Building an Email List From Scratch Without a Website

Getting your first emails without having a website is not an easy task. Here are six ideas to collect your first submissions in no time.

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Growing an email list it’s a tough task on its own. If you don’t currently have a website and a base of followers, it can seem like an impossible task.

However, we’re here to tell you it’s completely possible.

In today’s post, you’ll learn how to build an email list without a website with proven tactics. Let’s dive right into it!

But First: Understand Your Target Audience!

To build your email list, it’s important to remember that you aren’t trying to collect emails from everyone and anyone. It’s better to get emails from people that are actually interested in what you offer.

You need to know your goals beforehand to better understand how can you help people with whatever you are going to try to sell them. This way, you will get better conversion rates and your effort in growing your email list will actually be worth it.

However, finding your target audience is a long topic we can’t cover here. To summarize, let’s say you can do this by looking at your social media analytics to see which demographics are interacting the most with your content. If you don’t have much of an online presence yet, you can also search for competitors and analyze their audiences.

Make sure you know exactly who your audience is and what can you offer to them. I know this can be very confusing, but to begin the process, check out Hubspot’s buyer persona generator, which you can use to effectively create some buyer personas to have as a reference when crafting your copy, offers, and content.

So: get clarity on who you are going to target. Then, implement the following tactics:

Steps to Build an Email List Without a Website

1. Create a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet it’s used for lead-generation purposes. It allows you to collect people’s emails in exchange for something that’s valuable to them. Indeed, lead magnets incentivize subscriptions by offering something for free in exchange for contact information.

Some examples of lead magnets include early access to product features, guides, reports, checklists, a toolkit or collection of resources, and other types of educational material. Thinking about who your target audience is, as we covered above, is crucial to create a lead magnet that captures people’s attention and convinces them to subscribe.

lead magnet example
Example of a lead magnet by OptinMoster

If you’re looking for early adopters to try your products, you can use lead magnets to collect emails and work on user acquisition after every update.

2. Design a Landing Page

Creating a simple landing page is quick and super easy. And it’s also crucial to build an email list without a website. This is because it will give you a place people can go to leave their email addresses and subscribe to your list.

There are many ways to build a landing page, but the easiest way is to use a nocode landing page builder. These types of tools include intuitive drag-and-drop editors and most of them offer mobile responsive landing pages.

First, check out which newsletter platform fit better to your needs, since many of them (such as Mailchimp, Sendinblue, or ConvertKit) include a landing page builder.

This is how our Beehiiv newsletter with subscribe field looks like.

If you’re offering a lead magnet, your main goal of the landing page is to showcase it in a compelling way. For this, write a well-thought heading and call to action, and pay special attention to the image/visuals you decide to include.

Then, simply add a form for people to drop their name and email.

Especially when writing copy, keep present the question your prospects will have on their minds when looking at your landing: what’s in it for me? Focus on benefits, not features.

Lastly, don’t forget to add social sharing buttons to your landing and thank-you pages to encourage your leads to share within their networks!

3. Promote on social media

Without a website, social media will be your best friend to build your email list. Make sure to leverage the lead magnet you created by posting it on social media and adding links to the landing page. Using hashtags and publishing valuable content (please, don’t only promote yourself!) will help you grow your reach and followers.

Additionally, you could try running a giveaway or contest to grow your email list.

Host a giveaway or contest

Your social media accounts are perfect to host giveaways or contests. The giveaway you decide to organize must require contact information for people to enter. You will then redirect people to a landing page so they can put their email to enter the giveaway.

There are many tools to host giveaways and contests, such as SweepWidget or Rafflecopter.

If you don’t have a product to offer as a price yet, you can partner with related businesses for the giveaway or contest by offering to share the email addresses you collect with them.

Go viral on Twitter

On the other hand, Twitter is a great option to grow your email list, not only because it’s free, but also because of its viral nature.

A first tip would be to create a graphic for your account’s header image that showcases your lead magnet. Then, make sure to link the landing page with your lead magnet everywhere you can: this includes your Twitter bio and, of course, your tweets.

Here are some examples of great Twitter banners:

However, it’s not smart to spam other people’s tweets or constantly tweet the link. Instead, keep a good balance of content curation, valuable information, high-quality conversations with others in your niche, and promotions tweets.

Especially for your promotional tweets, keep in mind that videos, memes, and images outperform pure text tweets, so be smart with what you post. Try popular memes with witty text to promote your lead magnet offer and maybe go viral inside your niche.

Additionally, try crafting a very good tweet promoting your lead magnet to use as a pinned tweet. Do your research in your niche, see what tweets are the most popular, recognize their elements, and create a similar one. This shouldn’t be a mere sales pitch. Instead, aim to present your offer in a fun or interesting way.

You can pin that very good tweet to have it permanently displayed at the top of your account. Anyone who visits your Twitter account now will see your offer without the need for you constantly retweeting, which is annoying for your followers.

how to build an email list without a website with twitter
Example of a pinned tweet.

To craft your tweets, make sure you pay attention to the hashtags that are trending, which shows you what is currently popular and being discussed on the platform. To grow your Twitter account, and therefore have more eyeballs exposed to your lead magnet offer, you can tweet once or twice a day using those trending hashtags.

trending hashtags on twitter
This is where you can find trending hashtags on Twitter.

On the other hand, make sure you participate in the conversation. This is crucial on Twitter! Tag influencers in your niche when you tweet something relevant, comment on their tweets, see who are they following and the types of conversations they are having, etc. This will help you reach even more people.

Lastly, promoting with Twitter ads is also a great option to build your email list.

Related 👉 Free Twitter Tools To Grow Your Personal Brand

Tips for other social media platforms

As we covered above, a good general tip is to use diverse platforms’ cover photos (such as YouTube, LinkedIn, or Facebook) to promote your lead magnet. You can create a compelling graphic on Canva that highlights the benefits of your lead magnet and then use it as a cover photo to reach more eyeballs.

Remember to always keep a good balance of valuable, engaging posts, and promotional posts. Nobody wants to follow a purely promotional account.

Now, let’s see some platform-specific tips.

Facebook

On Facebook, you can add a CTA button (such as “Sign Up”) to your Facebook page that redirects users to the landing page to submit their emails. Here’s a guide from Facebook on how to do this.

YouTube

On YouTube, you can share your lead magnet offer on the video outro or in the cards that appear in the top right corner of YouTube videos. You can also put a link to your email sign-up landing page within your videos’ descriptions.

Instagram

The Instagram bio on your profile is an ideal place to share information with your audience. This includes, of course, a well-thought CTA and a link to your lead magnet or sign-up form landing page. You can later share posts that guide users to click the link of your bio (for example, hosting a giveaway that requires users’ emails or promoting your lead magnet).

Additionally, you can add links to your stories! Instagram has a specific sticker that allows you to embed links to stories. This is a great opportunity to promote your landing page.

4. Leverage the power of communities

Looking for communities of like-minded people in your niche is indeed a great way of building connections and expanding your network and reach.

To find the communities that are right for you, search Unita’s directory of communities. There are over 30 categories for you to explore, and 1,000+ communities listed. Once you find some you like, you can carefully read each community listing and select only those you think will be aligned with what you have to offer.

how to build an email list without a website using communities
This is all the information you can find within each community’s listing.

Once you join the communities, don’t start promoting right away. Building genuine relationships with people is crucial for them to trust you and this takes a little bit of time.

Make sure you participate in the conversation, engage with others, and help people when you can. Once you build a sufficient amount of trust, you can start promoting your lead magnet or the link to your sign-up form landing page.

Many communities have a dedicated self-promotion space or separate specific days members can share links to their offers. Make sure to always follow the community’s guidelines!

5. Write articles

Creating free content is a surefire way to get people interested in what you have to offer before trusting you with their email addresses. Blogging is still a thing on 2023, and articles are overall a great way of demonstrating your expertise to your audience.

If you don’t have a website you won’t have a blog. However, you can create an account on Medium and start publishing there. Additionally, you can pitch larger publications on Medium to publish your articles and reach their followers.

Another way to do this is to leverage guest blogging. Look for other blogs within your same niche that may interest your target audience. Then, pitch them with good article ideas. This is a great way to build your email list through exposure to a new audience. Of course, you need to include a CTA and a link inside posts for readers to be redirected to your landing page.

6. Paid ads

The last option we are going to cover is paid ads. Buying traffic is the quickest way of building a list, but, of course, it costs money. However, ad platforms allow you to set a specific budget, so you never end up spending more of what you set up in the beginning.

If you are a beginner, I recommend starting out with Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The ad managers on these platforms are intuitive and contain step-by-step instructions for you to follow.


Figuring out how to build an email list without a website it’s not easy, but it’s definitely not impossible either. By following these tips, you will be able to start gaining traction and getting new subscribers in no time!

Paola Baselica

Paola Baselica

Hey there! I'm Paola, and I like to call myself a word wizard. Since 2018, I've been writing content for diverse places across the web. Now I'm rocking it with Unita's copywriting crew, where I get to explore, write, and polish up the coolest communities you'll ever find on the web. It's been a wild ride, and I'm here to make every word count and every story pop 🎨✨📚