21 Powerful List Building Tips Rich Man and Poor Man Style

21 Powerful List Building Tips Rich Man and Poor Man Style

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Rich list builder, poor list builder – which one are you?

Are you in a rush to get your list building off to a very quick start and are willing to cough up some money in 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

1. Traffic

The more, the merrier, naturally, but your traffic HAS TO be targeted enough to want what you have to offer.

We all could use a little more traffic, so head over here to learn how to get some:

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 them intact, feel free to use either my “Mommy, Where Does My Traffic Come From?” traffic report or “7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination” SEO report as a free bait on your blog.

3. Opt-in Form

Eye-catchy, but simple, to the point, and here’s the tricky part: everywhere, but not intrusive.

4. Monetization

Building a list sounds like a must and all, but trust me, there’s a reason for this list building madness: to make money from your business.

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.

List Building Tips on Slideshare

I have a confession to make: I am not on a first name basis with these list building tips.

Partially, it’s because I don’t really believe that some of them truly work – any longer, anyway.

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 takes time and more money, neither one of which I am willing to give up right now.

So, let me tell you what I DO know about these methods.

Rich Man’s List Building Tips

List Building Tip #1. Buy a List

Naturally, this is something I would never advise for anyone to do in any niche.

All you will end up buying is 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.

List Building Tip #4. Google Adwords

Never ventured out into that either.

I actually started my online business just around the time of the famous “Google Slap”, which is still very much talked about.

In other words, Google made it very unattractive for a small fish like me to even try PPC.

List Building Tip #5. Facebook Ads

Now THIS IS something I am going to do, hopefully soon.

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

list building tips poor man

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: what to build a list the poor man’s style.

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.

List Building Tip #10. Hold back

Say you write a freebie with several steps, like my 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination (awesome SEO report, by the way; comes with my brilliantly clever and useful bite-size traffic generation tips every once in a while. You won’t see any of it though, until you subscribe HERE.)

Offer the first 6 steps (or whatever your number is) 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; Scribd.com is my favorite one for that.

Of course, just uploading your PDF and waiting for it to be downloaded is not my style; and neither it should be yours.

Promote it.

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:

And to learn more about making the most of your guest blogging, I highly recommend you check out Danny Iny’s Write Like Freddy.

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
  • newjvgiveaways.com.

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/newletter 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:

list building tips social media

I’ve also been successfully using a plugin called WP Sharely 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 covert.

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

1. Aweber email autoresponder

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.

2. WPSubscribers

WPSubscribers list building plugin lets me strategically place my opt-in forms wherever I want to (I think they have about 8 different options, if not more), plus  pre-populates the email field with my visitor’s email address, when available.

Have you noticed that? For most of you, the form already has your name and email address in it – all you have to do is click the sign up button.

Doesn’t get any easier than that.

3. Hybrid Connect

Yet another list building plugin I recommend and use at Traffic Generation Café.

Hybrid Connect doesn’t offer as many features as WPSubscribers, but it’s much easier to set up and I love its Facebook Connect feature.

If you want simple, effective, and customizable, Hybrid Connect is the way to go.

List Building Marketing Takeaway

Not much left to say.

With these list building tips you have no excuse.



traffic generation cafe list building tips

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And I am not the only one. Many A-list bloggers I know also use it for their businesses.

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Google+ Comments

29 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Another enlightened post by Ana. Thanks! I refer to you as the “queen of all things traffic” but this post was more about what to DO with the traffic.

    Question: If you were to write this post TODAY, what one thing do you thing you would add? Would it be a new technique, tool, or service? Or does it stand alone?

    Thanks for all you’re doing here.

    Keep Stepping,


    • Ana Hoffman

      Actually, this is a very recent post that reflects all the things I am doing/using right now, Kurt.

      • Thanks Ana. I just want to be up-to-date. Blatantly copying your ideas to use for my own list-building empire projects.


        I appreciate you being so helpful and personal here on your blog, even with the enormous amount of followers and subscribers you have to keep up with.

        Keep Stepping,


  2. Wow Ana, really great post… but one thing really surprised me. I cannot believe you’ve never tried Google Adwords!
    That is a big, big surprise for me.
    I started with Adwords than move on to SEO. It’s a different strategy but I understand your reasons.
    Hey Ana, by the way I sent you message on Google plus because I couldn’t find another way to contact you. Give me a heads up, ok!
    Thank you!

    • Ana Hoffman

      From the very beginning of Traffic Generation Café, I decided to focus on free traffic generation strategies, Felipe, simply because it’s what most of my readers wanted to know more about.

      I am a bit behind on my messages, but you can email me once you get the response to your comment in your inbox.

  3. Great information, thanks Ana! List building is but one aspect, ‘list maintenance’ is another! And I appreciate the way you take good care of your list :)

    • Ana Hoffman

      Very true, Reeta; gaining new subscribers is not nearly as difficult as keeping them happy, opening, reading, and clicking.

  4. Tonya Paulette

    I’ve tried a few of the strategies you’ve listed and have been considering several of the others. Thanks for the insight!

  5. Thanks Anna! Lots of great information here.

    I love how everything really does come down to words and relationships. We can constantly ask ourselves if the activity we’re doing is helping us create more words or build better relationships. If not, we’re doing it wrong.

    I like #14 a lot – building partnerships and writing about each other. It’s sharing audiences and social proof all in one. Rock on!

      • I’m very humbled by you featuring my comment, Ana. Thank you so much.

        The biggest thing I have to ask myself daily is if my activity is helping me produce more words or build relationships. If not, I have to find an activity that meets those requirements! I wish I would have learned this lesson about online marketing years ago.

  6. I’ve searching for information on traffic incnrease for a long time and could not find! And fortuntely I’ve stumbled on your site! And your coffee is delicious as well! Thank you! :)

  7. Good stuff Ana, I love the post-specific call to action at the end. How did the webinar go?

    I’m working on a post on some specific conversion tips for bloggers. Do you want it? Let me know if you want to know more.

    It will have some original data from tests I’ve done along with some of the users of my upcoming content marketing analytics app.

    • Ana Hoffman

      The webinar went great, Dan; I need to play with my forms to apply what I learned.

      For sure, send me an email about your post.

  8. I must be a poor man, I mainly use blogging, blog commenting and guest posting. Although this is hard work finding a site relevant to the auto industry willing to accept guest posts. I have thought about adwords and other forms of advertising but far to expensive for a small business

  9. 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 :)

  10. The best way I’ve grown my list is through guest posting. I haven’t done much for the last 2 years though. Will have to dust off my quill and start writing and connecting again.
    Loved Kristi’s book, was devastated to lose it when my computer crashed last year. Have been meaning to buy another copy, thanks for the reminder.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Guest posting can definitely do the trick and I am just as guilty about not doing more of it, Sarah.

      I think Kristi is working on the next edition of the book.

  11. Great Post, The best thing is you write your posts to the last detail possible. I ve been reading your posts past 2 hours now and I am here for the first time. read your great guide on “Mommy, Where Does My Traffic Come From?” thanks for sharing ton of value.
    Have subscribed and looking forward to more great content.
    thanks ,

  12. I like #6.

    I wrote on ShoeMoney about “Cross Marketing Niches”.

    I think there is a huge opportunity in cross promotion because people have so many interests these days.

    The same person watching the cooking show also loves WWE and ice skating, you just never know.

    I’ve had the most success by just talking about what I really care about regardless of what niche it’s in. Excellent job by the way.

    • Ana Hoffman

      Good point, Darnell.

      Cross promotion might need a bit of homework to get right, but once you hit the sweet spot, the sky is the limit.