Is building your email list that important?

How email fatigue led me to abandon list building

Caroline Cocker
5 min readFeb 3, 2020


I have a controversial opinion on building email lists, in that I don’t think they’re all that important. Not any more, and not for everyone.

Email lists can have their place, I’m sure. I just object to how they lauded as being the most important thing to grow, and I disagree.

They’re time-consuming, often expensive, increasingly annoying.

But firstly I’ll prove that I do actually understand why list building is such a popular hobby.

Why email lists are important

  • You control your email list, unlike your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook followers. Those platforms could be removed at any time.
  • Email lists are a great avenue to sell through because the people you’re selling to have already expressed an interest in your niche
  • As well as selling products directly, you can build trust and confidence, add affiliate links, and just generally connect with your audience.

Would building an email list benefit you?

Yes, if:

  • You have a product to sell.
  • You have an engaged audience on your website.
  • You have time to make opt-in forms, lead magnets, and landing pages.
  • You have money to spend on it.

In which case, leave this post and go and hustle to get people to sing up to your email list.

But what about the rest of us? Should we be setting time aside to grow our list?

Not necessarily.

Why I don’t think email lists are all that

  • You can’t control the spam filter.

Which is fine when you’re initially getting people to sign up because it’s easy to prompt them to check their spam folder. But what about the next time you email them?

  • People have email fatigue

People being me. The worst thing is when you accidentally sign up twice with two emails so you get two of everything. If someone’s…



Caroline Cocker

Writer, blogger. Rabbit parent to one. Plant parent to many. Occasional runner, jigsaw puzzle enthusiast.

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