How To Build An Email List Fast In 2021 (No Money Needed…)

Despite the numerous social media platforms cropping up every day, emails remain king. Numerous studies show that email beats all other digital marketing strategies in terms of ROI. According to HubSpot, email gives you a return of $38 for every dollar you spend, while Adobe claims you get $40 for every dollar spent on email marketing.

So the question is not whether you should build an email list; it is how to build an email list fast. If you create a good email list, you will;

  • Have an intimate channel of communication with your customers
  • Increase brand awareness and build trust
  • Sell with ease

That said, building an email list organically is not a walk in the park. If it were, millions of people wouldn’t be buying emails all over the place. While purchasing a list is definitely the fastest way to get that email list, it has some awful downsides;

  • The people who own the emails you bought don’t know you, so chances are they are not interested in what you are selling
  • Your emails will be unwelcome and annoying, which harms your reputation
  • Most of the emails will land in spam and will never be opened

In short, buying an email list will only get you a handful of useless emails that will not convert.

So, how do you build a legitimate email list that will give you that $40 ROI?

How to Start an Email List

Before we discuss how to build an email list fast from scratch, let’s look at some basic things you need first.

  1. A target audience. Before you start selling anything, you need to know your target audience because you can’t sell to everyone. Come up with a marketing persona- who they are, what they do, their demographics, the problems you want to solve for them, and their goals. But most importantly, where do they hang out?


  1. A website. A website is vital because that is where you will direct people to buy stuff. Frankly, you don’t need an elaborate website to begin with. You can start with a simple landing page that welcomes your visitors and lets them sign in. you can use any of these services to create a beautiful landing page;
  • ClickFunnels

The landing page should have an image, headline, bullet points explaining what the subscribers will get, and of course, a sign-up form. Here is a landing page you can get from LeadPages

this template might need to be changed

  1. An email marketing tool. To effectively communicate with your subscribers, you need an excellent email marketing tool. At a basic level, the tool should help you send a broadcast to all your subscribers at the same time.

You will also need a tool that allows you to segment your subscribers according to their needs and gives you comprehensive reports about your campaigns. When your email list is still young, MailChimp and ConvertKit provide a free plan with all the necessary email marketing features.

  1. A giveaway. There are millions of businesses hustling people out there to subscribe to their mailing list. What sets you apart?

According to the earthly Law of Giving and Receiving, you need to give to get something. You need to come up with a tantalizing giveaway that you will exchange with peoples’ email addresses.

This is where your made-up target audience comes in. What kind of giveaway would they appreciate and find valuable? Is it a free eBook, free mini-course, free guide?

A while back, numerous companies decided to give away their valuable courses for free to help millions of people affected by COVID-19. While these free courses lasted for at most 30 days, these businesses gained millions of lifetime subscribers who can be converted to customers.

How to Build an Email List for Free

  1. Social media

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are excellent marketing platforms that you can use to draw people into your email list. The trick is to look for pages related to what you are selling and post your content there. This will ensure that you only target people who will gain and bring value to your email list.

Ideally, you should post helpful content, a giveaway or a contest on relevant groups, and then add a signup button or form. Social media is also the best place to post tantalizing teasers of your blog post and product offers and ask people for their email in exchange for the rest of the post or the upgraded version. This strategy will only work if you create enough anticipation in their minds.

  1. Create Magnetic Content Upgrades

While we agree with Bill Gates that Content is king, sometimes you need to nudge your loyal readers with something extra, like a content upgrade. A content upgrade is simply bonus content on top of what is freely available on your site.

For instance, if you have a great post on making money online, you can offer a free SEO cheat sheet that is only accessible if you subscribe.

  1. Joint Venture Webinar

If somebody asked me how to build an email list fast, I would definitely say joint venture webinars. This is how it works;

  • You find a valuable partner in your niche (preferably not a competitor) who has a sizable email list
  • Come up with an offer that serves both of you- ideally, you should choose a product to sell, an eBook, course, or any other product.
  • Plan a webinar. Ideally, your partner will send invites to their massive email list, and everyone who opts in will also be sent to your email list.

This plan is fantastic for two reasons; you both benefits because you have gained subscribers, and your partner has gained money selling the product and two; you get subscribers who are interested in what you are selling, unlike buying subscribers.

  1. Optimize your website for opt-ins

Earlier on, we talked about the importance of having a website. If you are serious about digital marketing, working on drawing people to your website is crucial. A simple website will have an About Us page, Contacts, Home, and Blog.

If you play your cards right with your blog, SEO, mobile responsiveness, and all those factors that make your website rank, you will automatically start getting a readership. Sharing your blog posts and links on social media also puts your name out there.

Once you have succeeded in bringing people to your website, you want them to leave you their email address. How do you do this?

  • Standard opt-in forms
  • Landing page
  • Well-timed Popups when people are reading through your blog posts
  • Email field in your checkout page
  • A smart bar on top of every page on your site

You can even use your home page as an opt-in page so people can leave their emails immediately.

Read more tricks here.

  1. Use social proof

Imagine there are two restaurants in your town. One is always fully booked, and the other one barely has two customers inside. Which one draws you in? Obviously, you want to be customer 1032 that day in that crowded restaurant no matter how long they make you wait for a table.

The same applies to everything in life, including digital marketing. When people visit your website or see your post on social media, you want them to be drawn in by the social proof.

Look how Jorden Roper draws in hundreds of people looking to make money online.

how to build an email list fast

You want to join those 7,000 people too, don’t you?

How to Build an Email List Fast Using Your Existing Resources

Everyone has a list of contacts on Gmail, yahoo, and phone books. Before you start reaching out to strangers, you should start with what you already have. However, this depends on what your business is because some contacts won’t propel your business in any way.

Do you just add them to your email list automatically? No.

You can invite them to join your email list and request them to opt-in via the landing page.

See how this guy did it…


From these 10 or 20 people, you can start getting referrals if you send great content and offers.

Email List Building Mistakes

When you are building an email list from scratch, it’s common to be desperate to grow. This desperation leads to mistakes such as;

  • not segmenting your list and sending irrelevant emails to the wrong people as a result
  • not offering value to your subscribers
  • littering your website with forms and pop-ups and annoy every visitor who tries to read your blog posts
  • using the wrong email marketing tool

Final Thoughts On Building An Email List Fast

In this article, we have looked at how to build an email list fast and free. You have learned how to give people an incentive to sign up for your emails without coercion. You have also learned the importance of targeting relevant people only to avoid filling your list with water weight.

If you ask those who have gone before you, building a 10,000 subscriber list organically can take years. However, these tips can help you gain some mileage in a month or two, so you can start reaping the benefits.

Emil Faschang
Instagram & Digital Marketing Expert | Online Entrepreneur for 4 Years | SocialSummitAgency Founder | 19 Years Old


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