What You Need To Know About Starting An Email List

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So you have decided you need to start an email list for your wellness business. Many health coaches are confused about the mechanics of actually getting an email list started. This article covers some of the confusing terms about starting an email list and how to put it all together. 

If you are still wondering if you need an email list, then check out this article. I’ll clarify a few relatively obvious terms to get started before jumping into more details about starting an email list.

What is an email list?

An email list is a list of people who have chosen to stay connected with you. They want to hear about your latest content and the products you offer. Your email list can be just a list of emails, or it can also include things like name, location, and interests. 

What is a subscriber?

The people on your email list are known as subscribers. Subscribers have given their permission for you to contact them. If they unsubscribe, then you no longer have permission to contact them.

Email marketing platform

Your email marketing platform is the company that hosts your email list. Common email marketing platforms are Mailchimp, Mailerlite, Convertkit and Active Campaign. These are different from an email service provider like gmail or yourname@yourcompany.com. Sometimes email marketing platforms are referred to as email service providers, so there is some confusion about what they actually are.

Some of these are free for a certain number of subscribers, and some are paid right from the start. An email marketing platform allows you to automate your emails for your new and existing subscribers. They also have features that ensure you meet requirements like GDPR and CANSpam.

Some email marketing platforms allow you to store documents so you can easily send them to your subscribers. 

I use Mailerlite for my email marketing platform. (I’ll be posting a review of Mailerlite soon) You can get a $20 credit by signing up here. https://www.mailerlite.com/invite/27af29d2c9ea5

Opt in form

An opt in form is where your subscribers provide you with their email address and possibly their name. These can be a form on your website, an opt in page, or a pop up. Sometimes the form will be directly on your website, sometimes you will have a button that leads to the form. An opt in form could look something like this:

You can also have opt in forms that are connected to social media. Check with your email provider to see how this might work.

Landing page

A landing page is a stand alone page that can has one reason for being. Your opt in form is located on the page and maybe a little more information that will entice the person who lands on your page to opt in to your email list so they can get your freebie. I’ve quickly transformed my opt in form into a simple landing page (not the best looking one, but it gives you an idea:


Thank you page

The thank you page is where your subscriber is redirected after they sign up to receive your freebie. The general belief is that you should not include a link to your free content on your thank you page. This means that your subscriber learns to open your emails to receive valuable content from you.

But the thank you page can have other uses and is valuable space that should not be ignored. You can use it to promote a one time offer (also known as a tripwire), put a sign up form for a discovery call or maybe a short video introducing yourself. Don’t leave it as the generic thank you page from your email provider.


One of the best ways to get people on your email list is to provide a freebie (also known as an opt in freebie). Your freebie can take several forms. Some common forms of freebies are:

  • A pdf guide
  • A pdf checklist
  • A video workshop that you only give access to subscribers
  • A email challenge
  • A coupon code to use for one of your programs

Your subscriber is giving you their email address in exchange for your free offer. People are unlikely to subscribe to your list just to get your free content emailed to them. If you sign up on the form or the landing page you will see an example of a freebie.

Email Automation VS Email Campaign

An email automation is a series of emails that your subscriber will get when something happens. You can set up an automation known as a welcome series when someone signs up to your list. You can also have email automations set up for a subscriber’s birthday or when they haven’t been opening your emails.

An email campaign is when you send a weekly email to your list or when you send a sales email for a timely offer. These go out at the same time for everyone.

Welcome sequence 

The welcome sequence is a series of emails to send after your subscriber subscribes to your email list. The first email should include a link to your freebie if it is content like a pdf or video. The remainder of the emails might introduce you, provide some extra advice and possibly lead to a discovery call or an invitation to a paid program. 

If you are doing an email challenge, then your challenge would be sent out in a series of emails.

Your email marketing platform will allow you to set up an automation so that when someone signs up for your email list, they automatically start to receive these emails. 

GDPR compliance

(I’m not a GDPR legal expert, but for today’s email marketing it is important to know that these regulations exist)

GDPR or General Data Protection Regulations went into effect in 2018. These regulations apply to anyone marketing to people in the EU, even if you are not located in the EU. When GDPR first came out it scared a lot of marketers, especially the small ones because it is not clear what the regulations were. Everyone had a different opinion on what was needed to be compliant. 

Now it is a little more clear what you need to do to be compliant. Mailerlite created a great article explaining how to make your opt in compliant with GDPR. It’s simpler than you might think. 

Double or single opt in

Single vs double opt in is a controversial issue. With single opt in as soon as the subscriber fills out the form and enters an email address they are on your list. With double opt in they need to confirm by clicking a link in a confirmation email. 

The advantages to single opt in is that it is one less step for the user, so they are more likely to subscribe. On the other hand with double opt in the subscribers are more likely to continue to engage with your content. So you are more likely to get subscribers with a single opt in, but a double opt in will give you a higher quality of subscriber. 

One other thing to keep in mind is that with double opt in subscribers are less likely to see your thank you page so if you are using this to add value, then you might want to stick to single opt in. 

How do you put it all together?

This flowchart shows the user experience with for a pdf download as a freebie.

Once you have this set up you can add a form or button to your blog posts, link to the opt in page on social media, or even ask your friends and family if they would like to subscribe. My zone of genius is not marketing so you’ll have to consult with one of the many marketing experts out there to find out more about getting people to actually sign up. But hopefully this helps to demystify the way to get things set up. 

If you have more questions about setting up your email list, then contact me here

An email marketing platform is just one tech platform that you might need for your online wellness business. To find out what else you need to get started check out this free guide.