I’ll never forget the fun we had at those NFL celebrations at Regent Street in London, a couple of years back. My sister and I took part in a couple of games, one of which required yelling some American Football words at the top of our voices, and our mum was certain we were going to nail this. Sure this sounds supportive, but our mum’s focus was on “yelling”. Joke’s on her, we failed miserably (…we only caught “quarterback” out of all the words).

For the initial launch of our blog, we mainly leveraged our network to get the word out about our new site. Most of the traffic for our initial first post came from posting on our personal Facebook pages as well as some Facebook groups that were focused around marketing and entrepreneurship such as From Wantrapreneur to Entrepreneur (a private group for people who’ve taken the SumoMe Building $1,000 monthly business course). We also tweeted from our personal accounts to get the word out. Finally, Benji emailed an old list of his that had 164 people on it, and got a 13.5% click rate, so that also drove some traffic.
If you haven’t yet started building an email list (but know you need to), this article is for you. You may have heard that a strong email list is one of the most valuable assets you can have, but when you’re starting from scratch, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This is partly because many business owners have a hard time envisioning the long-term payoff for the hard work they need to do now.
Unfortunately, there’s a bit too much depth to the topic for me to cram everything in to a single blog post. Therefore, I’m going to begin creating a multi-part blog series on list building. Over the next couple days, I’m going to purely focus on teaching some tricks of the trade to build a list quickly (these have now all been merged into this single post).
These stats spell out huge opportunities for marketers, but some old tactics no longer work. Sending out large email “blasts” to huge subscriber lists is no longer resulting in high open rates. List decay is increasing. A large list doesn’t translate to results. The average open rate for branded emails is a mere 20-40%, and the click-through rate is even less.
How to launch an online course and make $220,750 in 10 days – this article is a complete breakdown of how Bryan Harris made $220,750 launching his email marketing course. It includes the entire process he went through from building the list, to launching the product. As you can see from this post… it’s epic. Plus he uses a Content Upgrade that includes templates he used to launch his course. Very compelling.
I’ve talked about how you can promote a blog post here and here. Though how hard you work to promote a post can influence how well it does, what’s more important, is the content of the post.  That’s because high quality content will be more widely shared. Because of this, if you’re just starting out with the creation of your blog, focus on creating posts that are based on popular topics within your niche.
Solo ads is essentially a method of paying someone to mail to their list for you. I don’t do this very often anymore but it is a very very effective way to jumpstart a list. If you followed along to a previous 30 day challenge I did on my old blog, Business & Blogs, you would have seen me go in to great depth about how I gained almost 1,000 new subscribers through solo ads alone.
One way you can do this is by heading over to Buzzsumo again and searching a keyword based on your niche.  You’ll want to find content that is popular in your niche and look for ways to make it better. Finding this kind of content can sometimes be hard, especially if you’re using broad keywords in certain niches. As a result, you’ll need to follow the tips that I provided earlier for combining the core keyword with something that relates to the ability to take action.
Some ad platforms will ask more of your landing pages than others, when running ads. For example, AdWords is much stricter, when compared to Facebook. AdWords typically requires that you do not have a ‘thin,’ site that is designed solely to collect leads.  Because of this it might be a good idea to focus on using Facebook or Twitter, to begin with.
My traffic model looks like a complicated shambles. I use a number of Social Media platforms, mostly Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, with several profiles in each. I have some sizeable followings in niche areas, like Bitcoin and Affiliate Marketing.  I have a bunch of tools that automate the flow of content. I know it is a shambles because it is not producing consistent subscriber or sales results. The only thing that works well is my charity fund raising. Weird that as I can get people to give money away more easily than I can get them to buy something of tangible value to them. Now there is a big lesson in there for me. 49% of my donations by number come from former colleagues. These are people that I know and who have grown to know, like and trust me.

The easiest place to start is with the people you already have on your list. Even though they may not be interested in purchasing your services and products, they were interested enough in your business to sign up and show some type of support. You can use your list of current subscribers to generate more subscribers who are more interested in actually purchasing your products or services.


My suspicion is that our initial surge of subscribers has to do with what I mentioned at the top of this post: Our journey is compelling.  Plain and simple, people want to see if we can hit these numbers or not. (By the way, if you want to read our current articles — all which are very in depth articles with case studies and examples in each one about content marketing for real businesses, join our email list.)

The most obvious and logical place to find interested email subscribers is on your website itself. If users are visiting your website (regardless of whether they purchase or make a transaction), they have an interest in the information or content that you're providing. Every page of your website should include an email sign-up box that allows users to join your mailing list. We'll discuss the best practices for creating that email sign-up box later in this section. However, every visitor to your website is a potential email subscriber.
When they click on the link, they are taken to a landing page that has strong copy that reveals the biggest benefits of your product or service. Show the prospect how their life will change. You want this landing page, also called a signup page or squeeze page, to be short and to the point. (It is possible, of course, to just send them to your main website. But it could be distracting with all the links and different pages.
Choosing an AppSumo product their target audience would like, they let people enter to win it by taking specific actions such as subscribing via email and sharing on Twitter. Because of the viral nature of social sharing, these giveaways amplify the initial promotion to quickly reach a larger audience, all while increasing the visibility of specific AppSumo products.
Some services have referral programs for growing lists, but you won’t always get the right audience’s attention. So often, those programs for getting 100 subscribers in a day are abused and cheated, and you’ll end up with 100 robots who don’t actually read your emails. There is the chance that your service’s referral program is legit and will get you genuinely interested subscribers, but just make sure to do your research.
Every ESP will give you tools to create an opt-in form for your site. Generally speaking, the less information you ask for (at this initial stage, at least), the better. The more information you ask for, the less likely your prospect is to complete the process. You’ll obviously need to ask for an email address, and I also highly recommended that you ask for a first name so you can personalize your emails. However, asking for any information beyond these two fields can decrease conversion rates significantly without adding much valuable data.
To get people to sign-up in the first place, you need to grab their attention and make it worth their while to sign up. Many website offer "FREE" information or products to people who sign-up with their mailing lists. This technique will work if you offer the website visitors something that is of "value" to them. Value has to go hand-in-hand with promotional materials within your emails. No one wants to be bombarded with sales pitches every time they open an email from you, so don't bother even sending out such emails. The best way to promote your product is to provide information that relates to your product, then add a few sentences that make reference to your product and how it can help with the reader achieve something.
Note: Searching ‘Contributor guidelines’ is a great way to do this. The submission process tends to vary from site to site, and some won’t have any ‘Contributor Guidelines’ available.  In the knitting niche, there are some sites that accept submissions via a contact form and some that will ask that we get in contact via email. If you can’t find the contact information of a blog, sign up to their email list and then reply to the address that is used.

Wow – now this is an exhaustive list of enough reasons to NOT fail when generating ideas to build your list. I particularly like the idea of hosting a JV giveaway as you can leverage different audiences and the cost is minimal for the exposure (providing you team up with a blogger who has an engaged audience). Guest posting is an interesting one as I believe to get more audience back to your page and build credibility, you really need to guest post on sites which have a loyal audience that engages with the author e.g. Adriennesmith.net or firepolemarketing.com . Great job with the post Ana 🙂
Brilliant! I know I probably shouldn’t be writing all just love what you’re saying here. But “love” what and “how” you are saying this here. I haven’t done the email thing yet, it’s something I’m ready to do and would benefit from too. But reading this today – found myself wanting to say, I would have wrote that – I want to copy and paste and tell others because you saved me the answer to myself being asked how do you do it Jane or errrrr zJayne!
Some may argue that asking for opt-in results in a smaller contact list since customers have to perform this extra step. However, not asking for permission before sending puts you at risk of being marked as spam or worse, being blacklisted by an ISP – and obviously at risk of fines, since May 25th. Just one abuse complaint can lead to having both your Domain name and IP addresses blacklisted.

People like more choices, so consider creating subscription levels that let people sign up to receive content that’s relevant to them. For example, if you sell widgets and tax advice, provide three options on your opt-in form that allow users to sign up to receive info about widgets, info about tax advice or both. Further customize by allowing them to designate how frequently they’d like to hear from you — weekly, monthly or only when something really special is going on. People may be more likely to sign up for your email list if they have some control over the content they’ll receive.
Your tip about CTA’s really hit the spot. I’ve been noticing that some of our competitors are using wordy yet highly specific buttons like ‘Get My Free Consultation Now!’ or ‘See Other Works From ____’. I was skeptic at first, but reading your logic behind it, it makes sense. I’m looking forward to implementing this on my own sites. Thank you, Brian.
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