In today’s episode, I’m going to help you build your email list from scratch.

This is a very consistent question that I get asked about in the online space, so I wanted to break it down into a step-by-step process.

Here for the links referenced in the show notes? 


Episode 249: How to structure a webinar for great conversion:

$0 Facebook Marketing Plan free training:

Whether you’ve got no mailing list whatsoever, or you’ve been trying to build it for a while but it just doesn’t seem to be getting any momentum, this is going to be a really helpful episode for you.

Let’s dive on in…

We know that having a mailing list is a very critical element of growing an online business.

It’s the asset that you own in terms of audience. You could lose your Facebook audience in the blink of an eye. The platform that you love building your audience on may disappear. But when you have a mailing list, that mailing list is actually an asset that you have in your business.

email list from scratch grow your mailing list business start-up

In order to grow your email list from scratch, you need to nurture it like the fabulous asset it is!

You want to make sure that forms a core part of your online business strategy.

I love having a mailing list, and I love sending emails out to my mailing list consistently. It’s such a high connection opportunity to have a conversation, dive into someone’s inbox and give them some really juicy value consistently.

It’s the main way that I distribute this podcast every single week. I encourage my mailing list to reply to me and I LOVE getting replies to my emails.

Due to the high level of engagement and the high level of connection that I have with my mailing list, it is still my number one core foundation of any launch or promotion strategy.

Having a mailing list, and particularly having a mailing list that grows over time and that you’re consistently nurturing, is going to be a really powerful part of any online business strategy.

If it’s something that you want to be focusing on in 2021, what do you need to do in order to build that email list (especially if you’re starting from scratch)?

1. Have a platform

You need to be able to collect email addresses and email them in a way that is compliant with a lot of legal regulations.

Every country has its own spam or privacy laws that you need to be compliant with when it comes to emailing people and collecting their email address. It’s considered personal and private data.

For that reason, I suggest and recommend that you use a CRM (customer relationship management system) or some kind of email platform that automatically meets those requirements and standards.

There are so many different options for platforms, such as:

  • MailChimp
  • MailerLite
  • Active Campaign
  • Kartra
  • ConvertKit
  • AWeber
  • Infusionsoft
  • Mail Arrow
  • Kajabi

If you’re thinking about which one to use, you’re looking at them all and you have no idea where to start, my number one recommendation is to start with MailerLite (NOTE: I am NOT an affiliate for this platform). The reason why I recommend MailerLite is because it has a great balance of user-friendliness and functionality, and it is especially helpful for people who are just starting out.

Most of the functions on the advanced platforms are not something that you’re going to be using, particularly in the first few months of growing your mailing list. It is also very simple to move from MailerLite to some other platform once you’re ready.

If you’ve been going round and round in circles and not growing your list because you haven’t decided on a platform yet, Aunty Tash has just made the decision for you – go and check out MailerLite and sign yourself up.

That’s the first step in building your email list from scratch – you need a way to collect people’s email addresses and then you need a way to be able to send them emails.

2. You need a reason for them to give you their email address

It could be as simple as them signing up because they want to receive regular updates from you, or you can use something like an opt-in, a freebie or a discount code – some kind of incentive for people to jump onto your mailing list.

I am all for transparency and consent in marketing. For me, it’s very important when people opt-in for a free resource from you or a discount, that it is clear to them that they are subscribing to your mailing list at that point in time.

Every single one of my opt-ins says in the opt-in itself that they will also be added to my mailing list when they sign up to receive that opt-in.

In the first email, and every email from there, people have an automated way to unsubscribe from that mailing list should they choose.

When you are giving people an incentive or a reason to sign up to your mailing list, make sure that it’s very clear that they are in fact signing up to your mailing list.

In some countries, for example in the EU because of GDPR, people also need to tick a box and take affirmative action that they are happy to receive emails on your mailing list.

With some of the more advanced platforms, you can split it between countries and all sorts of things, but all of the platforms generally have a GDPR compliant way for you to be able to invite people onto your mailing list, and I would suggest you use it.

You want to give people a reason to subscribe to your mailing list.

3. Find a promotion strategy

Once you’ve decided what reason you’re giving people to subscribe to your mailing list, then you need a strategy to go out and promote that reason to your audience – both warm and cold.

That promotion strategy could be that you:

  • Create content – you might do a podcast like this and have your opt-in as something that you promote on that content
  • Post about your free thing on social media or your newsletter list
  • Have a pop-up on your website – if you’ve got high website traffic, create a pop-up so that when people are on your website, something comes up asking if they want to join your mailing list and sign up for updates, or get your free training etc.
  • Do joint ventures where you are on someone else’s podcast or you promote the freebies of someone else, and they promote your freebies as well
  • Use good old fashioned SEO strategies on things like Pinterest (using keyword optimisation) so that you can get your freebie in front of people

Don’t forget, there are both organic and paid ways that you can promote anything in your business, and your opt-in or freebie is exactly the same. It’s no exception.

Once you’ve got your promotion strategy working organically, I recommend scaling it using paid advertising (but you want to make sure that the opt-in is doing its job first!).

This is where the whole big “BUT WAIT” comes in from me because your list growth isn’t just for list’s sake. We’re not growing your email list from scratch just so that you can tell people that you have 1,000 people on your mailing list.

The whole point of growing your mailing list is to grow your business.

We want to make sure that the growth of your mailing list results in sales. We want to make sure that the growth of your mailing list is with the right people. AND if we get people onto your mailing list, you want to make sure that you nurture that audience.

I always say that having a mailing list and not consistently contacting them, is similar to inviting people over to your place for a party, and then them showing up and you’re not there. You don’t show them around, you don’t get them a drink, you don’t make sure that they know the other people in the room – you are simply absent from that party.

You want to make sure that it’s not JUST about growing your list, but that you are also ensuring that you’re:

  • Growing your list and making sales
  • Growing your list with the right people
  • Nurturing that audience for the long term

I want to bring those three things to your attention because in my opinion when you are starting from scratch, one of the easiest and most effective ways to grow your email list is by running webinars.

The reason why I recommend webinars is because they actually hit those three things fairly well for you all in one go. There’s only one extra little thing I would recommend that you do on top of that.

If you think about it, a webinar is:

  • Your opportunity to attract the right people in by talking about a topic that is specific to your audience, and pitching a product or service at the end of it
  • Going to help you make sales through the pitch or the upsell as part of that process
  • A nurturing process, not just for the new people who sign up to your webinar as the first time that they join your list, but also for continuing to provide value to your existing list

If you run a webinar once a month from when you start your business, you’re going to get better and better at delivering that webinar, promoting that webinar, growing your list, making sales on that webinar, ensuring that it’s for the right people and it’s really niched, and nurturing your audience.

You’re not just going to consistently grow your list for list’s sake, it’s also one of the highest conversion opt-ins that you can choose from because it’s high connection, people attend live, they’re listening to your voice, they’re getting great value from you, and you can take them through the full process – the TURN process – of taking people from curious to actually converting into a paying client.

The TURN process that I recommend on webinars is bridging the gap between what people think they want and need, and what their real needs and transformation are.

If you’d like to find out more about that process, I recommend Episode 249: How to structure a webinar for great conversion where I deep dive into it.

Webinars – as your main opt-in, freebie, incentive or reason for people to sign up to your mailing list – would be my number one recommendation.

The only other thing I want to say as a caveat with that is don’t just run webinars and only email people about your webinars.

Set yourself up with a consistent email strategy – whether that be once a week, or once every two weeks as a minimum – of where you are sending an email out to your full mailing list and providing consistent value.

That value, connection and consistency will ensure that you continue to nurture your list over the long term as well.

That again is going to make sure it stays full of the right people, and you’re maximising the sales that you make from that list growth as well.

As you can tell, this isn’t just about how to get people onto your mailing list who are random people that aren’t going to buy from you and ultimately don’t have an impact on your business.

If you’re going to grow an email list from scratch, you want to grow it with the right people, you want to make sure that you’re nurturing those people effectively, and that it actually maximises the sales that you’re going to make from that activity as part of your business strategy.

Hopefully, you’ve found this episode of the podcast particularly helpful.

If you’ve got any questions or want to continue the conversation, don’t forget to come on over to the Heart-Centred, Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group, use #podcastaha, let me know you’ve been reading episode number 255, and let’s keep chatting about growing your email list from scratch.

If you would like a beautiful and juicy resource that’s going to support you in growing that mailing list, I’d love for you to come and check out my $0 Facebook Marketing Strategy.

In this free training, I talk about the promotion strategy part of your list growth – you’ve got your platform, the reason for people to jump in (webinars), and then you want to have a promotion strategy.

If you’re interested in using Facebook as that promotion strategy and you want to do it lean and without investing money in ads initially, then come on over and check out the $0 Facebook Marketing plan.

Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist