How Start A Free Email List

Today is a BIG day.


Because you’re about to build an email list for free and get your first 100 subscribers.

A few months ago (after much delay), I was able to build an email list by getting the first 100 people to opt-in…

And today, I’m going to show you how to do the same.

You’ll see how you can go from “no list”, to earning your first 100 and beyond.

First, let’s talk about why having an email list is so important.

What’s an email list

The concept of an email list is simple:

It’s a way to keep in contact with a group of people who’ve given you permission.

If you’ve ever signed up for coupons from your favorite retailer, you’re on an email list.

Where people get a little confused is the difference between a regular email provider like Gmail and Yahoo! and an “Email Service Provider”.

Services like Gmail allow for you to send and receive email, but not to mass-market to groups of people. While you can send a single email to many people from your email provider, it won’t allow for you to easily manage and keep track of important metrics you’ll need with your marketing list.

An “Email Service Provider”, or “ESP” let’s you broadcast an email to a group of people and typically allows you to monitor who’s opened the email, clicked the links inside, and who marked your message as “spam”.

Why an email list is important

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re someone who’s wants to do one of the following:

  • Get more attention to your business, non-profit organization, or to a project that’s important to you
  • Sell products from your eCommerce store
  • Not rely solely on social media to keep in contact with your audience and customers

In business, there’s nothing more important than knowing who your customers are and having the ability to reach them. Building an email list allows for you to reach your audience with the press of a few buttons – literally unlocking the key to a successful business.

Before we dive in, you must know one thing:

Without optimizing your website and making it easy for random people to subscribe, none of this will work.

To help make it easier for you I’ve put together a quick guide with 5 ways to quickly optimize your site.

Get The Download: 5 Ways To Optimize Your Blog To Get Email Subscribers

Drop your best email below and I'll send you the guide along with other helpful tips for building the business and life you've been wanting.

No spams. Pinky promise. Powered by ConvertKit

How To Build A Mailing List For Your Blog, Podcast, or YouTube Channel

1) Install List Goal

It’s tools like this one from Bryan Harris, that make how to build an email list fun and simple.

List Goal has one purpose:

To keep your list-building goal top-of-mind.


A quick story…

Back in high school, I was hell-bent on becoming a National Officer of the student organization I was in.

So that I would never forget my goal at-hand, I did something that drove my family nuts.

I printed out sticky labels, 8 x 10’s, and even changed the background on my SideKick (LOL) to have the same image:

These went everywhere:

  • Under the screen of each TV in my parent’s house
  • Above the doorway along my path from front-door to bedroom
  • Inside the clear insert in my school binder
  • The gauges in my car’s dashboard
  • Every mirror I looked into (believe me, LOTS)
  • I even went as far as posting it in the shower on the side I face…

(you can see why it drove my family crazy)

… Too far?

Well, not only did I get elected to be a National Officer, my team chose me to be President.

How’s that for results?

List Goal does the same thing.

In fact, if I was only able to choose one of the following 5 items to use for building my list – List Goal would be it.

Every time you fire open a new tab on your Chrome browser, BAM – right in your face.

It keeps you laser-focused on the number 1 goal of any online business:

Building a list of email subscribers.

Go here and install it now.

2) Get Interviewed On Podcasts

There are a few reasons I love the idea of getting interviewed on podcasts…

First, it’s an incredible way to network with the big-name players in your industry. Couple this with the Babe Ruth Strategy and you can turn those new relationships into new clients.

Second, it isn’t as time-consuming as most other content you’re making.

Blog posts take hours, as does producing a podcast or YouTube video.

When you’re on someone else’s show, they’re asking you the questions and doing the hard work.

It’s a win-win.

You’re giving them content for their audience, and you’re getting exposure to that audience.

For a lot of people, this may seem like a big task.

But, if you really know your topic then you should find a few podcasts and see if the host would feature you.

Here’s what you need to do right now:

Step 1) Go to iTunes and search the main keyword for your industry (sports, beauty, cooking, etc.)
Step 2) Create a list of 20 podcasts that have your ideal target audience
Step 3) Follow the hosts on twitter
Step 4) Listen to at least one of the episodes
Step 5) Reach out via email and give them an honest compliment on their show.
Step 6) End that email with a question like “how long have you been podcasting?” or “what’s currently exciting you in your business?”.

NOTE: DO NOT go in for the kill here and ask for an interview.

Step 7) If you don’t hear back, follow up via social media 3 days later. You can share some of their content and add some commentary
Step 8) Wait 1 week. If nothing, follow up again via email. Assume they are busy and let them know you’re enjoying their content.

Notice you still haven’t asked for an interview.

If you do this right, these folks are going to ask the same questions to you and check out your content.

When most people reach out to get interviewed, they usually get turned down – believe you me.

Why? Because most people just go in for the kill.

It doesn’t feel right.

I don’t know you, and you don’t know me.

(this is courtship 101 folks)

The people I’ve said yes to for my show in the past remembered one very important question:

“What’s in it for me?”

Play to that question and you’ll have plenty of interviews and business opportunities lined up.

3) Use SMS Calls-To-Action In Your Business

This goes hand-in-hand with #2, “Get Interviewed On Podcasts”.

(I’ll get to why in a second)

There’s power in knowing where your audience’s attention is…

One of my first exposures to making money online was at an I Love Marketing event held by Joe Polish and Dean Jackson.

I, admittedly, had no idea what I was doing at the time, so I made sure to pay attention.

Joe Polish did something that I hadn’t seen done before at the time…

He offered some free downloadable extras to us that expanded on the talk he was giving.

He directed everyone to pull out their phones, text his number and name, and opt-in for the freebie.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, pulled out their phones in unison and texted Joe at that moment.

(I remember wondering if it was going to his personal phone)

I knew at that moment I was watching the future…

Sure enough, text message marketing is now a huge space and continuing to grow.

Let’s talk about the power of SMS marketing in a podcast now…

Many of you know how big of a fan I am of using it in your own podcast if you have one.

Click here to find out how to set up text message calls-to-action in your podcast if you haven’t already.

Let’s tie this into getting interviewed on other podcasts…

A few weeks back, I was interviewed by Brian Kane of ProfitCast and I had the idea to make it easy for his audience to opt-in via text to download a guide that helped build on the conversation we were having.

Of course, I asked for his permission in advance and made sure that his audience would find my giveaway valuable.

My email list grew by 5 percent, and I still see new emails because people are still finding the interview.

Multiply that by 10 or 20 interviews, and you’ll see a growing list of people finding out about you.

4) Use Content Upgrades To Go Above & Beyond

This may seem like a no-brainer, but most people still aren’t doing these.

What’s a content upgrade?

For your audience, it’s a way to give them extra content that builds off the subject at-hand…

(These are also referred to as opt-in bribes, lead magnets, post-specific upgrades)

Maybe you just blogged about “How To Build An Email List”… you could then offer a bonus to readers like:

“5 Ways To Optimize Your Blog For Email Opt-ins”

Wink wink.

The idea is to think about this one question as you create content:

“What would help my audience take action on this article/episode/video?”

If you start there, and you’re solving the problems your readers have, then you can’t lose.

Here are 6 resources for doing content upgrades the right way:

5) Use Your Best Content As An Side-Wide Opt-in Bribe

Choosing what to offer as a lead-magnet can be tougher than a $2 steak.

Speaking personally, I’m way too close to the trees to see the forest in my business at (most) times.

I can look at my coaching and private clients sites and know exactly what’s going to get the job done…

… But my own? Stumped.

If you want to build an email list by converting visitors on your website, then offer something in highly visible areas of your site like:

  • Sidebars
  • Article footers
  • Pop-ups
  • Etc.

Here’s how you can avoid getting stuck choosing what to offer:

  1. Launch Google Analytics, sign in
  2. Find your site and click “All Website Data”
  3. Click “Behavior” from the left sidebar
  4. Chose “Site Content”
  5. Then click “All Pages”
  6. Find the first post (not page) that is ranked the highest

Once you’ve followed steps 1-6, it’s time to take that content and expand on it to create an enticing offer.

Here a few quick ways to get this done:

  • Copy and paste the blog post into a new document. Add some additional thoughts. Change any words/links needed so that it makes sense if downloaded. Export to PDF.
  • Change the article to be more like a script and make a quick video in front of your laptop’s camera or smartphone
  • Turn the headline and main concept into a webinar you can offer your audience and cold traffic. Nail the webby and record it. Use it as an evergreen offer.

Have you taken the time to start implementing these strategies?

I know you’re busy, but list-building doesn’t happen overnight.

I want you to put these steps into action…

So I’ve taken this post and included it with today’s free bonus:

Get The Download: 5 Ways To Optimize Your Blog To Get Email Subscribers

Drop your best email below and I'll send you the guide along with other helpful tips for building the business and life you've been wanting.

No spams. Pinky promise. Powered by ConvertKit

About the Author

  • Great post Jeremy, and really helpful. I’ll definitely be looking into building my email list using content upgrades.

    • :) Thanks @fatimawesson:disqus. Be sure to report back, I’d love to know how they work for you. What’s working best right now for you list?

  • Zachary Barden

    Simple approach to a sometimes over complicated topic! Love how you prefaced this as getting your first 100, instead of “Get 10,000 subscribers NOW!” Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for checking it out @zachary_barden:disqus.

      Very true, although much of this isn’t being done by those with “huge lists” and can still add hundreds of subscribers to a list of any size :)