Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

written by Houston Golden
Founder & CEO, BAMF Media
December 18th, 2019
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Email is not dead.

In fact, far from it.

Email is still one of the most potent ways to drive your outbound marketing campaign and scale your business exponentially, and today we’ll show you how.

We’ll get you started on how you can begin building email lists, proper customer segmentation, and even throw in email hygiene. By the time you’re done, you can start creating your email lists from scratch!

Table of Contents

The Power of Email

According to a study, every one dollar spent on email marketing yields a $32 return. Now, if you ask us, that’s a crazy return.

That’s the power of communicating properly via email.

When you’re first starting out, building an email list can get a little tricky, but it’s more than just that. It’s also about crafting good content, great subject lines, and a lot of other technical factors.

The good news is that there is a formula for all of this, and even a tiny startup can pull it off.

The world is full of stories of small businesses that have scaled primarily because of good email marketing

Getting Emails

There are several ways of building an email list – or a number of email lists for that matter.

In this guide, we take a look at some of the most tested and proven strategies that we’ve been using.

Using Email Hunting Applications

Looking for a specific person’s email?

We’ve got you covered.

There are a lot of applications and even extensions that are built into your browser to help you hunt for someone’s email.

email list is a popular choice for people hunting for a specific email, and they have a handy Chrome extension that sits on your browser, ready for you to make a quick query.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert is another excellent application that also has a Chrome extension.

There are several of these applications available, but the only issue is they might not be as accurate as you want them to be because they deal with emails on the public domain.

The only issue with these tools is if you’re scraping for a common name, there could be problems with the results that come up.


LinkedIn is a growth hacker’s best friend.

There are more than 300 million active users on the platform, and it is the most popular professional social networking application on the internet.

It’s also a great way to farm for emails.

And, yes, it works like a charm.

Your first step is to fully optimize your LinkedIn profile, and this means making sure everything is filled out correctly so that you can turn it into a high converting extension of your brand. Think of your profile as your LinkedIn landing page, how do you turn a visitor of your page into a prospect? It must showcase your abilities and your reputation as an industry or thought leader.

Once you’ve got your profile up and running, get active on the platform by posting and engaging with others. This gets your brand out there, and engagements build social proof.

You can even automate this entire process!

While you’re doing this, concentrate on connecting with as many as possible, you can now start using tools to extract emails from the network that you have.

Here’s how we do it.

In this example, we use Phantombuster, which is a nifty application that has a bunch of automated tools built into it. The platform will act as a scraper while it links up with an email checking tool, like the ones we mentioned earlier.

After you make an account – they have a 14-day trial that you can play around with – you can start using their range of tools. You’ve got to download their Chrome extension first so that it will automatically retrieve your cookies for you and make the application more comfortable to use.

Create a Google sheet with a list of the LinkedIn profile URLs that you want to scrape. Grab the URL of this sheet and set it aside.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

Search for the “LinkedIn Profile Scraper” Phantom.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

Remember that sheet with a list of all of the LinkedIn URLs that you’ve scraped? Put that link on the “Spreadsheet URL of profiles to scrape” field.

Phantombuster also gives you an option to use an email discovery service, so here you can set it to check using their service or another such as

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

There is also a list of advanced options where you can tweak other aspects of your data. You can choose what column it will pull data from, scrape profile’s interests and even grab screenshots of the profile

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

Pick if you want to do this manually or repeatedly.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

Choose how you want to be notified.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

And, presto, all you’ve got to do is launch the scraping tool.

Facebook Groups

LinkedIn might be the most widely used social media platform by professionals, but it doesn’t mean your prospects aren’t on Facebook, too. In fact, Facebook has more people on it than LinkedIn.

One of the richest places to find segmented email lists is Facebook groups. The users in these groups have already developed an interest in the topic the group was made for.

Do you want to grab a list of your competitors’ emails? Jump onto their Facebook group.

Here’s the best part.

You can automate the entire procedure using an app like Mailbiz.

We’ll show you.

Log into application and make your way to the dashboard of the app.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

On the left-hand pane, you’ll find an option called “Group Extractor,” this is the feature you will want to use to grab those juicy emails.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

Grab the group ID of the Facebook group you want to extract emails from. This is the number after the Facebook URL. E.g., if it’s, grab 12345678 and paste it into the field.

(If there isn’t a number available, Mailbiz has a feature called ID finder – also on the left pane – where you can paste the text URL to grab the Facebook Group ID.)

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

Now all you have to do is click extract, and you will then be presented with an option where you can choose the fields that you want to download. These include names, birthdays, locations, and of course, the most critical detail: email address.

So there you have it, the email list of all your competitor’s group members.

The great thing about these emails is that you can even turn them into a custom audience on Facebook and throw ads at them while at the same time working your email marketing campaign.

It always helps to give them gentle reminders of your offers.

Opt-In Forms for Email Lists

There is no excuse for you not to have opt-in forms (or buttons) on your website.


They are a must-have on every website because they can nab the email of a casually curious visitor.

The problem with opt-in forms is that some people don’t treat them as CTAs on their website. There are a lot of ways that you design, use, and place opt-in forms, and they make a great way of collecting contacts for your email campaign.

A great thing about opt-in forms is the fact that you already know they want to find out more about your services. They weren’t acquired via a lead magnet, so these are people who are genuinely interested in what your organization can offer them.

You can allow them to opt-in to your newsletter, product updates, and emails about new content. There are some opt-in options that come with an opportunity to customize the content you’re giving out.

If you opt-in for an opt-in form on your website, there are a few ways of crafting them.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

A great way to do this is to place them directly on your homepage. It’s the first thing your visitors will see.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert
, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

You could also do it like HubSpot or Crazy Egg and have a button on your sticky navigation.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

You can have them above the fold on other pages on your website. Include a call-to-action that gives them something in return. These CTAs have to be optimized; in this example, we used contrasting colors and even included an emoji.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

If you really want to make sure they see the opt-in field, you can also add them once again at the bottom.

Harness Chatbots

Chatbots are a great way to increase conversions, but did you know you can also use them to harvest emails from your visitors?

You can program your chatbot to collect emails from people you weren’t able to interact with.

Here’s how you do it, say you don’t have a real person around to answer someone’s query, you can always ask them to leave their emails so their questions can be solved.

They are more likely to leave their emails with you, than if you asked them to put in their emails before they even start talking to someone.

Using Lead Magnets

If they don’t want to sign up with your opt-in form, then hit them with an irresistible lead magnet.

Almost everyone uses lead magnets to generate email lists nowadays, but how about a lead magnet that someone will really want.

More often than not, we spend so much time putting lead magnets on the most trivial things like “the ultimate template” or a “free ebook.” Since everyone is giving out the same thing, it loses its value.

What was once the premium is now commonplace to everyone. It’s time that we thought about what we’re giving out to people.

Here’s what.

If you’re going to give out a free template and ask someone for their email, why not make it ten free templates?

You’ve got to offer something that no one else is doing. Sometimes you can edge out the competition by a simple Google search of what you want to give for free.

Great lead magnets also help establish your authority.

Say you’re known for giving out things for free that are actually worth real money, and now you have this unique tool or resource that demands an email before people can access it.

Everyone’s going to be curious about how your resource trumps the competition.


Being present in marketing events is an excellent opportunity to mingle and distribute good old business cards, but networking isn’t just about that.

It’s also about joining business groups with a lot of people that can help you grow your business.

Take, for example, any chamber of commerce association; they often have a directory of members that you can contact, and that could lead to email lists on their right.

A lot of business organizations have a list of emails that you can use. Think about joining one- you’ll never know what business it brings.

Business Cards

Think about how many business cards you’ve collected over the past few months. Notice anything about them?

They’ve all got email addresses on them.

If you’re coming up dry with your first list, maybe its time you took a look at the business cards you’ve been collecting.

Take it a step further and ask for the business cards that others have gotten, you’ll find that there are a lot of emails from potential clients in those cards.

Another great thing about these business cards is the rich amount of information you already have about the person. This is helpful when it comes to segmentation – but more about that in the next sections.

Email Only Specials

Another way to incentivize people to give you their email addresses is to have an email-only special.

This works well for everyone, from ecommerce stores to pizza places.

, Email List Building: The Growth Hackers Guide to Building Email Lists that Convert

It works because of one thing; people want to take advantage of being in the know. They will gladly exchange their email address now for the possibility of getting something in return in the future.

You can give out special discounts that they can avail as long as they subscribe to your mailing list or newsletter.

Email Hygiene Procedures

Before you start segmentation or anything else for that matter, you’ve got to check if the emails that you have are the real deal.

There are times where people will give you a fake email, have typos in the address, and an email could become inactive over time. If you send an email to these addresses, you will experience what is called a “hard bounce.”

Note: a “soft bounce,” on the other hand, refers to an email that can’t be received because a person’s inbox is full.

An Email Service Provider (ESP) is going to see that activity and note it down.

Here’s what.

If you keep getting hard bounces, it’s going to hurt your deliverability rates. And, that’s just bad for business.

The best way to avoid this is to use an email verification app that cleanses your email lists from bad and inactive email addresses.

You will want to repeat this process on a regular basis, preferably every one or two months. This is to make sure that you always maintain a clean list, and ESPs won’t flag you as a messenger of spam.

But that’s not all.

There are other things that you have to do to make sure ESPs “trust” you.

  • Make sure that you have non-spammy subject lines on the emails that you are sending out. Phrases such as “free trial” are often flagged as spam by ESPs. The more emails getting sent as spam, the more your reputation is going to get hurt. Avoid email subject lines such as these at all costs, if you have to use them, make sure that you’ve already had correspondence with the address.
  • If your email manages to get through to people’s inboxes, make sure it provides value to them. If they are seen as annoying, there is a possibility that someone will flag you as spammy, and that’ll get you in trouble. The reputation of your mailbox will then take a hit.

Segmenting Your Email Lists

There are several ways that you can build a good email list from scratch, but a lot of emails – even from real people – won’t necessarily translate to higher revenues.

You still need to appeal to your prospects.

And how does one do this?


Personalizing your emails is dependent on knowing your customers and being able to assign a buyer profile or persona to them. This is more than just sticking in their first name into your mail merge, but customizing each email to appeal to them and their stage in the buying process.

Even B2B marketers are highly recommending strategies such as account-based marketing (ABM) that segments prospects into different buyer personas to get their campaigns to work. It saves you a lot of effort in the long run, and it ensures that you don’t waste the opportunity that you with an email address.

For example, if you’re sending out an email to technical and non-technical people, you can’t have the same copy or CTA for both.

There are different ways that you can segment your lists:

Industry and decision making role – different types of content appeal to various sectors and positions.

Geographical locale – you could provide content dependent on where they are in the world. We’ve found that by simply switching out the photo on one of our landing pages, depending on where the person was from worked wonders.

Here are some landing page builders you can use.

Where there are in the sales pipeline – if you’ve sent them an email before, send them a different one this time around.

These are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are several ways that you can segment your lists even further. What’s important is that you understand your audience, and you don’t just send everyone the same piece of content.

It might be a little more challenging to do, but just adding in a bit of effort, you can achieve higher conversion rates as opposed to zero segmentation and personalization.

Here’s why.

People want to feel special. People want to know that what they are consuming is theirs alone. If you can fulfill that need that they have, you are one step closer to making a conversion.

Use an Email Linked CRM

Once you have your lists ready and cleaned up, it’s time to throw them into a CRM to start planning out your campaigns.

Apart from product updates and newsletters, don’t just aim to send people one email and be done with it.

You need to strategize.

For example, what happens if you send an email, and the person doesn’t reply to you or check your email? Do you send them an email immediately, or do you wait for a few days?

Plan out your email workflows to make sure that you maintain a constant stream of communication with your clients. CRM platforms will allow you to automate your campaigns, so you don’t have to spend time and money with repetitive tasks – which is also useful if you accidentally forget to follow up.

The other beauty of a CRM is that you can track your email statistics. You’ll know if a particular campaign is working, and you can even test out different types of content.

Want to add more subscribers?

You can even do email outreach using a CRM platform; you can easily reach out to industry and thought leaders and other important people using search functions that they have.


Email is still one of the best ways to reach your customers.      

It can be used to promote your products, do lead nurturing, and, most importantly, scale your company.

As a growth hacker, you can’t ignore the value of using email lists to convert.

However, the task of building an email list can look daunting to a lot of people. In this guide, we showed you how you could start from scratch.

Start building that email list today.

Trust us.

It’s worth it.

Disclaimer: Please note that we do not promote/endorse the use of scraping algorithms or softwares on social media. The practice is considered to violate the terms of most social networks.

Feature image as Christopher Reath

About the Author

The name's Houston Golden. I'm the Founder & CEO of BAMF — a company I've grown from $0 (yes, really) to well over $5M+ in revenue over a span of 5 years.

How did I do it? Well, it's quite simple, really. I've helped hundreds of business owners and executives get major traction (because when they win, we win), I tell all on this blog.

Growth hacking is a state of mind. Follow along as I explore and expose the unknown growth strategies and tactics that will change the way you think about marketing.
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