How to Build an Email List That Converts in 2023


You get $38 for each $1 spent on email marketing. That’s 5 times what Google Ads offers. Plus, the average email marketing conversion rate is around 15%, which is 2x the average conversion rate of paid search.

This shows that email marketing is one of the most powerful ways to reach your audience — but if used correctly. For instance, you can reach a 44% open rate by doing only five email campaigns a month. Less is truly more in this case. 

However, climbing the ladder to email marketing success can be tough if you suck at building a list that converts. And that’s exactly what we’ll talk about in this blog. 

Let’s dig in. 

What Makes a Great Email List?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of building a great email list, let’s quickly go over some qualities you should shoot for:

1. Value

Ever heard the phrase “value, value, value”? That’s exactly what your email list should offer. Think about it: would you subscribe to an email list without an incentive, such as getting a discount, free e-book, or productivity tips? 

You won’t. So, create an offer that provides value while promoting your service when creating your email list. 

2. Relevance

If you talk about your tech SaaS solution to retirees looking for old homes, you’re inevitably going to lose subscribers. To make sure that doesn’t happen, make sure your list has people who find your solution relevant to their lives.

3. Engaged Users

The greatest email lists contain subscribers who engage with the personalized email content by opening, responding, and talking about it on their socials. These people will convert if you give them an offer. So, make sure your email list contains engaged users. 

4. Easy to Unsubscribe

Emails lists that are difficult to unsubscribe from “feel” too clingy and desperate. You don’t want to give that impression to your subscribers. So, when you’re doing email marketing, place your unsubscribe button at the center. It’ll show that you’re confident in your offer. 

5. Segmentable 

A great email list should be segmentable, i.e., you should be able to create segments of your audience based on interests, demographics, or engagement levels. This can help you send personalized content to everyone, increasing your chances of converting. 

How to Build an Email List That Converts

“Easy does it” doesn’t work with creating an email list. It’s actual hard work that turns your zero subs into millions. 

But to make sure you don’t run away for the hills after seeing the first step, let’s start with the easiest steps and work our way to success.

1. Give People a Reason to Sign Up

Before you get people to convert, you need to give them a reason to do it. This means finding your unique selling point and doubling down on it. 

For instance, Codie Sanchez worked on Wall Street, realized that most people knew nothing about finance, and set about providing them that security. She started with free advice on YouTube and LinkedIn. A few years of this constant effort led to over 250,000 newsletter readers.

What made her successful? Her drive to help people hold more power over their lives hit the hearts of many, causing a spike in her subs.   

2. Build a Landing Page

Once you’ve found your USP and have started growing your audience, build a landing page. This page should show your offer. For instance, if you share insights about content strategy, enable your customers to convert by setting up a “buy your services” page. 

But this page should not only be about the CTA button. Instead, focus on providing case studies that show how your strategies have worked for brands you’ve worked with. You can even feature your own website! 

3. Create a Newsletter 

While many people are going to land on your LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter, they’ll also bounce over time. This can be for many reasons, such as following too many people or having an overcrowded feed. 

To keep your audience engaged, you should create a newsletter. Put all the insights you provide online and some unique ones into those emails and enable people who want to get them to subscribe to your newsletter. 

4. Offer Incentives 

If your newsletter subscriptions are going slowly, you could increase interest by giving a service or product discount to only your email list members. And while this works, it’s best to use this tactic sparingly because it might cause some of your audience to feel left out. 

Thankfully, there are a million different incentive strategies you could also use, such as free shipping, exclusive offers, free exclusive content, or other conditional promotions. 

5. Gate Your Best Content  

Yes, giving free is the way to build your email list, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put more advanced content behind a gateway. This can take the form of a newsletter subscription, download offer, or any other gateway you can think of. 

For instance, Tyler Hakes has placed his “Content and SEO Growth Hacking Collection” behind his newsletter subscription. You subscribe to his list, and it lands in your email inbox a few minutes later.

Pro Tip: Use an email verification tool to avoid temporary or invalid email addresses signing up to get a hold of your advanced gated content.

6. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize 

Once you’ve created your offer, landing page, and newsletter, optimize your socials and content by giving every visitor what they need from you. For instance, you could guide visitors to specific landing pages to address their concerns. 

Similarly, if you update and republish your older content (which nobody remembers anyway), you’ll save effort and time while getting new subs.   

To maximize lead generation from your content, for example, seek assistance from a content marketing specialist. They can create a content strategy focused on leads, guiding prospects to specific landing pages to address their concerns, and revitalizing older content for increased subscriber acquisition.

Start Building Your Email List Today

Email is one of the marketing channels that boosts customer acquisition and sales and can be directly attributed to revenue generation. Hence, it is a core aspect of a firm’s revenue marketing strategy, where each marketing effort is attributed to revenue. 

Email marketing campaigns aim to attain a business’s revenue goals and engage leads long after the sales have taken over from the marketing team. 

People don’t subscribe to your email list to show their loyalty. Instead, they do that to get in on discount offers, incentives, and case studies. They subscribe to get value from your products, services, or content. 

If you don’t give your audience the value they’re looking for, you won’t be able to create an email list that converts. It’s as simple as that. So, instead of just putting your content out there, find out your USP and then start cultivating an audience. You’ll get more returns that way. Good luck!

About the author

Nicholas Prins

I'm the founder of Launch Space. We work with global companies helping them scale lead generation through SEO and content marketing. Head over to the homepage to find out more.

By Nicholas Prins