8 Simple Steps to Build an Email List & Grow Your Website Traffic

Woman working on her laptop to build her email list.

For most health and wellness professionals, there are times when digital marketing can feel overwhelming. There are just so many options to explore. Yet, at some point, almost everyone wonders “How do I build an email list that truly amplifies my reach?”

Building an email list is more than just another task on your digital checklist. I prefer to think of it as a bridge connecting you to those individuals genuinely interested in your expertise.

As a solo practitioner or a member of a small practice, understanding how to build an email list can be your secret to driving traffic to your website and converting curious visitors into loyal clients or patients.

When you really stop to think about it, the beauty of an email list lies in its authenticity. It’s a curated group interested in your insights, tips, and updates.

And if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of digital marketing advice out there, relax. I’ve written this post especially for you. I’ve broken the process down into clear, actionable steps. So, by the end, you’ll know what you need to do to have a growing email list and the confidence to engage and nurture it.

Understanding the Basics of Email Marketing

Exploring the world of email marketing can feel a bit like stepping into a vast library. Each strategy, each technique, is like a book waiting to be explored. But before we get into the details, let’s look at why email marketing is so important for health and wellness professionals like you.

Imagine sending a personal note to someone, a message specifically for them that creates a one-to-one connection. That’s the beauty of email. Unlike a social media post that you broadcast to the masses, your email is a direct conversation with one person. It’s this personal touch that makes email such a powerful tool to foster genuine relationships.

There’s a ton of different content you can send to your email list.

From sharing insightful health tips and newsletters to sending appointment reminders and special promotions, the versatility of email marketing is truly unmatched. It allows you to tailor your content, making sure it resonates with your list members and provides value that keeps them engaged.

The thing to keep in mind though is just because you think you’re sending valuable information, that doesn’t guarantee that the recipients think it’s valuable. So, how do you know if they do?

Email marketing tools can make things so much easier.

This is where email marketing tools come into play. They offer insights that enable you to measure the impact of your campaigns. You can see things like how many opened your email and clicked on links. These insights are like looking at your email strategy with a magnifying glass to help you adjust and perfect your approach.

It can help you establish authority and trustworthiness.

We also have to talk about trust when it comes to email marketing. Especially in the health and wellness sector, trust isn’t just important. It’s critical. Through regular, interesting, and valuable email communication, you can position yourself as a trusted authority.

Email marketing is cost-effective.

Another important consideration of email marketing, especially for solo practitioners and small practices is its cost-effectiveness. When done well, email marketing can offer a high return on investment (ROI). This makes it a budget-friendly choice that doesn’t compromise on results.

Hopefully, you now understand that even though we’re going to explore how to build an email list to grow website traffic, an email list is more than just a list. It’s a community where you can share, connect, and grow. Ultimately, you’ll be able to not only drive traffic to your website but also nurture relationships that can turn into loyal clientele.

Step 1: Identifying Your Email Marketing Needs

Let’s think of beginning to use email marketing as setting out on a road trip. Before you hit the road, you need to know where you’re going and what you’ll need to bring with you for the trip.

The same is basically true for building your email list. You need to identify your specific needs. Doing so upfront means you’ll be better able to tailor your efforts to be effective and resonate with your ideal clients/patients (aka target audience or market).

  1. Size and Scope of Your Potential List

    Although it might seem like we’re putting the cart before the horse, this is an important consideration. You need to ask yourself, “How large do I envision my email list to be in the next year?”

    Whether you’re aiming for a close-knit community of a few hundred or envisioning a sprawling list of thousands, having a clear goal in mind will guide your strategies and tool choices.
  2. Content Types

    What kind of communication do you want to have with your audience? Do you want to share monthly newsletters, weekly health tips, or perhaps occasional promotional offers?

    Determining the content types you’ll be sending not only helps in content creation but also in grouping or segmenting your list for more personalized communication.
  3. Integration Needs

    Ideally, you’ll want the tools you already use (appointment scheduler, CRM, etc.) to easily integrate with the email marketing platform you select. Easy integration can save you tons of time and really enhance the efficiency of your list-building efforts.
  4. User Experience

    Although it’s essential to cater to your ideal clientele, don’t forget about your own experience using the email marketing platform. You’ll want to choose tools and strategies that align with your comfort level.

    So, if you’re fairly inexperienced with online marketing, you’ll want to opt for platforms known for their user-friendliness. Remember, the smoother your experience, the more consistent and effective your email marketing efforts will be.
  5. Budget Considerations

    Finally, I know budgeting is key if you’re a solo practitioner or have a small practice. While understanding how to build an email list is important, it’s equally vital to make sure your chosen strategies and tools don’t break the bank.

    You’ll want to look for platforms that offer scalable pricing models that will allow you to grow without sudden, unexpected costs.

When you complete this step, you’ll have a clearer idea of what your needs are so you can more easily navigate the next one – choosing your platform.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Platform

There are all kinds of email marketing platforms, each boasting its unique features and benefits. So, how do you find the one that aligns perfectly with your needs?

Think of this step as finding the right vehicle for your road trip. You wouldn’t choose a two-seater sports car for a family outing, just as you wouldn’t opt for a large van for a solo drive. Similarly, your email marketing platform should fit your practice like a glove, catering to your specific requirements.

Before diving into platform specifics, you’ll want to revisit your needs. How large is your potential email list? What types of content will you be sending? Are there other tools you wish to integrate with? By having a clear picture of your requirements, you can filter through not only the options presented here but all of the possibilities more effectively.

(Yup, this is exactly why understanding your requirements is Step 1.)

Mailchimp (Free Version)

With its friendly mascot and user-centric design, many people immediately think of Mailchimp when it comes to email marketing. Especially for those on a budget or just starting out, Mailchimp’s free version offers a solid foundation.

  • Overview and Unique Selling Points

    Mailchimp is about more than just sending emails. It’s also about creating a brand presence. With its design-focused approach, the free version helps your emails stand out in crowded inboxes. Plus, its built-in analytics can give you insight into your email campaign performance.

  • Features Beneficial for Health & Wellness Professionals

    The platform offers basic automation, ensuring regular touchpoints with your audience. You can easily create any type of email from a welcome email for a new subscriber, to a newsletter, or a reminder for an upcoming webinar.

  • Pricing Models and Potential Drawbacks

    While the free version is feature-rich, as your list grows, you might find yourself needing to upgrade to access more advanced features. It’s essential to assess if the features offered in the free tier align with your current needs.

    You’ll also want to keep track of the number of emails you send each month. The free version has a cap and you will automatically incur additional charges if you exceed this cap.

  • Integration Capabilities and Ease of Use

    Mailchimp is known for its simplicity. And many of my clients who are just embarking on building an email list choose it as their email marketing platform.

    It also has a large library of integrations, so it’s likely it will work well with the other tools you might be using.


My very first email marketing platform was AWeber. It was easy for me to use and offered the capabilities I was looking for at the time. These days it caters to both novices and those with a bit more experience under their belts.

  • Overview and Unique Selling Points

    AWeber has a straightforward interface, which makes it easy to navigate. It also has a large library of templates that you can quickly customize so your emails can align with your unique brand voice.
  • Features Beneficial for Health & Wellness Professionals

    From automated email sequences to audience segmentation, AWeber provides tools that can help you stay connected with your audience. Its integration capabilities can enable you to connect seamlessly with other tools like appointment schedulers or CRM systems.
  • Pricing Models and Potential Drawbacks

    It also offers a range of pricing options that will allow you to scale as your list grows. However, if you’re looking for ultra-advanced automation, you might find it a tad limiting. (This is why I eventually moved away from AWeber as my email marketing platform.)
  • Integration Capabilities and Ease of Use

    With its user-friendly interface and wide range of integration options, it might be a great solution for your email marketing needs.


This is the platform I’ve been using for the past 5 or so years. I find it user-friendly, but not everyone on the KJ Content Marketing team does. However, it’s still an option that both beginners and seasoned email marketers find very useful.

  • Overview and Unique Selling Point

    GetResponse is more than just an email too. It has a lot of other features including webinars, landing pages, and a CRM. Its drag-and-drop editor makes creating emails really easy – even for those without any design experience.
  • Features Beneficial for Health & Wellness Professionals

    With its automation templates, you can set up campaigns that nurture leads and engage existing clients/patients. Its segmentation features ensure each email is tailored to the recipient.
  • Pricing Models and Potential Drawbacks

    GetResponse offers a tiered pricing model, allowing you to add more features and functionality to your email marketing efforts as you grow. However, while it’s packed with features, if you’re seeking ultra-specific integrations, you’ll want to explore its compatibility with third-party tools before getting a subscription.
  • Integration Capabilities and Ease of Use

    Known for its intuitive interface and fantastic real-time chat support (at least with the product I have), it can be a great option. And, as mentioned before, you’ll want to verify integration capabilities before subscribing.


If you’re looking for a comprehensive solution that goes beyond email marketing, Keap offers a holistic approach. Its automation capabilities mean you can set up campaigns and then let them run, giving you more time to focus on your patients. Plus, with its CRM features, you’ll have a 360-degree view of your client interactions, ensuring personalized and effective communication.

  • Overview and Unique Selling Point

    Keap is more than just an email marketing tool; it’s a comprehensive CRM platform designed for small businesses looking to streamline their sales and marketing efforts. With its robust automation capabilities, Keap allows wellness professionals to nurture client relationships, manage appointments, and automate follow-ups, all in one place.
  • Features Beneficial for Health & Wellness Professionals

    There are numerous features you might find helpful.

    Like GetResponse and AWeber, Keap offers automated email sequences and integrates with many different third-party apps.

    It offers a CMS so you can keep track of client details, appointment histories, and interactions. Many find it incredibly helpful to have information like this at their fingertips.

    Appointment scheduling and payment processing are two of the other features that many helping, healing, and wellness professionals appreciate.
  • Pricing Models and Potential Drawbacks

    Compared to the other email marketing tools mentioned here, Keap can be on the pricier side. Many small businesses or solo practitioners find it cost-prohibitive.

    Among other potential drawbacks are the steep learning curve for those who aren’t tech-savvy, too many features for some, frequent updates that can cause confusion for users who constantly have to adapt, and slower response times than most people desire.
  • Integration Capabilities and Ease of Use

    As mentioned before, Keap is definitely not the easiest to use for those who aren’t technically inclined. And, although it offers integrations with many third-party apps, users have reported occasional glitches or compatibility issues, which can disrupt workflows.

You might want to think about selecting the right platform as setting the stage for your email marketing. It’s the backdrop against which all of your strategies will unfold. By selecting a platform that aligns with your needs for at least the next 1-2 years, you’re positioning yourself well for the future growth and success of your practice.

Step 3: Creating a Compelling Sign-Up Form

Imagine walking into a wellness seminar and being handed a plain, uninspiring pamphlet. It might have all the right information, but if it doesn’t capture your attention, it’s likely to end up forgotten in a bag or, worse, in the trash.

The same thing can happen online. Your sign-up form is often the first point of interaction with potential subscribers. It’s your digital handshake and your invitation to a conversation. And just like that pamphlet, if it doesn’t resonate, it will be overlooked.

A sign-up form isn’t just about collecting email addresses. It’s a reflection of your brand and practice. So you’ll want to make sure it aligns with your practice’s aesthetics. Use colors, fonts, and designs that resonate with your brand’s voice.

A tool that can help with this is your brand guidelines. It keeps all of your branding information in one place which makes it easy for every team member to align with your practice’s branding. And, if you don’t have brand guidelines, here’s a free template to help you quickly and easily great some.

Platforms like GetResponse and Mailchimp offer customizable templates, making this process of creating an attractive sign-up form seamless even for those not design-savvy.

I know how tempting it can be to gather as much information as possible. However, the more information you ask for the less likely it is for someone to sign up. So, you’ll only want to ask for essential information. Usually, this is usually just a name and email address.

Remember, the quicker and easier the sign-up process, the higher the chances are that someone will actually sign up!

When you’re creating your sign-up form, you also want to consider your call-to-action (CTA). A CTA is your final nudge that urges people to take action. So, you’ll want to make sure it’s something more than a generic “Sign Up.” Something more engaging like “Join our wellness community” or “Get health tips delivered to your inbox” works much better.

Another factor to consider as you’re creating your sign-up form is privacy. Make sure you let people know that their information is secure with you. This can be accomplished with a simple statement mentioning you won’t share their details which can go a long way in building trust.

Now that you have your sign-up form designed, you need to consider where it will go on your website.

Your sign-up form should be easily accessible, but not intrusive. So, consider placing it in prominent locations on your website. This could be the header, footer, or a subtle pop-up. The goal is to make it visible without hampering the user experience – especially on phones.

Crafting a compelling sign-up form is an art, a blend of design, psychology, and strategy. It’s your gateway to building an email list that’s not just large but engaged and invested. As you navigate the nuances of creating this form, remember that it’s more than just a tool. It’s the first chapter of your email marketing story, setting the stage for meaningful interactions and lasting relationships.

But having a form isn’t enough. You need to consider why someone should subscribe to your list in the first place. You already know what’s in it for you. But you have to also consider what’s in it for them.

Step 4: Offering Value to Encourage Sign-Ups

To encourage people to sign up for your email list, you need to offer value. You need something that causes people to pause, consider, and choose to engage with your sign-up form.

Imagine walking into a wellness workshop and being greeted with a complimentary health guide or a sample of a therapeutic essential oil. That gesture, that token of appreciation, not only warms your heart but deepens your connection with the host.

Similarly, offering value online is your gesture of goodwill, your way of saying, “I appreciate you, and I’m here to serve.”

Here are 5 examples of ways you can offer value to build your email list:

  1. Lead Magnets

    These are incentives you offer to potential subscribers in exchange for their email addresses. It could be a downloadable wellness guide, a video tutorial on relaxation techniques, or an exclusive webinar. The key is to ensure that what you offer aligns with your practice’s ethos and addresses the needs or interests of your audience.
  2. Exclusive Content

    To build on the idea of exclusive webinars mentioned above, other examples of exclusive content could be in-depth articles, case studies, or personalized health tips. By offering exclusive content, you’re not just encouraging sign-ups but fostering a sense of community and exclusivity. Creating an exclusive community can go a long way toward building a base for referrals in the future.
  3. Discounts or Special Offers

    If you offer products or paid services, consider providing special discounts or offers to your subscribers. This not only incentivizes sign-ups but also boosts sales and fosters loyalty.
  4. Engaging Newsletters

    Your monthly or weekly newsletter can be a treasure trove of value. From updates about your practice and insights into recent health trends to personal anecdotes that resonate with your audience. You’ll want to make sure your newsletters are more than just updates. You’ll want to make sure they’re a value-packed read for your list subscribers.
  5. Regular Check-ins and Feedback

    You can also use your list to engage with your subscribers by seeking their feedback or sending them personalized check-ins. It could be a simple “How are you doing?” or a more detailed survey seeking their input on your services. This not only offers value in terms of engagement but also provides you with invaluable insights.

Offering value to your email list subscribers isn’t just a strategy. It’s a philosophy. It’s about understanding the needs, aspirations, and challenges of your audience and addressing them with empathy and expertise.

As you craft your value offerings, remember that each gesture, each piece of content, is a brick in the bridge of trust and connection you’re building with your audience. And in the world of email marketing, especially for health and wellness professionals, that bridge is the pathway to success – for you and your clients.

Step 5: Crafting Engaging Email Content

Now that you know how to build an email list, you’re ready to learn all about how to nurture your subscribers and keep them on your list.

Think of each subscriber as a guest in your online wellness space or office. Just as you’d curate a unique experience for a client walking into your practice, your emails should offer a tailored experience for each reader.

So, you need to know your audience. It’s like when a new client walks into your practice. You’d want to understand their health goals, their challenges, and even their favorite relaxation techniques. With emails, it’s the same principle.

You’ll want to dive deep into what your subscribers are looking for. Maybe they want insights into a healthier lifestyle or perhaps some quick stress-relief tips. The more you tailor your content to meet their needs, the stronger the connection you’ll build.

You’ll need to keep your content fresh.

But you can’t keep sending the same things over and over. Just as you wouldn’t offer the same therapy session to every client, your emails should have a mix of content. Share a personal story about a wellness retreat you attended, or perhaps an enlightening piece on the benefits of meditation. The idea is to keep your subscribers eagerly waiting for your next email.

And speaking of stories, they’re a powerful tool. Remember the joy you felt when a client achieved a significant health breakthrough? Or that amusing incident during a group meditation session? Share these moments. They not only make your content relatable but also showcase the human side of your practice. (Remember not to share any personally identifying information about the people involved.)

Don’t underestimate the power of visuals. A calming image of a serene beach or an infographic on the benefits of a balanced diet can elevate your content. It’s like adding a splash of color to a room – it enhances the overall vibe.

One of the things many of my clients struggle with is writing their emails. My advice is to imagine you’re having a chat with one person. Keep the tone light, genuine, and relatable. Your subscribers aren’t looking for a lecture. What they want is advice from a trusted friend.

Finally, always leave them with a thought, a gentle nudge, or something they can take action on. It could be an invitation to an upcoming workshop or simply a heartfelt wish for their well-being. This drives engagement and also fosters a sense of community.

Remember, every email is an opportunity to strengthen the bond with the email list you’ve built and continue to grow. It’s a reflection of your passion, expertise, and commitment to wellness. So, pour your heart into it and make each email a memorable experience.

Step 6: Integrating Email Marketing with Other Online Strategies

Alright, picture this: You’ve just hosted a fantastic wellness webinar. The feedback is pouring in, and attendees are raving about the insights they gained.

Now, wouldn’t it be great if you could share a recap or some highlights in your next email? Or perhaps, direct your email subscribers to the webinar in the first place? This is the magic of integrating email marketing with your other online strategies.

Think of your online marketing as a well-orchestrated symphony. Each instrument – your website, social media, email marketing – plays a crucial role. And when they all come together in harmony, the result is a melody that resonates deeply with your audience.

So, let’s look at some ways you can create melodic online marketing campaigns with your email list.

Your Website is your digital home. Whenever you publish a new blog post or update a service offering, let your subscribers know. Not only does this drive traffic to your website, but it also positions you as a constantly evolving and learning practitioner.

Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn are fantastic for building a community. You can share snippets from your emails on social media or use your social platforms to tease upcoming email content. It’s a two-way street that can boost engagement across the board.

Webinars and online workshops are goldmines for content. Share highlights, testimonials, or even behind-the-scenes moments with your email list. It adds a layer of exclusivity for your subscribers and can also drive registrations for future events.

Remember that insightful article you wrote about holistic wellness? Or the one where you debunked common health myths? Share them with your email subscribers. It not only showcases your expertise but can also boost your website’s SEO.

If you’ve been featured in a podcast, collaborated with a fellow wellness expert, or written a guest post, your email list should be the first to know. It’s a testament to your growing influence in the wellness community.

Now, I know this might sound like a lot. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to do it all at once. Start with just one integration, see how it resonates with you and your email list, and then build from there. The idea is to create a seamless experience for your audience, where each digital touchpoint complements the other.

When you really stop to think about it, everything you do online is about connection. Whether someone’s reading your email, scrolling through your Instagram, or attending your webinar, they should feel a consistent thread of your expertise, passion, and commitment to wellness. And when that happens, you’re not just a health professional. You become a trusted wellness companion.

Step 7: Monitoring and Analyzing Your Results

Yup, we’re going to talk a little bit about numbers. To make it a bit more palatable for those who don’t care much for numbers, I’m going to start with a little imagination experiment.

So, take a moment and imagine your email marketing strategy as a wellness regimen you’ve prescribed to a client. Now, you wouldn’t just hand them a plan and send them on their way, right? You’d check in, see how they’re feeling, and make adjustments if needed.

The same is true for nurturing the email list that you’ve built. You must keep an eye on how things are going, to ensure your efforts are bearing fruit.

Just as you might monitor a client’s heart rate, pain level, or emotional state, there are vital signs in email marketing too.

Are people reading your emails? You can find this out by looking at open rates.

Is your list engaging with the content you’re sending? You can find this out by looking at click-through rates.

Are people choosing to leave your email list? You can find this out by looking at unsubscribe rates.

Luckily, your email platform should have all of these important metrics and maybe even more easily available to you for each email that you send.

Remember the last time a client gave you feedback, and it led to a breakthrough in their wellness journey?

The same could be true for any feedback you receive from subscribers. It doesn’t matter if it’s a positive comment or a constructive critique, feedback is invaluable. That’s because it offers direct insight into what’s resonating and what might need a tweak.

Testing your content is really important so you can continue to refine your emails and better serve the email list you’ve built.

The most common type of testing for email marketing is A/B testing. You can think of it as wellness experiments.

Maybe you’re trying out two different meditation techniques with a client to see which one works better for them. In email marketing, A/B testing could be as simple as sending two versions of a subject line to see which one gets more opens. It’s all about finding what clicks with your audience.

Just like wellness is a journey, so is email marketing.

And because marketing to your email list is a journey, you need to regularly adjust and adapt. What I mean by this is maybe a particular type of content isn’t getting the opens or click-throughs you hoped for, or perhaps a new approach you tried is getting rave reviews. The key is to be flexible, to learn from the data, and to adapt accordingly.

Celebrate your efforts.

One of the biggest mistakes health, wellness, and helping professionals consistently make is ignoring their successes. Just as you’d celebrate a client’s wellness milestone, you need to take a moment to appreciate the successes in your email marketing journey. Maybe you worked through Step 3, hit a subscriber milestone, or a particular email had an outstanding open rate. These moments of success are not just validations of your efforts but also fuel to keep pushing forward.

Monitoring and analyzing might seem like the behind-the-scenes work of email marketing. But it’s actually the compass. It’s what guides your direction, ensuring that your efforts are purposeful and aligned with your audience’s needs.

So, as you dive into the data, remember that each metric, each piece of feedback is a stepping stone toward creating an email experience that not only informs but also inspires and resonates deeply with your subscribers.

Finally, you have a responsibility to uphold with your subscribers.

Navigating the world of email marketing can sometimes feel like walking a tightrope. On one side, there’s the excitement of connecting with your audience, sharing your expertise, and growing your practice. On the other, there’s the responsibility of ensuring that every step you take is rooted in respect, transparency, and ethics.

Now, imagine you’re hosting a wellness retreat. You’d want to create an environment of trust, right? Where every participant feels valued, heard, and respected. The realm of email marketing isn’t much different. It’s a space where trust is the foundation, and ethical practices are the pillars that uphold it.

There are 5 parts to your ethical responsibilities with your email list.

  1. Consent is Crucial
    Just as you’d ask for a client’s consent before starting a therapy session, it’s essential to ensure that every subscriber on your list has willingly chosen to be there. Always use double opt-in methods and make sure it’s easy for subscribers to opt-out if they choose to.
  2. Transparency is Key
    Be open about what subscribers can expect. If you’re sending weekly newsletters, let them know. If there’s a promotional email once a month, give them a heads up. Setting clear expectations not only builds trust but also ensures that your subscribers look forward to your emails.
  3. Respect Privacy
    In today’s digital age, data privacy is paramount. Always ensure that subscribers’ data is stored securely and never shared without explicit consent. It’s not just about adhering to regulations; it’s about valuing the trust your subscribers place in you.
  4. Deliver Value, Always
    Every email you send should offer something of value to your subscribers. Whether it’s a piece of advice, an insightful article, or a special offer, ensure that you’re not just filling their inbox but enriching their day.
  5. Seek Feedback and Act on It
    Just as you’d appreciate feedback after a therapy session, regularly seek input from your subscribers. It’s a way to ensure that you’re meeting their needs and addressing any concerns they might have.

As you can see, staying ethical in email marketing is about treating your subscribers with the same care, respect, and integrity you’d offer to a client walking into your practice. It’s about building and nurturing a relationship founded on trust, understanding, and mutual respect. And as you continue on this journey, always remember that in the world of email marketing, ethics isn’t just a guideline. It’s the heart and soul of every meaningful connection.

To help you understand how to build an email list, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Yes, there are some technical details to be worked out throughout the journey, but building an email list is really about forging connections and letting the people on it know you care for them and that you’re here for them too.

We’re here for you too. If you’d like support in building and growing your email list, schedule a consultation with one of our content marketing experts.


Karen Finn, PhD