64 Email List Building Ideas


Visit marketing discussion boards on any given day and you are likely to see the question, “How Do I Build My List”. In fact, there were 531,000 listings to “build a list” in Google.

If you’ve ever wanted some tried and true methods for building your list, you’ll want to bookmark this page immediately. Because we’re going to cover 64 ways you can begin to build your subscriber base TODAY!

First, we’ll cover the “good” ways. In my next post, I’ll mention some ways that would make your mother blush and possibly deny any knowledge of you (only to make sure you never, ever do them!).

1. If you don’t have a newsletter yet, start one. People always want to learn more about their topic of interest. GetResponse is a great web-based email marketing software for publishing newsletters and hosting your mailing lists.

2. Add a subscription form to every page of your website.

3. Make it quick and easy for your visitors to sign up. A first name and email address is all you need initially.

4. Be sure to state your privacy policy in your subscription box. Or add a link to a separate privacy policy page right next to your subscription form.

5. Be clear, persuasive and honest as to what your subscribers will receive and why your visitor will gain by subscribing.

6. Tell them how often they can expect to receive your newsletter or other emails. Do not inundate them.

7. Link to a sample issue before they sign up, so they have an example of what you provide your subscribers.

8. Archive your past newsletters and make them available on your website. (Bonus: This also produces additional organic search traffic!)

9. Don’t be afraid to link to other websites or recommend other good newsletters. Your subscribers will love it and the recommended sites / newsletters may even return the favor and recommend your newsletter!

10. Joint venture with other newsletter publishers and mention each other’s publications.

11. Create an ebook and offer it free as an incentive to subscribe.

12. Create an informative PDF report on your business topic. Only a few pages of useful content are needed for a report.

13. Start with your immediate contact list and generate buzz to draw visitors to your site and subscribers to your newsletter.

14. Offer a product discount for purchasers who subscribe to your newsletter.

15. Give away useful software or web-based tools to subscribers. If you’re not a programmer, hire one through RentACoder or Elance

16. Conduct a webinar (a web-based seminar) for which your visitors must register. On the registration form, get permission to send them future mailings.

17. Mention your newsletter during your webinar and provide a subscription link. This will give those who haven’t opted-in an additional chance to do so.

18. Ask your subscribers to tell their friends about your newsletter.

19. Add a link or button on your website and newsletter taking them to a “Tell-A-Friend” form, where they can invite 3-5 of their friends.

20. Allow others to reprint your newsletter as long as the content and links aren’t modified and your bio box is intact.

21. Add a “Subscribe” button, or a link to the subscription page, in every issue. Then, if your newsletter gets forwarded, the new recipient can sign up.

22. Optimize your website for search engine rankings. If you think SEO means “search engine optimism” instead of “search engineoptimization”, check out SEObook.com by Aaron Wall.

23. If your newsletter or campaign is newsworth, submit a publicity release at services such as PRWeb or BusinessWire. You might get a surge of new subscribers, as well as a number of inbound links.

24. Make your email marketing campaign “newsy”. Run a controversial survey and turn the results into a story. Then let the world know about it and get free exposure.

25. Include Opt-In information on Customer Satisfaction Surveys. Ask permission to communicate valuable info via email newsletters and promotions.

26. Create a squeeze page designed solely to capture new subscribers.

27. Find hundreds or even thousands of relevant keywords with services like Wordtracker,and then promote your squeeze page using PPC(pay-per-click) advertising, such as Google Adwords, Yahoo Sponsored Search, MSN adCenter, and more.

28. Track the effectiveness of your advertising and test changes with services like HyperTracker. Keep the best – scrap the rest. Always keep testing.

29. Spice up your squeeze page with a pre-recorded audio message to tell your visitors why they should subscribe. Record it yourself or write a script and hire a voice talent to do it.

30. Add video to your squeeze page. Not only can you speak to your prospective subscribers, but even point where the subscription form is located on your webpage!

31. Incorporate social proof through testimonials on your squeeze page (written, audio, or even video!)

32. Remind double opt-in subscribers to watch their email for your confirmation link and ask them to be sure to click it to confirm.

33. Start a free blog with WordPress or Blogger. It’s another way to communicate with your visitors and nicely complements your email marketing and list building.

34. Add your newsletter subscription form to every page of your blog.

35. Research similar websites and newsletters with Google Blog Search or Technorati. Post relevant, helpful comments with a trackback to your blog or squeeze page.

36. Keep your blog readers notified of new posts when they sign up for updates. This has a 3-prong benefit: build your email list, maintain relationships with your readers, and get more traffic to your blog.

37. Use a responsible co-registration list-building service like GetSubscribers

38. Perform a cross-registration campaign with other newsletter owners by adding a link/banner to the other newsletter on the confirmation page. Subscribers won’t see it until after they’ve joined your list.

39. Advertise in ezines and other newsletters. Use a directory like Ezine-Dir to find newsletters reaching your target audience.

40. Submit your newsletter to ezine and newsletter directories.

41. Promote your newsletter / promotional emails in industry directories and websites.

42. Sponsor other people’s contests and get exposure for your newsletter. Give away freebies that don’t cost you money.

43. Submit articles to Article Directories like GoArticles, SubmitYourArticle or EzineArticles. Include a bio box at the bottom with a link to your website or the email address to be added instantly (if you are using an autoresponder).

44. Visit discussion boards, forums, Yahoo! Answers and similar sites to provide helpful answers, while including a link to your newsletter subscription page in your sigfile.

45. Add your newsletter sign-up link to your email signature.

46. Promote sign-ups in Confirmation and Transaction emails.

47. Include an opt-in link on customers’ credit card receipts.

48. Add an opt-in message to Warranty and Product Registration Cards.

49. Use sign-up message on all Invoices.

50. Network at trade shows and conventions. When exchanging business cards, ask permission to send them your newsletter / report. If they say “no”, write an “X” on the back of their card. Otherwise, add them to your list.

51. Hand out sign-up forms promoting your newsletter when speaking to groups or at seminars.

52. Include newsletter subscriptions in Trade Show Lead Generation form. Ask booth visitors for permission to send your monthly newsletter to them. (see 50 above)

53. Make it easy for your audience to subscribe by including a link to your newsletter subscription page on the footer of your PowerPoint or webinar presentations.

54. Look for ways to collect email addresses if you are a brick & mortar business.

55. Display opt-in forms at the Cash Register to receive weekly discounts, etc.

56. Advertise email promotions on Product Shipping Boxes, Packing Slips and Direct Mail Cards, with links to your site.

57. Offer customers a VIP or loyalty program for signing up for your list.

58. Request employees use an email signature such as “Subscribe to the Company X Email Newsletter”.

59. Call Center and Sales Employees can ask customers and prospects if they’d like to receive newsletters or promotional emails and get their information by phone.

60. Encourage email subscriptions by printing on Direct Mail, Catalogs, and all Print Ads.

61. If you have a physical mailing list from your offline business, send a postcard to your customers, offering a special for opting-in to your email newsletter.

62. Study each offline advertising piece with the thought of integrating a list building component into it.

63. Collect email address at each point of contact with customers and prospects.

64. Get more traffic to your website. Even if your opt-in percentage doesn’t change, this will automatically result in more subscribers.

As I mentioned in the post “Taking Action”, I’ll be revisiting this list to provide more detail on the who, what, when, where and how of these ideas. If you have questions on anything, please comment below and we’ll get you an answer.

In my next post, I’ll talk about THE DARK SIDE… the wrong way to build an email list.

  • Darlene Siddons

    what a great article….i don’t think you missed one possibility…very good….and thanks!!!

  • Carlton

    Great article! You covered EVERYTHING anyone needs to know on how to start building a list. This is better than some ebooks out there!


  • Positive Pat

    WOW – very informative! Someone did their homework and are giving us “newbies” real value instead of hype.

    I look forward to the next post…..thank you.

  • Bobby

    Thanks for such comprehensive article..


  • Peter Arnold

    Dear Simon:

    First, let me say how very much I appreciate GetResponse!

    Having used the services of many of your competitors over the years,
    I can truthfully say that ‘GetResponse’ has suited my needs the BEST.

    DEBBI BRESSLER – What a superb article on E-Mail Marketing. I just
    wrote to Debbi thanking her for this. I will gladly share it with my associates.

    Debbi is a highly talented professional. I have learned far more from her
    about marketing + business and financial management strategies than
    from most people I know. Not only is she a caring and giving leader – her
    her coaching and writing skills are awesome.

    I have known and respected Debbi for many years, both as a friend and
    a colleague. I greatly admire her ethics, her integrity and her principles.

    I look forward to receiving many more great articles from Debbi Bressler
    through GetResponse. Many thanks!

    Sincerely / Peter A.

    Peter Arnold, CLU, CFC / Founder
    Business Achievers Academy / Canada

  • Mohamad Latiff – Money Making Tactics

    This is an excellent, comprehensive and almost-everything-covered article!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Marissa Dunhill


    Thank you for a great and informative article about building mailing lists. As a marketer myself I can use at least a dozen of your ideas, and that will surely help me grow my list faster. Debbi, this info is gold and I’ll certainly share this with my subscribers and associates.

    Big time kudos from Scottsdale, AZ!


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  • Dear all,

    Thank you for all your feedback,
    and please keep it coming. We
    love to hear from you.

    Stay tuned with us for lots of
    new email marketing -related
    content and plenty of GetResponse
    service enhancements.


    Simon Grabowski

  • Hi Debbi,

    I have a question about getting people to actually VIEW your mailing. I have a list of about 14,000+ and I just recently began sending out an html-style newsletter which lets me track the “open rate” of these mailings — the number that were actually seen by recipients and not just deleted immediately or blocked somehow. My last 3 mailings have failed to produce open rates exceeding 3,000. This is pretty discouraging to think that a list of 14k is actually less than 3k for all practical purposes. If you’d like to see a sample of one of these newsletters they are archived on my website. This is the June issue for instance:


    This was the subject line for that mailing:

    HSM Dating & Mating News – Handling the Surprise Flirt

    Are there any tricks or techniques you know of to improve this open rate? Should I send these newsletters out in dual format perhaps, realizing that there’s no way to track the open rate of the accompanying text version so the result would be unknown? Anything you have to offer would help, I’m all out of ideas. Thanks!

    Mike P.

  • Mike Bowman

    Great article. That must have taken a looonnng time to put together. Thanks for the ideas!

  • Linda Seck

    Dear Simon and Debbi,

    I want to say a big thank you for the wonderful website you’ve got and to top it off, a GREAT ARTICLE.

    Getresponse is an excellent tool for my business as I can stay in touch with my subscribers and some were converted to being my clients allowing me to earn thousands of dollars!

    It’s a long list of tips but I definitely believe it’s worth going through every single one.

    Linda Seck
    LSECK Consulting Services

  • Drupal

    As always, another excellent article

  • ___________

    Hi Simon,

    What a fantastic article! You covered everything & more that even I could think of!

    I have been a very happy customer of GetResponse now for over 10 years & happily recommend your excellent & outstanding company to all my many contacts.

    This is how I use GetResponse on my own personal web page 200KIncome.com

    Thank you again & well done!

    Simon AKA “The Millionaire Maker”
    Success Coach, Trainer, Internet Marketer & Entrepreneur

  • Aaron

    Wow, great article Debbi. You are always a wealth of information.


  • Mike —

    I would not be too concerned with the open rate
    statistic. Here is why…

    Over the years ISPs and email providers and email
    client software developers have learned that a
    vast majority of spam emails include external
    objects (such as images downloadable from
    spam-harboring webhosts).

    To circumvent this, many ISPs, email hosts, and
    email client programs are blocking, by default,
    the external objects that spam mail relies upon.

    Unfortunately, open-rate technology relays on
    external objects (invisible image files) to
    function, and as such the anti-spam measures
    are significantly reducing these results, because
    they’re blocking the vary mechanism that
    open-rate uses. Think of it as collateral damage,
    or an antibiotic that kills the bad bacteria, but
    also wipes out some good ones in the process.

    The fact that open-rate shows that 3,000 people
    opened your messages doesn’t tell you how many
    people *really* opened your emails. I can
    guarantee that *many* more people saw them
    than what open-rate shows.

    You should always relay on open-rate feature
    for indicative and not definitive measurements.
    That can be useful, for instance, when doing
    *comparisons* of open-rates generated by your
    different email campaigns.

    I wish there was a definite measurement of the
    open-rate statistic, but reality is what it is, and
    there is currently no way to accurately measure
    email opens.


    Simon Grabowski

  • Simon and Debbie,

    Thanks so much. Sometimes we get tunnel vision and focus on a single strategy for list building. Reminders from the professionals are a welcome kick in the butt.

  • Bill Chen

    Hi Simon,

    thanks for recommending this blog post. Debbi really cut through all the bullshit and tell us the real ways to increase our sign ups.

    Bill Chen

  • Excellent article. You covered a wealth of information that can be applied by both novices and extremely experienced professionals.

    Great job.

    Kathleen Gage

  • This is a great reference.

    Short and sweet.

    Thanks so much, Debbi!

    Zamri Nanyan

  • Hi Simon,

    Great article. I’ve been a very satisfied customer of GetResponse and I think it can only get better. Thanks.

    Edmund Ng
    CEO, President

  • David Shakun

    Wouldn’t there be advantages to a box on each page with a link to the subscription page with all its information, rather than a subscription form box on each page?

  • Hi Simon and Debbi,
    I appreciated very much your list ideas! What excellents tips to work with!

    I live in Brazil. I work in e-mail marketing services as a consultant and use GetResponse services as well.

    I would like to ask your permission to translate your post into Portuguese and Spanish and post it in my blogs (blogdejorgealdrovandi.blogspot.com and jorgealdrovandi.blogspot.com) quoting you, of course, and linking to the original source, your own blog. That is because the readers will not clearly understand the content in English.

    I apply much of your tips in my daily work, as you can confirm in babelteam.com/5atajos/index.html in Spanish or babelteam.com/5dicas/index.html in Portuguese, in order to promote my own services. I also use the same concept to promote my customers’ products as the Indigo Project in Punta del Este, Uruguay, at ndigopuntadeleste.com.uy.

    Thank you for sharing with us your knowledge and experience. I’m looking forward receiving a comment to my request.

    Jorge Aldrovandi

  • Thank you for your great suggestions in this post and all of the other posts you have made. I use your autoresponder services and they are great. Email Marketing is the base upon which you build your eBusiness.

  • Marjorie Gemmell

    Hi Debbi,

    The word comprehensive doesn’t do justice to describing your
    article. I’ve been thinking about publishing a newsletter and
    this give me all of the reasons to proceed.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Marjie Gemmell

  • I am writting to getresponse, because i paid for a 200 new list. around three years ago , buy i didn’t recive that list in my account whit you, it is srcontreras, please pay attention to this. thanks, srcontreras.

  • Dear Rosaura,

    Our Customer Support will get in touch with you promptly.

    Kind regards,

    Agata Szulc
    Marketing Coordinator

  • Gerardo Medina

    Can I manually add leads to my autoresponder? How?



  • Robert A Decker


    I think your article really showed me a great way to get my business

    going ahead,alot of great information.

    Thank You
    Robert Decker

  • Olurotimi Adebanjo

    For Sure, these are 64 Secrets unleashed. You`ve proved you are the Leader. Thumbs Up to Getresponse.

  • Thanks for your comments, Olurotimi and Robert.


  • Hi Gerardo,

    My role is writing articles for the blog.

    Please visit the forum or fill out a support ticket, so Customer Service can help with your request.


  • Mohd Zakay

    I really get the picture what is exactly email marketing now, i have completely zero knowledge about the email marketing concept before, but now, with all those good informations i have a guide to start.


  • Hi Mohd,

    I am so pleased to hear you say that! The best part about this list is that many of the ideas can be implemented today with no additional out-of-pocket cost.

    If you have an interest or quetions about any of these tips, let me know and I’ll be sure to address them in more detail.


  • Kevin

    Hi Debbi, great as usual. Does you company help with all these steps or can you refer someone or a website that can.


  • David Bates

    Hi guys!

    I’m a complete newbie to this whole “market on the internet” thing.
    Your information is soooo helpful that it actually steers a “dummie” such
    as myself in the right direction. A TON of ideas I never even knew of.
    Thanks so much—
    David Bates

  • Hi David,

    Thank you so much…glad you like the information!

    Hi Kevin,

    Pick a few of your favorite tips and post them here and I’ll do a “show and tell” and provide more detailed information on how to get it done!


  • Max

    What a fantastic and straight to the point article!

    I have been a very happy customer of GetResponse and have been recommending them to my customers.


    Singapore Web Hosting – hostsg.com

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  • Christian Faucheux


    You say

    Add a subscription form to every page of your website.

    Where do I get a form that would link directly to the autoresponder I have with you.

    I have a form like this (where i offere a vree ebook) that I have taken from my ISP and adapted but I need some parameters to have it sent to my autoresponder with Getresponse:

    Your First Name:

    Your E-Mail:

    Check that you entered your email address correctly or you will not receive the link.

    Right now the name and email address of the subscriber are sent to an email address which is redirected to my main address and at the same time sends a link to the subscriber for him to pick the ebook.

  • Hi Christian,

    You can set up your form through your GetResponse account. It will walk you through the fields you want to include, as well as if you want your visitor directed to a thank-you page.

    If you need help setting this up, please log in to your account at http://www.getresponse.com/ and go to the forum. OR click on “Support” and you’ll find User Manuals, Tutorials, Videos and various ways to contact our Customer Support staff.

    We’re here to help!

    Debbi Bressler

  • Geoff

    Some fantastic ideas for any person interested in building their list. It’s an area of marketing that people tend to get frustrated with and is perhaps one of the reasons many give up prematurely.

  • This is probably one of the most exhaustive list of action points to be taken to build yr list as fast as u can with additional web exposure. Way to go!

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    I’m delighted! After reading your post I can tell you are passionate about your writing. Keep up the great work and I’ll return for more! Thank you.

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  • Hello Debbie!

    I’m a newbie here and still using the free account. For the past 5 days of using this, I must say that GetResponse is a great tool for email marketing. I am very satisfied with all the features. Even for a free account, I’m already ecstatic and got tonnes to do with it! As soon as my list hit the free limit, I will surely upgrade my account!

    Thank you GetResponse. I’m truly blessed to know this great company!


  • Great article with a ton of incite. I have been building lists and teaching others the Art of List Building for over 10 years now. And I have to say you nailed just about every pertinent topic. I would love to see a revised edition since this was written in 2007 and it is now 2011.

    If your ever interested in being a guest blogger I would welcome your articles, my site is billclemens.com If your interested shoot me an email.

    Have a great day.
    Bill Clemens

  • Susanna

    Happy Thaksgiving Day!

    Already some month I try different sites and blogs and nothing useful, even have some problems.Just this time I guess I am on right place. I hope I can do something in here.

    Best regards

  • David Newby

    Great list Simon! So many useful ideas…I’m sure that by just implementing a few of them I will see my list grow. Thanks!