When it comes to drumming up new business, email can be a very powerful tool. Many companies invest big money into attracting new subscribers in order to connect with potential customers through regular updates.

But email list building isn’t only a marketing thing; your sales reps should be doing it, as well.

You see, email is still the preferred method of communication for many B2B decision-makers and B2C consumers. If you can cultivate a list of high-quality leads, you have a great chance of making sales through low-effort email campaigns.

In this guide, we’re going to show you how to start building your list from scratch — from choosing your platform to attracting the right subscribers.

What Is Email List Building?

At a basic level, email list building is the process of collecting email addresses from people who interact with your business in some way.

The idea is to grow and maintain a connection with these people — whether through regular email newsletters, by sending out offers, or through individual outreach.

For salespeople, email list building is more about finding people who might be interested in making a purchase. In essence, you’re building a list of leads and their contact information, ready for a cold email campaign or some other form of prospecting.

What Are the Benefits of Email List Building?

As every salesperson knows, cultivating relationships is an essential step towards making a sale. But the benefits don’t stop there.

In comparison to social media and many other channels, email gives you complete control over your outreach. With no algorithm between you and your subscribers, every message is guaranteed to reach the recipient.

While some of these emails will be ignored, the stats show that this form of outreach is incredibly effective.

In one recent survey by Sales Cycle, 59% of consumers said that email content has a major influence on their purchase decisions. And according to Litmus, the average ROI of email campaigns ranges from 3,200% in media and entertainment, through to 4,500% in retail and ecommerce.

In other words, putting time and money into building your email list is pretty essential.

Benefits of Email List Building

Email List Building: 7 Top Tips for Salespeople

The actual process of building an email list varies, depending on what you want to achieve. If the aim is to gather email subscribers for a regular newsletter, a simple sign-up form or pop-up may suffice.

But when you’re building an email list for sales campaigns, it’s worth investing a little more attention. For instance, you might want to narrow down your list to qualified leads, or aim specifically for high-value prospects.

As a sales professional, you may even be taking an existing list — as built by your marketing coworkers — and narrowing it down to a list of hot leads.

Whatever you want to achieve, these top list building strategies should help you get started faster and see better returns.

1) Build Some Ideal Customer Personas

When you’re trying to pitch a product or service, taking the time to understand your customers is an important first step.

The same principle applies to email list building. Most people will only hand over their email address if you give them a good reason. In order to make them a worthy offer, you need to know what makes them tick.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to build some ideal customer personas.

You don’t need to go super in-depth here, but it’s worth figuring out who you want to be on your list, and what they want. That means annual income range, job title, pain points, desires, and so on.

2) Find Good Email Marketing Software

Once your list extends to 100 contacts or more, Gmail or Outlook simply isn’t going to cut it. Rather than having to make that switch, it’s much better to pick an email service provider at the start of your list building campaign.

Your list of options here is vast, ranging from freemium services like MailChimp and MailerLite through to enterprise level solutions such as Sendinblue and Constant Contact.

We would like to provide pointers here, but the best choice for your business ultimately comes down to your specific needs.

If possible, create a short list of providers based on research, and go hands-on with the top three. Most provide at least a free trial.

Good Email Marketing Software

3) Add Opt-In Boxes to All Your Forms

To grow your sales email list, you’re definitely going to need some standalone sign-up forms. But there is a more obvious place to find new additions: among your customers or users.

One of the best ways to increase sign-ups is by adding an opt-in box to all of your contact and checkout forms.

If someone is remotely interested in doing business with you, there is a fair chance they will be happy for you to send them offers and updates. And so, you should start to see your list getting larger.

Another benefit of this small change is that it encourages better quality sign-ups. More specifically, an individual who is sending you an email or buying something from your store is a prime target for sales content.

4) Create a Lead Magnet

You would normally expect to hear about lead magnets from the marketing department. However, they can be used for sales purposes, too.

Say your marketing team has a massive newsletter list. Only a fraction of the subscribers here are likely to become customers, and some may need the direct attention of sales staff in order to make the leap.

To find those individuals who are worth your time, you might consider building a lead magnet (or getting the marketing people to do it for you). This could be an industry report, a free pack of case studies, or even a live webinar. The key is to make sure that people who want to access the content must put in their email address.

As long as your lead magnet is carefully targeted, this process can reveal who your genuine prospects are.

It doesn’t even need to be downloadable freebies or an online event. Nowadays, many top brands create free tools and apps that are specifically designed to attract their target audience. The folks at Hubspot have absolutely mastered this strategy.

lead magnet hubspot

5) Go Looking for Prospects

Assuming your marketing coworkers have a solid lead generation strategy in place, they should be able to hand you a whole heap of email addresses. But after you sort through them, you may find only a very limited number of potential customers.

The remedy for this is to go looking for some better ones yourself.

In the world of B2B sales, pretty much every decision maker you might want to do business with can be found on LinkedIn. All you need to do is track them down, find their contact details, and reach out via cold email.

If the recipient shows some interest in your product or service, you can immediately add them to your mailing list. If you get no reply, you can move on to the next prospect.

This might sound like a lot of hard work, but you can make the process quite speedy using a tool like Datanyze. With a couple of clicks, our free Chrome extension can reveal the up-to-date email address for pretty much anyone on LinkedIn. It works on company websites, too.

get up-to-date email address for pretty much anyone on LinkedIn

6) Find New Customers Offline

Unless you work for an entirely online business, there is a fair chance that you meet people within your industry from time to time. As a sales rep, this is a great opportunity to collect email addresses.

Much like asking someone for their business card, you can simply ask if you can add them to your mailing list. If you have already had a productive conversation, the chances are that they will say yes.

7) Utilize Social Media Channels

You don’t even need to meet someone in person in order to request their email address.

When you connect with a potential buyer through a social media platform or online community, you can pop the same question. It usually works much better than sending a link to a generic landing page that will quickly be forgotten.

With their built-in DM systems, Instagram and Twitter help you to reach out to small businesses. For larger deals, LinkedIn is the place to be.

Whichever platform you choose, be sure to do a little background research. Identify a promising prospect, and your team can set about building rapport, with an eye to grabbing that email address later!

How to Turn Your Email List Into Sales Gold

Most blog posts about email list building focus on the marketing side — opt-in forms, exit-intent pop-ups, interactive quizzes, giveaways and coupons, call to action copy, a/b testing, and so on.

But the truth is, none of these marketing tools is likely to affect your conversion rate.

To make more sales, you need a better list — not just a bigger one. In real-world terms, that means filling your list with high-quality leads and collecting more information about each and every one of them.

In order to make this happen, we recommend that you adopt two key ideas: education and automation.

Teach your reps how to build their own lists, and they will no longer have to rely on leads feeding through from marketing campaigns. If they are hungry for more deals, they can simply go out and find new people to email.

Of course, there is a limit to the amount of time that your sales team can spend on this task. And that’s why you need to embrace some automation. There are many different tools that can assist with the process of discovering new contacts and performing background research. Be sure to utilize them.

Datanyze: Research Made Easier

Whether you are focusing on sales or trying to build a great digital marketing strategy, Datanyze should be part of your workflow.

Our free Chrome plugin reveals key information about anyone on LinkedIn, including business owners and top execs. In seconds, you can access email addresses, direct dial phone numbers, and vital company information.

There are more than 120 million professionals in the database, and all the data comes from sources that comply with GDPR and CCPA.

Just as importantly, every person you search for is added to your online account. You can then export the list, ready to utilize the data on your chosen email platform.

Want to give it a try? Sign up free to test drive Datanyze for 90 days and see how easy list building research can be.