How To Grow An Email List Starting from Scratch

How To Grow An Email List Starting from Scratch
Funnel Strategy December 1, 2016

If you aren’t leveraging the power of email, you’re more than likely leaving money on the table.

Building an email list from scratch might be less daunting than you think: consider our foolproof, four-step approach to list-building and how you can apply it to your own funnels without fail.

Email marketing is the secret weapon of many affiliates, despite the notion that such marketing is dead.

When you consider the following, it’s easy to understand why email is so important to modern funnel-hackers:

  • Mobile users engage with more emails than ever before: while you’re fighting to grab the attention of your audience versus other marketers, the fact remains that email communication is alive and well
  • Email marketing is insanely cost effective versus avenues such as direct mail: you can build a list for next to nothing through free trial platforms such as MailChimp
  • Regardless of industry, email marketing allows you to identify warm leads in a snap (think: anyone willing to opt-in, respond to you or simply shoot you a message is at least somewhat interested in what you’re saying and selling)

That being said, where do you start?

After all, email marketing can be incredibly challenging for beginners.

For starters, If you don’t personally see the value in marketing emails yourself, it’s really hard to get over that mental barrier and get started.

Instead, take the time to do the following to help open your eyes as to just how powerful email can be:

  • Spy on your competitors to see what they’re doing to grow their lists (think: opt-in opportunities on their landing page) and check out what sort of marketing message they’re sending out by signing up yourself
  • You may have a preconceived notion of what a marketing message should look like, but you’re probably wrong unless you’ve done your homework: take a look at some popular email swipe files for reference and templates you can roll out yourself
  • Learn some copywriting basics: you shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel regarding the copy and psychological triggers for your email campaigns given the sheer wealth of free information out there

The best part about understanding how to leverage email marketing is that you can do it time and time again for future funnels and affiliates, making your marketing mind that much more valuable in the future.

All it takes is a four-step approach (yes, it’s really that easy).

Choose a Traffic Source

how to increase your web traffic with the right source

When it comes to driving your traffic to your email list, you have a choice to make.

Well, sort of.

That is, do you want your list to be based on paid traffic or paid traffic?

Each type of traffic has their own sets of pro’s and cons, at note below:

Paid traffic represents paid ads and traffic obtained through opt-ins via social media and other referrals.

The advantage of paid traffic is that you don’t have to wait for traffic to trickle, but rather drive it in droves all at once.

Especially if you’re starting from scratch, you probably don’t have the patience or bottom line to wait for a solely organic list to drive revenue.

That being said, paid traffic obviously can cost you a pretty penny.

Also, bear in mind that paid traffic isn’t always guaranteed to convert; likewise, consistently running new ads for new subscribers can eat up a large chunk of your time and marketing resources.

On the flip side, free traffic represents organic which are perhaps the holy grail for any business owner.

After all, we want people to voluntarily reach out to us and get excited about what we’re selling without lifting a finger, right?

Organic leads are hot leads and signal that we’re doing something right regarding our marketing messages, so where on the cons?


Organic traffic can take forever to build (think: months and months) without someone else (such as a mentor or affiliate) giving your subscribers a push.

Creating a sustainable stream of organic leads is obviously ideal, but you can’t expect it to happen overnight.

In the end, a combination of both is probably the most prudent strategy: however, it really depends on your product or industry.

If you have a nest egg and feel that your on-site funnel is solid, you can start with paid traffic and depend on the merits of your marketing to drive organic subscribers in due time as you site stews in the SERPs.

Whether it’s an email list from paid or organic traffic, creating funnels to collect emails is possible with ClickFunnels. What’s more is that it is easy to set up as well!

How to Create Email Optin Funnel

Step 1: Log in to your ClickFunnels account

Step 2: On your dashboard, click Add New Funnel


Step 3: Choose Collect Emails


Step 4: Enter the name of your funnel > Click Build Funnel


Step 5: Select Email Optin Templates > Click Select Template


Step 6: Edit your Optin Page and add content and elements


Step 7: Create Thank You page by selecting from the available Thank You templates.


Step 8: Edit your Thank You page and add content and elements

Offer Value

Blured text with focus on FREE

Sure, you can ask anyone to opt-in to your email list for the sake of it, but chances are you’re going to need to offer something of real, legitimate value to seal the deal.

Given how often our users are interrupted by marketing messages on a daily basis, their time and attention are limited.

Breaking through the noise requires you to stand out from the crowd and offer them something.

But where does that value come from?

For starters, take the time to understand the power of “free” and how you can incentivize your audience through various freebies.

What you’re able to offer may vary depending on your niche, but consider any of the following as fair game:

  • Informational and digital products such as case studies and e-books (think: “how to make money” type of tips and actionable steps your audience can use now). Digital products are ideal for such freebies as they cost next to nothing to produce and boost.
  • A sample or trial version of your product to give your audience a literal taste of what you have to offer: this requires a bit of legwork if you physically ship your product, but works like a charm to seal the deal as it displays your confidence in your product
  • A psychical freebie: consider how Russell Brunson offers his audience a free copy of Dotcomsecrets in exchange for the shipping cost and some personal information: while this may seem like a bold move, it represents a brilliant way to build a list while simultaneously providing his audience with something of legitimate value

Since so much of marketing comes down to psychology, consider how you can further incentivize your subscribers through some time-tested psychological triggers:

Social Proof – Discuss success stories of others who’ve benefited from your product, perhaps in the form of a review of testimonial

Exclusivity – You should always stress the point that your business is one-of-a-kind: give the impression that you’ve unlocked exclusive secrets or first-hand information that nobody else has their hands on

Urgency – Push your subscribers to act sooner rather than later, fighting the desire for them to sleep on whatever you’re selling. Emphasize points such as wasted time or money to incentivize them to act now (as they can’t afford to do otherwise)

Add a sense of urgency to your emails with the help of ClickFunnels. Here’s how:

Call-to-Action Button

Step 1: Log in to ClickFunnels

Step 2: Head on to the funnel where the landing page is

Step 3: Open the editor by clicking the Edit Page


Step 4: Hover over to any area you want to place the timer in until you see a “+” button


Step 5: Select the number of rows.


Step 6: Click the Add New Element button.


Step 7: Choose the Button element.


Step 8: Hover over the button area and click for the settings menu to appear. From here, you can set the details from colour, button URL, button text, etc.

Don’t skimp on creating value for your list. While you shouldn’t break the bank in pursuit in freebies to blast to your list, you need strong content and a distinct marketing messages to accompany your emails to ensure that they pack a punch.

Continue to Build the Relationship via Email

Concept of Social Media Sharing

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that newbies make is feeling that such email marketing is a one-and-done process.


To make the most of your email campaigns, you need to consistently keep the lines of communication open with your list and strive to build positive relationships instead of one-off messages.

You can leverage features such as autoresponders to keep you from slaving away at the keyboard to respond to users; however, what else should you send to your warm list?

  • Educational emails, such as links to your blog or bite-sized bits of information to put your expertise on display to readers
  • Ask a question, perhaps to tap into the pain points of your audience and give your emails a more human vibe
  • Tell a story, including stories of satisfied customers or your own tale which led you to start doing business in the first place

Using the three types above of messages alone there are dozens of emails you can craft that’ll convert customers: get creative and remember that short and sweet is the name of the game for email marketing.

Actionetics lets you create and automate your emails be it for autoresponders, follow-up emails or reminder emails.

FunnelScripts Action Steps

Funnel Scripts can help you create email copies for whatever kind of email you need to send. It’s very easy to use as well. Here’s a walkthrough:

Step 1: Log in to your FunnelScripts account. Pick up a copy here if you’re not using it yet.

Step 2: Head to the dashboard. You’ll notice that there is a section for email copies.


Step 3: You can choose among the scripts depending on your needs

Step 4: Watch the video tutorial. You can skip this step if you have experience in Funnel Scripts.

Step 5: Enter the information asked for in the generator

Step 6: Click “Save” or “Submit”

After clicking “Save”, a text file will be downloaded immediately.

After Clicking “Submit”, you will be given several ad copy samples based on the information you entered. Check out some of the samples below!

Step 7: Select from the choices, then copy and paste your content.

Personalize and Scale Your Traffic to The Right Places

Businesswoman Paying With Credit Card On Mobile Phone

Getting people to your site via email is an obvious goal, but you need to ensure that you get them directly into your funnel.

As part of your email campaigns, strive to do the following:

  • Lead people directly to your ClickFunnels landing page versus a random area of your site: link carefully within your body copy to make sure you’re not leading your traffic astray
  • Ensure that your landing page is optimized and attractive: from design to killer copy, bear in mind that if your traffic bounces because of a silly error they probably won’t’ be back

Email traffic can be invaluable, given that it’s highly targeted.

Lead readers right into your funnel and don’t make the mistake of sending them randomly scrambling through your site to find what they’re looking for.

ClickFunnels Action Steps

Creating emails and automating your emails is very easy to set up using ClickFunnels with the help of Actionetics.

How to Create Emails with Actionetics Email Builder

Step 1: Log in to your ClickFunnels account

Step 2: Click Actionetics.

Step 3: Go to Email Broadcasts and click on the “+ New Email Broadcast” button.


Step 4: Design your email! You can choose from several templates.


Step 5: Add the information needed

  1. The subject of your email
  2. Add the email lists. In this case, those who signed up for your webinar
  3. Your SMTP Configuration which will be used to send emails.


Step 6: Open Email Editor


Step 7: Add and remove elements to your email according to your preference


Step 8: Click Save

Step 9: You can opt to send your emails upon creation or schedule them to be sent at a future time. Simply click “Send Later” and set the time and date.


How Are You Leveraging Your Email List?

Don’t let your email list stop you from seeing the success you deserve.

Start building today and before you know it you can put a bulk of your email campaigns on autopilot.

How much traction are you seeing from your current email list?

Anything you’ve changed that supercharged your results?

We’d love to hear about it in the comments below

Written by Stephen Esketzis

Stephen Esketzis is Head Of Content Marketing at Clickfunnels. He is known as the 'Sales Funnel Architect' and is a specialist at using paid traffic to generate highly profitable sales funnels. You can also listen to his podcast 'Marketing on The Move' and look him up on Facebook.

  • Thanks Stephen, for writing this post on email list building. I’m a learning experience creator focused on course design. As part of a PeriGirls challenge, Scopetober, I’ve created a goal related to building my email list through topics and value from my Periscope and Facebook Live broadcasts and podcast episodes in Online Course Connections for this month. I’m building a funnel with this goal in mind. Your post came up in my search. This article is a great go-to post to share with followers which I’ll be doing next. Thanks again! Vickie Maris

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