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Why You MUST Build Your Email List—And How To Get Started
Last Updated October 19th, 2012

If you’re not building an email list, you’re making a HUGE mistake.

Back when I ran ad-based websites, I thought to myself, “why would I EVER want to build an email list?”

I didn’t want emails. I wanted pageviews… because more pageviews meant more ad revenue TODAY!

To put this in perspective, had I built an email list, when a publicly traded company approached me to buy out my blog, I could have asked for 7 to 10 times MORE money than they originally offered.

How dumb, right?

Fast forward to today, I see people making the same mistake I made years ago. Instead of building their email list, they’re focusing on pointless things like social media… or worse… pageviews (STILL!).

And that’s why I want to share this new video with you where I share why building your email list is VITAL.. and how to get started with it.

Why Email Marketing Trumps Social Media Marketing

A lofty claim, I know.

But when you see the data I have in this video, it will all make sense.

If you’re not building an email list, you’re an idiot. – @derekhalpern” – Click to Tweet

What email service provider do I recommend?

There’s only one.

It’s called Constant Contact.


You can Try Constant Contact FREE.

Why do I recommend Constant Contact?

It’s easy to use.

And it’s great for small AND large businesses.

Now I have a question for you:

Are you focusing on your email list as your MAIN priority?

If yes, share with me how your email list has helped you and your business in the comments below.

If not, why?

Spread the love!

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208 comments Leave a comment
Joel Huang

My email list is surely not my priority right now but I want to make it so. I started realizing how important a good email list can be for any business and I’m in the process of improving my emails so I can offer more to my subscribers.


Thanks for the wake up call. I have heaps of great content on my blog but no email opt in and only about 160 (mainly friends) on my email subscriber list. Gotta get on it


Hello, thank you for sharing this post. It is really good and you have done a great job.


I don’t think MailChimp allow you to promote products to your list, though

Bob Lowe

Thank for the post. It sound like I am making a huge mistake by not creating a mailing list. It is good to know that I can potentially earn more money by having a mailing list in the event I decide to sell. It seems like every business wants to collect all the information they can about their customers, and now I know why. That is really great advice. I will have to start creating that list.


Hi Derek,

Amazing article, thank you for sharing it! I just sent you a quick question over the email and would really appreciate a response.



Taji Hillson

Loved your video. As a newly published author with a website designed for me, I have no idea exactly how to share it to reach more readers. I have an email address pop up on my home page so great to hear the importance of building that list now. Once I get an email, what do I do next? How often do I email? Do I email all at once? Thank you for your time.


Good write up. Its important to build an email list for any blog to vet most interested readers via email. Good job.


Great idea. I think people should focus on building email lists rather than bombarding their websites with ads.


I am afraid to collect personal data like e-mail address about my customers and even more frightened to send them even a word after reading the regulations like CAN-SPAM Act and International spam law.

My first question is if I can send bulk emails as an individual (I don’t have a company yet but it says I am obliged to write company name and address in the email) and the second is how can you be sure your messages are not considered as spam.


Certainly am focusing on building a list. It is on-demand traffic to where I want traffic to go. Simple business model as well. Collect email, build relationship, direct subscribers to where I want traffic to go. Important to keep fresh subscribers coming in too.

Lee Caleca

Ok, you got the coveted email address. You’re a funny guy and the direct approach impressed me. Most sales videos are TOO MIND-NUMBINGLY SLOW to hold my attention. Yours was succinct and informative. More to the point, though I know zero about email lists, I agreed with everything you said from a user standpoint regarding websites and their appearance – too cluttered, overwhelming, and all the rest so viewers just move on. Well done, you.


Hi Derek
so glad came accross your blog your just the person I need to ask been trying to find out a easy way for newbie to build a list to give away a free ebook what are the steps I have a domain name and hosting, kompozer and filezilla ,but don’t know the tech steps to connect it to my offer. I tried for almost 2 months to figure it out I took some advice from warrior forum but it just confused me.
Please desperate HELP
Thank you


I have just setup a new squeeze page and have my autoresponder with initial mails all setup. Now for some traffic can anyone advise on a non paid or at least affordable method to start getting traffic. Maybe a fiverr gig could be a cheap way


    Graham I wouldn’t waste money doing it on Fiverr, I done several campaigns there and I really think you will only get robot traffic. The gigs I bought sent over 200k to my site but not one sign up, a very good sign of bot traffic. I would recommend solo ads, I have got a few sign ups with solos. The one I use is udimi.com. The first solo I bought there got me about 23 subscribers for around 36 cents a click.


Darlene Cary

Eugenia – (Aweber vs. Mailchimp question): Aweber offers a more “robust” feature list, including breaking down your lists by what actions readers have taken, etc.

Mailchimp is still a good solution and is simpler to use. If you want autoresponders, don’t go for the free Mailchimp package. Autoresponders are a must for putting emails on auto-pilot.


Why do you like better AWeber than MailChimp? I wonder.

Doug Terpening

Awesome. Thanks for the conviction and clarity. You made me a believer in Pop-ups and the focus on emails. I don’t care about page views or downloads these days. It is how many email subscribers.

Thanks for making it easy for a slow guy like me.


Derek Halpern is nothing short of social genius


I’m totally new to email list building till i met Derek, then i started working toward that direction, now i have about twelve email offline, how do i add them to my mail list ?

Martha Preston

I was one of those idiots I have been blogging for about a year but I didn’t start my email list until three weeks ago! I am so excited and proud of it but I had no idea where to go from there 🙁 Right now my video player is broken so I am trying to I am deciphering the advice through the comments! I love this! I honestly don’t have a strategies I just learn from other people like you

    Deon Christie

    Hi Martha,

    You’re on the right path. A willingness to learn is the most important mind-set on your journey into internet marketing. Success means going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm…

    Wishing you Prosperity,
    Deon Christie


Can someone tell me how to set this up? Do I use my real estate email, open another account up, how do you get people’s email etc?

Thank you

Shital Bhalani

Wow I had no idea there was an email subscription service that made things like this so easy. I thought I’ve considered having an incentive for my email list, but I thought I would have to manually sort through the emails and pick someone. This is giving me so many ideas about what to do for my websites!

Fiona Craig

I’d love some strategies to get more email subscribers. I did an ad on Facebook that was “Get your free gift an ebook Eight Strategies to improve your life balance” and had 70 likes but 3 subscribers. Can you help me? I’ve got 20 subscribers if you include my Dad and BFF. Oh and doing Derek’s blogging course and thinking of paying $250 year to be on a natural therapies directory.

    Deon Christie

    Hi Fiona,

    Have you tried using a reason why kind of subject line. “Because there are only 8 strategies to predictably improve Your life balance – FREE eBook Download” When you have a number figure in your subject line, it’s best to use it in numerical. Audiences tend to be attracted to a numerical figure rather than a word. Just some stuff I learned on the way…

    Wishing you Prosperity,
    Deon Christie


I have to admit, I’ve gone through the same experience that Derek describes and now building my list is the absolute top of my priority list!

Christopher Solimine

AWeber is my absolute favorite e-mail client. I’ve only tried Mailchimp and another one I can’t remember at the moment, but AWeber blows the others away. For anyone creating a new list, start thinking about how you are going to monetize it. When I started my list, I forgot that important detail. In a side-by-side comparison, AWeber is actually cheaper than Mailchimp. Mailchimp only gets by because of their “free” service. The issue is, you cannot setup an autoresponder with Mailchimp unless you pay.

Shikha Jain

A good idea along with a detailed implementation procedure to grab attention of people at our blog. I have noticed that bloggers are increasing the giveaways and several similar strategies. Thanks for sharing.

Tim Blankenship

Glad to see you just have a simple email opt in. Others seem to make it much more difficult with clickable images and landing pages.

Mark Hayes

Seen this happen so many times, when I built my first ad based website I was exactly like Derek, why would I want to do that!

These days whenever I am working with a client one of the first things I do is make sure that they are collecting email addresses from day one, either by using a opt-in of some kind or at the very least a subscribe box on the site.


I didn’t build my list like when I was first out online Now it is my best Money Maker online my Email List….And It’s the most scalable online business you can do.


I’m confused: How is an opt in for email list different from the follow my blog sign up option? People interested in my blog would follow me anyway. Thanks in advance for your explanation. (I have a wordpress.com blog)

    Deon Christie

    Hi Kim,

    Good point as they would get notified of all your posts anyway, right? However, when you have an email list subscriber you have the advantage of you auto-responder and news letters. With your auto-responder you offer your work like an eBook for subscribing. Scheduled newsletters normally present a certain product, relative to the niche. I enjoy both my email list and WordPress blog.

    Wishing you Prosperity,
    Deon Christie

Joseph Twumasi

I use Aweber as my service provider and their service is really great. Building List is good for newbies as it help you build your business on a solid foundation.
There are more tips and resources for Email Marketing.

Thanks for the great tips Derek.

James George


I totally agree with you 100%. I went through 3 versions of my blog. I originally started my flagship blog, Creative Beacon, not knowing anything about how to do any of this properly. I made the huge mistake of not growing an email list, and I shudder to think how huge my list would be now if I’d been collecting email addresses all that time. I probably would have quadruple the subscribers I do now. I still have a nice following, but man would I ever be much further than I ever was before. I just wrote a new post on my site PowerBlogger that will go live on Monday that talks about the benefits, in detail of growing your email list.

Great post Derek, awesome tips as always.


That study was disregarded by Amazon & they have actually found the MORE things they have on a page the more money they make. Amazon are freaking amazing though!

I recommend you build a page designed to get opt-ins rather than adding subscribe boxes to pages. It’s all about what you want your prospect todo when they show up.




Thank you for giving me an idea to add value to my business.

Derek, I like how you use the Zeigarnik effect in your email titles. I will definitely try to emulate what you are doing.

Sue Porter

FINALLY, oh my gosh someone that gets it! And like you Derek I’m hitting my head against the wall one hundred times because I didn’t build my list like when I was first doing information marketing as a Consultant and Leadership Coach. So I’m trying catch up like a wild banshee now! Gives me some consolation you did the same. I know how sick it makes you, but it’s never too late, right? Well, I keep telling myself.

Susan Velez

I just found your website because I am in the process of trying to grow my email list. I have attempted to grow my email list in the past, but then stopped because I thought it was a lot of work and really did not know what to do with the list when I started building it. However, this time around, I will do whatever it takes to stick with it. Great information and I just bookmarked your site so I can come back for some more great tips.


To be honest, actually I am an idiot! Really thanks for your post to make me realize how important to build email lists.

Jason Rasset

I have no idea..why it is so hard for me to start.. I think I need to have
a this or that and it’s missing..I paid for aweber for a year once and never figured out how to use it. 🙂 well, finally, I have set it up again and am going to learn.. but don’t you need a great giveaway.. an upsell .. a funnel basically? funny thing I got one optin from having the form on my site which has a coming soon plugin on it.. but thats the only one!!

    Deon Christie

    Hi Jason,

    I know the feeling, had the same problem. Then I realized that it’s the exact reason many successful marketers recommend writing an eBook. But where do you even start, right?

    Well, what have you learned during your journey thus far? You ARE good at something, you just have to establish exactly what and then share it with the world. My first proper eBook only started taking shape around the 16th attempt! You can even get free eBook templates by just surfing the net.

    Deon Christie


Very good post. I agree, building your own list is a very effective way. I am currently trying with a free softwere and for now I am satisfied.


Hey Derek,

Great article indeed. To help easily build emailing list, we propose an instant-sync between Datafield, ConstantContact and Mailchimp.

So we have a native mobile application in iPhone, iPad and Android that let’s user fill their email address and get the email instantly appear on their Mailing list on Mailchimp or constant contact. Can also capture/collect name, address, age… or any other interesting information to segment your mailing list.

maros bajla

I am just testing some ppc on facebook to grow the email list, and can tell you it really works.. if.. you have good squeeze page with a good free stuff, ebook is the best. aand than you gotta write several good valuable emails for your subscribers. Everything is about testing, tweaking, tuning 🙂


Derek, I love this post, I’ve shared it a few times already. Now I just gotta get it done myself 🙂 Quick question though; how do you make that twitter link with your quote on it to be retweeted like that?


Just getting started. These comments with interaction have been very helpful. Thank you all of you.


Awesome video man! We are working on building our subscription list up with launchrock.com before we launch.


We conducted a study into how many Australian businesses pushed social media over EDMs and found 58% pushed social.

Not sure the policy on links in comments, (please remove the link if needed) but you can find the article here


Im new to building my email list for a new business coaching program that I am just starting to launch. It is specifically for people looking to launch their own business as a freelance stylist or makeup artist. Since I have a specific target audience, I want to make sure to deliver them the information they are looking for and that seems to get overlooked in social media. Wish a newbie luck! Thanks for the tips!


When I tried my hand at affiliate marketing a few months back, yes, I tried to focus on building an email list; creating opt-in pages, spending hours writing follow-ups and all that shit. Because one guy told me that email lists are where real money is. I had to quit though, because of bewildering financial difficulties. I also discovered that I’m not built for internet – and affiliate marketing.

    Deon Christie

    Hi Chris,

    I’m sorry to hear that, believe me I wanted to give up many times. However, success means going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm. You must see failure as learning, because you never actually fail. You either earn or you learn.

    You’ve created follow ups and opt in pages and spent hours and maybe months doing it for nothing, right? So have I and it cost me a tiny fortune that’s why I honestly know how you feel. Well, you’ve also learned how to do something most marketers struggle with…just a thought.

    You now have the ability to show someone else how to do something They have been struggling with for months! Internet Marketing is an art, not a contest and it’s a frustrating time consuming exercise. If I can ever help with anything, just reply to this comment and I’ll be delighted to share with you some of my free tactics.

    Wishing you Prosperity,
    Deon Christie

Aradia G. of Aradia's Hand

Yes I am a super business n00b… for the LONGEST time I didn’t understand what the “list building” was all about (despite subscribing to a ridiculous amount of them myself). Then that lightbulb went on and then I started freaking out about it. Even when I finally started an account to build a list for some ridiculous reason I quailed, like a scared rabbit about it. *Must have some ridiculous fear of success.* Long story short – I have 10 subscribers, and I do a little dance every time I get a new one. I’m planning to promo the heck out of it this holiday season and even send a little note to old customers (pre-list) that I have one now, so they should get on it.

And PS I’ve already shared this vid with 2 people, got another one in mind at least. And one is going to get together with me so we can talk list building!


uuu, i am one of the idiots. Starting to build my list today…

    Deon Christie

    Hi Johny,

    Nope, definitely not an idiot. The only difference is that you merely started the journey a little later, and you’re not the only one. Email list building is a lot of fun but it’s all about tracking, timing and relative content.

    May I ask which Auto-Responder you’re using for your list? Perhaps I may be of assistance…

    Deon Christie


I’ve got an email list of about 900 subscribers on hawaiihypnosis.org I’m not getting many sign ups. Maybe about 1 a day? I’ve got forms in most of the places. Any advice?


    Deon Christie

    Hi Antonio,

    Do you have any landing or squeeze pages? I get more subscribers from my landing pages than my web forms.

    Deon Christie


I never thought it would be beneficial to start an email list because

a. I sell jewelry so I have no idea what I can be email these people about
b. I usually delete promotional emails so I thought everybody does the same

I have had several people in the past couple weeks saying it’s a good idea, so I’m beginning to realize that I have been being an idiot. I don’t like being an idiot, so I am going to start building my email list. Any suggestions of what to write about, besides new product releases and sales? I know I need to provide something interesting and unique to keep subscribers opening the emails, but that’s kind of where I get stuck.

Ja Gold


Question: I have multiple business ideas, that are synergistic but will service different niche markets. Should I have separate email lists for each of these businesses, or one “master list” and co-promote my all unique businesses as together.

Im stumped, experienced list builders answers welcome!!!

judy cullins

NIreen, Know that less than 50% of your emails to your list will get opened. But you can help that percentaage with these tips:

1. Make the subject line a good hook. -Use curiosity about your topic.
2. Hook with benefits of what’s inside “Want More xxx, or xxx?
3. Confess something in the subject line. I just did for my list of business people who write books and blogs. “Judy’s Confession About Her First Book-Why Wrtie 10 Edits when You can Write One?”

Niveen Salem

Derek, I’m working on building an email list now. I increased my subscribers by almost 110 in the less than a week. But the problem is actually open rate!!

I email them daily and my first thank you email asks them about their business struggles (very small response rate to that one too). So I guess my email list is not helping my business yet.

I’d like to take your feedback on this. What can I do to increase their open rate? And what is an average open rate?

Thank you,


If you think that the About page opt-in form suggestion is silly, you’re wrong!

I recently added one to my site (and re-working my About page to have the same type of flow and appeal as Derek’s) and I am getting a 12.5% opt-in rate… which, isn’t too much, but it’s 12.5% more than the 0% I was getting before because I didn’t have a specific opt-in.

Thanks for the tips Derek!

jeroen waning

I’m building an email list… But I’m still an idiot

jeroen waning

I agree list building is key. Once you get it, building the list isn’t the problem though. Really warming up your list and finding what triggers your list to buy is an art. Building a list is more of a science, and selling to your list is more an art.

Many people are afraid (initially) to even sell to their list. Most people think that you just offer people free advice in the beginning, but when it comes time to sell, they are scared to blast out emails.

You have to sell to your list regularly because your list needs to get used to your switching between free advice and selling. You can’t be afraid to do some hard sales every now and then. If you just give out free advice for a long time and then send out a sales email, people will either unsubscribe or not know what the heck is going on and treat you like you’re a nobody spammer.

Does anyone disagree? I mean I’m not that advanced with email marketing and I’m still learning all of this myself.

Jesse Fernandez

Derek, how can you locate blogs that you want to pitch your articles to, so you can see that increase in traffic?

Is there a tool of some sort that you use in particular?


    In the article Derek wrote about copying competitors, he wrote about the right way to “copy” competitors… you need to find who is talking about your competitors online and draft in behind them, and get those same people talking about you.

    A simple google search for your competitors brand names (official brand “Social triggers” and URL “socialtriggers.com”) would be great starting points.

    You can also go article specific… Derek talks a lot about how he marketed his Content Is Not King article… he found designers, who would be interested in such info, and told them about it.

    Visiting your site, i saw the article/interview about the pro wrestler… reach out to some wrestling type sites/blogs/forums, etc… think of a good hook to get them to want to post it.

    Just my 1 minute evaluation/thoughts.

    That’ll be $20. =)

      Jesse Fernandez

      Thanks for looking into this topic.

      As for email deliveries I am using MailChimp. I have a decent amount of subscribers. Now I don’t know if this is much of a problem or not but when these readers opt’d in for my email – I never asked for a first name as a prerequisite for the signup.

      Do you think this might be a mistake later on? It’s a lot more personal once you have the subscribers first name tied in with the email…


Alexis Grant

Derek — SO right on. And enjoyed the comments, too!

Building my list is my #1 priority right now. (Part of the way I’m doing this is by offering free webinars.) Why? Because I sell more ebooks and courses to my list than anywhere else. People on my list know me, trust me and want my knowledge, so they’re willing to pay to get it.

It took me a while to figure this out, but now that I see such solid conversion from my list, building it is my #1 goal for the coming year. So I offer exclusive content via a newsletter once each week: http://alexisgrant.com/freebie. Love hearing what everyone else here is doing, too!

Church Johnson

I love this video and I’m going to start today. Thanks for the advice

Church Johnson

Jesse Fernandez

The many different positions of real estate around a webpage is imperative for an email subscription box. The feature box and after email sections are worked extremely well on my site. It for sure gives me close to a 34% conversion over the footer and sidebar areas.


Great advice, and something I’ve been taking to heart! At one point I thought Facebook Fans were key, but with all the changes Facebook has made… you basically have to pay your way to get on their Timeline now and have no ability to message your fans directly (what a bummer!). Back to the classics like e-mail marketing!

Joe Cassandra

Great video Derek!

My problem is, well I can always get more email subscribers, but also my subscribers sign up but then don’t do much. They open the email and some will click but that’s about it.

I’ll send emails asking for their feedback, or even different questions to interact with them, but don’t really get much response, so not too sure what to do there


Jeremy Sarber

Derek, you’re absolutely right. My only regret (like yours) is not starting an email list back in 2006 when I started my first website. I missed a lot of opportunities over the past several years.


I have subscribers but nearly all of them subscribe via WordPress, not through my Form. I add them to my List manually. I send out Newsletters for every new post, but virtually no one even opens the mail.

It’s hard to keep up enthusiasm for Subscibers with such a result.

Lauryn Doll

Fear of not knowing how to appropriately build an email list that’s engaged, fear of spamming them – or being seen as spam – held me back.

Slowly, I’m emailing them on a more consistent, once a month type basis, and trying to improve the UX on my site by introducing a cleaner sidebar and call to action to join the list on every page.

I also killed Tweetimonials, or whatever that was, because it would frequently display XML errors and make my site look broken.

Jocelyn Brown

I have a new website on the way but in the meantime, I fear I’ve neglected my existing one. Time to make that opt-in form more noticeable, and I’ll use your tips on placement as well. Great article, as always!

Brad West

Is building a list always a good thing?

When you were running your gossip websites, did you have a list? I would think in the case where advertisements are your only revenue and you’re not selling anything an email list would be useless.

Am I wrong?

    Kenneth Vogt

    I think you have your formula backwards. The reason you only have ad revenue is because you have no email list. You have to have a HUGE visitor count to make it on ad revenue alone whereas a modest email list can be very profitable.

      Brad West

      I run a site about teaching English overseas. How could I make an email list profitable in that niche? I have no idea what to sell or promote to the people on the list.

      If you have some ideas or resources you can point me to, I’d really appreciate it.


        What’s your site, Brad? I’m an English teacher in Brazil, and I also run a site about learning English.

        As for what to sell, think about the pain points. What’s a problem that English teachers or aspiring English teachers would pay to have solved? A few off the top of my head:

        – Ready-made lesson plans with convenient print-outs. Would save teachers hours and hours of unpaid prep time. Although there are a lot of activities available online for free, you have to sort through a lot of crap. I’d rather pay to get a thorough, 45-minute lesson plan complete with warmups, handouts, exercises, and discussion questions then spend an hour Googling, sifting through the crummy activities and composing the worksheets myself.

        – Affiliate language-learning products for the countries in which people are going to teach (want to teach in Japan? learning some Japanese will make your life easier…)

        – Country-specific guides with up-to-date info on visa requirements, employment opportunities, contact info for schools and/or agencies, advice on finding housing, cultural aspects, travel within that country, interviews with teachers who are teaching there, etc.


Derek. Short but very useful. Should a network site like mine restrict access before subscribing? I have always followed a strategy of getting traffic in the HOPE that people subscribe. However, that is not working well enough. Clutter will destroy focus but what about the advantage of variety – or isn’t there one?


One thing you didn’t mention is the epidemic of people PAYING for expensive print marketing and direct mail that waste expensive space pitching twitter, and facebook pages… lol

It’s one thing on a webpage… But another on expensive print media. Both are a waste in my opinion. And yes, my primary focus is collecting emails. I’d love to get phone numbers too lol But in my first series of emails I send out I give my personal phone and say to call if they need anything (for a real estate website).

Mark the Mojo Master

Derek, great advise and I especially like the fact that you highlight that it is the basics, such as building an active list, that matter.

with energy


Phil Cropper

Hi Derek,

Great video and very timely for me. I’m 2 days into a 3 day Food Festival in Manchester, England and using the opportunity to build my email list. We sell food hampers and we have been running a simple competition to win a food hamper – just sign up to the mailing list to be included in the draw. Even more appealing is that the hamper is a Chocolate Heaven Hamper. It seems putting the words ‘win’ and ‘chocolate’ in the same sentence causes people to fall over themselves to give you their email address, brill!




Your advice is golden, Derek! (I just found you the other day, and–yes–I am on your email list!) Haha.

Can I ask what tool you used to create that yellow box under your video, the one with the pre-written Tweet?

Thanks!!! 🙂


I have learned a great deal from your site since signing up for your newsletter. The funny thing is, unlike many other newsletters I subscribe to, I rarely see you trying to sell anything to me – which I like – but I’m wondering how do you monetize this list (besides DIY theme promotion)? Perhaps something in the future?

I know if I was reading any other IM blog article about email lists, there certainly would be an affiliate link to Aweber…but not here. Just pleasantly surprising, but curiously weird.

Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

Awesome video Derek! I’m really interested to know what you think people should include in their autoresponder series (or even if you think they should have one).


Ramsha Afaq

Ok, so I am an idiot and I have realized it after watching this great video. Wait let me create an email list first. One thing more is that often we forget that most of the affiliate sales are generated from emails only 🙂 Your work is much appreciated and I will surely subscribe to it and share the link with my network


I am working with Infusionsoft right now to build a email marketing campaign for our Real Estate Business in Canada. I agree with everything you said about email being more effective than social media. It is really hard to get likes, comments and shares on our FaceBook page. I have tested all types of posts, I really do not know what works for this business on Social media. Most of my posts are not just marketing our services or our listings. I have tried asking questions etc. I am very excited to get the email marketing going.

Arnout (from europe)

I agree with Derek. Email is king. Works excellent for me. Something derek didn’t mention but very very very important: you actually OWN your email list. The database with connections is legally yours. That can not be told of Twitter followers, facebook likers or youtube subscribers.

Think about this for 2 minutes

If one of these companies (youtube, facebook, twitter) decides to delete some or a whole part of their “users” or profiles, you loose the connection with these people. Youtube did this recently and i expect facebook to do the same in the near future because of the large amount of fake profiles. In these automatic robotized clean up actions they will delete a lot of real profiles too as youtube did with the (too passive) subsribers

Anuway, email works fo me
But i have some tips to make your email list grow even faster. Something I do in the “offline” world, something overlooked by almost al “internet” focused people.


Hi Derek,
Is there some sort of service you can subscribe to that allows you to upload email addresses and contact info and then send batch emails? For instance, I am just getting started in my health coaching business and am starting to collect emails but would like to have an email list designated for those particular emails. How do I do that??

Greg from France

Hello Derek,
First, congratulations for your posts: always concrete and to the point!

For my part, I’ve just understood very recently that I should focus on building my list BEFORE anything else. But now things are clearer!

Of course, I now have to understand how to please my audience and ‘how to sell’ through the list…

But I know that each lead in my opt-in list is maybe a future customer.



Hi Derek
Great post and video. Thank you.
We are building our email list but it has been slow going.
We are going to try your suggestion of putting opt-in boxes on more pages and see what happens.

Olle Lindholm

Hi Derek,

Spot on! I’ve recently created a free 10-part ecourse on my blog and it’s working wonders for me. People truly engage – they tell me what their problems are and we connect on a more personal level. That’s the way I like it. 🙂

You talk a lot about email, but you barely mention the potential of the autoresponder (at least that I’ve come across). I find that interesting, because I’m sure you’ve tested it, as you do with everything. Has it been bad for you or what?

Although I must admit, it took me awhile before I started taking my email list seriously. Then I acted on advice given by you, Sonia Simone, and Chris Garrett, and low and behold, I started getting results. Go figure. 🙂

Thanks for a great show, I especially like the special effects.


Ankur Sharma

Hi Derek,

Thanks for the insights…only one question how your strategy for developing email subscription list will vary from a website with user sign-up functionality with respect to a blog where a user need not to sign-up. He can just come and go after accessing the content…


Hi Derek,

Great reminder. It has been said so many times, but it’s so easy to forget too.
I’ll put an opt-in box on my blog, but what do I have to do with my subscribe via email and rss widgets? Just get rid of these?

Adarsh Thampy


Great advice. One question for you. Which plugin are you using for the popup? And with Thesis 2.0, can we do with with the theme functionality rather than depending on any external plugin?

Thank you,

Troy Vayanos

Thanks Derek,

I only have the one opt-in box on the top right hand corner of my blog. After seeing your video I am adding another one to the end of my posts as well.

A simple change to make but hopefully will result in more subscribers.


Laura @MOMables

Derek, You are SO right! Building an email list is where the money is. Why? Because people who opt in to hear from you actually want to hear what you have to say!! In turn, when they stay subscribed they begin to develop a relationship with you and build a trust that in turn become sales!! Hello, more money in your pocket.
THANK YOU for the mention! I’m honored!
Oh, and you know what’s happened since my list has gotten bigger and bigger….? My brand had become more attractive to bigger brands with whom I’ve been able to partner and become their spokesperson… all because I have a captive audience that wants to hear from me. Thank you for all that you do!!


I have an email list and I use it to send emails of my blog posts. I do product reviews and I have heard that you should offer something to get people to subscribe to your list. I’m not really sure how to encourage people to signup for my list. Any suggestions?

Michael Stetina

Hi Derek – Thank you for another great update. I confess that I have not concentrated on building my list. But I do have an interesting observation.

When I do send an occasional broadcast Email to my small list, the open rate is over 90%. That fact, plus your “gentle prodding” has convinced me to step up my list building game. Thanks!

Rich Amooi

So does that mean I am going to have two opt-ins on my website? One to follow my blog and one for my newsletter? Or do I just get rid of the follow-my-blog sign-up?


Hey, Derek.

I’ve started building email list few days ago, and I’m getting between 3 and 5 subscribers per day. Not bad for start.

Thanks to your advice on putting the opt-in form after blog post, almost 90% of subscribers are from after-post opt-in form.

But, after hearing your conversion rate, I’m little ashamed. So far, my conversion rate is only 2,3%. 🙁

Any tip on how to increase conversion rates?

Thanks ahead, Derek. You are very, very helpful resource of quality information.

Mihai @ Freshome

Derek for blogs would you even consider feedburner as an option as a newsletter ?


I followed your advice Derek and in 4 weeks of going live with my site I have 18 subscribers. Not exactly earth shattering but I figure its got to grow from there!! Keep your videos coming! 🙂


Hi Derek, if you read this let me first say I loved your talk at DotComXpo…I have a list of related bloggers who have covered my field in the past and can’t wait to promote more and blog less. Very specific and useful.

Second, do you have recommendations on tools to use for setting up a blog? I currently pay WordPress 20 bucks or whatever it is for hosting and annual rights to my domain name ZachGrove.com…

…and yet when you suggest implementing a pop up and multiple opt-in boxes in certain places, I don’t think I have the capability to specify those things just with a WordPress theme. What do you recommend for your beginner readers with zero web design skill, but who want the control to implement your suggestion?



    I have this same issue. Do I need to convert to WordPress self-hosted to be able to collect email addresses?


Hi Derek,
I agree with you for the post part about social media. My newsletter subscribers are some of my most engaged readers, however I find that in my niche (parenting) my facebook page is easy to grow and brings in a large amount of traffic, however trumping that by ten-fold is Pinterest, but this is yet another reason to build an email list.

My thousands of Pinterest views can blip in and then leave again, never to be seen again, or I can find ways to convert them to readers. By placing links to my newsletter subscription in posts that do extremely well on Pinterest, I am able to create readers out of what would usually be someone just passing by. One example of this is the intro sentence on this post: http://creativewithkids.com/100-ways-to-be-kind-to-your-child/

Pamela Grow

Building and now growing my email list has been my number one priority since day one. I so agree with you on this,Derek. How else to establish that deeply personal relationship? My own list is now growing by leaps and bounds…and translating into dollars. Attractions marketing at its best!

Rex Williams

Yep, the pros have been saying this for years.
That’s why my new site is completely focused and extremely simplified.

An email opt-in is all it is.

It kind of makes sense because my site is about curiosity, but it’s definitely different. We’ll see how it works.

What do you think?


    Rex Williams

    I’m such a goofball. I posted twice on accident. I swear I didn’t see my first one when I refreshed, so I thought it didn’t work. Feel free to delete one of these, Derek. Sorry. (I guess it upped the comment count. oooh, here’s another one 😉


      But the site is brilliant!


Hi Derek

Love the video and the post and as always you provide killer content.

While I totally understand why you must build your email list and that it should be a priority over social media, doesn’t Google have a strong bias towards Social Media ranking factors?

If that is the case, then shouldn’t we also be focusing on building up our social media profiles? If the way to be found on Google is to build our social media profiles then how do we balance both (building an email list and building social media profiles)?

I would prefer to focus only on my email list but if this is want Google (apparently) wants, aren’t we risking not getting found on Google?

I only ask this because it sure as hell confuses me 😉 .


Hi Derek

Love the video and the post and as always you provide killer content.

While I totally understand why you must build your email list and that it should be a priority over social media, doesn’t Google have a strong bias towards Social Media ranking factors?

If that is the case, then shouldn’t we also be focusing on building up our social media profiles? If the way to be found on Google is to build our social media profiles then how do we balance both (building an email list and building social media profiles)?

I would prefer to focus only on my email list but if this is want Google (apparently) wants, aren’t we risking not getting found on Google?

I only ask this because it sure as hell confuses me ;).


Great video Derek. I totally agree with what you say and yet my email sign up is quite slow despite having those sign up boxes.
My FB page steadily increases and has over 13000+ but I know this is pointless if it’s not coverting over to my email list. I really don’t feel it’s translating into subscribers at all. Not sure what else to do to maximise that?

judy cullins

Derek, you mentioned selling your blog. I’d like any tips you have to share on that. I plan to retire at end of January, although I love the coaching.
I have about 200 blog posts on my site too. all are how to on book writing, publishing, and marketing. My list is about 6000 now at bookcoaching.com

Tip for others: I love my subscriber list because only subscribers buy frrom you. If you want subscribers, you must offer a free ‘ethical bribe” such as an eBook. The eBook should show what you do for your clients, so they will eventually trust, like, and buy from you. If you don’t, no one will subscribe. Your audience wants more of you so make your site serve them.

Sure hope to some tips on selling my 12 year old site! I”m ready for the Caribbean and snokling!


Hey Derek,

Do pop ups on a site screw with your google search listing ranking or quality score on adwords?

Thanks ahead of time,

David Veras


Totally agree with you on this one, Derek! I have had the same experience, too!

Brady Roberts


You are dead on! If you are not building your email list, you are leaving thousands a month on the table.

I talk to dozens of people every week looking for the best way to build their list. The easiest is definitely on their websites. BUT, many of these people see customers and prospects on a daily basis. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE they really need to be capturing!

I created iCapture to solve this problem. For OFFLINE email list building, iCapture for the iPad is a list building machine. Feel free to check it out at iCapture.com

Brady Roberts, President and Co-Founder, iCapture.com

Chandra Clarke

Love the production values on your videos, Derek.

Quick question – what plugin are you using for the Recommended for You slider over there —->. I’ve been looking for once, but haven’t found one as nice as that.

Sheryl Schuff

Another HUGE benefit of building your email list…assuming you host the signup form on your own domain… is that you won’t have to worry about losing those folks.

Your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and Google+ contacts are all subject to rules/policies/changes made by those providers over whom you have absolutely no control. They can disappear anytime.

Even if your own web site crashes, you can still email your subscribers and continue your business.


As always Dereck I love your video! I am a travel agent and I add people’s e-mail to my list all the time when they book. I will definitly get the Opt in on my webpage more visabile as its on a seperate tab. Thanks so much for your great advice!

The Get In Shape Girl

I didn’t realize I wanted an email list either, but I am so glad I have realized otherwise, thanks to peeps like you. I am working getting an email list each day by giving away a free ebook, inviting people to sign up for my newsletter as well as a monthly challenge.

The folks on my email list are far more involved with me and are a more receptive audience than my social media followers so I would agree, email marketing trumps social media marketing. However, I’ve got a lot of followers on social media, so my job is to get them to get my emails!


Derek, I agree with you 100% on this, but I think there is one thing that makes this a bit more complicated: retweets/shares.

It’s not only what you can get directly with your tweet/fb message, it’s how it spreads from that point onwards. I bet that the potential of virality is higher than with an email.

But of course, there is also the impact that some of the people who see your email will then share it in Twitter/FB so it can be a double whammy.

So in majority of the cases it goes exactly like you said in the video: email > social media. But there are those exceptions..

Jason Albert

I love your Podcast and I subscribe to your email list. I have a question. I have an eCommerce site. I do have an email list and I send out monthly emails. I have a blog, podcast, and videos dedicated to my niche. Still, I am uncomfortable with the content of my email marketing. After two years, I just can’t find that right combination of content and company advertisement. I don’t want to be one of those companies that just sell, sell, sell. I want to be an asset to the community of my niche. Help!! Please….

Mike J. Thomas

Email destroys facebook and twitter when it comes to response and conversion rates. I regularly see 12% conversion rates(actual purchases)…not open rates…conversion rates.
People may like you or follow you on social media…but they will buy from you on email.



How do you put the email capture form on the top of your page, a pop up form and the middle of a page on your website?

I have an email form on right hand sidebar, but I’m not sure how to do all the above.


Sean Mysel

Great website. Funny thing is you can build an email list without having a huge amount of traffic. Every time I give a golf lesson, I just ask them for their email address to send them free lessons and updates.

100% conversion rate for capturing emails that way.

Ellen Jaffe Jones

Love your videos (that’s social media) and energy!

OK…so I’ve been building my e-mail list from my financial services days in the 90’s! Only prob was, when I started a new newsletter in my new career (my publisher’s best selling book), I had gazillions of names. I didn’t know who opted in and who didn’t. I used Mail Chimp, and after 2 newsletters this year, they said my “spam rate” was .07% and I was on probation. I’m pretty stumped on what to do next? Ideas?

I love the “live” interaction of Facebook…just topped 14,000 on my book page in 1 year. I figure that many people who go there once, will buy the book. I measure my FB activity by my Amazon ranking…it really climb when I’m active on FB, sinks when I’m not. I’ve done polls on my FB page, and many people tell me they subscribe but don’t open newsletters…they’re so overwhelmed with them. I’m kinda the same way, though I opened yours, obviously. 😉 If it’s a really interesting subject line, you got me.

    Darlene Cary

    Ellen – I haven’t seen anyone else answer your question about adding your old contact email addresses in your new newsletter. Anytime you have a situation like this, it’s tempting to simply add the old contact names without an opt-in process (as MailChimp allows). Avoid the temptation by sending out an opt-in offer to your “new” newsletter to your old contact names. State honestly up front what you are trying to do, and that they may ignore the email and won’t hear from you again, or “click here” to optin to your newsletter which will provide them with XXX. Set expectations honestly, and you’ll be much better off.
    Yes – you will take a hit in numbers, but the ones that are left on your list will be more likely to engage with you. And the ones that ignore you are unlikely to report you as a spammer if you’re honest (and delete their addresses) with that first contact.
    I like Aweber better than MailChimp, but lots of people use MailChimp very effectively.

    Good luck!

Nick Eubanks

Hey Derek – I am a HUGE fan. I think you’re advice is always stellar and spot on and have been pointing my readers and friends to SocialTriggers.com since day 1.

I just recently started trying to grow my email list on my blog SEONick.net and it’s been a slow road… I have even recently put up a dedicated landing page (taking a feather from your cap and calling it ‘free updates’) that I am actively split testing and still… slow going… I’m not sure what it is that’s impeding the growth of my list but would love to hear any ideas you might have on how I could improve my value prop and call to actions.

Thanks again and keep crushing it!

nancy fox

It is absolutely essential to build an email list, of course, Derek.

However, all email lists are not created equal.
Having a large but unresponsive list is meaningless.

A targeted, responsive, extensive list is the objective.
So when we learn how to list build, I’d also want to learn alot more
about developing a list that buys and a list that is made up of my target niche markets.

Rex Williams

Yep, I’ve been hearing this message from a bunch of the pros, so I decided to focus and simplify extremely.

So my new site only contains one thing: a place to subscribe to my email list.

It kind of fits with my subject of curiosity, so I think it works. We’ll see. I’ll set up a blog and other stuff later.

What do you think?


    I am not Derek, but I think it’s absolutely fantastic!

    How are people finding your site? That will be the biggest factor whether such an approach will work for the people you are sending to your site (through seo, social, paid ads, guest posts, etc).

Mary | Write to Done

Yes, collecting email subscribers is crucial, Derek.

About 50 days ago I started a “400% in 90 Day Challenge”. This is a challenge I’m sharing with my A-List Blogging students where I’m trying to drive up the subscription rate of WritetoDone.com by 400% in 90 Days.

I’ve been adding different features to WTD every few weeks and I track how they perform.

I used elements like signup-box between post and comments, the Hellobar, a popup.

During the last 50 days, I also experimented with creating viral posts (one of which was shared on Social Media over 119,000 times) to see how they impact on the signup-rate.

So far, I’ve been able to lift the signup rate by 300%.

Next thing is installing a Top Feature Bar. I’m hoping that will push the signup rate by 400% 🙂

    Coach Comeback

    I guess I should be paying closer attention to this study! With soooo much amazing material to digest in the A-list blogging Bootcamps I overlooked it.

    This is an awesome problem to have: A course that OVER-delivers and covers it all. Rather then most that you brush through in a day and are left hoping for more.


I watched your video and was quite impressed and maybe have learned something from it.I have only a link to my opt in page so the customer only see,s writing where they click but It seems it would be much better if they see a banner down the side

Alex Sobieski

That’s really interesting:

Typically, it seems that a “like” or “tweet” call-to-action requires ALMOST NOTHING of the follower, while the “general wisdom” is that people hate emails and that you need to bribe (really, just build value) them to join.

I’m stunned that people would rather give up their email address than click “follow”. Thanks for the food for thought!

Derek, what offer and/or incentive did you give to subscribe, versus follow? Any differences/similarities in the two marketing pushes?


I want to start an email list but my site is a journey site as I learn something. I do not present myself as an expert in the field but as a beginner. I don’t have a product to give or a 10 best list or whatever. Should I still have a sign up anyway, even if they are only getting blog updates from a non-expert?


    “Join me on this journey” = how to get them signed up.

    Hopefully, if you’re doing it right, you’re journeying towards becoming an expect, at which point you’ll have a bunch of loyal followers who have followed you along your entire journey… they will have seen all of the successes and failures, and will be even more excited for you.

Mariam Turay

Solid advice. Derek, I really am digging your site, the info you provide is top notch and I’ve been implementing them since joining your list last week.

Question, what plugin are you using for the popup email subscribe?

Alan | Life's Too Good

Old advice but good advice (and very well put) – an email list is essential – and I know you’re not the only one who regrets not starting an email list sooner (though by now I’m sure you have one of the better ones out there).

My email list grew 100x the usual rate whilst I was on holiday in the Alps following a guest post I did – I guess because the site I guest posted on has a similar readership to mine and they liked the article (I usually get between 0 and 3 subscribers per day but I got a surprise 200+ new followers in a single day – a Sunday, usually my quietest day when I checked my mails in an internet cafe somewhere in the mountains – that was a nice day ;-))

That being said, I’ve also written guest posts for other sites and had no subscribers as a result – I think the point is to find people who like not just what you have to say, but your philosophy/what you stand for 😉 (enough to want to hear more by joining your list).

The way I see it when someone invites you into their inbox, they are giving you far more permission and access to them (not to be abused) than via any social media channels…

Great stuff as always Derek!

Nicholas Tart

Hey Derek, I think you should follow this up with an email marketing strategy video. I have a number of lists that are steadily growing, but I don’t have a clear strategy for once they’re on the list. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the pros/cons of sending them to every post, having an autoresponder, maybe a monthly aggregate newsletter, and providing exclusive content.

Also, when I get your email, I read through it and click the link where I start reading the same introduction. Maybe you can put a link at the top of your emails to the post for the open-clickers. Then have a link here for the open-read-clickers. I’m not sure if it’ll mess with your tracking, but I figured I would give you my thought. Thought for thought, as I say starting today ;).

Dave Linabury

I agree and disagree, Derek. Yes, email lists are highly valuable. But if you think social media fan bases are not, you’re not getting that right. Unless you meant from a “selling to an IPO” perspective, in which case I may agree. But from a loyalty perspective? Disagree.

Perhaps you missed the article in Forbes this year that said 85% of the Fortune 500 have blogs and those that do earn 20% more than those who don’t? I’m sure there is a similar figure for email as Nielsen has shown that email is directly correlated to loyalty, but so is social media, so to make a blanket statement that social is a waste of time when the big guys are getting positive net value from it? You might want to rethink that one. 😉

Coach Comeback

well I would like to add the “Feature Box” but I am not running on Thesis and I know nothing about code. SO I am left with using these other plugins that never have the look or feel or customazations that I really want. Which is why I think my conversion are not great at all. =-(


    Vincent Polisi

    …..uh…….first, get Thesis 😉

    Second, Derek is right on the money regarding “the list” because you own and can drive traffic at will versus being reliant on Google. Something that Derek didn’t bring up is that the hated evil popups outperform static ads by a margin of easily more than 10 to 1 (which presumably is why he uses one as well). We tested and received more than a hundred per day from the popup alone (with the standard sidebar opt-in form as well on the site) versus less than 10 per day with no pop and just the sidebar opt-in form. You’ll have to beta test them because different delays in load time make a difference in conversions. In my opinion, Derek’s loads way too soon because it comes up on page load before a visitor has had an opportunity to determine value in the site and whether or not they want additional information, even if it is free, but it may work well for his audience. Our tests have conclusively determined that between 20 and 30 seconds is optimal (for our sites) because a visitor has an opportunity to engage before being hammered to enter their info. The other thing is what value-add you’re offering in exchange for their subscription to your list. It needs to be something of relevant value. Real value that scratches the itch but leaves them wanting more. You’ll have to test on your own site based on your product offering and traffic source(s). Ultimately, no plugin or product offered by Aweber or MailChimp did exactly what we wanted so we outsourced a java programmer through oDesk to create what we wanted very inexpensively (in relation to the monetary results). The results have translated into more than 30,000 active subscribers in the last 12 months alone who vote with their wallets, purchase e-books and Amazon affiliate products and click on Adsense ads. As they say, “the money is in the list”…..and handled properly, it is.


      I loathe popups… that said, I am not my site’s target demographic at all… My analytics stats show a lot of people staying on my site for 5-15 minutes… I really need to try email signup popups.

      Now to find the right type of plugin, or have one made.

      Thanks for the specifics you were willing to share! Definitely got me thinking.

      Coach Comeback

      Thank you for this reply Vincent! I know I have lots of testing and tweaking to do. But first… as he says… I need to get loads of traffic before I can accurately split test. I am a work in progress

Glyn Williams

Trying very hard to build the email list, but they ain’t flooding in. I’ve found it’s easy to build a targetted twitter following but you are right regarding follow up. I drive lots of clicks from twatter but the sign up figures are low


really had this problem; I thought twitter and facebook would make miracles and guess what, not a single conversion. I’m now starting to build my list, but first I have to make a proper website. I’m taking your advices into account; I’m guessing I’ll save a lot of time putting the right opt-ins in the right places!


Good stuff man. Question: Do you think that by not offering a free download or e-book that you are building a purer list of people who genuinely want info from you? Is it better or worse to offer free content in exchange for email address?

Lisa Cash Hanson

I try to explain to the women I coach all the time how valuable email list building is- They asked once what is the point when they can come to see a blog post. I knew I had a lot of work to do LOL. Great points I have three sites now and working on other list building techniques for all of them- One my baby product that just won $15,000 from Huggies for a grant. 2. My Mompreneur site lots of blogging tips etc. and my new Lisa Cash Hanson site about to launch.
Always looking for great list building tips to share so thanks for posting. I do get great results from Twitter though also. Lots of people interact and respond there- I love Twitter over FB

Milan Jara

I am with you Derek The Money is in the list! With Google going crazy, we better have a back up and what can be better than instant traffic from the list. Oh, and don’t forget to use those Halpern headers :-).

Mihai @ Freshome

Derek – You said you had a website with lots of traffic and I assume it was “magazine style” where you published new stuff everyday right ? What should someone do in that case, because when you send an email each day to your subscribers you might become annoying, and after a few days they’ll hit the unsubscribe button. Looking forward to hear your opinion on this topic because I’m having this problem right now.

    Gregory Ciotti

    Every large site that I would ever considering subscribing to by email (such as Scientific American) posts weekly roundups.

    I do one for a daily-posting entertainment site and it still gets open rates around 25-29%, whereas my other, less frequently updated and more personal sites surge to near 60% open rates.

    tl;dr – Weekly emails on what’s happened, not daily.

      Mihai @ Freshome

      Need to see how I’ll do that since most people are subscribed to the daily email. Need to make a separate option.

      Gregory Ciotti


    Glyn Williams

    If you have subscribers, you’ll have unsubscribes, forget en, they ain’t interested, just concentrate on getting more that are 🙂

Chris Lysy

Yes, because your jedi mind tricks (aka persuasive arguments) in the past were very persuasive.


Great video! What if you have the opt in’s in the right places on your site and social media pages but you just don’t have enough traffic to your site to get the names? I know blogging is one way to build traffic, any more? Thanks!


    I have the same problem, Sarah. Opt-in boxes, but not enough traffic to the site, only a few opt-ins per month. I’m writing to the same small list every month. How to get more traffic to a site to begin with?

Amy Jane (UntanglingTales)

Okay, I’ll bite.
I’m not building an email list.

Basically because I’m not focused enough. I know what I’m doing, and it is a tiny, tiny brand/niche/whatever you want to call it.

I feel like asking for a reader’s email is only justified when I can tell them what they’re “paying” for with it. Since I can’t summarize that in less than a page, I don’t figure I have anything to push.

But then, I don’t have the drive to make this blog-building my priority, so perhaps my blogging/site is not the sort you intend to address?

I’m not trying to “sell” anything but ideas, so maybe I’m on the wrong email list. ;}


    I looked at your site because your words really caught my interest. What comes to mind for me is – what if you ever write a book or decide to offer a training program? You seem to help people through stories on your site and maybe one day you’ll have something to sell or offer. It would be fantastic at that point to have a list! Best of luck with everything <3

Sarah E

Why do you only wear Lacoste shirts? Just asking 😉

    Derek Halpern

    Fashion isn’t my strong suit. When I find a shirt I like, I buy one in every color. And sometimes 2 of the same color. 😀

      Jeffery Lam

      Haha! That’s interesting! The brand that I like is Playboy 🙂


    Oh, and I love your blog and info, Derek, as well as the shirts.


    I was wondering that too. I didn’t know they still made those things. Or ar they vintage?


I’m still building my email lists. Good point about Twitter and other social media networks.

Chihuahua Zero

I have been working building my list, but I’m having trouble getting subscribers–and getting those subscribers to open my emails.

I currently have the forms on the top of my homepage, on my about page, and below my blog posts–so I should put one on my sidebar. I refrained from this earlier when the form was on top of every page, but I guess that’s no longer the issue.

Still, do you have any advice on how to get my subscribers to open my email updates instead of ignoring them? I’ll rather have them unsubscribe than to have them do nothing but be an empty number.

Todd Kuslikis

Yes, email is where it’s at!! I saw your review of Pat Flynn’s site and implemented several of your suggestions to my own site.

What are your thoughts on email promo partnerships? For example, partnering with several other experts to give free gifts away. Then you send a link to your subscribers and drive them to this free giveaway. I did one recently and got about 700 new subscribers.




My e-mail list is absolutely my #1 priority, and virtually ALL of my sales come from subscribers.

Question – Any thoughts/research on whether it’s better to…
a) send people the full content within the e-mail;
b) make the e-mail contain a teaser/intro with a link to the full content on the site?

I’ve seen successful people do it both ways, so I’m curious if it makes a difference, or if there’s a psychological reason for choosing one way over the other.

    Jeffery Lam

    In my two cent opinion, previously I am emailing out the full content, somemore attach with the application form and seminar agenda, all in full details. Might be thinking don’t have to do double work, so just send out one shot! And, that time, I am not using any email list provider, so it’s kind of hard to track who open or click your email.

    Now I am sending out the information piece by piece, start with the teaser and follow by the content and if they really excited to enroll into my seminar, I will send them the link to download the application form and payment options.

    I think this works better! How about you?

    Brett Kelly

    In my (limited) experience, sending a link to a larger piece creates a small bit of friction for the reader and only a percentage of the recipients will click through to read the full article. Plenty of people think otherwise, but that’s what I’ve found.

    Videos like this one are a notable exception to my findings since—obviously—you can’t embed a video in an email. At least, not reliably.

      Jessica Weagle

      You can put videos in an email you just need the right service. I use the Ezine that come with Site Build It



I also wish I had started building my list earlier as well. It’s important that we teach people the big picture. That’s why people aren’t catching on til later, but it’s journey. Love you videos. Keep em coming


For me an email list was a tremendous waste of time. I got far more interaction from my readers from regular ol’ post comments. Interest from advertisers or potential partners was practically nil (the list has about 800 readers). I still have the list but don’t actively promote it. For my site, ads (e.g. pageviews) are THE way to generate revenue.

    Derek Halpern

    Then you didn’t do it right. I can’t give more specific feedback without getting more specific feedback from you.


      “Then you didn’t do it right.”

      …Or my niche’ doesn’t follow the herd. For example I recently tried a little closer integration with FB and got a fair amount of push-back. Seems that a significant portion of my blog readers don’t use FB. My blog is the destination and they don’t really care about alternate streams.

        Derek Halpern

        You’re talking about Facebook.

        I’m talking about email.

        Everyone uses email.

        Not everyone uses Facebook.

Bud Brown

I’m working on an email list, but it’s slow building. Why? Because I started two weeks ago – it just takes time!

I’m working in niche market that is currently under served (terribly so!) but it is rapidly getting legs as the socio-religious landscape in America continues tectonic shifts.

I am building my email list by (1) offering quality freebies that people want; (2) getting on other blogs and commenting, (3) working the social media (FB, Linkedin, Twitter, etc etc) mercilessly and (4) working my friends and colleagues.

All of this is to build a following so people will buy my books when I go to publication.

Love your stuff Derek.

Mattan Griffel

I guess the question is: why are those emails valuable? What do you do with them?

    Rivka Kawano

    If you are posting anything on social media, probably some of that same content could be crafted into an e-mail.

    Many people though just don’t have a content strategy period. The only answer to that is to do the work to get to know your target market and what makes them tick and then become a valuable resource for them. Derek is a great example to follow with this!

    Brett Kelly

    It provides you with the ability to more effectively engage with your audience. Social networks are busy and crowded, but email is one-on-one. Derek is particularly good at this (not to kiss his ass or anything) and has routinely mentioned his practice of asking for replies to his newsletter mailings. Those replies start conversations which, in the longer term, lead to an audience that feels connected (because they are).

    Another plus is user-level tracking. If you’re using a good email provider, you can tell which users opened your email, which users clicked on specific links and, from there, track their level of engagement. This is a somewhat fuzzy science as you get closer to the actual sale, but it’s relatively easy to determine who is reading and clicking your emails and who isn’t.

    The other, more obvious benefit is that email is a good deal harder to ignore than one of a zillion Twitter or Facebook updates, so marketing products or services via email will, in many cases, convert better.

    Kelli P

    You send them your monthly newsletters, updates when you have new products or services, a new blog post, information on a a sale or special promotion. They are valuable because they allow you to keep in touch with people who want to hear from you. (You know they want to hear from you because they told you could contact them when they signed up.) They allow you to maintain a relationship.

    People usually won’t buy from you on the first encounter. So if they come to your website and you don’t get their email to continue the conversation, you might have lost them forever. It could take multiple encounters, so over time the more you send them useful information, the more likely they will be to buy from you eventually.

Lana Vaughan

I have a Standard Theme WordPress based blog and have no idea how to set it up to build a email list. HELP!

    Alex Navas

    Lana, the simplest way to get an email list for the Standard Theme is to use a widget on your sidebar. It should be at the very top even above your personal profile since the goal is go get your visitors to join your list.

    I did notice you had a sign up box further below to subscribe to the blog but the lettering was small and white and hard to see so my guess is you aren’t getting many people to sign up.

    You’ll also need an email marketing service like aweber, icontact or getresponse so you can email your subscribers at will with new blog posts or something else of value.

    Lastly, offer them something enticing like a free report, 7 tips, a video or something more than just subscribe to the blog. For most people, that’s just not enough value to give up their info.

    Hope this helps.

    Alex Navas

    Katy Lowe

    Vertical Response is very inexpensive for smaller email lists…like a penny a person lol something like that! And easy to work with

    Alan Smith

    Lana. . . I use Mail Chimp on my WordPress website and I put together an explanation of how to add it to the sidebar. Derek’s suggestion works! It has helped me tremendously. I hope it helps you too.

    Chihuahua Zero

    Or if you have zlich money (like me), MailChimp is another alternative.

      Charles @ CodeConquest.com

      I tried MailChimp once and was very disappointed. It’s incredibly hard to customize and user-unfriendly. I wouldn’t settle for anything less than AWeber.

        Ellen Jaffe Jones

        Thanks for all of this. I was beginning to think it was me when it came to challenges in customizing with Mail Chimp. How much is AWeber?


          I have never had a problem with Mailchimp and surely you promote whatever you want in your own newsletter? What sort of problems are you having?

      Jeffery Lam

      I am starting to build my email list. But at the moment those emails I collected are from offline and I imported in! I am trying MailChimp right now since it does have a feature where it’s Free for you if you are having subscribers of less than 2000.

      But I am getting to know there are more people using Aweber arounds me, wonder if those features in Aweber not available in MailChimp? Have a thought here, since I am more familiar with MailChimp now, and thinking to upgrade to their paid version. Or should I try out the features in Aweber, only to decide which one suits me?!

      Please advise 🙂


      I don’t think MailChimp allow you to promote products to your list, though.


        That’s true, but if you are just at the beginning of building a List, you wouldn’t be promoting products in the early stages anyway, probably.

        If you use MailChimp free account (up to 12,000 free emails a month) while you are building up numbers and loyalty, you can switch to a paid account later, when you have a big enough list, and want to start promoting products.

    Brett Kelly

    First steps: sign up for an email list provider (Aweber is really good), create an opt-in form (the provider will have tools to help you do this) and put it on your site. From there, test/tweak/optimize 🙂


      Thanks Brett, I had no idea how to add the opt-in form.


      Brett Kelly is right on!

      Always test and tweak! I’ve just reached 2,600 subscribers. Woot woot!

        Martha Preston

        Wow thats amazing how long did that take? I just started mine and I only 22 people on my list I am trying to increase it.

        Ellen Jaffe Jones

        do you know if you can convert easily from mail chimp to Aweber?


          Aweber does indeed let you import subscribers, as long as you can show that they were added from a double opt-in system.

          Contact aweber support, and tell them you want to transfer your list from Mail Chimp, and they will walk you through the rest.

          Beau Blackwell


          Unfortunately not really, since Aweber won’t let you import subscriber lists. You pretty much have to start your list over unless you can get people to re-opt in.

          If you have a specific reason to switch from MailChimp, I think you could use icontact or getresponse, as I believe they both let you import your subscriber list.

          Hope that helps!

Jessica Weagle

I send an email to my clients every week. And I get far more people paying attention to my emails now than my facebook and twitter page. And I also have it sent up so clients can read my back issues of my newsletters.


    That is cool Jessica 🙂 How do you set that up? Are you with AWeber?

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