5 Experts Reveal How To Build An Email List For Reliable Income

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Do you know the secrets of how to build an email list that you can turn into a reliable income?

It’s definitely not an easy question to answer.

Right?

But you probably know other bloggers that are able to build an effective email list that drives revenue back to them every month with their email marketing strategy .

Do these bloggers know something that we don’t know?

Absolutely, yes!

And probably I’m one of them :)

So I decided to interview five phenomenal bloggers to share their practical ideas about how to build an email list that can be turned into a reliable income.

Introducing Bill Achola

My name is Bill Achola and I run BillAcholla.com, where I teach bloggers and small business owners how to create the right content for their business.

What You Will Learn

  • Where to place your opt-in form prominently in your blog
  • How to persuade readers to your opt-in form
  • How to create a high value free giveaway
  • How to use content marketing to build an effective email list
  • How to write EPIC content that attracts site visitors and sign-up to your email list

ATTENTION: Download My Email Sequence To Use In Your Own Campaigns Here!!

Let me introduce you to:

Cody Lister, Jasper Oldersom, Mike Wallagher, Matt Thomas, Zac Johnson

And lets start off with…

1. Jasper Oldersom – Opportunity Building Jasper

Q1. How do you make your opt-in form prominent in your blog?

I try not to be too invasive, yet pretty aggressive with my opt-in forms. When you visit my homepage, the first thing you’ll see is attention grabbing and curiosity generating copy with a very prominent opt-in form above the fold.

When they are on the blog, I have an attention grabbing opt-in form on the right-side. Sometimes I use call-to-actions for my newsletter within my posts.

Using an exit-intent popup has also been proven to be effective and this is the most invasive method I use. I chose to only let it show up the first time you leave my site.

I also use an opt-in form below every post, which reminds my readers that if they like my blog content, they’ll love my e-mails, too.

Personally, I highly recommend the Thrive Leads plugin for all of these things (Which Matt also uses on this blog).

It has all the lead generation tools you’ll ever need and A/B testing is surprisingly easy.

Q2. How do you persuade site visitors to opt-in to your email list?

By not focusing on what I want, but on what the reader wants.

They aren’t just going to give me their e-mail without any reason, they’re asking themselves “what’s in it for me?”.

That’s why I strictly focus on what they’ll receive when they opt-in to my list.

Q3. How do you create an incredible giveaway for your list?

I have my email autoresponder loaded with short, but super valuable lessons on copywriting that drip right into their inbox and help me build a relationship with my list.

In every email, I focus on one concept or principle, which makes it easy to digest yet very valuable to my subscribers.

Q4. What works well, when it comes to list building?

When it comes to list building, I believe in being a little aggressive to increase your email conversion rate.

If you only have one opt-in form on your website saying “subscribe to my list” in the footer of your website, naturally you won’t get a lot of subscribers.

You-

  1. Have to tell them why they should subscribe
  2. and provide them many opportunities to do so

Guest blogging is also a great way to build your list.

Each time you get on other people’s blogs and provide valuable content, you get in front of a new audience that opens new doors for you and adds more subscribers to your list.

Q5. How do you pay special attention to who you want on your email list?

I make sure that the copy I use on my opt-in forms appeals to the specific target audience I want to attract.

If you target a broad audience or give a big promise that you can’t deliver on, you might get more opt-ins, but they aren’t going to serve you in the long-term. You don’t need a big list, you need an engaged list.

Q6. How does content marketing help you to build an email list?

Content helps me to get in front of an audience. It also allows me to show my passion experience, passion, authority and my voice.

I always keep in mind that people do business with people they know, like and trust. I believe this to be true for lead generation, too. Because subscribe to newsletters from people they know, like and trust. Content marketing gives you the opportunity to show who you are.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” – Theodore Roosevelt.

That quote also goes for e-mail marketing. Think about the e-mails you always love to receive. You love them. Because it’s from that particular person you subscribe to.

So I show my personality through my content. That way I stand out and don’t want attract everyone, simply those who enjoy and benefit from what I do the most.

Q7. How do you write content that attracts people and end up opt-in to your email list?

I haven’t experimented with content upgrades on my own blog yet, but in my opinion, it’s a great, non-invasive way to add value to a post and build a relevant list in the process.

However, I do always strive to keep my readers engaged. We are all fighting for attention online. I know how distracted readers can when they visit my site. I want them to be involved.

Out of every 100 blog posts you visit, how engaged are you reading each on of them? I bet you don’t read them all. But a couple of them stood out. They engaged you.

Would you rather sign up for a blog that you scan for information or one that consistently engages you?

Q8. Any tips for bloggers trying to create a loyal list?

If you attract the right audience into your list and treat them right, they could stay on your list for years on end.

Remember: people do business with people they know, like and trust.

Know: don’t be a stranger. Stay in touch. Don’t send 7 emails in one month and one in the next month. Have some consistency. Make sure that people can expect something from you. This way they become familiar with you.

Like: do your emails provide value or are they all straight sales oriented? It’s good to sell in your emails. But do they also inform, inspire or entertain? Do they keep them on their toes for your next email?

Trust: There are tons of affiliate offers to promote. Don’t fall into the trap of promoting something you would never use yourself. Do not try to trick your list in any other way.

Follow Jasper On Twitter >>

2. Matt Thomas – Insider Secrets Matt O

Q1. How do you make your opt-in form prominent in your blog?

If you only have one opt-in form on your website, you’re missing out on subscribers!

I usually use the SumoMe scroll box opt-in form instead of a full-screen pop-up. It performs at least as well and is less intrusive. It also lets readers sample my content before they get the subscription pitch.

The other three places I put an opt-in form is at the top of the sidebar, at the end of each post, and on my about page.

My advice: use less obtrusive opt-in forms, but use them in many places on your site.

Q2. How do you persuade site visitors to opt-in to your email list?

Except for family members and friends, nobody cares about what you want. They certainly don’t care that you need more subscribers or more money (or both!). When someone visits your site, they only care about one thing: what’s in it for them!

Your first step is to use your content to provide amazing value. Every time Matthew Woodward publishes a post, I know it’s going to deliver “over the top” value – I never even have to wonder.

When I get a new post notification, I stop what I’m doing and read it because his posts (and guest posts!) always give me new ideas to grow my business and increase my income.

If I accidentally got booted off his list, I’d miss the content so much I’d immediately resubscribe.

Do people say that about your content? Do they stop what they’re doing to read your posts? If a subscriber fell off your list, would they even miss your emails?

Q3. How do you create an incredible giveaway for your list?

One way is to provide a kick-b*** “lead magnet” that capitalizes on your reader’s desire to avoid loss. As Jon Morrow brilliantly put it, “it’s all about knowing what keeps people awake at night.”

What gnawing worry will keep your readers from falling asleep tonight?

Once you know this, you can create an information giveaway to help them solve that problem – and hopefully they’ll become a loyal, long-term subscriber.

Just don’t over-promise and under-deliver – you’ll quickly lose their trust.

Once you’ve formatted the information in your word processor, head on over to Fiverr’s “book covers and packaging” category and choose a cover design that roughly matches the page count of the document you’ve just created.

After your beautiful $5 cover is designed, paste the image into your document as the first full-size page, export it to PDF, and voila! – your giveaway is ready to go.

How hard was that?

Q4. What works well, when it comes to list building?

The two SumoMe paid plans offer split (A/B) testing. This lets you add a second kick-b*** lead magnet (see above) and test them both to see which one outperforms the other.

I’ve also had reasonably good results creating a call-to-action button on my Facebook Pages. It’s certainly been worth the very minimal setup effort.

Another important strategy is list retention – keeping folks subscribed. In each of my daily emails, I put a link next to ‘unsubscribe’ offering the opportunity to switch to a weekly version.

My daily list unsubscribe rate stayed level but now I’m recovering 38% of daily unsubscribers who join my weekly list. I’ve been able to salvage a large number of readers just by giving them the choice to choose how often they hear from me.

Q5. How do you pay special attention to who you want on your email list?

Your lead magnet giveaway is going to select those people interested in solving a specific problem.

If you’ve put some thought into how the giveaway relates to your product or service, your subscribers will end up aligning nicely with your desired target audience.

Q6. How does content marketing help you to build an email list?

Pat Flynn uses an interesting content marketing strategy with his ‘Ask Pat‘ podcast.

In each bite-sized (under 10-minute) daily episode, he answers just one question from a listener.

All the questions are in his niche, and by answering he builds his authority and — ultimately — subscribers to his email list.

Whether you use a blog, podcast, YouTube channel – it doesn’t really matter. This strategy can work for you in any niche.

Q7. How do you write content that attracts people and end up opting-in to your email list?

Identify a problem your target audience has and create high-quality content to help them solve it. It really is that simple.

I find it’s easiest to create this kind of content when I imagine myself writing an email to a good friend. It keeps the content conversational and easy to read.

Q8. Any tips for bloggers trying to create a loyal list?

The legendary salesman Zig Ziglar said: “You will get all you want in life if your help enough other people get what they want.” It’s that simple and it’s 100% true.

If your goal is to help your audience achieve their goals – helping them gain something they want or, even better, avoid losing something they have – you’ll build subscriber loyalty every time you mail!

Follow Matt On Twitter >>

3. Zac Johnson – Zac Johnson zac J

Q1. How do you make your opt-in form prominent in your blog?

I like to use popup windows and call to actions throughout the site. Not only is this a great way to see immediate results, but also allows for quick split-testing as well.

I don’t only study how my own popups perform, I also look at what’s working for other sites in the industry as well. To see what I mean, view these 32 popups being used by other top sites and bloggers.

Q2. How do you persuade site visitors to opt-in to your email list?

Offer something of value that isn’t accessible otherwise through the site, but also making it something not too overwhelming at the same time.

For example, a single page PDF cheat sheet usually performs much better than if you were to offer something like a “50 Page Resource Guide”.

After all, who has the time to read something like that! Create something of value and make it easy and quick for your audience to use.

Q3. How do you create an incredible giveaway for your list?

Every once in a while I will hold social sharing contests for my audience to get their hands on a premium course I created. When running a giveaway, you want to make it easy and beneficial to your audience to share it with their audience as well.

Using any of the top contest plugins or apps like Rafflecopter or AppSumo makes the process seamless and easy. You can then also follow up to everyone who entered the contest (and didn’t win) to offer them the same prize at a discount.

Q4. What works well, when it comes to list building?

Running webinars and teaming up with other sites has worked very well for me. How the process works is that I would contact another site owner (or vice versa), and we would setup a webinar that would be setup on a rev-share.

The site owner then mails out to their list and sends their traffic to the webinar registration page, which then builds out a new mailing list.

Any leads referred through the webinar are then split with the site owner and myself, while also having access to a new list at the same time.

Q5. How do you pay special attention to who you want on your email list?

I try and keep a general focus on all of my lists with a main call to action. For example, if I have a mailing list on BloggingTips.com or Blogging.org, it’s safe to say they want to learn more about blogging or how to make money with a blog.

The email autoresponder series for each of these sites then provides the subscriber what they are looking for and they can also branch off into other areas (monetization, outsourcing, blogging guides) along the way.

Q6. How does content marketing help you to build an email list?

A great majority of my traffic and list subscribers are all as a result of my content. ZacJohnson.com has over 1,500 live articles on the site — many of which rank extremely well in the search results.

Knowing how to monetize your blog content and having proper call-to-actions and mailing list signup forms in place is key to long term growth that just keeps coming in month after month.

Q7. How do you write content that attracts people and end up opt-in to your email list?

Knowing your audience and what they want means everything. It’s also about knowing how to walk them through a process.

For example, if someone goes to Blogging.org and wants to start a blog, that’s the first step. Next I would walk them through how to install WordPress, chose a quality site theme, what plugins to use and so on.

The concept here is that you are building a relationship with your end user and showing them what to do next. Too many sites focus on getting the email subscriber signed up, then just leave them there with nothing to work with.

Q8. Any tips for bloggers trying to create a loyal list?

Split test the heck out of your signup forms and call-to-actions. Also provide real value.

It means a lot for a person to put their email address in and actually allow you to send them more email than they already need. Keep the conversation going and provide more value than your competition.

Follow Zac On Twitter >>

4. Cody Lister – Market Doc Cody L

Q1. How do you make your opt-in form prominent in your blog?

I use a homepage welcome gate thanks to Bryan Harris (VideoFruit).

It’s the most prominent opt-in form you could possibly use to grow your list.

Q2. How do you persuade site visitors to opt-in to your email list?

By offering a lead magnet or email course of real value that complements your site’s core topics and appeals to your target audience, you can persuade visitors to opt-in to your email list.

Whatever you offer should provide epic value, otherwise people will ignore it.

Q3. How do you create an incredible giveaway for your list?

Think outside the box while making sure that the giveaway addresses one of your audience’s pain points, such as how to get more email subscribers or build an online course.

One coveted product in your niche can make for an incredibly powerful giveaway.

Q4. What works well, when it comes to list building?

Content promotion works like a charm. Pre-outreach by using commenters and sharers of other posts.

I find that commenters of other related popular posts tend to work best for pre-outreach.

Make sure you combine pre-outreach with a compelling content upgrade embedded multiple times throughout your blog post.

I’ve gotten thousands of email subscribers in the past 30 days by performing exhaustive pre-outreach.

Q5. How do you pay special attention to who you want on your email list?

I segment my list with 50 tags and I manually tag influencers who join my list as “VIP” so I know not to send them too many emails.

I think it’s important to treat your subscribers as you would your own mother, with care and respect.

If people don’t want to be on your list, that’s fine, but give them an easy way to opt-out and don’t play games.

Also, don’t bombard your list with dozens of affiliate offers (or make them “run the gauntlet”).

Give as much value as possible and treat each subscriber like a human being, not another number on your email list.

Q6. How does content marketing help you to build an email list?

Content marketing (and guest blogging) is one of the most important things you can do to grow an email list when you’re just starting a blog.

By putting your work out into the world, people will look at you like expert and authority in your industry. You also get the chance to help people become better content creators by publishing high quality content.

In short, if you publish high quality “epic” content, your list will naturally start to grow if you promote your content to the right people and write answers to questions your audience has in mind.

By publishing high caliber content, you nurture your existing email subscribers, attract new ones and turn passive subscribers into long-term customers and friends.

Q7. How do you write content that attracts people and end up opt-in to your email list?

Focus on keywords that relate to the questions your audience tends to ask.

If you write about list building, then your audience may be interested in how to grow your list by 1,000 subscribers in 7 days or new strategies for growing your list that work best today.

Write content that helps your reader become a hero through self-transformation and personal growth. The more value you offer visitors, the more likely it is they’ll opt-in to your list.

Q8. Any tips for bloggers trying to create a loyal list?

Don’t spam your readers with offers. Segment your list in multiple ways based on where they opt-in from or how they joined your list in the first place.

Send those readers relevant content.

Avoid sending too many broadcast emails as you will get tons of spam complaints and upset a lot of people in one shot.

Be thoughtful and careful about how you engage with your audience.

Don’t be selfish, it’s a privilege to earn someone’s trust. Once you lose it, you can try to earn it back but it takes a lot more effort than earning their trust the first time.

Loyalty comes from providing lots of free value. It’s why airline and hotel loyalty and rewards programs still work well today. Offer free value and your readers will become loyal and faithful.

Follow Cody On Twitter >>

5. Mike Wallagher – Start Blogging Online Mike

Q1. How do you make your opt-in form prominent in your blog?

Just add it below your top performing content.

Don’t stuff it everywhere, but rather make it “exclusive”. In case you publish awesome content and the “subscribe box” isn’t prominent all over the site – it makes him/her more likely to convert.

Q2. How do you persuade site visitors to opt-in to your email list?

I’m honest about what I’m offering to them. If they GET what they WANT – they are sure to not unsubscribe. It’s pretty simple and straightforward, no rocket science here.

Q3. How do you create an incredible giveaway for your list?

Offer something to FREE. For example, I recently ran a “free blog contest” and it literally got TONS of likes/shares and subscribers.

If you give away something for FREE – you’d be sure to have some boost in your email subscribers.

Q4. What works well, when it comes to list building?

Consistency and helping others by providing great content. Take a look at Brian Dean’s (backlinko.com) subscribe funnel – you’ll learn a ton from him!

Q5. How do you pay special attention to who you want on your email list?

I’m obviously interested in people who have money to buy some stuff from me, but not always.

For example, someone who has a lot of friends – both online/offline can bring you more followers by the simple form of ‘word of mouth”.

But the brutally honest, I don’t pay much attention on it.

Q6. How does content marketing help you to build an email list?

Every time I publish a post and do some marketing towards it, it starts to generate some traffic – mostly via Google. If people find your blog and your AWESOME content – they’re more likely to convert into subscriber.

Q7. How do you write content that attracts people and end up opt-in to your email list?

Look around in Quora, Yahoo answers and even some niche related forums. See what people main questions are.

Solve problems and help. Make sure your content is top notch, though – the longer, the actionable the better.

Q8. Any tips for bloggers trying to create a loyal list?

Be personal and help, really… Don’t stuff you emails with affiliate/product offers, provide value FIRST.

Follow Mike On Twitter >>

ATTENTION: Download My Email Sequence To Use In Your Own Campaigns Here!!

Wrapping It Up

Now that you have seen the full potential of growing your email list, it’s time to take action.

Just fire up your favorite email marketing software and apply the tips you have learned today.

And If you want to get the most value from your list building campaign through content marketing, then read this guide about How to Spend $1000 a Month for Your Content Marketing Strategy.

Do you have any of your own tips about how to build an email list to share? Please post them in the comments and feel free to ask any questions you have!

31 Responses

  1. Riju Debnath
    6.14.2016

    Hi Bill,
    I am new to this field so need some tips badly to create my first email list. And this kind of a massive interview will definitely going to help all beginners including me.
    I am going to read this post many times in near future specially the answers of question no.8.
    I have read somewhere about building email list by guest blogging and you are also mention it here.
    Is it really effective?
    Thanks for creating such a massive interview and sharing at Matthew’s blog.
    Cheers

    • June 16th, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Well guest blogging helps bring traffic, it’s your job to convert that traffic into new subscribers!

    • June 17th, 2016 at 1:15 am

      Yes, Riju if done well guest posting can drive quality traffic to your blog, but it will depend on how well you convert that traffic into loyal subscribers.

      As a tip, Just make sure you have a high converting offer.

      Best
      Bill

  2. 6.14.2016

    Great round-ups. So many tips there.
    Back in the day (I’m old!) mailing lists were considered spammy and borderline irrelevant. It’s definitely something I need to re-learn and apply on my new projects.

    • June 16th, 2016 at 11:51 am

      When was a mailing list ever irrelevant? Even before the internet they were the cornerstone of businesses

      • June 16th, 2016 at 10:14 pm

        They were tools for online stores and similar businesses, yes. They were most definitely not the focus of webmasters seeking to promote their sites. Most lists were managed on-site with scripts – usually run on Perl or a similar language, not using databases – which meant they were more difficult to maintain.

        The big players like Mailchimp and Aweber seem to have changed that by creating better tools for preventing spam and thus bouncing and problems for legitimate lists sharing the same servers. They also added tons of features helping you manage the lists in general. I think they basically “cleaned up” the arena and brought mailing list back to the center of the stage.

        I’m not saying mailing lists weren’t used, mind. I’ve run for my main site since it started back in 2000. I wouldn’t do that for my other sites though – too much of a pain to handle and not a good ROI with the tools which were available back then (and I used a good paid script to run then).

        Take a look at Mailchimp’s stats. I just Googled for a bit and found this. They started back in 2000 but there’s a HUGE shift in usage around 2008.
        http://blog.mailchimp.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/high-volume-senders.jpg

        According to them, the first huge bump of 2008 was after they launched MailChimp v3 and then a year later, with introducing freemium –
        http://blog.mailchimp.com/going-freemium-one-year-later/

        This correlates with what I’m seeing. Back then in 2005-2010 mailing lists were definitely not a cornerstone of website promotion for content-based websites/blogs. That’s my own impression, at least, and I used to live on webmasters forums (yes, we weren’t even bloggers back then ;) ), so I think I have a fairly good assessment of what things were like back then.

        • June 18th, 2016 at 5:53 pm

          I am talking about mailing lists in general, not specifically online – that is just a different vehicle of delivery. Previously a mailing list were just rotary index cards with your leads/customers details on it but nowadays we have fancy software that does it all.

          • June 18th, 2016 at 11:13 pm

            In that sense, sure, they’ve always been around. As a central tool for a blogger/webmaster? They started out strong, then took a dive in the early 2000’s and re-surfaced around 2009. Mailchimp was truly a game changer, in that respect.
            You inspired me to blog about the changes I’m seeing, by the way, so thank you!

            http://www.yeys.com/134/changed-web-publishing/

  3. 6.14.2016

    Great article with some great experts! Thanks for including me

  4. Marvin Talaro
    6.14.2016

    Wow! What a read. Different strategies in list building from different blog personalities.

    Hmm. How can I choose one of these? LOL.

    Very nice article Bill!

    • June 16th, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Take the advice on board and process it with your own business needs in mind :)

    • June 17th, 2016 at 1:05 am

      I so appreciate your feedback, Marvin. Thanks so much

  5. 6.14.2016

    Hey Bill,

    I’m honored to be listed among experts like these. Thank you for including my answer, I sure hope it’s useful to Matthew’s readers. :-)

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

    – Jasper

    • June 16th, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Thanks for your contribution Jasper!

    • June 17th, 2016 at 1:24 am

      You welcome Jasper and thanks for participating and sure it will help Matthew’s readers to learn how to build an email list.

      And thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Best
      Bill

  6. 6.14.2016

    It is great to see so many bloggers sharing the technique, great piece of information…

    • June 16th, 2016 at 11:45 am

      No problem Harsha!

    • June 17th, 2016 at 1:27 am

      Hey Harsha

      I’m glad you liked the tips from the awesome bloggers.

      I appreciate your comment.

      Best
      Bill

  7. 6.18.2016

    This roundup post is really insightful.I love the way Zac answers the questions.Guess blogging is really a powerful was to drive new audience too.Thanks to matthew for permitting this post to be posted so we can consume.Anyways,am going to implement some new ideas I just learnt .

  8. 6.18.2016

    Nice article Bill.
    It become really very informative when many experts share their personal opinion on any topic.
    Keep sharing such articles Matthew.

    • June 18th, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      No problem Ashik :)

    • June 20th, 2016 at 1:45 am

      Thanks, Ashik I’m so glad the expert information is helpful,

  9. Joseph
    6.23.2016

    Awesome post Bill and Matthew. Was great to read some helpful insight from e-mail opt-in experts!

    I’m current using SumoMe’s scroll box feature but have yet to grow my mailing list. Any recommendations as to what is the best e-mail service to use?

    Mailchimp? Aweber?

  10. Francesko
    7.12.2016

    thank you!
    great tips for building an email list.
    i’ ll test them on my website.

  11. 11.18.2016

    WOW,. thank you so much for these wonderful steps and tips and also love the idea of bringing in successful internet marketers to give their own share and ideas about how to get email subscribers.
    Thank you so much for this. Time to begin implementing these steps NOW.

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