The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Email List Ethically

The lead generation process typically begins when a potential customer shows interest in a product or service. This interest can be indicated through various actions such as filling out a form, subscribing to a newsletter, downloading content, or engaging with a company’s marketing materials

Your email list serves as a crucial marketing asset. Subscribers have willingly opted to receive your marketing messages, making them “warm” leads with a predisposition to make a purchase.

Emails play a crucial role in maintaining your brand’s presence in their minds, fostering meaningful relationships through direct communication. With modern technology, providing marketing automation and CRM tools enables the integration of your email strategy with other marketing efforts, it offers an excellent opportunity for retargeting individuals who have engaged with your brand through alternative channels.

The most ethical way to build your email leads is by sharing genuinely valuable content – something relevant and just right for the moment. Here are the steps to acquire email leads using this primary strategy.

The key to email lead generation is firstly to understand the target audience you aim to attract. Every business has its target audience, a group of people most likely to respond positively to your marketing efforts. The more you know what motivates your readers, the more likely you will be able to provide the relevant piece of content. Gather as much information as possible about your target audience, including demographic details such as age and income level, as well as personal interests and buying patterns. The better you understand what motivates your audience, the more efficiently you can encourage them to subscribe.

2. Create a compelling offer

Consumers are more inclined to share their email addresses when presented with something tangible and valuable. Marketers call it a “lead magnet” or “gated content”, a free incentive individuals receive upon subscribing to your list. 

Here are some examples of lead magnets:

  • Special discounts
  • Promo codes
  • Checklists
  • Workbooks or worksheets
  • Quick reference guides
  • E-books

Remember that potential customers form opinions about your business with every interaction with your content. 

3. Design a simple opt-in form

Joining your email list should be swift and hassle-free. Instead of asking for every possible detail, limit opt-in fields to less than 10 questions. Keep in mind that a simple streamlined design with convenient fields (like drop-down fields) increases the chances of conversion (completing the form). Many companies are using simple one or two-row forms with name and email address. However,  studies do not show a linear correlation between the number of fields and the conversion rate

4. Design and optimise your landing page

An engaging landing page will help you achieve a minimalistic opt-in form. Opt-in landing pages stimulate potential subscribers to share their email addresses by showcasing the benefits they will receive. Marketing Automation and CRM tools such as “Lead Gen and CRM” can automatically generate Dynamic Content without the need for a developer. Dynamic content automatically switches landing page contents based on the past behaviour of a specific lead – ensuring that the content displayed is accurately personalised to the individual. 

Here are examples of some elements that can be customised via Dynamic Content:

  • Header 
  • Paragraph
  • Image elements.

5. Use Lead Scoring for campaign optimisation

Every lead holds value, but some happen to be more valuable than others based on their consumer profile and engagement level. Lead scoring helps evaluate the purchase readiness of each person on your list, enabling you to assign them to the appropriate email marketing campaigns. Lead scoring directs focus towards warmer leads while allocating cooler leads to less intensive stay-in-touch campaigns.

6. Automate responses

Each fresh email lead should get a welcoming message as soon as they join your email list. These automated messages not only extend a warm welcome but also strengthen the personalised connection they’re starting to form with your brand. Automating this process ensures a tailored message is sent every time someone signs up.

7. Link social media forms

Another way to maximise your email lead generation efforts is to link your opt-in forms to your social media profiles. Rather than purely depending on website visits, seize the opportunity organically when visitors explore your social media page.

LinkedIN lead gen forms
Image: Example of Lead Gen Forms on LinkedIn

8. Referrals

Your email leads are precious for more than just potential purchases. In fact, trust in brand information peaks when it comes from friends and family, with 93% of consumers relying on word-of-mouth recommendations.

Did you know?

91% of every sale in B2B is influenced by word of mouth in some way.

Source: Demandbase, 2019

Avoid Purchasing Email List!

Having a database of engaged subscribers with genuine interest in your business is one of your most valuable assets in digital marketing. However, lead generation can be slow and growing a list of emails from scratch may seem such a long and hard process. 

Even though purchasing email lists may be tempting, it leaves a negative impact on your deliverability and puts your company reputation at risk. Buying an email list in itself is not illegal. However, sending unsolicited marketing messages without their explicit consent of receivers is illegal in many countries and is determined by local laws where the email recipient resides (eg., GDPR and the CAN-SPAM act).

Usage of purchased email lists will likely result in high unsubscription rates and bounces as some purchased addresses may be entirely undeliverable or contain spam traps. Accumulating too many bounce-backs may lead email service providers to suppress your ability to send emails.


Email leads are an essential element of modern digital marketing strategy. By providing valuable content, understanding and engaging with your target audience, leveraging automation and social media channels, businesses can build a robust and responsive email list. The emphasis on lead scoring ensures a focused approach, maximising the impact of campaigns.

What's next for you?

If you plan to establish your email marketing strategy in South East Asia and are looking for a reliable tool to realise your plans – wait no more, reach out to our team at “Lead Gen and CRM” by Constant Contact. You won’t have to invest significant time in mastering its functionality independently. Our specialised team is committed to handling the preparation of your database and customising automated email workflows, enabling your team to commence effortlessly.

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