How to Start an Email List in Under 2 Hours

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Jule Schluetter


I moved across the Pond from Germany to the U.S. to go on an adventure, not knowing where it would lead me. On the way, I started to teach about my lifelong passion—email marketing and now help entrepreneurs, social sellers and online business owners to grow their business using email.


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It’s the number one question I get asked by my clients: How do I start an email list?
This is one of the most important tasks of any entrepreneur…and yet it’s often overlooked or undervalued.


“It takes too much time” or “I’m not a marketer” is what I usually hear.

Email marketing can be complex and it’s surely a skill that you need to learn.

But isn’t that the case for just about anything in business? We aren’t born with any of these talents. They can be acquired and knowing how to setup your email marketing system and build your email list is a strategic move that will pay you back for years to come.

All you have to do is to start.

In this video episode I’m sharing with you the 4 exact things you need to do when you want to start building your email list – and here comes the sweet part: all it takes is 2 hours or less of your time.

That’s about how long it takes to do a Target run and buy $200 with of stuff when all you wanted was some laundry detergent. 😉

So, what are the steps you need to start an email list? Let’s unpack them right here, right now:

Step 1: Select an Email Marketing Service Provider (ESP)

I get it. It’s overwhelming and there are a million tools out there. And yes, all of them send emails but every tool is created equal and right for your type of business and the business stage you’re in.

Many of the email marketing service providers have overlapping features.

Here are some things to consider:

Gain Clarity On Your Email Marketing Goals.

Exactly how will you use your ESP? Do you plan to send mostly transactional emails such as order confirmations, review requests, abandoned cart emails? Or are you planning to nurture your audience with automated workflows and funnels that are based on how people interact with your content and emails?

Set a Budget For Your Email Marketing Service Provider

It’s important to understand the way email marketing software is priced. Many providers have a tiered approach where they charge you by the number of subscribers, the email volume you’re sending (the number of subscribers you have x the number of emails) and the features you want to use.

If you do a Google search you’ll quickly find tools like Hubspot, Pardot or Infusionsoft. Hubspot is a great tool with a lot of advanced features which translates into it’s high pricetag with $3600/month for 10,000 subscribers. Not really what you’re able to invest when you’re just starting (unless you have some VC backing you up).

If you’re just in the beginning stages, you’re just starting to build an email list and don’t have an audience yet (or a couple hundred people), you want to have a solution that has all the essential features but also allows for growth and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Let me introduce my favorite tool to start an email list with: Flodesk.

It’s my number one choice for a number of reasons.
Flodesk made it their mission to make email marketing a breeze. Talk about bringing the joy! The interface is clean and simple so you can know where to go and what to do without confusing menus that leave you scratching your head wondering if you need a marketing degree to send a simple email.

Flodesk‘s email designs are simply beautiful – even though you don’t need a visual email in most cases. Text based emails are king and convert best. But it’s still nice to have a selection of pre-designed emails for your first promotional campaign!

Now on to the best part: the pricing!

Where other email marketing providers make starting an email list hard because of their mostly costly fees, Flodesk stays true to their simple approach to email marketing with affordable flat-rate pricing.
No tiers. No limits. One monthly fee of $35 so you can grow your audience constantly without ever having to pay more.

Looking to sell digital products, services or coaching? Flodesk now also has checkout pages! That means you can grow your email list AND make money with the integrated solution that let’s you process payments through Stripe and automatically sync up your customers to your Flodesk audience. Pretty sweet if you ask me!

Look at Email Automation

Sending a weekly email to your subscribers is a perfect way to serve, add value and establish trust. But it’s not the only type of email you need to setup when you start to build your email list.

Enter email automation and let the technology take over the hard work while you focus your energy on growing your audience. A great example of email automation is a lead magnet delivery or welcome sequence. Whenever someone new joins your email list the software will automatically send a sequence of emails that you initially created so that you don’t have to remember to manually send your lead magnet. That would be a full-time job in itself! The goal is to work less, right?! So, take a look that your email marketing tool can handle basic workflows (you don’t need complex automation in the beginning).

Flodesk has automation built into their platform and it’s very easy to understand and use with a visual editor. I did tell you that I love Flodesk, didn’t I? 😉

Integrations Are Important Too

Lastly, make sure that you can integrate your other business tools. If you’re using Stanstore, Honeybook, FacebookAds…wherever you collect email addresses outside of your website – integrate the tools with your email marketing service provider so you have a seamless process in place to have all your customers and subscribers in one main place and can communicate with them easily.

Step 2: Get People to Sign Up For Your Email List

Make it as easy as possible for people to sign up for your email list. But also, make it exciting! The days are over where people join your list by signing up for a newsletter.

Getting the right people to sign up is important because your email list will only bring in sales if you have a super engaged audience that can’t wait to get your emails, opens them and purchases when you ask them to. Create opt-in forms to embed in your website to show up as inline forms (directly embedded into the page) or pop ups (yes, they work amazingly well!).

Quality is more important than quantity.

The biggest email list isn’t going to grow your business if the people on your list don’t engage with your emails. Unengaged subscribers also don’t buy.


The caps are intentional. If you’re thinking about spending money on an email list from various services online…you might as well burn those notes and your reputation as well. Email marketing is all about building trust and sending emails to people who don’t know you and asking them to buy something from you isn’t exactly trust building. Also, good email addresses aren’t for sale and you’ll hurt your sender reputation. That means that your future emails might not even land in peoples inboxes.

Define The Benefits Clearly

Formulate the benefits that people get when they sign up for your email (please don’t call it newsletter). It’s a privilege to be in someone’s inbox so you want to give people a good reason to give you their email address.

Ways to attract the right people to your list is to create valuable resources (also known as lead magnets or freebies) or offer a discount on a product/service that you sell. The value in exchange for email address approach works exceptionally well because people get a taste of your message and your expertise. If they like what they get then they’re very likely to stay on your email list and will also more likely engage with your content.

Prominently Place Your Opt-In Forms

I mean it! 🙂
Here’s a list of places to make sure you have sign up forms in these places:

  • Homepage
  • About page
  • On each blog article page
  • Main navigation menu
  • Website footer
  • Your email signature for business emails
  • Social media pages (link in bio)
  • In your social media content (captions, story stickers, story highlights)

Step 3: Welcome Your People

A heartfelt warm welcome makes for good friends. That’s why your welcome email is the most important email that you’ll write. It’s your one-time chance to introduce yourself to your new subscriber, tell your story and share how you can help.

Think of it like this: you’re boarding a plane and sit in your seat. Another passenger takes the seat right next to you. After the plane takes off you have a short conversation about where you both are from, what you do for work and where you’re headed to. Eventually the other passenger gives you their business card and asks to stay in touch.

And why does that matter?

Because the passenger giving your their business card is like a new website visitor raising their hand and opting in to your email list to learn more about you! The welcome email is sent at a time where the interest is high and people will eagerly await and read your welcome email because they want to learn more about you.

What To Write In a Welcome Email

When writing welcome emails it could be helpful to think of a specific person, your ideal client. Write the email specifically for that person and think about what your ideal client would want to know about you and also, what would you like for them to know about you.

Step 4: Promote, Promote, Promote

I think your and I agree that the final step to building your email list is to promote the fact that YOU HAVE AN EMAIL LIST?! No doubt about it.

If you don’t promote your opt-ins then people won’t know that they can get on your list and benefit from the value that you share!

Make it a daily practice to talk about your email list on all the channels you’re present. You can use Instagram stories, feed posts, reels, LinkedIn articles, Facebook posts, podcasts, YouTube videos….there are no limits to where you can promote your email list. Doing it daily is important because unlike email, social media posts are non-sequential You don’t know when and who is going to see your post (thanks, mysterious algorithm). Only a small percentage of your followers see all your content….sharing daily will increase the odds that enough people will see it so you can pull them over to your email list.

That’s it! You made it til the end of this post!

Let’s Recap What You Learned

Now you know the exact steps you need to take to build your own email list so that you can grow an audience and increase your sales over time. Remember: the quality of your list is more important than the quantity. Small lists can be mighty revenue drivers IF you built strong connections and deliver great value to your audience.

I hope you enjoyed the read and took something away that helps you to start building your own email list. And the best time to start is now.

Email will not go anywhere and people crave a more personal connection.

Next, I want you to download my comprehensive guide so you can actually implement and get started!

→ Click here to download my FREE Email List Building Starter Guide

How to start an email list in under two hours by Jule Schluetter

I'm Jule Schluetter.

I'm an email marketing expert and I teach strategies that help solopreneurs, social sellers and network marketers to turn their followers into subscribers and paying customers (without being salesy). Plus, I love cheering you on!

more about me


Photos by Katya Vilchyk & ÉLEAVE

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