If you have been selling online for a while, you would probably have heard of the term “email list” or have heard people telling you that you need to have an email list.

Both online and offline businesses should have an email list. I would even argue that it is a need in today’s world. Regardless of whether you are an author, blogger, e-commerce business owner, solopreneur, service provider, virtual assistant, or even a freelancer, it benefits you immensely to build an email list.

In this blog post, I will cover:

  • What is an email list?
  • Types of email lists
  • Why you should build an email list
  • Why an email list is important
  • What to do with your email list

What is an email list? 

An email list is a collection of email addresses that are used to send promotional materials, announcements, or other types of communication to a group of people.

Email lists can be created manually by entering email addresses into a database, or they can be generated automatically through sign-up forms on websites.

The manual way is more common in offline businesses where they have their customers’ particulars but have not started using an email marketing service or do not have any customer relationship management (CRM) system in place. 

This article will focus more on email list building for online businesses and service providers where the email list is usually built through sign-forms on websites or landing pages. 

Once an email list is created, it can be used to send out messages to all of the addresses on the list. Email lists are a valuable tool for businesses and organizations because they allow for mass communication with a large group of people without having to individually contact each person. 

Types of Email Lists

There are 2 main types of email lists: Subscriber lists and Customer Lists.

Subscriber Lists

This is the most common type of email list and definitely one that everyone should start with. A subscriber list is basically a list of people who have subscribed to be on your email list and agreed to receive emails (marketing and promotional) from you. These email subscribers can be your next potential customer!

Customer Lists

As the name suggests, customer lists are lists that contain the details, emails specifically, of your customers, people who have bought something from you or your business.

Depending on what CRM or email marketing service providers you use, you may also record and keep track of other information about the customers such as their date of birth, order, purchase history, etc.

If you are an author selling ebooks, you may be keeping track of whether they are a Kindle user or prefers to read on a Nook or even some other ebook readers.

If you are in e-commerce, you would be interested to track what they have bought in the past. This would allow you to upsell and cross-sell other products in the future. 

Why you should build an email list?

Anyone can and should start an email list. Yes, even if you do not have a website or if you are an influencer, you should have an email list. Here are the top 7 reasons why:

1. Almost everyone has email.

More people have an email account than they do Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media you can think of. Even both of my kids have had emails since they were 6 when they started primary 1. It was necessary for school, not because I was a crazy mama. 😆

2. Allows you to communicate easily and directly with your customers

Email marketing is one of the easiest direct and mass modes of communication that you can have with your customers or audience. You may ask me, but what about Facebook or Instagram any other social media? 

My question to you then is, do you see every post that your favorite brand posts on its social media pages? Your answer is probably “no”. 

Keeping up with the best posting times and the rules of each social media platform is also a whole different ball game. 

3. Control and ownership over your list -Your list, your rules!

My favorite reason for having a list is that you own your list. Yes, as long as you have legally acquired these subscribers and they gave you their consent to email them, you own your list. 

You do not own your followers on Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram, or any other social media channel.

If you have an e-commerce business and you sell on marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon KDP, Red Bubble, or any other print-on-demand site, these platforms owned the customers.

They often have rules on how you can engage and communicate with these customers (if you have access to them at all. Amazon KDP does not provide any details of these customers).

However, with your email list, you owned the list. You may be using an email marketing service such as Mailerlite, Fluent CRM, MailChimp, or any other tool of your choice, however, you still own your list. This means that even if you decided to switch from 1 provider to another, you can easily bring your list with you. 

4. Personalised and highly targeted communication

You can send highly personalized and targeted emails to your list such as addressing them by their names or sending the emails at their most engaged times.

Based on how they engaged with your emails, you are able to further customize your interactions with them or send them promotions that you know they are interested in.

5. Engaged warm audience

If you had built your list the “right” way, it would then consist of people who are interested in your brand, products, or services. 

Regardless of whether it is a subscriber list or a customer list, everyone has willingly given you their email address and their personal details, likely in exchange for your lead magnet (something that you have offered them for free). 

Imagine communicating with someone who has said, yes, please email me! The odds of them taking you up on your next offer is a lot higher. 

6. Sell products, services, and seasonal and meaningful offers

Regardless of what business or service you provide, your email list allows you to send promotional emails, a Black Friday Sale, a Christmas Sale, birthday coupons (if you captured their date of birth), abandoned cart emails and so much more.

7. They are inexpensive to create

Email lists are very inexpensive to create and maintain. Very often, all you need is to give subscribers a “freebie” also known as a lead magnet and they will share their emails with you. 

The important thing to note is that your lead magnet needs to be something of value to them. This would differ across industries and niches. 

Check out our shop for re-brandable and done-for-you products you can use as a lead magnet for your business today. 

Most email service providers have a free tier where they basically allow you to use their services until you reach a certain number of subscribers. Even when you exceed that, the cost is quite low compared to other forms of marketing. 

Why an email list is important?

I hope that by now, you can see the benefits of having an email list. 

Email lists are important for maintaining relationships with your customers, as well as driving sales. They also help you keep track of your leads, and segment your audience for more targeted marketing. Email lists are an essential part of any successful online business.

In my opinion, the most important reason why an email list is important is that you own it. No one can take that away from you. This means that you always have the ability to reach your customer. 

I know of many friends who could not move on from the business or even lost their businesses when they lose their Facebook or Instagram accounts. 

If you are an influencer on social media, I hope that you can appreciate the importance of having an email list now. No more worries about losing any of your social media accounts. 

According to a 2020 survey of marketers worldwide, email marketing yielded an ROI (return on investment) of 36 dollars for every dollar invested. Among the industries surveyed, the highest ROI was seen in the retail, e-commerce, and consumer goods sector, at 45 dollars per dollar spent.

What to do with your email list?

There are many things that you can do with your email list and here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Keep in constant contact with them. Out of sight, out of mind is very real in today’s context.
  • Send them exclusive content. I love to spoil my list by sending them list-only exclusive promotions.
  • Send them valuable content. Educate and inspire them on how to use your products or how your services can transform their lives.
  • Product launches
  • Promotions
  • Drive traffic to your social media account
  • Direct them to your podcasts
  • Drive traffic to your blog posts
  • Send them re-engagement emails if they have not opened your emails in a while
  • Create a poll and conduct customer surveys

In conclusion, starting your own email newsletter or mailing list is a great way to grow your contact list, teach them more about your business, and communicate with them on a regular basis.

Email marketing campaigns are the most adaptable and without a doubt the best online marketing strategy that you can implement. 

By developing an email marketing strategy, you can gain valuable insight into what your customers need, want, and like. You can then use this information to improve your future marketing efforts.

If you do not have an email list yet, I hope that you start collecting the list of emails of your target audience today so that you can tap into the power of email marketing.