How To Build a Profitable Email List with $0.00 Ad Budget – Part 1

That was a clickbaity title.

Sorry about that. I should’ve come up with a new title but it was easier to just apologize for this one.

On to why you’re here.

How do you build an email list without spending any money on ads? Besides that, how do you make it a profitable email list that drives sales?

I will tell you how I’ve done it several times now, but first your disclaimer. This process may be free, but it costs a voluminous amount of time and effort. (Welcome to the world of content marketing.)

There are 6 steps.

Here are steps 1 through 3.

Step 1: Prepare an automated welcome series of emails. (More on why/how HERE.)

This is your first opportunity to get people hooked and interested in opening your emails. Think of this step as a free mini ad campaign. Putting time into doing this well will pay off.

Step 2: Start gathering email addresses into an organized list.

Likely you’re going to use the built-in list management of an email marketing vendor like Mailchimp.

If you don’t already have customer emails then start asking for them by trading something of value in exchange for the email address. I know this is remedial, but you’d be amazed at how many companies think they’ll get people to sign up for their email list just because they asked.

This is a slow, long-term relationship you’re building. Start it right by giving first.

Step 3: Start delivering at least one email a week.

You must commit to sending at least one email a week. Send more if you can, but at least once a week on the same day of the week.

That’s it for part 1.

Next week we’ll tackle steps 4 through 6.

 – Zac Smith, VC