What’s an email list?

by | Apr 26, 2020 | Digital Marketing

cartoon photo of emails being sent from a computer with black screen

Keep your contacts organized.

An email list is just that, a list of names and email addresses of people and businesses who have given you permission to send them updates, news, and promotions from your business. Collect email addresses in person, from your blog or website, and client interactions. Email lists have a variety of purposes depending on who’s collecting them.


  • To a small physical location or local service business, an email list should be including past clients, referrals or solid leads.
  • To a blogging site, an email list would be including your subscriber or mailing list, those people who are regular readers.
  • To an eCommerce business, an email list would be best including past customers, and sales or promotion subscribers.
  • To an institution or authoritative body, an email list should ideally be including all members, alumni, and applicants.

Collecting emails and information.

Building an email list organically can take a while, best to get started now. There are also immediate time saving options, such as buying or renting existing email lists, which generally won’t result in optimal conversion rates from your email marketing campaigns. Effective email marketing campaigns (think high ROI) rely on solid information, real people who have real interest. When starting an email list from scratch there’s a few options.

Collecting information from in person interactions and previous clients and customers is key. These will be some of the most engaged people for your product, service or blog. Explain the benefit and information you’d provide, and always get their consent before including anyone on send outs.

On your website and blog, always include follow and subscribe buttons for users. Use call to action buttons on your website and eCommerce store to prompt users to sign up. Pop-ups are extremely effective in certain circumstances, let’s say where a user is reading your blog for more than 30 seconds. You’d want to give that user the option to subscribe. Example of uber results from a pop-up subscription button real life case at the University of Alberta.

cartoon image of guy waving subscribe button through a computer screen

Storing and management.

There’s a variety of options for storing and managing your lists. Some are more applicable depending on the scale of your business. For small scale service-based businesses, using a spreadsheet or google sheets is not a bad way to go. However, consider you will be manually updating and managing these as clients come and go.

Cloud bases-based Client Relationship Management (CRM) tools such as (Insightly or Salesforce) or Email Management tools such (MailChimp, Constant Contact) are other more dynamic options. Their tools incorporate built in email functionality, click through rate tracking, email campaigns etc. This approach is best for higher traffic websites, product-based businesses, bloggers, eCommerce and is best for managing larger email lists. Consider you’ll be paying a fee, depending on option of service you choose from any given CRM or Email Management provider.

What do you use an email list for?

Depends on your business, but in general, emails! Don’t spam the list with useless emails. Provide valuable and relevant information.


  • Small businesses can take comfort in knowing they have one list of all contacts to reach out to for service suspensions, business updates, communicate promotions or other critical news.
  • Bloggers share new content, information, and give their subscribers a convenient way to receive new content regularly.
  • eCommerce sites promote products, run advertisements, communicate promotions, and deploy complex landing page marketing campaigns.
  • Institutions and authoritative bodies can provide newsletters and important regulation updates.

Should you build one?

Yes. Even if you don’t think you have anything to gain from it now. You might be providing a service or product in the future that could benefit from an email list born of organically sourced real people and real contact information. Valuable information you will wished have you’d been collecting over the last several years.

Get started while you can. Still not convinced? Check out this article at wpbeginner, a popular blogging source in the WordPress online community.

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