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How to Build an Opt-in List of Subscribers

in Email Marketing

Generating an opt-in list of subscribers is one of the main aims for many online companies. Very few people will purchase a product or service during their first visit to a website, so obtaining their email address ensures that you can continue to market to them and remind them of what you have to offer.

The most common way of building an opt-in list is to include an email newsletter sign-up box on your homepage where consumers can enter their email address to obtain future updates and promotions.

Whilst consumers must opt-in you must also allow them to opt-out at any time through providing a link in the email newsletters that you send. This is beneficial for you as well – continuing to send emails that the recipient doesn’t want only creates annoyance and a bad perception of your company in their mind.


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Far too many businesses simply place an email newsletter sign-up box on their website only to be extremely disappointed by the results. People are extremely wary about handing out their email address, particularly with the continued prevalence of spam, so use incentives, squeeze pages, or even offline methods to grow your email list.

Decide on how many sign-ups you’d like a month, how much you’re willing to spend per sign-up, and then use one or more of the following strategies to grow your opt-in list:

Incentives – very few people are interested in your company alone so generate sign-ups through offering them something of real value. This could be anything from a free ebook or report to an exclusive discount.

Squeeze Pages – these are web pages that are designed for the sole aim of getting the names and email addresses of visitors to that web page. To make them effective the content should focus on the benefits of signing up, reassurance should be given that their email address will never be sold, and no outgoing links should be included on the page to prevent visitors navigating away. Squeeze pages are often used effectively in pay per click advertising.

Creating a Members Area – this works in the same way as incentives. If there’s a members area containing valuable content people are much more likely to give out their email address. The downside of this is that those web pages in the members area are unlikely to be indexed by Google, which could potentially mean fewer visitors to your website.

Pop-up Window – having a pop-up window appear for every visitor to your website ensures that the sign-up box and various benefits will be seen. However, this strategy can be very irritating so ensure that the pop-up window utilises cookies so that it only comes up on the first time that a user visits your website.

Placing a Subscription Box on every web page – this works in the same way as traditional advertising. A higher frequency increases the chance of someone taking action and responding to the request, particularly if you mention the benefits of signing up next to the subscription box.

Co-registration Lists – this is when your subscription offer is listed alongside other subscription offers. Typically, when someone signs up to another newsletter they will be given the option of signing up to yours as well. The emails that you obtain will typically not be of the highest quality compared to those that come through your website but co-registration is still an excellent way of quickly growing a large email list.

Offline Methods – don’t forget offline strategies as these can work very well. For example, trade fairs and exhibitions are excellent places to meet potential customers and gain their permission for you to contact them via email in the future.

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