How To Quickly “Seed” Your Email List From Scratch

If you are starting a new business, transitioning to a new business (that has very little to do with your old one) or changing the way you run your business (e.g. from local, in-person practice to an online model), one of the trickier things can be your list-building and email marketing efforts.

If you just sit tight and let the lead magnet on your website to plug along, there can be weeks or months during which you may have fewer than a couple hundred people on your list. The dilemma: Do you send out newsletter to just these few people (yes is my recommendation)? If you wait till your list get “big enough” before you start your newsletter, people who sign up early on might not remember who you are and why they sign up (–> unsub).

When I work with my coaching clients, we look everywhere we can to “seed” an email list so it can get from zero to a good few hundred people within a short period of time, so they can get bigger bang for the bucks for their email marketing effort, and of course fast-track the growth of their businesses.

Here are a few ways you can consider – depending on your circumstances and where you are at with your business. Even if you have a good list going, you can find “some change between the couch cushions” and get more subscribers by deploying one or two of these tactics:

#1 Your Personal Email Address Book (Friends, Family, Business Contacts)

It is a big NO-NO to just import your entire email address book into your email newsletter service provider (e.g. aweber, mailchimp etc.) without permission. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t leverage your contact and build your list – just make sure you follow the usual email etiquettes and respect the privacy of your contacts.

Here is what you can do: using your personal email address, send out a ONE-TIME email to all your contacts – make sure you use “BCC” because some people will feel “violated” to have their info shared with people they don’t know. Tell them what you are up to, what your business is about, who you serve and what results you deliver. Share your excitement, tell them about your free gift, and give them a link to sign up. Ideally you want to point them to an “invitation page” and not your website so the only action they can take is to sign up. Lastly, ask them to share the sign up link with people they know who can benefit from your products and services.

{{ You don’t need a website to use this tactic – this post will show you how }}

#2 Social Media (Facebook)

Of course you can pay money and advertise your freebie. Before you do that, you can leverage the friends and followers you already have on various social media platforms to get them onto your list.

Posting your free gift sign up on your personal page and your fan page on Facebook is ok (and of course you should) – but your friends may or may not see it on their newsfeed. To make sure your “announcement” captures the attention of more friends, you can create a Facebook event and invite all your friends. They will get an email in their inbox about your event, and it’s more likely that they will check it out.

The event can be a teleseminar you host to grow your list or promote a program. If you are just launching your business, you can set up the event as the “launch date” of your business. Tell your friends what it is about, tell them about the free gift, and ask them to share the sign up link with their friends.

#3 Existing Clients Or Patients

If you have an established practice that is mostly local/in-person, then you may have a list of clients/patients contact information but not as an email list.

You can pull the information together and import them into your email service provider. Then send out an email telling your list why they are receiving the email (e.g. they have worked with you in your practice.) Tell them about the new direction your business is taking and how it can serve them, let them know that you will be sending out a newsletter every x weeks and what they can expect from your newsletter, give them a download link for your freebie as a thank you gift (they are already on your list so don’t make them jump through the sign up hoop) and ask them to share the sign up link if they know anyone who can benefit from your information. Also let them know that if they want to continue to receive your newsletter, they don’t have to do anything, but if they do not wish to receive email from you, they can use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email to opt-out.

#4 Email List From Your Previous Business

We grow and evolve and so do our businesses. If you have a list from your old business and you are not transitioning it directly to your new one, you can send out an email telling your old list about your new venture, and follow the content outlined in #1.


There is no magic bullet for list building, but there are ways to make it easier and faster. Like, getting our EXPLODE +  MONETIZE List Engagement System to fast track your results.

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