Skip to main content ↓
Gmail on a mobile device

What is an Email List? Your Key to Boosting Revenue Online

search bar icon

What is an email list?

An email list is a collection of email addresses that businesses use to send targeted messages, promotions, and updates to their subscribers.

Did you know that 58% of adults check their email first thing in the morning? Email marketing is an excellent strategy for reaching prospects directly and nurturing them towards becoming customers. But before you can launch a full-scale email marketing strategy, you need to start with the basics: building an email list.

So, what is an email list? And why should you build one? Keep reading to get the answer to those questions!

Plus, subscribe to our email list to get the latest marketing insight!

What is an email list?

An email list is a collection of email addresses that you obtain through various platforms tied to your business, like your website, blog, or social media campaigns. It’s a list of people who decide they want to hear more from you via email. Your email list becomes a medium for you to send promotional and informative emails to these interested parties.


Lush cosmetics email sign up bar on their website


Why build email lists?

Now that we’ve answered, “what is an email list,” the next question is, “why build an email list?” There’s a lot of value in building an email list for your business — and matter of fact — an email campaign won’t work without one.

Here are six reasons to build an email subscription list:

1. People use email

One of the biggest reasons to build email lists is that people use email. When you’re marketing to prospects, you want to choose channels where they spend their time, so you can reach them effectively. Over 4.03 billion people use email worldwide.

For comparison, Facebook has 2.4 billion monthly users. As you can see, more people use email than Facebook — the world’s biggest social media platform. Since so many people use email, you have an excellent opportunity to reach a larger pool of people by creating an email strategy and building an email list.

2. People choose to join your list

One of the biggest reasons to build an email subscription list is that it gives you access to people who want to hear from you. When you build email lists, the people who sign up do so by choice, which means they’re ready and willing to receive communications from you. This model creates an excellent opportunity to market to people you know what your products or services — you don’t have to play guessing games or waste your marketing budget.

3. You have a direct connection to leads

Another reason to build an email subscription list is that you directly connect with prospects. Email marketing is one of the few strategies where you know who’s interested in your business and have some personal information attached to your leads (email address, name). Email marketing enables you to send content directly to prospects interested in your business — your content appears right in their inbox.

You don’t have to wait for them to click on your website or click on an ad.

4. You can deliver a more personalized experience

So, why build an email list? Well, it’s a great way to deliver a personalized experience for your audience. There are dozens of companies vying for your audience’s attention.

Sending a generic message isn’t going to get your audience interested in your business, which is why you need to personalize your marketing to make your audience feel special. With email marketing, it’s easy to do. You can segment your audience list and send them content that’s most relevant to their interests.

You can also do things like adding the subscriber’s name to your subject line and email content to catch their attention. As a result of using personalization, people are more likely to engage with emails and learn more about your products or services.

5. You reach leads at critical points in the buyer’s journey

One of the most significant benefits of email list building is that you can contact leads at critical points in the buyer’s journey. The four stages of the buyer’s journey break down like this:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Purchase
  • Loyalty

Email marketing provides you with the opportunity to reach people at different stages of the journey, which means you can reach people at crucial points when they’re close to conversion. For example, you may have someone add products to their cart but never complete the purchase. This person is close to conversion, and you don’t want to miss out on revenue for your business.

Since they’re on your email list, you can send them an abandoned cart reminder and encourage them to complete their purchase. They receive your email and remember they wanted to purchase your products, so they go back and complete the purchase. Instead of missing out on a sale, you earn one, and it’s because of your email marketing strategy.

By building an email list, you can send emails to prospects at the right time, helping you increase sales, sign-ups, and more for your business.

6. You get a great return on investment (ROI)

The last reason you’ll want to build email lists is that you’ll get a great return on investment (ROI) by developing an email marketing strategy. Email marketing has an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent. This ROI makes email marketing a desirable method for marketing your business because it helps you drive more revenue.

How to build email lists or an email list.

Now that you know why you should build email lists, it’s time to start building yours!

But before we dive into the different ways to do email list building, keep this one thing in mind: Never buy an email list. Some companies will try to buy email lists instead of building them organically. While it seems like a quick and easy solution, it’s not practical.

Most people on paid email lists aren’t interested in your product or service — you’re paying for emails from people that won’t become customers. When you buy email lists, your emails will end up in people’s spam folders, or they’ll unsubscribe because they didn’t sign up for your emails. Save your business money by focusing on organic ways to build your email list.

Here’s how you can build an email list for your business the right way:

1. Add a sign-up bar to your site

To do email list building right, start by adding an email sign-up bar to your site. You can place an email sign-up bar in the header of your site. It makes it easy for your audience to find it.

You can also opt to put it in the footer of your site. When you create your email sign-up bar, you want to make it easy to fill out. Generally, you want to keep it simple, since long forms can discourage people from joining your email list.

You can ask for a name and email, or just the email.

Example email sign up from Billie

2. Use email sign-up pop-ups on your site

Another strategy you can use for email list building is to create a pop-up box inviting people to sign-up for your emails. With this option, you create a pop-up box that’s triggered when users do specific actions. You may have a pop-up appear when they enter your site or if they move their mouse to close the browser.

Pop up email sign up box from Tommy Hilfiger

This option is great if you’re looking to start email list building.

You can put the invitation to sign-up right in your audience’s face and entice them to sign-up with a special offer or discount.

3. Add a sign-up option to your blog

Another great way to build email lists is to add an email sign-up option to your blog. If people check out your content, they may want to see more and therefore want to sign up for your email list. You can provide the option to sign-up in numerous ways.

You can:

  • Write a call to action (CTA) to invite them to sign up and link to where they can sign up
  • Create a graphic to insert into your content that links to your email sign-up form
  • Use a pop-up to sign up that triggers when users reach a certain point in the blog post

What is an email list. Email sign-up invite in the middle of a blog post example


Let’s assume you’ve successfully built your email list, now what? One thing for sure, you need to derive value from it.

But how exactly can you do that? Read the following linked article to learn how to increase email list value in just six steps!

Need help building an email list?

Email marketing is one of the most valuable strategies for helping your business turn leads into customers. The success of your email campaign relies on building a solid email subscription list.

If you need help with email list building, WebFX can lend a hand. We have a team of over 500 marketing experts that can help with your email marketing efforts.

We know how to build email lists, create compelling emails, and monitor email performance to make improvements. With our software, EmailMarketingFX, we can help you manage your campaigns all in one place.

Want to build an email subscription list filled with prospects interested in your business?

Contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our email marketing services!

Try our free Marketing Calculator

Craft a tailored online marketing strategy! Utilize our free Internet marketing calculator for a custom plan based on your location, reach, timeframe, and budget.

Plan Your Marketing Budget
Marketing Budget Calculator