How To Start An Email List

If you are looking for ways to start an email list, you are in the right place!

I know you are probably busy creating quality content and driving traffic to your blog, but starting an email list is just as important.

Starting an email list helps you build trust with your subscribers, bring traffic to your blog, turn leads into customers, and make more affiliate commissions.

This article will help you start an email list step by step. I will share my favorite tools and strategies to help you start an email list for free today. So if this is what you are looking for today, let’s get started!

Disclaimer: As the owner of, I have tracked down special deals for products, tools, and services mentioned herein. When you click my affiliate links on this page to make a purchase, I may get a small commission, and you will definitely get a great bargain. This is a win-win advantage for both of us.

Why You Need To Start An Email List?

1. Connect with Your Readers

When someone lands on your blog to read your articles, they are interested in what you have to say. They get to know you better while they go through your articles. Sending emails is the easiest way to connect with them directly.

People don’t like sharing email addresses with strangers. You have to build trust before they let you into their inbox. Having an email list helps you communicate more personal things with your subscribers.

2. Know Your Audience

An email list helps you find out what your audience looks for online. Based on their feedback, you can create more quality content to solve their problems.

Or, when you are creating your products, you can also listen to your subscribers to know what they need. They are all your potential buyers.

So, if you don’t know what your audience needs, you will lose many opportunities for online success. It’s better to keep in touch with your subscribers for mutual discussions.

3. Your Own List

There are many ways to drive traffic to your blog, but only your email list is something you can own forever.

Let’s say you focus on social media traffic. You may build a massive following on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and get good results.

Those social media platforms can terminate your account without any notice. Your social media traffic would disappear, and so would the online income you made through each platform.

But your email list stays with you no matter what happens to your social media accounts or even your blog.

The best way to ensure a stable online income is through your email list. “The money is in the list.”

How To Start An Email List For Your Blog?

Step 01 – Know Your Audience

The first step is to know what your audience wants from you! They come to your blog to find answers, so you must provide them the value. By doing that, they will love to join your email list to get more from you.

Now, tell me, who are you targeting with your email list?

For example, I create quality content to help my readers find the best affiliate marketing platform to start a blog running an affiliate marketing business.

If you also blog for some time already, you should know your audience and what they are looking for, right?

Step 02 – Know Your Purpose

It would be best if you kept in mind what your purposes are for your email list. Why do you want to start an email list? You may ask yourself the below questions before proceeding:

  • Why do you want to start an email list? Why now?
  • Do you want to promote affiliate products or sell your products?
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  • How often will you send emails to your subscribers?

Having an email list helps you make money blogging in the long run, but it takes time and effort to achieve your goals.

So, take your time to answer the above questions before launching your list! If you know what your long-term goal is, things will get easier.

Step 03 – Choose An Autoresponder

You might think you can send emails from your Gmail account, but choosing an autoresponder service helps you grow and manage your list effortlessly.

There are many autoresponder services in the market, both free and paid. I tend to choose those with free plans, and if they work so well, I will consider upgrading to the paid version.

I recommend using Convertkit when you first start a blog. I also use it for my blog, and it’s FREE!

Blogging requires a lot of hard work, and I need an autoresponder to help me reduce the workload. It should be easy enough to send emails to my list, and that’s how I found Convertkit.

You can start an email list with Convertkit for free. It allows you to create landing pages, sell products, and send emails to up to 300 subscribers for free. You will also get a 14-day trial for the premium features.

Step 04 – Create A Freebie

Now you have chosen an autoresponder, it’s time to create a freebie for your email list.

People land on your blog to find the answers and are interested in what you have to say. The best way to get them to sign up is to give them a freebie. You can also call it a lead magnet, content upgrade, or an opt-in freebie.

The best-converting freebie is something that solves your readers’ problem, and they would like to pay money for it. It’s often a step-by-step tutorial to teach people to do something or something your readers can apply immediately.

For example, I created an opt-in freebie to help my readers start a blog running an affiliate marketing business. I share a 7-day blogging guide to help them start a blog with some powerful tools.

I use the same tools to build and maintain my blog, which saves me tons of time, so I share everything with my readers & they can get it for free.

[convertkit form=2122703]

How To Find A Good Freebie Idea?

You must ask yourself how to find a good freebie idea. Here are the places you can get the answers:

  • Open your Google Analytics to know which posts your readers visit the most. Provide them with a freebie to give them value.
  • Find the post with the most shares and comments. Add a freebie to create more value by reading and sharing those posts.
  • Browse and research your competitors’ websites to know what they are offering. You can learn and apply your freebies but not copy them.
  • Find what people ask in Facebook groups in your niche and create a freebie to answer their questions.

The point is to find out what your readers struggle with and provide your solutions with your freebies. Your readers will love to receive a present like this.

What Type Of Freebie Can You Create?

When you find a good freebie idea, you want to deliver it. Here are the types you can create:

  • Guide/ebook
  • Worksheet/cheatsheet
  • Checklist
  • Video training
  • Audio recording
  • Quiz
  • Email course/email challenge
  • Starter kit
  • Resource Library
  • Invitation to your Facebook group

You can choose the one that suits your readers’ needs the most. The key is to offer something that your readers want, something you know can help people’s lives be easier.

How To Create Your Freebie?

Back then, bloggers used Adobe Photoshop and InDesign to create their beautiful ebooks as freebies. I am tight on budget and not good at those applications, so I choose another alternative. Canva!

Canva is an online graphic design platform that helps you design everything you need. You can use it to create astonishing images, social media posts, or YouTube video thumbnails.

I usually write my ebooks on Google Docs, and if I need pretty visual elements, I will copy all my content from Google Docs to Canva to edit it properly. Many pretty templates make your work look professional, so you cannot miss Canva today.

Step 05 – Place Opt-in Forms

You’ve learned how to create your freebie, and you need to promote it to your blog visitors. But where can your readers sign up for your list?

You need to place your opt-in forms on your blog posts or pages so that people can join your list to get your freebies.

Where Should You Place Those Forms?

1. Within Your Blog Post

The best place is within your blog post, just like what I did in this post. You can see that I placed relevant forms in my post and offered additional value to my readers.

And you can also promote your freebie at the end of your post, which is a strong call to action to catch your readers’ attention. You don’t want your readers to leave your blog after reading your articles.

2. On Dedicated Pages

Sometimes people get distracted while going through your article, and that’s when dedicated pages come into play.

A dedicated page allows you to do the following:

  • Introduce your freebie
  • Highlight the value your reader gets from it
  • Emphasize the benefits people can get from signing up

A dedicated page keeps your readers focused on your freebie and has a higher conversion rate than an opt-in form within your articles.

I use GeneratePress Premium for my blogs. It comes with 80+ professionally designed website packs with dedicated landing pages. They are easy to customize, and you can create your landing pages in minutes, saving hours of development time.

How To Start An Email List - GeneratePress Site Library

Step 06 – Drive Traffic To Your Freebie

Now that you’ve placed forms on your blog, you need people to see them.

You may learn some traffic generation strategies already, but I suggest focusing on one method first. Once you master it and get good results, you can implement the next one. Here are some traffic techniques that help:

1. Search Engine Optimization(SEO)

This is by far the most powerful traffic generation method for my blog.

It brings me quality and long-lasting traffic, but it takes some time to see positive results. You may find it HERE to learn how to make it done properly.

2. Social Media

You can also promote your forms on social media. If you have a huge following on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, this one will be the best and the most efficient way to drive traffic to your freebie.

3. Pinterest Traffic

Pinterest is a visual search engine that shows people pretty images with helpful content. It’s where people find inspiration and the best place to promote your freebies to solve people’s problems.

You need to pin high-quality and relevant images daily for your Pinterest success. If you cannot arrange your pins daily, you can check a Pinterest scheduling tool, Tailwind.

Tailwind helps you automate your pinning schedule and knows when to publish your pins. Instead of spending 1-2 hours pinning daily, I schedule my pins two months in advance, saving me tons of time.

If you are not sure about it, Tailwind offers a free plan. Take a look. It’s easy to start. I’ve also written an article about leveraging Pinterest for your affiliate marketing business, and you are more than welcome to check it HERE.

Step 07 – Analyze The Performance

The last step is to analyze the performance of your opt-in forms. You want to know that your readers love your freebies and are reading them.

Once you get many subscribers on your list, you can check the performance and improve the conversion rates.

How To Improve Your Email Open Rates?

  1. Personalize your subject lines and avoid spammy words to generate curiosity
  2. Announcing free offers in the subject lines
  3. Let your subscribers choose when to receive your emails
  4. Keep your emails short and easy to read
  5. Remove inactive subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in a long time

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoy this tutorial and get some valuable tips to start an email list. It takes some time to grow your list, so please keep pace.

If you are willing to try diverse strategies to grow your list, you will get faster results. I know building an email list is complicated and confusing, but it’s one of the best marketing strategies & worth a try.

You must build trust with your audience and provide helpful content to solve their problems first. They will become your close friends and love to try things you promote in the long run. Hence, more opportunities to make money with your blog.

You Can Do This!

I’d love to hear from you if you like my post and get some tips. You are more than welcome to leave your thoughts in the comment section below, and I will try to respond as soon as possible.

Enjoy this post? Don’t forget to bookmark this page or save it on Pinterest!

How To Start An Email ListHow To Start An Email List

Matt is a 30ish guy who has a corporate job and chases the dream to become a digital nomad with a laptop lifestyle. He is passionate about making money online and will keep creating quality content to find his online success.

42 thoughts on “How To Start An Email List”

  1. Thank you so much for this really great article. It has everything that I needed to know! I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and I know that I’ve got to have a mailing list, but still don’t have one! I really hope this article will spark my inspiration into creating one! I’m bookmarking the page for future purposes ;)!

    • Hi Virendra,

      Yes, money is on the list. Once you have an email list of your own, you don’t have to worry about the traffic you get from search engines or social media platforms. Those platforms have algorithm updates frequently, which impacts your traffic. It’s not too late to learn how to start an email list for your affiliate marketing business.


  2. I needed this, I have been thinking about building an email list for a while now. This post gives me a clear picture of how to do this – I am contemplating making a 7-Day video course for my audience. I am bookmarking this post & would be referring to this as I build my list. Will reach out to you if I need help, thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Satz,

      I wrote this post to help people like you start an email list to collect leads and turn them into actual customers after building trust and providing them value & support. You are doing great since you are in the process of making a 7-day video course for your audience. Don’t hesitate to let me know once you complete the video course. I love to watch it πŸ™‚


  3. Hi Matt, this was an absolute timely read in my process.
    At the moment I am at the landing or opt-in page, email list, and autoresponders stage and this fits right in.
    Thank you very much for describing with good information the whole process in detail, it will come in very handy.

    • Hi Estelle,

      I am glad this post helps you so well. You may start creating a freebie/lead magnet to collect more leads and turn them into future customers. Email marketing is never old but a powerful method for your affiliate marketing business. πŸ™‚


  4. Hi Matt,
    I am stuck on the “freebie” part. You have listed some great ideas, but I just don’t know how to make something like that for my gift site. I am struggling within the niche as it is, but trying to build an email list for it is exceptionally hard. Might you have some ideas specifically for a gift site? Thank you!

    • Hi Brianna,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. If I had a gift site, I would create a seasonal freebie. For example, you could make a pdf with seasonal gifts when they have discounts. People who are looking for gifts might find your freebie helpful. Or, if you are making gifts for sales, you may put all your new gifts on the freebie when you launch them on your site.


  5. Thank you so much for this timely article. I’ve been wanting to set up an email list for a long time, but frankly, I didn’t know how. You have given me step-by-step instructions on how to manage this. I do have questions, though. What is the difference between using Canva as your email format and Generate Press Premium? Can you use Canva for your freebie and also for your subsequent emails that you send people?

    • Hi Nina,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I hope this review helps you well. πŸ™‚ Canva is an online platform where you can design beautiful images for any marketing purpose, but it doesn’t have an autoresponder service. So normally, my routine is to design my freebie on Canva, such as a free ebook to show people how to start a blog running an affiliate marketing business, and then use Convertkit to do the following for me.

      As for GeneratePress Premium, it’s a site/page builder to make a particular page to collect your leads. You can still use Canva to design stunning images and put them on the pages you want to build relationships with your readers, which will save you tons of time. πŸ™‚

  6. I was using Mailchimp for about a year and a half until they froze my account for ‘violating their terms.’
    Yes, I am building an affiliate marketing business, and they do not like us sending out offers to our list! I changed to Getresponse and have been quite happy with them. And now it’s time to set up a landing page with a free offer to collect more emails.
    Thanks for all the tips. I’ll make sure I use them in my campaign.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for mentioning that not every autoresponder allows you to promote affiliate marketing products with their services. I am glad you switched to GetResponse, which I’ve also heard people recommended it. It must be fun and easy with GetResponse’s service, and I would love to try it. πŸ™‚


  7. Great guide Matt,

    Definitely will help those looking to get going with creating an email list. It’s a really important step, but so many people seem to put it off. But like you said, you need to ensure you don’t lose any sources of traffic like if a social media platform goes, like when Google+ disappeared!

    The suggestions you’ve made are also ideal for a beginner and those on a budget…

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I hope you enjoy this review. πŸ™‚ Yes, social media platforms can go off without any notice, so having an email list with total control is crucial for your online business. With Convertkit’s free plan, you can build a list of up to 1000 subscribers, which is the best solution I found at the moment. πŸ™‚


  8. Hi Matt, Thanks for sharing I think you’ve explained this all pretty well.

    This has been one of my main hurdles so far actually collecting leads. On my other website, I was collecting leads daily but my site malfunctioned and I wasn’t able to figure out how I was getting them.

    I had some success with another list I set up and I actually made some commissions from that. To be honest I am just tweaking a few things now hopefully I can figure something out but yes you seem to have this figured out. Although I think getting leads is just the beginning you must manage your list right – what do you recommend setting up an email series or like sending out newsletters, etc. I know you can set up RSS to share all your new content as well but what are your thoughts on all of this?

    • Hi Alex,

      Yes, building an email list is hard, and sometimes you don’t know what you did is correct or not. I’ve been there. πŸ™‚ I think the best way to set up email series is to leverage the power of an autoresponder. It helps you save a lot of time doing it by yourself to focus on things that matter.


  9. Hey Matt. Thanks for this great guide on how to start an email list. Building an email list is definitely one task every blogger has to have done in one day. I am now busy with creating the landing page and then will hoo on this one. I am sure I will use your guide as this one is super valuable. One question though, have you also created your follow-up sequences yet, or does this the autoresponder provide for you?

    • Hi Julius,

      Yes, bloggers need to build an email list to communicate with their readers. It’s one of the efficient ways to build trust with them, and if they trust you enough, they will love to try the products you are promoting.

      Convertkit paid version offers follow-up sequences, and you can write them in advance to make it autopilot. πŸ™‚


  10. Hi Matt,
    I came across this blog at the perfect time. I was looking for information about creating an email list, but I found that and more.

    Thank you so much for pointing out that Canva is a great place to make ebooks. I have always just used the programs that came with my computer and truthfully when you look at them, you can tell.

    Wow, I didn’t realize there were all these free opportunities for building a business online.

    I am glad you cannot see not the happy dance I am doing right now. It is a little embarrassing for me to do and you would be embarrassed because you had to see it and hold a straight face… HAHA!

    • Hi Greg,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I hope this review helps you well. πŸ™‚

      Canva is an excellent platform to design any marketing materials you need for your online business. I used it to create stunning images and ebooks for my readers. I am sure you can leverage it too.


  11. Hello Matt,
    I use MailChimp but honestly, I have heard that there are also several other AutoResponders including ConvertKit that equally work well. Most of them are free for a specified number of subscribers until you exceed that number.

    I find that building an email list takes effort and time. When is the best time to actually start an email list? I am told that it is best to start early, but what are your thoughts on this?

    • Hi Ceci,

      Yes, Convertkit works well for your email marketing campaigns. I love using it to build trust with my readers. πŸ™‚ Based on my experiences, the best time to send emails is 9-11 am in the mornings. But, you may customize it with a more specific time for your email campaigns. For example, 8 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, and 6 pm are also good to send emails to your readers.

      I believe it’s better to start an email list at the early age of your blog. By doing this, you will have loyal followers and fans who love to try the products you are promoting. Try to provide them with the solutions to their problems first. πŸ™‚


  12. Hi Matt, this is a very thorough post with lots of great advice for any newbie. And for so-called experienced ones like me, haha. (Not laughing at you but at myself, calling myself experienced!)

    What I am wondering is, does ConvertKit offer the pop-up in the free version as well? Because in that case, it might be worthwhile for me to make the switch. I have ActiveCampaign at the moment and they don’t offer a popup.

    And can you style the popup the way you want?

    And last but not least, can you style the subscription forms the way you want as well?

    Thanks for a great reference to come back to. πŸ™‚

  13. Hi Matt, thanks for this informative article on starting an email list. I always used to think that I needed to hold off on building an email list until I started making money with my blog, but I see now that you can in fact start an email list for free, and up to 1,000 subscribers to say the least! What a deal!

    Thanks for this article Matt, you are right, the money is in the list, and I’m gonna start building mine out soon!

    • Hi David,

      Yes, you don’t have to wait till you make money blogging to start an email list. Many successful bloggers suggest people start an email list on the first day of building their blogs. It helps you create good relationships with your readers, and once they trust you, they love trying things you are promoting. In the long run, email marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your blog. πŸ™‚


  14. Hey Matt and thank you for the great tutorial. I am playing with the idea of starting an email list myself for my own blog therefore your tutorial came in handy. However, my blog is still quite young, so maybe I will grow it some more first and only then will ‘upgrade’ it to building an email list.
    I heard of a different company providing free email list builders: Aweber. Do you have any experience with it?
    Thanks, Tatiana

    • Hi Tatiana,

      I hope this tutorial helps you start an email list for your blog. If your blog is young, I suggest creating 5-10 excellent posts first, then starting an email list. Just imagine how you will feel when you land on a young blog, and the blogger wants you to sign up for his list. What will you think? I guess you know what I meant.

      Aweber is also an excellent choice to start an email list. You may scroll up to see what Kathy says about her experience with Aweber. If you find Aweber suits your need, go for it. I believe both Convertkit and Aweber help people reduce a lot of workload on email marketing. πŸ™‚


  15. I use GetResponse but I heard many good things about ConvertKit too. Building an email list takes time and I’m struggling a little with it. I let it run on autopilot because I find that building the templates for the emails and scheduling other things can be overwhelming at times. This post was very useful to me in regards to freebies. I think I should update my freebies.

    • Hi Christine,

      I’ve heard of much good stuff about GetResponse too, and I hope you have enjoyed using it so far. πŸ™‚ Yes, doing email campaigns and sending sequences to your subscribers are loads of work, and that’s why we need an autoresponder to help us.

      Adding freebies to your email campaign is a great move, and it’s good to see you plan to update your freebies. If you have some questions, don’t hesitate to let me know. I am always willing to help.


  16. Great informative article for successful business via email! I’m thinking of joining the free tool ConvertKit, and I also like that you explained nicely if is something negative on social media and you stop making money. You have an email list to continue with your work and your audience. Thank you for sharing this article, and I am sure it will help many be successful in online business. I wish you success and health πŸ™‚

  17. These are all great solutions to having an autoresponder handy, we have not had one yet. This article helped me make an informed decision on what is an autoresponder is and how it will benefit me and my audience.
    We are on a budget as well so we like the ideas of the free platforms that were shown.


    • Hi MnD,

      Yes, I know beginners are tight on budget, so I wrote this post to help them find the free tools to launch their email campaigns. Email marketing is one of the most efficient ways to communicate with your readers and build a good relationship with them. If they trust you enough, it’s possible that they love trying things you are promoting, more opportunities to make money blogging. πŸ™‚


  18. Hi Matt, thank you for sharing these useful tips on starting an email list. After a long time, I’m only just about to launch my first email campaign. Creating a freebie was easy with Canva, and although I have Generate Press Pro, I designed my landing pages in Aweber. Thanks for the tip about placing the freebie at the end of your post:)

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for leaving your comment. I hope this post helps you well. πŸ™‚ Launching an email campaign takes time to design and arrange, so I know the hard work you did. I am also interested in creating your landing pages in Aweber. Was it easy enough? It will help if you can answer this.


      • Thanks for your reply, Matt:) Yes, creating a landing page in Aweber is very easy. They have plenty of templates for different niches, but I created mine from a blank page.

        • Hi Kathy,

          It’s good to know that it’s easy to make landing pages in Aweber, and users can choose the templates that fit their niches. I would love to try Aweber too.

          Thanks for sharing!


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