Want to build your email list for free? Maybe you’re putting off building it because you just started blogging, or your website, online business or store isn’t making much money. You may have decided that building an email list can wait until you have some cash behind you, because those email providers aren’t free, are they?
Well, actually a few of them are, but even then, you’ll have a ton of ads or links in your email, and you’ll get a low quality service overall, won’t you? No, not necessarily. Read on to find out about the exact tools I use to build and manage two email lists, for FREE.
The Basics: The 3 Tools You Need To Get Started
Mailchimp is a popular email system that allows you to get your list started for free. Not only is it free to get started, but you won’t pay a cent until your list reaches 2000 subscribers. By the time you have 2000 readers interested in what you have to say, you should have no problem monetising that list and paying for your upgrade to a paid subscription.
If your list stays small, you never pay, which is interesting, because if you work in a specialized niche, attract engaged subscribers, and get your email marketing right, you can still earn big from a small list.
Once you’ve signed up for free with Mailchimp you can grab a simple HTML code which you can put on your site wherever you want an opt in form to show up. I put mine at the top of my sidebar and at the bottom of every post.
I use the free version of the WordPress plugin MailMunch to allow me to add extra opt-in options to my site. MailMunch is what allows me to have a top bar across the top of this page encouraging you to pop your email address into it. It’s also the program that lets you see a small opt in box in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen as you scroll down the page.
There are many other options for opt-in boxes, but I like MailMunch because it’s totally free, easy to install, and integrates well with Mailchimp. If you’re blogging on WordPress simply go to your plugin area, click ‘add new’ and search for MailMunch. Install and activate the plugin and follow instructions. You can even customise it so the colours of the form match your site, and you can put a custom message in your sign-up boxes too.
A relevant opt-in product
Now you have the means to collect email addresses, you need a reason for your readers to sign up. Like a stellar free gift. I put together a list of things you can use as an opt-in freebie in this post.
The trick with an opt-in freebie is to provide your audience with something relevant, valuable, and easy-to-use. You can set up a welcome email in your Mailchimp account with a link for your readers to download your opt-in freebie. Again, there’s no need to pay to deliver your opt-in. I put mine on Google Drive or in Dropbox (both free].
You can create your own opt-in product easily for free. However, if you do want a really low-cost option, you can use PLR content to create a freebie with minimal effort. In this post, I explain how to make an opt-in freebie very quickly and easily (and cheaply) using PLR products.
Traffic driving tools
The other major thing you need to build your list is a steady flow of traffic to your site. These free tools will help you achieve that too.
Many people use the Sumo plugin to build their lists, as it has a lot of options, from opt-in forms to pop-ups. I found the Sumo opt-in forms to be difficult to integrate with Mailchimp which is why I use Mailmunch instead. Sumo is, however, really useful in a few other ways. I use it to put those customisable floating share buttons on the side of every post. Making it super simple to share posts is a really easy way to drive traffic to your site.
Another place I get a lot of free traffic from is my Facebook groups. I’m a member of several groups where bloggers get together to collaborate and promote each other’s work. I show you how to use Facebook groups to drive traffic in this post.
Pinterest Group Boards
Pinterest is now one of my biggest traffic sources, especially since I joined around 20 relevant group boards and began pinning my blog posts regularly to all these boards. Not familiar with Pinterest? I share a lot of Pinterest strategies (including how to attract traffic from Pinterest) in my post 20 Quick Pinterest Marketing Tips.
Twitter is another big traffic driver for me. Many people are using Twitter all wrong when it comes to online business and traffic generation. I give you all my top tips for using Twitter for business (and to bring traffic to your website) in this post.
Just ReTweet is a great free tool to enable you to get more Tweets, Facebook likes and shares on Google plus. There is a premium version of this tool, but I have only ever used the free version and it has helped me drive tons of traffic to my blog, and connect with other bloggers who have helped me on my blogging journey. I wrote a whole post about how to use Just ReTweet to bring traffic to your blog.
Yoast SEO is another free WordPress plugin that allows you to easily optimise all your posts for search engine traffic. SEO is complicated, and if you really want to dig into it I suggest you grab this book, but if you just want a simple tool that that will help you optimise each post quickly and easily, install Yoast SEO. Again, you can find it in your plugin area if you blog on WordPress.
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These simple free tools will help you get started with building your list. Need more free tools and tips to help you with your online business? You might want to check out my ebook Free Tools for Writers, Bloggers and Solopreneurs. You can also sign up below to grab some free goodies and regular free tips to help you run your online business.