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How to Create a Free Email List - The Ultimate Guide



When it comes to sending emails, you want to make sure you are reaching the right audience. At the same time, you should also offer them something that might turn them into future customers. Email lists are a great way to reach a lot of people in a short amount of time and have the potential to turn into a lot of business down the road. 


You do want to pay attention to how you’re getting people on your list, as just downloading a free email list is usually not the right way to go. Often these addresses are outdated and, since they are free, are already used by hundreds of other businesses.


Instead, you should focus on building your own free email list by using content, ads, and other marketing resources. These strategies can turn visitors on your website or in your store into customers. If you provide a valuable e-book on your website, people can download the e-book by entering their email address. You can then send them several emails in the upcoming weeks, asking them whether they’d be interested in your product. This will allow you to:

  • Better understand who you are targeting

  • Reach the right people within a company

  • Sign more deals within your market

  • Significantly increase your results


What is a free email list?

Often when people look for a free email list online, they’re looking for a simple file such as a spreadsheet that contains email addresses. Email addresses can be used to build a relationship with your prospects. 


Within the B2B space, these free email lists are not the right way to go. They will often not get you any new business, as they’re already saturated because others are using them. Even worse, they could result in a blacklist for your email address, which means you are no longer able to reach anyone at all.

free email list

Image source: Optinmonster

There are millions of free email lists on the internet. And that’s the main problem. Because they can be found so quickly, many people are already utilizing them. You want to be able to reach potential customers and not spend the workforce on people on a free email list who will probably never see your message. You can spend hours on writing a fantastic email subject line, but if people will never see your email then it’s a waste of time.


Building your email list is almost free, as the cost for running software that collects email addresses through marketing campaigns or on your website is low. It requires a webpage where people can leave their email address. 


Day after day, your list gets longer, and you’re able to reach more people within your niche. At the same time, you know that they won’t be approached by thousands of others who are using the free email lists. You will have to spend some time on getting the right content or ads in front of your audience. However, once you have your system running, the incoming email addresses are free. 

Why you shouldn’t download a free email list?

When you’re building your email list from scratch, you are more confident that others do not target the people you are going to reach. They submit their email addresses on your website because they’re interested, rather than just appearing on a list somewhere. Moreover, you can be sure that they are within your niche and might be a potential customer since they already showed interest in your content or ads. So, for B2B companies, building an email list yourself is a much smarter way to get more business than downloading a free email list. 


Another problem with free email lists is email deliverability. When you’re sending out a few dozen emails every single day, you don’t want to risk having low email deliverability. If email addresses no longer exist, odds are you will be getting a lot of “Server cannot be reached” emails in your inbox. And soon enough, this might result in you ending up on some blacklist because you are sending emails to non-existing email addresses.


And then there’s the main problem: you won’t look very professional for emailing people that are on a free email list. If you want to work with great companies, you need to be a great company yourself. Downloading free email lists isn’t going to get you there, because your marketing strategy will most likely not pay off. You’re better off putting your time and effort into building your own email list from scratch as it will be less risky and more profitable. 


The main reasons to not download a free email list are:

  1. You are not sure whether they’re active in your niche

  2. You are unsure whether they will receive your emails

  3. You won’t look very professional


How to create your own email list for free

There are many ways to create your own email list for free. As mentioned before, you want to create a page on your website where people can leave their email address. 


If you’re going around visiting a lot of events within your niche, it gives people a way to sign up when you meet them. You can quickly create a spreadsheet and hand your phone to your potential customers so they can enter their email address. This allows you to follow up with a great networking email with a good subject line


Building your email list for free isn’t hard. You just need to know what steps you need to take to get those high-quality email addresses.


email list free


Why should you create your own list?

First and foremost, creating your email list is remarkably valuable as you are confident that everybody on that list is interested in your company. Whether you’re collecting email addresses in exchange for a whitepaper or a tutorial video, only people that are active in your niche will download your content. By creating valuable content or meeting a lot of people at events, you will add new subscribers to your email list on a regular basis. Though it might take longer than downloading a free email list online, the quality of the email addresses and the business potential is much higher.


You are also confident that these people will enjoy receiving your emails. When you are downloading free email lists online, it will make you look like a spammer. People don’t like receiving emails that aren’t personalized or are solely focused on selling whatever product or service you are offering them. You can send better emails when you are aware of who is on your email list, how you got them, why they might be a potential customer and at what stage of the buying cycle they are in. 


Last but not least, the value of your own email list is much higher than that of a free email list. People are already familiar with your company when they download a whitepaper or tutorial video. They’ve previously visited your booth at an event. Therefore, they understand what you’re offering and why you are sending them emails to talk about your product or service. With every new sign up on your list, you are adding another potential customer to your pipeline. It will quickly turn into a profitable list as you are now much more likely to sell your products and services. 


So the main reasons to create your own list are that:

  1. It is much more valuable

  2. You will be confident that the email addresses are valid

  3. People are already familiar with your company


Understanding your audience

Before you start building your own email list, you want to understand what your audience wants or needs. Email addresses are mostly private. People don’t like to hand them out to everyone as their inbox is going to be full of emails soon. So you will need to think of a way to get these email addresses, and this all starts by understanding your prospects’ needs. Ask yourself questions like:

  1. What is going on in their current job that is creating a problem for them? 

  2. What does their average day look like? 

  3. How much time or they spending on problems that you might be able to solve?


When you start learning more about your audience, it will be much easier to offer them something valuable enough to inspire them to give you their email address. Remember, an email address is something valuable, so you need to provide value in return. And your offering can be relatively easy, such as a short five-page e-book, as long as it fixes a problem that your prospect is currently dealing with. 


Let’s say you are building a tool for companies that simplifies the way sick days are registered. This may take up to an hour for your prospects right now. But you found a way to bring that down to just five minutes, so you’re saving them 55 minutes. Turn your knowledge into a whitepaper and allow your prospects to download it in exchange for their email address. 


When they download the whitepaper, you are sure that this is something they’re struggling with. So, when you offer a paid online solution in a week from now that helps save those 55 minutes, they are more willing to hop on a call to discuss your product. This is why creating your email lists is much more valuable than just downloading a free email list that anybody can find online.

Where to get email addresses

Now that you know how to understand your customers, it’s time to dive into how you can get the email addresses from your prospects. It all starts by offering something of value, and you can do that in many ways.



Offer

Why it’s valuable

Start a newsletter

Newsletters are great to get more email addresses and a great example of an email marketing strategy in itself. Send your prospects a list of resources every week, and people will quickly sign up as it’s valuable for them to get the latest news about their market.

Create a whitepaper

This piece of content can add thousands of new prospects to your email list as long as you explain a vital problem and provide an excellent solution within the whitepaper.

Create a video tutorial

Videos can show a lot more information in minutes. By offering a video tutorial, your prospects can learn how to fix their most pressing problems quickly. 

Provide a free course

Online courses can be much more valuable as the information is spread out over multiple weeks or months. Prospects can sign up through your website to get the free course. 



Promoting your company to create an email list

All these strategies are great when you are trying to get in front of your prospects. The key to this is promotion. You don’t want to create a page on your site with a great offer without anybody seeing it. 


If you want people to visit your website, you need to provide your audience with the right ways to get there. And you can try different marketing campaigns to get visitors to your site so they can get your valuable content.



Promotion strategy

How it works

Launch online ads

Online ads are a great way to get people to your website and have shown to be useful when it comes to adding new prospects to your email lists. Launching an ad on Facebook, Google, Twitter, or any other platform might seem time-consuming, but you can set up a great ad within an hour.

Launch a promotion on websites where your target audience spends their time

Because you already understand your audience, you also know what kind of websites they’re using to get more ideas, read the latest news, and talk with like-minded people. These websites provide ways to reach an audience, such as sponsored posts, banner ads, or shoutouts on their social media channels. 

Collaborate with another company

When you’re just starting with building your email list, it can be hard to get eyes on your offer. It might be worthwhile to partner with another company that has a similar target audience. You each send your current audience to each other’s website and offer, which means you are both getting more prospects on your lists.

Let your content go viral

A lot of companies are trying to go viral, and most of the time, they only reach a handful of people. But when you’re starting in the B2B space, reaching just a handful of people can already turn into more business. Instead of providing your content in exchange for an email address, you can first offer it in exchange for a tweet. This will create more awareness about your offer. After seeing initial success, you can disable this option and turn your offer into an email address only offer.

Reach people on LinkedIn

Within the B2B space, almost every person visits LinkedIn. And most of these people can be reached within minutes. Search for the specific role and companies you want to reach and get a list of hundreds of prospects. Through LinkedIn’s messaging system, you can reach out to these prospects and offer them the free downloadable content on your website. 



What should you use to collect email addresses?

It can be quite challenging to develop your own email system, especially when you have limited resources. Luckily, there are many ways to collect email addresses on your website. 



Way of collecting addresses

How it works

Create landing pages for your website

Instead of creating pages through your current website’s CMS, you can create landing pages using tools. Unbounce, InstaPage, and LeadPages are all focused on providing this solution. You can create a landing page within an hour and add a simple sign up box to the page. Visitors can enter their email address, and the tool automatically sends them the content piece that you are providing. 

Embed opt-in forms on your website

By using third party opt-in forms, you can create a simple box where users can enter their email address. You can either manually or automatically send them your content piece after they’ve submitted their details. Opt-in forms can be added to every page on your website, so that you can generate a lot of visibility for your new offer.

Use social solutions

When you’re using social media ads, you can collect email addresses through the social network. LinkedIn provides a simple solution for advertisers. You can generate new email leads by launching a LinkedIn ad. Any LinkedIn user that is interested in your content can sign up with their LinkedIn details, including their email address.



What to do after people sign up

Once people have signed up to download your content piece, you can contact them about your product or service as well. This is the perfect time to get to know your new prospects and to understand what they’re currently struggling with. 


The key to new business is first to learn whether they’re struggling with the problem your product or service fixes before you try selling your solution. This will save you a lot of time, as you won’t spend any time on prospects who might not be interested at all. By using an email signature, you can also turn your prospects into website visitors again.


Quick note: when you are using landing pages, opt-in forms, or social solutions, you want to make sure that the email addresses are valid. If they’re not, there’s no reason to add them to your email list. Anyleads’ Email Verifier can check your prospects’ email address so you’ll be confident that this is a valid email address.


free email lists for marketing


There are many ways to reach your prospects through email. The best way to reach your audience and save time is by automating an email sequence that is activated as soon as someone enters their email address. You can send them your free content piece once they’ve signed up, and begin sending them follow-up emails every few days. 


If you decide to do this manually, you will quickly realize that it’s hard to stay on top of what email to send to which prospect. Automating this process will allow you to keep a clear overview. You will also avoid making any mistakes while sending out emails as everything is set up correctly beforehand. 


Creating drip campaigns

An automated email sequence is called a drip campaign. It consists of several emails that are focused on building a relationship with prospects.  If a new prospect downloads your whitepaper today, they may read the entire thing in a week. So why not check in with them to see if they have any questions? You can set up a drip campaign to automatically:

  • Send an email seven days after your prospect has downloaded the whitepaper

  • If they don’t reply to your email, you might want to send another email after three days

  • And send another email if they haven’t replied within two days


free email lists


Drip campaigns are a great way to build multiple relationships at the same time while saving a lot of time. They also provide ways to use your prospects’ additional data within professional email templates. When prospects enter their email address to download your content, you can ask for additional information such as:

  • First name

  • Last name

  • Company name

  • Their role within the company

  • Company size


This data can be stored in your own database and can be used within your drip campaigns to personalize the emails you send. It will make your emails look professional, and you will have a much higher success rate getting new customers through your email list. 


At Anyleads, we want to make sure that every company can reach their prospects in the best way. That’s why we’ve created high-quality tools with a single goal in mind: making sure that you are reaching the people on your email list with the right content at the right time. Manually sending out emails will take a lot of work, and it’s hard to insert personal information about your prospects. Anyleads’ Automated Emails product allows you to turn your new email list into a powerful tool to build relationships. 


Your email list might not be free but it’s priceless

Creating your email list will come at a small cost. You need to invest time and resources to get people to sign up for your email list. Creating a great offer for your target audience might take some time, but it can be used to build your email list for the next few months or even years. It’s always a worthy investment of time and money, as you are creating a valuable list of emails of prospects that might eventually turn into customers.


Author

Mathieu Picard

CEO, Anyleads, San Francisco

We are the leading marketing automation platform serving more than 100,000 businesses daily. We operate in 3 countries, based in San Francisco, New York, Paris & London.

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