Research has shown that email marketing is still much more effective than compared to social media advertising. Let's dive into the basics!

How to Build an Email List in WordPress

Research has shown that email marketing is still much more effective than compared to social media advertising. Let's dive into the basics!

How many of you have prioritized pageviews over email marketing? We all have at some point. After all, pageviews equals more ad revenue…right? Well, having a good email list is more valuable and can bring in more pageviews than you get using traditional methods.

So how do you build an email list in WordPress?

You always hear the same advice: create great content and people will subscribe, or have an opt-in form on your blog. Those methods are tried and tested but there are other more creative and effective ways to implement them and speed up the growth of your email list.

We’re talking content upgrades, high-value opt-in forms and social proof.

Let’s first start off with the basics before we dive into those three methods and how to effectively employ them.

The Basics

What is an Email List?

An email list is a list of email addresses of your existing and prospective customers who have signed up or subscribed via your WordPress site to get updates, newsletters, special offers or announcements.

Why You Should Build an Email List

Email consistently outperforms social media across the board. It gets a higher view rate than Facebook or Twitter; 50-100 times the click rates of Facebook or Twitter; and is more cost-effective than any other marketing and social channel. Why? Because email is more intimate and private.

If those stats haven’t convinced you yet, here are three other really good reasons:

#1. Your emails are guaranteed to reach the inboxes of each and every one of the active contacts on your email list. The email stays in their inbox until they take an action. Compare that to Facebook or Twitter, where your statuses and posts may not be seen by your followers because of algorithms and the inherent nature of those social networks. Bottom line: people check their emails more thoroughly than they do their social timelines

#2. Email is more secure and more flexible. You own your email list. You however, have very limited control and no ownership of your Twitter and Facebook account data. Furthermore, your social accounts could get hacked or suspended for whatever reason; or the platform could cease to exist or become less popular (think Myspace) etc. Whereas you own your email list and can communicate with your customers and prospects on your own terms.

#3. Email has more specific targeting. You can send information or announcements on product specific or geo-specific services to specific contacts that match some particular criteria.

That’s not to say that you should neglect your social networks. Social is great for user engagement so don’t give up on social just yet. Email will just bring you more visitors and conversions.

So how can you get started today?

Well, there are quite a few WordPress email marketing plugins at your disposal. Most of them require you to use them in conjunction with email marketing service providers and only help you to create signup forms on your site. They don’t go much further than that. A few however do. One of those is Subscribe2 HTML.

Subscribe2 HTML

Subscribe2HTML plugin is arguably one of the most comprehensive and reliable email marketing plugins for WordPress. It gives you the option of sending emails on a per-post basis or periodically in a newsletter format.

It manages your email lists in a straightforward way. For example, you don’t need to log in to compose an email every time before sending one. This comes in handy when you need to send out timely post updates – a great feature for high traffic blogs.

There are two subscription options for Subscribe2 HTML: Registered Subscribers and Public Subscribers. Registered Subscribers are users who have subscribed to your blog and are consequently required to log-in to your site to manage their subscriptions. They can opt to receive either plain text or HTML emails. You can send them post notifications by category; and they can choose whether they want just the excerpt or the full post. (If they don’t make a choice, they will get the full post when they select the plain text option).

Suscribe2HTML is full of features and can be configured in any way you like.
Suscribe2HTML is full of features and can be configured in any way you like.

Public Subscribers can sign up through an online form. However, their subscription only starts when they confirm the subscription request via email. They do not get to choose between an excerpt or plain text version of an email.

As an admin, you can subscribe or unsubscribe users and send emails to all verified subscribers. You also have a selection of email templates to choose from.

There are additional options and settings available, like choosing the frequency of your emails and the time of day to send them. The plugin is all about automation to save you valuable time.

3 Effective strategies to Grow Your Email List


Consistently creating great content is the advice you always hear and read about when looking for ways to increase traffic to your blog and to grow your email list. That’s all good and true, but have you heard of a content upgrade? It’s a simple and highly effective strategy to grow your email list.

How it works:

  1. Write an engaging blog post.
  2. Create a more in-depth version of the post.
  3. Give readers the option to read the upgraded content in return for their email address.

This strategy works on the basis that your readers are already interested in the blog post since they clicked on it. So, a content upgrade plays on that interest by offering more. It’s simple, straightforward and highly effective.

Opt-In Forms

Like you’ve heard over and over again (and seen on many high-traffic sites), opt-in forms are the way to go when growing your email list. It’s worth mentioning again in this post. Whether you’re offering an eBook, white paper or free software, opt-in forms will increase your email subscriptions.

The key is not to offer as many incentives as you can. The most efficient strategy is to pick a high-value incentive and place it in appropriate areas of your site (the sidebar, pop-ups, blog post, footer, etc.). This strategy is especially great for small businesses that don’t have the time or the manpower to produce upgraded content for every blog post.

Social Proof

A majority of online users rely on ratings, popularity and reviews in making purchasing decisions. Social proof is very important and shouldn’t be underestimated.

That being said, you should focus on your numbers. Add up all your followers and subscribers on all channels and put the total out there. The bigger the number, the more impressive.

In fact, various research studies have shown that social proof has more impact on behavior than financial, environmental and personal incentives.

Would you also like to be included in our email list? Go to our homepage and enter your email address to subscribe!

Then read our guide on how email marketing and SEO work together.

Want to Try AIOSEO for Free?

Enter the URL of your WordPress website to install AIOSEO Lite.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

Add a Comment

We're glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our privacy policy, and all links are nofollow. Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.

14 comments on “How to Build an Email List in WordPress

  1. Thanks for this post! I literally just set up my opt in forms. This is totally new to me

  2. I am going to work on this today – thanks.

    Any btw, I used to live in Brussels and went to Bruges and Ghent almost every weekend.

  3. I have been working very hard to build my e-mail list, got some things from the article. Thanks.

  4. There was some awesome advice on creating an email list. I had no idea there was a plug-in on wordpress for this. This should help me grow a lit on my new blog about scooters. Thanks for the info.

  5. I’m just starting to experiment with content upgrades. Usually I’m a fan of giving the content without making people jump through email list subscribes, but it’s always good to try new things and grow the list 😉

    1. You shouldn’t of course do that with all your content, only content is high value to your visitors. Otherwise your bump rate will spike.

  6. Thanks for the info on Email Marketing, it is very interesting indeed.

    I want to know though: is there revenue to be earned from Blogging and Email Marketing, and if so, how?

    1. In most cases blogging and e-mail marketing are used to support and promote products, increasing sales, but they are not used as a direct source of revenue (e.g. online ads).