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Revealed: Why Building Your Email List is so Important Today!

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Revealed: Why Building Your Email List is so Important Today!

Are you thinking about building an email list, but not sure why it is so important? Many bloggers and business owners don’t see the importance of building an email list right away until they see the impact email lists can have on website traffic and revenue. In this article, we will show you the top reasons why building your email list is important (with real case studies). We will also show you how to start building your email list – step by step.

By the end of this article, you will have answers to all your questions about building an email list.

Why Build Email List

What is an Email List and Why is it so Important?

An email list is a list of names and email addresses of people who gave you permission to send them updates and promotions from your business via email.

Why is this so important?

Because these subscribers joined your email list from your website and verified their identity by clicking on a link (double-optin). They are extremely interested in what you have to offer.

According to Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in USA.

In our business, email lists get 10 times higher conversions than social media campaigns. This makes sense if you think about these five advantages of email as a communication channel:

Email is Personal – Email allows you to land into a user’s inbox. There is no ranking system limiting your reach. It is very direct, personal, and casual.

Email is Purposeful – To get your email a user needs to signup for your email list and confirm their email address. Someone doing this much work is obviously interested in hearing from you, and they are much more receptive to your message.

Email is Targeted – As we mentioned earlier the user has already shown interest in your products / content. Since you already know what they like, you can deliver them highly relevant content and offers to get better results. This is called segmentation, and we will cover that later in the article.

You Own Your Email List – You do not own Facebook, Twitter, or Google. Your social media campaigns and SEO efforts can go to waste when these platform change their policies. On the other hand, you own your email list, and it is not influenced by decisions of other businesses.

Email is One-on-One – People read email in the privacy of their inbox. The message is not on a public timeline or newsfeed. They can ask you questions directly in private with confidence. This helps build trust and connection.

This is precisely why every smart business in the world has an email list.

Big name brands learned this lesson a long time ago, and that’s why they spend thousands of dollars on social media campaigns to get people to sign up for their email lists.

They understand that email marketing is the best long term investment with a much higher return. Because people will continue to get their message at a very low cost for a longer period of time.

Social Media vs Email Marketing

Social Media vs Email Marketing

Now you’re probably thinking, wait a minute. What about social media?

A lot of social media experts and consultants, in an attempt to sell their services, downplay the importance of an email list.

In fact, we have even been asked isn’t email marketing kind of dead with social media taking over everything?

The best way to answer this question is to look at the information Twitter and Facebook ask you before you create an account:

Twitter and Facebook Signup Forms

Yup, it’s an email address. Because these companies know that emails are the most direct and reliable way of getting in touch.

All social media platforms are building an email list because they are smart business owners. This helps their valuation when selling their business.

While social media is a great way to reach your audience, it’s important to keep in perspective the timely nature of social media platforms.

They come and go.

Not too long ago we had MySpace, FriendFeed, Google Buzz, Plurk and countless others. Most of them are either dead now or irrelevant.

Today we have Facebook and Twitter, but not everyone is as hooked up on these sites. Some prefer other places like Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat, etc.

But studies show that at least 91% of consumers check their email on a daily basis.

We are not saying that social media is not important. It is, and you should explore every opportunity to reach out to your audiences.

However you should spend more time and effort into something that guarantees much higher results.

What You Need to Start Building an Email List?

Hopefully by now, you should know why building an email list is so important, and why ignoring it would be a HUGE mistake.

So let’s take a look at what you need to start building your email list.

3 Things You Need to Build an Email List:

  1. A website or blog.
  2. An email marketing service.
  3. High-converting opt-in forms

All three of these are fairly easy to setup, and none of them require you to know how to code.

For the sake of this article, we will only be focusing on the last two items in the list. If you don’t have a website or blog yet, then see our step by step guide on how to start a blog.

Choosing the Best Email Marketing Service

Best email marketing services

There are tons of email marketing services online. Often beginners use the free options to save cost, which is understandable. However, some of those free platforms are not the best option. Why?

Services like FeedBurner or Jetpack Subscriptions offer blog subscription via email. This allows your users to receive an email update every time you publish a new blog post.

The downside to a blog notification service like this are:

  • You will have to create a blog post to send an email. This means that information you want to share will have to be publicly available first. You can’t send out private email newsletters.
  • You can’t personalize the email message. It will be delivered in the same format often with no branding or personalization.
  • You can’t categorize subscribers by interests, demographics, or content type.
  • There is no reporting. You don’t know how many people got email, what percentage of users opened it, and how many of them clicked on links.
  • If you later tried to move to a paid service, your users will have to re-confirm their subscription. Many of them will not do it, and you will end up losing subscribers.

This is why we ALWAYS recommend using a professional email marketing service. Yes, they cost a little bit of money, but they are an investment in your business which pays huge returns.

The benefit of professional email marketing services are:

  • You can send private mass emails to your subscribers.
  • You can see subscriber activity and group your subscribers based on actions they take.
  • You can run A/B split tests to see which email subject line, content, and offers work best with your subscribers.
  • With reporting tools, you can see which country you have the most subscribers from. You can adjust your timezone preferences, and send emails at the right time.
  • Last, but definitely the most important, you can see the email addresses of all your subscribers.

There are hundreds of professional email marketing services available, but we have compiled a list of the best email marketing services.

For small businesses, we recommend using Constant Contact because they are one of the largest and fastest growing email marketing services in the world.

They offer a 60 day free trial. This gives you plenty of time to setup and start seeing the results. At the end of 60 days, your email list would likely be paying for itself (cost $20 / month). Start your free trial.

Constant Contact

Because we know people often like to see options before they make a decision, we also recommend AWeber. They are another popular email marketing service provider, and they offer our users a 30-day free trial.

Once you have signed up with an email marketing service, the next step is to add opt-in forms to your website to allow your users to subscribe.

Growing Your Email List and Getting More Subscribers

While choosing the right email marketing service is important, getting more subscribers is even more important because this is how you make money.

The biggest mistake beginners make is not strategically placing high-converting opt-in forms.

While some WordPress themes come with built-in sidebar widgets, they don’t convert as well. Your email marketing service may also provide you with codes to embed in your theme, but that requires you to know how to code.

This is why we recommend our users to use OptinMonster. It is the most powerful conversion optimization software that helps you convert abandoning website visitors into subscribers and customers.

You can easily create high-converting optin forms such as lightbox popups, floating header and footer bars, slide-in scroll boxes, fullscreen welcome mat, after post and inline forms, and more.

Add beautiful signup forms

But what makes OptinMonster really powerful is the behavior automation and personalization features. OptinMonster allows you to automatically show different opt-in forms based on where the user is coming from, which page they are visiting, and what they are doing on your website.

For example, the Exit-Intent® feature track your users mouse behavior and show them a targeted opt-in form at the precise moment they are about to leave. This helps you convert abandoning visitors into subscribers.

This is important because over 70% of people leaving your website will never return.

That’s why influencers like Michael Hyatt, Neil Patel, and Social Media Examiner use exit-intent on their websites. It helped Social Media Examiner add over 95,000 new subscribers in 7 months.

But for smaller businesses, this is even more crucial. Nicolas Gagne, a small business owner, combined Constant Contact with a single exit-intent optin to grow his email list by 500%. This helped him triple his revenue from his online store (see the full case study).

There are tons more case studies and OptinMonster reviews that you can read as well.

Get started with OptinMonster today — Use the coupon WPB10 to get 10% off.

Note: OptinMonster was started by WPBeginner’s founder, Syed Balkhi, because he wanted to get more email subscribers, faster. It helped us increase our email signups by 600%. Due to popular request, we released this tool for public, and now it’s the most recommended lead generation software in the market.

List Building Strategies and Resources

Email Marketing Strategies

Having the right tools is crucial, but knowing how to use them properly is what makes the most difference.

In your email marketing strategy, the most important thing you should plan out is segmentation. This is the process of grouping your subscribers, so you can better personalize your emails based on interest. It helps you get higher open rates and click-through rates. This definitive guide to email marketing has all the information you need to segment your email list like a pro.

Content Upgrades are the highest converting opt-in forms. It’s a technique where you give your users bonus content at the end of your popular blog posts. These usually convert 5 times higher than a regular opt-in. Here are some content upgrade ideas that you should check out. We have written a guide on how to add content upgrades in WordPress.

If you’re not sure how to create an opt-in form, then use this 63-point checklist for creating a high-converting optin form.

You may want to check out Kevin Duncan’s article on 16 ridiculously simple ways to get more email subscribers in less than 5 minutes.

In case you want more ideas, Mary Fernandez also shared 73 proven and simple ways to grow your email list that should get you going.


It does not matter what kind of business you run, what kind of website you have, or what industry you are in.

If you have a website, and you want to turn your visitors into returning customers, then you need to get them in your email list.

We hope this article helped you understand why building an email list is important and helped you get started on the right foot.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.

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  1. ikomrad says:

    I came here looking for advice on what information I should collect. Email address, first name, last name make sense, should i ask them for anything else that would be helpful for marketing?

  2. Hope says:

    Hey there :)
    Thanks a lot for this article! I am in the process of starting my own music YouTube Channel and would love to begin with building an email list right from the start..
    I am not a business selling anything yet but for MailChimp I have to give a business address that will be shown in the newsletters. I dont wanna give away my private address as well but how can I still legally (with the opt-in and everything) collect email address and be able to send newsletters? Would you still recommend MailChimp for strategic purposes or do you have any other ideas?
    Thanks a lot!!

  3. Stu says:

    Great article… but why is a leading website like yours not mobile friendly. . ?

  4. Melissa says:

    A really useful article about the value of gathering email subscribers from your blog, and great to have something other than Mail Chimp suggested!

  5. Joseph Dabon says:

    To grow your email list, everybody is talking about giving free gifts as incentive for signing up. But for a beginner like me, where can we find these gifts?

  6. Line says:

    This was all helpful, Thanks! I was about to activate the Feedburner plugin on my WP-page, but after reading this, I will not.
    I have a blog, where I write about my experiences living abroad, and all I want is a feature, that automatically sends email to the subscribers when I publish a new post.
    It’s not my intention to send out newsletters – just the automatic notification about a new post.
    That is why I thought Feedburner would be great for me. But would you still recommend me to use Mailchimp or something alike for this?

    Thanks in advance – Line

    • Em Fairley says:

      Feedburner or Jetpack is all you need for that purpose. Aweber or Mailchimp etc are purely for newsletters

  7. Kyler Brown says:

    My wife has been wanting to start a mailing list for sometime now for her bakery business. She just operates from our own home, so it would be nice to have a way to branch out to our customers a bit. This helped us out a lot, and I liked your point about getting more personal with your customers through email. Thanks for sharing this.

  8. Ann says:

    Great post! I started using GetResponse lately as Mailchimp wasn’t enough for me. It’s also easy to learn and has cool features!

  9. Linda Throup says:

    Mailchimp could just be what I am looking for with regards to the mailing lists, however it looks quite daunting with all the questions regarding company information, I am just an individual who has a regular job and looking to sell ebooks in the future, can you advise please?

  10. Maryam says:

    This is extremely helpful, I’m going to start right away. Because I’ve started my fashion blog in August and I still did not know to do the email subscrption and nobdy explain it wel until I read this post.
    Thanks a lot!

  11. Eric says:


    I’ve recently create a WP blog–newbie and constantly being reminded. I have Jetpack installed. I used their subscribe via email widget. I have it in the footer. The subscribe buttons does not work at all. It’s like it’s not linked to anything, but I feel like I’m missing something.

    On jetpack’s support page, they state this feature should be default and ready to go.

    What am I missing here? Thanks for any insight. I have at least 2 hours into this.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Please contact JetPack’s support. It seems like your theme’s CSS is conflicting with your subscription form.

  12. naresh says:

    Truly inspirational. That is exactly the type of business model I want and am

    currently building. Thanks for showing me that dreams can be a reality!

  13. Liat says:

    Hi, I want to create a “sign up” button on my wp site where viewers can enter their name and email and then it AUTOMATICALLY adds them to my mailing list. Is there a way of doing that instead of entering each address manually? Could I do something like that through a simple gmail account or would I have to use a more complex program?

  14. Sarah says:

    I don’t have,I just signed up with mailChip after reading this article,but,if I am able to create the mail list what happens with that of Jetpack ?

  15. Syed Balkhi says:

    No because the other folks didn’t consent to receive emails from you.

  16. Chris says:

    If someone uses my e-mail address in an online mail shot (that they got with my consent) but have contacted me and not blind copied my e-mail in with others – essentially sharing my data with others – am I then able to use these e-mails for my own benefits in a mail shot (whilst ensuring all addresses are blind copied) but also ensuring there is an opt-out option in my e-mail

  17. Raquel Costa Hammer says:

    What about buying lists of emails? Do you know any safe site to buy these type of lists?

    • WPBeginner Staff says:

      Buying a list of email is never a good idea.

      • Raquel Costa Hammer says:

        Why? What you would advise on how to creste an email list from a different country?

        • Anouk says:

          It shouldn’t be a different way. Put an opt-in form on your blog or website, and people who are interested will sign up.

          Don’t buy an email list because people will report you as a spammer. You should always send emails to people who agreed to receive emails from you.

  18. Dahlia says:

    Hi how do you create a subscribe button that offers something for free? That’s what I’m having trouble with…

  19. WPBeginner Staff says:

    This can be done using OptinMonster. Checkout our guide on how to “How to Create a Daily and Weekly Email Newsletter in WordPress. As for categories you will have create RSS to Email campaign and Groups for each individual category.

  20. Samuel King says:

    Awesome post!

    I am working on a site and trying out the sidebar widget position to add the optin form. I would like to know how did you create your subscription widget box located on the sidebar? I want something that gives subscribers the option to select just like yours.

    Thanks in advance

  21. Ian says:

    Great guide, just what I was looking for but it is timing that is my question. I have just got my ecommerce website up and running selling “print on demand” (small run personalised printing) products. Have only a few items for sale so when should I try to create my email list.? Is 15 items in a shop too small so wait until I have say 50? Create a landing page that promises more in the future so sign up now? Not an easy one to find advise on. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Ian, 15 items are enough to get your visitors curious so it is time to get them to signup or otherwise they will probably never know when you add new items. We have even seen signup forms on websites that are not even launched yet.

  22. CL Langdon says:

    As a total beginner to all of this, there is a serious “learning curve” in just getting to this point. If all I want to do is create a mailing list – why do i have to have a third party mailing service if I use yahoo or gmail? Does this mean that I have to sign up with mailchimp or aweber? I find this all a bit confusing as to why i need to do this at all? and then what happens if in the future, i want to add this feature? right now i have no budget to pay additional fee-services, so it is just not an option. I find navigating all of this extremely confusing as a first time user of WP and setting up a site. Many of the plugins break my site and cause serious problems, so i am very leery on downloading additional plugins. most of them have 4-5 – star ratings but only have a few comments that created that rating. If you could consider taking one (or two) step(s) back and try to explain on a more basic level – i think that would really help beginners. I am finding all of this social media, feedburner, etc to be extremely time consuming and the blog comments i am getting are ALL advertisers, so I have marked them as spam and deleted them without displaying on my site.
    I only wanted to to set up a site that displays information and have people come to my site to sign up as interested in what we have to say. If we decided to conduct further activities in the future, we can try that after we get past this “beginner” stage.
    thank you in advance for your articles and site, to date, your site has been extremely helpful.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      CL Langdon,

      We understand how overwhelming and confusing this could be for a new user. But you will soon find out how useful it would be for you in the future. We would recommend you not to cover every thing quickly. Focus on building your site, bringing visitors, posting content. When you are stuck at something, focus on that specific problem and try to solve it using tutorials on our site or else where.

      As for email services, well actually there is a limit on how many emails you can send from a free gmail or yahoo account. Sending out mass emails is considered abuse of service by these free email service providers. Your emails will either end up in spam folder of your users, or they will not recieve them at all. It is also possible that your email service can suspend your account for violation of terms of use. This is why you need a third party email service.

  23. Lisa says:

    Great post. What is best option if I want to add opt-in like jet pack and send emails when there is a new post but also want to build email list. 2 separate forms on the site ??


  24. Mursaleen says:

    i am using Wysija for newsletter at my .. what will be the result if i create list myself and send newsletter will it be deliveered in spam boxx ?

  25. Alex Ferrara says:

    This was helpful and timely for me. I am in the planning stage and have been researching the various email services. One that i have come across that appeals me is GetResponse. But i have found limited info on this. Are you familiar with this service? How does it compare to aweber or mailchimp?

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Alex GetResponse is a good service too. They have a smaller customer base than MailChimp or Aweber but they are definitely on the right track. You should consider your own options that will help you decide. For example, pricing, growth, support, reliability, deliverability, spam filters, etc. Make a list of these factors to compare on your own, you will also find such analysis around the web but those analysis could be biased towards one of the service. So you better do it on your own.

  26. afshin mokhtari says:

    My website/blog has been around for about 3 years. I added the option to opt-in to be notified of my latest posts about a year ago. I get an email everytime somebody subscribes and that turned out to be about 1 or 2 a week.

    In the last say 6 weeks, all of a sudden I’m getting at least 4 or 5 emails from my blog telling me someone signed up for my mailing list. I look at the email adresses and it seems to me a good 1/2 of them are bogus emails! What gives?

    I understand fake people getting an account on your site so they can post a link to their own products or sites, looking for a linkbacks and such…. but I personally approve all comments and dont publish spam. I don’t understand why I’m getting such a high number of fake subscribers.

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Which email service provider you are using? Proper email service providers like mailchimp or aweber come equipped with tools to deal with such signups. As for your email subscribers, you can check out this article on how we boosted our email list subscribers on WPBeginner.

    • Richard Benjamin says:

      In response to “bogus” email subscribers, I will tell you why it is done… because I do it myself. When I am forced to put in my email information just to get some free information, it irritates me. The reason it irritates me is because, I deal with many companies in my business, I can not afford the time to keep sifting through my inbox to delete 50 emails from a company that I just wanted a little information from. Email marketing optin is great, but keep in mind – not everyone wants the bombarding of emails after-the-fact.

  27. Pam Burzynski says:

    That was great information, almost answering a questions I was asking myself. Even Mail Chimp is too complicated for me. I wish there could be something as simple as Jet Pack to build an e-mail list.

    I have seen people get thousands of subscribers with JetPack. If people have double opted in, which I believe they have with JetPack….why can’t the e-mail addresses be viewable so you can send them e-mail?

    Both mailchimp and aweber have too many features for someone that wants to keep it simple. I’ve tried both and went to JetPack. I’m sure a few simple features could be added to JetPack….keep it simple and charge a smaller fee, than aweber. I had and know others as well that got sold on aweber and never used it, paying a heafty monthly fee for nothing. That’s the way of the world now….get them to sign up, put it on their credit card and they forget about it and never learn how to use it. Helps pay for all the other people that spend endless hours on the helpline gobbling up the service reps time trying to figure it all out.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one that needs more simplicity.

    Thanks for a great forum. ~Pam

    • WPBeginner Support says:

      Pam, we are sure JetPack has nice features and all but it allows you to add a blog / comment subscription module only. On the other hand services like MailChimp and Aweber are professional email service providers offering many powerful features which allow you to really benefit from the email list you are building. As far as simplicity is concerned, we are slightly more inclined towards MailChimp, they have a great user interface even for absolute beginners, they have excellent documentation, and lots of resources to learn how to use each feature available.

  28. Karen says:

    I’m really interested in Optin Monster and everyone talks or used MailChimp,
    but I want to make sure I have it all clear as to what I need to do so I don’t stuff up my site! – I currently use Jetpack for email subs.

    So first, I sign up with MailChimp for my website
    then, I buy Optin Monster to increase conversion rate?
    and is it all self explanatory how to set them both up and integrate into site? – yes, newbie blogger!

    Great info in this post
    cheers karen

    • quin says:

      i’m also interested in the answer to karen’s question. what’s the difference between mailchimp and optin monster? thanks for the great post!

      • WPBeginner Support says:

        MailChimp is an email service provider. It allows you to collect email addresses and send newsletters. OptinMonster helps you gain more email subscribers by placing email signup forms at different spots on your website.

  29. Zimbrul says:

    I own licence for PLM, WP Subscribers and Pop Up Domination and Optin Skin. How is Optin Monster different from these?

    • Editorial Staff says:

      OptinMonster is far better coded than any other option. It offers exit-intent functionality, multiple optin types, and much more.

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