Online Business

123 List Building

Lesson 2


So you want to build a mailing list. That’s smart!  But heads up… before you spend one single second on this task, you need to be sure you’re doing it the right way.

You see, a lot of people know the basic steps of building a list. But very few people know how to take these steps in a way that produces great results.

Some people get their opt-in form up, but they don’t get any traffic.

Some folks get lots of traffic, but no one signs up for the list.

And some people get a big list built up, but the list is about as responsive as a soggy piece of bread.

So how do you build a big, responsive list? That’s what you’re about to discover inside this report. Here are the three key steps you need to take to build a responsive list:

Step 1: Create a Lead Magnet

Step 2: Capture the Opt-In

Step 3: Choose a Traffic Source

Now let’s take a closer look at each of these steps…

Step 1: Create a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is something enticing that you give away to your prospects in exchange for their email address.  You can give away a wide variety of digital (downloadable) products, including:

  • Audios
  • Email courses
  • Toolkits
  • Webinars
  • Case studies
  • Checklists
  • Newsletters
  • Swipe files
  • Cheat sheets
  • Planners
  • Reports
  • Worksheets
  • Templates
  • Interviews
  • Resource guides
  • Memberships
  • Software and apps

If it’s easy to deliver and instantly accessible, then it’s something you can give to your prospects.

Now a lot of marketers search their hard drive for some outdated report or rehashed resell rights content to use as a lead magnet. That’s a mistake. You want to put just as much care into creating a lead magnet as you do in creating your paid products. That’s because your lead magnet can make or break your list-building efforts.

So check out these keys for creating lead magnets…

Lead Magnets Must Be Desirable

If no one wants your lead magnet, then it’s not going to help you build a big list.  Take a look at these tips for creating an in-demand lead magnet:

  • Do your market research. Best way to do this is to go to marketplaces like, and Enter your niche keywords into the search boxes, and then take note of the bestselling products. If people are already buying a certain type of product, then you know they’ll grab a freebie if you create something similar (yet better).

  • Craft a good title. Your product title should present at least one strong benefit. For example, “The Quick And Easy Way To Lose 10 Pounds.”

Next up…

Lead Magnets Must Be High-Quality Products

Just because you’re giving it away for free doesn’t mean it’s a low-quality, “cheap” product. On the contrary, it should be valuable and high-quality. Here are tips for achieving this end:

  • Focus on teaching a single, specific result. When you provide clear information that gives your prospects immediate results if they take action, then you’re going to have satisfied people who are more likely to purchase your paid offers.

  • Solve the recipient’s immediate problem. You want to solve pressing problems with your lead magnets, because that makes it more likely that your prospects will consume the product right away. 

  • Choose a format that best suits the content. Sometimes it may be text, sometimes an audio, a video, a live event or even a tool. For example, if you’re teaching people how to build a raised flower bed, then providing either a video or a heavily illustrated report are both good options.

  • Format with a graphic-rich design. Even if your content doesn’t particularly require graphics, you should still include them. This breaks up the text, makes the content more aesthetically pleasing, and may even increase the perceived value of the product.

Next up…

Lead Magnets Should Work To Close The Sale

Your lead magnet isn’t something that your prospects should shove away to some dark corner of their hard drive. You want people to use it, see your paid offers, and click on those offers.

Take a look at these tips…

  • Create something people will reference often. For example, including a mind map, checklist, or gear list as part of your product helps ensure people will reference it often. And that’s a good thing, because then they’ll see your paid offers and calls to action more frequently.

  • Keep it brief to increase consumption and response. If you put out a 10-hour video set or a 300-page ebook, you’re going to get a lot of people who’ll put the product aside to look at “later.” Guess what? This vague “later” will never come. People will forget about your product, and it will go unseen.

The solution? Create something brief that your prospects can open up and consume immediately.

  • Reference a paid offer in the content. Even before you introduce a link, you can start raising anticipation early-on in the content. You can “plant a seed.”

For example, “In just a few minutes you’ll find out which tool makes it super-easy to run your social media campaigns. But first…”

  • Include a call to action at the end. When you do reference the paid action with a link, be sure to insert a strong call to action. This is where you specifically tell people to click on the link and/or buy the product.

E.G., “Click here to get your copy of this exciting tool right now—but hurry, this special offer ends soon!”

Once you get a good, high-quality lead magnet ready to go, then move onto the next important step…

Step 2: Capture the Opt-In

Your next step is to create an opt-in form on your site so that your prospects can request your lead magnet.

The first thing you need to do is get an account with a reputable third-party email service provider (ESP) such as,, or a similar service. 

Once you’ve secured an ESP account, then you can go about the task of setting up your opt-in form on your website. Check your ESP’s documentation for instructions on how to create this form and get it onto your site. Then check out these five different places where you can put an opt-in form on your site…

1. Opt-In Popup

This is the form that appears on top of the content during one of three different times:

  • When the visitor first arrives on the page.
  • Anywhere from few seconds to a minute or so after the visitor has arrived.
  • When the visitor is trying to exit the page.

If you use a lightbox popup, then the visitor can’t leave the page or read the content until he or either closes the popup window OR fills in the form.

2. In-Content Form

This is where you put an opt-in form right in the middle of a block of content, such as a blog post or even a sales page. At this point the reader is heavily engaged in your text, so they’ll definitely see your opt-in form.

3. Header or Footer Form

You can put your opt-in form manually at the top or bottom of the pages of your website, or you can use a notification bar (AKA attention bar). This is a bar that floats over the content in your header and footer. The bar may remain constantly visible, even if your visitor is scrolling. Here’s a tool to help you create these bars:

4. Side Bar

This is where you insert an opt-in form in the columns next to your content, such as on a blog. Many WordPress themes make it really easy for you to insert a “widget” in the sidebar. Just copy and paste your opt-in form code into this widget area, and you’re good to go.

5. Landing (Lead) Page

This is a page whose number one goal is to get the opt-in. Generally, the entire page consists of sales copy (or a video) to persuade people to join your list, followed by the opt-in form. Many marketers drive all their traffic to their lead page when they’re focusing on building a list.

So which option is right for you? I have two answers for you:

  1. Use multiple methods. The more exposure your opt-in form gets, the more quickly you’ll be able to build a list.

  1. Test, test and test some more. Track your forms to see which placements are giving you the best conversion rates, and then focus your traffic-driving efforts on bringing visitors to those forms.

Now you can’t just paste a form here and there into your site and expect people to fall all over themselves in a big rush to join your mailing list. You need to create an effective opt-in form using these tips:

  • Create professional graphics. People do judge a book by its cover, which is why you want to make your web design and your product graphics are all high-quality and professional. If you can’t do this yourself, then hire a good graphics person to create high-impact graphics for you.

  • Craft an attention-getting headline. You need to pull out your big guns and put your biggest headline right at the top of the page. Answer this question: what will prospects get if they join your list and use your lead magnet?

For example, “You’re about to discover the #1 traffic source almost no one is talking about – and if you act now, you can get this information for  FREE!”

  • Offer a benefit-rich subheadline. You have your prospect’s attention. Now toss another benefit at them to keep their eyes glued to your copy.

For example: “Now you too can find out how to get 10,000 new cash-in-hand customers to your site without spending a penny in advertising!”

  • Emphasize the lead-magnet’s value. A good way to build value is to include a bulleted list of the top benefits. Remember, this is a sales letter, so be sure to focus on the benefits and outcomes your prospects will receive when they join your list.

For example: “You’ll find out which ancient herb boosts your metabolism by 100%. This miracle herb may already be in your cupboard!”

  • Promise instant delivery. People want instant gratification, so be sure to let them know they’ll get instant access to the product just as soon as they fill out the form.

  • Offer a strong call to action. Don’t expect your prospects to magically fill out your opt-in form just because the form is sitting right in front of them. For best results, you need to tell prospects exactly what you want them to do next, and why they should do it right now.

For example: “All you have to do to get started is enter your name and email address into the form below, click submit, and you’ll get instant access to this amazing fat-loss guide! But hurry, this offer ends soon so get yours now while you still can…”

  • Provide a privacy policy. People are afraid you’re going to take their emails, sell them, and they’ll get spammed forever. Be sure to offer a privacy policy so that prospects know exactly how you’ll use their information (and how you’ll keep it safe). 

At this point you have your lead magnet ready and an enticing opt-in form where people can join your list. Now we need to get some visitors in front of this form. That’s the next step…

Step 3: Choose a Traffic Source

List building is about traffic generation. The more traffic you put in front of your opt-in form, the more people you’ll have joining your list.

Of course not just any traffic will do. You need to focus on bringing in targeted, high-quality traffic. This is traffic who is interested in your products and services, which makes them more likely to join your list (and buy your products).

Fortunately, there are a whole lot of good ways to bring in this sort of high-quality traffic, including the following popular methods:

PPC: You can use a platform such as Google AdWords or even Facebook’s pay per click marketing platform. Just be sure to define your audience as narrowly as possible and choose highly targeted keywords for best results.

Guest blogging: The idea here is to get your content, links and calls to action on high-traffic, high-quality blogs in your niche. Some blog owners actively solicit this sort of content. For all others, you may send them an email with your proposal to give them free content.

Affiliate program: Here’s a great way to get warm leads to your site. Even though the method isn’t free since you need to pay commissions, you don’t need to pay anything out-of-pocket. Thus anyone can use this high-traffic method, even if you don’t have a big advertising budget.

TIP: For best results, you should personally approach the super affiliates in your niche, build relationships with them, and then recruit them into your affiliate program.

Video marketing: You can create and distribute educational yet entertaining videos on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and similar sites. Be sure to include a strong call to action at the end of your video.

Content syndication: You can distribute articles, reports and other content across niche sites. You may submit these items directly to the niche sites, or you can look for content distribution sites. 

TIP: Optimize your content for the search engines by including your niche keywords in your articles and other content.

Forum interaction: There are two keys to getting traffic from niche forums. The first key is to build a good reputation in the forum by providing high-quality contributions. The second key is to make sure your signature line is enticing enough to get people to click on it.

Joint ventures: This is a mutually beneficial activity you do with other marketers in your niche. For example, you can agree to do a content swap for your respective blogs. Or you might swap endorsements in your newsletters.

Press releases: You can do these both locally (where you submit to local, regional and national media), as well as submitting online and worldwide press releases. You might use a distribution service such as

Social media: Focus on the biggest social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. Facebook is a particularly good platform because you can set up a Fan Page for your business as well as a discussion group.

Contests: The idea here is to get people to register for your contest, which means they’ll be joining your list. One good way to make your contest really take off is by using a tool like This tool allows you to give your participants extra entries in the contest if they share your content on social media.

Viral marketing: The contest mentioned above where you give extra entries for those who share the content is a form of viral marketing. There are plenty of other ways to get people to share your content as well. You can “tell a friend” scripts, social media badges, or even offer freebies (like a report) to people who share. Another idea is to simply create unique content that people will naturally want to share on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. 

Solo mailings: You can purchase paid advertising in other peoples’ newsletters. Just be sure to thoroughly vet the newsletter first to be sure they have a targeted demographic, a responsive list, and that they generally send quality content to this list.

TIP: When you find a place to advertise, start with small ad buys. If you get good results, then you can invest more money. That applies to solo emails as well as other paid advertising.

Other paid advertising:  There is a wide variety of other advertising you can purchase, including banners and text ads on blogs, forums, in social media groups, and other web pages. You might even try testing your ads on big sites like Just be sure to advertise in places with a targeted demographic.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to advertise. You should try out all of these methods to see which ones work the best for you. Keep the following best practices and tips in mind:

  • Split-test your campaigns. This includes your lead magnets, your opt-in forms, and your advertising venues. You can use a tool like Google Analytics or Or you can even create your lead pages using a tool that has built-in statistics (like

  • Focus on one traffic source before adding another. Basically, you want to master one method and start getting results before you add another method. But keep adding, and you’ll see your traffic grow exponentially over time.

  • Offer a high-converting product to offset advertising costs. Typically, this should be a low-cost tripwire product with a high conversion rate that you offer on the backend. This sort of offer can easily offset your solo email costs, pay per click costs, media buys, and other paid advertising expenses.

  • Create a follow up email series. Use this series to build rapport with your list and close sales on your product offers. Be sure to send content regularly (at least weekly) so you can build good relationships with your list.

Now let’s wrap things up…


At last… you finally know the three important pieces you need to snap into place in order to build a big, responsive list. Here’s a quick recap:

Step 1: Create a Lead Magnet. This is what will get your prospect’s attention, as well as help you close sales on the backend.

Step 2: Capture the Opt-In. A well-crafted opt-in page is the key to turning prospects into subscribers.

Step 3: Choose a Traffic Source. If you want to build a big list, then you need to bring in as much targeted, high-quality traffic as you can.

Now you know what to do, so your next step is to take action. Start with Step 1 above by researching products in order to figure out what kind of lead magnet would generate a high response. Then continue on with the rest of the steps until you too have your own high-converting opt-in page and a big, responsive list!

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