When I think about the brands I like best, like J. Crew, Spotify, and SoulCycle, I know I’m not a loyal brand advocate because of their products alone. I can get cheaper clothes, music, and groceries from plenty of other places. Ultimately, I’m a brand advocate because I believe in what they promote and I feel invested in their stories, like SoulCycle’s: “We aspire to inspire. We inhale intention and exhale expectation.” I relate to their brand messaging.

What I will say is that opt-ins on your website and social media will be your friend. Supply traffic coming from Google, Facebook, and Twitter with offerings that they must sign up for. Use a free ebook, a checklist, a free podcast, or even an email course (which you can set up with your autoresponder service) to get them to subscribe to your 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.

We recently personalized an email campaign based on subscriber’s individual location. We created different images for people in the UK, USA, and Australia and tested them against a generic version (with just one location-agnostic image) to see if personalized images worked better. By making the images in our email campaigns personalized to the subscriber’s location, we were able to increase our email click-through rate by 29%.

This is ideal if you’ve got an actual business to run, or maybe you have a day job and this is your side project. It’s simple enough to dedicate a few hours per week to showing up and creating content. Over time your site’s authority will increase in the search engines, you’ll develop word of mouth from your fans, and things will slowly pick up the pace.

Hi Crispian. Yes I have heard of GVO. But I personally use GetResponse. I think all email mnagement systems e.g Aweber, GetResponse, GVO, MailChimp etc allow you to do the same thing, to automate your business by sending a series of pre-loaded emails to create a relationship with your list, provide value to them and of cause promote some products to them so you can make some money. So I'd say choose the one that is appealing to you, learn how to use it and stick with it as long as you want to.
For subscribers who may have been on your list for a longer period of time, a small incentive or discount will often get them talking. Marketers should capitalize on word-of-mouth marketing by incorporating email sign-up on viral components, such as features that allow site visitors to forward products, services, wish lists, information online, notifications and more to their friends.
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.
Considered a form of interruption marketing, interstitials are any page or pop-up that forms a roadblock to users’ path to content, either by displaying over the content or interrupting it. Users have no choice but to interact with the display before they can proceed. Forbes was a classic example of the “before” interstitial (also known as a “prestitial”).
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.
The most obvious reason to build your email list is to maximize the value of your customers and your company revenue. However, it's also important to remember that your email list is a company asset. In the event that you want to sell your company, a high-quality email list can increase your company's overall valuation. Additionally, a high-performing email list can give your company additional revenue opportunities by giving you the chance to sell advertising space in your email products or send sponsored emails on behalf of partners or advertisers. You're not just building your marketing channel when you build email list. You're also building your company's total value. That's why it's worth your time to build a quality email list over time.

Great article. Thank you. I’ve just started a blog and eZine. Swapping services with another company is one of the first things on my list. They are plugging my work in their newsletter, and linking on the basis that we co-refer through our emailings. We are in the same general market but our niches complement rather than compete. The reason they agreed was because they like having extra content for their list.
This is nothing more than a long generic definition of what building a list is. It completely lacks the mechanics needed to actually begin building a mailing list. From a newbies perspective, we need specifics. For instance the blip in this tutorial simply states that AWeber can send out regularly scheduled emails but gentlemen--there is a whole process required to actually get this done. A person needs to create these promotions on their computer and and then load them up to the internet in order for this operation to function properly. Simple statements like you have an option with AWeber for HTML or Text is not sufficient. Where are the whys? and How To's? We need screen shots and maybe even videos detailing each step for this to all make any real sense. Building a mailing list is PROBABLY the most important key to becoming successful with internet marketing and this tutorial hardly scratches the surface.
Customers who visit your website but don't make purchases or transactions are important email marketing leads. However, customers who do make a purchase or transaction are even more valuable email marketing leads because they've shown a willingness to purchase from you or entrust you with personal or financial information. Ensuring that you make it easy and inviting for users to opt-in to your email program when they purchase or transact with you will help you build not only a large email list but also an email list of valuable users with proven purchasing history.

You can’t begin to personalize your campaigns if all you have is an email address, so work to figure out what data you already have. Do you have information on past purchase behavior, length of time on your email list, customer status, or geography? All of these areas can be leveraged for personalization, which will, in turn, improve list quality. Where does this information live? Is it in your CRM, e-commerce platform, or somewhere else? Integrations can help you combine your email list with outside information.


In this scenario, a subscription check box is pre-selected for users to receive promotional emails where they would be including their email address (during a purchase process, for example). By leaving the checked box intact, users consent to receive email from you. This option is not flawless, as some users may not realize they’ve given their permission to receive marketing email and could be much more likely to report your email as spam, resulting in damage to your sending reputation and your company.
A suggestion? Include a newsletter opt-in check box directly on your retargeting message or if you are capturing sales leads, be sure to remind your sales team to ask the prospect if they wish to sign up to the company newsletter before adding them to your organisation’s marketing list. Last but not least, always remember to have your data privacy link readily available on your main website.
By being on my newsletter or autoresponder, it’s an investment of time on the part of my subscribers. It’s my job to provide valuable content to give them an ROI on that time invested. When I’m confident I’ve done that, it makes sense to say “You’ve put in time and gotten value from what I’ve given you. If you now put in time and money I’ll give you even more value.”
Someone who has done a great job of becoming known in many verticals is Chris Guillebeau, he sits at the intersection of many markets like travel, entrepreneurship, artists, and so on. I personally stumbled upon this idea with my different blogs and businesses in the raw food market, when I realized there was a lot of overlap and people would follow me from one topic to the next.
If you don’t wish to adopt any of the above-mentioned strategies to build your email list, you can also use blogger outreach programs and software that help promote your company, product or service. They post about you on their site in exchange for product, payment or any service, as a result of which you get mentioned in several places online which is likely to create email traffic for you.

Your email list, on the other hand, is yours, free and clear. Using your website and social media to attract visitors and followers, and then encouraging them to sign up for your email list gives you the opportunity to contact your prospects at any point in the future, with any kind of messaging you want; and you’re not bound by search engine rankings or social media algorithms.
I think what Brian and the testers are missing is that 15k is neither big enough to be impressive nor small enough to be inviting. It’s not a number that works effectively as social proof, and while I can’t test it out myself, I believe, based on evidence for social proof around the web, that DIYthemes would have had much better success with a combined number in the 50k+ range as mentioned above.
Hi Crispian, I use GVO myself, yet would now only recommend Aweber or Get Response. GVO has a very 'messy' dashboard which is not crisp and clean. GVO also sells lots of other products such as hosting and webinar software and this can be very overwhelming if you are new to the industry. I have used Aweber a little and found it really easy to get started. It is one of the more expensive auto responders. I have only just opted for Get Response as it was recommended to me. I have been told that Get Response is a GREAT autoresponder , yet a little harder to get the hang of than aweber, yet worth the work of getting to grips with it. I have been told to stay away from ontraport as it is extremely complicated. GVO is not a scam in any way. It is a legitimate autoresponder, yet Aweber and Get Response are the more professional choice and are less likely to end up in peoples spam folders too. - ALSO WORTH NOTING , that anyone going into internet marketing niche can create an affiliate account with an autoresponder and when they recommend using one of preference, can gain a commission. I am not completely new to internet marketing , yet my action taking is new! Now , when I use a product for the first time, I try to get in the mindset that if I need it, then someone else will need it, and that if I can create a useful tutorial on things that 'foxed' me, then I can feel better about recommending the product as I can recommend and offer a helpful tutorial as a bonus - this is my mantra for 2015 - so if it helps, if anyone wants to go into the 'make money niche' , when you buy and use a product - take notes of what you found a stumbling block and then write helpful blogs or make helpful videos - it all comes full circle - google search - website - purchase. I hope that helps.... please let me know if any of this info is wrong :)
Building an email list is not an easy task. However, it is an extremely effective marketing strategy. In fact, email marketing is 40 times more effective at converting prospects into customers than social media or any other online medium. The reason why you should do it, then, is to create engaged contacts who will turn into loyal (paying) customers.
Many marketers are afraid of screwing up, and they let “send fear” take over. It’s important to try personalization beyond just using first names in the body or subject line of the message and have the confidence to test personalization for your brand. If you’re skeptical, use A/B tests to figure out if personalization resonates with your lists. Make sure all fields are mapped to the right things, so that when your campaign goes out, everything appears correctly.
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.
In this context, I guess each post can’t be thought of in isolation, but in terms of a mini content ecosystem that comprises of a great blog post optimised for on-page SEO, an upgrade to that post tailored for that specific content, various on-page email conversion points including an exit pop-up or similar -and then you combine all this with your off page link building and outreach efforts. That could be over 5,000 words of content all in just that one package.
I found that building a buyer’s list and not a freebie seeker’s list made all the difference in the world of being online part-time as a hobby, to going full-time which I love. It allows me the freedom to take my family members to doctor’s appointment or meet my sister for lunch, when I want to. It’s a beautiful thing. Thanks for sharing! I shared some of your images on my Pinterest profile =). Kristie
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 🙂
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.
Once you’ve got that ability to shoot traffic to wherever you want, the skies the limit. You can promote affiliate products, you can always make sure your newest blog posts gets the attention it deserves, you can sell your own products to people, you can do favors for people by spreading the word of their cause or website… The list goes on and on. Having traffic at your fingertips is an awesome asset.
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.
Video is a huge player when it comes to traffic. Videos provide content in a really similar way that articles do. Creating video content is not hard, and I'm going to show you how to create compelling videos so that you can actually drive traffic to your squeeze pages. The good thing about videos is that it filters the traffic that's going on to your sites so that all of the visitors have been previously targeted.

I think what Brian and the testers are missing is that 15k is neither big enough to be impressive nor small enough to be inviting. It’s not a number that works effectively as social proof, and while I can’t test it out myself, I believe, based on evidence for social proof around the web, that DIYthemes would have had much better success with a combined number in the 50k+ range as mentioned above.


Calls to Action Should you tell people to click right away or save the CTA for further along in the email? Should the button/link say “Click Here” or “Find Out More”? When it comes down to getting people to take action (the most important part of marketing), you simply must test a variety of elements to improve conversions, as this is one of the worst elements to leave to guesswork!


This is super actionable and thorough. I find the difficult part is coming up with an actual series for the autoresponder, and moving people towards a sale, vs saying “oh, that was nice.” I find many articles devoted to the lead magnet and landing page, without much attention on the autoresponder series – which can actually trigger a sale. Thank you for sharing your email template.
×