How to Build an Email List without a Website

In this post you will learn how to build an email list without a website so that the process of website design and tech doesn’t hold you back! 

How to Build an Email List Without a Website:
The Overview

You don’t need a website to build an email list. 

All you need is a good email service provider, an offering interesting enough for someone to sign up to, a way for them to sign up and a form for them to fill in. 

In this article I’ll walk you through every step of this process. 

It’s always a good idea to have a website so I wouldn’t forgo the site altogether but there’s no need to stall or hold up your list-building efforts if you don’t yet have a site! 

Start with a Good Email Service Provider

The first step in how to build your email list without a website is finding a great email service provider. 

An Email Service Provider, or ESP for short, is a company that has created a software that you use to store your email list, create forms for signup and send out emails to your subscribers. 

You need this kind of software because you can’t send bulk email messages out from your regular email list or you’ll be quickly marked a spammer. 

Instead you use an email service provider who’s got great deliverability, easy to use and other features that make them a great tool for your business. 

What to Look for in an Email Service Provider

  • High Deliverability (you can check this site for the deliverability rates of many providers).
  • Pricing (many start off free, some are geared to creatives and solopreneurs, others for corporations). 
  • Ease of Use (if it’s too complicated to use you probably won’t and then you’ll get nowhere with your email efforts). 
  • Statistics (you want to know how your list building efforts are going so you’ll need good statistical info from the provider). 
  • Email designer (where you write your emails in the software shouldn’t make it hard to send emails, if it does then find another provider). 
  • Automations (most programs come with the ability to send both broadcast emails and automation emails). 

How to Choose an Email Service Provider

Carefully think about what YOU need for your business. This is the best way to choose an email service provider. 

Once you know what you need you can take a look at the email subscriptions in your own inbox. See what provider they are using. It can often be found at the bottom of the email or if you hover over the unsubscribe (but don’t click!) you might be able to tell. 

I like to look at companies that I like, who I believe are doing well and who might make smart choices about these kinds of things. 

Then I’ll check out the Email Service Provider myself. 

Many have a free trial. 

Popular Email Service Providers

Here are some of the more popular Email Service Provider options out there:

It’s important to note that most Email Service Providers make it very easy to move into their system. So even if you get a start in one system and find you don’t like it, it’s not too difficult a move out if you don’t have a lot of detailed automations set up. 

So in summary for this step of how to build an email list without website traffic what you want to do is take some time to find a good provider and get setup – then move on to the next step! 

Choose a Free Offer to Attract People Like You

Our next step in learning how to build an email list without website traffic is to choose a free offer to attract people like you. 

Why people like you? 

That might sound odd as most people will teach you to create an offer to attract a Target Market, a client Avatar. 

Well, the problem with target markets and avatars is that they’re very restricting. This is why most people have a huge struggle in picking them out and settling on them. This is why it can take weeks, months and sometimes even years to launch something!

Attracting Your People with Core Values and Messages

I teach and love to focus on the Core Values and Core Messaging approach. 

If you look to attract people like YOU, with similar or same core values and you do that through core messages then the people who join your list will be “lifers”. 

This is because they weren’t drawn in by a single focus… they were drawn in with a common value and interest. They get to know YOU and as you continue to share your values and messaging they will get to know, like, trust and LOVE you! 

Crafting an Email Opt-in Offer

People often struggle with what to offer at the opt-in offer and look for someone to tell them what the “best’ thing to offer is. 

Don’t fall into this trap! 

There’s no one universal best free offer. 

The offer should suit YOUR Core Messaging and be something that people who are drawn to that message would love to pick up. 

This could be something as simple as a one-page PDF with links to all your favorite things to help you with your business. 

Your free offer can be anything. But here’s the BEST way to do this. 

Before you decide your offer skip down to the section of this post called “Send Traffic to Your Landing Page / Opt-in Form” and CHOOSE a method. Then find a specific source of traffic. 

For example: 

If you decide to choose to participate in a joint venture bundle sale then find a sale. Most sales have a specific topic. Find one that fits your business and join it. THEN craft an opt-in offer specific to that sale. 

Why? Because general, this is for everyone kind of offers get mediocre results. You’ll do much better to have a very targeted offer. 

Do this when it’s worth it. When I join bundles I end up adding 50 to 1,000 plus people to my email list so it’s worth taking the time to make a very specific offer for that specific list-building method. 

Attracting the RIGHT people to your email list is always worth the time. If you are speaking to the right people then everything is easier… clicks, conversions and long-term customer relationships. 

So let’s get that going and move on to the next item in how to build an email list without a website… building your landing page on your Email Service Provider

Build Your Landing Page on Your Email Software Provider (ESP)

Every Email Software Provider is different so you’re going to need to go into your software of choice and look for “landing pages” or “opt-in pages” or “hosted pages or forms” or some wording to that effect.

What you’re looking for is an email sign up form that you setup and get a link to. 

That link is what you’re going to use to send people to your sign up without any sort of website setup or presence required. 

Now of course if you DO have a website you can embed the form onto there if you want. That will require a few more steps. 

Any good Email Software Provider will also provide you with good training on how to do these things. 

Here is the process in my ESP, ConvertKit…

First you click on the landing page link:

how to build an email list without a website - landing page

Click the big red button:

click the create new button

Choose landing page:

 landing page creation

Choose a template and customize:

how to build an email list without a website - choose your template

Click “Publish” after you’ve customized your form:

hit publish

Pick up that landing page URL and use it to build your list!

how to build an email list without a website - landing page URL

Setup Your Follow-Up and Welcome Emails

Once someone signs up for your opt-in offer they are going to need to GET the offer. 

You set this up within the software by adding follow-up emails that they get after they fill in your opt-in form. 

This is called an email automation and it will happen automatically when anyone signs up through your form, when you set it up correctly. 

So what you want to do is send out an email immediately after sign up that delivers on what you promised. 

Give them a link to the download or the page where they can claim it, etc. Whatever you offer do your best to make it EASY for them to claim it! Don’t make people jump through hoops and if you do, expect them to not bother. 

You want your new people to claim and consume the freebie you offer them. 

This is their introduction to you and what you have to offer. 

So include MORE follow-up emails after the initial to help them do just that. 

You may also want to include a welcome email.

If you need help with the entire welcome setup for a new subscriber I have a class on that that is free with sign up to Email Practice Club. You can see the details of the class here. 

Test Everything With Your Email List Freebie Offer

Test everything. 

Not everyone knows that if you have a Gmail email you can use a dot (.) inside of the email and it will look like DIFFERENT emails. 

This is great for testing so that you can test and tweak without having to use a ton of different emails to do it. 

Here’s how it works. These are all the SAME gmail email but to the Email Software Providers they are different emails and so you can use this one email many times:

See the shifting dot (.)? You can do this all the way down the email to test your opt-ins until they are just right! 

Next let’s get to the good part of how to build an email list without a website – getting traffic and new subscribers! 

How to Build an Email List Without a Website:
Send Traffic to Your Landing Page / Opt-in Form

This step is where people freeze.

Don’t do that! 

Choose a method for building your list and get going! 

Here are some of the most effective and popular ways to get traffic to that opt-in form (which you get the link for through your Email Service Provider). 

Build an Email List With Bundle Sales & Giveaways

Partner with a group of other business owners to bundle together freebie downloads or actual products so that you can build your list. 

I prefer to always give away actual products, ones I created to SELL, so that my new subscribers get high value, are impressed and want to continue to learn more from me. 

Participating in these kind of joint ventures can add a lot of new subscribers (hundreds) to your list in a short time period. 

Podcast Guest Appearances

Podcasts are in abundance! It might be easier than you realize to get on relevant shows that speak to your ideal people who share your core values. 

Make sure to find podcasts that allow you to offer a free gift with a link direct to your opt-in form. 

Guest Blog Posting

Posting on other people’s blogs who connect with your ideal audience is a great way to build your list, IF you’re strategic about it. 

Again this is the time to create something CUSTOM that matches the content of the blog post. This is often called a content upgrade. You offer an opt-in related to the blog post but upgrades it to give you more info. 

This is how you get highly targeted new subscribers to your list. They read something relevant to your list and your business and opt-in because of that. 


People LOVE giveaways! 

I heard of a brilliant list-building and sales strategy for giveaways on Pat Flynn’s podcast about 12 years ago. 

Here’s the strategy:

You host a giveaway on your blog and you ask people to go READ your salespage for the product you offer as a giveaway. Then they need to comment on WHY they want to win the product. 

People who enter the giveaway get signed up to your list (make sure they know they will be subscribed). Then, when the giveaway is over you can send a coupon code to buy the product. 

It works REALLY well – people become invested in your product and the idea of owning it. So you build your list and get sales. Nice, right? 

Social Media

There are plenty of ways you can build your list through social media. 

There are so many social media sites. 

The best thing to do is take a look at where you have the biggest and most engaged audience on social media. Engage there. 

You could do a giveaway. Host live videos. Post about your free offer. Test out various methods and find what works best for you! 

Free Webinars

A webinar is a natural list-builder because you need people to opt-in through your landing page form. 

Also anything with a deadline is how you super-charge your results because people are much more likely to take action when they know that time is limited. 

You can partner with another website owner who has traffic to send those people to your webinar. 

Promotion Swap 

A great direct way to build your list is to swap promotions with another business owner who’s list is a similar size to yours. 

Even if you both have relatively small lists this can be a very effective method! 

Use that landing page link to get them direct to the opt-in form. 


Telesummits are another joint venture. The great thing about events like these is that people tell you exactly what they need. 

You find a telesummit that fits, fill in the form to apply and then watch as your exposure and list grow!

So there you have it – may ways to build your email list and a step by step plan on how to build an email list without a website. 

I hope this helps you take immediate action to grow your list and your business! 

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