So, you’re trying to build your email list?

That’s great.  In fact, that’s a priority of mine, now and into the future.

But the question is: How?

I had a newer marketer reaching out to me, asking this basic question.

He’s started to create content.  He wants to attract prospective clients to sign up to his list.  And he’s hoping to convert some of those subscribers into paying clients for his services.

Now, I can get into the TACTICS of list building.  Things like landing pages, welcome emails, calls-to-action, the works.

But instead, let’s zoom out and look today at the big principles and strategies behind effective list building.

And we’re going to do that by asking questions.  Specifically, I have three questions for you, with explanations of why they’re so important.

Come up with good answers to these questions and you’ll be well on your way to list-building success.

And then I have a recommendation to accelerate your list growth.

Who are you talking to?

First and foremost, you should be crystal-clear on who you want to speak to in your list-building efforts.

The more specific and targeted this audience is, the better.


Because it’s easier to talk to a specific person than it is to talk to a group of people.  It’s easier to know what a small group of people care about than a large group.  It’s easier to provide answers and solutions and recommendations to a narrower group than a wider group.

Yes, broader markets are bigger.  And for some topics — most notably health and wealth — there can be some blue-sky potential if you can make something work to a broader audience.  But usually, being focused on a smaller group within a bigger market will yield easier results when it comes to any kind of marketing, including list-building.

So: who are you talking to?

Get crystal-clear on that.  Then…

What do they care about?

For the most part, if you’re trying to attract people to hire you for your services, you won’t attract them by simply teaching what it is you do.

That is, if you’re selling copywriting services, many of the clients who will hire you don’t necessarily need to learn copywriting.  Heck, many really don’t want to — that’s exactly why they hire a copywriter.

Same goes if you’re generating leads off Facebook, or setting up online funnels, or whatever skill.

They might want to have ideas for IMPLEMENTATION that involves your skills.  But they don’t need to learn your skills.

So, for example, if you want someone to hire you to write an email autoresponder sequence, that prospect won’t necessarily be interested in “how to write a high-converting email autoresponder sequence.”  But they might care about “a strategy blueprint for a high-converting email autoresponder sequence to hand to your copywriter.”

See the difference there?  It’s not huge, but it’s rather profound.

One will attract your peers: people who want to do what you want to do.  The other will attract people who work with people like you, and build your credibility.

If you’re COACHING the same skill though, you might flip this.  That is, if you’re coaching email copywriters — if that’s the service you offer — the “how to write a high-converting email autoresponder sequence” might be the exact topic they’re interested in.

Brainstorm a bunch of different topics.  They should be related to whatever product or service you might sell down the road, but positioned in such a way that they’ll attract buyers and not necessarily people who just want to be like you.


What do they want RIGHT NOW?

For the most part, people don’t want to sign up for yet another email list.  Yes, I have an email list with an ever-growing mass of loyal readers who open my emails the moment they are delivered.

But our inboxes are full, and every day your prospects are exercising more discretion on the emails they are subscribed to and engage with.

This is two strikes against you before you even ask them to sign up for your email list.

Prospects don’t want your daily email.

But they might want the value you deliver.

And they definitely love instant gratification.

I know “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” — I’m not the best example of this, everywhere I ask you to subscribe to Breakthrough Marketing Secrets.

However, you’re going to do much better offing an instant download that will deliver a value bomb in their lap right now, rather than offering value in future emails.

That is, people are much more likely to sign up for a checklist, a tool, a piece of software, a one-time training, a report, or almost anything else that’s a one-time deal than they are to sign up for a “newsletter” by any name.

So focus on what you can give them right now.

Promise that.

Make it great.

Make it something really appealing, that they can get value from immediately.

Then, make getting your emails a value-packed perk of having signed up for the free thing.

(There are lots of ways to do this and you should be at least somewhat transparent about it — because sending more than you promised is a sure path to spam complaints, which are bad news!)

These three questions are a great start to faster email list building, but I promised one more tip…

TIP: Buy traffic…

This does require a very specific element to be in place: your offer.

That is, for the most part you don’t want to throw away cash just to build a list.  A good list is a group of prospects who you can market to on an ongoing basis, who are predisposed to purchase.  And over a limited time frame, they will spend more with you on a per-person basis than you spent to get them on the list in the first place.

This requires a compelling offer.

But once you do have that in place, buy traffic.

Start small.


Pick one platform.

Try things.  Fail.  Try more things.  Fail again.

Lose some money.  Consider it an investment in your education.

Then, reinvest.  And reinvest again.

And you’ll get good.

Then, you’ll start to get really good.

And this is the real secret to being able to scale your list-building efforts (and your business).

Although the person whose question stimulated this question was looking for organic list growth, I don’t know anyone who has scaled their business quickly in recent years WITHOUT investing in paid traffic.  It’s a must.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr