Mastering E-mail Marketing | Part I: How to Build an E-mail List from Scratch

Achieving email marketing mastery is a good arsenal for any business. An email address is perhaps one of the single most popular ways of connecting to a potential or existing customer, regardless of where they are in the world. We understand that many businesses have only just been scratching the surface when it comes to email marketing. So we’ve decided to step in with a comprehensive “Email Marketing Guide” series on how to master email marketing, even if you don’t have a single email address to start with. In this article series, we will be sharing insights and strategies on the following subjects:

  • how to build an email marketing list
  • what email marketing software to use 
  • getting your email delivered
  • how to design great emails
  • how to write email copy that gets customers to take action
  • email subject lines that always get opened
  • measuring email performance

We encourage you to follow each subject to get the best out of the series. 

Let’s dive into the first part of the series which covers building an email list from scratch.

If you are reading this, it means that you have made a wise decision to use email as part of your digital marketing marketing strategy. Regardless of the type of business you operate, a valid  email list is one of the most important elements of a successful digital marketing strategy. 

An email list is a special compilation of names and email addresses of existing and prospective customers  who gave you permission to communicate with them via email by sending  them updates, valuable information and promotions from your business. With that list, you can share your story, promote your business, and showcase your products; all while turning subscribers into paying customers.

Building an email list is not an easy task. However, it is an extremely effective marketing strategy. In fact, email marketing is 40 times more effective at converting prospects into customers than social media or any other online medium!

In this post, we will provide a practical guide to help you understand how to build an email list even if you have never done it before.

Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Plan a strategy that you can execute well

Spend some time to think about all the reasons you need to build a great email list and the touch-points you will use to collect data. The strategy around building an email list fast is to give every contact your business interacts with an opportunity to stay connected. If you execute on just this strategy, you will have hundreds of contacts in your email database in no time. This strategy has worked repeatedly for us with massive success. 

Let’s examine some of the primary ways businesses interacts with contacts:

Your website – This is one of the core touch-points your business interacts with contacts. Your website is incomplete if there’s no invitation to your visitors to stay in touch. Whether it’s through regular email updates or newsletter, ensure there’s a call to action on your website home page inviting visitors to stay connected. Some websites enable pop-ups immediately after you land on it. This could be seen as annoying to most visitors. Instead, give a few seconds after your visitor is on your website to show them the invitation to sign up. Consider tools like exit intent to make a last minute attempt to connect with visitors before they leave your website.

Your social media – Our businesses are all considered guests on social media platforms. Each of your social media channels should have some kind of call to action button for visitors to stay in touch with your brand. You can leverage your Facebook page for example, by adding a signup form as a tab or use the call to action button to direct your contacts to a website or landing page to leave stay connected. This might not be possible on all your channels so you must ensure to design your social media strategy to get customers to visit your website at every opportunity you get. Your website should take care of the rest.

Your landing pages, events and physical stores – These are all touch-points where your customers interact and should be prepared with invitation to connect at all times. Landing page must have a call to action. If you have a physical store, you should ensure your customer service reps or cashiers are inviting your customers to stay connected. Add collateral throughout your stores with QR codes to make it easy for anyone to stay in touch. The more you do to invite customers to stay in touch with you, the faster your list will grow.

Now that you have a plan on where to setup and integrate your invitations, you can research an email marketing platform that will help you to achieve this. 

Step 2: Choose an Email Marketing Platform

In order to communicate with potential customers using your new email list, you’re going to need an email marketing platform. This is not Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo. You can’t be sending and managing a large list of emails in Gmail or any other free email service providers. 

The best email marketing services, software, and platforms all have different price points and features.

Most of these tools are great – you just need to find the best match for you. But how do you know what is best for you?

Doing a quick research or speaking with an email marketing professional can help you to narrow down your selection to the platform that is more suitable for your business. Your research and conversation should include  pricing, platform reliability, technical support availability, template design tools, ease of use, deliver-ability, automation capabilities, integrations with other platforms such as your website or landing pages, and any additional features you need.

The best email marketing software should allow you to design emails easily, segment your list, personalize your messaging, and view analytics reports.  

And they should most importantly hit users’ primary inboxes.

In the end, email marketing is about sending the right message to the right user at the right time!

There are plenty of platforms to choose from. You can start simple and inexpensive with a service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact has been in email marketing for more than 20 years. You can get a free trial to start using their platform, gain access to tons of templates, and manage your contact list. 

It also connects with a number of other essential ecommerce tools, like BigCommerce and MailChimp.


Once you’ve got your list building tool set up, it’s time to send some emails. MailChimp is one of the biggest names in email marketing for a reason: it’s great!

You can use MailChimp to create and send regular email updates about your products to your list of subscribers and customers. You can also segment campaigns for different users and take advantage of email automation to save time.

Plus, you’ll get all the valuable insights that their analytics provide. There’s a reason so many people trust MailChimp with automation, creation and promotion.

At MI Group, we help businesses to manage their email marketing, from strategy to tools and execution. We own and manage proprietary databases plus access to more than 100 million  potential customers via email and provide email marketing software tools for launching and managing your own email marketing campaigns. Schedule a free consultation if you need help with your email marketing.

In the upcoming Email Marketing Guide, we will delve into the specifics of what steps you need to take next. At this juncture, your primary task is to carefully select the optimal marketing platform that aligns seamlessly with your requirements. This could encompass the recommended options we’ve presented or potentially an alternative solution.