What does it mean to truly “own your audience”? And how can you build an email list without a website?
As a creator, you have followers on major social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or Twitch, but you don’t truly own your audience. You can only reach out to your followers through that platform. You can only share your content with your followers through that platform. You are beholden to the platform for your knowledge of and communication with your followers.
Email marketing, in contrast, lets you truly own your audience. You can gather and keep all the individual-level information about your followers and reach out to them however and whenever you would like. You don’t need to worry about algorithm changes—or worse, getting banned without warning.
But how do you get started? Email marketing can feel like a whole new channel to conquer, and it might seem to embark on building your “following” on an entirely new platform. But it’s not as challenging as you think, and the payoff for being able to communicate directly with your audience is huge.
Here we’ll cover how you can get started building an email list easily!
What makes a good email list?
Quantity doesn’t mean quality, but the size of your list does still matter. A good email list has a meaningful number of contacts. “Meaningful” can mean different things for different creators. To find what it means for you, consider:
- What your goals are with your email marketing? For example, is it just to keep your existing followers updated on your content? Or is it to sell a new product?
- How many people do you need to reach to achieve these goals? Don’t forget about conversion rates—not all subscribers will take the intended action prescribed in your email.
Quality here is defined by the value of the subscriber. Again, “value” can mean different things for different creators depending on what your goals are.
If your goal is to, for example, sell high end organic makeup products, a valuable user would be one who loves makeup and has high personal budget regularly allocated toward their makeup spend. Similarly, if your goal is to build a brand in the music space, famous musicians are high value subscribers.
Quality alone doesn’t capture the potential customer’s interest in your products or your followers’ interest in you.
People may have tons of money to spend on makeup, but that doesn’t mean they want or need your particular line of makeup. High intent people are those who have shown interest in your product. Maybe they’ve added items to their cart, clicked on one of your ads, or clicked around your website. Maybe they’ve responded to Q&As on your IG story or commented on your TikTok videos. They may not have the most followers or the most money, but they are the most interested in you specifically.
How do you build an email list without a website
Even if it feel like you’re building your email list from scratch, it’s quite likely that you already have a solid foundation to start with.
Have any of your followers emailed you (or your PR rep)? These are emails of high intent (and potentially also high value) followers.
Have you ever had your followers fill out a form? Maybe a survey? Maybe ahead of a launch announcement? Or to enter a raffle? These are also emails you can start with.
Have you been collecting emails from your Beacons community link in bio block? This is another place where you may have already gotten a head start with building your email marketing list.
Have you ever sold products or services (such as your time, shout outs, etc.)? You likely have customer email information from that. Actual customers are very high intent followers - they’ve literally paid you money already!
How to get more email subscribers
Website pop ups
If you have a website, you can add a pop up announcing your newsletter and get visitors to sign up. Be sure to highlight the value your subscribers will get out of your newsletter. Include any quotes or testimonials or stats (on sign ups, if you’d like to show them and think it would help) as shown in the example below.
Similarly, you can add a pop up survey asking visitors what type of content they want to get out of your newsletter and asking them to subscribe.
For more tips on sign up flow tips, check out this blog post on building a welcome email flow on Beacons.
Opt in forms
In other forms that your followers may fill out, such as a form in a checkout flow, you can make an option for fans to check off whether they want to opt in to your newsletter. You can have this box default checked.
Leverage your follower base on your socials! Make your email list a huge deal by:
- Getting people hyped before with a mysterious countdown to your “big reveal”
- Hosting a launch event online - it could be a livestream, a guest speaker interview, an AMA, or a webinar
- Offering some free bonus content for subscribers, such as an eBook
- Making a beautiful carousel post about your newsletter and why people should subscribe
- Asking your followers to reshare on their own social media and giving them shareable assets to easily do so
- And repost fans who share your post - fans love to be noticed and promoted by you
Link in bio
Your link in bio (such as Beacons of course!) is a great place to promote your newsletter. Your link in bio is one of the most trafficed website assets you have. You can add a subscription block to your link in bio page to allow fans to directly sign up for your email list while they’re exploring your other content and links.
With Beacons, you’re able to directly integrate your email newsletter signup on your Link in Bio page, and you can also quickly build and send your newsletters from the Email Marketing tool. Instead of needing multiple tools to manage your email marketing, you can do everything in one place.
In person events
Consider hosting a launch event - even a low budget meet and greet could be impactful. You could offer some perk at the event, such as free photos at a photo booth, free merch, or free food for those who sign up for the newsletter. When guests register for the event, it’s a good opportunity to also give them the choice to opt-in to your email list.
Run a giveaway! Everyone who subscribes will be entered into the giveaway for a prize that you choose. A common giveaway prize is an Amazon gift card.
You can announce your giveaway on your social media. One way to drive up even more engagement and promotion is to allow people to “enter twice” if they do something extra like share your announcement post or refer a friend.
Below is an example of a giveaway (albeit not newsletter specific).
Your content is a great place to add a CTA to subscribe. However, your standard content may not catch your followers’ eyes as something out of the ordinary. Consider posting a video if you typically post photos. Or host your first livestream or AMA. With each of these unique content forms, add a CTA to subscribe to the newsletter. By capturing followers’ attention with a new form of content, you’ll be able to turn those views into engagement.
What you’ll need to build your email list
Beyond your subscribers, you’ll need a few key tools to get started.
Email marketing tool
Of course you’ll need a way to actually craft and send your emails and understand the performance of your emails. Beacons has an Email Marketing tool that can help you do just that! It’s super easy to use and is specifically made for creators, which is especially helpful for those who are new to email marketing.
Here is an example of an email you can make right from your phone with Beacons.
You’ll need a way to manage your contacts in one place! Beacons also offers this through our Audience Manager that integrates seamlessly with the Email Marketing tool. Here you can sort and group your audience, analyze subscribers by channel, and find all contact info in a centralized database. Plus, you can pull up each subscriber to view more granular information on an individual level, including their purchase activity if you've set up your Beacons Store.
If you’re leveraging the ideas above that involve some type of survey or collection form, you’ll need a form tool. There are different options out there including Google Forms and Airtable, but through the Beacons link in bio, you can actually have a form in your email marketing block to collect emails directly and don’t need an additional tool.
If you are working with different systems that don’t directly connect and speak with each other, you can consider using integration tools such as Zapier. You can also avoid that complexity and use tools within the same platform that are automatically integrated, such as Beacons email marketing, link in bio, and audience manager.
How to get started
You’re ready to get started! Here’s how to build your email list wiithout a website:
- Do your research: Learn what your followers are current reading and what they wish they could read more of and check out what other creators in your space are sending.
- Select a goal: Define what you want to achieve with your email list .
- Identify audience building strategies: Pick which of the above listed ideas is best for you to use to build your list.
- Implement tooling: Decide what tools you’ll want to use and get onboarded.
Still have doubts that email marketing will work for you? Let us change your mind—check out Debunking the top 7 email marketing myths for creators.