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How to Build an Email List Before Your Project Has Started

Turn your email list from a small collection into a real gold mine

One of the pillars of a successful marketing campaign is an email list. Not just any email list you can purchase on the internet, but a list that contains the email addresses of your past and current customers, fans, followers, and anyone else that has expressed interest in what you are bringing to the table.

Without an email list, email marketing isn’t possible, and considering that this is one of marketing’s most important branches, not having it implemented could mean huge losses for you and your business.

In order to build an email list, you will need three essential things, an email marketing service, a blog/website, and the appropriate opt-in forms, but to say these three are the only things necessary to build the list, would be a lie.

Sending Email

The other thing you will need is the proper techniques that will help drastically increase the number of addresses in your list, even if your project/business is yet to start.

For those of you who came looking to learn what those techniques are, you’re in luck because this article is dedicated to exactly that, to teaching you how to build an email list before your project/business has started.

So without further ado, lets dive into it!

Have a coming soon page

Having a coming soon page is crucial for building the online presence and SEO of a site that is intended for a project/business which is yet to be released, but also for building an email list.

A coming soon page isn’t anything complex; it’s a simple page that tells visitors when something will be launched, provides them with all the information they need to know, and also gives them the opportunity to subscribe to all the important news and updates by adding their email to your email list.

Coming Soon Page

What’s so great about coming soon pages is that you can share/include links to them on your social media accounts, your newsletters, and anywhere else where integrating an email opt-in form might not be the easiest thing to do.

For your email list to benefit the most that it can from a coming soon page, the opt-in form we just mentioned will be the most important thing. To incorporate the opt-in form in your coming soon page but also to build the coming soon page itself, you can take one of two routes.

The first route is to do it all by yourself, from scratch, with the help of your web development skills, that is, if you actually do possess them. In the case that you don’t, you can then resort to using one of the many coming soon page builders that are available on the market.

Since the main focus of your coming soon page will be the opt-in form, you have to make sure that the builder you go for will actually allow you to incorporate the form into the page, so you can easily collect emails using it.

One of the best options for a builder of that sort is called Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode, which will support all the things you might need, such as an autoresponder, CRM features, marketing software, and so much more.

With Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode, you will be able to select a mailing system, enable double opt-ins, validate emails and names, check if a person is already in your email list, and do plenty of other things as well.

Other noteworthy builders you might want to check out are: Coming Soon by Supsystic and IgniteUp by Ceylon Systems just to make a few.

Reach out directly to people who you believe might be willing to give you their email address

We know that it might seem crazy, but some people, in fact, do prefer when companies and businesses take a personal approach towards them. You can use this to your advantage when trying to build your email list.

How might you ask?

Well, by sending direct messages to your followers on every platform your business/company is present on and introducing those followers with the possibility and the benefits of joining your email lists.

Creating Email List

When doing so, try to personalize the messages just a tiny bit, so the person receiving the message doesn’t feel like it’s a copy-paste type of communication. This might take a bit more time but will, for sure, be effective.

Also, you don’t have to limit yourself to reaching out to only your followers; you could do the same with old customers and people who have emailed you but aren’t on your email list. Remember when you are adding old customers to your email list, it is important to verify email addresses and clean your list. Emails sent to invalid addresses bounce back, which may lead to an account suspension if the bounce rate is too high.

Start a private Facebook group

In recent years, having a Facebook group (not just a Facebook page) has become a necessity for every business that is striving to be successful, and that wants to interact with its audience genuinely.

The way these Facebook groups could help you build an email list is by requiring people to enter their email address when submitting their membership request.

Collect email adresses through Facebook groups

You can choose whether to make the email address field mandatory or not; there is no right or wrong way in this situation. The best thing you can do is take a second and think if your audience (the people who will be joining the group) will mind the fact that filling out this field is mandatory.

Share posts in Facebook groups related to your project/business

While it’s important to have your own Facebook group, you can also use similar or related groups to spread the word about your project/business and to lure people into sharing their email address with you.

Share posts in Facebook groups related to your project/business

The key to doing this effectively is to post relevant things in those groups such as articles, videos, questionnaires, etc. so you avoid coming off as spammy, and of course to include a link to where people can actually submit their email address, for example, to your coming soon page.

Include a call to action in your email signature

When responding to anyone that emails you, you should offer them the possibility of joining your email list and explain that by doing so, they will enable themselves to become up-to-date with all the relevant information regarding your project/business as soon as it’s public.

To do this you don’t have to call them, send a separate email or do anything of that sort, you can simply put a short message along with a call to action button for joining your email list in the signature of your emails, and you’re done.

Offer the possibility of getting early access

If what you are offering is a new thing on the market, then you can be sure there are a lot of people who will want to be the first ones to try it out. Exactly that could be your chance to boost the number of addresses in your email list.


In order to give the people what they want, which is early access, simply ask them to provide you will one thing beforehand that thing being their email address.

They will understand that you need their email in order to notify them when early access is available, so there won’t be much hesitation about giving it away on their part.

Offer an incentive for people who leave their email address

Let’s be real, who doesn’t love a freebie? And to people who want to receive a freebie, giving their email address away in order to get one will seem like a small price to pay.

The freebie doesn’t have to be anything major that will set you back thousands of dollars in profit; it can be something as small as a discount, a coupon, free shipping, early access, honestly whatever you see as fitting and think your audience will appreciate.

Newsletter Sign Up

Conduct a survey

If you are a business/company that is yet to launch a project, you will want to know as much as you can about the preferences your audience has.

The easiest way to do this is to ask the audience directly through questionnaires and surveys. Doing this can do much more than give you answers to burning questions, it can also help you easily build up your email list by collecting the email address of every person who submits their answers to your questionnaire/survey.

One of the best options for you for conducting an online survey can be the Survey Plugin. It is designed to meet all the requirements that a good survey must have. It is known to be the Google Form alternative in WordPress, which is why the majority of WordPress users enjoy using this plugin.

The only downside with surveys and questionnaires is that they can often seem dull and tiring. That is why you will have to find a way to make them look interesting. You could try using fun fonts, color schemes, animations, or even make them interactive in some way.

Another thing to keep in mind is that only a few people will take a survey without getting any compensation in return, so if you can, it would be great to offer a reward/gift (one of those incentives we mentioned a bit earlier), to everyone who is willing to set aside time and fill it in.

Design the Perfect Opt-In Form

Above, we already mentioned that you need to have an opt-in form as one of the three essential elements of growing your list. However, that’s a bit of an understatement. You need the perfect opt-in form.

Many websites’ opt-in forms are unattractive. Some are badly designed, others are cramped and unnecessarily complicated.

To avoid these pitfalls and make people want to sign up, you need a visually appealing and straightforward form.

The easiest way of doing this is to use a form builder plugin. These plugins offer drag-and-drop builders to help you to create stunning and effective forms for any purpose, from scheduling appointments to signing up for your newsletter.


We hope this article made you feel confident enough to take action into your own hands and turn your email list from a small collection into a real gold mine for your business. Trust us, along with having a SaaS tool such as Smartsheet, an email list is crucial for the success of your project.

Regardless of the type of work you do or the industry you are in, having a large, fast-expanding and frequently-updated email list is the only certain way to start turning one-time visitors into returning, loyal and paying customers, and we think it’s safe to say that exactly that is one goal we all strive to achieve.

Good luck!