In this guide, we’ll cover in detail “How to Build an Email List From scratch in 2021. As an educator & a course creator, this could be the turning point for your online education business.

All of us, who belong to the digital world have heard so much about the “Email lists”. Time and again, this term keeps popping up here and there. If you are reading this article right now, you must either be a beginner or you are looking to scale your marketing efforts. 

Either way, Building an email list from scratch might seem daunting! 

I get it. 

However, it’s worth putting in every ounce of our effort. We must begin to implement this strategy fast & efficiently. Your email list would be your most important asset, the sooner you start the better. 

I am going to cover some high-quality strategies here to build your email list from scratch. Before we dive into how to build an impressive email list, let’s get our basics right. 

What Is An Email List?

An email list is a collection of email addresses that you have garnered through your content marketing and other marketing efforts. Your customers & prospects usually provide their contact information when they sign up for something free or paid. 

You end up creating a database of this email information which you later use to re-target and nurture them. 

However, the most effective strategy isn’t the one that fits all. You need to strategically divide them into various segments & target them differently.

As an instance, if you’re emailing someone who has already purchased one of your courses, your target is to make them a repeat customer.

On the other hand, if you have a new person who is yet to buy from you, you would surely not send them the same set of emails. 

What Is Email Marketing?

Once you have an email list with you, you create an email strategy to convert them into a paid customer or to be a repeat customer. The whole cycle performed from lead acquisition to repeat conversion is called Email Marketing.

As per Gigaom Research, more than 50% of marketers viewed email marketing as the most effective marketing tactic. They believed email marketing to be the “digital workhorse,” 

How to Build an Email List From Scratch in 2021

Email Marketing is so great because it’s low cost, personalized & delivers straight to the inbox.

1. Create a personalized CTA (Call To Action) for each blog or landing page.

We have spoken to various course creators who also have active blogs.

They stressed on the fact that personalized calls-to-action work at least 20-30% better than generic CTAs. 

Honestly, it makes sense. If someone has come to your blog in search of a particular thing, if you serve them a relevant lead magnet, they are more likely to sign up.

For example: Imagine you sell courses on “Social Media Marketing”. The standard lead magnet that you might use on all your blogs could be “The Social Media Guide”. But, if someone is searching for “How to grow on Insta” and you give them a FREE guide on “Grow your first 1,000 followers on Insta”, they are more likely to grab them.

Give a simple yet personalized CTA like this: “Click here to download a FREE Insta growth toolkit.”

The more intent-based content you create & the CTA you create, more sign ups you get. 

Launch my online course


2. Gather Emails In-Person to Build an Email List

Email marketing is all about leveraging the online marketing segment. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make use of your offline surroundings. Once this pandemic gets over & we are back to basics, we can make this work.

If you have an offline institute, you must have an offline database with you. Alternatively, if you host or attend any panel discussion or offline event, make sure you are gathering the emails of the attendees if they are your target audience. Let people know that you have a mailing list that would keep them updated about your courses. 

While pitching, make sure that you aren’t being pushy. You can allure them into giving their email address by passing to them some interesting information. 

How to start online classes in 5 simple steps

3. Run Paid Campaigns 

Sometimes you need to spend money, in order to make more money back. Courses are sold based on trust. If your prospects trust you with your knowledge, they are going to purchase from you.

That’s why you need to educate them about the subject. Once you start to share your knowledge for free, they will look up to you. The moment they would want to purchase a course on your topic, you would be on top of their mind.

However, there is only so much that you can do with free traffic. You can’t wait for your social media & other organic traffic channels to grow huge first. Hence, you need to find your target audience & run a lead generation campaign. 

In the lead generation campaign, you would give them something for free. In order to use that resource, they will provide you their email id. 

Next up, use the same set of emails to run a retargeting campaign. You would be surprised to see how many people would take action especially because they already know you!

Related: How to Start Your Own Online Business

Launch my online course


4. Describe value in your CTA

We’ve spoken about using personalized CTAs. However, let’s understand how to use certain terms to attract an audience. Whether you are using pop-ups, sign-up forms, or giving away a FREE lead magnet, it’s imperative that it shows value.
How can we show the value in our offering?

Rather than using the term “sign up”, use language like “Download”, “Exclusive” “Premium”. Let them know that you are not going to them over junk emails. 

Don’t forget to use sarcasm & humor to entice your audience. .

The whole point of signing up is to get access to something that you aren’t already getting. Hence make sure that your copy is crisp & is delivering this exact same message! 

Create the best course website now.

5. Host A Webinar 

People connect to people. If you are a course creator, then your target learners would trust you more if they can be visually present with you. Conduct a webinar & ask people to sign up! When you come to the camera & deliver the talk, you become relatable and recognized. This makes your job of gaining more email ids easier. When you have a pool of initial candidates, you can use their testimonials & reviews in your next offering. It makes your job way easier. 

If you are new at facing cameras, you can start with Instagram live or facebook live collaborations. There, you can also give the link to your landing pages or simply ask people to provide you their email id. 

Make sure that you are providing this CTA not initially but after you have delivered the value. 

Related: Why you must start selling online courses now.

Launch my online course


6. Encourage everyone to sign up immediately.

There has to be something which is for everyone & on every web page. But, there are real visitors who could become your fans & would want to grab everything that you have to offer. In this case, ask them to subscribe to your newsletter.

Explain a bit about what your newsletter would be about. 

You can do a CTA like “Want FREE LinkedIn hacks? Sign up for our newsletter!”

Related: 7 myths about launching online class  

7. Launch a giveaway

You are a brand in yourself. If you are a course creator, you must be really aware of your audience & their wants. Hence, give them what they need.

Give them something that they are in a dire need of!

But, give only to a selected few. That’s right. I am talking about giveaways.

Find out what would fascinate your audience? A book? A FREE membership? A FREE tool? A FREE course?

What exactly!

Now, launch a giveaway. Ask them to participate.

Collect their email addresses. If you want to go a step ahead, you can even run a campaign around it!

Related: Earn six figures by launching your first online course

Launch my online course




We have heard these statements time & again. Email lists are essential because it helps you to connect with your audience in a more personalized way. Through email marketing, you can keep in touch with them while staying fresh in their minds. They eventually become your paid customer.

Alternatively, you use these emails to retarget them through paid campaigns. Either way, you convert them into paying customers!

Always Remember, followers can be lost, accounts can be disabled, Emails always exist.