Building an email list is important to grow website traffic

Email Campaign: How I Build My Email List From Scratch

Email list is more than just a list. In fact, it is the black book for nearly every successful marketer, blogger and companies alike.

Don’t worry if you have not started anything at all.

This article will explain to you important things about starting an email campaign … opps, I mean building a successful mailing list.

That’s why you’re here right? With so many email marketing guides out there, I want to make sure that the time spend on this article (expected to be 10 minutes or less), would provide you guidance which will prove useful not only today, but for the coming years.

Do you know what is email campaign and the importance of it?

There are several reasons why you should start building an email list right now. You may use the list to:

  • Grow your website traffic
  • Keep your readers informed on the latest posts and news
  • Increase the number of returned visitors
  • Boost your sales pitch and revenue earning (marketing)
  • Promote brand awareness
  • Get involved and get in touch with your loyal readers

There’s probably tons of other advantages that you can gain just by having an email list but you get the point. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in … you need a list.

Still not convinced? Let’s take a look below:

1. Ana Hoffman – Traffic Generation Cafe

Traffic Generation Cafe opt-in form
Traffic Generation Cafe opt-in form


2. CopyBlogger Media

CopyBlogger Media's opt-in form
CopyBlogger Media’s opt-in form


3. Brian Gardner

Brian Gardner's opt-in form
Brian Gardner’s opt-in form


4. WP Beginner

WPBeginner's opt-in form
WPBeginner’s opt-in form


5. Adrienne Smith

Adrienne Smith's opt-in form
Adrienne Smith’s opt-in form


6. Bren – My Girly Parts

Bren's opt-in form
Bren’s opt-in form


7. Annetta Powell

Annetta Powell's opt-in form
Annetta Powell’s opt-in form


8. Adam Connell – Blogging Wizard

Adam's opt-in form
Adam’s opt-in form

You see, it doesn’t matter what’s your intention is … either to boost traffic or doing affiliate marketing. You need a god damn email list! 🙂

Three Easy Ways To Build An Email List … My Way

I know there are probably many ways to do this but these are the three, very easy methods to grow your email list. Yes … you can start building your mailing list with just $1.

When I started this website, I was like you … you know, wanting to grow my traffic and get my visitors back for more. The only way is to build more loyal readers who trust and have faith in me.

Creating an email list from scratch is hard and no easy task. Hopefully by the time you finish implementing these three methods, you’ll be able to gain good and stable moment of subscription rate.

Hold on a second now. Do you know how an opt-in form works? Not? No frust! The below an example of my opt-in form. Just enter your email and try it out! Yes it is absolutely free and if you dislike it, just hit the unsubscribe!

Method #1: Choose your email marketing provider

I’m not talking about Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook guys. I’m talking of auto responders, scheduling email blasts and managing your subscribers list. Most importantly, a program or service which could help me build my successful email campaigns.

There are probably tons of email marketing providers out there to choose from; from freemium to more than just affordable subscriptions.

Basically, these features are a must in any email marketing provider:

  • Ability to create signup or opt-in forms
  • Easy to embedded in any form (HTML, codes etc)
  • Manageable subscriber lists
  • Auto responders
  • RSS subscriptions
  • Spam control

If you have yet to start creating any email list, then I would highly recommend you to start now using Aweber. Here’s why:

Try AWeber’s Autoresponders for $1


Method 2: Split testing your subscription forms (must … must have feature!)

This is important guys. Most of us are attracted to colours and the same concept goes to subscription forms. If placing just one form on the same spot will not increase your signup rate, then you should be doing more split testing.

So what is split testing actually?

Split testing is also know as A/B testing. Let’s say you in a course of one month, you created one signup form to be placed on your sidebar. And, you aren’t getting any signup at all! So, what’s wrong?

Could it be the colour, text or even the size? Fact is, we would probably not know the real reason behind this.


It doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it! You can perform tests and more experiment to determine which signup forms offer the best click through rate (CTR) and which isn’t.

If you have the thought that those are crazy, time consuming and it takes a lot of patience to do it, yes you are definitely right. Duh! Imagine how much time you got to spend on this split testing.

There is where Hybrid Connect comes in. Hybrid what?

Hybrid Connect is an advance mailing list building plugin for WordPress created by the famous Shane Melaugh. Well, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know how he is. What you need to know is the plugin is more than just plain awesome.

Basically, Hybrid Connect is about customization, improve your call to action ‘projects’ and ensuring that you are maximizing every possible chance to build email list. What?

Hybrid Connect is not like any other WordPress plugin when it comes to building email list. It does more than just that!

Here’s what it looks like on my admin panel:

Hybrid Connect is an advance email mailing list plugin for WordPress
Hybrid Connect allows me to build specific opt-in forms for different pages and post.

And this is what Hybrid Connect can do for you.

You can choose from:

  • Shortcode – Place any opt-in form anywhere in your content
  • Widget – Add any opt-in form to the sidebar or any other widget area
  • Light boxes – Create pop up opt-in form features
  • Slide in boxes – Allow forms to slide in from the bottom, side or top of the page or post
  • Squeeze pages – Create high-converting squeeze pages for sales boost
  • Comment list building – Option to opt-in with one click, when they leave a comment

If you want to know what Hybrid Connect is all about, this site explains it all.

I’m not saying that Hybrid Connect is the best out there. But for me, it works absolutely well and I see no reason why it won’t work for you … plus I love their support team who is always willing to help out.

Lesson learned? Always test and try out different forms to improve your sign up rates. Heard about “don’t put all your eggs in one basket?”

Method #3: Maximizing your click through rate (CTR) of your opt-in forms

You may use Hybrid Connect and a dozen more email list building software but you won’t be going anywhere if you are not getting any clicks.

To get your readers signing up for either a product sale or a simple newsletter, you got to make your opt-in form visible. Yes, make your call-to-action as attractive as possible. Here are some spots which works perfectly well to increase your CTR:

  • Featured area (before content)
  • Sidebar area (top or bottom most)
  • After content area (some call it after post)
  • Footer area
  • Floating or pop up opt-in form

Personally, if you want to increase your sign up rate, you should place your opt-in form on the top most of the article … place it right before the title area. I call it, featured widget.

Placing featured call to action widget could easily grow email list
This is one of my featured opt-in call to action.


When I first started my website, I had only a few signups per week. If you ask me, that isn’t making the cut. Not even close! After placing a featured opt-in form for just one week, my CTR increase by 15% on average. Yes, imagine for every 100 visitors I get, I would get about 15 signups. Since I’m using Aweber, I know they are absolutely legit and that’s great!

Now this is my sign up graph or stats.

My sign up stats increased drastically right after I place an opt-in form on my featured area

As you can see above, I wasn’t getting any healthy sign up rate. I would get probably 2 a day at most and sometime zero. With a call to action widget placed on the most visible part of the website, everything changes. I would let the stats above speak for itself.

From featured area to sidebar. Yes! You need to place at least one sidebar opt-in form on your sidebar if you want to grow your email list. When it comes to opt-in on side bar, you got to make it precise and short because you have very limited space to work with. So keep that in mind!

Basically, after post and footer opt-in forms are pretty normal and I wouldn’t into detail on that. However, I want to shift your attention now to the importance of having a pop up opt-in form.

Fact: You can increase your email list with pop up opt-in forms but …

Now, tell me this. Does the above question makes you wonder?

I hate pop up and I bet most of you do. So, making pop up opt-in form is tough especially when you do not want to drive your readers away.

A few things to consider are:

  • How often does the pop up will appear?
  • What type of pop up opt-in form to use? Complex or simple?
  • Does your readers get to view the pop up every time they head to a new page?

As I said above, pop up is very annoying and therefore, handle with care. My pop up will show be visible after my reader is on that page for a specific time and I love going simple but eye catching opt-in forms. And to add a little bit of twist, I set cookie where the same reader will only see the pop up once every 7 days.

Again, what works for me might not work for you. So, do some testing first before anything else.

If you are still having doubts whether you should start an email list or not, you definitely need to spend 5 minutes watching these slides.

Back to you

I was lucky to speak to some bloggers last week and I realized some of them have yet to start building email list for their blogs and websites. I started pretty late but I’m sure, it is never too late for anything.

Do you see the advantages when it comes to building a strong relationship with your readers?

All in all, email list is very important especially when you are thinking of increasing your traffic and getting your loyal readers coming back for more. Not to forget, having an email list is also a great way to communicate with your followers.

You need to do this right now:

  1. If you like this article, subscribe to my free and once-a-week newsletter (below)
  2. Tell me what you think on building an email list
  3. Do you have any past experience to share with the rest?

And you can do all these using the forms below and hit the red button to share it.

26 thoughts on “Email Campaign: How I Build My Email List From Scratch”

  1. Interesting post Reginald and thanks for the shout out! I know I am in the minority of this one but I HATE emails. When I follow a blog, I choose RSS. If that’s not available, hopefully they are on Triberr or Facebook. In the past, I followed some “big” blogs via email and boy did the newsletters get annoying. I had to unsubscribe. However, like I said, I may be the minority. A lot of people love emails and bloggers love sending them. I can tell you really like your Aweber. 😉

    1. Hi Bren!

      Haha indeed I’m in love with Aweber (most part is marketing)!

      I used to read RSS until … something bad happen to my phone and I rather use a bigger resolution. So, yup via laptop is best 🙂 You know what? Talking about email blast from big blogs. I’m getting like 2 emails a day from some big names out there and it gets very annoying!

      Therefore, my emails usually twice max but I try to keep it once a week on Sundays. As a round up in case of any misses and of course, some extra tips.

      And, your idea spark me like lighting Bren! Why? See my bar at the top … subscribe via RSS. I totally left that out and I’m going to feature you either this week or next. You’ll know why!

      Take care and thanks for the comment.


    2. Bren, I have to agree with you. I already get too many emails everyday that I don’t need to clog up my inbox with more to read. I always look for the RSS icon first and if I don’t see it will even try putting /feed/ on the end of their URL to check for a possible feed. However, I know that email list building is a blogging necessity so I certainly don’t hold it against anyone and I am even trying to build my own list now to see how it goes.

  2. Hey Reginald,

    I’m always looking to increase my optin rate and how I can direct my traffic. This post really was helpful and given me some ideas of what to do. I use Aweber also and Optin Skin. I wanted to know how many optin forms I should have on each post and i see that you have 3 on here, and I see most bloggers usually have 3 with a pop up form.. That tells me something there 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Sherman,

      It really depends how you want to go around with it. I know some bloggers play with just one opt-in form while others, could even hit 5. For me, there’s nothing called specific. I love trying out new things and each will run for a month or two. Once that is done, I’ll determine which will be the best option for me. Might even ditch some as well from time to time.

      Glad you find this article useful and thanks for stopping by!


  3. What a wonderful surprise Reginald to see my smiling face as an example here too! I appreciate that.

    I recently wrote about this same topic and shared some different things you can do as well as far as placement of the different opt-in boxes and like you mentioned, test them to see which ones convert the best. Although I didn’t switch any out I did test them in several different locations and found my winner.

    I know that people get tired of hearing that they should build a list but if you ignore this then over time you’re going to find it that much more difficult to get started. People will always buy things from people they know and trust so you have to start building that through your list.

    I love Aweber and have been using their service for years and they are just so much easier to use in my opinion. So hopefully everyone will at least consider starting to build their list even if they have to start with a free service. It’s better then not having one at all.

    Great share today Reginald and thanks again for using my header opt-in box as an example.


    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Thank you for your comment. Your comment box is great. It just prove to me that having a featured box is vital! Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you’re a small blog owner or running a big website, placement is vital.

      Like what you said, I ignored that some time back. And then when I started using RSS email subscription, I tend to realize how important it was. Unfortunately, I was terribly late. Well, better late than never 🙂

      Oh yes! You are lucky to find your winner. I was curious how and why I wasn’t making much subscriptions prior to the feature box. Excellent point taken!


  4. Here’s my tip: the more info you ask from a prospect the less signups you’ll get. One of your examples of “great” signup forms belongs to my collection of “Don’t do that!”

    Related tip: if you don’t plan to use some pieces of info you collect, don’t ask for such info. There’s no point in doing it 😉

    Bonus tip: however, if you really want & need more info than the minimum usually required, especially personal info, ask for it LATER, after you build some trust, after you build some kind of relationship with your subscriber 😉

    1. Hi Adrian,

      Nice comment. I read it from CopyBlogger last week and that’s why I amended my opt in form from Name and Email to just plain Email. Lesser clicks and fill ups, more successful subscriptions. Still under some A/B testing and will only complete by end of the month. Will see what’s the best opt-in form for this site 🙂

      Take care!


  5. Hi Reginald,

    1) I don’t think that you read my comment on Copyblogger (“Nice comment. I read it from Copyblogger”). Years ago I shared that tip with the subscribers of one of my newsletters. It’s posted online on my Ezines Forum but I don’t have time now to search for it. You have to believe me…
    1.2) Disclaimer: The paragraph 1 above doesn’t suggest that the author who wrote the blog post for Copyblogger knows that tip from me. Nope, that’s just a common sense tip. Anyway I guess you actually wanted to say that you read the same tip, not the same comment 😉

    2) Clarification: When I mentioned that one of your examples belongs to my “Don’t do that” list, I wasn’t referring to “name+email address”. There’s one form that requests even more info 😉

    1. Hey Adrian,

      For #1, yes I was meaning that I read about the same info from CopyBlogger email last week. Just stating that they said the same which … gives you more credit on that 🙂 Oh and yes, I trust you!

      For #2 and for me, I consider name and email addresses are additional info but again, got what you mean on that … different channel, same words etc 😉


  6. Hi Reginald

    I use Hybrid Connect too and it’s really useful how you can do split testing of all of your opt-in forms.

    I’ve not tried to just get an email address before. I like to get the name so I can personalize the emails but if it would increase sign ups I’m all for it!

    I’m going to give that a go on my next split test.

    1. Hi Tim,

      Getting a name is good but it seems like getting just email makes people sign up more. I’m not sure but that’s what the survey is saying! Crazy huh? Well, if that increases the sign up rate, why not right? 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by Tim. Have a great week ahead!


  7. Hi Reginald,

    When I first signed up with my mentor one of the first things he said was that everything we do should be aimed at building our lists.
    Create a product: Add an opt-in for a mini course for the doubters… build your list.
    Create an affiliate page: Add an opt-in to capture people for future promotions… build your list
    Create a blog: Add an opt-in to build your list

    I also use Aweber and think they’re doing really well at making everything so easy to follow and carry out our tests and check stats etc.

    Funnily enough I was creating a video series for our members at Marketing Miniclasses on Aweber last week. It’s one of our greatest assets in business.

    I know that the pop overs work but in my honest opinion they do my head in. I think people come to our blogs to read our content so the last thing I want to do is interrupt their reading.

    I know that they can be set to only open after a certain amount of time, but lots of people have the same offer as others and the pop over appears with every refresh. I know you’ve got one so I’ll be checking Reginald ha ha.

    As I say I know that work but unless it’s a new offer I would use one, but as with everything my friend, each to their own 🙂

    Now to see the refresh ha ha


    1. Hi Barry!

      Thanks for dropping by! Oh yes, you are right! I started blogging with a thinking that I am not selling anything. So why should I get a list right? Wrong! And yes, it took me years to figure that out. I was too stubborn then!

      Pop up is annoying! Yes … you are right! I set the pop up here on either 33% of the page scroll or 20 seconds if my memory is right. I got this info from a company who does research a lot. I also set my pop up to have a 7 days cache period to avoid you know what.

      I think that really works as 40% of my sign ups are from that. Amazing figure huh. 50% goes to featured CTA and the rest goes to sidebar. Footer … no luck.

      All in all, I love to discuss more with you. Why? I think you are great at marketing and I want to learn more!

      Talk to you real soon and of course Barry, thank you for your support. I really appreciate it!


      1. I did refresh and was really pleased that I wasn’t seeing it again, and that’s how to use them correctly Reginald. As you pointed out 40% success so it’s working well.

        The ones that do my head in are those that are following a mentor and have his product in our face with every refresh or turn of a page, you know land on site pop over (same product as 100’s of other bloggers), close it and open post… Bang same pop over with the same product I just turned down. I bet their success rate is 0%

        Thanks for your kind words Reginald, I appreciate your work as well my friend 😉

        Enjoy your weekend, I’m on a day trip tomorrow… In the sun with a few beers 🙂

        Catch you next week Reginald,

        1. Hi Barry,

          I really thank you for the kind words. Jesus, you’re a God man and thank you Lord for showing that to me 🙂

          When I started the pop up thing, I am absolutely aware that it is risky as I personally hate it! Haha but all the sign up forms here are all on A/B testing and still trying to determine which actually the best method to go through. Pros and cons heh?

          Enjoy yourself Barry and will talk to you then!

          Have a blast.


  8. Hi Reginald!
    Another excellent article from you that I’ve just retweeted. For a long time, I did not understand the importance of split testing and kept the same old tired opt-in form on one of my website. Your article is a must for everyone trying to build a subscriber list!

    1. Hi Nicole,

      It’s you again and how have you been? I hope the new week is good on you.

      Glad you find the article useful. Subscribers are always important and at times, it is really bad when people opt to sign up just for freebies etc. However, the good thing is that out of them, there’s still a bunch of good followers who will be with you along the way. It is always hard to find good followers!

      Most importantly, we have to start building from somewhere. That’s vital.

      Thanks for commenting!


      1. Hi Reginald!

        This week the UK is effervescent with the arrival of the Royal Baby so everything body is smiling! Freeby seekers can also become eventual buyers.

        1. Hey Nicole,

          Yes indeed the news is all good. And…everyone is talking about it! Crazy right? But glad for them even though I’m not a Brit 🙂

          Oh yes, this means that you should get my products right? Haha!


  9. Hi Reginald,

    Since you where so persistent to get me to sign up, I will. 🙂

    I can honestly say I’m not using nothing to fancy right now. Just a subscription to new posts that can be found on the right of my blog(widget.) Since I got it I have never messed with it and I get about 5-10 sign ups a week. Probably why my return visits are as low as they are.

    With that being said, your advice was really helpful. Now I know what to consider “featured sign up” when time is right.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Bernard,

      Hey, 5 to 10 sign up a week is good. Sometime, I rather have 10 good subscribers instead of 100 subscribers who doesn’t open my email 🙂 So, when it comes to subscribers, quality comes first.

      Glad you find this interesting and drop me a line if you need help. Take care mate!


  10. What a wonderfully comprehensive post, Reginald. Building a list is the #1 one thing I do online and rely on to build my audience and generate my income. I wish I’d understood this concept when I first got into IM 8 years ago. I’d probably be much further along by now. 🙂

    I’ll be sure to share this with my social circle. Thanks for sharing your insights with us. I’m glad to have found your post on BizSugar.


    1. Hi Ti,

      Me too! I started off blogging in 2005 thinking that list building is just for affiliate marketers. Didn’t know it worth so much for bloggers as well. Hey, at least we learned right?

      Thanks for sharing this and take care.


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