What 12 Years Taught Me About List Building

Author: AnswersWanted

Date: January 27, 2020

Screenshot 2015-07-27 14.52.53I don’t give myself enough credit. So for a few seconds, let me do that.

Since 2003, I’ve personally coached over 300 people. I’ve had clients go from zero to 10,000 subscribers. I’ve also had clients go from 3,000 to 468,000 subscribers, following my advice. That’s not to say that every client has had that kind of success. However, after all these years, I can easily say I’ve seen some patterns in what works and what doesn’t.

I could write a book on this, and I just might! But, for now, let’s dive into some genuine ways you can easily build a massive list of email addresses…

#1. Solve important problems

Ever been searching for a computer bug, a smartphone issue or some other challenge? Maybe why the cat won’t stop peeing on the rug, or what kind of bug you found in your closet? These can all be 3am issues for someone.

Things that keep them up at night worrying.

A completely free solution, that only requires an email address – properly positioned in front of searchers who need this solution, will get results.

I could spend hours talking about how to find these types of people, but… that will have to be another article, for now… just know that EVERY market has something they desperately need information or a product for. No exception.

#2. Give access to a membership site

This is probably THE most successful one, or one of the top options. Every huge company you’ll ever see used this one. Facebook is a classic example. Account creation… Something that WordPress and many free softwares do automatically, is something people don’t think twice about. Signup for my newsletter? No thanks. Signup for access to this website? Sure why not.

Screenshot 2015-07-29 11.58.32As long as the membership site has a clear reason for it’s need/benefit of course. You can’t invent some useless software and hope for a run-away success. That said, it’s not hard to create a free membership site, a free quiz or “online tool” that does a quick analysis of some kind.

This, by the way is how my one client got the nearly 500,000 opt-ins. The $129/year $13/month membership site had a preview (and at one time a free day’s access) to a membership site loaded with content.

#3. Access to software downloads

I guess it goes without saying that software that solves a problem (like something that recovers deleted files, or serves some other function on your mac/pc like an ad blocker or something) is going to get registrations and since they’re getting the software free, you’ll need somewhere to send their registration code.

#4. Valuable tools

Quite similar to the others above, a well known marketer I’m a huge fan of has had a lot of success giving away a Microsoft Excel sheet. It contains some of the industries most complicated formulas all in one sheet to help you easily manage your ads. Obviously he knows his audience well and they need this, so they have no issue trading their email address for it.

Likewise, in your own industry, think of an invaluable checklist, worksheet, excel sheet, template that your ideal customer would love to get their mitts on. This works very well.

#5 . Webinars (sort of)

I’ve seen people build descent sized lists with webinars, but realistically they’re becoming too frequent in the internet marketing market and MLM market. Probably would work really well in a market where there isn’t too many webinars. That said, simply calling them “live trainings” and focusing on specific issues that are best taught in a live training.


Now.. Let’s talk about opt-in offers that DON’T work very well anymore:

#1. “Subscribe to my newsletter”

Ironic that in 1999, you could litterally have an opt-in box that just said that and you’d get signups. Mainly because if you happen to have the only scrapbooking newsletter on the internet, or the only free subscription to crochet patterns, well.. you got signups. In 2015, there’s too much spam, this just won’t work (even if you are the only guy in your niche)

#2. “Free report solves..”

There are some free report titles that work as an exception like the one mentioned in the “solve a problem” above, beyond that, this basically has stopped working. People are tired of getting a 1 page download that doesn’t have any value in it.

Screenshot 2015-07-29 12.04.52#3. “Free Video”

Again, if it solves an immediate need like unjamming a Kx-9000 Panasonic printer, it may work… However most of the time the whole free video thing has been over done.

Too many people have ‘sold’ people on a free video, only to have the consumer land on a talking head video of some guy explaining something for 15 minutes that could have been in a one page report.


What should your email opt-in be? Post a bit about your business (and even a link if you like) and I’ll try to respond with some ideas!