7 Key Best Practices for Building Your Email List

Follow these step-by-step best practices to growing the single most important marketing asset in your business: your email list.

A while back I posted about the importance of assigning more importance to list-building vs. growing your social media following. Not saying the latter isn’t important. In fact, social media is indispensable for…growing your email list! 

But your social media efforts should not be first and foremost about growing your audience, but about leveraging your audience to grow that list. And why’s that so important? 

The Importance of Building Your Email List 

In the aforementioned post, a couple of the reasons cited were the fact that an email reader is much more receptive to your message than an Instagram- or Facebook-scroller; and that an email will reach an exponentially higher percentage of its intended audience than will any (unboosted) social media post). 


Most people who visit your home page or blog aren’t ready to buy – requiring eight or more interactions with you before even considering hiring or buying from you. So you must have regular content that brings them back to your site again and again. And for the reasons cited above, an email is way more effective than a post. 

A growing email list helps you scale your business. For example, without a healthy list, you’ll have a tougher time marketing your book, marketing and selling your online course, or being invited to a virtual summit where you could gain hundreds of new emails, but where the expectation is that you’ll have brought your own sizable list. 

In sum, as online marketing guru Amy Porterfield says, “The future energy of your business is directly tied to the quality of your email list.” 

Assuming we’re agreed on the critical need for a healthy and growing email list, I now present to you… 

7 Key Best Practices for Building Your Email List 

These are among many BPs for list-building, but really are the key ones for us coaches and solopreneurs. They’re in a chronological order of sorts, in that the first is a sine qua non (that without which, nothing!), and all represent a step-by-step approach. 

1  Have a Killer Freemium (see my 10 Commandments for a Killer Freemium Lead Magnet). And have a description and link to that freemium (ebook, cheat sheet, worksheet, video series, etc.) appear in the three most important places on your website: 

Above-the-fold on your home page (and not popping up in an intrusive window after the first 3 seconds of someone landing on your site, thank you!). 

At the bottom of every blog post – e.g., below your signature or as a P.S. (or at the bottom of your podcast notes or video landing page). See my P.S. at the bottom of this page -- and feel free to grab that freebie!

In the sidebar of most if not all web pages. (See image below right -- which appears in almost all my web page sidebars.)

2  Consistent Content Creation. Put out some value-bomb content on a regular basis. Ideally, that’s weekly, though consistency is more important than frequency. 

I know: easier said than done. But while blogs are trending longer and longer (many experts now say ideal length is 2000-2400 words?!), we don’t have to put out a major treatise every week to continue to build our like & trust factor. Ditto for our podcast or videos. 

Particularly in our coaching arena, our prospects are looking for Quick Wins! 

Helpful lists, myth-busters, short treatments a la “The single biggest mistake…” or “The one must-have…”, etc., can be easily created as they are easily digested. 

Check out my post where I share easy ways to generate content ideas. 

3  CTAs Galore! Your social media and blog/podcast/video followers are following you because they appreciate the content you share. Leverage that appreciation by inviting them to learn about your freemium with Calls-to-Action in your posts, blogs, etc. 

Just to be clear, in your regular posts/blogs you’re not screaming about your freemium, but just expanding its visibility by mentioning it discreetly. For instance… 

As mentioned above, include it at the bottom of your blog posts as a P.S. 

Show it prominently in your social media covers and profiles. 

Figure out how to tie your freemium in with a related social media post, e.g., Sharing a great quote card in social media? See if it relates in some way with a freemium you offer and mention it at the bottom of the post’s text: “And speaking of [subject of quote], you might want to check out my…” 

Mention and link to it in your email signature or as a P.S. 

4  Beef Up Your Headlines, Titles and Subject Lines. Put more time and elbow grease into all of these than you think you need! Why? 

Think about this: You’re putting out a value-packed blog (or video or podcast) each week, and announcing it to your followers via your email list and social media channels. 

Your intention of course is to have as many of those followers as possible come back to your website to consume your content, get that dose of value, and further build your like and trust factor – perhaps even convert on some call-to-action. 

Now, let’s say your email open rate averages 20%, which ain’t bad. But if better subject lines could get that up to 30% on a regular basis, then you’d improve the number of people who regularly see your content by 50%. 

Over time that translates into a 50% boost in your like and trust, and ultimately, your income – even if your click-thru and conversion rates stayed the same! 

And ‘open rate’ isn’t just about emails! I wrote a blog about how it’s about any of your copy’s ability to get someone to “open their eyes” and read on – whether a social media post headline, a blog/video/podcast title, or the title of your freemium! 

And treat the copy around your CTAs with the same care! Check out my post with tips to beef up your headlines, etc. 

5  Promote Your Freemium. Not constantly but regularly promote your freemium with dedicated posts across your social media channels. At least once a month. We gotta be turning those likes/follows into email addresses, so you might also experiment with Boosting posts for your freemium (maybe even crafting an ad for it). 

6  Expand Your Visibility. Lots of ways to get more exposure and share your freemium CTA… 

Do a guest blog or exchange guest blogs with one or two other coaches/solopreneurs. 

Facebook LIVES! Your social media audience is more likely to engage with YOU than with any other given post – especially if you create a Facebook Event and promote it prior. 

Speaking at support groups (local and virtual), virtual summits, interviews on podcasts. Make a list of every possible venue and send a pitch note to everyone. 

Articles in print or online magazines, relevant websites. Not easy to get such opportunities, but worth trying! 

And finally, a best practice that’ll take a fair bit of work, but can be a major list-building activity… 

7  Create a Free Webinar. I prefer to call it a masterclass, but either way, it needn’t be a knock-down-drag-out affair. Just choose a narrow-scope, benefit-driven and actionable topic you know your peeps would love to learn more about. Then promote it with everything you got via social media, your email list, your personal and professional networks, etc. 

 This is a great way to list-build, because unlike your typical social media post or blog, video or podcast episode, a free webinar/masterclass on a well-chosen topic is a significantly higher-value proposition – and with every registration, you capture a new email address. 

These seven best practices for building your email list are tried and true. I hope you'll make one or more of them true for you and your business!



P.S. Do you find writing new content for your blogs, videos or social media posts um, hard? You're not alone. It is indeed hard. And yet new content is critical in building your awareness and reputation.

That's why I created my 7 Hacks for Faster and Easier Writing cheat sheet, sharing some of my best writing tricks from 30 years of making a living creating content (despite a few learning disabilities – so if they work for me, they’ll work even better for YOU).

Click here to grab this indispensable cheat sheet.





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