Back to Basics: Listbuilding in 2011

Anyone who tells you “email marketing is dead doesn’t have a business! Collecting an ever-growing database of contact information from your targeted prospects should be one of your top priorities at all times.  If you do not have a “list” to call upon for special offers, updates, sales, etc, do you really have a business? Relying on solely on Social Media to connect with your tribe is very dangerous and very short-sighted…the Twitter of today will soon become the Myspace of tomorrow! (yuck!)

Note: Some people like to make the claim that their Social Networking accounts are more responsive than any email list!  All I have to say here is that Social Media is pure proof that MORE people are spending MORE time online(that’s a good thing!)…and we can’t deny that a portion of that online time (and phoe time!) is spend in their email inbox!

Although Email marketing is essential,  it is becoming far more challenging to fight through the see of open-rates and click-through’s!  There is simply way more competition out there and your subscribers are experiencing massive overwhelm!  So today, the issue is not just HOW do I build my list, it’s how do I build a highly-responsive list that eagerly awaits my next email and ignores all the rest!

As your subscriber gets inundated with this new form of marketer “spam-mail,” there is a great opportunity for YOU to differentiate yourself from the crowd and be different in the ways you communicate, give value and market your products & services.

This blog post is dedicated to the entrepreneur who is struggling to build their list one subscriber at a time…the small business owner who cringes every time they send out a new email broadcast (that they spent hours working on!) just to see a ton of new unsubscribe warnings and sub-par open rates. It doesn’t have to be that way-not any more! It’s time to get BACK TO BASICS and start re-building your list the RIGHT WAY!

The Fundamentals:

Why Should Someone Would Give You Their Email Address?

As we build our list, one of our main objectives is to collect the email address from targeted prospects.  It is a fact that the email address is becoming a more valuable asset to the prospect.  No one freely passes out their email address these days.  We are all becoming more selective in who has this valuable information.  This can actually be a very good thing!  If people value their email address more, they will value YOU more once they give you their information.

But people still submit their email address into that little opt-in box every single day!  What compels them to do it?  Well, there are a few reasons, but ultimately, the prospect must value what is on the other side of that “squeeze page” more than his or her email address. Plain and simple.  He or she must trust (the keyword here is “trust!”) that submitting their information will provide far more value to them than keeping their information to themselves.  Thus, it becomes your job to provide some sort of “free offer” or “ethical bribe” as it is sometimes called to convince your prospect that giving up their email address is “totally worth it!”  This usually results in a free report…

Free Reports Suck!

Like I said, people are “wising up!” Free reports are everywhere!  Everyone’s got one (heck! I’ve got ’em!)  As your prospect drowns in a sea of free reports and free videos that simple pre-sell the marketer’s product or service, your left with a predicament: the “free report” has gone down in value and the prospect’s contact information has gone up in value.  This results is lower opt-in rates, a small list, and bored prospects!

There is a better way! There is way to rapidly build your list without the fear of unsubscribes and spam complaints!  But first..

There is Still a Better Way to List Build!

Yes, there is still a better way to capture and collect email addresses…and start off your relationship on the right foot!  Your answer for listbuilding in 2011 is: Event Marketing!  This means, make your listbuilding, your content, and your training an event! And charge admission (email addresses) to get your excited prospects on board!  Not only will you skyrocket your listbuilding efforts, but you’ll experience the “event marketing after-effect!”  This means credibility-boosting, better rapport with your subscribers, and oh ya-more sales!

In a nutshell, here is all you need to rapidly build your list (and boost your income) using this strategy!

1.  Make it an Event!

This simply means, make it LIVE!  Host a teleseminar, webinar, a summit, expert interview, etc!  When you put a date & time in the calendar and begin to tell people about it-it becomes an event! And when it becomes an event, people get excited!  Now you can focus your marketing efforts on giving value first…and not promoting your products/services and just asking for more money!

2.  Charge for Admission!

Your event can and should be free, but people must register first!  This requires submitting their contact details!  This is sooo powerful because people have a REASON to give you their email address now.  It’s no longer to get a free report, it is to register for the event!    People must register with all of their information BECAUSE you need to email them the call details.  (check out my blog post: The Power of “Because” to see how you can implement this powerful persuasion strategy in your marketing

3.  Content

Your live event must be relevant!  It must have value!  And you must deliver!  Knowing the pains and frustrations of your target audience and delivering the solution via a live event is the perfect equation for successful list building!  What topic, problem or issue can teach on a live call or webinar?

4. Leverage

Your goal in promoting this free, live event is to build your list, so you’ll need to register people outside of your immediate circle.  This is where you leverage the reach & influence of other experts in your market.  Doing a Joint-Venture call and getting your JV to email their list can mean hundreds of new subscribers in a matter of minutes!  You can also request other colleagues to share and promote your link via Social Media to spread the word to their tribe.  You’d be surprised at how often people will willingly help you while expecting nothing in return!  And lastly, you can leverage the reach of your newly registered attendees & guests by requesting them to share and re-tweet the registration link to their tribe and following!  This is how you expand your reach and build your list!

5. Scarcity & Urgency!

This is absolutely crucial!  If we have done everything right up until this point, most people are eager and excited about you and your offer.  But getting people to take action (to register and to make a purchase) can take a little bit of more work!  People are busy!  They need a reason to do something RIGHT NOW!  Fortunately, a LIVE Event helps us create scarcity & urgency, but you need to drive this home!  On your registration page, answer the question: Why Should I register Right Now?  The answer:  “This one-time-only Special Event is starting tomorrow at 7pm Sharp and seating is limited!  Register now to reserve your spot!”

When Are Going to Build Your List?

Creating a LIVE event is no NEW, revolutionary idea or concept.  Unfortunately, we are sold on the fact that we can make a ton of money online while hiding safely behind our computers. The successful marketers out there are the ones getting out there, being heard, and taking more chances!

A Live Virtual Event is a chance for you to build your list effectively (while making sales) but it is also a way for you to start off that relationship on the right foot.  Teach and share and give your best content for free and your new subscribers will love you for it!  And when they love you, they will think twice about deleting your email next time it hits your inbox!

My dear friend Adela Rubio is teaching an incredible course on The Expert Interview model for boosting your income and building your list!  If you can start to see how easily it would be to plug expert interviews into your business model, then I highly recommend and endorse you go through Adela’s training.  She’s got a ton of free training here.

Adela has put together a stellar LIVE course entitled Enlightened Listbuilding! I helped create her Video Salesletter and created a video case study about her video on my blog.  See it here.



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  1. says

    Hey James – great lesson on building a list, and you’re absolutely correct – event based list building is one of the very best strategies for higher conversions. Best of all, when I create a list building event (webinar, teleseminar, etc.), I don’t actually have to fiddle in silence and solitude working up a crazy PDF. Spending just a few minutes with a mindmap or Powerpoint to create some basic slides, I can have an event ready to go and promote in under an hour.

    But I would also add that it would be a mistake to only use live event list building. After the event is over, turn it into a product that can be either exchanged for an email address, or even better – sell it as it’s own product. This will a) bring you more revenue; and b) make it more likely to have more people sign up for your next live event knowing that the replay is going to cost them.

  2. says

    Hey James-

    While I’m not in total agreement with you about the free report — some people like quick & easy to access — I do completely concur about events being a powerful way to build a list (I call my list my community of subscribers lest I forget they are actual HUMAN BEINGS!!). I teach my students & clients the Signature Speech is a perfect tool to build their list virtually by holding their own event or by being a guest on others’ events.

    Speaking on teleseminars and webinars is also a better list-building tool because those in the virtual audience have had an opportunity to interact with you almost in person. Unlike with an ebook or free report, they get to hear your voice and experience your personality and even may get to ask a question and get it answered.

    Great tips!

  3. says

    Great post James!! and you are right on – the other ‘stuff’ works…and we can’t neglect it – but the ‘event’ model is still the fastest way and also typically, the most enthusiastic audience!

    (fyi – even though I have great response in social media, the response is still less than 10% of what my email responses are) Those who say their social media is more responsive than email…I’d like to see the side-by-sides of those stats. I just can’t see it with attention rates being what they are.

    Smart stuff.

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