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Welcome to the world of list building! If you’re looking to grow your online presence and create a loyal following, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’re stepping into the art of list building, unraveling the difference between list building and email marketing, and exploring the dos and don’ts of creating and maintaining a thriving email list. You’ll get to know the strategies and insights you need to build, nurture, and optimize your list effectively. So let’s get started!


1) Difference between list building and email marketing

An email list serves as the foundation for email marketing. This list is essentially a collection of names and email addresses or just email addresses (also known as ‘leads’) to which you can send messages. These emails can include a variety of content, including informative content and promotional materials.
However, the first step is to populate this list with people’s email addresses, which is where ‘list building’ comes into play. List building involves the process of acquiring individuals’ email addresses and adding them to your list. Once you have your first email address on your list, you engage in ’email marketing’ by sending out your messages.
It’s important to note that these two activities run in parallel, meaning that while you’re conducting email marketing, you’re also continually engaged in list building.

In this blog post, we will be focussing on list building.


2) How to build a list

a) Offering a Lead magnet

To capture names and email addresses (‘leads’) you use a web form provided by your autoresponder. This web form is a field where people can enter their name and email address. This web form is placed on a so called landing page, which is essentially a dedicated web page designed for one primary purpose: capturing leads.

Now, you might be wondering how you encourage people to share their name and email address. This is where lead magnets come into play. A lead magnet is a free digital product such as an ebook, a video, audio file, and more. In exchange for this free product, people have to provide their name and email address.

Once someone has ‘opted-in’ to your list (meaning they’ve typed in their name and email address into the web form), they are redirected to a second page. This second pages often serves as a confirmation page, asking them to ‘double opt-in’. This is a process to confirm that the person who provided their name and email address is indeed the person that the email address belongs to (in some countries, this ‘double opt-in’ process is even legally required). If the ‘double opt-in’ isn’t mandatory, you can directly redirect your new subscriber from the landing page with the webform to a download page where they can access the promised lead magnet.
You can also email them the link to the download page automatically as soon as they have opted-in. However, it’s advisable not to attach the download directly to the email. Instead, send only the link to the download page. This approach allows you to introduce other relevant products or offers to your new subscriber on the download page (these should be related to the lead magnet’s topic).

b) What the landing page should look like

It’s best to keep your landing pages simple. Generate a strong and attention-grabbing headline that specifically speaks to your audience’s needs. It should pique their curiosity and motivate them to continue reading. You can then use bullet points to intensify that curiosity (don’t use the bullet points to satisfy the curiosity you have created in the headline!). To visually reinforce the appeal of your lead magnet, add a graphical illustration. For instance, if you’re offering a free ebook, then add an image of book cover to your landing page. Then craft a clear and straightforward call to action that explains what to do next (e.g. ‘Enter your best email address and hit the submit button’). Avoid overloading your landing page with multiple call-to-action options, as this can overwhelm visitors. Simplicity tends to convert better than complexity.

c) How the leads get to the Autoresponder

As mentioned earlier, the webform where people enter their name and email address is provided by your autoresponder service. This webform acts as the bridge that connects your landing page to the autoresponder. So, when someone enters their name and email address into the webform, they are sent to your autoresponder and are added to your list (which is stored in your autoresponder).

d) Crafting the perfect lead magnet

To get people on board with your email list, you need to create a lead magnet that genuinely sparks their interest. So, before creating your lead magnet, think about who your target prospect is. What do they like? How old are they? What problems may they have that you can help them solve? What are their needs? Once you have thought about that, you can craft a lead magnet that will appeal to them.

e) Types of lead magnets

You can offer an ebook (PDF), a video file (MP4), an audio file (MP3), a software (Exe), a tiny piece of a product of yours (e.g. a chapter of a book), a checklist, and more. You can check out this blog post to get more ideas.

Make sure to offer high quality lead magnets. Avoid simply offering a low-quality PLR product, as doing so will only draw in low-value prospects.


3) How not to build a list: Buying leads

Remember, the true value of your email list lies in having subscribers who genuinely want to be a part of it. Do you think that someone would want to be on your list if they don’t know who you are and have never asked to be on your list? Very probably not. So don’t simply buy a list.


4) How to keep people on your list

Remember why someone initially subscribed – it was that enticing lead magnet, right? How can you make sure that your subscribers stay on your list? By offering value! Nurturing your leads with valuable content is paramount.


5) Split testing

To boost your opt-in rates, consider split testing. Split testing means that you create two (or more) versions of your landing page and direct half the traffic to version A and the other half to version B. That way you can find out which version has more opt-ins. However, it’s important not to make too many changes all at once, as that can make it challenging to pinpoint which specific alterations impacted the opt-in rate. You could for example start by only changing the headline and comparing this revised version against the original version.


6) Be patient

Remember to be patient. It will take time to accumulate more and more leads. Just keep on going and keep making lead magnets and creating landing pages. The more landing pages you have, the faster your email list will grow.

Another helpful tip: Before getting a landing page out there, you should always create an autoresponder sequence first. This ensures that when people opt-in, you’ll already have a well-crafted series of emails ready to go.


7) Don’t be afraid of unsubscribes

Your ultimate goal should be to have fewer unsubscribes than new subscribes on a daily basis. Nevertheless, don’t worry if people unsubscribe. This is quite normal in email marketing. In fact, it’s better to have a list of people who genuinely want to be part of it, making it more valuable.


I hope this post has provided you with valuable insights and ideas. Remember, building and maintaining an email list is an ongoing process that requires dedication and patience. I encourage you to get started, be patient and trust the process. Thank you for joining me on this list-building adventure!

Feel free to comment below and share.

To your success,

Olivia Ressler

P.S. Until not long ago, I myself had no idea about List Building as I only recently delved into the world of online marketing. I am currently doing an amazing course called ‘Partnership to Success Program’ which teaches you how to create, launch and sell a digital product. If you’re also interested in learning product creation, I highly recommend checking out this training webinar* from my mentor John Thornhill. It won’t cost you a penny and is packed with fantastic information.
I took up the coaching offer at the end of the webinar just a few weeks ago and haven’t regretted it a second. In fact, I owe the existence of this blog to the program. So check out the webinar here*.



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