How & Why To Build an Email List (Now!)

How & Why To Build an Email List (Now!)

We spend a lot of time talking about building a social audience, but we’ve barely scratched the surface regarding building an email list. It may not seem important to you, especially if you do all of your content creation exclusively on social, but at the end of the day, everyone with an online business should have an email list. Here’s why.

Email matters because it’s not subject to newsfeed algorithms-- there is no third party disturbing the delivery of your content to your audience’s eyeballs. You’ve got an (essentially) guaranteed path into their inbox; this is extra powerful these days, considering how few of your followers on Instagram or Facebook are actually served up your content. Plus, email will be around forever. Different social platforms have their heydays (Remember Yik Yak? How about Periscope? Even Snapchat has seen much better days…) And even though Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube seem like they’re on relatively solid footing, their day will come when they become obsolete or undesirable. But you know what will still be around? Email. 

Not to mention that emails convert much better than social posts when you’re selling products. This is partly because people are primed to receive deals and sales pitches via email, but not so much via social. It’s also a smoother user experience to offer sign ups and purchasing experiences through email interfaces. 

Email also feels more personal-- it’s kind of like a 1:1 conversation, whereas on social you’re just blasting out your messages for anyone and everyone. And last but not least, email list segmentation allows you to deliver personalized content to your audience based on their interests and needs-- where else can you do that?!

If you’re not sold on building an email list yet, well… you can leave I guess? But you’ll be sorry.

Here are 5 ways to build your email list when you’re focused on social. 


If you have a Twitter presence, don’t miss the opportunity to gather subscribers right there on the platform-- with Twitter cards, your audience doesn’t even have to leave the page to sign up for your email list! Create one of these nifty little embedded sign up forms and pin it to the top of your profile. 


Almost everyone these days has a business page on Facebook. If you fall into that bucket, you might as well add a tab to your page with an embedded email sign-up form. Similar to Twitter cards, this enables your audience to seamlessly subscribe to your list without leaving the page. Most major email providers (like Mailchimp and Convertkit) offer integrations that allow you to do this.


If you spend most of your time on platforms like Instagram and YouTube that don’t allow for embedded email signup forms, your best bet is to create some landing pages that you can drive to via your social channels. The landing pages don’t need to be complex-- just briefly convey why someone should sign up (Do they get exclusive content? Behind-the-scenes looks? Secret sales? Make them feel VIP for signing up). All you need to create landing pages is a basic website, which I trust you have. Alternatively, if you’re digital product savvy, you can use a platform like Leadpages to build yourself some snazzy landing pages. 

Link to your landing pages in your Instagram stories using the swipe up feature, or link to it in your bio. On YouTube, include the link to your landing page at the top of your show notes. 


Being a guest on a podcast or YouTube video can bring you significant exposure to a new audience, and finding ways to capture that new audience is key. You can hope that people will travel over to social channels and search for your handle after hearing you in a podcast, but sometimes people need a little extra motivation to take that step. This is where you should consider linking to a landing page where listeners/viewers can get an exclusive offer in exchange for subscribing to your email list. Perhaps you offer a free email course or access to a list of your favorite products/exercises/resources. Whatever you decide to do, you can help drive conversions from these guest appearances by offering something in exchange for the follow. Ask the host to provide the link to your landing page in the show notes. 


Yes, you can add a “Forward to a Friend” button to your emails, but that’s not what I’m talking about. As Paul Jarvis says, “writing emails people want to share is a lot different than giving people lots of way to share (i.e. all the social share buttons).” Believe it or not, you can grow your list simply by writing really useful and meaningful content. Put some thought and strategy into it and make your emails share-worthy-- when you do, your own subscribers will refer new subscribers to you. 

Voila! Now that’s not so hard, is it? And if the day comes that Instagram suddenly and mysteriously shuts down, you'll have a backup plan. 

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence

I'm the Oxford comma's biggest fan.