How to Set Up an Email List

With the email services available nowadays, it is easier than ever to set up an email list. However, the process does have a lot of “moving parts,” and you may find it confusing the first few times you do it.

Below you’ll find a step-by-step list of things to do when you set up an email list. This is based on my experience with using Aweber, but even if you’re using another email service, much of this list will still be applicable.

  1. Determine the purpose of the list. Which products/services do you want to promote to them?
  2. Clarify who your Ideal Reader is. What problem does he/she want to solve?
  3. Create your lead offer or “ethical bribe” in exchange for your subscribers' name and email address. Make sure it helps your Ideal Reader solve his/her problem (from #2) and it’s related to the products/services you’re going to offer.
  4. Set up the download page for your lead offer. Write down the URL and password, if applicable.
  5. Create the thank-you page where subscribers go after signing up. Remind them to check their email for the confirmation message and click the confirmation link. Write down the URL.
  6. Create a confirmation page where your subscribers go after clicking the confirmation link. Write down the URL.
  7. Create a new list in your email service provider.
  8. Customize the confirmation message. Make sure to mention your lead offer and make it sound personable.
  9. Write and schedule the autoresponder messages for the list. Test each message. Make sure all links in each message work.
  10. Create the opt-in form. Make sure it has a headline and communicates the benefits of your lead offer.
  11. Embed the opt-in form on your site. The upper right hand corner of your site is a good place to put it.
  12. Create an opt-in page for the list. You’ll link to this page from relevant pay-per-click campaigns, the author resource box of your articles and guest posts, forum signatures, and other lead generation opportunities. You may have to create another opt-in form for this page, depending on how the page is designed.
  13. Sign up for your list to make sure everything works, and to monitor the messages you send out.

Congratulations, you’ve set up your list!

To download this checklist, right-click the link below and save the PDF in your hard drive:

Email Setup Checklist (PDF)

If you see any errors or omissions on this checklist, have questions, comments or suggestions to improve it, please let me know by sending me an email at

I look forward to hearing from you!

PS: If you want professional help setting up your email campaigns, please check out my List Builder Package. Or if you already have a list, but would like to improve how you engage with your subscribers and turn them into customers, an Email Marketing Audit may be what you need.

“I wanted to make my e-mail list subscribers happy, but I didn't know how, until I met Lexi. She's one of the coolest moms I've had the privilege to work with, plus she delivers real results. She's helped me tweak my e-mail list, learn how to increase engagement and most of all, how I could help my subscribers take action and make a difference in their lives.”

Henri Junttila