How to Build a High-Quality Email List that Drives Business Success

Gerri Knilans
4 min readFeb 20, 2023

Email has been around for more than 50 years, yet it feels more rooted in our daily lives than ever. Even with the growth of social media and a constant flux of new platforms and applications, email remains a pillar for digital communications, including marketing. Research shows that 77 percent of B2B companies use an email marketing newsletter as part of their content marketing strategy. Additionally, 79 percent of B2B marketers find email to be the most successful channel for content distribution. Email offers opportunities for personalization, custom design, automation and analytics. All of these play a vital role in boosting prospect and customer engagement with your brand. Of course, an email strategy is only as strong as its foundation: a targeted, viable email list. Building an effective email list takes time and strategic effort.

7 Tips for Growing a Targeted Email List

In the past, it was standard practice to purchase email lists from a third-party vendor. Yet there’s no guarantee you will get anything in exchange for your money. Contacts could be outdated, information could be incorrect, and the list could be filled with email addresses that will immediately report your emails as spam. Additionally, new privacy regulations prohibit companies from emailing individuals without their expressed permission. Failure to abide by these consumer-protection laws can result in hefty fines and suspension of email marketing capabilities. With these issues in mind, companies need to take a proactive approach to building email lists from people who engage with their brand in some way. Here are seven tips for developing an email list that stimulates business growth:

  1. Start with your close network and existing clients. It’s easy to get caught up in the goal of lead generation and pursuit of new business opportunities. It’s likely, however, that you already have a rich network of existing clients, partners, stakeholders, colleagues, and industry partners who would be interested in hearing from you. This is the place to start building your email list. These individuals already recognize your brand and are most likely to engage with your content.
  2. Include a call to action in all marketing content. A call to action (CTA) plays a powerful part in any marketing initiative to help answer the question “what now?” after a prospect consumes a blog, article, video, advertisement, email or another piece of content. A CTA can propel readers to share their contact information or sign up for an email newsletter. A powerful CTA is brief, eye-catching and encourages readers to take immediate action. Effective CTAs keep potential customers engaged and guide them through the buying journey.
  3. Use a website pop-up. Much like a well-placed call to action, a website pop-up can seize the opportunity to collect a visitor’s email address when a lead is ready to engage. While there are some mixed opinions about pop-ups as an engagement tactic, their strategic use has made its way into many of today’s website designs. A well-placed pop-up engages a prospect before they click away or when they hit a certain point in a piece of content. This is an ideal way to capitalize on a user’s interest at its height.
  4. Utilize a landing page to exchange long-form content for contact information. A landing page is a standalone web page designed for an individual marketing or advertising campaign. Users arrive at a landing page when they click a link in an ad, social media post, email or other marketing initiatives. The dedicated page typically details an offer in exchange for the user’s information. The offer might include long-form content such as a white paper, e-book, video content or other valuable content. When a user is willing to exchange their contact information for valuable content, they demonstrate a strong interest in your brand and solutions.
  5. Embed an opt-in feature in your website navigation. It’s common practice to include an email newsletter signup on an individual landing page. Also, consider embedding sign-ups in your website’s navigation, so they appear on every page. This gives users ample opportunity to sign up no matter which page they are viewing.
  6. Encourage social media followers to opt in. One might assume that your social media followers already have access to most of your content and communications. This simply isn’t true. Social media is a powerful community-building tool. Yet, email provides opportunities to segment lists, and better personalize messages and offers in a way social media cannot easily replicate. By inviting social media followers to share their email contact information, brands can interact with them on a more individualized level.
  7. Leverage webinars, conferences and networking events. Take advantage of community connections developed through webinars, conferences, courses and speaking engagements to build your email list. Email is a vital channel to follow up with new connections, including thought leaders who share actionable insights, new strategic partners and potential customers.

Valuable Insights Drive Engagement

An email list represents the businesses and individuals who can gain the most from your insights and solutions. When building a list, don’t simply focus on increasing the number of contacts. Successful marketers understand that a large email list doesn’t equal a high engagement rate. Concentrate on building targeted lists that can be segmented to deliver marketing content at the appropriate stage in their buying journey. Lists on their own, however, don’t have any magical power. To be successful, marketers need to consistently develop and deliver valuable content that resonates with each audience. With a strategic approach to email marketing, companies can nurture the engagement that is essential to business growth.

Originally published at on February 20, 2023.



Gerri Knilans

Marketing communications strategist. The right message. The right medium. Guaranteed.