Grow Your Email List With FREE Paid Advertising

Grow Your Email List For Free
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Grow Your Email List For Free

Okay, so I know that title contradicts itself. How can paid advertising be free? And how can you use it to grow your email list?

Well, the answer is pretty simple – and today I’m going to show you how I’ve earned over 100 new email subscribers for free in the last couple of weeks with a pretty straightforward method.

Recently I decided to experiment with Google AdWords as a way to pick up new subscribers. Upon doing so, I suddenly remembered that I had unused ad vouchers in my hosting account.

These coupons are very common with hosting providers, and if you sign up at BlueHost, they’re included with your package. If you already have a self hosted blog, you probably already have one – so go check your dashboard now!

But why do they just give away money for their ad program? The real reason is that they want you to use it, be successful with it, then spend actual money on it.

Really, it doesn’t cost them anything when you think about it.

Really, it doesn't cost them anything when you think about it. Click To Tweet

If you can exercise a little self control, and combine it with a dab of efficiency, then you can use these ad credits to your advantage to get free traffic.

Where that traffic goes is up to you, but if you can target it to an email subscription offer – like this one – then you can seriously grow your email list. For free.

Of course, if you’re really successful, and know how to make money from your blog, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use this method to generate subscribers with your own money.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

Step 1: The Traffic Target

The first step is an obvious one. There’s no point getting this traffic, if you don’t have anything to offer those people when they get there.

I find that the best landing pages are a simple offer of a free download – usually an eBook, a resource or anything else that a visitor can download in exchange for an email address.

Here is an example of where I send my traffic.

Blog Traffic Builder Screenshot

You see how I have a simple proposition for my visitors? It’s free and possibly solves an issue they’re having.

There’s so much depth we could go into here about building the perfect landing page, split testing and optimizing your landing pages – but for you to try this method, you really don’t need to be an expert.

Just make it obvious what problem you are going to solve, and have an easy to use subscription form and download process.

Make a page (you can copy mine if you like) that you would be confident in sending traffic to from anywhere.

Step 2: Getting The Ad Code

Before you get going with Google AdWords, you need to get your ad code.

BlueHost makes this easy – as it’s right there on their dashboard.

BlueHost Ad Code Offer

Click the button and follow the instructions to get your ad code.

Step 3: Get Set Up On Google AdWords

Head to Google AdWords and start an account.

You can use your Gmail account (cmon, everyone has at least one!) or any other email you like.

Fill out Step 1 with your information, and then you’ll be taken to this screen:

AdWords Screen 2

Click on “Switch to AdWords”. Google has a platform now called “AdWords Express” which is geared towards small businesses and beginners, and is the default option when you first start an account.

However, AdWords Express is mainly automated, and is a surefire way to blow through your budget with minimal results.

Also, AdWords Express is based on your location and targets a specific radius. So unless you’re a town/city specific blogger, then there’s not much use in you using AdWords Express.

The next step is to create your ad!

AdWords Ad Step 1

I usually set a budget of $10-15 per day. This ensures that your ad runs for at least one week (if your ad credit is for $100 like at BlueHost) – don’t worry, you aren’t going to be actually spending any real money!

Next, you’ll need to pick your target location, network and keywords.

Location, Network and Keywords

I usually target all countries and territories. However, if you are specific to one continent, country or even city; then pick that place.

For the networks, I usually pick just the Search Network. This means that you only show up on Google’s actual site. If you select search partners, you will show up in other places as sidebar ads and so on.

I use Long Tail Pro (full post on how to get keywords coming up next!) to generate all my keywords, but Google AdWords does actually offer some decent suggestions.

At this stage, you can add as many or as few as you want, and since you’re spending free money you can test how each keyword performs and play around with different settings.

This is a great opportunity to learn how to use Google AdWords, or to test out keywords and parameters for an upcoming project before you start playing with actual money.

Here are the keywords I used for this particular campaign. Note that I’ve narrowed them down from a much longer list so that I’m only using the top performing/most economical mix of keywords.

This is the full list right now, but I’m chopping and changing and optimizing it on a daily basis (and you should do the same):

blog traffic rankings
how to grow blog traffic
how promote blog
how to get traffic to your blog fast
how to check blog traffic
how to promote the blog
how to get traffic on your blog
how to get visitors to my blog
how to promote blogger blog
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promoting your blog
how to get traffic on my blog
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how to create traffic on your blog
how to promote blog
how to boost blog traffic
promote blog posts
get traffic to your blog
blog traffic tips
improve blog traffic
how to get more traffic on my blog
how to get more traffic to my blog
get more traffic to your blog
how to increase blog traffic
where to promote blog
buy blog traffic
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how do i get traffic to my blog
how to gain blog traffic
how to increase blog traffic for free
promote a blog
how to increase blog views

Notice that all of them are people looking for ways to get blog traffic; and what does my landing page promise? An eBook telling you how to get blog traffic.

It’s exactly what they expect to see when they click that link.

To start with, you should let AdWords pick your bid amount. This will ensure that you are competitive with bids and actually get shown for your keywords. If you decide that it’s costing too much or the keyword isn’t working for you, you can simply pause that particular keyword later on.

AdWords Auto Bid

Next you need to create your ad.

This is one of the most important parts. You need to offer a proposition to searchers that will entice them, but also give them exactly what they expect on the other side.

Here is my ad:

Want Blog Traffic?

This asks the searcher the question, and then confirms that by clicking the link they’ll be taken to a page where they can get a free eBook to help solve that problem.

You can create multiple ads and test them if you like. I actually started with 5 different ads, each with varying copy. This one was the top performing, and so I stuck with it for all of my future ads in this campaign.

The next page you’ll be taken to when you click “Save and continue” is for your payment information. Now, you will need a credit card to do this, but remember that this is purely to set up the account.

You can’t actually input your ad voucher code until your account is set up, so this is a necessary step.

Most of these ad credits require that you spend a minimum amount first in order to get the credit. In my case, I have to spend $25 to get a $100 credit.

Make sure you spend at least the minimum amount in the first few days.

This won’t charge you, because in fact, AdWords is set to only charge you when your account gets over $75 OR every 30 days by default. As long as you use your minimum in the first 30 days, and use your coupon before you get to $75 then you’re gravy.

For example, you would spend your first $25, then AdWords gives you a $100 credit, meaning they now owe you $75 to spend on more ads.

If you don’t want to spend any additional money, you simply have to stop the ads when your credit runs out.

Step 4: Use Your Ad Coupon

To use your coupon, click the grey cog in the top righthand corner of the AdWords dashboard, then click “Billing”.

AdWords Coupon Entry

Click on “Manage Promotional Codes” then go ahead an add your code – it’s that simple!

If you don’t want to spend any real money, make sure you monitor your account and make sure you’re not going over budget.

Step 5: Monitor The Crap Out Of It

The final step is to monitor and optimize the crap out of your campaign.

Check your keywords – are they being shown? Are they costing a good amount? Are they performing as they should be? Cut some, add some, test, test, test.

Try different ads with different copy and headlines. Different ads will perform better than others, and you won’t necessarily know why, but all you need to now is which ones work best and stick with what works.

With Google AdWords you can get clicks for as little as $0.10 if you get your keywords right! Combine that with a high converting landing page, and you’ll really be onto a winner.

My ad brought me in 103 new subscribers in just over a couple of weeks.

My ad brought me in 103 new subscribers in just over a couple of weeks. Click To Tweet

Another great thing about this method is that you can repeat it. If you have another ad voucher, you can simply create a new account and repeat this process to grow your email list.

Hosting accounts often give out ad credits for Bing, Facebook and Twitter too. As I mentioned before, I highly recommend BlueHost for hosting, and they 100% offer these kind of vouchers.

So that’s the method! What do you think? Let me know if you tried it, and if you haven’t subscribed already please do so using the form below!

Tom Watts
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Tom Watts

Blogger from England, living in Canada. I blog about blogging, SEO, Social Media, Web Design etc. Monday lover, coffee consumer. The glass is always half full. Read my full story here: Read More
Tom Watts
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13 Comments

  1. Lynda Kenny says:

    Great post with lots of instructions and detail for anyone wanting to learn about ad words. Thanks for sharing Tom

  2. Justin says:

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Ron Deering says:

    Love your post today … great value and content… thanks for sharing this… much needed information

  4. Drew Berman says:

    Thanks for sharing! Great post today.

  5. Robb Corbett says:

    Very interesting strategy, thanks for sharing!

  6. What a great way to take advantage of the free voucher that’s included with your hosting. Google ad words can be a little intimidating without and training. This post you laid out was very detailed and easy to follow. I personally haven’t ran any paid advertising on Google just yet but I know at some point I need to learn how to properly leverage to grow my business. I’ll be book marking this blog post so I can refer back to it when I dive into it. Thanks!!

    • Tom Watts says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Dereco. Really you could use this paid advertising “hack” to drive traffic anywhere you want. The important part for me (and it should be for you too) is to send the traffic to somewhere that you can get those people to join your mailing list. That way you can keep them coming back time and time again!

  7. Thanks for this little nugget Tom.

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