20 ways to build an online business without an email list (Part 2)

Way to build an online business

In last week’s post (Part 1), I shared tips 1-10 on how you can build an online business without an email list. In this second installment I’ll share with you another 10 action tips that you can try out on your own online business.

11. Create Facebook Ads

If you have some extra cash to invest in paid ads, then creating Facebook ads is another route you can take to send people to your email list. Create a great opt-in offer, i.e. eBook, a free mini-course (video or email), etc. to get people to visit your website and join your email list.

With Facebook ads  you can target your audience and have your ad appear to a specific group of people, demographic, region etc. By targeting your Facebook ads you have a higher probability that the audience will be your ideal customer that you want.

When building your ad campaign, be sure to have an attractive image, compelling headline and a good call to action. Test it on a smaller group of people before releasing the ad to a larger group or market, otherwise this option can get very expensive fast.

12. Network with real people

Traditional networking shouldn’t be ruled out when trying to build you online business. Social gatherings, business meetings, local chamber of commerce meetings and even local meetups in your area can be a great place to network.

Talk to people, run ideas past them and let them know what you do and what types of problems you and your business solves. If they don’t have an immediate need for your business maybe they know someone that does. Give them a business card with a url to your website for more information.

Add a call to action link on your business cards that encourages people to download an ebook to learn a new tip or free advice that might help them with something they struggle with.

[bctt tweet=”Always have the mindset of giving value before trying to make a dollar”]

13. Send out warm letters (or emails)

If you have an existing client list from an offline business, perhaps you have their physical home address. Send them a hand written letter, invite them to join your email list online and offer a discount or free offer of some sort in exchange for their email.

Let them know that you will be sending out regular updates and other discounts and offers that they would love and benefit from. Focus on giving them a real good reason for them to jump onto your website and give you that email address.

[bctt tweet=”Remember people aren’t going to give you something for nothing, you have to give them something more valuable to them than their email address.”]

14. Join private group boards

Here is a tip that I like because its perfect for both introverts and extroverts.

Join private Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Read what people have to say and chime in when you can offer some really helpful and actionable advice that people with problems can use.

Try to spark up some though provoking conversations that could spark curiosity and make people want to check you and your profile out. Just make sure your profile has a direct link to your website (preferably a custom landing page specifically for that social media channel).

As an example create a landing page on your website with a url of www.yourdomain.com/welcome-facebook and have the page welcome the visitor to your site and maybe as a free gift offer them a valuable lead magnet in exchange for their email.

Do the same for your other social media channels you are on, i.e., LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Instagram, etc.

15. Ask people you know for referrals – friends, family and relatives

This tip piggy backs off of tip #12 of networking with real people.

Face to face conversations will always trump online conversations, and people still do like the personalized and real human contact for conversations. Also don’t be shy about asking for help on referrals. You can always return the favor if the opportunity arises.

Let people know what you do and give it to them in a 30 second pitch. Make your pitch something that is easy to remember, that tells people what kind of problem you solve.

[bctt tweet=”Let people know what you do and give it to them in a 30 second pitch”]

16. Hand out business cards

This tip was briefly mentioned in an earlier tip and I thought I would add a little more here. In addition to the traditional website address on your card that leads back to your website, create a special gift for anyone that you give the card to.

Add a special code to the card that someone would have to enter to get your free offer like a password of sorts, i.e. FREEGIFT or something then they can download or view special content.

Try making your business card stand out and make it a memorable design or with a graphic that stands out form the typical business card that can get lost in the shuffle. Maybe even make your business card, vertical instead. Be different.

Also adding a QR code that someone can scan with their cell phone on the spot and take them directly to your opt-in offer on your website can make it easier for customers that aren’t on a computer.

17. Create videos with tips

Videos have been gaining some serious popularity amongst social media and other channels.

People love watching videos and sharing videos. Create videos that offer a really helpful tip that your audience can take something away with. Teach them something new, show them a shortcut or share some insider news from you industry.

Some popular and very effective lead magnets come from mini-courses using the video medium. As an example, offer a free mini-course in exchange for their email address. The video course doesn’t have to be long either, 10-15 minutes and straight to the point with some key action steps will go a long way.

If you do it just right, your audience may check out your website and just contact you and for more information and possible even hire you.

18. Use Periscope 

This new kid on the block by Twitter has taken social media by storm.

With over 15 million users in just a few months, this is the place where many people have started flocking to. If you haven’t heard about Periscope yet, it is basically live video streaming from your mobile phone that you can use to share your message with your followers.

Your followers/views can then type messages back to you to ask questions, post comments and just plain chat. A feedback system that Periscope has built in is this concept of “hearts”. Hearts in Periscope signify how you are resonating with your audience and if the message and topic is something that your viewers are enjoying.

A viewer would tap on the screen to give virtual hearts if they like what you are saying giving you a visual cue that your audience like the topic you’re on and to keep going.

People are still trying to figure Periscope out, but what I have found that seems to be effective is to have a clear outline of the topic you are going to be discussing in the “scope”, let your viewers know at the beginning and middle (for those joining late) what your topic is, what advice you are giving them and then ask them for feedback and save a little time for some Q&A.

Keep you viewers engaged and they’ll share your scope with their followers helping your base grow.

My recommendation on this one is at the ending of your scope, give your audience a clear call to action and let them know if they want more information to visit www.yourwebsite.com/periscope (a tip previously mentioned above).

[bctt tweet=”When using #Periscope, give people a clear call to action back to a custom url on your site”]

19. Promote other people’s products

This tip seems pretty interesting in a sense that you promote other people’s products to gain the trust of your audience and to imply you are not out to just get their money, but to offer them true value.

If there is a product or service that you use and could highly recommend to others, your customers will thank you for it if it helps solve a current problem they are having and are probably more willing to listen when you have one of your offers on the table that can help them solve a different problem.

Sometimes you can work with other small businesses and do a referral exchange and reciprocate and send customers and clients your way if you can fulfill a need for their customers.

20. Make sure the copy on your website is awesome

Finally in this tip I would like to add, make sure your website is awesome.

Invest a little money in a nice WordPress template with some nice graphics on the page. Make the website functional and useful and clearly laid out.

Be sure that you’re copy is persuasive and speaks the same language and words that your customers use. Add clear call-to-actions and have a goal in mind of what you want your users to experience when they visit your website.

Be sure you have clear goals for your website and clear on what the purpose of the website is as well.

Are your goals to collect email addresses? More traffic? More signups? Selling something?

Be sure to set your website up to collect email addresses and start building your email list from the beginning.

Many veteran entrepreneurs that have been asked what one thing they would have done differently when they first started out was that they wished that they had started building their email list from the beginning.

Hence the reason that I am passing this advice on to you and reminding you that its probably one critical element on your website that you don’t want to forget.


Hopefully you were able to get some more ideas on how you can build your business further without starting off with an email list.

Many people that are just starting out on their entrepreneurial adventure struggle with building their business and not sure where to begin. I hope you can take 1 or 2 or even more tips out of this list and apply it to your business.

If you have something that you would like to add to this list and share with other readers on something you have tried and were successful with please post them in the comments below.

Let me know below which tips are you going to try out today?