Audience Growth

Why Build an Email List? 5 Reasons Why You Need One

by Jenni Stablein · Published Oct 24, 2023

As a content creator, you’ve put tons of time and effort into growing your following across different social media platforms. And now you’re wondering, “Why should I build an email list, too?”

Consider thinking about it this way: Have you ever wondered why pretty much any online store is super willing to give new customers a discount on their first order? Well, the reason is pretty simple — the brand wants your email. That’s because email marketing is crucial to the success of any business.

That applies to your creator business. That’s right, an email list is one of the most valuable marketing tools in a content creator’s toolkit!

Growing your email list may seem daunting or like an impossible task at first, but great news, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. 

Read on to learn more about the reasons why you should start building an email list today, and our top tips on how to do it quickly and easily. 

What is an email list? 

As you’ve probably gathered, an email list is exactly what it sounds like: a list of emails. More specifically, it’s a collection of your target audience’s email addresses.

We say target audience because, ideally, you collect email addresses only from the people who want to hear from you.

Building and growing an email list can benefit you greatly as a content creator, because it represents a direct line to stay connected and engaged with your audience, which is also why it’s an essential tool for promoting and selling your digital products.  

As a content creator, your subscribers are essential to you, your business, and owning your audience. Read on to learn more reasons why building an email list can be your ticket to a prosperous career as a content creator. 

5 reasons why you should build an email list 

So, why build an email list? While it takes some time and effort to get an email list off the ground, here are five reasons why it’s absolutely worth your while.

1. You (and only you!) own your email list 

why build an email list

That’s right. Possibly one of the biggest advantages of an email list is that the contacts on your list represent your “owned” audience, as opposed to the followers and subscribers you “rent” from social media platforms. 

As creator Millie Adrian says in her mini-course on email list building (created in collaboration with The Leap), moving your audience off of social media should be your top priority.

It should be a top priority because social platforms favor users over creators by default. That’s why your email list is your best first step towards owning your audience.


2. Targeted communication 

why build an email list

An email list allows you to have direct, constant contact with your most loyal fan base. If people are on your list, it’s because they’re interested in what you’re serving.

You’ve already done all the hard work of identifying and reaching out to your target audience. Now, think of your email list as a reward for all that hard work. 

Since your audience has already expressed interest in your digital product or service, then you should have a pretty good idea of what they like.

This is great news as it means you can tailor your content and offers to be highly relevant to your audience, which will lead to better results and bigger bucks.


3. Algorithm-free content

why build an email list

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest benefits of building your email list is developing a space for the audience that you own.

When you own your audience, it means you also own how and when you communicate with them. 

As a content creator, your audience is everything. So if ever you feel overwhelmed by how any minor (or major) changes to a social media platform might affect the way you’ve been reaching your followers, you’re not alone.

While no one can guarantee that every contact on your email list will open your email, it’s absolutely a guarantee that your email will show up in their inbox. 

Since email lists live outside of the hustle and bustle of social networks, you’re not beholden to an algorithm that uses a complex set of rules and calculations to prioritize the delivery of content. That’s right, there are no shadow-banning nightmares in your inbox.


4. Returning visitors 

why build an email list

It’s midnight on a Sunday, you’re in a doom scroll and land on some interesting content right before you need to call it a night — how often do you actually remember to revisit that nugget of content?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. 

And yet another reason why email lists are so great. If you can capture a lead and encourage visitors to sign up for your email list via opt-in forms, lead magnets, or any other offers besides annoying pop-ups, you’ve locked in their contact information before you lose them to the doom scroll ether. 

The bottom line here is that you don’t want to miss the chance to turn a casual scroller into a diehard fan. Email lists allow you to follow up with your audience.

If over time you feel like engagement is lacking, you have the power to invite them back with another great newsletter, offer, or exciting announcement. 


5. Higher profits 

why build an email list

Building and nurturing an email list can be a game-changer for content creators, paving the way for higher profits and sustainable success.

Firstly, an email list provides a direct and highly engaged channel to reach your audience. Subscribers have willingly opted in, indicating a strong interest in your content. That means your messages are more likely to be read, increasing the potential for conversions, whether that’s through digital product sales, affiliate marketing, or other revenue-generating opportunities.

The bottom line is that email lists allow you to promote your products and services effectively. You can notify subscribers about new courses, ebooks, merchandise, or premium content offerings. This targeted approach leads to higher sales and, as a result, increased profits.

There are certain strategies that play a vital role here (which we’ll go into more detail below). For example, segmentation is a big one.

You can tailor your offers to specific segments of your audience, ensuring that you’re delivering the right content and promotions to the right people at the right time, thus maximizing your conversion rates. 

Bottom line

At the end of the day, email lists foster strong relationships with your audience. Regular newsletters and updates keep your subscribers engaged, while responding to their inquiries and feedback shows that you value their input.

This trust and connection can translate into increased loyalty, repeat business, and word-of-mouth referrals, all of which contribute to higher profits in the long run.

Ultimately, an email list is an invaluable asset for content creators, offering a direct channel to engage, promote products or services, and build lasting relationships with your audience.

We know we might sound like a broken record here, but these factors, combined with strategic segmentation, will all lead to higher profits for you as a content creator!

Pro tip: Want to boost your profit potential even one notch higher? Your email marketing efforts represent a terrific opportunity to promote affiliate marketing or brand partnerships — just saying.

How to start building an email list 

Step 1: Define your target audience 

why build an email list

You can’t write an email if you don’t know who you’re talking to. That’s why the first step in building your email list is defining your target audience, aka your ideal subscribers.

If you’re feeling stumped on how to even begin defining your target audience, start first by defining their demographics.

If you’ve already been creating content for a while, chances are you already have a good idea of what these demographics are.

Not sure where to start? It’s time to get granular and ask yourself questions like:

  • What demographic characteristics define my ideal audience (i.e. age, gender, location)?
  • What are my ideal audience’s goals and inspirations?
  • What are their values, beliefs, and interests?
  • What content format and social platforms do they prefer?

Once you’ve defined your target audience demographics, you’ll want to consider these three very important questions: 

  1. What does your audience need?
  2. What problem are you trying to solve for them? 
  3. What value can you bring to their inbox?

Once you’ve defined your target audience and considered the value of your email list content, you can move on to the fun part — your opt-in form! 


Step 2: Set up an opt-in form 

why build an email list

Email opt-in forms (or “subscription forms”) are a web form or sign-up box that allows website visitors, potential customers, and email users to voluntarily subscribe to receive emails from a content creator.

It’s a critical tool in email marketing and email list-building, and usually lives in an area of your website where your website visitors might be looking for additional information (think of the margins, navigation bar, or footer of the page). 

Keep in mind that opt-in forms are different from pop-up forms, which is a separate engagement tool. While an opt-in is usually a more subtle attractor than a pop-up, it’s still an extremely valuable tool for capturing leads and building up your email list over time.

Of all the marketing tools, opt-in forms are possibly the most flattering strategy for building an email list. That’s because those who do decide to fill out your form are doing it on their own accord, without much coaxing other than being attracted to your content. 

The number one key to capturing the interest of potential new subscribers for your email list is to get their attention. So make sure your opt-in form has a strong call to action (CTA) that indicates what your potential lead will gain from signing up for your email list. 


Step 3: Promote your email list

why build an email list

It may be a “no duh” statement, but it’s one that has to be said: No one’s going to sign up for your email list if they don’t even know you have one. 

As a content creator, you’re probably already busy promoting a million other things, but don’t let promoting your email list slip through the cracks. Promoting your email list should be a high-priority task! Luckily, there are several different ways you can do it. 

Social media marketing

First things first, leverage your social media presence. Use platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter (now X) to create engaging posts and stories about the value of your email content. Share snippets, teasers, or behind-the-scenes looks to pique curiosity. Don’t forget to add clear calls to action (CTAs) and a link to your sign-up form in your social media bios.

Brand partnership and collaboration

Next, think of collaboration. Partnering with influencers or content creators in your niche who share your target audience can give your email list a significant boost. Have them mention your email list in their content, or do a joint giveaway to encourage sign-ups.

At the end of the day, consistency is key. Regularly remind your audience of the benefits of joining your email list. Offer incentives like exclusive content, discounts, or early access to keep them engaged. By combining these strategies, you’ll fast-track your email growth and build a dedicated community of email subscribers in no time.

3 Email list-building strategies to try 

1. Create valuable content as lead magnets 

why build an email list

One of the best ways to grow an email list is to pull your audience in with an enticing lead magnet. A lead magnet is a free asset — often, a digital product — that you offer followers in exchange for their email address. 

Essentially, to gain access to the free digital product, your followers must provide you with their email, which you can add to your newsletter list.

Some examples of digital products used as lead magnets include ebooks, mini-courses, Excel spreadsheet templates, or whatever digital product you believe would help deliver your content’s value the best. Offers like 30-day challenges and discounts or limited-time deals also count as lead magnets. 

But how do you go about making that digital product? It’s easier than you think. You can easily build digital products as lead magnets with The Leap and use them to capture leads, i.e. collect more emails.

Not only can you use The Leap to create your lead magnet, but you can also promote your digital product and gather customer information all from your own mobile-optimized link-in-bio landing page. Oh, and did we mention The Leap is totally free? Try it yourself today.


2. Review your email list analytics 

why build an email list

Since any action your subscriber makes within their inbox can be tracked, most email marketing services will provide you with the analytics for how your subscribers interact with your email, including whether or not they’ve opened it at all. 

These analytics are valuable insights into your existing email list. By examining the open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates that your email marketing service provides, you can identify which subscribers are most engaged with your content.

This knowledge will only help you to tailor your future email marketing efforts, fine-tuning your efforts to ensure your content resonates with your target audience. 

Additionally, email marketing analytics assist in maintaining list quality. A professional email marketing service can help you monitor bounce rates and spam complaints, so that you can identify and remove inactive or disinterested subscribers.

Essentially, this ensures that your list remains robust and engaged. This not only enhances your deliverability, but also saves you money by not targeting uninterested parties.

Email marketing analytics are also particularly handy for another email list-building strategy: email segmentation, which we’ll dive into in more detail below. 


3. Segment your email list

why build an email list

Email segmentation is the process of putting your subscribers into individual groups, so that you can better personalize the content of your emails based on their interests. It’s another important element of email marketing to build up your email list.

First and foremost, segmentation allows you to target your audience with highly relevant content. This is where those handy email marketing analytics come into play. 

By dividing your email list into smaller, more specific groups based on criteria such as demographics, digital product purchase history, or engagement levels, you can send messages that cater to each group’s unique interests and needs. 

This personalization can boost the chances of recipients engaging with your emails, resulting in higher open rates, click-through rates, and ultimately, improved conversion rates and more bucks! 

Segmentation also aids in “list hygiene,” as it enables you to identify and remove inactive or disinterested subscribers, keeping your list fresh and engaged.

This email marketing practice not only improves deliverability, but also saves resources that would otherwise be spent on sending emails to unresponsive individuals.

Moreover, email segmentation can enhance the customer experience. By sending relevant content at the right time, you can build stronger relationships with your subscribers, leading to increased loyalty and long-term retention, which ultimately aids in a bigger and stronger email list. 

Ready to build up your email list? 

So now you know why building an email list is important, and you’re probably getting pretty excited to start growing your own. Our pro tip? Get started by providing a super enticing lead magnet and you’ll be raking in the subscribers in no time.

The Leap’s AI-powered digital product generator makes it super easy to quickly grow your email list by building lead magnets. The Leap also provides you with a mobile-optimized link-in-bio storefront to promote said lead magnet! 

Ready to build up that email list? Try The Leap free today. 

Psst: If you’re still craving more guidance on how to build an email list, sign up for our free mini-course on how to build an email list with creator Millie Adrian.

build email list mini-course Millie Adrian founder of The Modern Influencer

Mini-Course: Building Your Email List

Join creator Millie Adrian as she teaches you what it means to own your audience by building an email list.

FAQ

What’s the purpose of building an email list?

You’ve worked so hard to gain more followers across your social media platforms that you might be wondering: what’s the point of building an email list too?

The truth is that creating an email list is like having a super valuable tool in your marketing toolbox. It’s one of the most effective tricks up your sleeve for businesses and content creators alike. 

At the end of the day, the most useful thing about an email list comes down to the difference between a “rented” audience and an “owned” audience. Your email list caters to the latter.

Social media platforms change their rules or sometimes disappear, but your email list is something you own and control. Your email list is a long-term investment that pays off by keeping your customer relationships strong while also building brand loyalty.

What are the benefits of building an email list?

There are several benefits to building an email list, one of the most beneficial being that you own your audience.

Forget about social media’s tricky algorithms limiting your reach, email lists offer you a direct line of communication with your audience, ensuring your content heads straight to your email subscribers’ inboxes. 

Plus, email lists help you build a dedicated community. When people willingly sign up for your emails, they’re showing interest in your brand or content. Over time, these subscribers can turn into your biggest supporters, spreading the word and backing your projects.

There’s a lot of versatility in emails and a lot of potential for giving your brand a growth spurt. You can send emails with limited offers, new products, or affiliate promotions, all of which can help drive sales and grow your business.

Do I really need an email list? Are email lists still a thing?

Yes, it’s true, we’re far from living in a You’ve Got Mail era. That being said, email is the OG way to connect online. So it makes sense that email marketing is a thriving tool for content creators.

Plus, not only are email lists still a thing, but studies also show that 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through emails than they do through social media posts. And that’s not all the studies say — 66% of consumers have purchased something directly from an email. 

Those are high numbers! And they’re high for a reason. Email is often an overlooked asset in the digital marketing space, but it’s one of the best ways to grow a following.

And an email marketing service gets you not just any following — the email subscribers that you collect on your email list represent your owned audience, meaning you’re not dependent on any other platform but your own to retain their contact information. 

When it comes to your audience on social media, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have across multiple platforms, there’s never a guarantee that your content will reach 100% of those followers. This is because social media platforms favor users over creators, and don’t always have content creator’s backs (no big surprises there). 

On the flip side, email marketing represents a 100% reach scenario. Seriously, that means 100% of your email subscribers will receive your email. So, still wondering why you should build an email list or if you even need an email list? We’re not going to lie… yes, you do! 

Follow The Leap on TikTokInstagram, and YouTube for more audience growth tips. We also make a newsletter.


Further reading

jenni stablein
About the author

Jenni Stablein

Jenni Stablein is a content marketer and freelance writer passionate about producing compelling and educational content for a range of clients across tech, fashion, product design, and art. When she's not writing, Jenni is nerding out about clouds (yes, clouds) or how to keep things alive in her garden. 
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