The world’s in lockdown.

Businesses everywhere are having to tighten their belts and settle in for a long, hard winter.

But now is not the time to hibernate.

While spending three weeks on the sofa with Netflix and a bottle of wine might seem tempting, now is the time to dig in, dig deep and put the foundations in place for the future. 

It’s time to play the long game. 

Look at it this way.

Your competitors are still out there and they’re doing one of two things: 


  • Hibernating, doing nothing and waiting out the storm. Which means you have the opportunity to get a step ahead. 
  • Working hard behind the scenes to get an advantage. Which means if you hibernate then you’ll fall behind.

So what should you be doing? 

Well, while we’re quarantined at home the time people spend on the internet has increased dramatically. Your target market are sitting around at home scrolling through Facebook, checking their emails and hanging out online. 

This makes it the perfect time to build your email marketing list. 

But…there’s one problem. 

You don’t have any money to spend either. Your sales are down, your existing clients are on hold and your husband/wife has been furloughed on an 80% wage. 

So here’s the challenge – how can you grow your email list without spending any money?

It’s totally doable. Here’s what’s working right now…

1: Free Coaching Calls, Consults & Webinars 

People are struggling. If you’re an expert, coach or even just a very experienced business owner then now is the time to share your knowledge and help people out. 

If you’re an accountant – run a webinar on emergency steps to take to protect your finances during the Covid lockdown. 

If you’re a marketer – offer free strategy calls to help people create a marketing plan that will work for them in this environment. 

If you’re a hypnotherapist – offer a free “Dealing with anxiety in lockdown” MP3 hypnosis track. 

You get the gist? 

Whatever your expertise, offer it up to those who really need it right now.

And in return, you’ll get a new “raving fan” on your list. You never know, they might tell their friends about you too! 

2: Commenting On Other People’s Posts in Groups 

Facebook usage stats are off the charts right now, with around 100% increase in use! This means that newsfeeds are busy and group posts get shoved down the page fast. 

But there is one way you can still get noticed. 

Comment on other people’s posts. Scrap your content schedule for now and spend your time replying to other people’s questions that relate to your expertise. 

There is a knack to this though. 

If you just comment away willy-nilly without a plan you’ll be wasting time and you won’t see any significant growth in your list. 

Firstly – choose your groups and questions carefully. Ideally, you’ll look for groups that have high numbers of your ideal target market in them. So let’s say you’re a graphic designer and your target market is SMEs, don’t waste your time scrolling through your local “mums and tums” group. 

Secondly – when you comment to reply to people’s questions, try to answer their question simply then direct them to some kind of lead bait that expands on what you’ve said. 

For example, let’s say you’re a maths tutor and someone has posted the following question in a “homeschooling through lockdown” Facebook group. 

“I’m really struggling to get my 6-year-old to do his maths worksheets. He just won’t sit still or concentrate. It’s taking us three hours just to do one page. What can I do?” 

You could reply with…

“Aw man, that sounds really tough for you. I’m a maths tutor and sometimes when my students struggle to concentrate I find that it’s because I’m presenting the information in the wrong type of format for them. If a worksheet isn’t working for your son then you could try an online maths programme, or playing some maths-based games with him instead? I’ve actually got a list of fun maths resources for kids here – Hope it helps!”

Or something along those lines… 

There’s no limit to the ways you can nudge them onto your list.

I’ve got a free resource for that here (insert link). Would you like me to send you some XYZ strategies/tips? I’m running a webinar on XYZ soon – Would you like to be on the priority list? 

3: Free Resources or Trials 

One of the most impressive list building strategies I’ve seen recently is that of the online educational software companies. 

As soon as the school closures were announced my timeline was filled with ads, posts and shares of educational resources that were offering free access or resources. 

This is genius. 

You see, sure, they’re having to give access to their paid product for free – but they’re playing the long game. 

They know that if they can just get you on their list then they have a much higher chance of selling to you in future, increasing their sales and bumping up their bottom line. 

So what can you offer for a limited time only, that people are in desperate need of right now?

Do you have an online product for which you can offer a trial? Or perhaps a low-priced product you could give away for free? 

For example, I have a paid-for product – 142 Blog Prompts & Ideas.

I usually sell this for £9 but at the moment I am giving it away for free. (You can get it here now if you haven’t already!

So there you have it – Three ways to build your list for free right now.

Have you tried any of them? Or perhaps you’ve found something else that really works? I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to…



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