The 5 best ways to build a B2B email marketing list

Liam Gray avatar
Liam Gray

Nov 09, 2021

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B2B email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to engage and nurture leads over long B2B buying cycles

Regardless of the type of business you work in, your email list is an important part of any successful inbound marketing strategy. With a high-quality list of well-targeted, active recipients, you can share relevant content, promote your brand, showcase your products and services, and build preference and trust.

In this blog, we'll explore some of the strategies that'll help you build a list of valuable email contacts to help bolster engagement and strengthen your future marketing campaigns. 

Read our guide to B2B email marketing here and start improving your email  marketing today.

Building vs. buying your B2B email list

If you're looking for a quick-fix solution, you may be tempted to buy a list of email addresses from a third party, but this is a waste of time and money.

Lists bought from a third party are less effective because:

  • The quality isn't guaranteed

As it's often unclear how the email addresses have been gathered, it's impossible to guarantee the quality of your bought list. 

  • Recipients are likely to unsubscribe

As your audience hasn't opted in to hear from you, your product or brand might not be relevant to them and they are more likely to unsubscribe.

  • Spam reports will affect deliverability

Unsolicited emails are more likely to be marked as spam by your recipients, which will affect deliverability. This can also negatively affect your sending reputation and that of your email service provider (ESP), which can put your account at risk if they suspend your service

In-house lists are more effective because:

  • Contacts have opted in and chosen to give you their information
  • Recipients are more likely to be active & engaged with your brand
  • Your list grows through genuine relationships with customers

Here are some of the best methods of building an email list of your own.  

The 5 best ways to build a B2B email marketing list:
  1. Create valuable gated content
  2. Add strategically placed forms on your website
  3. Use social media
  4. Host a webinar or attend offline events
  5. Sponsor an event 

1. Create high-value content

One of the best ways to grow your email list is to create high-quality downloadable content that entices visitors to give you their contact details, for example, a free whitepaper or ebook hosted on a landing page. 

But remember, gated content isn't just whitepapers and ebooks.

It can include:

  • Reports
  • Interactive tools
  • Webinars
  • Downloadable templates

When creating gated content, it's important to consider what will be most suited to your target audience. That way, you can ensure it provides enough value to encourage your audience to fill out your form. 

It can also be useful to keep relevant long-form content ungated, as pillar pages, but with an option to download. This way, you can leverage the SEO benefits while still generating conversions. 

2. Add strategically placed forms & pop-ups

Carefully placed forms provide your visitors with an easy way to share their contact information while they’re browsing your website.

Examples of forms include:

  • Blog subscription forms

  • Exit-intent pop-up banners 

Blog subscription forms 

Blog subscription forms are a simple, non-intrusive way to grow your email list.

These forms will sit on every blog post, providing visitors with the opportunity to subscribe to your blog digest. If they like your content, they can sign up to receive future content, news, and more. 

In B2B marketing, this method of gathering contacts isn't particularly effective but it can generate a number of sign-ups over time. 

Exit-intent pop-up banners

Exit-intent pop-ups attempt to capture the visitor’s attention before they leave your website.

By monitoring user interaction, they detect when someone is about to click away from your site and offer incentives to stay and submit details. 

While these pop-ups can be invasive if overused, they're an effective way to capture data and grow your email list if used correctly. These forms are best used where they add value to the visitor, not friction to the experience.  

For example, a pop-up in the first 5 seconds on, or when exiting your home page is unlikely to be what a buyer wants to see. But when they're leaving a pillar page, a pop-up form can be a great way to encourage a visitor to download your content for later, sign up for your newsletter, or take advantage of a limited-time offer.  

3. Use social media

Social media is a powerful tool for growing your email list. LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can all be used to promote your brand and encourage engagement. 

Take every opportunity to drive traffic to your website and link to resources that visitors can download in exchange for their email address.

You can also use paid social advertising to increase the reach of your gated content. There are also some ad formats specifically designed to generate leads. For example, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms add a CTA to your sponsored ads, prompting users to sign-up. Once they click on your ad, they’ll be greeted by a form that’s pre-filled with information drawn from their LinkedIn profile. So, with a single click, visitors can instantly send you their information. 

4. Host webinars or attend offline events

Hosting an event like a webinar or product demo is effective for bringing in high-quality leads for your email list. 


Webinars are a great opportunity to share your expertise with your audience. Plus, as all interested attendees will sign up via email, you'll have a whole host of new leads to nurture after registration. 

Offline events

Offline events like trade shows can also present significant opportunities to connect with professionals in your industry. Demo a new product, discuss your industry, and most importantly, collect signups in person.

Co-marketing campaigns

Partnering up with a complimentary brand for a co-marketing campaign opens the doors to a whole new audience.

Team up with another company for a webinar, or share your expertise in a co-authored ebook. Working with another company can provide a sizeable boost to your audience, and gives you a great opportunity to collect valuable leads. 

5. Sponsor an event 

Sponsoring an event can be a useful way to generate brand awareness and promote your business. 

You can collect contact details of delegates you've spoken to and ask the organiser for a list of attendees, pre or post-event. It's important to follow up with these leads as soon as possible. That way, your brand sticks in their mind and won't be so easily forgotten. 

Don't forget GDPR!

Be mindful that whatever strategy you choose to employ needs to be supported by your stance on both GDPR and PECR.

The main options are legitimate interest, meaning a conversion with a notice is enough for you to collect data and communicate via email. Or you can require visitors to give their direct consent by filling out specific checkboxes. Either way, ensure that your policy is consistent across all interactions. 

These examples all demonstrate effective ways to build up your B2B marketing list with high-quality contacts. By using a combination of strategies, you'll be able to widen your audience and attract valuable leads for you to nurture and close.  

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