You’ve probably noticed that here at Brand Creators, we love discussing email list building.
Why? Because we’ve seen proof again and again that a highly engaged email list is the ultimate game-changer for any business. It’s a dependable asset that YOU own and YOU control.
So today, we’re going to show you exactly how to build an email list… for FREE.
We’ll even give you seven simple ways that you can drive free traffic to your email list. These are strategies you can put into action immediately, so there are no excuses.
You can start building your list right NOW!
The 3 Steps To Build An Email List:
- Lead Magnet
- Landing Page
- Drive Traffic (7 Simple Ways)
Step 1: Lead Magnet
Before we get to the juicy details of driving free traffic, we need to make sure you have the first two pieces of the puzzle in place. These are critical to have in place before you can collect emails.
The very first step of list building is to create your lead magnet. Now, you might be thinking, “What is a lead magnet?”
A lead magnet is just what it sounds like. It’s an incentive or a special offer that will attract people (leads) to join your email list.
It better be an enticing offer! The idea is to exchange value for value; your lead magnet for an email address.
Here’s the secret to a good lead magnet: It needs to be super specific to your niche. Whatever your offer is, make sure it helps your ideal customer or audience overcome an obstacle, solve a problem, or accomplish something specific.
Lead Magnet Examples
Let’s say you’re in the bass fishing niche. Your ideal lead or customer is a bass fisherman. In your case, a great lead magnet might be a short guide for 5 Tips To Catch More Bass, or 5 Tips To Win Your Next Bass Fishing Tournament.
See how specific that is? It’s not just about fishing in general. It’s not something that a fly fisherman would be interested in. It’s something that specifically grabs the attention of bass fishermen.
The only people you want on your email list are the ones that are truly interested in your market.
If you’re feeling stumped here coming up with a lead magnet, check out our article on the 5 types of lead magnets and how to pick the right one for your audience.
Step 2: Landing Page
Once your Lead Magnet is created, it’s time to put it on its own allocated landing page (or squeeze page, as we used to call it in the old days).
The landing page is a single webpage where you present your lead magnet and people can exchange their emails for it. Its sole purpose is to deliver the offer or incentive and collect email addresses. Your landing page shouldn’t take long to get set up.
Again, these first two steps are crucial to have in place before we can do anything else to build an email list. Once you have an enticing offer and a way to deliver your offer in exchange for email addresses, you’re ready to build your list!
Step 3: Drive FREE Traffic
Step 3 is the fun part. It’s all about making it public, sharing it, and grabbing attention in your niche.
If you’re able to pay, there are plenty of ways to get attention and traffic to your landing page. We’re big fans of Facebook ads… but why not explore at least a few of these 7 simple ways to get FREE traffic first?
We recommend picking at least two from this list (if not all!)
Here are 7 simple ways to build your email list with FREE traffic:
- Website (Pop-Up)
- Social Media
- Content (Blog)
- Guest Post
Here’s the very first thing that you should be doing if you’re getting any traffic at all on your website. (We’re talking 2 or more visitors.) Put up a form on your website which talks about the lead magnet and the landing page.
You can put it on your sidebar in a widget or as a popup. If you use the popup, someone arrives at your website and it will slowly slide in front of the page, so these grab the most attention.
At Brand Creators, we use a tool called ConvertKit that makes this process really simple. If you want to get a complete breakdown of all the reasons we love it, check that out here.
But the main thing here is to post your lead magnet offer on our website as soon as your landing page is ready.
The next source of free traffic for your email list is social media.
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, Twitch… any social media accounts you may already have, link your landing page there!
We don't care if you have 5 followers on Facebook- put your email list opt-in on your social media! You never know who will pick it up or who will land there.
Create specific content around your lead magnet to post on your blog.
This serves a dual purpose. First, you’ll have a piece of content on your website that could get picked up by Google and any other search engines, and second, it’s drawing in people that relate to your lead magnet.
See how that works together nicely?
Make sure you’re creating blog content because this strategy will also get traffic from Google, which will then be a long-term asset. (And by the way, your opt-ins will go through the roof if you use this method!)
Maybe you belong to a few online communities. If you belong to Facebook groups or forums in your niche, there may be opportunities for you to link your landing page there.
A word of caution, though. Always make sure you’re abiding by the rules of that community. Be helpful. Never spam. Join the conversation and people will ask relevant questions. You can say, “Hey, I just created a resource on this topic. You can go check it out here,” and post the link.
Create a couple of YouTube videos! You never know what will happen there. YouTube is a great platform for search-related content.
We’d like to mention here that a great strategy for content creation is to repurpose your content on different platforms. Remember that blog post you just wrote about your lead magnet? You could turn that written content into a video.
Another option for people who are more comfortable speaking than writing is to create a video related to your lead magnet first. Then, get your video transcribed and formatted into a blog post for your website.
We know what you’re thinking and we are NOT suggesting you have to start a podcast just to get your lead magnet out there. No, the idea is to do guest appearances on other people’s podcasts.
If you have some type of expertise, share it on a podcast and then share your lead magnet.
Again, you’re delivering helpful content to your niche. People are going to have questions or want some type of follow-up information, which gives you a great opportunity to direct them to your landing page where your lead magnet resource is ready to be downloaded.
The guest post strategy is very similar to podcasting. You could reach out to other people in your market and say, “Hey, would you let me create a post for your blog for free and I’ll give you some helpful information for your audience?”
As long as it’s relevant and useful to that piece of content and to that audience, you can include a link to your lead magnet.
Blogs love guest posting. Sometimes, they even have a note on their menu bar that says, “Submit A Guest Post,” so always look for that. Always reach out for those opportunities to let a wider audience know about your lead magnet.
There you have it! We’ve been through the three steps of building an email list, including 7 simple ways that you can leverage FREE traffic to grow your list.
But before you get carried away driving traffic, make sure you’ve got those first two pieces in place. If you don’t have the lead magnet in place, what are you going to give them? If you don’t have a landing page built, where are you going to send them?
Now that you’ve got a game plan to collect those emails, nothing is stopping you! If you have your lead magnet and landing page set up already, dive into one or more of these free traffic methods to bulk up your list with quality subscribers.
If you’re a visual learner and want to see Scott map out email list building on the whiteboard, you can watch that quick 5-minute video here.
There’s just one more thing we want to add to the discussion about building an email list for free, and that’s to make sure you have a good follow-up for the people joining your list. If you communicate and follow up with your new email list in the right way, you can keep them engaged and eventually sell your products or services.
Need Extra Help?
If you find yourself in need of some extra help along the way, our 3-hour Email List Building Fast-Track Workshop was designed for you. We’ve mapped out your next 30 days and included everything you’ll need, start to finish, to collect your first 500 emails.
You’ll pick the perfect lead magnet for your niche, create a highly converting page, drive traffic, and even write and send your first emails in a way that gets people engaged with your content and products right off the bat!
The bottom line is if you don’t have an asset in your business that YOU control yet… it’s time to change that!