-up form in the footer or bottom navigation of your website is a simple yet effective way to encourage visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. Consider offering incentives such as exclusive access to events or early product releases to entice customers to sign up. Another strategy is to use pop-up offers on your homepage, which can be intrusive but often yield positive results. Apps like "Spin to Win" by Secomap on the Shopify app store can enhance the customer experience and help you collect valuable email addresses.


  • Utilizes existing website traffic to collect emails
  • Provides opportunities for targeted marketing and personalized communication
  • Improves customer retention and loyalty through regular updates and promotions


  • Potential for customers to view pop-ups as intrusive
  • Requires careful implementation to maintain a positive user experience

Holding Contests and Giveaways

Hosting a contest or giveaway on social media is a proven tactic for rapidly growing your email list. By creating a sense of excitement and urgency, contests and giveaways attract participants who are willing to provide their email addresses in exchange for a chance to win. However, it is important to note that contests and giveaways are not suitable for all brands, particularly luxury brands. These tactics tend to attract value shoppers rather than customers who are truly interested in your brand and products.


  • Creates a buzz and excitement around your brand
  • Rapidly increases the number of email subscribers
  • Provides opportunities for user-generated content and social media engagement


  • Can attract participants solely interested in winning prizes
  • May not attract customers who are genuinely interested in your brand

Using Quizzes to Capture Emails

Quizzes are a fun and interactive way to capture email addresses while also segmenting your email list based on the quiz results. Start by researching the frustrations or problems your target audience faces and create a quiz that addresses those challenges. Promote the quiz through social media and paid ads, and direct participants to a landing page where they can complete the quiz in exchange for their email address. Ensure that the quiz length strikes a balance between being engaging and not overly time-consuming, as this will increase the likelihood of participants providing their email addresses.


  • Engages your audience and encourages interaction
  • Provides valuable insights into your audience's preferences and needs
  • Enables you to tailor future marketing efforts based on quiz results


  • Requires careful planning and execution for optimal results
  • Some participants may not be willing to provide their email addresses

Non-scalable Tactics for Email Collection

While the tactics discussed so far are scalable and suitable for businesses of all sizes, there are also non-scalable tactics that can be effective in certain scenarios. These tactics may not generate significant growth on their own but can contribute to brand awareness and customer engagement. One example is collecting email addresses in person at events or trade shows where you have direct engagement with potential customers. Another tactic is to include inserts in your product shipments with calls-to-action to sign up for your newsletter.


  • Allows for direct engagement with potential customers
  • Enhances brand awareness and loyalty
  • Provides opportunities for personalization and direct communication


  • Limited scalability potential
  • Requires additional resources and effort for implementation


Building an email list is crucial for the success of your email marketing campaigns. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article, you can effectively grow your list from scratch and reach a highly engaged audience. Whether you opt for email co-marketing, influencer collaborations, mini courses, pop-up offers, contests, quizzes, or non-scalable tactics, each approach has its own set of advantages and considerations. Remember to prioritize the needs and preferences of your target audience and focus on providing value and building relationships. With consistent effort and optimized strategies, your email list will become a valuable asset for your business, driving sales and fostering customer loyalty.


  • Email marketing continues to be a relevant and effective strategy in 2020.
  • Building an email list from scratch requires careful planning and targeted strategies.
  • Email co-marketing and influencer partnerships can expand your reach and drive engagement.
  • Creating mini courses and using quizzes are effective tactics for capturing email addresses.
  • Collecting email addresses on Shopify and holding contests/giveaways can rapidly grow your list.
  • Non-scalable tactics such as in-person collection and inserts contribute to brand awareness.
  • Prioritize delivering value and building relationships with your audience.
  • Consistent effort and optimization will lead to a successful email marketing campaign.


Q: How can I choose the right influencers for my email marketing campaign? A: When selecting influencers, consider their audience's similarity to your desired audience, their engagement rate, and their emotional connection with their followers. Tools like can help calculate an influencer's engagement rate.

Q: Can holding a contest or giveaway negatively impact the brand image for luxury brands? A: Yes, contests and giveaways may attract participants solely interested in winning prizes, which may not align with the image and values of luxury brands. Consider alternative tactics that appeal to your target audience's desire for exclusivity.

Q: What are some non-scalable tactics for collecting email addresses? A: Non-scalable tactics include collecting email addresses in person at events or trade shows and including inserts in product shipments with calls-to-action to sign up for newsletters. These tactics provide opportunities for direct engagement and brand awareness.

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