6 Ways To Build An Email List

There’s nothing more profitable for an online business than owning a big email list. You can notify your customers of new products and offers without paying a dime on ads.

There’s no online marketing “guru” who doesn’t recommend building an email list but what they don’t talk about is how to do it. In this article, I will guide you through tried and tested email list building tactics that are used by wildly successful online businesses.

Upside Down Homepage

This is one of the best ways to increase the size of your email list. If you are a blogger, you can turn your blog homepage into a list building machine that turns people visiting your website into email subscribers.

If you are a blogger, showing your most recent blog posts on the homepage can help bring a couple of visitors to them but if you ask them your visitors to sign up on your homepage, you will see a massive uptick in daily subscriber growth.

This tactic is used by many of the most popular Internet Marketing experts including Bryan Harris, Brian Dean, and Noah Kagan.

Here’s what Noah Kagan’s blog homepage looks like:

noah kogan

He is aware that getting more email subscribers is more important than getting a few visitors to his blog posts because email subscribers mean more revenue and more pageviews down the line.

You could simply ask your visitors to sign up for your email newsletter as Noah does or you can combine this tactic with any of the other tactics below to power up your homepage and turn it into a list building machine. Rather than asking people to simply sign up for your email list, you could give away a freebie as you will learn in the tips below:

Content Upgrade

This tactic was popularized SEO Expert Brian Dean on his blog Backlinko. It is responsible for the meteoric growth Brian’s blog saw when it started. It’s a simple hack that can get you thousands of new subscribers every year.

This is how it works. Rather than simply asking people to sign up for your email list at the end of your blog posts, offer them something for free that would add even more value.

Here’s a great example of a content upgrade from Ramit Sethi’s blog on personal finance:

ramit sethi

This screenshot is from Ramit’s blog post about Short-Term investments. Rather than just asking his readers to subscribe to his email list, he offers a free eBook with his best advice on making money. To download the eBook, you have to join his email list.

You don’t have to give away an entire eBook to get more subscribers. You can simply give away a PDF version of the blog post that people can download and read when they have the time. Or you can offer a cheat sheet or a reference PDF that people can download and print.

Here’s another example of a great content upgrade form Bulletproof.com:


At the end of their blog post about the Bulletproof Diet, they offer a downloadable PDF with a list of foods you can and can’t eat on the Bulletproof Diet.

If you are looking for an easy way to create a content upgrade, try GetResponse. They offer a simple sign up form that lets you create download boxes that let users download your freebie in return for their email address.

Exit-Intent Popup

Popups are annoying and no one likes them because they ruin user experience. But there’s a type of popup that you can use to add hundreds of subscribers to your email list every week. This popup is called an Exit-Intent Popup.

This is what it looks like:

exit intent popup

This is the popup you see on Ramit Sethi’s website when you try to leave it. It doesn’t stop the user from leaving the page but it grabs their attention and can help you grow your email list.

When a visitor is leaving, you can display a popup like this to ask them to sign up for your email list or you can offer them a freebie like the ones we talk about in some of the other tips in this article.

Here’s an example of an exit-intent popup from a blog called SmartBlogger that teaches people blogging and writing:


You will see this popup if you try to leave the website. If you enter your email address, you will get free access to SmartBlogger’s videos on becoming a freelance writer.

Creating an exit-intent popup isn’t as difficult as it sounds. A lot of popular email marketing tools including GetResponse let you create all types of sign up forms including exit-intent popups, download boxes (content upgrades), and scroll forms.

Offer a Discount

A lot of businesses offer a discount code in return for your email address. It can not only get you more subscribers but also increase the chances of your visitors buying something from you. You can offer a discount on any of your product pages in return for your visitor’s email address or you can offer it when they try to leave.

Some businesses like to offer a discount when their visitors try to leave the website. You can do this using an exit-intent popup that we talked about in the previous tip.

Do a Newsletter

If you want to grow your email list fast and keep your audience engaged, you can start an email newsletter. Although it is a lot of work, it can help you get more subscribers every time you send it out.

Nat Eliason has a great email newsletter that he talks about on his homepage:

nat eliason

His weekly newsletter called Monday Medley is a rapidly growing newsletter where Nat talks about anything interesting he has been thinking about or anything new he learned.

Here’s what his weekly newsletters look like:


As you can see, he talks about anything and everything in his newsletter.

Most newsletters talk about a specific topic that their audience is interested in. For example, in his newsletter called 5-Bullet Friday, Tim Ferris talks about anything that his audience of Entrepreneurs and high-achievers may be interested in:

tim ferris

His newsletters include books he is reading, any interesting quotes he may have found, the music he is listening to, and interesting products he may have found.

The best part about email newsletters is that they grow automatically. At the bottom of your email newsletter, if you ask people to share it with their friends, they will often do. That’s how Nat Eliason grew his newsletter to where it is:

He asks his newsletter readers to ask their friends to subscribe to his newsletter.

Now, I know that starting a newsletter sounds like a daunting task but believe me it’s not.

If you aren’t sure you can write a newsletter every week, you can send a monthly newsletter. Or you can hire a freelance writer to do it for you.

In your newsletters, you can promote your products every once in a while and you can also use it to get more traffic to any new blog post that you publish. It can become a predictable revenue stream your business can rely upon.

Most popular email marketing tools such as MailChimp, SendinBlue, and GetResponse let you create and send email newsletters with minimal to no need for configuration. Once you set up your email newsletter, all you have to do is write the content and hit the send button.

Offer the First Chapter of Your Book For Free

This is a tactic used by many best-selling authors. It is a great way to not only grow your email list but also to get more people to buy your book.

If you are a book author, giving away the first chapter of your book as a downloadable PDF is a great way to get more book sales and email subscribers.

Best-selling self-help author and business coach Todd Herman lets you download the first chapter of his book The Alter Ego Effect for free in return for your email address:

todd herman

Some authors go as far as giving away an entire eBook for free. Or as is the case with some authors such as Marie Forleo, you can give away an audiobook for free:

free giveaway

The more valuable your giveaway, the more likely are people to be interested in it. And the more likely they are to sign up for it.


If you are looking for an email marketing tool that can help you build your email list and grow your revenue through the magic of Email Marketing. We recommend checking out our list of the best email marketing software on the market. You will find detailed reviews, pros and cons, and even alternatives to the most popular email marketing tools.

If you don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of researching email marketing tools, we recommend trying SendInBlue or GetResponse. They are two of the most powerful email marketing software on the market.

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