Email list building is an ongoing pursuit that all smart online business owners are committed to. Regardless of how large or small their email list currently is, if you want regular leads and inquiries into your business – and consistent cash flow – then the best time to start building your list was yesterday. The next best time to start is today.

Here are my top five organic (non-paid) list-building strategies that bring me a regular stream of qualified leads into my business. Pick one! Or use all five. Whatever floats your boat.

You might notice that four out of five of the strategies covered involve my favourite type of attract marketing: getting in front of other people’s audiences, in order to grow your own. This is far more effective than growing one by one (via everyone’s favourite nurture marketing strategy, social media marketing). And also far easier than putting on your own attract marketing events. You just need to show up, and bring your talent!

(This article is a companion article to 5 invaluable strategies to get paid to grow your leads and email list.)

1: Online summits

Online summits are not new, but they’re definitely a big deal in 2022-2023. Getting involved in an online summit as a speaker or presenter helps get you in front of new audiences who see you in action, sharing your expertise with useful, valuable, and relevant information that will attract your prospective ideal clients into your business.

Online summits are similar to conferences but online, with a topic theme, and multiple speakers. Mostly they’re free and often have a paid “VIP upgrade”. They can either be delivered live by presenters, or pre-recorded.

If you have a lead magnet, ensure that the topic of your online summit presentation is the same topic, or very similar, to your lead magnet, to make it an easy segue for people to join your list.

I find out about most online summits I’m involved with through Facebook business groups.

2: Joint webinars

A joint webinar is when two or more parties come together to host a online training on a particular topic. If you have a lead magnet, ideally the topic of your joint webinar is the same or very similar to your lead magnet, to make it easy for people to join your list and understand your brand point-of-difference and the value of joining your email list.

A joint webinar is similar to an online summit but smaller, with just two, or a small handful, of parties. Again, a joint webinar enables you to showcase your expertise and be at your best in front of new audiences.

Ideally, you have been hosted and introduced by someone who already has an established engaged audience, where you’re borrowing their authority and credibility to get in front of new people.

3: Online bundles

Online bundles are like a hamper of digital product goodies that people download for an a small fee. This fee paid by customers is typicaly far less than the combined value of the total goods purchased. Contributors may become affiliates of the bundles, thereby making a small amount of money on any purchases that result from their promotions (using their unique affiliate link).

Getting involved in online bundles is super useful for getting your new or existing digital products in front of new audiences. Similar to a lead magnet, your digital product needs to be useful, valuable and relevant to your ideal clients if it’s to work.

This strategy can also be really useful if your digital product is new, has no testimonials, or you want to road test it with customers before you develop it further and/or proactively promote it.

I find out about most online bundles I’m involved with through Facebook business groups.

4: Lead magnet swap

A lead magnet swap is a simple agreement between two parties, where one party promotes the other party’s lead magnet to their email list and links to their landing page, for people to sign up (see an example of one of my landing pages here). After a period of time, typically one month, you swap. In this way, both parties are able to cross-pollinate their email audiences.

For this to work well, ideally the two people share similar business values, audiences, and marketing acumen.

5: Create more content on the same topic as your lead magnet

If you’ve gone to the effort of creating an invaluable lead magnet, don’t forget to promote it! One of the most overlooked ways to promote your lead magnet is simply to create further content on the same topic.

This could be a podcast where you talk on the same topic of as the lead magnet, and then link to the lead magnet signing page, as well as include the lead magnet link in the show notes. It could be a live social media video where you talk on the same topic as the lead magnet, and then invite people to download it. It could be a blog post, where again you talk about the same topic as your lead magnets and embed links within the blog post, as well as a call to action at the end for people to sign up.

There are countless ways to get people onto your email list that don’t involve paid ads or strategies. Once you know that your lead magnet is popular, and it’s reached a certain groundswell, then you may choose to amplify it with ads, but ads should never be your first strategy.

Promoting your lead magnet, and inviting people to join your list, as you promote your paid services, makes smart business sense to ensure that you cultivate and nurture relationships and fill your sales pipeline, while building your reputation, credibility, and authority.

This article is a companion article to 5 invaluable strategies to get paid to grow your leads and email list.