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Email Marketing

How To Build a Local Email List

Mike McGovern | Nov 26, 2018

Your email list is one of the few digital marketing tools that you actually own. And these are people who actually said “Yes, I want to hear from you!”

Are you doing all you can to fill your email list with relevant subscribers?

Benefits of Email Over Other Digital Channels

Why is email a wise investment?

  1. It’s not rented space, as with social platforms
  2. It’s not pay-to-play, as with paid search or paid social
  3. It’s not affected by Facebook or Instagram’s frequent algorithm changes

Email Produces ROI

A 2018 eMarketer email report found that “after receiving a promotional email, roughly one-quarter of users take action” (defined as either visiting a brand’s store or website or making a purchase). Email is also reported as a top ROI driver.


If you don’t have an email list or if you haven’t put much focus on building your business’s contact list, here are some ideas to get you started.

Six Ideas To Build a Rocking Local Email List

1. Ask for Email Addresses

The contact form on your website hopefully has an email address field. If it doesn’t, add one and make it a requirement for completing the form. If you own a customer-facing brick and mortar business, you could train your staff to request customers’ email addresses at checkout.


2. Collect Emails at Events

Tradeshows and public events are ideal for tying an offer in exchange for email addresses. Technology can make this process faster and easier than pen and paper.

Mailchimp for iPad (and Android) makes it easy to connect your subscriber list to a form on your phone. All you need to do is login to the app with your Mailchimp login, set up a form, and select the list you want to add subscribers to. Easy!

3. Run a Contest or Giveaway

Contests and giveaways can help people unfamiliar with your business find you. One way to do this is to run targeted ads and social posts tailored for the audience you’re trying to attract. Let’s say your audience is women ages 25-50, living in Lancaster County, who are interested in fine furniture. Facebook’s ad platform allows you to create and target ads at your specified demographic.

4. Offer Local Expertise

You know that ebook or whitepaper you wrote to establish yourself as a leader in your industry? That’s content that could help you build your email list! Create a page on your site that requires an email addresses in exchange for your content (sometimes referred to as “gated content”). For extra credit, you can have an automated series of emails (a drip campaign) set up to keep your new subscribers engaged.

5. Ask People To “Join the Club”

Birthday clubs and other similar “eClub”-style programs can help you gather more information about your subscribers (such as their birthdate). Knowing just a bit more about your audience will allow you to create relevant emails for them throughout the year that they are more likely to open.


6. Set up a Sandwich Board or Sign for Digital Offer

Let passersby know about a special offer or discount in exchange for their email address. For example, on a sandwich board or sign you could write:

10% Off Purchase!
Go to yourwebsite.com/offer to claim offer code.

On that page, have a form asking for the person’s email address and an automated follow up email with the offer code that they can use next time they buy from you.

What Should You Do With Your Email List?

An email list is a digital asset that you own and control outright (unlike many digital tools and platforms we use today). If you don’t have an email list or haven’t paid attention to it in a while, I encourage you to start!

Once you create the list, the next step is to figure out what to do with it. Contact YDOP to start a discussion on how we can leverage your email list to grow your local audience and your influence with that audience.