How do I start building an email marketing list without a budget?
Building an email list takes time, but there are a few tried-and-true techniques that tend to yield high returns.
The easiest technique is running a contest or sweepstakes that requires an email to enter. You can make an entry form using Google Forms, or there are applications to integrate a sweepstake onto your Facebook page. Usually, a third-party sweepstakes application is preferable to ensure your sweepstakes follows applicable laws. Attract the right entrants with a prize. It should be a product you normally sell. Throw several products into a custom package to make the sweepstakes enticing.
Consider putting an email collection form on your website. Many email providers offer easy-to-place forms that link directly to your email list.
Finally, if you have a decent following on social media, it's perfectly reasonable to ask followers to sign up for email updates every now and then. The key, however, is making it very clear what they'll receive in return. Will they get coupons in their inbox? Be the first to know about sales? If they know what to expect, they'll be much more likely to share their email.
As for email marketing providers, there are quite a few to choose from, even free versions if you're just getting off the ground. You'll want to upgrade this account as soon as possible, but this is an excellent option to get you started.