The 3 Easiest Email List Building Tactics That ACTUALLY Work

By Chris Shaffer •  Updated: 04/14/20 •  14 min read

I wanted to spend just a few minutes talking about something I've been getting a ton of questions about lately and that is……. the ways that people should be building their email lists right now in 2020.

What are the things that we're doing that are working?

What are the things that other brands are doing that are working? 

So, I decided to cover three simple and super effective ways that you can start doing that right now. 

Why Are You Talking About Email?

Before we dive into that, it's 2020 and I know a bunch of you are thinking, dude, it's 2020 why email is an email like it’s the late 90’s or early 2000’s?

“What about Messenger? Like what's the deal? I've been hearing that Messenger is so much better than email.”

The honest truth is, even with something like Messenger, while it does perform really well and I do think it's something you should put into your business in addition to email, if you're just getting started, if you haven't mastered email yet, you need to focus on that first. 

Even if it’s for NO OTHER REASON than it’s one of the few digital assets that you OWN and CONTROL.

You don't own and you don't control your Messenger list, you don't own your Facebook page, you don't own your YouTube channel.

All of those things are platform dependent. 

Email is one of the few things that's platform independent. 

Meaning we can use it on different platforms, like ConvertKit.

If we don't like something, we can move it to a different place and we know that we're going to get consistent results.

Nobody comes in and changes the rules arbitrarily and takes things away. 

This exact situation has happened several times already in the last 6 or 8 months with something like Facebook Messenger, where Facebook realized that people were using it in a really spammy way and they've cracked down on it. 

Now, you have to kind of pay to get some reach to your full list. 

I don't fault them for that. It's THEIR platform that they control. 

You just don’t see things like that happen with email, it’s actually matured to the point where we pretty much know what we're going to get.

In addition to that, it's actually one of the…if not the most powerful marketing platform online. In fact, it has the highest ROI of any online marketing activity. Hubspot says it's 38 to 1, meaning for every $1 you put into email marketing, their average clients earn $38 back, based on their survey (that's actually the lowest ROI number that I could find from some of these industry-wide surveys. Some of them were closer to around $45 or $50, but even if, if it's used to use that 38-1 number, that's mind boggling). 

If we invest $1, we're going to get $38 back. That sounds like something we should be putting as much money and as much time and effort into it as possible.

Now, I know a lot of you guys have physical products and I wanted to share this with you really fast. Salescycle says that email has one of the top marketing influences, more than even Facebook ads, YouTube ads, any of those kinds of things and 60% of all customer purchases are influenced in their decisions by email.

Now, that might be an abandoned cart message. That might be you know, an email telling you about the product or even more likely than that. Personally, I think this number is low because if you're doing email, right, you're influencing people before they're ever in the purchase process.

One other little fact I want to share with you quickly, before we dive in, is that 99% of consumers check their email at least once a day and 50% check their email at least 10 times a day.

Meaning it is probably the easiest platform to get in front of people. Additionally, we don't have to pay every time we want to get in front of them.

Yes, there's a monthly fee that goes along with email, but it's a fixed fee in most cases.

If I have something like ConvertKit, I pay a fixed monthly fee and I can send a million messages a month if I want it to (No, I wouldn't send a million different email messages, but you guys kind of get my point).

If I wanted to get in front of somebody on Facebook 10 times in a single day, I would have to pay Facebook 10 times but with email I don't have to do that.

So with all that being said, let's dive into the three simplest ways ( and some of the most effective ways) that you can start to build that email list and start seeing that 38-1 return on investment! 

Email Updates

This is quite honestly the easiest way to build your list and you have probably seen a whole bunch of people doing this. 

This is an example from where he simply created a form that says “Are you tired of reading the same regurgitated information? Do you want to learn fresh new marketing tactics your competition doesn't know about?

Just enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter, right? 

He literally just has a pop up on the website that says, do you want me to send you marketing stuff? 

You can do this same thing on your own website,in fact we've done this several times, including in one of our newest brands, while we were trying to figure out something else that might work!

The biggest upside is, if you have traffic coming in, you can put this offer in front of them.

It's literally just, “Hey, I'm going to send you something once a week about bass fishing. I'm going to send you something once a week about email marketing” or “I'm going to send you something once a week about X, Y, or Z.” 

How Does It Work?

It's as simple as building a form and adding it to the site and just saying exactly what you are going to send them. The downside to using this method is it’s probably the lowest converting type of an offer that you can make.

 For example, we currently are using this (as one method) and we're converting at about 1%.

Now, that doesn’t sound like a great conversion rate (and it’s not), but considering the fact that all we had to do was create a form and take 10 seconds to write “ Hey, do you mind if we send you stuff? Give us your email address”, that’s not too shabby.

Especially when you start to consider that the site has more than 100,000 monthly unique visitors….meaning we’re adding about 1,000 NEW emails every single month, just by using this method.


The second way you can start to build your email list is by using a Guide, Checklist, or, Walkthrough. It's simply giving your audience some advice, something they can execute on, with easy to follow steps.

You may or you may not have seen we have a guide, a checklist, if you will, on how to do brand validation. 

We also give a couple of training videos if that's something you feel comfortable doing, you can, you don't have to do that, but this converts really, really well for us and it brings us in very, very qualified leads on a regular basis. 

What you're trying to do here is you're trying to help your audience get started or tackle a common issue by creating a PDF guide or video series.

Sidenote: if thinking about creating a PDF freaks you out, fear not, you don’t have to do this yourself. You can go somewhere like Fiverr or iWriter and they can help you

All you're trying to do is help them get started or you're helping them work through a common issue.

In the case of The Amazing Seller and, what we were trying to help people do is validate their market before they ever got started, because one of the biggest things that we saw people running into was they didn't have a market picked correctly and we know that if we can help people solve that problem, that they're going to continue to come back to us for more information!

You can do the exact same thing in your market. There is always a common problem or a “get started” checklist that you can put together. 

This one takes a little bit more work than the “Email Updates” method, but it brings in extremely qualified leads and converts really well. 

The downside to this is you do have to know a little bit about the audience. You do have to do a little bit of research. It's not as simple as just putting up an email capture form like with email updates.

Market Giveaway

The third methodology is one of my favorites AND it's one of the easiest ones for people to implement and it's one of the highest returns, a market giveaway. 

You're literally just giving your market something that they already have a desire for, so you may have seen us share examples of this in the past. In the case of something like this wouldn't work as well.

We could do this with something like consulting or a coaching call or something like that, but if you have a niche like cooking, fishing, any of those kinds of things, a market giveaway is extremely effective and super simple to put together.

For example, if your site is going to be serving bass fishermen, the ultimate bass fishing cooking bundle or bass fishing cooking bundle would be the perfect way to start to gather interest.

We typically like to find a bundle of products that adds up somewhere between $150 and $250 And all you have to do is find those products and use a piece of giveaway software (We prefer to use something like GiveawayBoost). 

We did this recently for the test brand inside of Brand Creators Academy (side note: if you’re a BCA member, you get to see the entire walk through every step that we took to do this, including the Facebook ads that we ran, everything that we did)

We were able to generate 9,728  leads in less than 30 days for about 18 cents each. The beautiful part of this method is it’s something that we can repeat over and over and over again inside of this or any market.

It's typically the strategy that we use when we're just getting started in a market, when we don't have a list of any sort, and we don’t want to spend a huge amount of money to get started.

Now the leads that we're getting from something like the “checklist” method are going to be of a slightly higher quality, but given the sheer NUMBERs that you get when you do a giveaway like this, especially if you're doing a giveaway correctly, far outweighs any concern that you should have about list quality.

Additionally, it's going to help us share on social media because the people who like our content are going to share it on their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. 

This serves like jet fuel to get our business started and that's the reason that we like to do it now. 

You can do it anytime you want to kind of inject a lot of new blood into your business, but if you're just getting started, this is probably the one that I would start with. 

If you want a step by step guide on how we build our giveaways, you'll want to check this out

Start Collecting Emails

Now, once you've picked one of those three different methods( you can do all three, but I would definitely suggest starting with one) What do you do? 

How do you actually implement this into your business? What are the action steps?

 The very first thing that you need to do is you need to sign up for an email provider. 

If you don't already have your list inside of an email provider, if you're just getting started, you need to sign up for one. 

My suggestion, what we like here at The Amazing Seller is ConvertKit.

ConvertKit is not only one of the easiest platforms to use, but once you get into it, once you start using it, it has a ton of really, really powerful automations.

If you want to see a comparison of the top platforms, you'll want to check this out.

It has a ton of really cool features and they just make everything super simple, right? So unlike a lot of the other platforms that have some of the cool automation things that you can do, everything inside of ConvertKit is very easy to use and that's why we like it.

Next, You need to choose which one of those three things that you're going to be doing. 

Are you going to do the email updates? 

Are you going to do the checklist?

Are you going to do the giveaway? 

In order to choose the best one for us, we need to ask ourselves a couple of questions.

 What's working in the market right now? 

If you don't know who your competitors are in your space, you need to figure that out.

Go to their websites. Are they doing giveaways? 

Are they doing checklists or are they simply doing an email update? Take a look at what your competition is doing.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel here, take a look a what’s working and start there!

You can take a look at what they're doing, put your own spin on it, right, and go from there. 

So, if they're doing a “10 ways to get started with fly fishing” or “10 things you need to take on your next fishing trip with you” checklist, you may want to start with something similar. 

Chances are if they've created that, they've spent the time and the energy to invest in something like that that is working for them and it may be something you want to take a look at.

 I'm not saying copy it, I'm saying make it your own. 

Just keep in mind that the very first thing you're going to want to do is actually take a look at what the competition is doing and then figure out what you want to do.

What Assets Do You Have?

If you're just getting started, you don't really have anything, so the giveaway method is probably the way to go because you don't need anything really to get that started.

If you already have a bunch of traffic, I would stop what I'm doing right now. 

Go create that email updates form, start embedding it into the website and go from there. 

If you already have a bunch of blog posts that you could reformat into a checklist or a guide, then maybe you start there and you have to take account of what you already have and then you can start to figure out what's going to work for you. 

What's the easiest thing for you to implement?

Take a few minutes right now (TAKE ACTION) and get it started!

Remember, We’re ALWAYS here for you, we believe in you and we’re rooting for you….but YOU have to take action.

Chris Shaffer

Chris lives at the intersection of business strategy and growth tactics. Having consulted with dozens of different businesses (as well as building several of his own), he brings a unique perspective on what's working across the eCommerce world in businesses of all shapes and sizes.