How to Build Your List Like A Pro

This blog post is the first in a three-part series laying out the steps to successfully build your list using a solid foundation on which you can build. I will explain how to lay the groundwork necessary for the best chance of success with building your list while keeping it simple.

This be groundwork necessary for the best chance of success with building your list while keeping it simple.

As a business owner you are fully aware that leads are a key ingredient to keeping the clients or customers coming in. You’ve done your research and know you need to setup a form on the website and get the leads coming to you. Don’t start in the middle like many business owners that come to me have done. Instead, follow these key steps before putting up a form and considering making a decision on which service to use.

Know Your Audience

This may sound familiar if you have been doing research for marketing your business online. Knowing your audience affects nearly everything pertaining to your business. You should have already researched to understand how to best position your brand and product or service and if you haven’t started your research stop now and complete that. Go ahead, I can wait… (Wait! Don’t forget to bookmark this to come back to later.)

Tips and Tools for Market Research

…ok, now that is finished…

Create a list

Offer a benefit or bonus for signing up to your list, whether simply stating the benefit of staying informed, providing a bonus digital download or free access to specific content, a discount or something else. Before you decide what you would like to offer, you need to create a list of what your audience wants and needs. This list could include their anxieties, questions, problems, etc., that relate to the business, product or service. Don’t be afraid to note issues that may not directly be related to your business as you brainstorm.

When your list is complete, put it aside and come back to it later. I find that my brain clears out and I can come up with some better ideas when I do that. Finally, choose one of these to address and create an offer specifically for this want or need.

Compare Offers

Before writing out your offer, visit other sites or blogs and compare how they present their offers. It isn’t necessary to visit only competitors or sites that provide the same type of offer. I recommend that you visit a wide variety of sites that might appeal to your audience. Note similarities or differences. Specifically pay attention if they follow a similar style of wording, how they mention the privacy policy, tell subscribers what they will receive or other commonalities or oddities.

(Disclaimer: Similarities do not signify these businesses have it correct or that it will work best for you. However, it will provide you with a solid starting point.)

Apply this recently earned knowledge to craft your offer by including commonalities and staying away from those you considered inferior examples.

Pro tip: Regional laws and regulations may require that you have specific information available on or near the form and how your list data may be used or stored. In addition to researching your regional requirements, you also need to understand the requirements of the region your visitors may be in.

Check out these resources if you have a primarily North American audience.

  • CAN-SPAM Act - US regulations for commercial email
  • CASL Act - Canadian anti-spam legislation pertaining to all electronic messages

Map It

The previous steps were significant, yet the following is critical. It is imperative that you map out the process the visitor will experience when subscribing and redeeming the offer in order to ensure click here it works perfectly. A flawed process for your consumer with missing steps or a complexity greater than required cancels out all the work you put into creating the ideal offer, since frustrated subscribers will unsubscribe or worse, ignore you.

Use a mind mapping tool to map out the complete flow. Start with the visitor landing on the page and map each touch point from filling out the form, landing on the thank you page, clicking the confirmation email, all the way through the cycle. Doing this will assist you in choosing the correct plugins, tools and services in order to provide the smooth experience your subscribers deserve and expect. Also, while creating your flow map consider how you plan to continue communicating with your subscribers.

  • Will you send multiple types of messages?
    • Event or brand newsletter,
    • Blog subscription
    • New content or offer notices related to their history
  • What is the initial purpose and final goal of these messages?
  • Is the ability to continue to communicate one type of message essential if they unsubscribe?

The answers to these questions will come in handy in the upcoming blog post in this series on successfully setting up your list right the first time (or the second).


How do you plan out your list building? Post any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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Robi Garcia

My name is Robi Garcia. I write the YV Digital Marketing blog and I'm the owner of YV Digital Marketing, a full service digital marketing agency.

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