Rich list builder, poor list builder – which one are you?
Do you want to get your list building off to a very quick start and are willing to cough up some money to speed up the process?
Or you don't mind taking your time building your list slowly, but truly, and with as little upfront expense as possible?
Or are there ways to do it both quickly and “poor man” style?
We'll get to my list building tips in a moment, but first, very briefly…
The Fantastic Four of List Building
There are a few prerequisites to successful list building.
The more the merrier, naturally, but your traffic HAS TO be targeted enough to want what you have to offer.
To learn how to get more targeted traffic, read:
Or, better yet, check out my free Bite-Size Traffic Hacks email series:
2. Lead Magnet
That would be the freebie you are planning to offer.
And the stakes are high these days; you'd better make it good.
NOT complicated or lengthy, but value-packed good.
If you don't have anything in the works just yet, it's no excuse to avoid building a list.
If you cross your heart and promise to keep it intact, feel free to use my “Mommy, Where Does My Traffic Come From?” traffic report as a free bait on your blog.
(Who said the freebie has to be YOURS, right? Just yours to give it away…)
3. Opt-in Form
Eye-catchy, but simple, to the point, and here's the tricky part: everywhere, but NOT intrusive.
Building a list sounds like a must and all, but trust me, there's a reason for this list building madness: to make money.
How are you planning on making money off your list? Your own product, services, affiliate products, etc.?
Even if you have no idea at the moment, my advice is to start your list anyway.
By the time you figure it all out, you'll be glad you didn't wait until you had all your ducks in a row.
Rich Man's List Building Tips
Fair warning: I am not on a first-name basis with list building ways that require upfront capital (unless it's an autoresponder service, naturally.)
Partially, it's because I don't believe they truly work.
Plus, if I am going to spend money on my list building, I want to make sure I KNOW what I am doing. And that, my friend, takes time and even more money, neither one of which I am willing to give up – personally.
So, let me tell you what I DO know about these methods.
Another fair warning: I'll do all I can to dissuade you from using these list building methods!
List Building Tip #1. Buy a List
This is something I'll strongly suggest you stay away from.
At best, you'll end up buying a bunch of names and (hopefully) working email addresses – hard to get them to STAY with you and even harder, to BUY from you.
Can't sell a steak to a vegetarian!
List Building Tip #2. Banner Advertising
Ever heard of banner blindness? Still there.
Since I've never used this method to drive traffic to Traffic Generation Café, I have no idea what your ROI might be on something like this.
However, I did use banner advertising as an income stream and ended up dropping it since most advertisers weren't getting their money's worth in traffic.
Just goes to prove my point…
List Building Tip #3. Buy Ezine Solo Ads
In online marketing terms, ezine is a newsletter sent out to thousands of subscribers.
You can choose to purchase an ad in those newsletters.
However, the only ad really worth considering is what's called a “solo ad”, which means that it would go out all on its own without any other content surrounding it.
Does it work? Yes.
Is it expensive? Yes.
I'll let your pockets decide if this list building method is something you'd consider.
List Building Tip #4. Google Ads
Not my cup of tea either.
According to this post at Wordstream, the average small business using AdWords spends between $9,000 and $10,000 per month.
Once again, I'll let your pockets decide if this is something you'd like to get into.
List Building Tip #5. Facebook Ads
Now THIS IS something worth giving a shot.
I wouldn't say it's easy, but it's fairly easy to master, it's still fairly inexpensive (in the eyes of the beholder, of course), and it brings results.
Poor Man's List Building Tips
I am sure there are MANY more ways to build a list when you have money, but as I said, it's neither my area of expertise nor of interest.
So let's get down to the meaty part of this post: how to build a list poor man's style. With minimal cash investment, in other words.
Here are my favorite list building tips (in no particular order.)
List Building Tip #6. Cross promotion
Approach other bloggers in your niche with similar size blogs and, hopefully, lists and agree to send an email to your list about their newsletter, if they do the same for you.
List Building Tip #7. Product bonus
Find someone who sells a product, which compliments your freebie, and approach them about giving your freebie away with their product.
Everybody loves a good bonus, which of course will have links back to your blog.
List Building Tip #8. Stay above the fold
Keep your opt-in form visible and above the fold, if possible.
List Building Tip #9. Give an incentive
Some time back, I saw a post on SocialMouths.com, giving away a blog/social media audit to a random subscriber to their list.
How brilliant was that!
Francisco gently persuaded his visitors (me including) to subscribe to his list in return for a chance to win.
I've also done something similar at Traffic Generation Café: Blog Audit Fridays. The only way in was through my email list. Worked like a charm, letmetellya…
List Building Tip #10. Hold back
Say you write a freebie with several chapters, like my “Mommy, Where Does My Traffic Come From?” traffic report.
Offer the first few steps/chapters for free, and leave the last one for subscribers only.
Since they've read most of your freebie and are dying to get their hands on the last part, they are now very willing and ready to join your list.
List Building Tip #11. Create PDFs.
I am sure you've heard of this before, but probably never used it.
The idea behind this method is simple: create ebooks out of your existing content.
For instance, take all the posts you have on kolibri bird feeding habits and turn it into a PDF full of the links to your blog and various posts on your blog – write it in such a way that the readers HAVE TO come back to your blog for more information.
Send your PDF out to various PDF networks; SlideShare.net is my favorite one for that.
Learn more about using SlideShare to drive a LOT more traffic to your site:
Of course, just uploading your PDF and waiting for it to be downloaded is not my style; and neither it should be yours.
Let people know it's there.
If you don't know how, read Kristi Hines' Ultimate Guide to Blog Promotion – it'll have all you need to promote any kind of content you have.
List Building Tip #12. Guest post.
Here's another one you've heard of before… over… and over…: guest posting.
Are you doing it though?… That's my point.
When you publish a great guest post, the readers of that blog are already sold on you – all you need to do is to close the deal.
That's where “priming” technique works wonders.
Read more on how to use it in your guest blogging endeavors in this post:
List Building Tip #13. JV Giveaways
Basically, a JV giveaway is an event set up by several bloggers with an intention to build each other's lists through leveraging their own lists and social networks.
The way it works is each participating member submits one or more freebies that lead to their squeeze pages.
Then they agree to send emails to their lists and promote the event via their social networks to bring in as big of a crowd as possible.
With a good product, it's possible to generate hundreds of new subscribers per giveaway.
The last one I participated in, I got over 200 new ones within 2 days.
The argument, of course, could be that the retention rate for these subscribers can be low, since all they want is your freebie.
However, that can be said for all your new subscribers and it's up to YOU whether they stay or go; you and your brilliant follow-up emails you send them.
Here are a couple of sites for you to take a look at if you are interested in participating in a JV Giveaway:
- jvgiveawayblog.com and
There are plenty more, of course.
List Building Tip #14. Leverage other blogs.
With this list building strategy, you round up a few bloggers and each of you will write a post promoting each other's newsletter and/or freebies.
List Building Tip #15. Your Thank You Page
There are a couple of ways you can use your Thank You page to generate email subscribers.
1. First of all, make sure your Thank You pages, even if it's a “Thank You for Commenting” page, have optin forms.
For example, take a look at my Thank You for Commenting page.
2. Get a group of bloggers together and recommend subscribing to their lists in your Thank You page and they will do the same for you.
3. Read the following post to learn another great way to get subscribers and/or sales from your Thank You page.
List Building Tip #16. Create a Forum
A bit time-consuming, but a great way to brand yourself and add quite a few new subscribers to your list.
List Building Tip #17. Sharing is caring
Create a squeeze page with freebie/newsletter opt-in and ask your readers/subscribers to share it with their team, online friends, etc.
For instance, here's what I do to encourage shares on my free SEO report optin page:
I've also been successfully using Social Warfare to increase social shares for my optin pages.
List Building Tip #18. Forwards
At the end of some of your emails to your list, why not ask your subscribers to forward the email to a colleague/another online marketer they know?
Doesn't cost you anything and, if they really enjoy your awesome tips in their inboxes, they might just do that.
This tip won't get you direct subscribers per se, but it will get you traffic that will be up to you to convert.
Another way of generating new subscribers using a similar method is to let your existing subscribers republish some of your newsletters as blog posts at their blog.
Just make sure to direct all the traffic back to your optin page, just like Nick did by linking back to it.
List Building Tip #19. Affiliates
People will want to promote you if there is something in it for them.
Affiliates send visitors to get your free subscriber bonus.
When any sign-ups happen, the affiliate gets rewarded for delivering the lead – maybe, through a free copy of a product or a special report no one else gets access to.
List Building Tip #20. Password protect your posts
I am not talking about a membership site here, although you can create one of those as well.
What you can do is choose to set a password for some of your popular posts or, even better, for a part of a post.
Of course, you'll need to let your readers know that in order to access this (and other) password protected content, they'll need to subscribe to your list, and also let them know you'll send them the password as soon as they subscribe.
You can also set up a special page that will display the password as soon as they subscribe.
There are several plugins that will get the job done; just search for “password protect” in your plugin directory and you'll find quite a few.
The one I've tested at Traffic Generation Café was S2Member and it worked great. Their free version is exceptionally robust; a paid version is also available if you want to run a true membership site.
List Building Tools
What I use at Traffic Generation Café
The de facto autoresponder for most bloggers I know.
To learn why I chose Aweber over any other option out there, check our my Aweber review.
I bet you've seen LeadPages plastered all over the web.
And why not, it's a great way to build a list!
However… if you can't afford to shell out $25/month minimum, but still want the best list building solution, then I strongly suggest checking out ThriveLeads list building plugin.
This is what I recommend and use at Traffic Generation Café.
List Building for the Modern World
Before I let you go, here's something you might've not considered up until now.
List building, and email marketing in general, have changed significantly over the years.
According to Movable Ink’s US Consumer Device Preference Report 2015, a whooping 68% of all emails in 2015 was opened on mobile devices.
Everything you do online, including email marketing, HAS TO be done with the mobile world in mind.
With that, I give you
Read it. Digest it. USE it.
List Building Marketing Takeaway
Not much left to say.
With these list building tips you have no excuse.
Start Your Own Email Marketing List for FREE
If you haven't started building your list yet, let me tell you – you are missing out big time.
My list is number one reason I make the money I make with this blog and have such a strong readership.
Aweber is the best email autoresponder I have even used.
And I am not the only one. Many A-list bloggers I know also use it for their businesses.
Aweber offers a FREE trial month for all new customers.
You'll have access to all features a paid account is entitled to: unlimited lists, email campaigns, automatic follow-ups, broadcasts, and many, many more.
If after 30 days you don't like them, you haven't lost much. Right?