Email lists are an essential part of any business. After all, they provide a valuable way for you to directly reach your customers and work on your like, know and trust factor’. Email lists can also be used to entice customers to make a purchase with special offers and bonus codes. A recent study revealed that 92% of adults online use email, while 65% of those checked their email at least once a day. Mckinsey and Company also ran a study which found that email marketing was 40 times more likely to result in a sale compared to social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

Building up an email list from scratch is possible without the need to hire an expensive business marketing manager, but there is a lot of dated information out there about how to do it. Once it was simply a task of having an opt-in box and free gift, but people are increasingly wary of handing over a precious email address to small businesses without a major pay-off or reassurance.

We reveal six easy and creative marketing ideas that will help you to build your list without breaking your bank.


You may want to consider this nifty trick which will help you to build your email list almost effortlessly. Have you ever noticed at some stores the assistants will ask if you would like your receipt to be emailed to you instead of printed? This is not just to save paper, but it is because the store will then be able to add your email to their list (usually there is some fine print that allows them to do this).

Well, you can take this technique and apply it to your small business by using a provider such as Transaction Tree or Y.receipts which will automatically include a link to their sign-up form on the receipt. Or, if you have a tablet point of sale system, then you can create a box which asks customers to enter their email address to receive a digital receipt.

Just make sure that somewhere you have fine print which enables you to add the email to your list and to send them newsletters, otherwise, you could be breaking Data Protection laws. If you are sending transactional email, always make sure that they have a signup link which is positioned in a prominent place for your customers to see. Use this recipet technique for all online and offline purchases and you will be sure to build your list. 


YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and its popularity is rapidly increasing. Many studies show that people become more engaged and are more likely to make a purchase when watching video content about a product compared to just reading about it. Video marketing is also an excellent choice, as it provides a simple way for you to build your email list.

YouTube make it easy for content creators to add annotations and boxes to videos within a few clicks of a button. If you want to get more creative, you can add an end screen at the end of the video which offers people a free gift and lets them know where they can get it. It’s also wise to include a sign-up link in the description section of your video too.


One of the quickest ways to build your subscriber list is to partner with people in similar industries and work together to create a mini giveaway of sorts. For example, say that you work in health and fitness, you can work with nutritionists, yoga teachers, art therapists to create a truly special offer which entices people to sign up to you newsletter in order to receive this gift. The guest content creators will also be promoting the gift package to their existing customers, so it really is a win-win. Poplar formats include teleseminars, mini courses or advent calendar’ style countdowns where subscribers will receive access to a new piece of content daily.

Email Signature

Yes, this one is pretty easy but you will be amazed at how many people forget about this step. Including a link at the bottom of your email will only take less than a minute to set up, but it will keep working for you every time that you send an email. You may also get interest from people who know nothing about your business, but are intrigued.


Forget business cards, tablets and smartphones are the new ways to capture email addresses at special events. When you mingle with people, you can talk to them about your products and services and ask if they would like to be the first to know about new ones. You can also throw in some extras such as discount codes or 2 for 1 offers. Use secure software to safely store all of the collected emails so that you can add them directly to your list without any issues.

First in Line

It’s a fact that most humans love to be part of secret clubs, as they like to feel like they are a part of something special. You can take this knowledge, and apply it to your email marketing. Make your newsletter seem like an exclusive club which people are really lucky to be a part of. You can provide customers with special offers and deals a day or so before other customers are alerted through social media. Then, always make sure that you post about this early bird offer on your social media, so that customers feel like they are missing out on an amazing deal (no one wants to miss out on a really special offer). This simple tip will really help you to amp up your email opt-in rate.

So there you have it, four quick and easy ways to grow your email list both online and offline. Have play around with some of the ideas and then tailor them to best suit your customer's needs. Remember, email marketing is rapidly changing so you will need to be ahead of the game if you want to stay successful. Good luck!