How to collect email addresses like a pro: 22 surprisingly simple tips for beginners

Email is an incredible digital marketing tool. With its widespread reach and viral potential, it allows your business to connect with prospects in ways that no other marketing medium can.

But first, you need a list of subscribers to send emails to. Whether you lack the time or the know-how to create quality emails, there are plenty of challenges that can prevent you from developing a healthy list.

Fortunately, there are lots of easy ways to get people to sign up for your list so you can reap the benefits of email marketing campaigns. 

Top 5 ways to collect more email addresses for marketing

  1. Keep your signup form simple.
  2. Share the signup form on your site and blog.
  3. Offer a lead magnet.
  4. Create a squeeze page.
  5. Promote your newsletter on social media.

In this guide, we share the best list-building tactics for building an email subscriber base.

How to get email lists for marketing?

At AWeber, we get one question a lot when talking to new email marketers: “Can I buy a list of emails?”

The answer: 👉 Don’t do it. 👈

The thought of building a brand-new email subscriber base may seem daunting, but the worst thing you can do is buy an email list. 

Not only is it illegal to sell email lists, but using a purchased list hurts your email deliverability rates because the people did not subscribe and are likely to mark your messages as spam.

The good news is that we’ve got 22 fantastic ideas for building an email list from scratch. 

All of the tips below will help you reach a targeted audience so you can build a list of subscribers who are genuinely interested in opening and reading your emails! 

Collect email addresses from your current network

One of the easiest places to get started is by connecting with existing friends, colleagues, and any subscribers you already have. Not only is this a good place to begin, but it can also feel the least scary. 

All you have to do is ask!

Before you reach out to people, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Message people you have a relationship with. That random Facebook person you don’t remember meeting probably isn’t the best fit.
  • Use WIIFM (What’s in it for me?”). Every time you message someone, make sure to tell them how your content, — whether it’s a newsletter, email course, case study, or something else entirely — will benefit them or their friend.
  • Be yourself. Tell your story, share your feelings, be vulnerable and real. People will subscribe and share your signup form because they want to help YOU.

1. Ask friends, family, and colleagues 

One of the easiest list-building strategies to execute is to ask current connections to subscribe to your updates or newsletter.

Leveraging your network is a great way to steadily increase your subscriber base, and is often the best place to gain traction in the beginning.

Explain what your email list is about and why people should join

Even if your connections aren’t interested, they may know someone who is. Tell them you’re starting an email list or newsletter. Explain the benefits and ask them if they know someone who would be interested in your content.

When it comes time to write your content, avoid communicating like a robot. Talk like you do in real life — it will help readers relate to you better. 

Email templates are a great way to start creating content for your list. When using them, be sure to tailor your message based on your relationship with your audience. 

2. Ask customers and prospects 

When existing and prospective customers buy something from you or connect with you, ask them if they’d like to sign up for your email or newsletter. 

To incentivize them, you can provide something valuable like a free ebook or discount on a future purchase. 

Build your list of subscribers by asking customers you already talk to on the phone if you can add them. Tell them why the content is valuable and what they can expect from your emails. 

If you make “the big ask” five times a day during every work week, that’s 25 email addresses you didn’t have before you started — 100 email addresses in just one month!

3. Ask for referrals and shares

Reach out to your current email subscribers and encourage them to share your newsletter, updates, or promotions with people they know. 

Word-of-mouth is one of the oldest and most powerful forms of advertising — and asking for referrals can be a highly effective way to boost new signups. People who are already on your list and getting value from your messages probably know others who would benefit from your content.

Make it easy for people to refer you to friends and colleagues with the following tips:

  • Include social sharing buttons in your emails. 
  • Devote a section of your email newsletter to encouraging subscribers to forward your message. 
  • Include a CTA button or text that links to your sign-up page or landing page so new readers can easily subscribe from forwarded emails.

Optimize your website for collecting email addresses

Oftentimes there are website improvement opportunities right under your nose. In many cases, an email marketing strategy starts with a general, “subscribe to our newsletter” goal, then additional email capture goals are added piecemeal. 

4. Encourage website visitors to sign up

It’s best to have a signup form on just about every page of your website and blog so visitors can quickly and painlessly sign up for your emails. 

Sign up on Total Annarchy's website

Adding signup forms to your website is the simplest way to grow an email list, but is often overlooked by businesses focusing only on the homepage or a shortlist of “top pages.”

The first (and sometimes only) interaction you have with people may happen on your website or blog. If you don’t make the most of that opportunity, it could be the last. 

Traffic coming from Google, social media, or other blogs rarely sends visitors directly to your home page. In this case, visitors are likely directed to an article or a specific page on your site relative to what they are looking for instead. So including email signup forms on every page of your website will help boost the growth of your email list.

5. Test the placement of email signup forms on your website

Test the effectiveness of signup forms on your website to find out which locations produce the best results. Some of the places you can put a signup form include:

  • At the bottom of blog posts
  • In your sidebars
  • Halfway through posts
  • In the top or bottom navigation menu under “Subscribe to our newsletter.”

For example, if your blog articles only include a signup form at the bottom of the post, the form isn’t getting nearly as much visibility as it would in the sidebar.

Put your inline web form in an easy-to-find, consistent spot on every page of your site. In most cases, the signup form or link should be above the fold (the section of your site that is visible without scrolling).

6. Keep email signup forms short to encourage new subscribers

Boost subscriber signups by keeping your forms short and only asking for basic information (such as a first name and email address).

When space allows, include a short list of the benefits people can expect from your emails.

Begin by reviewing your current signup form. 

Does it ask for personal information such as a phone number? Does it require visitors to fill out details such as what industry they work in? 

If so, you can probably boost conversions by simplifying the form. You can collect more detailed data later on through email polls and gated content downloads.

Asking for personal information, or too much detail, from new subscribers can prevent people from subscribing to your email list. 

Studies show that form length impacts the number of signups you receive. Request only the information you really need at this stage to prevent any barriers to entry. 

Also, make sure to follow up with a welcome email that clearly communicates what the new subscriber will receive and how often they should expect to get emails from you. Then, stick to your promise. 

7. Try pop-up forms 

Pop-up forms are a simple yet effective way to collect more emails for marketing. 

GIF of a pop up email sign up form

However, before you incorporate popups on your site, it’s important to consider how they might affect your visitors.

Annoying popups will quickly increase your bounce rates and decrease the time visitors spend on your site.

The good news is that not all popup forms have to appear in the middle of a screen and darken the background content. 

5 ways to avoid annoying visitors with pop-up forms

  1. Use a “sticky” popup that unobtrusively remains on the bottom of the page as a user scrolls
  1. Use a slide-in form on the side of the screen.
  1. Set the timing of your pop-up forms to display after a user has been on the page for a certain time.
  1. Set the form to display only when a user takes a specific action such as when they reach the bottom of the page.
  1. Set the popup for exit intent so that it only appears when their mouse actions show they are about to leave your site.

8. Add post-purchase email opt-in incentives 

Add an automatic incentive or CTA after a purchase is made (i.e., on your thank you page) to encourage people to subscribe to your email list.

Not every customer will become a repeat customer. But you can work towards building customer loyalty by publishing valuable email content. 

Show people the benefits of sharing their email addresses by offering an immediate incentive to subscribe.

By leveraging the point of purchase to collect email addresses, you can bring customers closer to making repeat purchases.

9. Get more email addresses with web push notifications

Web push notifications are small pop-up messages that appear on a website visitor’s screen. They can be used by businesses to promote products or services and also to collect email addresses for marketing purposes.

Be clear and upfront with visitors about what they will receive by subscribing to your web push notifications, including the frequency and type of notifications they can expect. By doing so, you can build trust with your visitors and increase the likelihood that they will become subscribers.

Use social media to collect email addresses

As a business owner, you probably already invest time in developing an engaged social media audience. Make the most of your social media marketing efforts by using platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook to grow your email marketing list.

By encouraging your social media followers to sign up for your email list, you tap into an audience that is already interested in what you have to say.

While you can certainly post about the benefits of your content (along with a link to your signup form), you can also prove it by linking to your email archive.

Leveraging your social media audience to build your subscriber base should be a primary growth strategy for any company.

10. Collect email addresses on social media using link in bio and profile links

Many social platforms only allow one clickable link in your bio or profile. That’s where link-in-bio landing pages come in handy.

Link-in-bio tools let you create mini-landing pages designed specifically for social media profiles and bios. Take advantage of these menu-style landing pages to boost your email conversions!

Aspen Mountain Goods link in bio page from Instagram

11. Add signup links on YouTube

Turn your YouTube viewers into email subscribers by sharing a link to your signup form or landing page. You can include a link to your form in your videos and across your channel in places such as:

  • Video descriptions
  • In your videos
  • On your YouTube channel page
  • During your video by personally encouraging viewers to subscribe

12. Encourage Facebook followers

Did you know that you can capture email addresses directly from Facebook? 

Integrate your email software with Facebook so that anyone visiting your page on the social networking site can easily share their email address to receive your updates, newsletter, or promotions.

Here’s the step-by-step Facebook integration instructions for AWeber users.

13. Collect more email addresses with pinned Tweets

Pinning a tweet to the top of your “X” profile feed that says “sign up for our newsletter” might have a small effect on boosting subscribers. 

However, there are more effective ways to promote your list on X.

For example:

  • Pin your most recent newsletter to provide a glimpse into what they could expect.
  • Pin impactful quotes, unique data, and other information from your lead generation content.
  • Pin teasers from your email content.

You can make your pinned tweets more compelling by including an image, GIF, or video alongside clear and simple copywriting.

There are many ways to grow your email list with X (Twitter), and pinned tweets are one of the easiest strategies for gaining more subscribers.

14. Invest in social media advertising to rapidly grow your email list

Social media is a powerful tool, especially when you invest in it. 

For example, ad formats that cater to email signups from a target audience can go a long way toward helping you add quality subscribers.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with ads copy and formats to find what approach works best. You can even A/B test ads with different images, videos, GIFs, and copy. 

Like email marketing campaigns, the only way to understand what ads resonate with your audience is to test, test, test!

Other effective ways to collect email addresses for marketing

Beyond your website and social media, there are even more ways to attract potential subscribers. 

These strategies range from in-person interactions to leveraging the power of live events and encouraging referrals in your business correspondence. 

15. Promote signups in your email signature

How many people do you personally email every day? Your personal and business contacts might not be on your email marketing list yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage them to sign up!

Include a brief call-to-action and link to your signup form or landing page in your email sign offs or signatures.  This is a simple way to get your newsletter noticed, even if it doesn’t lead to a ton of new subscribers right away.

Don’t forget to update other email signatures, such as your customer service emails — and have your team members add a link to their signatures, too! 

16. Create lead generation content to collect more emails

You can significantly boost your email subscriber list by offering exclusive free content, such as an ebook or ultimate guide, as an incentive for people to sign up for your list.

Lead magnet sign up form promoting home workout program

This type of lead generation content, also called a “lead magnet,” is an excellent way to add more emails to your subscriber list. 

No matter what your newsletter is about, you are an expert in your field. 

Use your expertise to create valuable lead generation content that’s relevant to the content of your newsletter, product, or services, such as:

  • An ultimate guide
  • Free templates
  • Exclusive free podcast download
  • An ebook filled with valuable tips 

Lead magnets like the ones mentioned above are a perfect incentive for prospects who might be on the fence about joining your list.

17. Create a landing page (“squeeze page”) to boost email subscriptions 

A landing page dedicated to enlisting new subscribers (sometimes called a “squeeze page”) helps promote your lists so you can collect more email addresses. 

On the landing page, offer something valuable (like lead gen content, a discount, or a free trial) in exchange for their email address, and watch your list grow.

Share your landing page link on social media and in your paid advertising to drive more subscriber signups.

18. Offer special discounts to new subscribers

Entice new signups with a welcome discount on your products or services. 

Everyone loves a good deal!

19. Run a contest to collect subscribers’ email addresses for marketing

Contests are a perfect marketing strategy for drumming up excitement and attracting new subscribers. 

There are a number of tools available that can help you easily host a contest, such as or ViralSweep

For a successful contest, follow these 4 tips: 

  1. Require entrants to fill out an email signup form to enter the contest.
  1. Offer a valuable prize: A high-value gift certificate for your products or services, or a cash prize, can go a long way toward encouraging people to participate in your contest.
  1. Set a relatively short entry period: Set a time period, such as one week, to instill a sense of urgency. This way people are likely to sign up immediately instead of procrastinating.
  1. Promote your contest on your website and social media. 

20. Guest post on other blogs

Guest posting is a great way to reach potential subscribers that you otherwise might miss. 

By contributing to other sites, you not only reach new people but also often have the opportunity to share a link to your signup form or landing page. Some of your new readers might even become some of your best customers!

21. Collect email addresses at in-person events

Trade shows, conferences, or even local meetups offer a prime opportunity to collect email addresses. 

Have a signup sheet or tablet ready, or offer an incentive (like a raffle) to encourage people to share their contact information.

22. Host a webinar or livestream subscriptions

Sharing your expertise through a live event not only provides value to your audience but also gives you a chance to promote your email list. 

Offer an exclusive resource or discount to people who sign up during the event.

Why GDPR & CAN-SPAM compliance matter when collecting email addresses

Add a graphic header like the ones in the other sections.

Collecting email addresses isn’t just about finding new subscribers; it’s also about doing it the right way. 

Both the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act have rules about how you can collect and use email addresses. 

Following these rules not only protects you and your subscribers but also builds trust to help you collect more email addresses for your email marketing campaigns.

What are your list-building tactics?

Does one particular method help you collect more addresses for email marketing?

Or is there something that doesn’t work very well for your industry?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

Start growing your email list today! Get all the tools and resources you need to build your email list with AWeber. 

From landing pages to email marketing campaigns, you’ll find everything you need in a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to market like a pro.

Get started right now with a free AWeber account!


  1. Akhere

    6/24/2010 1:22 pm

    What an amazing blog. The simplicity of some of these things is what makes us overlook them. Really good practical stuff. I heard that you can’t use an optin form in an adsense site or you may risk google banning your website, is that true?

  2. Keith D Shrock

    6/24/2010 1:28 pm

    Many great small tips. Putting your email or facebook fan page on your receipt, and asking for your customers contacts –are "golden ideas’.

    i did not understand if you auto-tweet — how is there room in the tweet for an email sign-up form?

    I saw you added posting to twitter/facebook when you send an email. But I don’t want to send them the same data — that I send with my other broadcast methods.

    IE — hootsuite — etc.

    Can you tell us how your new features would compliment other services?

  3. Eric

    6/24/2010 1:50 pm

    "It only takes a few seconds to jot down an email address."

    How do you do this and get the signup confirmed in some sort of official way (clicking on a link)?

  4. Cat

    6/24/2010 2:19 pm

    Great article. I use several of these techniques and they all are working.

    I have had a big spike in my opt-ins since April and I am having so much fun. I went from getting less than 10 opt-ins a month to 20 a week. I have a growing business as a change in my target market shrunk my list quite a bit.

    I was scared in the early days of getting more laser focused on a small group of potential clients. Now, after several months, I am seeing some real results.

    What changed in April? I created a single option opt in page for my first contact with clients. Before, my opt in box was in the top right hand corner of my banner. That one is still there and does attract some attention.

    When I put my new page up focused on my defined target audience, some real magic started to happen.

    Good luck to all of you list builders out there!

  5. Judy H. Wright

    6/24/2010 2:54 pm

    Hello from Montana,

    I like to ask for business cards at networking sessions. I then say, "Do I have your permission to connect with you online?" Almost everyone says yes.

    I then write the function on the back of the card in case they do not remember giving me permission.

  6. James

    6/24/2010 6:48 pm

    If I get someone’s verbal request to be put on my email list (for my WordPress blog), can I enter their name and email into my subscription box on my site? Is that legit?

  7. Jim Ellis

    6/25/2010 4:44 am

    It is imperative, though, that whenever somebody signs up for your email newsletter that you keep a record of how and when they signed up.
    If you don’t have a record of when the sign-up was completed, then you may have legal issues with using that data.

  8. Tom Kulzer (AWeber CEO)

    6/25/2010 8:58 am


    It’s a great opportunity to ask for permission at networking events, but what you’re asking isn’t setting the right expectations for people. "Do I have your permission to connect with you online?" doesn’t tell me in any way that you’re going to put them on a mailing list. This could lead to confusion and upset recipients of your emails.

    I’d try to be a bit more explicit about setting expectations for how, why, and when you’re going to connect with them.

  9. Gary

    6/25/2010 2:36 pm

    One thing that should be mentioned is how NOT to get email addresses: A lot of companies are selling email lists — claiming that they are 100% opt -in.

    If you purchase names and add them to your list, you’ll get SPAM complaints and ISPs will start sending your email to the bulk/spam folder or even block it entirely.

  10. Justin Premick

    6/25/2010 3:11 pm


    Absolutely true. Great point.

  11. Andrew Kordek

    6/26/2010 11:33 pm

    Permission is the cornerstone of email marketing. Never assume you have it and always ask for it. Take yourself outside of your business for a second and ask yourself how you would feel if the methods you use were used on you.

    Once you have the permission, make sure that you set the expectations upfront with those that gave it.

  12. Joan Stewart

    6/27/2010 8:48 am

    Judy, here’s what I do at speaking engagements.

    I always give away door prizes. Before the break, I show them the prizes and pass a hat around the room. If they want to be eligible for the prizes, they drop their business card into the hat.

    If they ALSO want me to subscribe them to my weekly eZine of publicity tips, I ask them to write "TIPS" in big letters on the back of the card.

    Tell them, however, to make sure their correct email address is on their business card.

    When I get back to the office, I manually add them to my AWeber list, and AWeber sends them the confirmation link.

  13. Stan Young

    7/8/2010 1:01 am

    I really appreciate all your tips on email marketing, its something that I haven’t done that much of but am curious to give it a go.
    I have started building a list but am only in the early days.
    All the comments above will be really useful. Thank you.

  14. Vee

    7/11/2010 8:50 pm

    I am especially glad that you mentioned the "freebie" part. As a business owner, it is hard spending time and money giving anything away for free, but its part of customer service and vital to email marketing. It gets people interested in the product or service that a person or company has to offer. It also makes people feel less like they are receiving a sales pitch if they have received something for free. People also love to pass around free stuff on the Internet and therefore, people end up spreading the word for you.

  15. Jack Liang

    7/12/2010 8:42 am

    Great outline. I never thought of using snail mail as a way to get more opt-ins. Social media will definitely be huge for 2010. Thank you for the post.

  16. Wasim

    7/23/2010 3:30 am

    This is a really simple to understand blog.

  17. Sudip Das

    11/5/2010 11:52 am

    Thanks Rebecca for such a wonderful blog. Really great basic information about email marketing. I am thinking of adopting some of the methods mentioned here.

  18. Anil

    11/17/2010 2:41 am

    Thank god you don’t ask about email ripper and spamming. Good.

  19. Fox

    12/20/2010 1:14 am

    What can you do with all the grade A positive comments that one receives that include the commenters email address & website. Can those be used or uploaded with Aweber ? I have been answering those worthy of a reply, but now it’s getting hard to keep up. I’m getting 60-70 comments a day outside of the spam a good 30 I include into my shabby list building efforts… Thanks

  20. Avadhut

    1/28/2011 2:48 am

    Great post.
    I want to know one thing : How can I add the email ids of current subscribers to my services which are on google groups?
    I want to include them in my AWeber list,so that I can send them updates. I don’t want to manage two separate lists – one on AWeber and the other on Google Groups.

  21. TonyS

    4/13/2011 3:38 pm

    I second that. This is a great post. I’d forgotten about the regular mail!

    Tony S.

  22. pioner786

    4/14/2011 7:19 pm

    I must admire you effort for providing such a useful information . It is really very valuable as it cover every thing the reader wants.

  23. Tim & Sole

    4/30/2011 2:05 pm

    Thanks Aweber for posts like this!

    We were looking for some suggestions about list building but when we googled it we didn’t find anything useful.

    This article is exactly what we needed! Thanks so much.

  24. T

    10/23/2011 8:30 am

    Thanks for the information. Yes I also want to add for success in affiliate marketing one should have to build an email list so to interact with the potential customers. Aweber is a great software for email marketing and I am saying it because I personally using it an I have amazing results.

  25. Kasim

    6/28/2012 8:33 am

    You’ve heard of “web presence”. But what about a “personal presence”? The web presence gives the visitors details about your business and what those visitors can expect in terms of products and services.

    A personal presence is where you are at the other end of those emails you’re harvesting. You simply collect their email addresses then flog them offers. Some marketers have the audacity of personalising it giving the impression that you’d like to meet them or at least correspond with them.

    If you’re gonna personalise an email, at least give them an opportunity to respond and be sure to reply to their response. Some companies, like GVO, have the CEO greeting you personally. But then your response goes to their support service and Joel doesn’t even read your email.

    The only marketer I know who personally responds to emails is Danny Inny of Firepole Marketing. As he found out, it can open him to harsh emails but that goes with the business.

    So what’s it gonna? A web presence or a personal presence?

  26. L

    7/21/2012 6:20 am

    It is imperative, though, that whenever somebody signs up for your email newsletter that you keep a record of how and when they signed up.
    If you don’t have a record of when the sign-up was completed, then you may have legal issues with using that data.

  27. Yogesh

    9/21/2012 9:18 am

    I am newbie in this field and do not know even ABC of Email marketing. I am subscribing to your newsletters and reading your articles hopefully I will be beneficial also.

  28. USJF

    12/15/2012 12:14 am

    Good tips about email marketing, you could also consider the methods like taking surveys and poll options for getting visitor Email ID’s.

  29. ET

    12/27/2012 3:20 pm

    I agree about usage of social media for list building. Social media has gained so much popularity that it has become unavoidable when it comes to any sort of marketing. You have mentioned some good ideas to build list, I hope you will also like to share some information regarding effectively utilizing that list for Email marketing.

  30. Shaye

    10/6/2013 5:20 am

    We use email marketing all the time, asking works best for us in the insurance industry!

  31. BOBL

    12/12/2013 3:00 am

    What an article! I have surely learnt something about getting email lists. I am going to start building mine today. Thanks a lot!

  32. GB

    1/15/2014 2:18 am

    This things is really primary, I really like the off-line concepts though. It really relies on what market your in I think.

  33. Ashu

    2/23/2014 3:35 pm

    these tips are good.. but i want a method that gives me lots of email addresses daily. Can anyone suggest me that method?

  34. Tina

    3/20/2014 2:50 pm

    Try a list rental if you are short on your organic list. If it is a reputable company they will have all of the spam laws, help you approach your market correctly and help you decide exactly who that market is. Plus it’s cheaper than purchasing. We used and Both turned a good profit for us.

  35. neon emmanuel

    6/17/2014 4:57 pm

    I must confess this tips you shared was innovative and helpful, I must comment you web admin for the info you gave was straight forward, not like others who offers an email site extractor, but your ideals is unique,and the best, when you get people name trough request and they see’s a message from you, there would honor it in expectation, but when you crawl to get mail, It is mostly moved to spam,because of its irrelevance. Thanks once again for the info.