How To Start An Email List – 3 Basic Steps

How To Start An Email List

How to start an email list and increase the number of subscribers to your mailing list is what we are going to address today.

We will not come back on the importance of capturing visitors to your site through a registration form as it has already been discussed in two previous articles:

Capturing the email addresses of your prospects will then allow you to go and build a relationship. And also, it can lead to a sale as naturally and authentically as possible!

Capturing emails must therefore be one of your priorities in your web marketing strategies. But perhaps, you thought that setting up a simple registration form on your site would be enough?

No, not really !

All visitors who visit your website or blog do not necessarily want to do this and leave you their email address. And that’s normal! So, it’s up to you to convince them!

How to start an email list the right way

So when visitors arrive on your site, why would they want to leave you their email address? And how would you effectively capture the visitors emails who discover your site?

There are 3 simple and effective steps:

1 – You must have a visible registration form

The first step that may seem 100% obvious is that this registration form is VISIBLE on your site!
Give this form a high profile on your site, so that your reader sees it at first glance without having to look for it:

  • Put it on your home page, and if possible in a visible place (at the top of your page not hidden at the bottom …).
  • On the sidebar of your site, if you have one. And, again, at the very top of your sidebar!
  • At the bottom of your articles, to take advantage of the special attention you have of your readers at that time.
  • The pop-up: This seems undoubtedly particularly intrusive and unpleasant for your reader. Certainly, but it is devilishly effective! Do not worry, we do not talk about the pop-up that appears every 5 seconds and reappears at each of your visits to the site. No ! Set your pop-up so that it appears only during the first visit (and give it a few seconds before it appears, so that your visitor has enough time to judge whether your website or blog is of any interest to him or her).

Here below is a great example of a very VISIBLE CTA (call to action) button for a FREE Internet Marketing Course. Click on it and see where it takes you:

FREE Marketing Course

That said, let us begin …

If you only had to keep one registration form, that would be it …

Give it a try, and you will see that your registration rate will literally go up!

There are plugins for that and  SumoMe is a very popular one.

  • Your “About” page: The “about” or “about me” page is often one of the most read pages of a site, did you know that? You therefore have every interest in decorating it with a small registration form for your newsletter!

I also advise you to put your registration form on a special page to which you can then redirect your readers as soon as you want to encourage them to register (to pin on the profiles of your social networks for example!).

In short, MULTIPLY the gateways to your registration form!
2 – Make them want!
how to start an email list

Please join my mailing list!

The 2nd step is to make them want to subscribe! Even if your reader has seen your form, even if it displays “newsletter registration”, it is very unlikely that he / she will do so …

  • Would that really make you want to fill it?
  • How many times have they ever seen a similar form?
  • Do you think that can really catch their attention?

Your reader tends to associate your newsletter with promotion.

Ask yourself:

  • What will this newsletter do for them?
  • What benefits can they derive from it?
  • Their email address has value!  What do you offer them in return?

I suggest you to give them a free gift; and if possible, something:

  • That will demonstrate your know-how
  • That will be useful to them
  • And finally, that is automatic (They will only have to click on your email to get their gift.)
Ask yourself why would anyone want to sign up for your mailing list?

Because you are giving they very useful content! That’s the very reason why they like your website or blog. Your gift can be an ebook, a series of videos, a marketing course … be creative!

So you have to know exactly what your readers are looking for. If you are up to date on this issue, you will find out what’s the best incentive or motivation for getting your readers registered.

One possible, and very common, option is to offer an ebook / guide to “bribe” (in a good way) people who sign up. In general, any training material (of the mini type – free course) particularly motivates the inscription.

If you want to offer an incentive, make sure it is really worth something! That it is something of sufficient value that it could sell itself independently. Except that you have decided to offer it!

People do not want to receive worthless material. What they want to receive is something of value AND FREE, since here is all the interest of receiving it.

And that it makes it really work as being unique enough to justify the registration to your mailing list.

NB: You can very well mention to your readers what is the value of the gift. For example, “Sign up and receive our free guide worth $ 27”.

3. Set up your autoresponder

Step 3: Set up your autoresponder. You probably have heard of it, there are several programs called autoresponders. They are made to simplify your life by automating a large part of your marketing efforts.

They will automatically send the gift to the prospect or customer for you! And as a bonus, automatically send regular emails from you, if you have set up a series of emails.

In short, it is up to you to continue feeding this relationship.

Keep in touch, a minimum once a month, ideally once every 15 days or once a week, with your subscribers by sending them interesting emailsBy that, I do not mean that you send sales messages, but that you send emails aiming above all to demonstrate your expertise. And that will lead naturally to the sale!

Your registration form will allow you to turn your visitor into a prospect, then your prospect into a client, and perhaps for many years to come.

Let’s take a break, and in the main time …


FREE Marketing Course

That said, let us begin …

Okay, let’s continue now …
A word of caution on autoresponders:

I have been marketing on the Internet since 2001 and I have used many autoresponders. For that reason, I feel that I am knowledgeable enough to give you some advice when it comes to selecting your autoresponder:

  1. Your autoresponder must, first of all, be capable of delivering every single emails that you wish to send.
  2. It must be easy to set up and have a very comprehensive tutorial to that effect.
  3. It must be user friendly when it comes to creating a capture page, also known as an email form. And have a variety of quality and attractive templates for you to use.
  4. By all means DO NOT fall for a free autoresponder. It will be a pain to work with, and worse of all, most of your emails will not reach their recipients (and you will not know it).

That said, I have used some of the most popular, such as:

  • MailChimp: Has the reputation of closing accounts without giving warning or explanation (happened to me and people I know).
  • AWeber: Very expensive and not easy to use.
  • GetResponse: Very difficult to create professional looking emails and opt-in forms.
how to start an email list

Each and every mail MUST reach its destination!

Although the above 3 very popular autoresponders offer either a free 30 day trial period, or free to use until you reach a certain number of subscribers or emails sent, they become very expensive as you start to grow your business.

Changing autoresponder software once you are established is not a good idea, as you will have to send an email to your list so that they opt-in to your new autoresponder which will result in a great loss of subscribers.

But the good news is that there is one that I have always used, even while using other responders, so I could compare them very easily, it is TrafficWave.

TrafficWave is:
  • Very much user friendly.
  • Offers first class capture page templates that you can easily customise.
  • It has unlimited number of autoresponders at no extra cost.
  • Probably the best deliverabilty rating (I have made some comparisons myself).
  • It is possible to create very professional emails, also with a great choice of templates.
  • Free 30 days trial period, then $17.50 a month forever, whether your list is 1,000 or 100,000.
  • A very lucrative affiliate program, plus bonuses (sponsor 3 users and your membership is paid for).
  • and much more advantages compared to other autoresponder systems …

So, yes, without any hesitations, if there is one autoresponder that I can recommend, it is TrafficWave:
Email Marketing
And, to further your knowledge, here are some articles that you will also find useful:

Thanks for reading

Easy to Retire


I hope that this article clearly showed how to start an email list. Pretty simple right? If you have any other tips in this particular field, my readers and myself would like to hear from you. And, should you have any problems and would like to find a solution, please make use of the box below and someone and/or myself. I will respond typically within 24 to 48 hours. If you enjoyed reading this article please share it socially and post your appreciation in the comments area below, I will highly appreciate it!

I am a Premium Member at Wealthy Affiliate, where I learned how to share my passions and successes. You are most welcome to join my team and learn how to become successful in business and retire early. I will personally mentor you for FREE. It is 100% FREE to join, learn and earn! Click the button below and I’ll see you on the other side.

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  • Daniel

    Awesome article John! I have always wanted to build email list but I think that it is somehow hard to achieve. I simply don’t have an e-book to promote but also I don’t have product. Do you think that it is good to make email least based on new posts? I mean like when I publish new post they get notification?

    • John

      Thanks very much for visiting my website and for posting a comment on my “How To Start An Email List – 3 Basic Steps” blog post Daniel.

      Building an email list sounds quite difficult for a beginner. I must admit it is time consuming and requires a lot of testing to get the autoresponder set up right and loaded with pre-written emails, but once done, it does save a lot of time. Also, we all know that “the money is in the list”, so it is well worth the trouble of setting up yours.

      As I say in my article, the main problem is to select the autoresponder that you will like to work with, for a long time, as once you have it up and running, if in a few months time you decide that you want to go for another one, you will lose the majority of your subscribers, because you will have to invite them to opt in again. Therefore, it is very important that you make the right choice right at the beginning.

      I have used just about everyone that are available and the one that I can highly recommend is TrafficWave. It is the most reliable, easy to use and cheapest of all in the long run.

      I would suggest that you start building up your mailing list now. It might take time to grow but it is well worth it Daniel.

      Let me know if you have any questions.


  • Joe Joson

    Another ‘best seller’ John! Very concise and nicely laid out details on how to set up an email list!

    This is going to be a bonus post for many more newbies!

    Thanks for the share!

    Joe Joson

    • Nice seeing you on my website again Joe and I appreciate your comment. Hopefully, my “3 basic steps on How To Start An Email List” will help many to get started with building their mailing list the right way, as we know that the money is in the list.

      Of course, I look forward to seeing you here again soon.

      Best wishes,


  • Joe Joson

    Another ‘best seller’ John! Very concise and nicely laid out details on how to set up an email list!

    This is going to be a bonus post for many more newbies! Very descriptive and full of ideas that are very useful.

    Great amount of research must have gone into this work!

    Thanks for the share!

    Joe Joson

    • John

      Wooww! Thanks for the compliment Joe, and for being such a regular reader of my blog posts. I am glad that you liked my “How To Start An Email List – 3 Basic Steps” article. 

      If you have any questions, or any topic that you would like me to research and write about, please do let me know and I will be very happy to do that.

      I look forward to seeing you again on this website again soon.

      Best wishes,


  • Jurgen

    I have a registration form at the right side of my page, but not at the bottom like you say. Thinking about it, this is a great idea, because the second people start scrolling the registration form at the right side is gone. I will implement this right away!

    Thanks for the tip on the autoresponder, I will check out TrafficWave. I’ve heard horror stories about MailChimp about the closed accounts and it’s definately not a good choice for Internet Marketeers.

    • John

      Thanks very much for visiting my website and commenting on my “How To Start An Email List – 3 Basic Steps” article Jurgen. I am glad that you learned something that you can use on your website. At the bottom of your blog posts is one of the best places, if not the best, to insert the signup form to your newsletter, because, as you can understand, if someone took the time to read all the way down your article, he/she must be really interested in reading more of your posts. 

      Also, it is well known that many people read the first couple of paragraphs and if it grabs their attention, they often scroll down the page to find out who you are, how much it costs, etc., so a good place to grab their email address.

      But other places are not to be neglected, like within your article, and of course, it has to be on the sidebar, and preferably at the top.

      The, although I am not very much in favor of popups or pop-unders, etc. they convert quite well.

      I thought that you might also be interested in reading How To Build An Effective Landing Page, hope you enjoy and learn more from it. Let me know if you have any questions.



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