5 Ways To Build Your Local Business Email List

Checking Email on a Phone

The number of active email accounts continues to rise.

Social media, texting, calling, etc. They’re all great marketing channels.

But don’t overlook email. It’s still one of the best ways to market to customers. If someone lets you into their inbox, they’re putting a lot of trust in you.

To give them helpful, interesting content. To give them information about new products and events. And also to offer them the occasional exclusive deal or reminder.

It’s not easy to build an email list. But once you have one, it can be one of your greatest marketing resources.

Here are some ways to build your local business email. Whether you’re new to the game or whether you’ve been at it awhile.

#1. Ask For It In Every Transaction

You usually don’t get something if you don’t ask. I know it’s simple, but it’s true when it comes to email marketing. If you have a storefront or if you interact with customers regularly, just ask for their email.

Most will write it down or tell you without thinking about it. It’s a normal thing to do these days. Some will question it. Tell them that you won’t spam them. You’ll just send a little note about their transaction and also let them know about discounts, events, etc.

#2. Event Giveaways

Go to local events and run giveaways. Let those that signup whether or not they won via email. It’s very accepted. There is a clear trade-off. You get the email in exchange for the chance to win a prize of some kind.

Make sure to segment your list and run the segments against each other so you know who customers are vs. people that signup at events vs. other ways people have signed up.

#3. Regular Content Channel

This used to be more common but you still see it with things like Daily Stoic and Daily Dad. These are great email content channels. They usually come out everyday (obviously). Nice little content that you can really only get via email.

It’s effort to do a channel like this, but they can really build a great list over the long-term.

What is something you can share with people every week that you can use for an ongoing email channel?

#4. Free Downloads

Give away content that is as good as what people charge for.

Identify something in your industry that people charge for. Then create your own, better version of that content. Offer it on your website for free to those that give you their email. Then send it to them via email.

It can be digital, but it could even be physical. You could send them a confirmation email and then send the item to them via regular mail.

The whole key here is that the item or content has to be really good. Good enough that others charge for it and good enough that it has enough value for someone to give you their email.

There is so much free content online that doesn’t require email. So you have to offer something good.

An entire ebook. A physical book. A physical product. A full instruction video or video series.

#5. Ecommerce

This is more of an advanced one, but it obviously works really well. In order to buy something online you need an email address.

If you can sell something online, you’re going to get emails.

Is there something you can sell on your website? Even if it’s something small or maybe a select few items from your local? Or maybe you can have your customers pay for your service online or schedule appointments via your website.


Don’t overlook email for your marketing efforts. It’s still one of the best channels you can use to reach your customers. You can create a content channel and send out 99% free content. Then use that 1% to make a pitch.

Ryan Holiday at the Daily Stoic is a great example. You get probably 364 emails a year with great advice. Then once a year he’ll pitch his new book. That’s a fair trade-off for the subscribers and works to sell books for Ryan.

Dayne Shuda
Dayne Shuda
Dad, husband, golfer, and bow hunter. Owner of Ghost Blog Writers.