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12 Ways to Build Your Email List For Free

You’re on the right page if you’re interested in knowing how to build an email list for free and get it done the right way and fast. 

I’m sure that you’ve heard at least once that you need an email list. As an internet marketer, I have heard the expression “The money is in the list” or variations of that expression numerous times.

What is an Email List?

It is a collection of those who sign up to receive content and updates from you via email. I call it an email list but it comes in many names: Subscriber list, mailing list, list, dedicated subscribers, etc…

Email may seem like the ancestor of internet marketing, but it has been proven statistically that email to this day brings the highest return on investment for the majority of businesses in the US.

In fact, according to Hubspot, every email generates $42 for every $1 spent. This generally amounts to 1,200% ROI, which makes marketing via email, the most effective solution to date. This is called Email Marketing.

I can personally attribute a lot of my success online due to the fact that I have an email list. Having an email list has opened different opportunities such as:

  • Promoting offers as an affiliate and earning commissions passively
  • Creating an online course where I share my experience with list-building.
  • Offering freelance services for myself, clients, or as an affiliate.
  • Drive a lot of traffic to websites, stores, or social media sites.

All this sounds great but how does one really get started with building an email list?

That is a question that a lot of entrepreneurs ask at the beginning of their careers. If you search the web you will find that people are able to grow an email list by following a wide variety of solutions.

This article will cover how you can grow your email list this year, by using free methods.

Why it’s important to grow your email list?

There is a disturbing trend that I’ve noticed has grown over the years. It is the trend of chasing the vanity metrics of social media followers. It is great to see that a certain individual has a large number of followers.

Unfortunately, that individual is not ever able to reach all his/her social media followers with a post. It’s just not possible because the nature of these social media platforms simply cannot display everyone’s messages to…everyone.

When it comes to email marketing, no one can really tell how many email subscribers you have. Those are numbers only you are aware of and can choose to share publicly if you want.

There are also far fewer regulations when it comes to emails. You control the message to your subscribers, messages can be scheduled in advance and you can send specific messages to your audience based on what they like. 

You can nurture a relationship with your customers.

Having an email list gives you the ability to communicate with your subscribers directly in their mailbox. Or as the cool kids call it nowadays, having an email list gives you the power to DM all your subscribers at once. You can communicate as often as you deem necessary.

There are marketers who communicate with their email lists once a month, once a week, once a day, or several times a day. There is no limit to how many times you can appear in your subscribers’ DM. 

So tell me, which type or email marketer type are you?

I message my subscribers once a day but I’ve also mailed up to 8+ times especially when I’m running a time-sensitive promotion to my email subscribers.

You can influence the customer’s experience and communication

Email marketing is different than other types of marketing because it has more of a conversational approach.

The messages are directly from the vendor to the consumer, so naturally, the vendor will communicate in ways that make their customers very comfortable and engaged enough to take the desired action.

When I write to my subscribers I communicate as if I were talking to a friend. The conversations are friendly and platonic, and communicating in such a way keeps email providers from flagging your messages, as promotional or even worse spam.

So with email marketing, assuming you have a great Email Service Provider like Aweber for example, you can send an email and evaluate the results of that email. You will know:

  • How many people opened the email.
  • How many people clicked on a link or which link they clicked on if you have several.
  • Segment based on the actions taken by your email subscribers.
  • Make a sale and know who bought your product
  • Automate email series or sequences based on your subscriber’s behavior etc…

Other social media platforms lack in comparison when it comes to the options available when communicating with your subscribers and the additional bells and whistles that are available such as metrics that can be used to grow your business.

Your email list belongs to you and only you. The chances of you being blocked in a similar manner to other social media channels block offenders are quite slim. However, there are still a few sets of guidelines that you need to follow.

Emails are written with a purpose

To begin, people join your email list because they are interested in getting updates directly from you about something specific. It is your responsibility to thus continue to provide that specific information in ways that keeps your subscribers engaged and entertained.

Emails are friendly and conversational

When you send an email, you are having a direct conversation with the reader. In other words, there are no distractions and you’re able to manage the feel of the conversation.

Email Service Providers like Aweber provide you with tools that enhance the likelihood of your message appearing conversational. You can address the reader based on the information gathered like name, location favorite pet’s name etc…

Email marketing is the lowest hanging fruit for marketers

There are a lot of decisions to be made when running a business. One of the most effective things you can do as a successful entrepreneur is to have the ability to eliminate mundane tasks, items that require a lot of effort and research.

It is more worthwhile to outsource activities such as those so that you can focus on growing your business. When it comes to marketing, the method i have found to be the most impactful is email marketing, because it requires the least amount of time and effort and the results far outweigh all other marketing channels. 

You can determine your ROI with email marketing

I recently read an article that stated that consumers who purchase products through email spend an average of 138% more than those who do not receive email. In addition, it seems that over 70% of Millennials have listed email as their preferred method of communication. 

Email Marketing By the Numbers

Image CreditDigitalStrike.com

 

How to Grow Your Email List For Free

 

1. Choose the Best Email Service Provider

When you’re running a business, email is mainly used as a communication service, therefore it is highly recommended to use a reputable email service provider as the best way to ensure deliverability and the best way to obtain the specific reports that are important to your business.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering an email service provider:

  • Have the ability to build a database of subscribers
  • Have the ability to send email to several people at the same time
  • Have the ability to create an automated email series
  • Have the ability to create sign-up forms that can be integrated into webpages
  • Have the ability to tag or segment users

There are a lot of different options available on the market when it comes to email service providers. For the sake of simplicity as you’re getting started there are great options where you can start for free. I’ve personally used Aweber and Getresponse for years now and highly recommend them and the best thing is that you can open an account with either of the platforms for free, with no need to take out your credit card.

Here are just a few reasons why I recommend the solutions above:

  • Easy platform to use and basically self-explanatory
  • Great automation tools for segmenting your list based on actions they take
  • Easy to create campaigns, or broadcast a targeted list depending on their level of interest
  • Amazing customer support, they are courteous and very helpful. I wrote a post several months back about how I was impressed by one particular service they provided me.  

2. Create a Lead Magnet an Irresistible Incentive for Signing up

Now that you have a good email service provider like Aweber or GetResponse, the next logical step is to start to grow your email list, every day.

The best way to grow your email list is by providing something that would persuade your visitor into signing up to receive that “something”.

That “something” is known in the world of internet Marketing as an irresistible offer. Having an irresistible offer is essential to building an email list. Irresistible offers are free downloads that are usually delivered in the form of PDF, Spreadsheets, Documents, Videos, Checklists etc…

When you’re getting started it may be a little hard to come up with an incentive. I’ve found that checklists are quite popular and easy to consume.

The very first irresistible offer I created was a collection of interviews I recorded with some experts in the household niche, and that was an experience as I was fortunate enough to interview a New York Times Best Seller.

Creating an irresistible offer can be challenging, that’s why if you are curious and need a little extra guidance, I recommend that you read the following posts:

The image you see above generated 35,859 leads or email subscribers in 60 days. They also share in a post 9 different types of Lead Magnets to consider.

 

3. Create an Opt-in Form

An opt-in form is a mechanism that gives visitors an option to enter their contact information so that they can become a subscriber and obtain some sort of deliverable as a result. This makes an Opt-in Form a powerful tool for audience growth. Opt-in forms are very simple to create and integrate on your website or social media pages. Here are some examples of opt-in forms you can build with

AWEBER

GETRESPONSE

Here are a few tips to take into consideration before you start building an opt-in form:

  • Choose a short but descriptive headline: this headline should describe an important benefit that your potential customers will receive when they sign up.
  • Include a benefit-centric description: include a clear and brief description that will improve the likelihood that your visitors will submit their contact information to obtain what you are offering.
  • Include a call to action: The image you see above generated 35,859 leads

4. Create a Landing Page

A website landing page is a page a prospect would land on while they’re in the process of obtaining more information from you. A landing page is a web page designed to promote and sell your products and services. It is one of the most effective ways to increase your conversions because one of the following actions is bound to happen when an interested prospect visits your landing page:

  • Subscribe to your email list to receive something they want
  • Purchase a product or service you are offering
  • Get your contact information.

Luckily for you, you do not need to have any form of web design skill or experience to create your own landing page. Also since we are continuing the theme of building your email list for free, you’ll be happy to know that the recommended Email Service Providers Aweber and Getresponse both have a feature where you can build your own landing page for free.

See the tutorials below for inspiration.

Create a Landing Page with Aweber

Get Started with Aweber

Create a Landing Page with Getresponse

Get Started with Getresponse

5. Create Original Content 

Creating original and quality content is one of the best ways to attract an audience. Before writing content, it’s important to know who you’re writing to if you want your efforts to be primarily focused on driving sales to grow your business.

Knowing your audience is great because it allows you to craft content that not only answers their questions but will also rank you as highly relevant to search engines.

This makes your website more likely to be seen when a potential prospect enters a relevant keyword in their favorite search engine. If you’re new to Search Engine Optimization, I recommend that you take a few minutes to read The Definitive Guide to On-Page SEO.

It is highly recommended for you to have a solid content strategy for growing your email list.  

6. Host a webinar or workshop

I’ve seen plenty of case studies of marketers quickly growing their email list and sales with webinars. So offering a free webinar is a great way to get your prospects engaged, and have them join your email list.

If you have an audience, you can prepare them by announcing the date of a free webinar. I would create a landing page as explained in example 4, and share the link to the landing page that would have the call to action to register for the free webinar.

Your audience can share this link, therefore attracting other potential customers who found out about your free webinar from their friends sharing the link on their social media pages. You can host a free webinar using platforms such as Zoom, Youtube Live, Facebook Live, etc…

Here’s something cool, because I’m an affiliate marketer I’m always looking for offers that are useful to my list from which I could earn a commission. I promote several free webinars where I earn commissions as an affiliate and my readers don’t have to purchase anything.

Here’s such an example: Free Webinar, Refer visitors to a webinar and earn commissions

7. Include an email Sign-Up form on all your social landing pages

Social media is huge! One of the best ways to grow your email list with social media is to leverage the different social media channels to connect with your audience and present them with opportunities to provide their email address.

In example four (4), we covered creating a landing page. Once you have a landing page created, the next step would be to share the link to that page on your social media pages. Your followers will click on that link, see the landing page and enter their email addresses.

That said it is important to keep in mind that you must have something that your follower wants for them to provide you with their email address.

For example, if your audience is interested in using air fryers, your message could be ” Enter your email to download my best air fryer recipes.”

 

 

8. Use a Captivating Call To Action

A call to action (CTA) is a written direction, primarily used in marketing campaigns to guide prospects towards completing the page’s main desired action. A CTA comes in many forms:

  • An image
  • A button
  • A hypertext link

Usual examples of call-to-action messages are:

  • “Click here to download etc…”
  • “Enter your email address to get your bonus”
  • “Buy Now”, “Download Now” etc…

Our friends at Aweber share how to create a Call to Action by using their free Email Software along with another free tool called Canva.

Get Started with Aweber for Free

Now because CTA is simply a method of conveying a message, you can be very creative. Here are some useful links to inspire you with creating CTAs:

9. Capture an email after an online sale

One thing I hear a lot from a lot of marketers is that “email [as a form of marketing] is dead”. That’s interesting since the majority of consumers prefer to receive an email receipt after making a purchase. In addition, email is used by most vendors to keep their customers up to date on the status of their orders. For example here are some notifications from Amazon:

You can see evidence from the image above that email us used by Amazon (the vendor) to notify me when an item I purchased is running late, delivered, promotional opportunities etc…

The majority of online shoppers expect to provide some form of personal information including their email addresses. Because they know the vendor will provide key information necessary for obtaining their purchase, customers are more likely to enter their best email address.

A customer is very valuable to your business, so capturing their email address after purchase allows you to have more of an intimate relationship with your customer. This can yield feedback that can be used to improve your product and or grow your customership. 

10. Use Pop-up surveys or quiz

We all know what surveys are, but did you know you can use them to also grow your email list? Surveys or Quizzes can act as a form of a feedback loop to learn more about your potential customer, or to educate them.

Using Pop-up Surveys or quizzes would entice potential customers to join your email list for the purpose of receiving something in return. Here are examples of email list-building quizzes to inspire you.

Related: Create a pop-up with Leadpages

Get started with Leadpages

11. Host giveaways

Giveaways are self-explanatory, and people love to participate in giveaways for the thrill of winning something cool. A great way to grow your email list would be to host giveaways and contests.

There’s a caveat to giveaways, however, something that I quickly learned in my early days as an affiliate marketer. Giveaways are great for attracting people to you, but most of those people who visit your offer will not be engaged with your emails. They simply enter their email address hoping to win something.

As a marketer, when growing your email list it is important to know who your ideal customer avatar is so that you can construct your free giveaway in a way that only attracts prospects who will engage with your content.

12. Repurpose content

Writing niche-specific content is an effective way to grow your email list. Once you have a winner article, one that you know gets your audience engaged, the next step to maximize those results and grow your audience is to repurpose your content and package it in a different format for your readers, viewers, or listeners. 

Some bloggers for example use their most viewed blog posts as scripts for creating a video that they publish on their YouTube channel. Once you have the video published, here are a few things you can do to grow your list:

  • Add a call to action that would lead a view to your landing page.
  • Add the video to the blog post for enhancement
  • Share the video with your social media following
  • Share the video with your email subscribers
  • embedded on the blog post to add enhancement, The results of using such a method are quite effective.

I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers / YouTubers are using this method very effectively. So why don’t you give it a try and share the results with us.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this far. The strategies shared here are great strategies to consider to start growing your email list for free. Pick one strategy and implement it today and for the next 6 months.

You will see how quickly your email list will grow over time. The more strategies you stack together the more impactful would be the results obtained but make sure to focus on mastering one strategy before adding another to the mix.

So… which of the list-building strategies shared above do you find the most interesting to try? I’m curious to know your thoughts have you tried these? What were your results?