How To Build An Email List In Your WordPress Website

May 3, 2021

Everyone is on social media nowadays, but if you want to stay in touch with your audience – email marketing can be an effective way to do so. Staying active on social media is important for your business visibility however leveraging email marketing can provide a tremendous boost. 

What’s An Email List?

When a group of people opt-in to receive email updates from you via a form on your website – they’re collected on an email list. You set up the opt-in form on your website, your audience fills in their information, and then they’re ready to receive email updates from you. 

Email is still one of the most reliable methods of communication, so your subscribers can get timely updates on your products, news updates, sales, special announcements, etc.

An email list is just a list of your subscribers with their contact information, and you need email marketing software to organize them and send emails to them.

Is Email Marketing Still Alive?

Yes, email marketing is still alive and well. Furthermore, in our testing – we had up to 8x more clicks using emails than social media. One of the biggest reasons why emails perform well is because email is confidential and personal. You can also personalize and brand email messages.

Social media is definitely more popular than ever, but just think about this – almost every social media website requires you to sign up with your email address, right? This means that everyone still uses email in day-to-day communication, and we believe this won’t change anytime soon.

Additionally, there’s always a risk of social media websites fading off and taking your subscribers with them, as happened with MySpace some years ago. Likewise, you don’t own your content on third-party websites because your account can be suspended or terminated. An email list is your property, only you have access to it, and you’re not limited to rules of the social platform (specific hashtags, limited characters, etc.).

Besides, building an email list is a lot easier than growing your social media following. Plus, we all know how quickly new posts disappear from your feed on Facebook and Twitter because the world moves very quickly. New information pops up faster than you can read it. When you send an email – it 100% reaches the destination (as long as the email address is still active), and it awaits further action from the user inside their own personal inbox.

Let’s get started then!

Choose An Email List Provider

The first and most important thing you need is a reputable email provider. You don’t want to send emails directly from your WordPress website, as it introduces tons of potential problems such as failed deliveries, emails going to the spam folder, etc. A good email provider specializing in email delivery spends lots of resources on their infrastructure to make sure emails en mass are correctly delivered. For example, all major IT companies use third-party email providers to send their emails (Apple, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). 

Here are some of the best email marketing services out there:

Set Up MailPoet On Your WordPress Website

This article will use MailPoet as it has a free plan and all the features we need for our starter email list.

Install And Activate MailPoet

Login to your WordPress Dashboard, head to Plugins > Add New, fill in MailPoet in the top-right search field, and click Install Now:

Once installed, click Activate to activate the plugin:

Configure MailPoet

Head to MailPoet > Settings to configure the plugin.

In the first (Basics) tab, you can configure your from and reply-to email addresses, manage your subscription and unsubscribe pages, and more. Each option has a short description, and it’s relatively straightforward to configure. Click Save settings once ready to save changes.

Next, click the Sign-up Confirmation tab, and choose if you want to enable the option to verify your new subscribers via email. We recommend enabling this option to avoid spambots. If it’s enabled, a new subscriber will receive an email message that requires them to verify their identity (via URL) to be added to your email list.

On this tab, you can configure the text of the email and select a confirmation page.

Next, hop to the Advanced tab to configure advanced options. We recommend leaving most options as they are by default, but you should consider adjusting these:

  • Bounce email address
  • Stop sending to inactive subscribers
  • Share anonymous data
  • Protect your forms against spam signups

Sign Up For MailPoet Free Account

To send emails through the MailPoet email service, we need to sign up for their free account. Head to Send With… tab, and click on the Free up to 1,000 subscribers button:

This will open a new tab in your browser. Fill in your email address and password, agree to terms & conditions and click Continue:

Once completed, you’ll receive a new email from MailPoet to verify your identity. Click the link in the email message to confirm that you want to sign up for a MailPoet account.

MailPoet will then ask you a couple of simple questions, so answer them to finish the setup process and proceed to your account. 

Once in your account dashboard, check under the My Subscriptions tab and copy your new key:

Head back to your WordPress Dashboard > MailPoet > Settings > Key Activation tab, paste your key and click Verify:

MailPoet will then verify the key, show you the confirmation message, and send you a test email to your admin email address:


Create A New List

Head to MailPoet > Lists, and click + New List to create a new mailing list:

Fill in the name and the description and click Save:

Create A New Sign Up Form

Head to MailPoet > Forms, click + New Form:

Click the Others (widget) tab, and select the desired template (we’ll use the Newsletter Signup template), then click Select:

Alternatively, you can start with a blank form.

Make sure to select your newly created list on the right and customize the form. Once ready, click Save to save the form.

Head to Appearance > Widgets, and drag the MailPoet 3 Form widget to your sidebar. Change the title and select your new form from the drop-down menu, then click Save.

Finally, visit your website, and you should see the sign-up form in your sidebar:

That’s it!

Now, each time someone subscribes via the sign-up form in your sidebar widget – MailPoet will automatically add it to your newly created email list.

To manage your subscribers – head to MailPoet > Subscribers.

To create new newsletters – head to MailPoet > Emails.

Final Words

Once you start building your email list, make sure to engage often with your subscribers. We recommend sending at least a monthly newsletter, if not weekly (depending on your niche). Feel free to ask for feedback, provide updates regarding your website or products, offer tips & tricks, and so on.