How To Build a Profitable Email List with $0.00 Ad Budget – Part 2

Last week, (you can click here for Part 1) we covered steps 1 through 3 of the 6 steps to building a profitable email list with $0.00 ad budget.

Here are steps 4 through 6.

Step 4: Make sure your email is worth opening.

Everything hinges on this step. If you’re not delivering some kind of value or entertainment in every email, then people unsubscribe and your list will shrivel and die. (Or just as bad, you’ll lose people at the same rate you bring them in.)

What reason will you give people to open your emails?

Will you teach them something? Will you inspire them? Will you entertain them?

Even a small nugget of value or entertainment is enough.

Step 5: Keep creating. Keep sending.

This kind of marketing takes a long time before you see results. (Think 12+ months) So you’ve got to stay strong to your commitment to send a quality email every week.

You’re going to reach a point where you feel tapped out of content.

Don’t stop.

You’re going to wonder if people are even reading your emails or care that you send them.

Don’t stop.

You’re going to look at months and months of time and effort and not be able to draw a direct line of connection to ROI.

Don’t stop.

If you stop at this point, all those months of time and effort really will have been for nothing.

Step 6: Harvest sustainably.

You will have put in monumental work to create your email list this way. (Remember, this is about doing it with a $0.00 ad budget. If you can afford to buy audience this process is a lot easier and faster.)

You will rightly want a return for your investment of time. Please do not let that desire rob you of the more profitable long-term harvest coming your way.

How so?

Short term sales activation (direct response) will lose you subscribers faster than you can replace them.

So, harvest sustainably.


It’s ok to, and in fact you should, let people know what you do or have available. (Inform them of your products or services.) However, don’t ask for the sale. Don’t pester them to buy something. Don’t pitch them.

The procedure for long-term content email marketing is: Give value > inform > wait.

If you’ve given enough value, then when people need what you sell, they will buy from you.

These 6 steps are not the most efficient way to market. But if you’re small or just starting out and have more time than money, then you really can build a profitable email list with a $0.00 ad budget.

 – Zac Smith, VC