5 Ways to Grow Your Email List Without Paid Traffic

5 ways to grow your email list without paid traffic

I am a huge proponent of using a lead magnet to grow an email list. A lead magnet does exactly what it sounds like: it’s a magnet for business leads.

This lead magnet can be in the form of many things. It could be a coupon code, a quiz, an e-book, a private Facebook group, etc. The key is to make the lead magnet relevant to your target audience so that your subscribers are people who would buy from you.

There is no point in attracting everybody under the sun to subscribe to your list because the majority won’t buy from you and will inflate your EMS budget. (EMS = email management system like Mailchimp, Active Campaign.)

You want high-quality leads that will convert to customers.

If you don’t have a lead magnet yet, check out my previous post on Why you need a lead magnet to grow your email list which includes a checklist of the six things that make for a successful lead magnet.

Armed with your lead magnet, here are 5 ways to grow your email list without paid traffic.

5 Ways to Grow Your Email List Without Paid Traffic

1 . Organic Search

Create SEO (search engine optimized) content on your website so that your site will rank high on search engines like Google.

It’s important to research the keywords that people would search for, related to your business, and that you can realistically rank for. Then, when people click over to your site to read your content, be sure that your lead magnet is prominently displayed.

On your website, you can display your lead magnet in the following ways:

  • as a popup (you can specify when the popup shows using a time delay, exit intent, or when a user scrolls down a certain percentage of your webpage)
  • use a “hello bar” on the very top of your webpages
  • at the end of every blog post
  • on your website’s sidebar if your theme uses one

2. Social Media

Again, it’s important to create engaging content that speaks to your ideal client and drive them toward downloading your lead magnet.


  • Place your lead magnet as a link in your bio.
  • In your post captions, ask people to download your free lead magnet.
  • You can also ask people to DM you a phrase (of your choosing) and then send them the lead magnet link in a DM. You can even automate this with an app such as Many Chat.
  • Use IG’s swipe up feature. Unfortunately, this feature is only available to Instagram users with a business account and at least 10,000 followers. This feature allows you to share a clickable link in your Instagram Stories, and users swipe up to tap the link. You can use this link to send your followers to your lead magnet. 


There are many places on LinkedIn where you can drop your lead magnet link:

  • Place it as a link in your bio.
  • You can add the link to the end of every post as a “post signature” but since LinkedIn tends to penalize links in posts, the current best practice is to mention your lead magnet at the end of every post but only place the link in the first comment.
  • Showcase your lead magnet in the “Featured” section of your profile.
  • Add it to the bottom of your “About” section.
  • Include it in your “Experience” section (there’s no rule that you need to use the sections as they were intended).
  • Add an image of your lead magnet and CTA to your profile banner.

Choose two or three places from the list above and be careful not to go overboard or risk appearing overly salesy.


There are also many places on Facebook where you can link to your lead magnet:

  • Your about section on your personal profile and business page.
  • As a pinned/featured post.
  • You can mention it on Facebook groups but it’s important not to spam. Only drop the link if your lead magnet is relevant and useful to the conversation that is happening.

3. Email Signature

You can add your lead magnet to your email signature with a compelling and benefit driven CTA.

At the end of your email newsletters, you can have a section that asks your current subscribers to forward your email to a friend. This section would include a subscribe link for new subscribers to go to your lead magnet.

4. Partner with other brands

List-building doesn’t have to be a solo venture. You can partner with other brands or creators that serve a similar target audience, but aren’t direct competitors.

Here are two ways you can do this:

  • Promo Swaps: Please note that you are not swapping email lists. That would be unethical. You promote your lead magnet offer to someone else’s email list in exchange for doing the same for the other party.
  • Co-Marketing: Co-marketing happens when two companies create one piece of content together. Both companies market the content on their own and share the leads they generate. It’s a great strategy because it leverages the reach of both companies and reduces the burden of content creation and marketing.

5. Guest blog on other websites

Guest blogging is a great way to find a new audience and promote your lead magnet. The key is to find a blog or online publication whose content complements yours and whose audience is similar to yours.

Again, be sure to share relevant and valuable content and always include your bio with a link to your lead magnet at the end of your guest post.

Start implementing some of these ideas to grow your email list today.

If you still need help creating a lead magnet, check out my post on Why you need a lead magnet to grow your email list.

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