Email List Building Strategies for Community Builders

You can find email list building strategies all over Google. Many of them are overly complicated and glaze over the human aspect of email marketing. They don’t truly focus on the community.

But guess what? They should! 

I know email isn’t the first thing that pops into your head when you think about building a community in your business, but email marketing is powerful as all get out! And when you have the right list building strategy, both your community and your business are going to take off!

Seriously. Move over billionaires with too much money. We are about to shoot straight to the moon, baby.

But let me backtrack for a second. Keep my feet here on Planet Earth.

How many times have you heard, “the power is in the list?” It’s true, because out of all the different marketing channels, email marketing has the best ROI. But!! Let’s not forget the most important factor: it’s about personal connections. 

Our list is more than just data. It’s more than just email addresses. It’s people! Which means your email list can grow a highly engaged community around your small business or non-profit.

Why is email list building important for growing a community?

Email list building is the secret sauce for a successful community!

Email works because it’s consent based. People have to opt into your list to hear more about you and your community. It’s not like on social where they can just follow with a click of a button. It’s a more active way of saying “yes! I want to be part of your community.” And when it’s more active, it’s better. These people are super interested, okay?

So as you list build and get people onto your list, you can…

  • introduce yourself without the fear of the algorithm
  • establish relationships between yourself and the individuals joining, giving you a more guide on the side leadership role than sage on the stage type of thing
  • Motivate individuals to take action + interact with your brand

Consider email list building like planting a garden—Each list building activity is like planting a seed. And each time you email, it’s like watering those seedlings so they grow and reap the benefits of being on your email list.

But here’s the thing about a garden. You can’t be puttin’ just any ole plants together. You have to curate it. Certain plants thrive together. So when it comes to list building strategies, one of them should NOT be to get to the highest number of subscribers possible.

List building strategy begins with attraction or awareness

The first step in any list building strategy begins with awareness or attraction. That’s where content marketing can come in as a strategy. This helps us attract new readers organically. Think: social media, YouTube, a blog on your website, etc. These are all opportunities for our potential customers to find us.

But remember what I said about planting your garden. Don’t just be trying to attract attention. You wanna get the right people’s attention. You want the right people to become aware of your content, okay?

Create content that shows off your

  • Personality
  • areas of expertise
  • Products and/or services
  • behind-the-scenes of your business. 

Don’t just create content that you want to create. What does your ideal person wanna see?

For example, I am DYING to create IG reel after reel about a potential *NSYNC reunion. After all, I’ve only been waiting 20+ years for this. But guess what? I’m an email marketer. I don’t want to attract a bunch of boyband girlies. I want to attract business owners who hate email but know they need it for their business. So alas. No *NSYNC conspiracy theory content for me.

Just good ole content marketing around my area of expertise. 

You do the same. And as they consume your content, drop in a call to action so you can transition them over to your opt in form.

Opt-in forms and offers

There are lots of places you can put your sign up forms on your website. But more important is the combination of what you’re offering in exchange for their email address and the placement of the signup form. 

Cause here’s the thing: email list building is a transaction. What’s that potential subscriber going to get in exchange for giving you their email?

Add a pop-up offer to your homepage

The age ole debate of pop-ups. Hate em or love em? They work. That doesn’t mean you have to use them, but this is an article about list building strategy. And pop-ups are a list building strategy. So here we go, babe. In fact, pop-up forms generally convert about an average of 11%, according to OptiMonk. These can drastically increase your email subscribers. 

Pop-ups that show promotional offers can help you convert potential customers into buyers quickly by giving the first-time visitor an incentive. This is usually something like 15% off or free shipping on your first order.

Pop-ups on a page can save potential sales, too. After all, this ain’t Amazon. Not everyone coming to your website is going there to purchase something. 

A pop-up can get those potential customers on your email list where you can nurture them and later turn them into customers. After all, people don’t buy when you sell. They buy when they’re ready.

Mic drop. Moving on.

Have an email signup form in your sidebar

Very common for content heavy websites like blogs, sidebars are valuable virtual real estate. In fact, I used to sell my sidebar real estate to sponsors in my first business. 

Most of the time you’ll find ads served from ad networks like Google Ad Network, Mediavine, or Adthrive. 

But ALWAYS reserve a space at the top for your email sign up form. It’s important that website visitors can join your email list quickly and easily!

Don’t forget to create an awesome free offer to give those potential subscribers when they sign up to receive your emails. When you do that? Honestly? Your sign up form becomes far more attractive than those ads. And over time, the return is far greater.

Create a landing page on your website

A landing page is a single page with one goal and one goal only: to convert whatever is featured on that page. There is no menu bar to direct them to other pages on your site. You want the reader to focus on the offer on that page.The visitor must either sign up for your email list or exit out

When it comes to email marketing, you can set up a landing page for offers like e-books, workbooks, printables, workshops, and even email series. It gives you more opportunity to share the features and benefits of the offer compared to a simple form.

Make your landing page the best it can be by

Exit intent pop-ups

According to OptinMonster, a properly designed exit popup converts an additional 2%-4%. These popups use exit-intent technologies to monitor user interaction on the website page and detect whether someone is attempting to exit. Pop-ups reduce potential exits by drawing attention and generating valid reasons for visitors to stay on your page and submitting their details. Offers and discounts work well but depending on niche, eCommerce owners have a lot of options.

Add a signup button to social media

This is the lowest hanging fruit on the list building strategy tree. So just get it done.

Okay, yeah. Sure. A lot of  people follow brands like yours through social media. But the most interested folks will get on your email list. So it’s important to add a sign up button for your email list to your accounts. And then be pointing to that button often. 

Because remember! Email marketing is lucrative as heck! Way more than social. And social media should be a top-of-the-funnel thing. One that leads folks into your email list where you can send sell without the Almighty Algorithm bothering you.

Typically social networks provide buttons and forms which allow users to take action, whether it’s to book an appointment, learn more, or shop. Include a call-to-action on your Facebook business page to encourage your followers to join your email newsletter.


Like most strategies, there’s no one size fits all. Review your conversion rates on the different opt-in forms and offers. Are there certain offers that convert higher? Are there certain placements like exit intents vs. sidebar that are more successful? You’ll fine tune your strategy as you go along. 

I believe in you so much.

Want more help specifically designed for your personality and business objectives? Need help figuring out what to offer folks to begin with? Check out my $12 List Building Training. 90 minutes. 12 strategies (not listed in this article).

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