The Money is in the List

A mailing list is absolutely the most vital and necessary tool for your business. It is such a critical business tool that entire eBooks, courses and websites have been written on the subject.

A mailing list is the ultimate success tool for business. You’ve probably heard of the cliche: “The Money Is in The List“. Never a truer word was spoken! Your email list is one of the most important assets for business because if you don’t have a list, you don’t have any real prospects to promote to.

This is why you need to consider email marketing and list building a top priority for your business because it is tied directly to the success of your business.

There are two main approaches to obtaining e-mail addresses for your email marketing campaign:

  1. Purchasing or renting an opt-in email list. This represents a much easier and quicker method of gaining customers than naturally building a house list. In this scenario, you’ll typically approach a list broker or list owner and purchase the e-mail addresses of individuals who have signed up to receive marketing e-mails in a specific niche.
  2. Building your list organically. Organically growing your email list is the safest and much preferred option. You can build your list through your website, using permission-based marketing opt-in techniques. A meaningful and relevant incentive, such as free information is offered in exchange for a prospect providing their e-mail address by completing an online form.

When building your list, while it is okay to entice your customers with exclusive offers, discounts and other incentives, it is not always the most effective way to develop relationships with your customers and prospective customers, or keep people engaged with your brand.

Don’t use this as an excuse to provide low-quality content, because even the best discounts or deals won’t cover too many mistakes. In any case, the vast majority of your customers may not be ready to buy at the time you are presenting your offers, which would make your content irrelevant to those subscribers.

To keep today’s savvy and informed customers engaged with your brand, you need to provide valuable content that is meaningful and relevant to them. This is what will keep your company top of mind with your target audience rather than discounts and offers that they may or may not be interested in.

The vast majority of customers now spend more time educating themselves online about products and services before they decide to buy, and a mailing list allows you to build relationships with your customers and prospects. However, before you can communicate with those people, you’ll need to convince them to sign up to receive your emails.

Getting People to Opt-in to Your Emails

There are a number of factors that will determine whether a user who visits your website decides to sign up to receive your newsletter.

These factors are listed below:

Perceived Value

The perceived value is the actual value a prospect sees in signing up to receive your newsletter. If you are a well-known authority in your field, it won’t take much to convince users to subscribe.

However, if you are unknown, visitors will have to be convinced of the value they’ll get if they opt-in to receive your emails. If the content on your site is compelling, meaningful and relevant to the visitor’s problems and challenges, they will believe there is every chance they will get more of the same value from your emails. That is likely to convince them to sign up.


This is whatever you’re offering for free to get your visitors to subscribe to receive your emails. Visitors are likely to be motivated by a great, free incentive for them to sign up. It could be a training tutorial, whitepaper, free downloadable report, video, etc.

Whatever it is, it should be directly relevant to what you are selling on your website as well as the content you will be sending to the subscriber.

If you are offering something like a chance to win an iPad in exchange for an email address, then chances are that you are going to attract subscribers that are going to be more interested in the incentive rather than learning how you can help them.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Offer a discount coupon or special promo to those who sign up.
  • Offer a free email course i.e. crafting, decorating ideas, how to build a coffee table for under $50
  • Offer a special “Members only section” to subscribers


Friction refers to anything that may get in the way of a potential subscriber signing up for your emails. For example, if you have included too many fields in your sign-up form that dissuades a user from signing up, that could be seen as a bottleneck if users are not signing up. Users hate completing online forms.

The more information you ask potential subscribers to provide, the less willing they are going to be to do so. You don’t need to ask for more than the user’s first name (so that you can personalise the email) and their email address. Equally, if your form is slow to load or the sign up button is too hard for the user to see, those are all bottlenecks.

A less obvious bottleneck is anything that can distract your visitors from signing up for your emails when they first land on your site. This can be an image, an article headline or anything else that gets in the way of a prospective subscriber signing up. This is why you’ll want to create a homepage that has a large, engaging email form in the header for visitors clicking through from guest posts, ppc ads and other referral sources.

On your referral sources such as blog posts that you write for, you can say something like “Abiye White is the author of the free report, 5 Simple Website Tweaks That Will Get You More Conversions”.

Alternatively, you can give users a logical reason for getting the report. For example: “To learn the fastest ways of putting the tips from this article into practice and start getting results , download Abiye’s free report, 5 Simple Website Tweaks That Will Get You More Conversions”.

By tying together the guest blog post they’ve just read with your lead magnet you make it more likely that readers will click through to sign up for it.

Make sure you have a powerful headline on your page too that clearly displays what they’ll get from your lead magnet and regular emails. Below is an example from Facebook guru Brian Moran. You can see immediately what you’ll get from the lead magnet: a free traffic boosting video.


Popups are used by an increasingly large number of websites and the reason they are used is that they are attractive, convey the message clearly, and they work. There are numerous case studies on the web showing increased opt-in rates of 200%, 500% or more from installing a pop up.

Brian Moran has used a great looking pop-up that gives the visitor the option of either signing up or closing the email for those that don’t want to, or may have already signed up in the past. The visitor sees the popup only once, so that it does not interrupt the browsing experience. If you are considering using a pop-up, try to avoid it for those users who’ve already opted in as it may irritate them.

Even small and simple changes to headlines can make a big difference to opt-in rates. In a case study reported by, Reebok made a simple change to the headline of their opt-in form from “Join the Reebok Newsletter ” to “Join and Save”. That addition of a benefit (savings) to the headline increased their opt-in rate by 40%.

Other places you can place your opt-in form include:

  • At the end of every blog post: If the user has read the entire blog post, chances are they are interested in the subject matter, and will want to subscribe for more.
  • Your About page: The reasoning here is that anyone that clicks on your about page is interested in learning more about you. You can also include your opt-in form on every page on your site, giving them multiple opportunities to opt-in.


The button you use will also have some influence on your opt-in forms. Research shows that having the button text describe the benefit a user will get from subscribing (e.g. “Get Free Instant Access” or “Let’s Do This”) results in higher opt-in rates than a button that says something like “Submit”.

Futhermore, button colours that contrast with their surroundings tend to stick out and get clicked more than those that blend in.

Perceived Risk

If the user believes there is a chance that they might be spammed if they give you their email address, then they will be hesitant to sign up. That impression is created by the look and feel of your website and the quality of content.

Promises of overnight riches for signing up are examples that would put potential subscribers off. The copy on your home page needs to match what a potential client would expect.

You can also decrease the risk by having an anti-spam policy. You can include seals of approval from professional bodies that you’re a member of, such as the better business bureau, chamber of commerce, etc.

You can also use quotes from current subscribers to demonstrate the type of value that potential subscribers can receive from the site. Once you’ve established a large following, you can also quote the numbers of subscribers you currently have to encourage visitors on the fence to sign up. All of these will serve to mitigate the perceived risk of signing up to receiving your emails.