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You’ve probably already heard how important it is to build an opt-in email list to keep your visitors. The best marketing strategy after direct traffic.

I have now created my third campaign and would like to share my experiences with you.

How to create an opt-in email list is actually quite simple, it just takes time to set up all the forms and write the emails.

The main idea is that you register visitors to your own list instead of directing them to sales sites where they leave their email addresses to other companies.

It is important to have multiple opt-in forms, opt-in landing/squeeze pages and an autoresponder program.

Here are some recommended programs you can test for free:

Content: Create Email Lists - The best in 2019

My short story – Email Lists and What to do with them

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

When I started creating websites 2 years ago I knew what email addresses are but not how and why I should collect them.

At the beginning of my training, there is not much interest in the subject because it is important to establish a website first, to learn all the techniques to get visitors to the page and above all to create valuable, helpful content.

Despite everything, I heard here and there that it was important to start early with collecting email addresses.

So I’ve used a plugin that I use anyway to make my page social divisible. Few but regular I have collected some email addresses but otherwise did nothing.

Last year, with this website, I wanted to better understand and practice this topic.

I looked at what possibilities there are. Since my financial resources are limited, I focused on free solutions and also found some.

There are autoresponder email business programs that are partly completely free, others that you can test for free for a limited time.

What I’ve learned with all of these programs every time I tryed one, it’s very interesting but I’ve spent a lot of time on it.

Today I would recommend to start with a program that you can keep with 90% certainty for a longer time.

Some Options To Collect Email Addresses

When you start your website business, you probably do not know how important it is to collect e-mail addresses.

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

In the beginning, the main thing is to create the website, to create good content and to establish a name in your niche. Soon you will learn more about traffic, visitors and different ways to get people to your website.

In the future, it will be essential to build a relationship with them in order to get these visitors as your personal audience and possibly as customers.

In the digital business, this is done by email most of the time and with the best results. So let’s first take a look at the different tools I’ve used to create email lists.

Option 1: A Plug-In

How To Build An Opt-In Email List Social Share Plug- in

I worked with the plug-in “Ultimate Social Media Icons” right from the start and I still do that today.

It’s a free and actually pretty good plug-in that I can use to build my list. The main feature of the plug-in is the addition of social share buttons on your website.

However, you can also collect e-mail addresses. Today, I use only the social share feature of the plug-in, as a true autoresponder program is much more effective.

If you work with a WordPress site, you can download the free version of the plug-in.

In the WP dashboard, open “Add a new plugin” and search for “Ultimate Social Media Icons”. Select the first plug-in on the left, “ultimately social”, in the picture on the right, above.

For me, this plug-in is a good choice and works perfectly. You can create and enable a pop-up form to collect email addresses from your visitors.

It is easy to use, but to find the collected email addresses later is not that easy. You can not do much with the email addresses except to collect them and later manually add them to an autoresponder.

Option 2: MailChimp Free Version

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

The first option of a true autoresponder program with a free version is probably MailChimp.


Among other things, MailChimp does NOT allow affiliate marketing.

I tried to use this tool before, but for some reasons, it did not work for me. Of course, at that time, I was not so well informed about what an opt-in campaign is and what steps need to be taken.

In fact, I was not convinced that I could work with MailChimp and therefore dismissed the autoresponder thing for a while.

Also, I’ve read in other reviews that MailChimp can be quite expensive if you switch to paid, professional plans.

Please try it yourself and see if you want to work with this basically recommended program. (See plans here)

Today, I realize that all the essentials you need to launch your campaign are available in the free version of MailChimp.

  • A contact list max. 2000 email addresses.
  • Send 12,000 emails per month.
  • Various e-mail campaign options.
  • Various opt-in form options. Landing / Squeeze pages.
  • Email Automation, “work-flow”.

These features allow you to build and edit your email campaigns.

  • Receive an e-mail address from a website visitor.
  • Let the autoresponder send a welcome and follow up email.
  • Send weekly or other newsletters.
  • Create a landing/squeeze opt-in page for your products.

Navigating in the MailChimp program is a bit more difficult than I would like and the creation options are relatively small.

However, I think that working with MailChimp can be satisfying and effective. After all, we’re talking about a free service here.

There are many instructions and a gradual introduction to the use of the program. You can also find lots of information on YouTube.

For me, however, MailChimp is not enough, a bit too old-fashioned and unprofessional.

Option 3. MailerLite Free Version

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

It was a little difficult to be accepted. I applied as an affiliate marketing site and my application was immediately rejected.


Among other things, MailerLite does not allow affiliate marketing.

After a few e-mails with a co-worker, we finally solved the problem. (In the meantime, I was kicked out though)

Please check these “Terms of Use” thoroughly before signing up. This will save you a lot of time and work.

I generally agree with these terms and believe that spam is not the way to go anyway.

If we want to create trust and maintain a happy email community, we need to look after them and provide only relevant and helpful content.

As with MailChimp, here you get the whole package that is necessary to create professional email campaigns.

There are differences in design, automation, and prices. By and large, I find MailerLite the more professional version than MailChimp. Please read my detailed MailerLite review here.

I do not want to repeat everything I have already written.

Basically, I recommend MailerLite to people or businesses that want to start new with Email Marketing. Your websites should be general niche websites that share predominantly informative content.

Affiliate links are allowed, but only on the edge. The product that you get with the free version of MailerLite is very professional and extremely functional.

Option 4: GetResponse For Every Business Model

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

My favorite today

The actual second attempt when I was worried that I did not have a working autoresponder in use was the free trial of GetResponse.

It took me about three full days to set it up. Landing page, registration forms and a welcome mail for autoresponders.

The program can be used for free for 30 days. After that, the default plan is $15.00/month.

One thing I do not like about GetResponse, I have to say right away: When you create forms and emails, the mobile version has to be adjusted manually.

Another tip. If you can pay with PayPal this is not important but if you want to pay by Visa etc you should quickly check if your card is accepted. At that time I did not have a PayPal account and therefore lost all the work of 3 days.

So, GetResponse is now, in my opinion, the best product in this sector I have used so far. I have also written a review report that you should read if you are looking for more specific information.

In general, I think that you’re doing best with GetResponse, especially if you’re into Affiliate Marketing like me.

The workspace is clear, easy to navigate and all functions are well structured and described.

A short habituation time is necessary with all programs but with GetResponse I think everyone gets along quickly.

The price of $15/m is in my opinion very appropriate for what you get. Of all the autoresponder programs I’ve tested this is the most professional one.

Sure, this and that could be better but unfortunately the perfect program has yet to be invented.

Option 5: AWeber Autoresponder.

How To Build An Opt-In Email List AWeber

To be honest, I can not say much about AWeber. I also registered for free for the 30-day test version but gave up after a few tries.

After trying with GetResponse, AWeber has seemed very complicated and old fashioned. The dashboard looks like a javascript and the navigation is extremely confusing.

For newcomers in my opinion absolutely not recommended.

Option 6: Builderall, The Website Builder With An Autoresponder.

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

The last model I’m presenting here is a solution that you can apply if you do not already have a working website.

The reason for this statement is that Builderall works with its own website creation software. So if you run WordPress websites like me, you can not integrate them with Builderall and therefore pay double.

If you just want the autoresponder program at Builderall this is too expensive in my opinion and not quite as good as GetResponse.

But, if you’re just getting started on your internet business journey, Builderall can be a very cheap and interesting solution.

Look at my experience report and make your own opinion.

In short, Builderall includes:

  • Create web pages.
  • Hosting websites.
  • Sales Strategy Training.
  • Prefabricated sales funnels.
  • Autoresponder program.
  • Landing pages creator.
  • And many more.

Everything for a price of max. $49.99/month. I am about 80% convinced of this still young program. I believe you can learn to make money online and get the most tools you need.

Wealthy Affiliate, however, my favorite program convinces me 100% and offers at the same price the more important tools, in better quality.

How To Build An Opt-In Email List From Scratch.

After looking at various models of email address programs I would like to tell you a bit about how and what an email campaign contains.

Email Address List:

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

Of course, you need to get as many email addresses as possible. I recommend you to exclusively use your website to collect them.

Of course, you can buy e-mail addresses or get them somehow, but an e-mail address is not just an e-mail address.

Assuming your website is, like mine, addressed to people who want to learn the online business, then these are the best potential customers for your products.

There are a lot of scams out there promising to sell you relevant email addresses but with these you just add extra costs and eventually don’t make any sales.

Lead magnet:

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

This is a product or service, something valuable that you offer for free in return for someone giving you their email address.

In my case, it’s the “Free Blue Print to Success”, which means a free introduction to the secrets that guide you to online business success.

In fact I offer a email series of 7 emails everyone can adjust and use them selfs. In addition I recommend a Program proven to work for thousands of online interpreneurs that comes with a great affiliate program.

We will see if that’ll work 🙂

Everyone has to come up with something for themselves, if you have no idea at the beginning you can also just promise a newsletter every week.

Welcome Email:

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

However, before you publish your bait and start collecting e-mail addresses, you should create a corresponding welcome e-mail.

In my case, this is “thank you for enrolling and right here the first part of the lessons to become successful online”.

In my case, of course, the series continues. I wrote 7 emails that are sent over 7 days after someone gave the email address.

This automation does the autoresponder for me. I just have to write the emails and attach them to the automation and order when those need to be sent and to which list.

The welcome email goes out immediately and the second a day later, and so on.

This will keep me in the inbox of my customer for at least one week.

You too can have my free emails if you push the button below 🙂

Opt-in forms:


Now the time has come, you can allow your readers to sign up with you.

How To Build An Opt-In Email ListDifferent Opt-In Forms:

  • Side widget. Visible on all posts and pages if not full width.
  • Pop-ups. Defined appearing on all pages and posts.
  • Embedded opt-in fields. Depending on requirements in text on posts and pages or as widgets.
  • Call to action buttons. These can be placed where suitable inside your content.

To do this, you first create a form that everyone can see when he opens your website. It is a so-called side widget form.

You see mine in the upper right next to the text. As I said, it promises the reader a bonus, a lure so that someone decides to give his email address.

You can create these forms more or less easily with any autoresponder program. It consists of the visible part, the widget and a success message that the reader sees when he has entered his email address.

On the success message, you say thank you and briefly mention what follows. Either the training by email or the newsletter or whatever you promised.

In addition you add a call to action button on the success message. This button contains a link to either a product that the customer wants or only to the bonus that you have promised.

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

You can also create other opt-in forms like a “pop-up” or an embedded form now.

You can create different lists that are fed by different forms. For example, one for the page widget, with the lead magnet, another one, an embedded one in the footer widget area, one that only promises a newsletter.

Another embedded or call to action one on a review post, that is specifically used for people interested in the product.

Accordingly, the success messages are different and, of course, you then have to create the corresponding welcome emails with associated email sequences.

You don’t want that someone who is interested in autoresponders receives information about keyword research tools.

So far, I’ve simplified and managed my campaign so everyone subscribing is interested in online marketing and email marketing. And at the moment you are all receiving the same emails.

Everything takes time and since I work alone, I have only 2 hands and must set priorities 🙂

Landing or squeeze pages also called leadpages:

How To Build An Opt-In Email List

The last feature that an autoresponder usually offers are so-called landing pages or squeeze pages.

The purpose of these pages is to offer a product or service for sale, but as a first step give the email address to you.

Now you create a page that advertises for your product, perhaps showing advantages and disadvantages, but certainly shows advantages, qualities, and features.

Instead of giving the reader of this page direct access to the product, you first squeeze in the opt-in for your email list. So if the customer is interested he can give you the email address and in the success message he gets the link to the product.

Landing pages can be found in search engines, but not very easy. You should still comply with the best possible SEO practices.

Furthermore, landing pages are often used for paid advertising or on social media eg. Google Ads, Solo ads, Facebook, Twitter etc.

You can also link to a landingpage from a review instead of linking to the sales page of the product.

Another View Of How To Build An Email List.


I know, this is a bit confusing if you haven’t done anything with email marketing yet. I recommend you get the hang of it though.

It’s learning by doing, choose an autoresponder and start trying all the features they offer.

Here a bucket list of what you need:

  • Choose an autoresponder program.
  • Build a list, give it a name in the autoresponder.
  • Think of a lead magnet or get used to the idea of regularly writing a newsletter.
  • Write a welcome email and add it to the automation in the autoresponder, connect it to the list name you want to build.
  • Build at least one opt-in form with the success message, I recommend a side widget form.
  • Build a landing, lead page with success message for your main product. (At the beginning not necessary,)

That’s it,

Thank you for reading.

I hope it was worth your time and you could learn something here. I’m glad to finally have understood the email marketing better and I’m glad to share this with you.

So choose your favorite autoresponder as soon as possible and start setting up your campaigns. Every visitor to your website is a potential subscriber and essentially a prospective customer.

Do not let them get away, an e-mail list is an extremely valuable asset to the website marketing business.

It’s much harder to get visitors into a new website post than to send an email with all new content to at least all subscribers.

Please, if you have a question, please let me know. If you want to share experiences or add points that I have not mentioned, just leave a comment below.

I and all readers welcome constructive comments and I will definitely respond as soon as possible.

I wish you a nice week, see you soon, Stefan 🙂

PS. If you want to be up-to-date you can join: