? It’s a paradox many new business owners face – you’re supposed to start building your email list before launching it, but how can you attract leads to something that doesn’t exist, even online yet?
You’re basically saying, “Hey, sign up for mine. I swear, it’s going to be one thing!”
What if I told you that Harry’s shaving brand collected 100,000 email addresses before their product was ready for sale? I’ll explain how they did it below, but that’s just one case study out of many showing that there are multiple ways to do email marketing without even a website, if you get creative.
So if you’re wondering how to build an email list without a website, here are five tactics you can try.
1 HOURost a draw
If you want rapid list growth, giveaways are a great place to start. They work well for several reasons:
You can offer something before your product is ready and people love free stuff.
The time-driven nature of giveaways adds a sense of urgency to your campaign.
If you partner with influencers or other companies, you can trigger the virality of a giveaway.
Even if your own product is not ready yet, you can take advantage of partner products as prizes.
Still don’t think this will work? Rafflecopter grew its email list from zero to 35,000 using its own giveaway software. Travel blog Who Needs Maps doubled its email list in seven days without spending a penny by partnering with brands to sponsor giveaway prizes. Foundr achieved 13,603 email subscriptions in 10 days by holding a competition.
Find a giveaway prize when you don’t have a product
You would be surprised how many companies would be willing to offer their products as prizes for your giveaway. You just have to ask yourself: “What’s in it for them?”
Often times, if you can show them that your giveaway will have impressive reach (by sharing your current email list size or following on social media, for example), you can get sponsors on board.
But if you are reading this post, you probably don’t have a great reach yet. So another tactic is to offer to share the email addresses you get from the giveaway with the sponsoring company. If you do this, be sure to include in the giveaway terms and conditions that you will share entrant information with third parties.
Here’s how Mariah Coz from Femtrepreneur did it. After she launched her giveaway and gathered new email addresses, she kept the giveaway list separate from her main list. Because their target audience was business owners interested in webinars, the first email to their new giveaway subscriber list had a strong call to action to unsubscribe if they weren’t interested in receiving. more emails about webinars.
After that, those who stuck with his list received three more emails that were part of the launch sequence promoting his online course on how to use webinars in your business. In fact, you can download your exact post-giveaway email sequence templates here.
How to run a giveaway when you don’t have a website
Even if you don’t have a website, you can host a giveaway entry form using one of these sites:
They will organize the giveaway on their platform, providing you with a link that you can share or insert elsewhere.
The great thing about using giveaways to grow your email list is that people love free stuff. But the downside of using giveaways to grow your email list is that … people love free stuff.
That means it will likely attract a lot of people who only signed up because they wanted to win the prize. It’s fine. All it means is that you need to filter out those who aren’t really interested in your business.
two. Create a simple ‘Coming Soon’ landing page
While building a full site for your business takes time, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a simple landing page now that collects email addresses before launch.
Do you remember our friends at Harry’s? The shaving brand launched in March 2013 to a whopping 100,000 email subscribers. Co-founder Jeff Raider discusses how they did it on Tim Ferriss blog.
In short, Harry created a two-page “microsite” with these elements:
A home page that said “Harry’s is coming” and asked for an email address so that subscribers could be the first to know
A second page that had a referral rewards program. It contained a link to share, and the more people subscribed, the higher the prize the entry won.
Raider makes no mention of paid advertising for its pre-launch microsite, so it seems that the sheer virality of the referral rewards program made word-of-mouth marketing its best friend for this pre-launch phase.
So how can you do something similar to what Harry did?
Step 1: choose a landing page tool.
Tools like Leadpages and Instapage allow you to quickly create a simple one page site to capture email addresses without any technical knowledge.
How To Build An Email List Without A Leadpages Website Example
Step 2: choose an email marketing service.
Some options include:
Get an answer
Since up to 2,000 subscribers is free, I recommend starting with MailChimp.
Step 3: Integrate your email marketing service with your landing page.
Now, you just need to link your email marketing service to your landing page. To find out how to do this, look at the help desk for the landing page tool of your choice. Here is a guide on how to link Leadpages with MailChimp.
Step 3.1 (optional): Add the reference capacity.
To really skyrocket your list growth, you’ll want to generate some virality on your landing page. One way to do this is to create a referral program in which subscribers are rewarded for referring other subscribers.
Now, Harry did this in a way that requires technical knowledge. If you have that, you can take advantage of the code from the pre-launch campaign page in this post. If you don’t have a developer to help you, there is an easier way. You can use the KickoffLabs AnyForm integration to add a viral boost with referral tracking to Leadpages or Instapage.
Step 4: Share with your friends, family, and business connections.
To kickstart your campaign, personally email your friends and family and ask them to share. And if you have connections in your industry, email them too. This was a big part of the success that Harry experienced. Do not be shy. You have to start somewhere.
The easiest way to set up a quick email signup landing page
Now if the steps above were too much for you to handle right now, there is a much easier, cheaper, and faster way to set up an email subscription landing page – your email marketing service.
If you choose MailChimp or Aweber, each comes with built-in landing pages. These won’t be as customizable and won’t be able to handle referral programs, but they get the job done if you just need a place to send people to sign up for your email list.
This is how it looks in MailChimp. Just go to Lists> Registration Forms:
Use MailChimp to create an email list without a website
Then select Form Builder and you can customize a registration form that creates a unique URL for your use:
If word of mouth marketing isn’t working, consider investing in ads from Facebook and other social media sites to drive traffic to your landing page.