Build a qualitative e-mail list with our 7 tips

What is an e-mail list?

Building a qualitative e-mail list is an important part of your marketing activities. You see, e-mails give you the opportunity to get directly in touch with your target audience and to share your message with the right people, one on one.

An e-mail list consists of relevant contacts that are part of your target audience. They are interested in receiving your communication and have given you specific consent to e-mail them. Since the start of the GDPR law on May 25 2018, this opt-in is essential for e-mail marketing.

Buying lists with contact details is absolutely not done. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t really work well enough to even consider it. Because when you contact people out of the blue, people that have never heard of you, chances are small that they will respond or become a lead.

Next to an opt-in, you should also provide an opt-out possibility. Usually, there is an unsubscribe link at the bottom of an e-mail. This will cause you to ‘lose’ 25% of your database year over year (source: Hubspot). This is not a problem actually: people that are not interested in your communication are not your customers anyway. So, building your e-mail list is not a one-off task, it is a continuous process.

Why e-mail marketing?

E-mail doesn’t seem to be the most modern channel, however, it remains very valuable. The most important reason to go for e-mail marketing is that you own your data. On social media you are dependent on the platform. If this platform ceases to exist or your account gets blocked or hacked, you have no way of contacting your followers. Building your own database is a better option.

Next to this, e-mail marketing enables YOU to choose who receives your messages, while social media works with algorithms. These algorithms show your posts to only a limited number of your followers and you have no control over who is targeted. This leaves limited space for personalisation, which is a very effective part of the lead nurturing process. When you use a CRM (like Hubspot), you have many possibilities to adjust your message to the characteristics and interests of your target audience, based on their previous interaction with your brand.


Collecting some e-mail addresses and e-mailing these people might seem like a trivial task. However, there is quite some preparation involved.

First of all, it is very important to define your target audience very clearly. When you set up actions to collect e-mail addresses, it is important to target the right people with these actions. Because after all, the target is not collecting as many e-mail addresses as possible, it is about collecting the right ones.

A second element you should take into account is content. People don’t just share their contact details like that: you have to give them value to win them over. We dive deeper into the possibilities later on in this blog.

Thirdly, you have to make subscribing as easy as possible. Make sure that the forms (that will capture the data) are easy to find and not too long. So don’t ask for too much information, only the essentials like an e-mail address. Once you could identify your prospect based on his e-mail address, you can ask for additional information like name, company, function title… with other forms or with progressive profiling.

Ways to collect e-mail addresses

There are many ways to collect e-mail addresses and build your e-mail list. We listed some below.


One of the most popular tactics to collect e-mail addresses is through a pop-up on your website. You can make them appear when someone is about to leave your page, when someone has been on your page for a certain amount of time or when someone scrolled through a certain percentage of your page. We definitely recommend using these functionalities, because they increase your chances of conversion. But be careful when using pop-ups: when they appear too early, your visitor did not get the chance yet to read your content. they might perceive your pop-up as annoying.

Forms on your website

Next to pop-ups, you can also embed a fixed form on your website. E.g. in the footer. As we said, it is essential to only ask for the most important information in this form like an e-mail address. When your form is linked to a lead magnet, you can ask for some additional information like name or company, because you are offering some premium content. Next to input fields for contact details, you should also provide an opt-in checkbox. Only when they check this box, they can be added to your e-mail list.

CTA's near your blog

It is a good practice to place a CTA or call to action near your content (like a blog). You can use this CTA to guide your visitors to related content, or you can encourage your visitors to register for your communication and receive more on related topics later on. Next to this, make sure that your content is of high quality. Only relevant content with value will encourage your visitors to register for your newsletter or download an in-depth piece of content like a checklist, a whitepaper, a webinar recording…

Ads on social media

An ideal way to attract new visitors to your website is through social media ads. Relevance applies here as well. An ad that is focused on requiring newsletter subscribers, could work as a retargeting campaign but is not a very good idea if people have no clue who you are. To get to know these new people, you should advertise a piece of content like an e-mail series, a course, an ebook, a webinar or even a quiz. When they fill in the form to receive this piece of content, you get permission to send them e-mails. 


Also can also connect with the digital world in ‘the real world’. An excellent way to expand your e-mail list is through live events. They could be organised by industry-specific organisations, or you can do it yourself. The advantage of events is that you not only get an e-mail address, but you can actually get that first valuable conversation with your prospects. You can directly answer all of their questions.


A touch of exclusiveness can trigger your audience even more. You can obtain this by a form on your website that offers a course or Ebook exclusively for your subscribers. But you can also do this via social media. Before the official release of your lead magnet, you can create a social post in which you offer your lead magnet exclusively to people that leave a comment. The advantage of these posts is that they generate a lot of engagement, which will lead to more views and even more comments. Such posts are a good way to attract big audiences pretty quickly. As a next step, you send a private message to the people who commented and you ask for their e-mail address or send them the link to the form. We recommend using an automation tool like Phantombuster to perform this task because it can be pretty repetitive.

E-mail signature

This one may look a bit like a contradiction, but it actually makes a lot of sense. In light of GDPR, you are not allowed to send people messages without their permission. However, 1-1 communication is allowed. We send so many e-mails on a daily basis, maybe even to people that are not even on our e-mail list. By using an e-mail signature that promotes your newsletter filled with interesting tips and tricks, you can collect a few more e-mail addresses to build your e-mail list.

At first, building an e-mail list might seem like a trivial detail. However, it is one of the most essential tools to grow your business. Because a growing database means a growing number of leads. Building and maintaining an e-mail list is not a one-off activity, but a continuous process. When you combine the tips above with strong content, you are assured of an inflow of great leads in the long term.

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