how to build an email list

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How to build an email list if I don’t have an audience yet

how to build an email list

How to build an email list when you don’t have a solid audience is one of the most challenging things I found building this blog.

It takes time, sure. But even with this, you need to start ASAP, and if you are an extremely impatient guy like me, you will be looking to get more subscribers every day.

You can help the process and develop some strategies to gain some traction in this early stages.

Let me tell you how.

Rule number one, figure out what your readers most need

First at all, if you are trying to attract subscribers and you don’t have a solid online audience yet you need to figure out who is your ideal reader, or your avatar, we are assuming that you already have completed that step previously.

Just a quick look at how accurate you need to be in that step defining your ideal reader, just check the graphic below:

How to build an email list

By defining the needs of your avatar you will have a clear idea of what are the most valuable information, content and resources you can share with them, and therefore attract them to your email list.

This is a crucial step, you will attract the right people by showing in front of them the right bait.

You should also show the bait in the right way to your readers, a bait should be attractive, delicious and they need to be tempted to click and then join to your list to get the “delicious bait” that you did strategically made for them.

Of course, that implies a lot of copy knowledge and practice and this is something that only experience and repetition will give you, but there are free tools to give you some good ideas for your bait like Content Row.

Just type the keyword you are working on your bait idea and check a few good ideas:

Link bait ideas

Give crazy amounts of free valuable content

The most effective way to build an email list (and an Audience) is by creating great content and putting them in front of the right target.

You might know now who is your right target, and now you have to create delicious content to attract them.

Remember that the first goal is to help your audience, so think here in content that actually will help them by solving a problem. The idea is that your offer resonates in this target in a way that they couldn’t resist to give you their email to receive the piece of content.

Some great Ideas for lead magnets

You can attract leads to your email list by offering a valuable content to your readers, typically they can download by signing up on your opt-in. And you can easily set up a form with your email provider, I use ConvertKit. These are a few great ideas for lead magnets:

  • Guide/Manual: offering a step-by-step guide that solves a meaningful problem your audience have. If you are talking about losing weight you can share a guide about how to prepare the most delicious and low calories smoothies for example.
  • Share a piece of software: if you are a developer you can share something really interesting here like a plugin for WordPress, a Chrome/Firefox extension, etc…
  • Free online training by email. This is a great way to deliver high-value content that solves real problems, recording a short video course, following the previous example you can send a weekly workout routine delivering one video with new exercises every day by email.

These are just a few examples of what you can do, it has to be really useful to your readers, and of course, you are delivering all these for free (remember the philosophy for creating an online audience: first serve) and then you are building a credible authority around your topic.

Find credibility partnering with influencers

Building credibility is a long-term goal when you are building your online profile, via blog, videos, social media, podcast or any other platform. Especially if you are just starting.

How to build an email list interacting with influencers?

I know that sounds crazy when you are starting to build your audience from zero and probably you are still struggling with content generation process, but trust me, this is a day to day work and it works.

How did I do it?

Well, when I just start my blog I wanted to test that idea by interacting with influencers in social media. I have a nice bunch of followers on twitter (long story to tell), so that give me some extra credibility at that point, I guess.

I made a list of people that I really like and then I started to follow them. Simple.

twitter list

I called this list: “I am reading you”. Because when somebody adds you to a new list on Twitter you can see on your notifications the name of the list, and usually the name is something like “marketing people” or “interesting” or “Marketing 3”. Don’t say anything to me.

I thought that could be cool if all of those people receive a notification from me adding they profile to my list saying: “I am reading you”.

Then, I start reading, yes actually reading what they say and interacting with them.

Imagine if you have a guy commenting most of your tweets and sharing your best posts regularly. I am sure you will notice who is that guy, so they do.

You don’t need more than that at that point, just show up your name and profile.

After a while, you can see here a couple of interesting interactions when 2 top relevant guys in marketing online interact with my content on Twitter.

Those are great examples about how you can generate credibility online that helps to build your email list.

Create epic email content

That’s a very important point and I don’t usually read this in other blogs.

You have the people in your email list, ok.

Job done?


Now, actually this is the moment when starts the action, you need to be in touch with your audience and if you don’t send a real value in your emails, eventually they will unsubscribe.

Exactly like you do when somebody sends you only boring emails.

I like to follow what Russell Brunson call daily Seinfeld emails to build that personality around your business and show to your subscribers who you are.

Consist of sending regular emails talking about your daily experiences and connecting this with your business and personal philosophy. Think about what makes you different and unique and share that core idea with your subscribers.

With this, you are building a strong character around your personal brand and building brand awareness.

You have now subscribers but the real challenge is to convert subscribers in true fans.

Host a giveaway

Yes, this is basically given for free something really valuable (preferably quantifiable) to your audience asking them to subscribe in order to get the possibility to get the prize.

If you set up a good giveaway campaign you can get a lot of news subscribers.

This is the case of Brian Harris from He launched a giveaway campaign to promote a 10-year subscription to his readers to LeadPages.

Yes, a decade!

What he achieve after 10 days?

2,239 new subscribers!


How are you building your email list?

This is a good bunch of strategies to start building your email list from zero when you don’t have a solid audience yet. It’s very important to gain some tractions in the first months (even the first 12 months, don’t worry about that) and by executing consistently strategies like those you are building a great foundation for your project.

Let me know if you are using or you used at the beginning of your online business crusade other techniques to get new subscribers.

It’s your turn!

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