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    13 of the Most Effective Strategies to Building an Email List

    So, you want to build an email list…

    Well you’ve come to the right place my photographer friend.

    Building your email list is one of the most fruitful ways to keep your audience engaged and interested in your business. In the long term it is the one of the best channels to invest your marketing efforts into.

    By joining your email list your readers and future clients are showing interest that they want what you have to offer. This will make selling your services and bringing them on as clients significantly easier for you.

    Your subscribers are granting you continuous access to warm them up to buying your services and the opportunity to keep them engaged in what you have to offer – as long as you treat them right.

    The goal is to build interest, trust, and authority. Your messaging should continuously reassure them that you are the only photographer they want to be working with.

    You can think of it like dating. If you show up looking good with genuine interest in your date then you’ll be rewarded. If you show up looking like a slob and annoy the hell out of them by talking too much then you’ll get hit with an unsubscribe quicker than you can order dessert.  

    With all the changes continuously happening on advertising platforms your email list is something you can be assured you have 100% control over.

    As long as you build it correctly and take good care of your community your email list will reap incredible rewards for your business in the long run. In fact, a lead that has been nurtured will increase sales for you by 20% more than a cold lead.

    With so much content overflowing our inboxes aim to make your email campaigns something your audience looks forward to.  

    If you follow the 13 strategies outlined in this post you should be able to build and awesome email list in no time.

    1. Create remarkable content

    We’ve all heard the saying content is king.

    A remarkable piece of content can bring more business than you would ever imagine. Just look below at the number of shares and impressions that can be received if 1-5 influencers decide to pass it along.

    Also observe how the graph increases exponentially once it hits the 5 influencer mark.

    In 2015 DemandGen Report showed that 67% of buyers relied more on content to research purchasing decisions than the year before.

    By using email campaigns to distribute your content you’re giving your potential buyers the information they need in order to make their purchasing decisions. Not only will they value the education that you’re giving but you will also build trust with them that they will be grateful for.

    Let’s be clear here though. We’re not talking about something average. We’re talking about content that makes you want to get up and shout about it. Something that is insanely useful, inspiring, and written beautifully.

    A best practice when creating content is when you get to a point where you feel it’s done and you’re confident the work is very good – then spend another two hours on it.

    During those two hours add in all the little details and awesome tidbits that make your content more visually appealing, easier to read, and overall give a better user experience.

    For those of you that think your writing isn’t good enough or that this takes too much work than know that most of the work you need to do is in picking the right topic and researching it extensively. Rather than worrying about how good your writing is, focus on gathering valuable research to share.


    Keep in mind that a strong piece of content can far outperform 3 sub-par written pieces so use this as motivation take the extra steps in creating something unique.

    Also a great piece of content is something you can use for years to drive traffic to and build business off of.

    Overall, make an investment in what you’re putting out there the same way you would a new piece of equipment. If you put a strong piece of content out into the world it has the ability of being re-shared, linked to by other websites, and you can continuously drive paid traffic to it.

    If you’re looking to get started as soon as possible than download our  6-step action-guide handbook on the very first things you need to do to get your email list going

    2. Give people something that’s worthwhile

    In the marketing world these are called opt-in offers.

    Opt-ins are online exchanges. We’ve all had the experience when a website asks for our info to see more content or ask us to sign up for their email list.

    The example below is what we encounter most often. We hit a web page and out of nowhere there is a general pop-up asking us for our info. 95% of the time we quickly click out because we don’t even know what we’re getting ourselves into yet.

    We suggest being more creative with this. If you ask your reader to join your email list versus opt-in to receive a solution to a problem they’re having than the latter is going to be much more compelling to opt-in for.

    The point is to ask for something small (their name and email) in exchange for value that you’re providing your reader with.

    So if they’ve land on your blog about the “11 ways to make yourself look sexier each day” than you want to offer a piece of additional content they can receive if they opt-in to your email list.

    Just like we’re doing here:

    If you’re looking for more ideas for content you can use in order to generate leads for opt-ins than follow this link.

    3. Have personalized calls-to-action on each page

    Hubspot found that by using personalized calls-to-action you can achieve a 42% higher submission rate from your readers rather than just having one generic one.

    So, if you’re a wedding photographer and your blog post is about the best way to have a stress-free photography session on your wedding day than your opt-in and call to action should be something related to the same problem.

    In the example below the blog post we landed on was about improving SEO. You can see that the “suggested treatment” call to action is much more enticing because it’s an answer to the specific problem we are wanting to solve.


    In the opt-in on the right the customer journey is clearer and more attractive to us than the vagueness of the original opt-in.

    Just like this:

    If you’re looking to get started as soon as possible than download our 6-step action-guide handbook on the very first things you need to do to get your email list going.

    It’s a safe assumption that you’re more interested in a guide on starting your email list rather than a generic opt-in because you’re currently reading a blog post about email campaigns.

    I’m working to further you down the line by giving you more value as you move forward and just make small asks from you which I’ll cover more in #11.

    4. Make it easy to sign up

    Many brands hide their email sign-ups at the bottom of their page where it often goes unnoticed. If building your email list is a priority you’re going to want people to have several opportunities to give you their email address.

    By giving your visitors more occasions where they can opt in the more likely they are to follow through.

    At a minimum your page visitors should be able to subscribe on every page of your site.

    In the example below the page visitor is immediately being given three options to subscribe to emails. The page also provides more specific reasons to subscribe breaking up Marketing and Sales.

    When doing this you want to have the user experience in mind. The above example offers convenience without annoyance. If you’re going to have something pop up asking for their email make sure it occurs at an opportune time where the reader will be thankful for it.

    This should be at a point where enough value has been offered and you’ve built enough interest that your reader should want to get more from you.

    For more on where to place your email sign-up forms in order to increase conversions see this post from social triggers.

    5. Use scroll pop-ups

    Scroll pop-ups are efforts to collect emails only after your web traffic has engaged with some of your content.

    You can set a scroll pop-up to appear based on where your visitors are on your page. Popular places for these are at 30% and 70% of your post.

    The idea behind the scroll pop-up is that you’ve built value before asking for something in return. As I mentioned earlier make your call-to-action in your pop-up something enticing that continues solving the problem that they’re coming to your site for.

    6. Create topic specific landing pages

    Hubspot saw a 55% increase in lead generation in a recent study when increasing the number of landing pages.

    Simply put individualized landing pages that are specific to what clients are looking for is going to offer them more value and result in them being more interested in giving you their email address.

    By having additional landing pages, more specific blog posts, and clearly defined calls-to-action you will offer your clients better answers and their customer journey will be far superior.

    7. Use exit pop-ups

    An exit pop-up is a last ditch effort. It’s your hail mary before they leave your site for good.

    It’s a pop-up asking for their information that gets triggered when their mouse is about to reach the tabs at the top of the browser, signifying that they are about to leave the page.

    By having a strong offer here not only can you reel people back into your website but you can also capture significantly more emails from prospects who may never have visited again.

    8. Encourage your subscribers to share your emails

    It’s easy to assume that if you’re offering valuable content that your subscribers will automatically share and forward your emails to their friends.

    However think about the last time you shared an email with a friend. The author most likely asked you to pass it along or the content stood out so much it made you think of someone specific to share it with.

    Either way a little note at the end of your email asking your readers to forward it to someone else is going to make that action far more likely.

    At the bottom of your emails include a “Subscribe” call-to-action so that the new people receiving your emails can easily opt-in.

    And… just to be a good example for you, if you feel like this post has been of value feel free to share it with any of the share buttons at the bottom. 😉

    9. Drive paid traffic

    Paid traffic is one of the best ways to get people onto your site, create awareness, and ultimately get more eyes to your opt-in to sign up for you email list. Once you’ve written a strong blog post you’ll be able to start driving traffic to it.

    Make sure to have your ad copy in-line with what your blog post discusses. Paid traffic to blog posts are some of the cheapest ways to get potential clients on your site.

    Yes this will cost some money but by using paid traffic the time it takes you to start building your lists will decline significantly.

    Here’s an example of an ad we ran to get cheap traffic to our site:

    To learn more about using paid traffic make sure you check out: (Name of Facebook Ads Ultimate Guide)

    10. Keep your messaging congruent

    When marketing you always want to keep your audience in mind. Whatever path you’re creating for them from cold audience (they don’t know who you are) to hot lead (they’ve inquired with you) you want your messaging to make sense for every step of the journey.

    As I mentioned earlier if someone is reading a blog post about wedding photography than you don’t want your opt-in to be about a portrait session.

    If starting with a paid advertisement make sure that your next step starts off where the ad left off. The more congruent you can make each step the more easily your audience will be able to flow through each stage of the journey.

    11. Don’t ask for the world at once

    You’re building a journey for your customer. Don’t ask them to book you all at once. Take the time to escalate them up the ladder and warm them up as they go along the path.

    Add value with each step and only ask for one thing at a time. Make sure your messaging reflects this.

    The better you become at doing this the more you will see your conversion rates go up and your cost per lead go down.

    If you’re running a paid ad that drives to a blog post then all you’re asking them to do in that ad is to click to see more content. It’s a very small ask but it’s important to keep it small because they don’t even know who you are.

    Once they’re on your blog you can ask them to read something else or to subscribe to your email list. If you’re confident you’ve provided a ton of value then you can ask if they’d like to inquire with you.

    Either way you want to keep your asks small and warm them up as they’re moving along the path. Continually build value and you’ll watch your conversion rates (email opt-ins and inquiries) skyrocket.

    12. Test, test, and test some more

    Digital marketing is part science, part skill, and part luck. Nobody is 100% certain about their efforts because platforms are constantly changing and people’s interests are always going to be dynamic.

    There’s no such thing as a perfect email list building campaign because there are too many variables happening at once to know for certain.

    The only thing you can do is continually test different strategies and ideas and track what your results are.

    The things you can track and test are endless. Different topics to blog about, ad campaigns, as well as all your copy for your calls-to-action, lead magnets and opt-ins are all variables you want to be testing.

    Most importantly as you learn what works and what doesn’t continue to tweak your process and improve as you go along. Test one thing at a time so you know which of the variables you’re implementing are causing which effects.   

    Lastly, fail fast and fail often. Not all your ideas are going to pan out. In fact, 8 out of 10 probably won’t work as well as you would like time them to. But as you fail you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. Just keep getting after it.

    13. Begin Now

    It’s easy to overthink things. To feel like you need to do more research before you get started. To not want to be embarrassed because you don’t know everything.

    The most successful people in the world do as Zuckerberg says and they:

    “Move fast and break things.”


    There are proven studies on how the best way to improve and become proficient at something new is to study and execute at the same time. Never stop learning once you start implementing your strategies and don’t fall into the paralysis by analysis stage.

    In Grit by Angela Duckworth she states that proficiency comes from a constant push into discomfort. Go a little bit beyond your comfort zone and you will find yourself continually improving.

    In order to get you going as quickly as possible we created this 6-step action-guide handbook on the very first things you need to do to get your email list going.

    Good luck with your email list building and we’ll see you on the other side.

    If you have any questions or comments than leave a reply below and we’ll be sure to get back to you!


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