How To Collect 2637 Emails In 31 Days From Scratch With Zero Budget

BY MAX LUKOMINSKYI

This article is about to tell you the way you can grow your mailing list from scratch in a relatively short period of time. The following conclusions and visions are based on my personal experience that I got while preparing and running the Slice Planner Kickstarter campaign.

While executing our pre-launch strategy, I managed to collect 2637 email addresses in 31 days.

The great thing is that I did not spend a cent to do that. No giveaways, no paid ads, no influencers’ promotions. Nothing. Just pure content marketing.

If I did, you can do it too.


When it comes to launching a new product, your homework should be done in the best way possible. The pre-launch strategy should be aimed at boosting your brand awareness and making people wait until the project is live. It is vital to tell everyone that you are about to show the world your next “brilliant idea”.

Because if no one knows you are launching something, the chances are you will fail. Fast and painfully.

No matter how great your product is. No one will buy it if no one knows it exists.

You need to create a tribe. You need to have a decent amount of people who are ready to pull their credit cards out of the pocket and make a transaction when you ask them to.

Otherwise, your project is likely to get lost among thousands of others.


Despite the great developments and new trends in digital marketing, the email addresses still remain the most profound sign of, to some extent, the close tie between a seller and a customer.

The decision to provide an email address is the sign of trust and loyalty, and interest. The customer shows his readiness to listen, watch and follow the producer. Later this email address becomes a major means of communication between the two.

Among the great variety of strategies to growing your mailing list, no doubt, the content marketing remains one of the most efficient ways to do it.

What To Do

This short guide is neither novel nor innovative. Nonetheless, it is worth repeating. Here are 5 things to bear in mind while starting to collect emails:

  1. Design your landing page. Make it informative and concise. No one has time to read your endless copies. Provide more visuals and less boring text. Do not try to fit all the details about your product or service on one page. Keep your copy short, focus on details and strive to provide the visitors with the essential information.
  2. Build a couple of sign up forms. Accompany them with clear CTA — clarify the reason why it is worth subscribing to your newsletter. Do not neglect pop-ups. Everybody hates them, but they still prove to be efficient.
  3. Have a magnet. Make a bargain. Give something in return when a visitor leaves his email address. People are more willing to connect with you when you offer something valuable for free (eBook, guide, checklist). It is rather time-consuming to create something great, but it is worth the struggle. If you do not have enough time to write an eBook, just convert your best blog post in PDF file and let it be your magnet.
  4. Find a platform that fits your objectives. This is where the trickiest part begins. All the above-mentioned rules are old and well-known. Meanwhile, we all are likely to get lost when it comes to deciding the platform where to execute our marketing strategies and build a solid mailing list.

Let’s briefly consider each of the platforms, where you can potentially find new leads. Moreover, let’s observe the opportunities each of them provides you with, given that you have neither followers nor budget.

Medium

When it comes to deciding which platform to collect emails on with the help of content marketing, Medium seems to be a king. People are here to read, which is crucial; people are open-minded; the audience is highly engaged and indeed huge (Medium attracts over 78.40M visitors per month).

However, let’s be honest, your success on Medium is still too dependent on one’s subjective opinion. If an editor of the popular publications likes your article, your piece is likely to get a huge exposure. Otherwise, your work is to be unnoticed.

We all know that there is no sense in hitting the publish button unless no one is going to read what you’ve written. Medium is not a place where you can succeed without any of two factors. You either need a few thousands of highly engaged followers who might give your story a boost or you have to hope that the editor of your favorite publication has a great mood today.

Overall, Medium is great. However, I would not evaluate your chances and find out whether you have decent chances to succeed within

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is noisy. People rarely pay attention to what happens in their news feed. As a result, the engagement is desperately low. It is not surprising since we all know what people come for to LinkedIn.

Despite they presented Pulse to provide people with yet another platform for blogging, LinkedIn users are still there for absolutely different reasons.

Slide Share by LinkedIn is probably a better way to communicate with potential customers. However, it is a bit tricky to find a good topic and create a visually appealing presentation.

Overall, LinkedIn is great for networking, especially when it comes to finding a job. Meanwhile, it is almost useless if you are there to collect some leads for free.

Twitter

The same holds for Twitter. Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter. This place has become too noisy to be heard unless you have a few dozens of hundreds of loyal followers.

Moreover, its 140-character format does not allow to tell your story well enough. Frequent and short tweets are not likely to take you far from the place you are now in a month.

Unless you are Gary Vaynerchuk or Larry Kim, your tweets will surely go unnoticed.

Overall, Twitter is great. If you want to catch up with the latest news, this is the right place to hang out. If you are aimed at spreading the word about your start-up, do not rely too heavily on this platform.

Facebook

Facebook’s attractiveness goes without saying.

Nonetheless, as for me, Facebook is only a game changer when it comes to advertising. Beyond that, your potential customers are restricted to your friends and, probably, friends of your friends.

Moreover, the key to the efficient Facebook ads is a great targeting. You can endlessly struggle to adjust the gender, geography and interest parameters, however, the laser-focused ads require custom audiences.

Overall, Facebook is great. However, it is not likely to work out unless you have some budget and a solid basis for creating good custom/lookalike audiences.

Reddit

Despite its huge amount of monthly visitors, Reddit is difficult to succeed at. The reason is the overall mood and vision of Redditors. Absolutely unpredictable and often angry people (sorry, nothing personal).

Everything is great as long as they do not know whose content, product or service you pitch them. As soon as someone recognizes that you try to promote your own one, you are accused of self-promotion and are likely to be banned.

Overall, Reddit is great. It is perfectly fine to post something on Reddit every once in a while and attract a few new leads to your site. But I hardly believe that you can survive for too long there while consistently sharing your own content.

Instagram. Pinterest

These two platforms can become great traffic drivers to your landing page. However, it takes the time to grow the audience on these platforms.

Even if you can produce brilliant visual content and share it consistently, making 5–10 posts a day, there is no guarantee that you will have thousands of followers a few weeks later.

Growing your audience in Instagram and Pinterest is a marathon. A long one. These places are not likely to be the best choices if you are up for fast and efficient growth.

Overall, Instagram and Pinterest are great. However, the chances are they are not going to grow your mailing list too fast.

Youtube. Periscope. Snapchat. Google+

Personally, I have never used these services before to attain the objectives discussed here. Nonetheless, I believe, one can achieve great results on these platforms if everything is done right. However, I do not believe it is possible in such a short period of time.

Overall, Youtube, Periscope, Snapchat, Google+ are great. The only thing you need to do is to figure everything out. Just aspire to understand how they work and how you can benefit from them.

Quora

The biggest Q&A site in the world with 320 million monthly visitors.

This is the place where you do not need to be a professional writer or too famous person to get heard. You can make people listen to you with the help of a couple of good answers.

Moreover, your destiny does not depend on someone’s subjective opinion or decision. The users with no followers at all can get thousands of views overnight, which is barely possible on any other platform.

Overall, Quora is great. And this is where I managed to collect 2637 email addresses in 31 days.

5. Produce great content. This is the last but not the least important step in the whole process. No matter what platform you decide to grow your mailing list at, nothing is possible without the brilliant content. Focus on creating something outstanding, something that people cannot resist from reading.

My Own Experience

Three months ago, when we were actively preparing for the Kickstarter campaign I did not have too many followers, I did not have a marketing budget, I did not want to let someone decide whether my copy is good enough to show it to the wide audience.

I quickly set up the landing page with a very short copy and also built two sign up forms (one in the upper part of the landing page and another one on the bottom). Besides, I adjusted the pop-up in such a way that it appeared 20 seconds after someone visited the page.

The CTAs invited to join the waiting list to get a special discount when the campaign is live and offered a free eBook called “To Do list is dead. 8 tips to help you master your time”.

Everything was ready for collecting the email addresses. I already had a vision of what kind of what topics I’d love to cover and what type of content I’d like to share. The only thing that was unclear is where to do that.

Having evaluated my chances to grow the list fast and cheap, I realized that Quora was the best choice so far.

I quickly found our product-related topics (Productivity, Time Management, Procrastination, Success etc.) and distinguished the questions within those topics that were especially popular with Quora’s community.

Hint #1: Look for the questions with 500+ followers.

Eventually, I got down to work. I answered 3–4 questions a week. No doubt, some of the answers died right away. Meanwhile, some of them indeed went viral — with over 300K views in one week.

It is difficult to predict how the Quora’s algorithm works. Nonetheless, the answers with the great introduction always performed very well. Apparently, a good introductory phrase makes people click “Read more” button and continue reading the copy.

Hint #2: Consistency is a key. However, do not post on Wednesdays.

I decided not to invent the wheel and stick to the proven way to doing things. Each answer ended with the CTA and a link to the landing page at the bottom of the copy.

Hint #3: Include a CTA in each and every piece of content you share, no matter what platform you use. Otherwise, it does not make sense to share anything at all.

The Results

The successful answers that appeared to go viral (were viewed on average 50K times a day), apparently, generated a decent amount of new visitors to our landing page (up to 3K per day on average). Overall, despite quite a low conversion rate, we managed to collect on average up to 90 email addresses a day.

The mailing list we had a month later had on average an open rate of 41.5% and click rate of 23.3%.

Finally, when the Kickstarter campaign started, those contacts resulted in 112 instant pledges and 92 more over the next 4 weeks.

Moreover, when we made a redirect of the landing page and started sending our visitors directly to the Kickstarter campaign, the new visitors, 90% of which were still all from Quora, made 184 purchases during the campaign.

Overall, nothing extraordinary. But this initial ignition made our campaign get started. Everyone, who knows how Kickstarter works, knows that the start is a key. Moreover, this confident beginning let us surpass the goal in 8 days, ultimately hit 335% of it and gather $117,522 over 5 weeks of the Slice Planner Kickstarter campaign.

Conclusion

There is neither 1–2–3 rule nor the magic bullet to deciding what site to grow your mailing list at. Everyone is likely to have his own preferences and skills that are about to provide a competitive advantage on some particular platform.

Nonetheless, I would suggest looking for the easiest path. When you have quite rigid time and money constraints, you would rather be headed to the place with the lowest barriers and minimal resistance.

Find the platform that fits your best and simply do your job.

Be consistent. Be persistent. Work.