10 Best Practices to Build A Sales-Generating Email List


Ah, email marketing.

You may already know this (thanks to every marketing guru and their grandmother), but email is the most effective marketing channel on the web.


The stats don’t lie.

Email is “40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter.”

It’s like pointing a laser into your customer’s daily lives.

And for every dollar spent, email has an average ROI of $40.


Pretty good return, right?

These stats were so compelling that a couple of years ago, I built a simple email marketing SaaS product.

Through this short lived business venture, I learned a lot.

I saw first-hand how AutoGrow grew to over 8,000 email subscribers.

And I learned how other businesses used email to nurture and convert leads.

If you’re a business looking to ‘tap into’ the power of email marketing, I want to teach you the fundamentals I’ve learned over the years.

Today, I’m going to give you ten highly valuable tips to build an email list of subscribers that are targeted and engaged buyers.

Tip #7 is my favorite, so keep an eye out for that one. . . .

Email List Sales Tip #1—Attract Subscribers with a ‘Core Offer’ Lead Magnet

To get email subscribers, you need prospects’ email addresses.

Let’s start with the almighty quid pro quo.

Enter the lead magnet.

I’ve written time and time again about the power of a lead magnet for building an email list.

The difference here is that if you want a list of highly targeted buyers, then make a lead magnet that relates to your core offer.

For example, at AutoGrow, we offer a ‘11 Point Sales Funnel Checklist’ as a lead magnet on our website:

Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 7.19.37 AM.png

Our core offer is building sales funnels for our customers, so it relates perfectly.

Every time someone opts-in to download this checklist, we know they are a targeted lead.

Since they downloaded the checklist, they are interested in building a sales funnel.

By extension, they would likely be interested in our service that helps them do that.

See how easy that is?

Instead of crafting just any lead magnet, craft one that directly relates to your core offer.

Email List Sales Tip #2—Get Subscribers Quickly with a ‘Simple’ Lead Magnet

Simple Lead

Are you not too concerned about having a highly targeted list of subscribers? Do you just want a list, period?

If you want to build an email list quickly, offer a simple lead magnet, like a checklist or a guide.

For example, to your prospect, an expanded 45-page eBook can be overwhelming to implement.

However, if you dangle something in front of your potential subscriber that they want and can implement now, your opt-in rates will rise.

It’s hard for people to say ‘no’ to something that’s actionable and helps with an immediate problem.

There are some great ideas of simple lead magnets in this article.

Email List Sales Tip #3—Deliver an Immediate Benefit to Subscribers


Provide immediate value to your subscribers.

It sounds simple and obvious, but most email subscriptions don’t do it.

I’m talking about as soon as subscribers opt-in.

If you wait to become beneficial to your audience, they will lose interest in opening your emails.

An easy way to give immediate value is to send a welcome email with a simple offer.

Or, you could give them an unexpected ‘free gift’—like an eBook or a guide.

The key here is to prime subscribers to open your emails.

It’s the only way you’ll make sales from your email list.

So make a powerful first impression by providing immediate value.

Email List Sales Tip #4—Connect to Your Subscribers through Storytelling


The trick to writing compelling emails is storytelling.

Share your stories, and people will feel more bonded to you.

As a Quick Sprout blog post noted, personal stories and gossip make up about 65% of our everyday conversations.

If you want your subscribers to look forward to opening your emails, you need to talk to them like a friend.

Buffer A/B tested two blog posts on their subscribers. The first post jumped right to the point of the article. The second had a narrative introduction.

Nearly 300% more people scrolled all the way to the bottom of the story-like blog post.

Storytelling is powerful in building relationships.

So the next time you write an email, turn it into a story. Share a bit of yourself.

This will make your readers want to sit down and listen.

Email List Sales Tip #5—Put Your Name in the Subject Line

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People connect with people, not faceless brands.

For example, I don’t email my subscribers as ‘AutoGrow.’ I email them as ‘Matt from AutoGrow.’

In order to foster a relationship with your list, people need to connect with a person on the other end of the email.

While your subject line is probably what you worry about the most, you should never overlook who’s sending it.

In fact, Campaign Monitor notes that “trusting the sender is the single most important factor in whether an email is opened or not.”

Email List Sales Tip #6—Survey Customers  to Understand Their Needs

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If you want a sales-generating email list, send content your subscribers find valuable.

What’s the easiest way to determine what that is? Ask.

I wouldn’t push the survey on a new list of subscribers.

You should, however, send out a survey after a subscriber has been around a few months.

Try to send them out on Monday afternoons—results show that up to 39% respond. Avoid Fridays, with only 28–29% response rate.

It doesn’t have to be complex, either.

It can be a one-question survey that asks what your subscribers’ biggest concerns are, so you can address them.

A one-question survey is a small commitment for your subscribers, so often they will answer it.

From there, you can tailor future email content to what they want to see.

Email List Sales Tip #7Keep a Low Ratio of Promotions to Content

The Right One.png

There’s a fine line between sending sales emails and sending emails with valuable content.

And there’s no exact ‘formula’ for how much education or promos you should be sending to your list. That depends on your market.

It also depends on how ready your readers are to buy.

But don’t use your email list like it’s just there to make you money.

I’ve seen too many business owners send out email blasts when they want to sell things.

But, if subscribers haven’t heard from you in a while, they probably won’t bite.

So make sure that no more than 25% of your emails are promotional.

This doesn’t apply to prospects that have opted in to see your pricing.

That brings us to the next point.

Email List Sales Tip #8Be Direct with People Who are Close to Buying

In email marketing, the same approach shouldn’t be applied to all leads.

For example, pay attention to prospects that opt-in to view your pricing . . . or actions that are even closer to buying.

Be more aggressive with your follow-up for these leads.

You can even hit them with a cart abandonment campaign, like CartHook:

Cart Abandonment 2.png

Email List Sales Tip #9Use Social Proof in Opt-Ins

People are always interested in what other people are doing—so if you have a large email list, flex that number.

For example, once we positioned our email list as a club of ‘8,000 other marketers,’ our opt-in had more sign-ups:

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This creates desire to be a part of your email list.

Email List Sales Tip #10Remove People Who Aren’t Engaged

I bet you have some subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in over a month.

What do you do? Simple.

Take them off your list.

Trim the fat.

They clearly don’t want your content, and you don’t want to pay for them as subscribers.

So inform them and give them a chance to stay. But if they stay inactive, remove them.

Saying you have a 10,000 subscriber list is nice, but if you have a 5% open rate, does it really matter?

We did this for AutoGrow and cut out a significant number of people who weren’t engaged with our content.

And that saved us over $1,000 per year on our email marketing budget.

So take a look at the numbers, and get rid of subscribers who aren’t active.

Your list will become more targeted and engaged instantly.

BONUS Tip #11Advanced Tactic: Send Content That Will be Seen as a ‘Random Act of Coolness.’


In other words, don’t sell them anything.

Randomly give your subscribers “exclusive” content they can’t get anywhere else—when they least expect it.

You’re giving your readers value for being part of your list.

This makes the message exclusive, and people will personally connect with you.

Treat your subscribers like they’re special.

They will return the favor.

And over time, you’ll create goodwill and grow your brand.

It also means your readers aren’t going anywhere.


Building a targeted email list is the most powerful way to continually make sales and build an active audience.

If you treat your subscribers right, you can create a highly engaged list that will pay you back.

These are some simple tips you can use to build an email list that grows your sales.

And it can take as little as 10 minutes to implement and start benefiting from each of them.

What has your experience been in building your email list? Which one of these tips has helped you the most?

Let me know in the comments below.

Keep Hustlin’, Stay Focused,


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