How To Build An Email List

One of the most common questions I get is how to build an email list or how to get more email subscribers. I do this a few different ways.

Choose an Email Newsletter/Autoresponder Service

Of course, before you can do anything you need to choose an email service to add subscribers too. I use AWeber, and while there are many other competitors out there, AWeber is my favorite due to ease of use and functionality for internet marketers.

1) & 2) Permanent opt-in forms

1) I have one opt-in subscription form at the top of every page. It’s large, you can’t missed it at the top of every page. This form has different backgrounds that randomly show so it looks different each time the page loads.

2) I have a simple form at the bottom on every single blog post page. The position and color of this doesn’t change, it’s a small form for convenience. Click the image below for a larger view.

3) Pop-up form

I use a plugin called Pippity to control my “nice” pop-up forms on the site. At the moment I have three variations that I am testing with different designs. They pop up after a certain amount of time on the site and when closed do not reappear for 8 days even if the visitor returns. I do this to reduce the annoyance of the pop-ups to regular visitors. There is another popular plugin called Popup Domination, but I prefer Pippity because of it’s ease of use and analytics capabilities.

For example I can tell which forms are used the most by new subscribers, how long the pop-ups are displayed for before being closed and make variations of the same design to test timing options.

4) Contact form

Another plugin that is brilliant is Gravity Forms. I use this for my Contact page, where it asks a series of questions to the visitor, with the final one being whether they would like to subscribe to my newsletter or not. It uses the AWeber form add-on to add any person automatically to my newsletter who selects they would like to be added to my list.

My opt-in rate for people who contact me (I get a lot per day!) is over 80%, so if you have a lot of people emailing you for support or asking you questions, Gravity Forms can be a great way to add relevant subscribers.

5) Subscribe Page

This subscribe page is for search engine visitors, searchers on my own site or if I need to provide a direct link via email to someone.

6) Paypal integration

AWeber has a great “app” that allows you to add anyone who pays you via Paypal to your email list. So whenever anyone buys one of my services, such as my Complete Blog Setup, they are asked via email if they want to subscribe to my newsletter.


There are multiple areas of opportunity and “touch points” with readers and clients that you can use to offer your email subscription list. However, as I’ve talked about before (How Much Does An Email Subscriber Cost You?), it’s what you do once you have them that is very important, as an email list, and the methods used to gather subscribers, cost money.

There are a couple of ways I can name now that I don’t use, but what are the ways you use to gain email subscribers?

The tools I use to build my email list are:
a) AWeber
b) Pippity
c) Gravity Forms

20 thoughts on “How To Build An Email List”

  1. Ooooh, thanks for the new resources and ideas!  I’m going to refer back to this post quite a bit as I work my way through getting my email list up and running better.

  2. Paypal integration and contact form are somewhat new methods to me.
    Like David said, how to make use of that list is one of the problems most marketers face too. Perhaps you can write a post to solve that issue.

  3. Thought I knew it all about building a list – my main problem is how to make good use of that list! However, I’d never heard of gravity forms, so thanks for this post. David

    1.  @DavidRogers That’s a familiar problem lots of people face David, perhaps I’ll write a post on what I do there too. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Great ideas. One more thing that I do is add a second opt-in in the sidebar towards the bottom – so when people scroll – they can still see the opt-in form.

  5. I am with Corinne here.  You talk in plain language for us,so non techincal people and new beginners understand.  I have debated whether to us the pop ups.  For myself i don’t like when something pops up at me when I an reading.  i usually tell it to go away.  on the other hand i can see that they work, because if what you are reading is really interesting it is much easier to just sign up.
    It is nice to give people different options, becasue what one people may not like the next person may really like it.
    Keep up the good work, Joel.
    Blessings always,

    1.  @happymakernowco Thanks Debbie. Pop-ups are a strange thing, people say they hate them but I get an good opt-in rate through it, so I can’t tell…. That’s why once they’ve told it to go away it won’t come back for a while, nothing worse than continually closing the same pop-up over and over!

  6. Joel, these step-by-step instructions for building an email list are precious. More often than not how to build an email list is nothing but a disguised attempt at selling you a pricey product that comes with outlandish claims. This is the opposite. Clear instructions of great value – if you do it, it’ll work. Thanks! ~Beat

    1.  @beatcoach Thanks Beat. I do use some paid tools which I linked to, but only as there are not any free ones to perform the tasks I need. One I realize I didn’t mentioned was the Hello bar at the top of my site which is free and provides another opportunity to subscribe. 

  7. You kow what I like about you, Joel?

    You write as though we are all beginners. Very clearly and with everything in a neat little package.

    A lot of posts go whoosh right over the readers’ heads because they do not start from – 1. Do this first.

    There are more beginners out there than you can imagine. All you tech people hang out together and speak a language we don’t understand.

    Thanks for a plain, understandable post. That takes talent.

    1.  @miraclady Thanks Corinne, much appreciated. As I always day, everyone is a beginner sometimes, and it’s only easy when you know how.

  8. A Facebook welcome page opt-in.

    Thanks for the ideas Joel. Ryan and I were just talking about this. I think I will be in touch soon. 😉

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