There’s no question that email is one of the best ways to connect with leads and nurture prospects. 

In fact, 31% of B2B marketers say email is their highest-performing channel for lead nurturing—placing it above in-person events, case studies, and other online content. Plus, 59% of consumers admit that email influences their buying decisions.

Awesome, right? But before you can leverage the power of email outreach and newsletters, you need to build a solid list of relevant contacts.

Unfortunately, most people aren’t willing to hand over their email addresses to just anyone. That’s why it’s so important to establish a repeatable lead generation process that helps you find new customers and incentivizes prospects to join your list.

This article provides tips for creating your own list from scratch through inbound and outbound marketing efforts.

Why Should You Build Your Own Email List?

When you’re starting with an email list of zero, it can be tempting to look for shortcuts for building your list. But anything that feels like a “hack” is probably cutting corners that shouldn’t be cut and likely not 100% ethical—or even legal.

For instance, buying email addresses seems like a quick, easy way to beef up your email list. But at what cost?

When you buy an email list, it’s tricky to verify that the information is accurate. It could be out of date, missing key data points, targeting the wrong type of lead, or include fake addresses—all of which will negatively impact your deliverability. That means your emails will be more likely to get caught in the spam filter and your reputation as a sender will take a hit.

Even worse, it’s hard to know where a purchased email list is sourced from. That’s why building your own email list is the best way to ensure your list is highly targeted, up to date, and GDPR-compliant. 

Quick Tips for Getting Started

Even if you know where to look, it takes time to track down the number of email addresses you need to build a respectable email list—but if you do it right, it’s well worth the effort.

Here are a few more quick tips to keep in mind when getting started:

  • Use a CRM to keep track of customer and lead data. 
  • Aim to collect more than just email addresses. Keep tabs on who your leads are, their job titles, and past conversations with their company so you can better personalize outreach.
  • Segment your lists based on factors relevant to your sales and marketing goals. For instance, you might segment contacts by industry, budget, company size, etc.
  • Perform regular maintenance and keep data clean to improve deliverability.
  • Remember that a modest list with verified data is more useful than a long email list with inaccurate information.

Sometimes marketing might provide you with an email list that you can use to run campaigns. The key to getting the most value out of these lists is to clean up and validate the data before launching a campaign.

How to Build a High-Value Email List

If you’re truly starting from scratch, you likely don’t have any inbound leads—yet. You can still leverage inbound marketing and sales tactics to build a solid list of vetted leads. Let’s dig into some proven steps for success.

1. Define Your Audience

Know Who to Target

To create a high-quality email list, you need to focus on the right type of contacts. Start by figuring out who your prospects are on both a general and individual level. Narrow down by industry, business, and job title to figure out who you need to get in touch with.

Identify Decision-Makers

Even within a specific organization, your goal isn’t just to reach just anyone at the company. You want to get through to a decision-maker. Having this information in mind will make it easier to build a relevant email list that connects you with actual decision-makers.

Get Contact Details from a Reliable Source

Once you know who you’re targeting within a company, use the Datanyze Google Chrome extension to find that person’s contact information. 

2. Get Leads to Come to You

Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are a powerful way to capture email addresses. Also known as gated content, lead magnets are typically downloadable pieces of content that require prospects to enter contact information to gain access. 

Whether it’s a report, eBook, or series of templates, a good lead magnet provides real value to your target customers. Publishing a lead magnet on your website incentivizes those interested in your content to share their email in exchange for access to the download.

Other examples of potential lead magnets include checklists, guides, frameworks, and mini-courses. Share this type of content across multiple platforms (social channels, your website, industry forums, etc.)  to get the maximum value from it. 

Host a Webinar or Workshop

Another way to encourage leads to come to you is by hosting informative sessions or workshops related to your industry. This can be a great way to attract highly relevant leads and capture their email address—especially since people who are interested in a niche topic are most likely your target audience. 

We recommend making it free to attend for anyone who registers in advance. You can also save a recording to use a future lead magnet that can be downloaded by filling out a lead gen form.

Create a Referral Program

There might be a valuable lead source right under your nose. Your existing customers already know and love your brand, and they likely know other business owners or peers who are looking for a similar solution.

Sometimes all you need to do is ask. When customers recommend your newsletter, content, or product to others in their network, you can grow your email list faster.

Sure, if you offer something amazing in an email, there’s a chance someone might forward it to a friend without prompting. But to speed these up, give them a reason to do so by offering a discount or bonus for every referral that results in a new customer or subscriber.

3. Market Your Newsletter

If your team is going to the trouble of putting together a newsletter, you should market it like a product. Look for opportunities to promote it and invite leads to subscribe to your newsletter at every chance.


For example, simply create more opportunities for people to subscribe. Add subscriber CTAs and opt-in forms anywhere interested leads might see—including your About Page, your social media bios, and your teams’ email signatures. 

4. Incentivize Email Subscribers

You’ll catch more emails with honey. That is, providing valuable content or incentives that truly appeal to your prospects will allow you to build your email list longer and faster.

So, how can you give people a good reason to join your list voluntarily? Consider offering an exclusive incentive or offer that can only be redeemed by subscribers. This might be a discount, bonus, or limited-time offer that can only be unlocked by signing up for your newsletter.

5. Shorten Your Lead Gen Forms

As a rule of thumb, try to keep contact and opt-in forms short and simple. Or better yet, be strategic about how many fields you require. Test different types of pop-ups and opt-in forms on your site to find the ideal length.

The goal is to include enough fields to learn essential information about leads, but not so many that your opt-in form becomes a deterrent to otherwise viable leads. This applies to any place you ask for someone’s email–whether it’s to download an eBook, reserve a spot at your webinar, or subscribe to your newsletter.

For example, if your ideal customer is an SMB owner with 10+ employees, your form should likely include a question about the size of their team. This isn’t a difficult question to answer, and it provides the data you need to properly vet potential leads.

6. Harness the Power of LinkedIn

LinkedIn isn’t just a place to share your wins and brag about your resume; it’s also a valuable tool for lead generation. More specifically, it can be the perfect place to uncover your leads’ email addresses and other relevant data.

Remember, an email address without any context isn’t all that helpful. Instead, you should focus on collecting the right type of emails. Targeting your ideal prospects will earn you better ROI per email and allow you to personalize every message.

Considering that 80% of LinkedIn users are decision-makers, the site is a goldmine for finding and connecting with prospects that have real buying power. The Datanyze Chrome extension can help you get more value from LinkedIn.

We’re so passionate about using LinkedIn as a source for leads, we wrote an entire article on the topic! Give it a read for more detailed advice on getting the most out of this platform.

7. Collect Emails at In-Person Events

Some of the tips covered so far apply to collecting emails offline, too. If your company participates in any trade shows or in-person events, that’s the perfect opportunity to expand your email list with an exclusive discount, promo, or giveaway for attendees.

Whether you have a branded app that people can download and register for with their email or an old-school fishbowl for paper entry forms, make it convenient and fun for anyone who visits your booth to register.

8. Use the Right Tool for the Job

As a sales rep or SDR, you know the value of building a strong email list. After all, you can’t make sales without anyone to sell to.

To build a better email list from scratch, you should use a tool that helps you do just that. The Datanyze Chrome extension is designed for B2B sales teams and marketers that want accurate contact information for prospects. We’ll help you build your email list with ethically sourced contact data, including emails, phone numbers, and more.
Looking to speed up your list-building process and get more accurate, up-to-date email addresses? Sign up for free and install our extension to start building your email list faster and easier than ever.