How to Build an Email List In WordPress?

How to Build an Email List In WordPress Email Marketing 101

How to Build an Email List In WordPress

Email Marketing 101

If you are starting a blog or an online business/service, you have probably been advised to create an email list, and that you cannot be successful without one. This is true, but what all these well-meaning experts tend to forget is that you are new to all this and may not even understand what an email list is.

So we thought we would create this quick guide to help you learn how to build an email list in WordPress. Let us start with the basics, shall we?

Email Lists – What are They?

As users peruse your content online or check out your portfolio, whatever the case is, you want to retain them as well as build a relationship with them. One of the best ways to do that is to start an email list. This is a list of emails that these users have willingly given you. 

Often this is so that they can receive special announcements or even a newsletter. You will be able to use this list to send those that have opted in for information on upcoming projects, product deals, or any information you want to pass along to convert them into customers.

Email Lists: Why Do You Need One?

Though the world of social media marketing is expanding continually, the studies and research still show that email marketing converts at higher rates. In fact, some say then an email marketing campaign gets up to 10x more clicks than the one posted through social media platforms. 

This may seem shocking to most, but the truth is that emails are just more personal and private too. This is not the only reason that building an email list is so important.


It does no good to do a marketing campaign or any type of content if you are not reaching anyone. When you use social media, your posts can be lost in the feed. The algorithms of the social media platforms are not always chronological, and they move so fast you may get lost in the shuffle. However, emails are direct and are checked with care more often.

You Own It

Unfortunately, as a lot of recent occurrences have shown, the data that is on your social media feeds is not your own, nor is the platform it sits on. That means, at any time, you can be kicked off or suspended from these platforms and lose access to all your followers. On the other hand, if you have built an email list, it is yours — you will never lose contact with your customers.

Also, there are limits to what you can post — both lengthwise and content-wise. With your own list, you can create and deliver a newsletter that is crafted and targeted for your customer base.


Using your email list will allow you to create content for specific audiences, cities, and locations. This will help your campaigns be more successful as you can target your chosen audience easier than you would going through social media.

Conversion = Revenue

When you can target your specific audiences and guarantee reach, you will get clicks. Those clicks will lead to conversion, and that, in turn, will lead to more revenue coming to your business.

But What About Social Media!?

Social media, as we said, is continuing to grow and develop and is a great tool to have at hand. It still does not quite do the trick when it comes to conversions. Even social media sites require an email, and that is significant enough that email is still a very vital part of marketing. 

As we said above, social media platforms are unreliable in getting your content out to the people you need to see it. Most social media platforms limit your reach or only stay on the feed for so long. However, emails are more permanent. 

Plus, in the end, you never know what is going to happen on any given social media platform. They could be here today and gone tomorrow.

So using social media as a backup to your email list to help drive traffic to your website and not as your sole means of contact with your audience is the best way to build a successful relationship and business.

Getting Started

In order to get started, you need to find a reliable email service provider. These are companies that help you effectively deliver mass quantities of emails at the same time. They also help keep your emails from ending up in the spam folders of your potential clients/customers. 

Email Marketing Services Options

There are a lot of email service providers to choose from, and so finding a good one may be challenging or seem a little daunting. Each one will offer different features and pricing structures, so here are a few of the ones that are used by a lot of online business or services:


ConvertKit is one of the most popular as it is very intuitive. It is easy to create a list, and all of your subscribers are kept on one list that you then can break down into sub-lists. However, unlike some of the other providers, ConvertKit does not offer a free option.


Another extremely popular email service, especially amongst bloggers. This service lets you send it, manage, and track the analytics of the emails and marketing you send out. You can set up auto-delivery, and it has a whole slew of other great features.

Mail Chimp

Mail Chimp is a great option for those that are working with a limited budget as they have a remarkably effective free option. Each tier of their pricing structure will open up more possibilities, but if you are just starting out, Mail Chimp’s free option could be just what you are looking for.

Constant Contact

As with the other providers, Constant Contact offers a good number of features that will let you optimize and analyze your marketing strategies. You get a free 2-month trial to see if you like the service, which could be a way to make money without spending it … at least for a few months.

Growing Your Email List

After signing up for the email service provider that fits your needs, you will have to create a subscription form in WordPress. But before you do that, you really need to think about where on the site you are going to place your opt-in form. 

This should be a place that works with your theme, and that will be visible to your potential customer. WordPress has a few different options.

Some Free WordPress Plugins for Email Subscriptions

Along with your email distribution service, you may also want to install a WordPress plugin to optimize your marketing workflow yourself. Here are a few free options that you can choose from:

  • Site Kit by Google
  • Sassy Social Share
  • Wordfence Security
  • Yoast SEO
  • Newsletters
  • Webpushr
  • WP Mail SMTP
  • WhatsApp Chat
  • Thrive Architect
  • Wpdevart Social comments

These will provide you with a smart way to build your list and create more successful email marketing campaigns. Some of these free options do have a next-level plugin that you may need to pay for, but to start the free plugins may end up giving you an elevated ability to create a good size email list for your business.

Collecting the Emails: Forms to Choose From

If you use the free WordPress plugin – MailOptin – there are three main options to choose from. If you have the free version of the plugin, then you will not have access to the notification bar or the slide in option.

Lightbox Popup

If you want the highest converting option choosing the Lightbox Popup should be first on your list. This type of form appears on the top of the page as it is being viewed. The background is darkened, and the background form hovers over the content below so that the box draws your attention.

Floating Footer 

This is an option that creates a sticky footer at the bottom of your age that moves with the user as they scroll down. This option does not convert as well as the lightbox popup, but they still deliver good results.


This option uses movement and slides into the screen from the bottom corner. The movement draws the user’s attention better than the other two options but does not convert as good as the other options.


A sidebar is a static option that goes unnoticed most of the time. But if you are looking for another place to give your audience a chance to sign up for your list, this could be a good backup.

How to Create an Opt-In Form

Once you have signed up for an email service provider, they will give you an API key. Once you have everything set, you will want to head back to WordPress and find the Integrations menu. 

Select the service provider and then input the API. All that’s left is to connect to your list that shows up in the dropdown. Now your WordPress is connected to your email list, and you can begin building it even more.

You will then need to choose what type of Opt-In form you want to use and follow the instructions provided. You can try multiple options until you find the one that converts the highest for your audience base.

Using a Contact Form

You can also use your contact form as a way to build your email list. Using the plugin WPForms, you can create a contact form and include checkboxes at the bottom. We have all seen these — most the time it says, “I agree to terms of services.”

However, you could use this box as another way to opt into your email list. Most services will allow you to use an add-on, making this an active opt-in that adds the user’s email straight to your list.

Now that you know how to build an email list on WordPress we thought we would give you a few more tips to help this process be as successful as possible.

Tips to Build Your List

By having a good email list you can be assured that no matter what you will have access to a targeted group of customers that are looking or interested in what you have to say or sell. In fact, with the right system, you can turn your email list into an automated process that allows you to elevate your business with extraordinarily little effort. 

There are a few tips that may help you use them to build and grow your list more effectively. Here are just a few.

Use Your Sidebar

With this option, you will want to format the message to entice the user to sign up for your newsletter or whatever you are trying to get them to sign up for. One tactic that works very well to build your email list quickly is to offer a little something as an incentive. Maybe a free eBook or checklist. This is called a lead magnet and is one of the best marketing strategies to use to build your email list.

Opt-In After a Blog Post

Another great way to score those emails is to create a template form that appears at the bottom of your post. Make sure to do the same careful consideration of word and offer as you would for the form on the sidebar.

Use A Pop-Up or Slide-In

This option is more eye-catching as it moves into the screen. It converts fairly well but as with the previous options you will want to create a message that draws your potential customer in.

Dedicated Landing Page

Email lists are a blogger or email marketers’ lifeblood, and so many of them opt to use the homepage of their website as a landing page too. You can use this homepage as an email opt-in form and simply offer an option to exit this page to the actual site. This is a great option for a blogger or email marketer that already has a bit of traffic. 

Even if you do not you can use this combined with your social media to drive people to the site and start building that email list. Even if your site is not fully live some plugins let you collect emails for a website that is coming soon.

Guest Blog

If you want to siphon some audience off of another site that can be extremely helpful as well. The best way to do that is to shop around for blogs that are looking for guest posts. Then you can somewhere in the body of content point the readers to your site where you can convert them with an opt-in form or lead magnet. 

The tricks are to look for reliable blogs that have a good deal of traffic and that are in your niche or niche adjacent to the content you already create. With this tactic, you can wash, rinse, and repeat as many times as you can find people looking for a guest blogger. This means that it is a continual conversion method that is well worth looking into.


If you’re new or simply struggling with getting traffic to your site so that you can build your email list, you could try reaching out to others in your niche to work together. This is especially helpful if you already have quality content that you are looking to share.

You can offer this content to an influencer or someone else in your niche to review and promote. Then collaborate with them on something they are looking to get out there as well. You can reach out to them through social media; just be prepared for some nos.

The trick to any of these tips actually working is improving your traffic with a well-planned out strategy and WordPress site. You want to make sure that you are delivering what is promised and doing it in a way that is user friendly. So when you choose the method you want to build your email list, make sure the user experience is smooth and fun.

Final Thoughts

Once the email list is built, it does no good if it just sits there, so maybe the most important aspect of this whole process begins only after you have built that list — you have to engage with your audience. You need to have a consistent schedule of updates and email campaigns set up. But make sure they are not all selling something. 

Maybe add in a “How am I doing?” or “Here are some tips” emails. This will make your customers more likely to open your emails and engage with you. This, in turn, will help you build a relationship and be able to promote your business or services without making your customers feel like you are nothing but a used car salesman.

Hopefully, these tips and information have helped you understand how important an email list is and just how to build an email list with WordPress.