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How To Build A Profitable Email List From Nothing

Email is the lifeblood of any online business.

If you have an email list filled with engaged readers you will be able to consistently get successful and profitable launches of your products or services.

But, it isn’t just about the bottom line. It’s also about having a list of readers who absolutely love and are eager to receive your content.

For most people, building a list is one of the biggest challenges that they have come across as online marketers. In this article, we’re going to take a look at a simple way of building an email list.

I will reveal the (not-so) secrets to getting your first 1,000 subscribers. But before we get started, here is a quick caveat: We’re not going to be building a list of just any old subscribers. We are talking about focusing on the right kind of subscribers.

Quality subscribers who are most likely to turn into buyers in the future.

A simple truth you need to make peace with right now is that some people may be on your list and they may be the most engaged of them all, but they may never buy your product – and that’s okay.

For the most part, you’re going to want to optimize your list building efforts with the focus on quality subscribers. These are the people who care about the same things you do and genuinely want the information and advice you have to offer.

And so now, let’s dive into how you can go about attracting exactly those types of subscribers.

Step #1: Have an Irresistible Offer

Someone somewhere once said ‘If you build it, they will come!’

I know that person wasn’t talking about anything that has to do with an online business. It doesn’t matter how good-looking your website is or if you ask nicely, no one is going to sign up for your list unless they have a compelling reason to do so.

If you really want to build an email list of quality subscribers then you need to give those people a very good reason for signing up.

For that, you’re going to need a lead magnet.

This is simply something of value that you offer subscribers in exchange for their contact information, typically an email address.

A lead magnet can be anything like:
  • Checklist
  • Template
  • E-book
  • Whitepaper
  • Video content
  • And so on…

The format of your lead magnet is a lot less important than what it actually does, which is to grow your readers’ attention and entice them to give you their email address.

A lead magnet has to be something that your audience actually wants. It should be something that perfectly answers a question they have, or solves a burning pain that they are struggling with.

When you can do that, they will be happy to share the email address with you, not only for your lead magnet but they’ll also be looking forward to any future information that you will be sending their way.

Trying to convince someone that they need something you have is a bad way of going about getting their email address. But if they already know they want the information, then getting their contact details will be a cinch.

If you don’t already have ideas for the perfect lead magnet, now is the time to brainstorm a list of at least 10 lead magnets that you can offer prospective subscribers in return for their emails.

Make sure that you’re solving problems that they have right now.

Step #2: Go Where They Are

After creating your irresistible lead magnet that draws in customers by helping them realize that you have the solutions they need, the next step is to get up and actually find them where they are.

If you pedal your lead magnets to the wrong audience, you’ll just be wasting your time. It’s important that you offer it to the right people if you want to experience the best results.

You understand the importance of finding the right audience with regards to customer research, and this is something that is equally (maybe more) important even after you’ve moved past the initial discovery stage and once you’ve started creating content.

Guest posting is one of the best ways of going where your ideal audience is.

This is an email list-building powerhouse. When posting to your own blog, YouTube channel, or social media accounts it’s like trying to catch fish with the single line.

But when you guest post, it’s like you traded the fishing pole in for a massive net.

How it works:
  • Simply find the websites that are frequented by your target audience
  • Write an epic, value-packed guest blog post for the website
  • People will read your post, fall in love with your ideas, and follow you back to your own site to get more awesome content

Guest posting is a tactic that is crucial when it comes to growing any business.

But you don’t have to limit yourself just to blogs. You can also do guest appearances on YouTube channels, podcasts, and even in-person events and conferences can fit the bill.

Basically anywhere there are large groups of people within your target markets gathering to talk about things that you talk about, you want to be there, too – ready to give them value and ultimately turn them into subscribers.

At this point, you want to make a list of about five or more places where you know your target customers are spending their time.

This should be any place that you feel you can start publishing content that the audience doesn’t even know that they need, yet.

Step #3: Call to Action

You may be posting epic content, and grabbing the audience’s attention.

Now is the time to bring all that back with you to your website. It’s time for a compelling CTA. A call to action is just that: A way for you to rally the troops and urge them forward to victory.

Victory here means visiting your site and getting even more value.

This is where a lot of beginner entrepreneurs routinely trip up. It’s easy to understand why because it can be a bit scary to put yourself out there and ask people to actually do something. But as you well know, everyone does it.

Instagram influencers are forever pointing you to their link in the bio and YouTubers are always reminding you to subscribe, like, or click some link or other.

Anyone and everyone who makes things online is always telling people to click something to go someplace.

So just dive in because it gets easier and a lot more natural as you go. The main thing to keep in mind is that people are more likely to do what you want them to if you make it easy for them to do it.

Step #4: Now Bring Them In

Now that you finally managed to get your wonderful prospective subscribers to click through to your site, you can finally sit back, relax, and rake subscribers in right?


There is still one massive hurdle for you to overcome. Actually getting those people who come to your site to sign up.

Now let’s talk about your opt-in form. This is the area on your site where visitors are going to input their name and email address. The information then gets sent to your email service provider where it is added to your list of email contacts.

Your main objective is to make this part of the journey as seamless and easy for your subscriber as possible. This means you have to make your offer and opt-in form as visible as possible. Make it impossible for anyone coming to your website to miss it.

You could use something like a pop-up, but if that’s not really your style they are many other things you can try.

For instance, you can try placing your opting field in the top part of your website, also called above the fold. This is the area that website visitors see when they land on your site.

It’s also a great idea to have lead magnets at the bottom of your blog posts.

Just remember to make them as relevant to the topic of the blog post as possible. The more relevant the lead magnet is to what the post is talking about, the higher your conversion rate is going to be.

Once you get that first actual human to join your email list, you’ve done it!

And it means you can do it again and again and again.

Simply repeat the process and your list will continue to grow. Trying to get 1,000 email subscribers may seem like an unachievable goal for some, but here’s the thing: There are marketers out there with lists that have over 100,000 people on them.

And you know how they got started? With that single first subscriber!

If you can get one person to sign up for your list, you can get 10 people to do so. And if you can get 10, you can get 100. So keep setting these goals for yourself as you grow your list and don’t stop at 1,000.

Keep going even after you hit that goal and set one for 10,000.

So here’s a quick recap for the steps to take to grow your list from 0 to 1,000:
Step #1:

Create epic content your audience will love

Step #2:

Get that content out to where your target customers will find it

Step #3:

Use a compelling call to action to point your prospective subscribers back to your site

Step #4:

Convert those visitors to eager subscribers

Email Copywriting Tips

Getting your target audience to subscribe is only the first step. The second step involves writing content that will keep them engaged and make them actually excited and eager to receive emails from you.

If you are writing email copy that isn’t getting any conversions, then all the work you’ve done up to now will be wasted because people just unsubscribe from your list if you’re not engaging them.

Getting the copy for your email marketing campaigns right is both a science and an art.

However, you don’t have to spend dozens of hours trying to figure it all out.

Simply use the tips outlined below to help you write copy that will enhance your email marketing efforts and give you the results you want and need.

10 Email Copywriting Tips to Help You Write Copy That Converts

1. Craft a killer subject line:

This can make a difference between whether your email gets opened, deleted, or reported as spam.

2. Get the preview text right:

This is one of the things that sell people on whether to open the email or not.

3. Write for the web:

This means short paragraphs with one main idea in each paragraph.

4. Avoid spammy practices:

Things like multiple exclamation marks, excessive use of dollar sign symbols, etc. will get your emails flagged as spam.

5. Get to know your audience:

The very worst thing you can do for your email list is to send them content that isn’t relevant to them. So if you want to boost conversions, get to know your audience.

6. Create email marketing copy for readers:

Your email marketing copy should be aimed at the readers that you want to click, which means it needs to sound like it came from a real person.

7. Choose words wisely:

Word choice is crucial when crafting your marketing copy. You need to be able to capture your readers’ imagination and appeal to their emotions if you want them to take the desired action.

8. Make use of psychology:

There are certain psychological triggers that you can use to get your subscribers to take desired actions, such as personalization, social proof, FOMO (fear of missing out), color choices which elicit different reactions, and pictures that provoke emotions.

9. Stay relevant:

Make a point of avoiding generic marketing and instead opt for targeted marketing.

Look for smaller segments within the broad segments that you get from your customer avatars and focus on that when copywriting for your email marketing campaigns.

10. Know your objectives:

While we’re still on the subject of targeting, it’s usually best to have one major goal for each email. This will help keep your marketing copy focused.

Think of the one key action that you want your readers to take, and then build your entire email copy around it.

Feel free to post your comment below.  An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!


Updated: Originally published May 17th 2019

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