Preamble

So you’re starting a new business and you want to get into email marketing. You don’t have an email list, and you want one. But your budget is zero.

What can you do?

Over the past few months, I have spent countless hours searching for the most effective ways to build targeted email lists, and I have picked up a lot of tricks.

Before we get started I want to encourage you to use cold email wisely. This is not spam, this is finding businesses who may be interested in your products and letting them know you exist.

Building a targeted email list has never been more important. As a small business, you have to make sure that your message is heard by the right people if you want to succeed in the modern marketplace. To do this, you need to build an email list that’s targeted to your specific audience and that’s where the hard work comes in. Here are 5 ways you can build a targeted email list either for free or on the cheap.

Google

Yep, good old Google. Do a Google search for the type of businesses that you are looking for, and check out their website.

This is a very labor-intensive process. You have to navigate into each website, click around, and see if you can find an email address listed.

Didn’t find an email? Be sure to check for links to the company’s Facebook page. You will probably find an email address there more often than on the site itself.

You will find a lot of catch-all email addresses like “info@jonsnow.com” or “service@jonsnow.com.”

These addresses aren’t ideal for your marketing effort but you know what? They’re better than nothing.

Sometimes you may not find an email address at all, and that’s okay.

Time to move on to the next site.

Pro Tip: Grab the Linkclump chrome extension. Once installed, you can change the settings to “copy to clipboard,” and just copy and paste all of the google results into a spreadsheet. Send that spreadsheet to a virtual assistant or just save it for later. You can even set it to ignore links to pages like Yelp or Angi’s list.

Yellow Pages

The yellow pages have been a business directory as long as I’ve been alive. And, they list company websites right there in your search results. AND, unlike the google machine, you won’t find any links that aren’t businesses here.

Since all of the links are relevant, it is a tad faster than searching in Google. However, I find that sometimes the businesses are a few years out of date.

Pro tip: If you’re savvy enough, a web scraper does a great job here. You can let a robot go out and get you 1,000 websites to comb through on your own.

Yelp

A business directory, just like the yellow pages. Except I find that yelp is often more up to date with their listings.

Probably because they are just more popular.

All you have to do is do a search for the type of business you are looking for and then scroll down the list.

This is actually the slowest method of all because yelp hides the websites on each business’s individual page, rather than on the search results.

Once again be sure to check all over the websites for contact information, and all their social media links. This will help you to build the biggest and most comprehensive picture of the business that you can.

LinkedIn

Yeah, people actually use LinkedIn. That was my first question too.

JOkes aside LinkedIn is crawling with opportunity. You can look up just about any business, and see who works there. Reach out to those people directly, or sometimes even find their email address right there under “contact information.”

You can use advanced filters to find your perfect client.

You can do even more with a LinkedIn paid plan, but those are PRICEY!

Many browser extensions claim to pull contact information for people you find on LinkedIn, some of them free. I haven’t had any luck with them but they are worth a shot.

I know, I know. The title of this post was how to build an email list for free, but if you spend just a little bit of money you can save yourself a ton of work.

LeadScrape

At the time of this writing, LeadScrape has a lifetime deal on Appsumo for less than $60. This app will pull you a pretty significant number of B2B leads with little effort.

I upgraded to the business license for an additional $150 and had more leads than I could reasonably comb through. Luckily the guys over at Leadscrape gave me a refund no questions asked.

Overall the quality of the leads was okay. it mostly gave me a list of websites in a particular niche and I had to go find email addresses myself.

A lifetime deal, however, may be worth it.

FindThatLead

For about the same amount of money as a lifetime deal with Leadscrape, you can get a month of FindThatLead. The good thing about FindThatLead is, all of the contacts will already have emails so that saves you a ton of manual labor.

$49 will get you about 5,000 credits. One credit is one contact. So that should last you a little while.

You can also use some of those credits to verify those addresses and send your email campaigns on autopilot using their automated software.

There are a ton of other paid options but I found those two to be the best value.

Conclusion

You can build an em list yourself. Totally can.

Start by searching for the prospects you are interested in and then carefully review their websites. Look for mentions of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, or simply contact what seem to be their customer services. Even if you have to blast the “info@johnsnow.com” email address, that’s better than nothing.

But it is going to be a MOUNTAIN of work. All you need to do is find some sort of index (Google included), and comb through looking for prospects.

It will not be easy.

It will take a long time.

But in the end it may be worth it since no one else will be targeting those leads.

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