7 effective ways to build your email marketing list

You probably heard about the benefits of email marketing and why you should use email as part of your small business marketing strategy. But who do you email if your business is brand new and your email list is empty?

With the GDPR regulations coming into force last year, EU businesses are no longer able to send out mass marketing emails to their database of contacts, unless they have their consent to do so. This means that many businesses have seen their email marketing lists significantly reduce in size.

So, whether you are only starting a business with an empty mailing list or looking to increase the number of your email contacts, here are a few ideas to consider:

Order confirmation

If the nature of your business is transactional, collect contact details at checkout to build up your mailing list. If you website allows, offer the option to create a user profile so that they can easily access all their orders and detail in one place and for you to better track their buying journey.

Blog alerts

Blogs are incredibly effective at driving traffic to your website and getting your readers’ interest. Include a useful and interesting blog on your website and offer your visitors the option to receive a notification when a new blog post goes live. If you are new to blogging, here is our complete guide to blogging for small businesses.

Newsletter subscription

Offer your visitors the option to subscribe to a regular newsletter. It’s a great way to collect email addresses and for you to regularly keep in touch with your website visitors. For more tips on how to create a newsletter, have a look at our recent post on designing and sending a newsletter.

Downloadable assets

Give your visitors valuable insights – you can create an e-book, a detailed how-to guide or anything that provides in depth knowledge that is interesting enough for your visitors to trade their email address in exchange for the download.

Event registration

If you organise events as part of your marketing strategy, provide the option to sign up via your website and collect as much data as possible. Even if your events are invitation only, it’s worth considering giving people the option to register their interest to build up your contact list and confirm their place once you reviewed their registration.


Find out what your visitors think about topics close to your heart and to your business and offer something in return if they submit their email address. Not only can you use the data to improve your products and services, but you will be able to find out more about your visitors and build your email list at the same time.


Use your social media presence to create a buzz with a competition offering a prize that will get people excited. Ask for others to share so you reach as many people as possible. You can also encourage tagging a friend which will have a similar effect as sharing and will help to spread your message even wider.

Meeting people

The most personal and one of the most effective ways to build relationships is to meet people face to face. No online communication beats meeting people personally and will help you not only learn about your potential clients, but also learn about the industry and latest trends.

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