email list buildingAre you sick of hearing the phrase, “The money is in the list”.

To be honest, I am.

But I have to say that unlike many of the urban myths that are peddled by some in this business, it is completely and utterly true.

So let’s take a look at the list building topic in a straightforward question and answer style!

Q: Why is building a list so important?

Because the list of prospects and customers is the most valuable asset in an online business.

Actually, there often aren’t that many other assets in web-businesses. They don’t (usually) have much in the way of fixed assets like factories, machines, real estate and so on. Instead it’s all about the contact details of the prospects and customers.

Another way to think about this is by looking at traffic. If you set up a web page that sells a product and drive traffic to it you’ll be doing very well if you can get 5% of people to purchase (the online average is actually closer to 1%). This means for every 1,000 visitors you will lose 950 people that you’ll most likely never see again anywhere near your website!

Obviously, this is a huge waste and especially because that traffic will have cost you time and/or money to generate.

So what if you send that traffic to a squeeze page offering a free gift instead of trying to sell straight off?

If your squeeze page is good then you should be able to get 50% of people (500) subscribed to your list. After they opt in you can still present your sales page to them and still make money.

Some will buy, some won’t, but either way you can now follow up to build trust and promote more relevant products that will help them.

Even better: The follow up emails can be done automatically using your autoresponder (I use and recommend Aweber – my affiliate link).

Q: How many subscribers do I need to make $1,000 per month?

This is a very common question from people that don’t have a list yet.

Often it gets dismissed but I think it’s a very fair question.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to give an accurate answer as it really depends upon the niche you are in (e.g., weight loss is more profitable than needlework) and also how much time you put in to building trust with your subscribers.

This said, the benchmark figure is $1 per subscriber per month. Based on this the answer to the question is 1,000 subscribers.

Two things to remember here:

1. Remember this is $1,000 every month, not just this month. Which is why having a list is the best way to develop an online regular residual income.

2. $1 per sub per month is just a guideline. I can tell you I earn a lot more than this. And of course you can too. But only when you build your skills in relationship building and list management. It’s not hard and you learn as you go along but if you ignore it then you’ll earn less and (in the extreme) burn out your list by promoting to them too much!

Finally, and I’m almost certain you’ve heard this before but it’s the quality not the size of your list that matters. This is something else that you can easily get sick of hearing but again, it is true! To see this let me ask you a question:

Of the different lists I have let’s take two of them: One is 110 subscribers in size, each of whom purchased a $700 product from me. Another list is 800 in size and contains around 60 people who have purchase some kind of product through me (my own or affiliate product at $5-$97 price points) the rest have not yet purchased.

If I offer you ONE of these lists to keep for yourself, which one would you prefer to have?

Q: List building still sounds like hassle to me. Aren’t there other ways to make money?

Oh yes, of course. There are many ways to make money via the internet:

  • Sign up as a freelancer and provide services like transcription, graphics or WordPress set up on sites like Elance or fiverr
  • Create videos reviewing popular products and upload them to YouTube
  • Place ads on your site and work to get traffic to those sites

There are many more besides but the problem is that you either swapping your time for money (i.e., the same as a J.O.B!) or making your life extremely difficult by working tirelessly to generate traffic and then wasting most of it!

On the other hand, picture this: You have a list of 1,000 amateur photographers. You write an email to them with a review of a new online photography course (or another product like a new tripod that’s come out) and place in it your affiliate link.

The email might take you 30 minutes to write (much less when you get used to it!), and you click send. Over the next few hours and days you’ll get affiliate commissions into your account. Better yet, whether your subscribers buy or not, they are still on your list so you can do the same thing again!

I can tell you, it’s a wonderful feeling when you write the email whilst on holiday/vacation click send and then check again an hour or so later and you’ve made a few hundred dollars already!

I don’t like the phrase really as it sounds hypey but what I’ve just described is the closest thing you’ll get to “cash on demand” ever.

But you need to build a list first.

Q: I don’t have a list. What’s the fastest way to build one from scratch and how do I get the traffic?

As we’ve talked about before on the GHG blog there are only 2 ways to build a list:

  1. Sell something
  2. Give something away for free

In the first you use a sales page to add customers to your list, in the second you use a squeeze page (or optin form on your website/blog).

I recommend you do both (as I do) so you have more than one “on-ramp” for new leads to enter your business.

For more information on this and traffic methods check out the previous post here where I show you exactly how I built my list from scratch.

There’s no magic, just consistent action required. Sounds like hard work and it can be (as I always say here on the blog) but the rewards can be life changing.

Q: How long does it take to build a list from scratch?

Good question.

The answer of course could be “it depends” but to give you an idea I’ll share with my own experience:

I made my first money online in the collectibles niche at the back end of 2010 (here’s the site which I still own). This was before I even knew that list building was important!

Then, in 2011, I moved into the stock market niche (something I’ve always been interested in and had worked in a related job as well). Simultaneously, I started this blog where I talk about “internet marketing” related stuff. I put up an optin form (see on the right) and gradually started getting subscribers (using guest posting, blog commenting, giveaways etc).

It probably took me 4-5 months to get to 400-500 subscribers. Then another 6-7 months to reach 1,500 subscribers.

From there I grew my list much faster but basically I reached around 1,500 in list size after 1 year.

This can be done much faster but of course, I was learning (and making plenty of mistakes) as I went along!

Also, if this seems like a long journey just remember that the next 12 months is going to fly past anyway, whatever you do. So why not spend it building your list? If you’d read this post and started a year ago then you’d be making regular residual income each and every month by now.

So don’t think too far ahead, just get stuck in and take consistent baby steps forward each and every day.

Agree/Disagree? Please do Tweet/LIKE if this helped you and let me know below of your thoughts! 🙂 Cheers, Rob