Why and How to Collect Emails Using Your Website

Written by and published



As a small business owner, you’ve probably got a lot on your plate. And it’s not always easy to know where your time is best spent. This is especially true when it comes to marketing. With limited hours and endless options, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. It’s not easy to find your best return on investment, but here’s why email marketing is worthwhile.

Why build an email list? The statistics are pretty compelling:

  • US marketing executives believe that email alone drives the same amount of revenue as their social media, website, and display ad efforts combined, according to The Relevancy Group. (Source)
  • A recent MarketingSherpa survey found 91% of adults enjoy receiving promotional emails from companies they buy things from. (Source)
  • The Direct Marketing Association found 66% of consumers have made a purchase based on an email they’ve received. (Source)
  • Email marketing ROI is the second most easily measured return (after paid search), with 39% of marketers rating their ability to measure the ROI of the email marketing retention efforts as “good,” according to Econsultancy and Oracle Marketing Cloud. (Source)

If these points aren’t convincing enough, consider the distinctions between social media and email marketing. You own your email list. Your social media channels, no matter how robust, will always be susceptible to the latest algorithm changes. Just look at the latest changes to Twitter’s timeline.

Plus, your email list can be a source for future content ideas!

Convinced? Here’s where to start digging in.

Planning Your Newsletter

A newsletter can be a powerful way to reach customers.

In a recent article for Harvard Business Review, Morra Aarons-Mele describes the appeal of a well-crafted newsletter: “That intimacy, and the fact you have to sign up to get the content, makes a good email newsletter feel exclusive, even if thousands subscribe.”

Newsletters like The Skimm and Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter aren’t successful by haphazardly emailing their subscribers. They produce intimate and worthwhile emails people will actually open. Are you willing to make that kind of commitment to your readers?

It’s important to be realistic about how much time you can devote to your newsletter. Before you begin, take the time to answer these questions:

  • Frequency: How often will your newsletter be sent out? It’s better to start small to avoid burnout. Strive to establish consistency for your readers.
  • Content: Who will write your newsletter’s content? Who will edit it? Will you need to hire additional help?
  • Purpose: What’re the reasons your newsletter exists? It’s not to bombard your subscribers with sales messaging. Focus on continually offering value.
  • Tools: Which tool will you use to manage your email campaigns? Five popular options include AWeber, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, Emma, and MailChimp. And all five of these can be integrated with Raven.

How To Build Your Opt-in Email List

Email marketing is most effective when it’s part of your overall marketing strategy. One of the easiest ways to build an email list is by creating quality blog content. From there, asking readers for their email address can easily be done through a variety of ways.

Did you know email lists decay on average about 25% per year? That’s why it’s important to constantly replenish your subscribers. But what are the most effective ways to grow your list?

Here’s what to focus on:

  • Opt-In Form: The placement of your opt-in form is important. Consider positioning it around your content—across the header, in your sidebar, or at the bottom of every blog post. Many marketers also treat their blog’s home page as an email capture form.
  • Popup or Slide-In Forms: Many readers complain about popup or slide-in forms, but the reason websites still use them is because they convert. Try testing the timing of a popup or slide-in form and how often it’s scheduled to appear. Then you can measure the benefits and risks of using different methods.
  • High-Value Content: Share your expertise and attract subscribers with a free e-book, white paper, how-to guide, or training videos.
  • Messaging: Why should your readers subscribe? Are the reasons clear? Start with social proof and an irresistible offer.
  • Social Media: Experiment with Twitter lead generation cards, Facebook’s call-to-action button, SlideShare, YouTube, LinkedIn Groups, and more.

Email Marketing is Worth It

Building your email list should be a top priority for your marketing team. Between high conversion rates, driving traffic to your website, communicating with your customers, and the constant threat of losing traction with social media, it’s clear that growing and nurturing your email list is essential to your business’s long-term growth.

  • Great information. Glad to read emails are still one of the best options for marketing.

    • Thanks for reading! Yes, email marketing is definitely worth the time 🙂

  • Super Start-Ups Blog

    This is a great post Kate, I am exploring email lists and email marketing at the moment on my own business/startups blog and it is working well so far with good natural growth. Definately something I will keep working at.

    • Awesome! Keep us posted on your progress! 🙂