How to build an email list from scratch with Flodesk

Flodesk email templates on mobile screens

Whether you start from scratch with email list building or you’ve already built a smaller (or bigger!) email list, Flodesk may have something to offer.

In my earlier posts I’ve talked about why email list building is important and what advantages it has over social media. And I discussed the steps of how to use MailerLite to set up automated emails to nurture your audience.

So you may be wondering why am I talking now about Flodesk. And what exactly is Flodesk anyway?

Disclaimer: the link is an affiliate link which means I get a commission if you purchase through me, but you’ll get 50% off your Flodesk subscription too.

What is Flodesk and how does it compare to other email marketing providers?

Flodesk is a new email marketing service provider platform lead by Martha Bitar and Rebecca Shostak. It helps you design gorgeous emails in an intuitive way with the help of beautiful templates.

Flodesk’s philosophy is to remove the overwhelm many small business owners and creative business owners have when it comes to creating high converting email campaigns. They strive for simplicity, elegance and give you an easy to grasp user interface.

As they are the news kids or rather gals on the block they’re still in a private beta-launch and don’t have yet all the features that other big email marketing companies have.

email template samples on Flodesk homepage

Is Flodesk the right choice for your business?

As Flodesk is in beta-launch it doesn’t have as sophisticated features and a large tool integration landscape as other already established companies like ConvertKit, Mailchimp or MailerLite. Yet.

But they work extremely hard in the background to service all our needs, and a Zapier integration is coming soon. Shopify is already integrated if you have an e-commerce store.

In the next section I give you an inside look into Flodesk and its current features. If there are certain marketing segmentations and workflow must haves you can’t live without at the moment and that are essential for your small business, Flodesk may not be the solution for you. And it’s better to stay a bit longer with your current email marketing provider. Before shutting down your account elsewhere and moving over here, make sure you evaluated the consequences for your business.

On the other hand you have the chance if you join Flodesk now to be part of this new, amazing email marketing platform. And you even have a say in it. The very engaged and helpful Facebook Insider group shares tips and tricks, and members have a chance to submit new feature requests and can vote on upcoming new templates releases.

Both owners, Martha and Rebecca, are actively responding to posts in the Facebook group and frequently update the Flodesk Help Center articles with new topics to make the transition as flawless as possible.

The normal price of using Flodesk is 38 USD/month, but if you sign up via my invite link, you can get 50% off your first year of subscription, making it 19 USD/month for the first year.

And you get unlimited everything. No matter how big your email list grows due to your hard work and client relationship building efforts. You won’t get penalized by paying more for a bigger list.

Inside Flodesk

When you sign up for the initial 30 days trial and you login to Flodesk, you’ll see that your main page has 4 sections called Emails, Audience, Forms, Workflows. To access your profile and account information just hover over the icon in the top right corner of the page.

Flodesk account settings menu


When you just start with Flodesk, the email area will be empty as you haven’t created one yet. By clicking the Create new button you’re redirected to the template gallery.

You can use the existing templates which range from simple freebie/opt-in delivery emails, to welcome and introduction ones, thank you emails or sales emails. You can start one from scratch of course and explore all the possibilities that way too.

And yes, you find some lovely templates from Jenna Kutcher in the mix that you can customize for your audience and your small business.

Jenna Kutcher email templates in Flodesk email template gallery

The templates are pre-written. That means if you usually get the writer’s block when looking at a blank page thinking what should I write and send to my audience. Well, this can help you out. Just read the pre-written text, delete parts that you don’t need, re-phase the existing sentences, and add your own personality to the mix and you’re ready to send.

I’ve included some quick tips regarding emails in my other post Flodesk: mini FAQ and quick tips to get you started swiftly, that could help you further.


This section hosts your Subscribers and Segments.

Everyone who joins your email list either by signing up via your forms, or those you import from your previous email marketing provider will be part of your Subscribers. That’s everyone in Total.

You can review your Subscribers based on their Status (Active, Unsubscribed, Bounced, Marked spam) or by Source (Added manual, CSV import, Form opt-in).

Under Segments you find your subscribers grouped according to your Segments. When you start to build your email list from scratch you won’t have any segment yet. One of the first steps is to create one by clicking on the Add segment button. Then you simply name it.

Try to give a meaningful name. With time and as your email list grows you can end up with quite a number of segments. The more memorable names you give them, the easier it will be to recall what they stand for in your marketing efforts.


To start collecting emails and attract subscribers to your email list you need to create opt-in forms. Currently you can choose from

  • inline forms with or without image
  • popup forms with or without image and
  • a full page style form (aka opt-in landing page).


To start shaping the forms to your style and needs, hover over its image and click Customize.

First you need to select your Segments that will be linked to this form. You can select multiple segments.

As next step you’d change the forms background color, canvas color, opacity if needed. You have a wide range of pre-added colors you can choose from. And you can add custom colors too.

Just type in the required HEX # code and you’re good to go.

color options in Flodesk email customizer

The forms let you request your subscribers email address obviously. And you can toggle on or off if you want to capture their first name and/or last name too.

Once they’ve subscribed you can selected from a small collection of pre-written confirmation texts that get displayed. These give immediate feedback to your subscriber that the sign-up process went through flawlessly. The template copy ranges from a simple ‘Thank you’ to ‘You’ve successfully signed up! Check your email for details.’

If you don’t like the pre-written messages, choose the last option called ‘Custom’ and type your own confirmation message.

When you finished customizing your opt-in form, hit the Next button in the top right corner. In case of a popup, you have the  options as to

  • show it immediately when someone lands on the page
  • after 5, 10 or 15 seconds of delay
  • when someone scrolled down 30% of the page.


You can also decide if the popup should be shown to return visitors who already subscribed, whether you wan to be notified if someone subscribes. Also if you want them to be redirected to a specific landing page after they’ve signed up with your form, you can add the URL.

A recent new addition to forms is that you can enable the double opt-in feature.

The last step is always the code section. It looks intimidating but don’t get discouraged.

If you’re on WordPress grab the code and add it to your pages before the closing tag. There are plugins that help you insert codes to the head tag on all your pages or on selected pages. So that you have more control over the popup.

By the way everything is autosaved as you work in Flodesk.

Except for certain workflow steps. See below.

build email workflows in Flodesk


You build your forms, put them on your website, promote them, and people start signing up. Workflows make it easy to automatically deliver your freebies, welcome email sequences or even your sales sequences to your audience.

On your Workflows section click on Create new. The good news is that there are workflow templates in Flodesk that you can start customizing. This can help if you’re a bit lost or unsure how this should work. Or you can build a workflow from scratch.

The first step in case of workflows is to define the trigger. This will be the starting event of the workflow when someone is added to the relevant segment. Always save every step before moving to the next in the workflow. Autosave doesn’t work here like with email templates.

As next step you can add an email, a time delay, an if/then condition or an action. The if/then condition is limited to when someone opened your email. But this may change in future. Similarly the action is to add subscribers to a segment or remove them from a segment.

If you want to trigger an action based on someone clicking a specific link in your emails that is not yet available.

For each email in the workflow customize the email body, then define a subject line, double check the sender email address, and add a preview (teaser) text. And as mentioned save your work before moving to the next step.

Once you are ready, publish your workflow and start building that email list!

You can find some additional tips regarding workflows in my other post Flodesk: mini FAQ and quick tips to get you started swiftly.

How to transfer existing subscribers from MailerLite (or your current provider) into Flodesk

Go to your subscribers in MailerLite and select Export > Export to CSV.
If you’ve already segmented and grouped your subscribers I’d recommend to export them based on them and not as all subscribers. That way you have a fine-tuned control over your list after you move them over to Flodesk.

As I’m still at the beginning of my email list building efforts I didn’t have that many subscribers and importing them was a quick and easy process. But I heard of others with thousands on their lists and they had no issues either.

To import your current list:

  1. sign in to Flodesk and go to your Segments.
  2. Click Add Segment, and name it first.
  3. Then hover over the newly created segment and click View details.
  4. You can then upload your CSV by clicking the Actions button.


Note that Flodesk only has fields for your subscriber’s email address, first name and last name at the moment. If you’ve collected more data and fields at your previous provider those won’t be uploaded.

And that’s it. The imported subscribers will show up in this new segment and also as part of your total subscribers.

How to set up your brand preferences in Flodesk

In the top right corner hover over the circled icon and select Brand preferences.

What does it mean and what can you do here?

  • add your logo
    • this will be automatically pulled in to your emails each and every time you start designing one.
  • fill in your company name, website details and your company’s address
    • this is mandatory when you send out email marketing stuff.
    • Make sure to add correct, valid details.
  • link your social media accounts with Flodesk
    • that way these accounts will be displayed in the footer area of your messages.
  • connect your Instagram account with Flodesk
    • if you link your IG account than by adding an Instagram block to your email it automatically pulls in the last three images of your feed.
  • add your brand colors (5 different ones) based on their Hex # codes:
    • afterwards these colours will appear in the color picker when you want to change an element’s color in your email. This could be background color, button color or even text color.

HubSpot’s top strategies on how to build an email list from scratch - how does Flodesk score?

If you’re starting from zero, building an impressive email list can feel like an impossible feat.

HubSpot collected some high-quality strategies to build an email list from scratch. These strategies are designed to cultivate a loyal email subscriber base, so you can use your emails to attract better long-term customers.

Let’s see how many strategies you can implement with Flodesk even in their beta-launch mode.

1. Create a personalized CTA (call-to-action) for each blog or landing page.

Having the same CTA text on all your pages like Download This, Sign up for That can be boring. And may not yield good results. Try to make it more personal and relevant for your readers. If your blog post is about email marketing strategies have a CTA something like “Click here to download a free email marketing guide”.

With Flodesk you can create as many forms as you wish and the CTA button of the forms can be changed to anything you want. [1 point]


And while we’re at freebies and lead magnets. Have you considered setting up an email course opt-in with Flodesk? Because you can totally do that! Even in their current beta launch version you have every ingredient to wow your audience with an email course or 5-day challenge.

2. Create a pop-up or slide-in for each page of your site.

Popups are a controversial topic and many people find them annoying. But what usually annoys people are popups that are immediately displayed when someone navigates to the page or popups that cover the whole screen and are hard to close. Especially on mobile phones.

Flodesk offers popup forms with or without images. While exit popups are not available you can time delay popups or trigger them when someone scrolled 30% of your page. [1 point]

display options for popup form in Flodesk

3. Create a timed pop-up survey.

HubSpot mentions that it’s a good strategy when you build your email list, to reach out to visitors on specific pages with surveys related to that content.

Such a popup survey feature is not available in Flodesk at the moment though. [0 point]

4. Use humor or sarcasm in your CTA’s “no, thanks” copy.

On many website you can find popups and sign up forms with two buttons: Yes or No style. To spice it up and make this tactic more effective use humor in your “no, thanks” copy:

  • Yes, send me the guide! vs.
  • No, my business isn’t important.


While you can’t create such a popup in Flodesk directly that is with two buttons, but if you use e.g. Elementor Pro on WordPress for your website, you can build similar popups where the buttons can then be linked to Flodesk email capture forms. [0.5 point]

5. Describe value in your CTA.

To optimize sign-ups outline the value you can offer using language like “Download our exclusive e-book now”.

As mentioned earlier, you can freely customize the CTA button text in Flodesk. [1 point]

CTA button example created in Flodesk

6. Pitch your email newsletter on your social media accounts and email signature.

With Flodesk you can create full (landing) page style subscriber forms.

Even if you don’t have a website yet, you can publish these and start putting out your free offer. Just share the URL of the page. You can add this full page form into your social media bio links. [1 point]

7. Create more landing pages.

HubSpot conducted research and found companies see a 55% increase in leads when you increase the number of landing pages from 10 to 15.

You can create as many gorgeous landing pages as you want in Flodesk. Remember when you sign up you get unlimited everything. [1 point]

8. Encourage everyone to sign up immediately.

There are those rare occasions when visitors are that much happy with what they found on your website that they want to simply subscribe to your newsletter to be kept in the loop.

You can easily set up an inline form for this purpose in Flodesk and place it into your website’s footer. [1 point]

9. Include a CTA on your About Us page.

The About or About Us page is a highly visited page of your website. If you’re about to build your email list you want to seize every opportunity with a strategically placed opt-in form.

You can add a Flodesk inline form with an image to your About page to grab the attention of your readers. [1 point]

10. Try a scroll box.

A/B testing the placement of your CTA buttons is typically outside the scope of email marketing tools. Use suitable analytics solution for this. But once you figured out when your visitor is ready to convert, you can place your gorgeous Flodesk subscriber forms with suitable CTA messages anywhere you want. [1 point]

Total score 8.5/10 points.

As you can see even in its beta-launch version you can use Flodesk’s current features to implement winning email list building strategies. Even if you start from scratch.


As a small business owner or better to say as a business owner regardless of the size of your company your goal should be building meaningful connections and relationships to your audience, clients and customers.

Relationships lead to results.

And email marketing, and Flodesk’s user friendly interface and gorgeous templates can play a big part in turning your marketing efforts into profits.

If you love what you’ve seen in this post, and want to check out Flodesk, just click on my invite link. 

Should you have any questions about Flodesk, leave me a comment here under this blog post and I’ll get back to you.

Also I recommend you to check my other post Flodesk: mini FAQ and quick tips to get you started swiftly. In this blog post I’ve collected some FAQs and quick tips that could be useful if you’re new to Flodesk.

Wishing you happy emailing and email list building!

how to build an email list with flodesk

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8 Responses

    1. Hi Susanne,

      Click on the Flodesk hyperlink in the article and that brings you to the invite link.

  1. HI petra, thanks for your input and work… I like to know if flodesk has an payment option.. If not how can I get that and how do I aplicate it.
    greetings Susanne

    1. Hi Susanne,

      There’s a monthly payment option and an annual one. If you join Flodesk in their beta launch now, you can get the 50% off discount on either of these plans after your free trial.

  2. Wow, thanks for this, Petra. I hadn’t heard about Flodesk before now you have me looking at it as a viable option for my newsletters (and more!). I love that you’re always keeping me up to date to help make my business the best online.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Marva! Though they are new on the market and still in private beta launch mode there’s so much happening in the background. And the owners, Martha and Rebecca are working really hard in the background to release new features as per the community’s inputs. Not to mention to upgrade their hardware capacity to cope with the influx of new users. If you’re business doesn’t rely on very detailed and sophisticated segmenting and tagging yet, then Flodesk is a viable option. And you and your business can grow and extend its marketing efforts as Flodesk grows. Should you have any questions, leave a comment. And I have additional posts about Flodesk that may help you along the line!

  3. There is so much actionable content packed here! I loved this piece so much. Learned a ton and we built the software! Excited to continue to see what you create, Petra ✨

    1. Thanks so much Martha for your comment. I fall in love with Flodesk when I saw it the first time in someone’s newsletter and registered right away. I’ve never been part of the birth of an emerging new service like this and I really enjoy being secretly part of it as beta launch user. It has so much potential. And the fact that it is women owned is a huge plus in my eyes. You deserve ladies all the support you can get!

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