The Ultimate Guide For Building An Email List | npENGAGE

The Ultimate Guide For Building An Email List

By on Dec 1, 2017


Tips for building a list for your nonprofit email

Social media is important when it comes to growing your brand and sending visitors to your website. Unfortunately, social media marketing alone is not enough to initiate pageviews. An email list is a marketing tool that will round out your online marketing strategy. However, in order to have an email list, you need to build it.

There are three components necessary to build your email list: Landing pages, social media pushes and CTA buttons.  

Landing pages

Landing pages are standalone web pages that have one purpose: to drive action. In the case of building an email list, landing pages will serve as a way to collect email addresses. These are different from home pages because landing pages are linked to an ad or social media post. Landing pages must be clear and simple. You do not want people confused as to why they’re on that page. Technically, you are selling the fact that you have an email list for people to join and receive updates and tips about your product or service.

When visitors reach your landing page there are certain things they must see in order to be prompted to give you their email address:

  • The headline on your landing page should match the ad or post it’s linked to, otherwise people will be confused as to why they’ve reached that page in the first place.
  • You need a call to action that is big and posted above the fold. Without a CTA, you’re not prompting visitors to sign up for your email list and they’re not going to do it on their own. Do not go overboard with the CTAs. You only need one. When people are bombarded with calls to action, they will leave your landing page fast. You can have multiple buttons for people to click to sign up for your list but the CTA must remain the same throughout the page.
  • Ensure that the copy on your landing pages tells a story so that people don’t feel like they’re being sold something they don’t need. Avoid stuffy facts and create compelling copy that highlights why visitors need to join your email list. On top of copy, you can add videos, which are notable for improving conversions. Keep them short. No one is going to watch a 10-minute video.
  • Make sure that the images on your landing pages are relevant and related to the content. Images that are out of place or have no relevance to the purpose of the landing page will not make visitors want to sign up for your email list.

When it comes to landing pages, the more the merrier. Companies that use 40 or more landing pages are likely to get 12 times more leads than those who only use five or fewer. Landing pages are only effective when they have one clearly outlined purpose. If your landing pages show visitors the benefits of signing up for your mailing list and feature great copy and/or a short video and an enticing CTA, you will collect emails easily.

CTA buttons

As mentioned, a strong call to action is what gets people to hand over their information willingly. CTA buttons should go on your landing pages and throughout your website. There are two things people respond to: fear and happiness. You do not want to scare people into joining your mailing list. Instead, you want them to see how signing up for correspondance is a wonderful thing. Your CTA buttons need to go beyond “Sign up” and “Subscribe”. Each should use first-person language that makes visitors feel like they’re in control. Furthermore, active language is also important for your CTA buttons.

Try something like:

  • Yes, I would love to receive updates
  • Give me access
  • Make me a better _____ [add what is relevant to your organization]
  • Start discovering [add what you do] today
  • Give me the details
  • You bet I’m interested!
  • Sign me up please

Opting in to receive email communications from you shouldn’t feel like a chore but feel like there’s a payoff. For example, if you are an SEO marketing guru, you want visitors to your site/landing pages to feel like if they join your email list, they’ll get tips and tricks from you that will turn them into SEO marketing gurus. Or, if you are a communications director for a cancer prevention organization , you want visitors to your site/landing pages to feel like if they join your email list, they’ll get invitations to take action and information to make them a stronger advocate, with a perspective the won’t get anywhere else

Social media

Whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, if there’s a social media channel available, someone is on it. To build your email list on social media:

  • Include a call to action in your bio that drives people to either visit your site, takes them to a landing page or entices them to sign up for your email list.
  • On Twitter, you can add a tweet with your CTA to the top of your profile that remains static.
  • Engage your Instagram followers with a CTA in the description of your post and ensure that the image you’re posting details what you’re offering and why it’s crucial that people sign up for your email list.
  • On Facebook you can replace your main image with one that has a CTA. You can also create posts that feature links to your landing pages. Facebook also features a call to action button and sign up buttons you can activate to prompt people to join your mailing list. You should also be posting compelling content in Facebook groups that are relevant to what you’re offering.
  • LinkedIn allows you to link to your landing pages in the Experience section. Make sure you have a CTA and excellent copy. LinkedIn will also import that image from your landing page, giving you a visual boost. In addition, join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your industry and share information there.
  • On Pinterest, include your CTA on your own board that contains an image directly related to your services/product.

Growing your email list won’t happen overnight but the payoff is huge. With a little patience and a lot of incredible CTAs, you’ll end up with a sizeable following, increased traffic to your website and more importantly, revenue.


Rebecca Hill is the Outreach Coordinator at TechWyse, an SEO agency in Toronto, Canada. While she isn’t building relationships with bloggers and influencers in the marketing world, she can be seen rooting for the Blue Jays.

Comments (24)

  • L.S. says:

    The other important part of building a list is cleaning your list of bad addresses. At least once a year, it is helpful to ask people to opt in or out of e-mails. You can send this messaging to those with the lowest open rates.

  • Heather says:

    We are right in the middle of planning for our 2018 social media and email presence. Thanks for all the good advice!

  • Kyle Collins says:

    We are finishing up our end of year campaign and this has been really helpful!

  • Lawrence Rush says:

    I would love to be able to test various CTA buttons ranging from following us on social media, to watching a short video, to donating. I think a lot of non-profits get caught up in trying to convert people directly into donors when they likely need to be moved through a cultivation process.

  • Becky says:

    Like Heather, we are still in the planning stages of our social media and e-communication strategy. I’ve shared this with our point person and look forward to seeing more resources to help us shape our best practices.

  • Amy D. says:

    Thanks for the specific CTA ideas! I like that better than the standard “sign up” ones.

  • Angie Stumpo says:

    Wow 40 landing pages seems like a lot! I will definitely be researching more about adding on landing pages to our site and how to best utilize them.

  • Alice Black says:

    Thank you this is good advice for social media strategies.

  • Karina says:

    This is all great advice. I like the CTA examples. I just might use some of them.

  • Andy Schroeder says:

    We are in the process of redesigning our website and this info will certainly be discussed at our next meeting. Thanks for suggesting the article.

  • Alicia B says:

    Having a CTA is important to let visitors know who you are any what you do. Nobody likes a bland website that doesn’t invite you in.

  • S. Watson says:

    Nice tips

  • Jean Short says:

    Great ideas! Thank you!

  • Jess says:

    I appreciate the insight into how to generate more emails and interest in the mission!

  • Carlene Johnson says:

    So helpful about the landing page. I’m also recognizing how important it is to test everything from landing page to emails in different browsers. Sometimes things don’t end up showing as we’d like them to and a CTA is no good if the button doesn’t show up properly!

  • Lindsay says:

    We’re in the early stages of a huge campaign and website redesign, so this came at the perfect time! Thanks for the tips 🙂

  • Jeff says:

    Great advice as we prepare for a big end of year email ask!

  • Roger says:

    Wow – my biggest takeaway was – “When it comes to landing pages, the more the merrier. Companies that use 40 or more landing pages are likely to get 12 times more leads than those who only use five or fewer. ”

    Guess I need to add more landing pages 🙂

  • Ann Nischke says:

    Great to know common sense still works! We do need more landing pages!

  • Lisa says:

    We use a special landing page for each campaign!

  • SWortham says:

    This was helpful and will share with coworkers.

  • Evie says:

    Great information, especially regarding the Call to Action!

  • Amy says:

    We need additional landing pages. I’m going to use this as my backup!

  • MarketJoy says:

    Social media is important when it comes to growing a brand and sending visitors to your website. Thanks, Rebecca for sharing the ultimate guide for building an email list with important factors.


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