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How To Build an Email Marketing List

Andrés Buenahora
Sep 22, 2020
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When carried out effectively, email marketing is one of the most lucrative digital marketing strategies. It offer slow costs and a high return on investment (ROI), proving to be a vital asset to your marketing plan and overall company growth.

To begin your email marketing strategy, you must consider each required element. From copy in the subject line to sender reputation,a lot goes into creating a successful email marketing campaign. None may be more important, though, than who you’re sending it to. Whether it’s your target audience, form-filled leads, or current customers, an email list is crucial to your success.

If you’re looking for list building strategies, look no further. Here’s how to build a list for email marketing from Mirabel’s Marketing Manager:

Update Contacts and Email Lists

Before prioritizing building an email list, it’s important to update the contacts you already have. Why?

If you send email after email to every contact in your CRM, including those who don’t open or click through your campaign, you’re more likely to be flagged as spam. If you’re flagged as spam above the average rate, you’re blacklisted by inbox providers like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail.

When you’re blacklisted, you have no credibility. Your email deliverability drops, and your emails automatically go to spam folders. No one opens or clicks through your message, and it’s very difficult to rebuild a positive sender reputation.

To avoid a poor sender reputation,clean your email list before your next campaign. Focus your marketing efforts on only recipients who are engaged with your emails. Engaged email recipients lead to a higher conversion rate and a better sender reputation. A good sender reputation allows you to consistently send emails without the fear of being marked as spam and blacklisted by inbox providers.

Another great email marketing tip is to verify your email list. Run your email list through an email verification tool, like Clean Your List from Mirabel Technologies. An email verification tool categorizes each email as valid, invalid, or unknown.

It then prevents you from sending to misspelled, misformatted, or catch-all emails like also keeps you from automatically ending up in spam folders by recognizing and invalidating phishing scams, honeypot traps, and fake spam emails.

By updating your CRM and email lists, you can avoid sending to unengaged recipients or fake email addresses.You can focus on more active recipients that hold higher potential for conversion and engagement with your brand, leading to a better sender reputation.


A great marketing tip to build an email list is to incentivize website visitors. If you want website visitors to subscribe to your email marketing campaigns, an incentive is an easy way to do so. Choose an incentive relevant to the majority of your website visitors, and pay special consideration to first-time visitors. For example,common incentives include a small discount, free shipping on a product, a trial period for a service, or a combination of those offers.

Offering access to regular discount opportunities and other special offers can be an effective way to build an email list. The best part is that it’s best practice to build an email list through opt-in marketing strategies. It ensures your list continues to grow in an organic and efficient way

Upgrade to Gamification Strategies

Like incentivization, gamification triggers a positive response in website visitors. It’s a next-level approach to marketing as a user-first experience that employs competition, engagement,and/or awards. Gamification is “the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts,” such as websites or social media. It improves user engagement and can be used as an effective strategy to build and grow an email marketing list.

A classic example of gamification to build an email list is the easy Wheel of Fortune popup. Upon entering a website, a spin-the-wheel popup is activated, giving website visitors a chance to click and spin.

Rewards on the “wheel” might include a few popular incentives: free shipping, a trial size product, small discount, or combination of both. It also likely includes a “try again” or “one extra/free spin” option to keep visitors engaged with your website. It might also include a “better luck next time” option to entice visitors to revisit your website.

To earn the reward, visitors have to opt-in and enter their email address, automatically building your list.

Other common examples include digital scratch-offs and virtual slot machines. These click-to-reveal and jackpot deals can be easy plug-ins on websites to build an email list. They can even be used in current email marketing campaigns to boost open and click-through rates.

Gamification strategies to build an email list can put you above the competition. By creating or using a fun game-like feature on your website or in email marketing campaigns, you can build your email list, increase engagement, and keep visitors clicking.

PopIt Up

All our examples of incentives and gamification strategies have been displayed as pop-ups on websites. The keys to effective pop-up design are the following:

  • Location. A pop-up is usually on the homepage. Visitors are most likely to use the discount or special offer during the same session of purchasing a product or service.
  • Timing. A pop-up appears within seconds of arriving on the website. Abandonment or exit pop-ups may reappear upon checkout with messages like, “Don’t forget this item!” or “What about this?”with suggestions on relevant items based on what’s in their cart or website browsing history.  
  • Exit button. It’s frustrating for uninterested leads to be unable to close a pop-up. If they can’t exit the pop-up, they’ll likely leave the website altogether.
  • Relevance. Keep the offer relevant to your brand and product or service. If you’re a digital magazine, why offer free shipping? A 10 percent discount or free three-month subscription would be a better incentive.

Focus on Gated Content Marketing

Another great tip to building an email list is to focus on a gated content offer. While incentives from pop-ups (discounts, free shipping,trial size products, etc.) are technically gated, we’re shifting gears to content marketing.

Guides, eBooks, and white papers; case studies; printable checklists and templates; infographics; and webinars all count as gated content marketing offers. They offer free solutions to common problems in the form of information and in exchange for an email address.

If you built a content marketing offer, gate it with a landing page. Proper landing page design offers a lead-capture form, where a website visitor can put their information. After filling out the form, the visitor clicks the call-to-action (CTA), and an automated workflow is triggered. The workflow captures the email address in the CRM, and then an automated email with the content marketing offer is sent to that email, beginning an engaged email marketing relationship.

The best part is you can set it and forget it. Promote your landing page on your website and social media, capture email addresses, and let the workflow automation do the rest.

Create a Referral Program

Did you know that according to Nielsen, 92 percent of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising?

One of the most effective ways to build and grow an email list is by creating a referral program. By nurturing a positive relationship with your customers, you create brand loyalists (also known as subscribers).Create a referral program to give your best customers an outlet to share their experience.

You can even up the referral program by offering a discount or special incentive if a referral subscribes to your content, makes a purchase, or signs up for your service. For example, this referral program by Ever note uses their Premium subscription and rewards points to entice customers to take part in their referral program. They even simplify the process for customers by offering a Gmail integration to import contacts.

Don’t Forget Offline Tactics

Digital marketing strategies to build email lists are undeniably necessary. To complement the digital tactics, don’t forget offline list building strategies:

  • Exchange business cards with colleagues and industry leaders at networking events, and add them to your CRM.
  • Put a registration or sign-up list at your booth during events or trade shows.
  • Use a text-to-join email program. This service is offered by a few major inbox providers, or sign up with several third-party providers like JoinBy Text, Call Loop, and TXTImpact.
  • Ask to send a receipt by email address.
  • If you’re working at a brick and mortar, use fishbowl marketing. The term comes from placing a fishbowl or other container in the store and pulling a business card in exchange for entry to a contest.


Building an email list is an integral part of email marketing. From online to offline strategies, Mirabel’s Marketing Manager offers a few tried-and-true ways to build an email list. For more information about these email basics, download our Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing.Click on the button below to get started:

Kelly Jacobson contributed to this blog.

A Beginner's Guide to Email Marketing

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