How to start an email list from scratch

email marketing full beginner guide

written by Irene

‘I want to do a business with a company that treats emailing me as a privilege, not a transaction’

– Andrea Mignolo-

When I started my blogging business, my ultimate goal was to somehow monetize it. I didn’t do it as a hobby. I treated my blog as a business from day one. Or so I thought so.

Doing a lot of research on blogging as a side hustle or a full time occupation,, all I heard about was the importance of building an email list. But for some reason (procrastination) I didn’t start an email list.

Maybe I thought my blog wasn’t worth it. Maybe I feared I was a scam. Maybe deep down I was afraid no one was going to subscribe.

The point is, 2-3 years passed since I built that WordPress blogging site and I had zero emails. I even made freebies that I promoted through social media. But didn’t collect any emails. Crazy right?

To some, I’m sure this sounds familiar.

However, one day I pushed myself to take action. I decided I would try to build an email list from scratch for a year. And if I failed, then so be it.  

So here I am. Ready to share with you all the little tips I applied to my business to start my email list.

You can download the full guide on email marketing here. Your place to go to, when you have a question or you are in doubt about anything related to email marketing.


Simple steps to follow 

Building an email list from scratch is a crucial aspect of online marketing and can greatly benefit your business. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create and grow an email list:

First and foremost, you have to decide on your target audience. Clearly identify who your audience is to tailor your email content accordingly. Consider demographics, interests, and preferences. You can’t make content for everybody. This is the recipe for failure. You know your niche, you know your audience. Keep them in mind and make content for them.

The second important decision you need to make is to choose an email marketing platform. Just to name a few: mailchimp, Convertkit, Aweber, constant contact and the list goes on. Even my web hosting provider, Site Ground, offers this service. The reason there are so many tools for email marketing, is because there is so high a demand for them. Every serious entrepreneur is aware of the value of having an email list.

Now, you have to do your own research and pick one email list builder that aligns with your business’s goals and of course your budget. Select a reliable platform that suits your needs. Ensure it complies with email marketing regulations and provides necessary features.

For me, Convertkit does the job and offers me all the flexibility I need at a reasonable price.

Now that you’ve picked the email marketing platform, experiment with the tool you chose, watch as many tutorials as you can and start creating your first lead magnet.  This is what will attract potential subscribers to your list. So it has to be more than ok. Develop a valuable and relevant incentive (e.g., e book, webinar, discount, email mini course) to encourage people to subscribe. Make sure it solves a problem or fulfills a need for your target audience and make it as compelling as possible.

Not sure where to place your lead magnet? Well, for most bloggers a dedicated landing page on their website does the job. Keep the design simple, with a clear call-to-action (CTA) to encourage sign-ups. Don’t overwhelm your target audience with too fancy a design or too much information. 

The sign up form should be short and easy to complete. Ask for minimal information initially, the name and email address. Additional information might even make them leave your page.

It’s better to use a double opt-in process to ensure that subscribers genuinely want to receive emails from you. This helps improve the quality of your email list and compliance with regulations.

After you have created your lead magnet and your landing page, it’s time for promotion. Use various channels to promote your lead magnet, such as social media. Pinterest is my favourite place to promote my lead magnets. Try a lot of platforms and see what works best for your business. My advice is to focus on two platforms the most.  

Promote through your website and through paid advertising. If you already have some traffic on your website or a decent number of followers on another platform, try to leverage that. 

Just because your lead magnet is free content, it doesn’t need to be of low quality. I’m sure it has happened to a lot of you. Subscribing to someone’s email list to download a workbook for a certain topic, only to find out this ‘workbook’ is a bunch of poorly designed 3-4 pages saying nothing of real value. Needless to say, whenever that is the case, I immediately unsubscribe from that list and never look back. 

For that not to happen to your business, you have to produce valuable and engaging content for your subscribers consistently. It doesn’t matter what is the form of your content, as long as it is of high quality and solves your subscribers’ problems. 

It is the only path to building trust with your subscribers and encouraging them to share your content. Include social sharing buttons in your emails to encourage subscribers to share your content. Consider implementing referral programs to expand your email list through word-of-mouth.

How to do email marketing

Most email providers make our entrepreneurial lives a little bit easier by offering these tools.

Email scheduling: Establish a regular email schedule to stay connected with your audience. Avoid overwhelming subscribers with too many emails, but also don’t let your list grow cold.

Segmentation of Your Email List: Divide your email list into segments based on demographics, behaviour, or other relevant factors. Targeted emails tend to be more effective in engaging different audience segments.

Tools to monitor and analyse Metrics: Keep an eye on email metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates. Use analytics to understand what works and refine your email strategy accordingly.

Finally you have to be very careful with rules and comply with regulations.

Ensure that your email marketing practices comply with regulations such as GDPR and CAN-SPAM.

Provide clear opt-out options and respect subscriber preferences. Always keep the unsubscribe button somewhere that is easy to see.

Download your free Full Guide to email marketing here. 



Like any other task you perform for your business, remember that building a quality email list takes time and consistency.

Focus on providing value to your subscribers, and you’ll see better engagement and growth over time. 

Also, continuously evaluate your email marketing strategy and make improvements based on feedback and performance data. Adapt to changes in your industry and your customers’ preferences.

Don’t forget to download the full guide on email marketing here.