43 Email List Building Ideas for 2020
by Irek Klimczak last updated on 0

43 Email List Building Ideas for 2020

Email list building is crucial for email marketing. A high-quality email list can be your most valuable business asset. In this article, you’ll find practical tips on how to build an email list.

Bonus: Want to learn and practice at the same time? Then join the GetResponse List Building Program and over the next 90 days, you’ll learn everything you’ll need to know to grow an engaged email list and increase your sales revenue.

Table Of Contents

1. How to build an email list FAQ

What is email list building?

Email list building is the process of attracting and adding new contacts to your database. It is the core of all email marketing activities.

Why is list building important?

List building is crucial for effective email marketing for an obvious reason – the bigger your contact list, the bigger the conversion rate opportunities. The more people receive your emails, the higher are your chances of generating sales revenue and achieving your other business objectives.

What is a high-quality email list?

A high-quality email list is a list built with email addresses of people representing your target audience. People who will benefit from using your product or service. Overall, it makes sense to market your offer to people who are likely to become your customers.

How to build an email list from scratch?

In email marketing jargon, building an email list from scratch is called organic email list building, and means that you find out ways of reaching your target audience and ask them to sign up for your email marketing program. Organic list building strategy is permission-based, which means that only people who have expressed explicit consent are added to your list.

How to build an email list fast?

The fastest way to build an email list is to run PPC ad campaigns and partner up with other brands to co-promote an ebook or a report. The goal is to attract as much target audience as possible. In this article, you’ll find plenty of ideas that will help you build your contact list in no time.

Complete guide to generating leads.

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2. Basic email list building tools and resources:

Web forms

A web form a.k.a. a signup form is an HTML form that is installed on a website to enable visitors to sign up. There are different kinds of forms to choose from, e.g., a subscription form, download box, scroll form, fixed bar, lightbox, or an exit pop-up.

To build a web form, you can either code it from scratch or use a list builder, like the one built into GetResponse.

There, you’ll find various templates to choose from and an intuitive editor that’ll let you customize your web form to fit the style of your website.

When designing your web form think about the quality to quantity ratio. If you want to reach a specific target audience (e.g., to generate B2B leads), you might need to create a longer web form asking for more details: company name, company size, position, etc.

a complex subscription form example – list building tools and ideas.

On the other hand, if your goal is to reach a broader audience (e.g., to reach potential ecommerce customers), you might ask only for basic information like name and email address.

The rule of thumb is that the longer the form, the fewer people subscribe. The shorter the web form, the more subscriptions you get, but you can’t be sure how many people actually meet your criteria. The trick is to know your goal and ask only for relevant information to balance the quality/quantity ratio accordingly.

Landing pages 

A landing page, also known as a “lead capture page” or a “squeeze page”, is a single web page that is designed with a single call to action for high conversion. In email marketing landing pages are most often used for lead generation.

masala_body landing page example featuring a subscription form – list building ideas and tools.

Once again, there are many ways you can build landing pages but the most convenient one is to use a landing page creator.

Landing page creator available in GetResponse comes with mobile-optimized free landing page templates, intuitive drag and drop editor, and multiple other features.

Here you can see it in action:

Related post: How to create a high converting landing page


A webinar also known as an “online seminar”, “web conference”, or an “online meeting” can serve as a great way to build an email list with high-quality contacts. The idea is simple – you offer valuable information for everyone who signs up to your contact list.

Carefully planned webinar content will certainly attract your target audience. You can promote your webinar via other online marketing channels to maximize outreach.

webinar landing page.

If you’re interested in this particular list building method, this article talks more about how webinars work.

Lead magnets

A lead magnet is something valuable for your target audience that you offer in exchange for contact information. The goal of the lead magnet is to incentivize subscription and maximize the number of targeted leads captured via a web form.

Lead magnet examples

  • Ebook
  • Guide
  • Report
  • Checklist
  • Resource kit
  • Framework
  • Educational materials
school of calisthenics lead magnet example for building an email list.

There are of course other types of “freebies” or “opt-in bribes” you can offer.

Our previous article will provide you with more lead magnet ideas that’ll help you build your email list fast.

3. 43 Email list building ideas

To help you with your list building efforts, here’s a regularly updated list of list building ideas. We’ve organized the content into two dimensions. First into online and offline tactics, second into owned, earned, and paid media.



  • Conduct a webinar (a web-based seminar) for which your visitors must register. On the registration form, get permission to send them future mailings.
  • Create a squeeze page designed solely to capture new subscribers.
  • Create strong lead magnets.
  • Add a 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!
  • Request your employees to use an email signature such as “Subscribe to the Company X Email Newsletter”.
Email program 
  • Offer incentives like a product discount for purchasers who subscribe to your newsletter.
  • Ask your subscribers to tell their friends about your newsletter.
  • Offer customers a VIP or loyalty program for signing up for your list.
  • Collect email address at each point of contact with customers and prospects.
  • Add a subscription form to every page of your website.
  • Use a pop-up form and incentivize the subscription – be clear, persuasive and honest as to what your subscribers will receive and what your visitor will gain by subscribing.
  • 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.


  • Joint venture with other newsletter publishers and mention each other’s publications.
  • Perform a cross-registration campaign with other newsletter owners by adding a link or banner to the other newsletter on the confirmation page. Subscribers won’t see it until after they’ve joined your list.
  • 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).
  • Visit discussion boards, blogs, forums, Yahoo! Answers and similar sites to provide helpful answers, while including a link to your newsletter subscription page in your signature or bio.
  • Write guest-articles for blogs that are popular in your niche. In most situations, you’ll be able to link to your website at least from the author’s bio. If you’re able to provide a couple of more links that are contextually relevant, most blog editors will agree to include them, too. When linking to your content, make sure it’s not gated. Blog editors, in general, don’t like to refer traffic to pages with an opt-in wall. That isn’t to say that these pages can’t include an embedded or a pop-up form that can be closed to access the content.
  • Add your newsletter sign-up link or a banner promoting your lead magnet to your email signature and all your key social media profiles. Most platforms let you customize the description of your business page or the bio in your personal profile. Here are some more ways how you can build an email list with Facebook and another on how to create a Facebook Landing Page.
  • Promote sign-ups in Confirmation and Transaction emails.
  • Include newsletter subscriptions in Trade Show Lead Generation form. Ask booth visitors for permission to send your monthly newsletter to them.
  • 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.


  • 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 Ads, Bing Ads, Yandex Ads, Yahoo Sponsored Search, MSN adCenter, and more.
  • Sponsor other people’s contests and get exposure for your newsletter. Give away freebies that don’t cost you money.
  • Use remarketing for growing your list. Exclude people who already are on the list, tell them something about future values and maybe give them something extra – a discount, free delivery or free extra content.
  • Some social media platforms (like Facebook or LinkedIn) have special ad format called Lead Ads. They are perfect for email list building as most of the personal information your prospects would have to fill in is populated automatically from the user’s profile. What you have to do is just offer them something interesting that’ll convince them to fill out the form. You could use a simple banner or a short video, where you talk about your business or pros of being a subscriber. You could also use lead ads to promote a free webinar or an ebook you’ve just published. If you want to learn more, read our post on how to use Lead Ads with GetResponse to build your email list faster.
  • Don’t “attack” people who don’t know you – create a short “email list builder” funnel instead :). Create an interesting video, promote it on YouTube or Facebook and create a remarketing list with people who already watched the video. After creating the list, use remarketing campaigns to reach them and promote content that’ll help them advance through your marketing funnel.


How to build an email list without a website?

  • 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 and send them a confirmation email.
  • Not having a website doesn’t mean you can’t quickly set up a landing page and display it on your tablet or mobile phone. Just edit one of the ready-made templates, change the colors and copy to match your branding, sync it with your email list – and you’re good to go! To motivate your prospects to fill out the form you can offer them a lead magnet, e.g. a free ebook or chance to win something.
  • Hand out sign-up forms promoting your newsletter when speaking to groups or at seminars.
  • Look for ways to collect email addresses if you are a brick & mortar business.
  • Display opt-in forms at the Cash Register to receive weekly discounts, etc.
  • Advertise your email newsletter on all your printed materials including product shipping boxes, packing slips, leaflets, receipts, order confirmation forms, and direct mail cards
  • Call Center and Sales Employees can ask customers and prospects if they’d like to receive newsletters or promotional emails and get their consent by phone.
  • You can also build your email list with the use of free merchandise you give away to your clients. So make sure to put a link to your website on your mascots, pens, USB flash drives, keychains, clothing, and other accessories.
  • 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.

List building optimization tips

  • Make it quick and easy for your visitors to sign up. A first name and email address are all you need initially.
  • Tell visitors how often they can expect to receive your newsletter or other emails. Do not inundate your subscribers with too many messages.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Incorporate social proof through testimonials on your squeeze page (written, audio, or even video!)
  • Include an opt-in link on customers’ credit card receipts.
  • Add an opt-in message to Warranty and Product Registration Cards.
  • Use a sign-up message on all Invoices.
  • Study each offline advertising piece with the thought of integrating a list building component into it.
  • Get more traffic to your website. Even if your opt-in percentage doesn’t change, this will automatically result in more visitors.

4. Email list building strategies from our customers

Here are two email list building scenarios our customers have tested and stand by them. These real-life examples will help you understand the online lead generation process. And, they’ll provide you with some fresh ideas for your own business.

Alex Terrier – 256 new contacts in one month

The first scenario comes from Alex Terrier – a jazz musician who also happens to be a skilled music teacher and a creative online marketer.

Alex offers a variety of online music courses, e.g., a Triads Mastery online workshop for anyone who wants to learn how to improvise melodies. The course consists of a series of videos and ebooks. That’s why he offers a few short videos and a pdf as a lead magnet.

Alex uses Autofunnel and Facebook Ads to promote and sell his online course.

Contact list building assets

Alex used a free triads mastery workshop (6 short videos and a pdf) as his lead magnet.

He also has a landing page with a web form, explaining why you should sign up for the free workshop (https://alex_494c.gr8.com).

Fragment of the Triads Mastery Workbook landing page from Alex Terrier

On Facebook, Alex runs a series of Facebook Ads targeting a specific audience.

Facebook ad example from Alex Terrier promoting a downloadable lead magnet
Facebook ad example promoting a free workshop

In just 30 days after creating the funnel, Alex got the following results:

  • 1571 unique landing page visitors
  • 256 new contacts
  • 518 unique sales page visitors
  • 22 completed orders
  • $351 in revenue

And here’s how he describes his experience:

“Autofunnel is great for reaching new customers with one-time purchase products. You get revenue and grow your contact list at the same time”

– Alex Terrier

Family Wing Chun – 21 new contacts and five new students in one month

Another list building scenario comes from Barry Wells, the owner of Family Wing Chun – a Leeds-based martial arts school. Barry is using Autofunnel to promote self-defense courses online and enroll new students.

Contact list building assets

As his lead magnet, Barry crafted a series of incentives for people who fill in the form:

  • early tickets for the first ten people at 60% off
  • a free uniform as a gift for the first ten people
  • access to a meal plan for the duration of the program.

He created two landing pages. One describing the course (https://ladiesonly.subscribemenow.com), and one presenting the instructor (https://davina.gr8.com).

Fragment of the Family Wing Chun landing page from Barry Wells

Here’s why landing pages are so important, according to Barry:

“First, a landing page is bespoke for a particular program or class, so you can immediately address your customers’ pain points. It’s designed for conversion, so it’s much more effective than sending prospects to your home page. Second, you get a database of people who were interested, but didn’t buy at that moment.”

– Barry Wells

The school’s Facebook profile contains different types of content, but is always focused on building a community.

In just 30 days after creating the funnel, FWC got the following results:

  • 149 unique landing page visitors
  • 21 new contacts
  • 26 unique sales page visitors
  • Five completed orders
  • $295 in revenue

As you can see, you can build your contact list effectively, regardless of the industry you’re in. All you need to do is prepare your list building assets and test out different channels for distributing them.

5. Webinar Recording – How to Build and Email List Faster with Lead Magnet Funnels

Still got your attention? Perfect! Here’s a little bonus for you.

Here’s the recording of our webinar – “How to build an email list faster with lead magnet funnels”.

Are you ready to apply this knowledge and start growing your email list? Then go ahead and join the GetResponse List Building Program.

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