Build an e-mail marketing list - part 1

Promoting your product is key to getting sales. Having a web site is a necessity but this is rarely enough for the phone to start ringing and for sales to start coming in.

Here I am going to explain step-by-step how you can build a list of e-mail addresses of potential customers which you can then use to send e-mails to and start selling your product or service.

Here are the details:

Time required: One hour

Money required: £12 - £60

Difficulty: Easy


The first step is to gather the e-mail addresses of potential customers so that you have somewhere to send your marketing e-mails.

You will need to check the law in your country regarding e-mail marketing as laws and caveats vary.

Assuming that you have done your research and you are good to go, here's what you'll need to do.


E-mail collection software

There are many, many different pieces of software which you can install and configure that will search the internet and gather a list of e-mail addresses for you. There are two pieces that I use, one on Windows and one on Mac.

RedScraper - Windows

I have used the Redscraper software for a few years now and it has been invaluable in building the marketing lists that I use. It's easy to install, easy to use and very powerful.

I have had some problems in the past where I have needed to call on their support team to fix the install on my machine and they have always connected up remotely and resolved any issues. Unfortunately they do require you to chase them up sometimes and therefore support has been slow.

The software allows you to enter search terms which the software then passes to Google, Yahoo or other selected search engines and brings back a list of web sites matching the criteria. The software will then extract the e-mail addresses from these web sites, providing you with a list of contacts.


E-mail Grabber - Mac

Another piece of great software, this time for Mac users.

I haven't had any problems with this software yet but in comparison to RedScraper, I've only been using it a short amount of time.

Just with RedScraper, you put in your search criteria and it goes off, scraping web sites for e-mail addresses which you can then use to send your marketing e-mail to.



Regardless of the software that you use, they are usually resource intensive so it's good to set up the software on a spare machine or leave it running over night as you'll find it difficult to work on the same machine that it's running on. Both pieces of software offer a 'pause' function, allowing you to pause the search but you cannot save a search that is in progress, meaning once you start a search your computer needs to stay on and the program open for you to continue your search without having to start again.

Note: Regardless of your country's laws, I would highly recommend using only business e-mail addresses. You should filter and edit your list of collected e-mail addresses to ensure you have not accidentally picked-up some personal e-mail accounts. 

Search terms

Have of the success of building your mailing list is down to the search terms that you enter into the software. You will need to test different search phrases and settings within the software to make sure you collect the right addresses from the right web sites.

One useful technique I've found is to enter the telephone area code of the town / city that you are searching for businesses in. If you enter the area code along with the types of businesses that you're trying to target e.g. "01443 electrician" you are more likely to get the result you're looking for.

If you are looking for a particular type of business across the country, you can find online directories and point the e-mail grabbing software at those. For example, if you were looking to contact B&B owners, pointing the software at a site like might give you a great list of contacts.


The small print

Obviously grabbing e-mail addresses like this is controversial, after all we are talking about sending unsolicited e-mails to people. It is down to personal conscience and whether what you are offering to these people could benefit them. If you're just going to be sending out an e-mail that is of no relevance to hundreds of people, perhaps this isn't the right approach.