21 Remarkable List Building Strategies To Get More Subscribers

List Building

Picture this…

One little change boosts your website’s email conversions by 208.8%.

Better yet:

What if I handed you 21 little changes that drove 100s or 1,000s more qualified leads to your business?

Maybe you could take that vacation you’ve been sitting on or buy that new car you’ve been eyeing?

Let’s face it, most bloggers out there just regurgitate stuff about how to grow your email list without actually putting any of their ideas into action.

But you don’t want list building strategies that someone hasn’t tried before…

You want proven strategies to get more leads and customers, right?


As chance would have it, I have 21 list building strategies that you can use to get more subscribers that have been proven to work for me and my friends.

1. Use Content Upgrade Lightboxes

If you want to convert your website visitors to email subscribers, then the content upgrade lightbox flat out works.

It’s a small tweak that you add to your blog posts.

Here’s why this strategy works so well:

If your visitors enjoy reading your content, they will want to hear from you more often.

With content upgrade lightboxes, your visitors can simply click a link to get another piece of content from you that relates to or summarizes the content in your post.

Take a look at this example:


Content upgrade lightboxes make subscribing to your email list a breeze.

It also offers the opportunity to shower your visitors with more valuable content, boosting your know, like and trust with them like a rocket.

Here are step-by-step instructions for setting up your own content upgrade lightbox:

Step #1: Create your content upgrade

To create a content upgrade, you need to throw out the old school marketer’s “Lead Magnet” rules.

You know what I’m talking about…

No publishing 5-page “eBooks” with the hope that it will grow your list.

Yes, you could convince your readers to opt-in, but on the other side, you’ll just be put out to pasture in their minds and replaced by your competition.

Your content upgrade must deliver real value.

These 4 types of content upgrades are reader and conversion-friendly:

#1: The one-page checklist: Offers a repeatable process that’s easy to implement.

#2: The cliffhanger: Adds more value to your existing content, for example, by giving 2 or 3 additional strategies in a list post.

#3: The insanely long spreadsheet: Lists ridiculously valuable data, such as contact details for writers, guest blogging sites ranked by domain authority and difficulty, etc. (see this example: content upgrade in the Ultimate Guest Blogging Guide)

#3: The step-by-step video tutorial: A screen-recording walk-through video tutorial that reveals the exact process for a unique or technical process (see this example: the content upgrade video in my Lead Magnets post).

Step #2: Use LeadPages to setup a two-step opt-in lightbox

To setup a two-step opt-in lightbox, I recommend using Leadboxes by Leadpages or the GrowTheme by Jascha Brinkmann.

You can also use other tools, but LeadBoxes is the best solution for this.

To get started, head over to LeadPages.net.

After you sign up or log in, click Leadboxes in the top navigation bar and Create New Leadbox.


Here you can setup your lightbox.

Enter a headline, upload a content upgrade icon or image, and integrate it with your email marketing provider.

I prefer to replace their default download icon with a free flat icon from FlatIcons.


Click “Save” and then publish to grab the code you need to add this Leadbox to your website.

It’s good practice to use consistency when naming your Leadboxes and Leadpages so you can find them more easily later after you’ve amassed dozens of them.

Here’s the naming convention I use:

{[Blog Name Abbreviation – Type of Optin Abbreviation]} {Topic Name or Post Title}

[MD-CU] The Ultimate Guest Blogging Guide

In other words, [MarketDoc – Content Upgrade] My Guest Blogging Guide Article.

Step #3: Finally, create an alert box for your website

Once you’ve created a Leadbox, it’s time to create your alert box.

Here’s what a standard alertbox looks like:

This is where visitors click to get the Leadbox pop-up.

There are at least two good options for creating an alert box:

Option #1: Simple Alert Box plugin

Simple Alert Box is a WordPress plugin that can easily create an alert box in any blog post.

Noah Kagan, the founder of SumoMe, also uses this plugin for his blog Okdork.com.

So if you’re someone who doesn’t want to mess around with code, then this is the best option.

Option #2: Add custom CSS to your Style.css file

If you are a bit geeky and want to give your alert box a more customized look, then custom CSS is the best option.

Here’s the custom CSS for adding an alert box:

<div style=”border:1px solid #e5e597; padding:1.2em; background-color:#f9f0bb;”>

[Enter your alert box text] <a href=”[your leadbox link]” target=”_blank”>Your Call to Action</a>


Here’s an example of the custom CSS I use for one of my blog posts:

<div class=”bonus”><strong>Exclusive Post Bonus</strong>: <a href=”[leadbox link]”>Download</a> a free content promotion strategies eBook to get more traffic and clients without creating any new content.</div>

2. Hack Your Welcome Mat

Navid Moazzez‘s Exit Intent Full Screen Pop-Up

A welcome mat can change any page on your website to a high-converting lead generation machine.

Here are the results I got from using a SumoMe Welcome Mat for certain articles I’ve published on this website:

Welcome Mat Data.png

What’s more, the average conversion rate every time my readers see a Welcome Mat on my website is 7.18%.

Take that to the list building strategies bank!

With a welcome mat you could:

  • Offer a multi-day email course or a resource guide.
  • Pitch an evergreen webinar.

Welcome Mat Example.png

To create an irresistible welcome mat, try these tips:

Tip #1: Create relevant offers for specific pages

When a person visits your website and sees a welcome mat, they have three options:

Option #1 – Enter their email address

Option #2 – Close the welcome mat and continue browsing

Option #3 – Leave your website all together!

To avoid Option #3, you MUST offer a compelling reason to opt-in.

Use headline text that agitates the pain points of your typical reader.

In other words, explain what it feels like to go through those pains.

Describe the relevant sensations of misery and unhappiness.

If your website visitors find your welcome mat copy engaging, they’ll opt-in.

For example, Pat Flynn uses this welcome mat to get more affiliate sales.

Here are other offers you can use to get people to convert:

  1. Content upgrades for the blog post.
  2. A popular lead magnet on your home page or about page.
  3. A free consulting session for your service page.
  4. Discounts for your best-selling product.

I recommend A/B testing your Welcome Mat offers and headlines with SumoMe Pro.

Tip #2: Spend 80% of your time writing a Headline and CTA

The next step is to craft your headline and call-to-action.

If you strike a chord with your audience, the reader will enter his email to receive more of your content. Here are some awesome headline and call-to-action examples:

welcome mat.png

The guys at The Muse, who designed this snazzy welcome mat, did 2 things well:

  1. Used a captivating headline with a clear hook: “You Deserve A Career You’ll Love”
  2. Added a Yes/No-style call-to-action with alternating colors that uses psychology to get your email

Another outstanding example is from the SumoMe blog:


The SumoMe guys are king when it comes to creating captivating welcome mats.

While the average industry rate of a welcome mat is about 1.76%, the above example converts at 21%.

What makes this Welcome Mat convert so well?

  1. The headline text makes an attractive promise that SumoMe’s audience desires: “Make $15,000 in 28 Hours”.
  2. The offer is clear and simple: get a 1-page checklist and the exact templates and scripts that made that result possible.

Tip #3: Split test with multiple variations

As I mentioned earlier, you should split test your welcome mats with multiple variations.


Split tests can help you identify the winning variation for increasing your welcome mat’s conversion rate.

If a split test can add just 1 email subscriber each day. Then, at the end of the year, you’ll have 365 more email subscribers

So, start split testing your welcome mats.

But, how should you start?

Here are 4 elements to test with your welcome mat:

  1. Headline copy
  2. Call-to-Action
  3. Background (video or static image)
  4. Color

3. Launch A Virtual Summit Or a Short Film Festival

How to launch a virtual summit

This year, I launched a 70+ speaker summit called the “Content Promotion Summit”.

It was one of the most effective list building strategies I’ve used over the past year.

The summit gave me an excuse to:

  • Add 10,000 subscribers to my email list
  • Create an evergreen digital product
  • Forge new relationships with influencers like Laura Roeder, Larry Kim, John Jantsch and Sujan Patel
  • Improve my interviewing skills

Needless to say, the event was a hit.

If you want to see these kinds of results consider launching a virtual summit as well.

My good friend Navid Moazzez is the virtual summit expert.

To launch a virtual summit, I recommend this 3-step approach:

Step #1: Figure out the big idea and plan out all the details you can

Virtual summits and short film festivals need tons of planning.

Here are some planning considerations:

● What’s your big idea?

● Who are the influencers you want on board?

● When is the launch date?

● What is the promotional strategy?


You’ll need to plan all of these things ahead of time.

Step #2: Warm up your influencers and invite them

Once you’re done with the planning stage, start warming up your influencers.

This is important because you need to have some kind of connection with them before inviting them to your summit.

For example, Alex Turnbull of GrooveHQ used this small 1-week engagement checklist to build relationship with the influencers:

Source: https://www.groovehq.com/blog/1000-subscribers

Similarly, warm up influencers by building a relationship with them before you invite them to your event.

Step #3: Create a pre-launch landing page and start building your email list

Finally, create a pre-launch landing page.

Not only will this help you get super-interested email subscribers before your launch, but it will also validate your product idea.

How to launch a short film festival

An alternative to creating a virtual summit is a short film festival that motivates your readers to take action.

Bryan Harris and the team at Videofruit did a terrific job of this ahead of the Fall 2016 launch for Bryan’s flagship course, Get 10,000 Subscribers.

Instead of creating standard pre-launch content that walks people through your story arc in a 3-part video series, Bryan used a different approach.

He hired a video team to record a 3-part documentary series that presented the stories of 3 entrepreneurs who overcame the odds stacked against them to build successful businesses on their own terms.


These moving videos led to awesome testimonials from well-known influencers:


The film festival turned out a success, giving influencers a good reason to email their lists about the event while nurturing these new subscribers with outstanding pre-launch content ahead of Bryan’s course launch.

I can’t recommend enough that you try one of these events for growing your email list.

4. Run Perpetual Retargeting Campaigns

Retargeting works in this manner:

1. A visitor visits your site.

2. They reaches a landing page but chooses not to opt-it.

3. They gets tagged with a cookie or tracking pixel.

4. They get targeted ads directing them back to your content and products.

Now, the reason this works so well is that it’s easier to sell to a person who knows about you versus someone who has never heard of you before.

So, how do you start a retargeting campaign?

Well, here are 3 steps you can use right now:

Step #1: Install Facebook pixel the right way

You want to install Facebook Pixel to track visitors and conversions.

To do that, go to Facebook Ads and click Pixels under the Assets menu.


Next, click “Actions,” and choose “View Pixel Code.”


Copy the Pixel code from the pop-up and paste it in between the <head> HTML tags on your website. If you can’t figure this out, just hire a developer on Fiverr to do it for you.

I recommend using Google Tag Manager since it makes adding, updating or removing tracking and analytics tags simple.

Step #2: Setup a custom audience

Here you’re going to create two custom audiences in Facebook:

1. All website visitors

2. “Thank You” page visitors

You want to create two custom audiences so you can target the people who visited your website but exclude people who visit your “Thank you” confirmation page.


…First, you’re going to create an audience of website visitors.

Do this by clicking “Create audience” and then choose “Custom audience.” Now, select “Website Visitors” to build your first mailing list.


Give it a name and click “Create Audience.”

Now it’s time to create the second audience of visitors who reached your “Thank You” page.

To create this audience, click “Create Audience,” choose “Custom Audience,” and select “Website Visitors.”


This time instead of selecting “Anyone who visits your website,” select “People who visit specific web pages.”


Name your audience and hit Create Audience.

Step #3: Create your retargeting campaign

We have the pixel and audience ready, it’s time to create the advertising campaign.

To get started, click “Create Advert” and select “Increase conversions” as your campaign objective.


In audience include “Website Visitors” and exclude the custom audience who visited your thank you page.

Now, choose ad place, budget, and create your ad.

That’s it!

You now have a high converting retargeting campaign directed to people who know you but haven’t subscribed to your blog.

5. Re-launch Existing Content

How do you get more traffic from old yet popular content?

You might send a tweet or an email to your audience. But that never makes any difference.

One the other hand, you can follow the Brian Dean’s example. He wrote an awesome guide: “White Hat SEO Case Study: How To Get a #1 Ranking.”

The content gained a lot of traction: 100+ links, 2,000+ shares, and tons of email subscribers.

But, he realized that this traction decreased over the time.

So this year, Brian re-launched the guide and made it more comprehensive.


The result was: a 260.72% increase in organic traffic and tons of new backlinks; further, the post went from the #7 spot to the #4 spot in Google.

Another example is the Vero Blog.

They updated this blog post and got tons of new traffic.

Clearly, the content relaunch strategy works.

So how to get started? Here are 3 steps:

Step #1: Find an old piece of content

It’s easy to find an old piece of content. Go to Google Analytics and find a page whose organic traffic is dropping.


If you find one, then it’s the one that needs the content re-launch.

Step #2: Make it 10x better

Add more information to your content.


Make it more visually appealing.


Add more examples and case studies.


Step #3: Promote the heck out of it

To promote, find the people who have previously shared this content. Buzzsumo is an awesome tool for that.

Here’s a video that shows how to do that:

<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/167577097″ width=”640″ height=”400″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

Next, find people who linked to your content. You can use Open Site Explorer for this.

Now, reach out to these people and ask them to share your content.


Even if they don’t agree never stop improving by learning more advanced content promotion strategies.

6. Perform Content Pre-Outreach

Pre-outreach is a proven way to make sure your content gets a few hits before you write it.

As an example:

For my guest blogging guide, I got 45 people who were interested in reading it.

I always recommend creating a pre-outreach campaign, before you write a single word.

Here’s how to get started:

Step #1: Go to Buzzsumo.com and enter the URL of a similar blog post.

buzzsumo sharers.png

Step #2: Click view sharers. Then, uncheck “Companies” and check “Ignore Broadcasters.”


Step #3: Export this list and download it as a CSV.


Step #4: Upload this list to an email prospecting tool like Voila Norbert.


Step #5: Download the email address of this list.

Step #6: Finally, reach out to these people and ask them if they’d be interested in this guide.

7. Launch A Viral Giveaway + Reddit Ads

Giveaways rock!

Here are the results of some recent giveaways I ran:


With viral giveaways, people have gotten some pretty crazy results:

200k email addresses in 11 days

147,973 email subscribers by giving away stuff

2,239 email subscribers in 10 days

The point is, giveaways flat out work.

Combine them with Reddit ads, and you’ll have a great source of cheap, qualified leads right there.

Here is a step-by-step guide to promoting your giveaway via Reddit ads:

Step #1: Pick some products to give away

This is really important. The product you choose to give away determines your giveaway’s virality.

So spend some time thinking about it.

Then come up with an enticing headline such as:

Dropbox Pro for a Lifetime


LeadPages Pro for a Decade


Step #2: Set up your giveaway page

Kingsumo Giveaways is the best tool for quickly setting up a giveaway page.

Check out this video to learn how to setup a giveaway using Kingsumo Giveaways:


Step #3: Find 10-15 relevant subreddits

Once your giveaway is ready, it’s time to identify 10-15 relevant subreddits for your product.

To do that:

List 5-10 keywords related to your product. Search for these keywords in Reddit.

Reddit will show you the list of the subreddits where your keyword is mentioned.


Continue doing this until you’ve found 10-15 subreddits that may be interested in getting your product.

Step #4: Start with a small $5-$10 ads for each subreddit

Next, you need to create one Reddit ad for each subreddit. To do this, go to the Reddit advertising page.

Create your campaign with a smaller budget.


Also, you want to create a different copy for each subreddit.

Step #5: Stop the ads that don’t work and scale up those that are working

After following steps #1-4, you’ll have almost 15 ads promoting your giveaway.

Monitor these ads closely; identify the ads which can be improved and which can be stopped.

Finally, increase the budget for those ads that are performing the best.

8. Launch A Kickstarter Campaign

If you have any kind of email list, then you can leverage this list to generate more leads.

How do you do that?

A Kickstarter campaign is one of the best ways.

Not only can you raise money for a new product, it can help you attract viral growth.

Take Cathryn and Allen, the creators of Self Journal, as an example: they built an email list of 3,235 people in 3 months, and raised $15,000 for Self Journal within 28 hours by using this email list.

And now, they have an email list of over 70,000 people within only 18 months of their initial Kickstarter campaign.


Impressive, isn’t it?

So how do you do this?

Here’s a 3-step approach that will help you:

Step #1: Build a pre-launch email list

The most important thing you need for a Kickstarter campaign is email subscribers.

They will be the ones who will give your campaign a boost in its initial days.

This initial boost is necessary to get promoted as a featured project on Kickstarter.

Assume you need to either exceed your campaign goal in the first 24 hours or get enough “pledge velocity” to get noticed by Kickstarter’s team to be considered a featured project.

To build a pre-launch email list, create a pre-launch landing page…

And start executing the strategies in this post.

Step #2: Launch your Kickstarter Campaign

Write a 3-part pre-launch email sequence that follows the PAS copywriting framework:

  • Email #1 – Problem
  • Email #2 – Agitate
  • Email #3 – Solve

To learn more about the 3-part pre-launch sequence that Cathryn and Allen used to launch the

On the launch date of your campaign, ask your subscribers to support your campaign by pledging some money.

With that, you also want to ensure that your campaign page is clear, descriptive, and appealing.

For that, Joanna Wiebe has written an awesome article, which will help you.

Step #3: Promote your campaign and keep engaging with subscribers

To make your project successful, promote it far and wide. Here are some promotional techniques:

  • Hire a marketing agency like Funded Today to run Facebook Ads to your campaign.
  • Publish awesome guest posts on high-traffic websites.
  • Engage with people on Facebook groups.
  • Launch a remarketing campaign targeting people who visited your pre-launch landing page but didn’t pledge.
  • Post your campaign in communities and forums, including in Facebook Groups. Engage with them and answer their questions.
  • Start giving more gifts to your backers.
  • Partner with other Kickstarter projects to cross-promote each other’s campaigns.

That said, you also want to continue communicating with your backers.


Give them product and goal updates, all the while continuing to add more value to your campaign.

9. Run Facebook Video Ads

Here are some facts you need to know:

In 2016, Social Media Marketer Report by Buffer stated 83% of marketers would create more video content if only they had more time and resources.

What’s more, Buffer also reported that Facebook favors video content and the video stands out in the Facebook News Feed.

So, if you’re looking to generate leads by creating videos, now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon.

For the best results consider spending a few hundred dollars on video content.

Here’s how to get started creating Facebook ads:

#1: Create Engaging Videos

Creating a video is a tedious, expensive, and resource-intensive task. But, you can use simple tools to record and edit your videos.

Here are some tools:

  • iPhone or Android: To record simple face-to-face videos.
  • Camtasia or Screenflow: To record your screen.
  • Apple iMovie or Windows Movie Maker: To edit your videos.
  • Lightworks (Windows/Mac): To edit videos with a lightweight and simple tool

But still, if you have any hesitation, you can use slideshow format to create Facebook ads.

Learn more about it here.

#2: Promote Your Videos for Engagement

Once you’ve created an engaging video, it’s time to promote it by spending a few hundred dollars.

For that, I recommend choosing “Video Views” as your campaign objective.


Continue setting up your audience, targeting options, budget, format and media.


And finally, click “Create the campaign.”

#3: Remarket to Video Viewers

This is how you’ll generate leads.

Here, you’ll promote your landing page to those people who watched your video and know about your business.

For this, you need to create a new audience.

So go to Facebook Audiences.

Click “Create Audience,” choose “Custom Audience,” followed by “Engagement on Facebook,” and select “Video.”


Select engagement as “People who watched 25% of your video,” and select your video.


Name your audience, and finally, click “Create Audience.”

Now to remarket your video, create a new campaign. This time you want to set “Increase conversions” as your objective.

And, set your video viewers as your audience.

This way you’ll have a fully functional marketing funnel within an hour.

10. Turn Your Best Article Into A Lead Magnet

A few months ago, I posted this awesome article: 21 Content Promotion Strategies That Will Triple Your Traffic.

The article resulted in over 60 comments and hundreds of new email subscribers.

So to keep building on that momentum, I converted the article into an ebook.

Here’s how you can do the same:

#1: Find the most popular content

It’s a piece of cake!

Go to Google Analytics.

On the right side, select “All Pages” under the “Behavior” tab.


Now, Google Analytics will show you the most visited page on your website.

Another way is to use Buzzsumo.

Go to Buzzsumo.com and enter your website domain.

And Buzzsumo will show you most shared content on your site.

#2: Structure your content

Once you’ve found the article you’re going to use for the lead magnet, it’s time to structure this content.

Here you need to structure your content.


Add more depth step-by-step advice to your content.


#3: Hire a designer to design the ebook

You’ve written your ebook; now you need to get it designed. A good design is important because you don’t want your ebook to look cheap.

In fact, you want your ebook to look premium so that more people opt-in.

For that, hire a designer from any of these sites:





And make your ebook go from awesome to awesomer.

11. Promote Your Best Lead Magnet On Product Hunt

My content promotion ebook didn’t attract email subscribers by chance. Luck had nothing to do with it.

It’s because I spent time on content promotion.

One method that worked extremely well was promoting the eBook on Product Hunt.

The Product Hunt community alone sent my site over 3,000 unique visitors in 24 hours.

Here’s how to replicate my success:

#1: Start building a relationship with PH influencers.

Product Hunt works on upvotes.

So it’s nearly impossible for new members to get their product in front of the community.

The best way to approach is by building connections with members who have some authority.

Again, you’ll find strategy #13 handy in this.

#2: Ask the influencer to post your ebook in the community

Once you have some kind of connection with these influencers, ask them to post the ebook for you.

Here’s an email script you can use for this:

Hi [First Name],

Hope you’re doing well!

As you love reading about [Topic], I want to share something that you might find valuable.

I’ve just finished writing an eBook: [Magnet Title]

Is it cool if I share it with you?

Let me know.

Now, once the influencer responds to you, send him the ebook and ask him to post it in Product Hunt. Here’s an email template for this:


Here’s the ebook:

Hope you find it valuable.

Another thing, would you mind posting it inside Product Hunt?

No problem, if not.

P.S. Happy to pay you for your efforts 🙂

#3: Finally, respond to comments in the community and grab more upvotes


If any authoritative member posts your ebook for you, then chances are you will get some quick upvotes.

To continue getting more traction, respond to questions from the community members; and genuinely help them.

12. Improve Your Email Deliverability

A bigger email list doesn’t always mean more revenue.

Your revenue and sales depend on how many people receive your email in their inbox instead of the spam folder. If your emails aren’t getting delivered, you’re in big trouble.

And there are three technologies to ensure that your mail where it needs to be. They are:

1. Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

2. Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)

3. Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC)

In layman’s terms, these three technologies send your message, authenticate it, and instruct recipient of what to do with the message.

In short, if you have a clean sender reputation, you’re good to go.

So how do you ensure that?

Well, here are some tips:

Tip #1: Use your custom domain

Most email marketing providers use their own domain and IP address for sending the email.

This often leads to low email deliverability rates. Using your own domain has three clear benefits:

It removes the default authentication information (“via [your EMP domain]”) that displays next to the “From” name.


1. It helps your emails to arrive in the Inbox, rather than in spam or junk folder.

2. It causes Gmail to automatically load images without asking for permission.

So why not use your custom domain?!

To do this, you need to find the instruction for your email marketing provider. A quick Google search like this:

Email authentication [Name of your EMP]

Would find the support articles for setting up your custom domain.

Tip #2: Get your emails to land in primary tab

The best way to ensure your email always lands in the “Primary” tab is by sending it your own Gmail address.

This is how it works:

#1: Write any email in your email marketing provider.

#2: Before sending it to the whole list, send a test email to your Gmail account.


#3: Next, if it lands in Primary tab, you’re good to go.

#4: If it doesn’t, do some tweaks to your email like changing the subject line, removing some links, adding images, or so on.

#5: Again, send it your Gmail account and continue tweaking until it shows up in the Primary tab.

#6: If your email is landing in Primary tab, then send it to your email list.

Tip #3: Build permissions based mailing list

Your email deliverability depends upon your reputation. If you have a bad mailing list, you’ll get a lot of reports.

And that only hurts your reputation and deliverability.

So, never purchase your list or scrape websites for emails.

Follow the strategies listed in this article, and you’ll have a permission-based list of email subscribers that wants to hear from you.

13. Turn Influencers Into Best Friends

The best way to build your authority within any niche or industry is to build a connection with top influencers.

Sure it’s not easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I’ve done it and you can too.

For example, I interviewed Sujan Patel and became friends with him as a result.


Here’s how:

#1: Create a list of influencers in your industry.

It’s easy to find top influencers in your industry.

A quick Google search like this:

top [industry] experts

would bring hundreds of influencers in your niche.

Another thing you want to do is classify these influencers in three tiers. It helps you to allocate your resources and time for each influencer.

#2: Send each influencer an email and ask them for an interview

To make your pitch irresistible, give them a clear reason why they should be interviewed by you.

In my case, I said:

Hey [First Name],

Hope you’re doing well. I always enjoy reading [INSERT THE NAME OF ONE OF THEIR PIECES OF CONTENT].

I’d love to chat with you and briefly video interview you about your [NAME A SPECIFIC TOPIC] and feature your experience to my audience ([INSERT YOUR EMAIL LIST SIZE] subs).

Do you have a few minutes to talk via Skype sometime this week or next?

If so, what day and time work best for you?


[Your Name]

PS: More than happy to pay you for the time.

#3: Record the interview and post on your site.

If the influencers agree to get interviewed, record that interview.

Here’re some tools you can use to record the interview:


ECamm Call Recorder (Mac)

Free Video Call Recorder (Windows)

Now, post this recording in any of your blog posts and share it with those influencers.

That’s it!

This is the 3-step approach I used to become friends with Sujan Patel.

14. Use Similar Web To Find Your Competitors’ Big Traffic Sources

Look at what your competitors are doing.

This is the best strategy to build your business. Your niche doesn’t matter.

In a similar way, if you want to attract traffic, look at what are the biggest traffic sources for your competitors.

And the Similar Web is a precious tool for that purpose.

You can use it to get the traffic sources for any competitor’s site.

And then use them to bring untapped traffic.

To get started:

Head over to Similarweb.com and enter your competitor’s URL.

This will give you all the traffic data, like:

Top referring sites


Top social channels


Audience interests, similar sites, and more.

15. Launch an Affiliate Program

Affiliates can be really powerful in growing your business. They can send you:

● More traffic

● More leads

● More customers

And the best part?

You only pay them when you get a sale. That means you’re getting email subscribers for very few dollars.

For example:

I used affiliates to launch one of my products. And the result?

Over 10,000 leads and $50,000 in sales.

Here’s a 3-step approach to achieve this as well:

#1: Find gold quality affiliates

More affiliates doesn’t mean more sales. In fact, only about 3-4 affiliates will send you 80% of your affiliate traffic.

So it’s vital for you to only pick affiliates who have some online reputation and are super-interested in promoting your product.

The best way to find top affiliates is to use Facebook Groups.

So head over to Facebook, search for “JV Partners.”

Then, look for JV partners of top courses or products in your industry.

The members of these groups are the one who will become your affiliates.

#2: Reach out to them

Once you’ve found potential affiliates for your launch, it’s time to contact them and find the ones who might be interested in promoting your product launch.

Here’s the script I used to contact my potential affiliates:

Subject: Quick question {{firstname}}

Hey {{firstname}},

I saw that you were promoting a similar product recently and thought of you for something we have coming up.

In two weeks, I am launching [Product Name]. It’s similar to past products/services you’ve promoted, but focuses on helping [Target Audience] [Achieve A Specific Result].

If you are interested, let me know. Love to share more info with you.



#3: Keep engaging with your affiliates throughout your launch

Finally, you must encourage your affiliates to keep promoting your product. You can do this by:

● Congratulating them for their result

● Sharing an affiliate case study

● Increasing their revenue share

You can even build anticipation by setting up a closing date for the product launch.

Enlisting affiliates is one of the highest impact and most economic list building strategies out there.

16. Ask Subscribers to Share Your Content With Friends

Your email subscribers are some of the most engaged readers of your website.

I’d call this the “low hanging fruit” of list building strategies.

And asking subscribers to share your content is an awesome way to bring more traffic to your blog.

It’s because you already have a group of die-hard fans who would love to share your content with their friends and followers.

And to make this happen, you just need to apply a few tips:

Tip #1: Add a social sharing button or call-to-action link in your emails

Whenever you’re sharing new content with your subscribers, consider adding social sharing buttons to your email.

For example, check out this email from Alex Turnbull, the founder of Groove:


He uses a pre-populated tweet to make sharing super easy for email subscribers.

To generate this tweetable link, go to clicktotweet.com.

Enter your tweet and the URL for the content. Click “Generate New Link” to get a tweetable link.


Tip #2: Ask subscribers to share content in your welcome email

Your welcome email is the most opened email. So it’s always a good trick to get the most out of this email.

For example, Jenny Shih encourages new subscribers to tweet about her lead magnet.


Tip #3: Embed “Forward this email” in your emails

Another great trick for inspiring subscribers to share your content is to enable the “Forward this email” link in your emails.

Check out this email from James Clear.


He added a small link to make it super easy for subscribers to forward his email.

17. Stop Using a Double Confirm Or Confirmation Page

While some may argue that a double opt-in gives you a high-quality email list, it’s really not the case.

In fact, by using a single opt-in and removing confirmation page, you’re removing all the barriers that prevent more email subscriptions.

And this is the reason I don’t use the double opt-in.

However, if you still don’t want to use the double opt-in option, consider using Smartbribe.com by Videofruit.

It encourages subscribers to share your content to receive more gifts.

One of the classic examples that uses this strategy is the marketing of Harry’s.

At Harry’s pre-launch, they gathered around 100,000 email subscribers; out of which 65,000 subscribers were from referrals.

Source: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2014/07/21/harrys-prelaunchr-email/

Similarly, you can use Smart Bribe to encourage your subscribers to refer more customers.

To get started, head over to Smart Bribe and sign up for a free account.

18. Give Free Advice To People With Big Lists

If you’re able to build relationships with major influencers and bloggers in your industry, then you can quickly build your mailing list.

For example,

During the early years of Social Triggers, Derek Halpern connected with major players like Lewis Howes, Laura Roeder, and Jay Baer.

He went on to review each one of their sites. And uploaded these videos on YouTube.


The result?

He grew Social Triggers quickly: going from 0 to 26,000 subscribers in 13 months. And not to mention the authority boost he got due to these efforts.

How can you apply this?

#1: Pick one topic to be an expert in

That’s extremely important.

You can’t be an expert in everything. You have to find the one thing in which you’re the best.

Derek Halpern connected with these influencers because he was positioning himself as a CRO expert.

Similarly, find your expertise.

It might be:

● Emotion-based conversion rate optimization

● Building a paleo diet schedule

● Planning out product launches

It can be anything.

#2: Identify the influencers who you can help

Once you know your expertise, you want to identify those big players who are facing the problem you can solve

To do this:

● Read their blog

● Read their tweets

● Read their Facebook status updates

#3: Connect with these influencers

Next, you want to connect with these influencers.

At this stage, you won’t be pitching anything. You’ll just share their content and give them small compliments to build some connection.

Once you have a connection with these influencers, now’s the time to reach out to them and show how can you help.

The best way to reach out is by sending a video in email.

Devesh Khanal, for example, landed a $10k contract from Brian Dean because he sent an awesome video proposal.

Here’s the email he sent:

Source: http://videofruit.com/blog/recurring-revenue/

And here’s the video proposal he sent:

[video_player type=”youtube” youtube_remove_logo=”Y” width=”560″ height=”315″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cueW91dHViZS5jb20vd2F0Y2g/dj1mSm13b0Q5cV9Zaw==[/video_player]

19. Host & Promote Free “No Pitch” Webinars

From Content Marketing Institute:

Over 60% of marketers are using webinars as part of their content marketing strategy.

It’s simply because these webinar viewers build your business on steroids.

They not only help you generate more sales, but also generate more leads.

You can use it as one of your go-to list building strategies by running retargeting ads to register for your upcoming webinars.

But unfortunately, many marketers are using webinars just to promote their products.

That’s why when you host and promote webinars without any sales pitch, you can build stronger relationships with prospects.

And these prospects, most of the time, refer more prospects to you; helping you to grab more sales and leads.

The best way to get started is by promoting someone else’s webinar.


This not only gives you the experience of running a webinar, but it also helps to show your expertise.

Here’re some tips for promoting a webinar:

#1: Start by sending an email to your list at least one week before the event.

#2: Limit the number of attendees to build scarcity.

#3: Use surveys and polls to gather more data about the audience.

#4: The best days to host your webinar are Tuesday or Wednesday.

#5: Repurpose your webinar into a blog post or a video.

20. Remarket to Past Unsubscribers

There’s one neglected list that we tend to forget all the time.

This is your unsubscriber list. Just because a person unsubscribes from your list doesn’t necessarily mean you should delete him from your email list.

Sure, you don’t want to send him any email until he re-subscribes.

But, you can use your unsubscriber list to run cost-effective retargeting ads.

Since the unsubscriber already knows you and your business, he is more likely to optin again with his email address.

It just needs a little push from your side.

Here’s how:

Step #1: Download the CSV file of unsubscribers

If you have a list of people who unsubscribed from your blog then download this list. Otherwise, you have to contact your email marketing provider to see if they have the list.

The best thing you can do from your side is use Zapier to automatically add unsubscribers to a Google sheet.

To get started, go to Zapier and create a new account.

Then click “New Zap.” Select your email marketing provider.


Next, chose “Unsubscribe” as a trigger. Connect your Zapier account with your email marketing provider.


Next, select Google Sheet.

Click “Create Spreadsheet Row.” Now, connect your Google Sheet account with Zapier.

Here, select your spreadsheet, sheet number and row where you want to add the email addresses of the unsubscribers.


Finally, name this Zap, and turn it on.

From now on, your unsubscribers will be added to this Google Sheet.

Step #2: Create a custom audience in Facebook

There’s no point in creating a remarketing campaign if you only have few hundred unsubscribers.

So, I recommend you to create a retargeting ad only if you have a minimum of a few thousand unsubscribers.

To get started, go to Facebook Audience.

Click “Create New Audience,” select “Custom Audience,” and choose “Customer File.”


Now, upload the CSV file and map the data to relevant columns.

That’s it!

Your audience will be ready in a few minutes.

Step #3: Create a new advertising campaign for these people

Now, go ahead and create a new advert.

This time you want to set your unsubscribers as your audience.

And the remaining fields will be the same.

The best part about retargeting unsubscribers is that you can directly send them the link to the landing page and still get a good conversion rate.

21. Instagram Profile / Post Sponsorships

Instagram is a great source to seed your landing page and website with traffic. It’s also one of the most valuable list building strategies.

There are two ways to do so:

1. Paid sponsorships

2. Organically build your account

The first one requires you to spend money, while the second one requires time and effort.

If you want to focus on growing your Instagram account without any ad spend, then check out this article.

However, I want you to choose paid sponsorships as a way to quickly get super-high ROI.

For example:

My friend Allen Brouwer got a 251% ROI from one such campaign.

In 5 days, he made over $580 and got around 1000 visitors, all by spending just $165.

Here’s how to get started:

Step #1: Find 5-10 related Instagram accounts

Finding related accounts in Instagram is super easy.

You can directly search for keywords, or you can search for hashtags.


Consider each profile’s:

● Relevance to your product or service

● Follower count

● Average number of likes on each image they share

Then, prioritize your list based on these 3 things.

Once you’ve found 5-10 suitable profiles, follow Step #2.

Step #2: Contact the account owners

Next, find the contact information of the owners.

Most of the time, it’s on their profile page.

If it’s not listed on their profile, then you should install Kik on your mobile phone (the underground app for messaging Instagram profile owners).

Through Kik you can search for the profile name and if it shows up, then you can instant message the owner directly.

Sometimes people will be a bit inconspicuous on Kik.

You have to make clear to them that you’re interested in paying them to sponsor their profile.

Then once they respond, you can ask them for sponsorship rates.

Typically, you won’t pay more than between $10 and $200 per share depending the size of the profile’s following and level of engagement.


Now it’s time to contact these account owners. Here’s the sample script you can use:

Hey [First Name],

I wanted to check out if you’d be interested in promoting our product [Product Name].

The product would align extremely well with your followers.

If you’re interested, let me know your rate card. I’d love to start this asap!


[Your Name]

Once they send you their rate card. It’s time to write ad copy and send them a trackable link.

Step #3: Send the ad copy and personalized links

To create images, here are some tools you can use:

Canva for designing ad images

Unsplash for high-quality and royalty free stock images

Iconfinder for high-quality icons.

Once you’re done creating an ad copy and images, you now want to create personalized links for each profile so you can track your conversions.

Google’s Campaign URL Builder makes it super easy, so head over to Google URL Builder.

Enter a campaign source, medium, and campaign name to create a new trackable link.


The campaign URL builder will give you a long link, and you should shorten it up.

You can easily do that by using Bit.ly.

Finally, send the link, ad image, and ad copy to the account owners.

Instagram profile sponsorships flat out work if you perform due diligence.

And Now It’s Your Turn

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse at the list building strategies me and my friends have had success with, I’d like to hear from you.

What do you think of these strategies? Have you tried any of them? How have they worked for you.

Maybe you’re curious about a step discussed in this post.

Leave a comment below.

I’ll be sure to quickly reply to your comments and answer any questions you have.

And if you have a question or idea to share, be sure to leave a comment now.

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Cody Lister is the Founder of MarketDoc. He gives businesses of all sizes the tools and advice they need to leave a bold mark on the web.


  1. I don’t know how should I give you thanks! I am totally stunned by your article. You saved my time. Thanks a million for sharing this article.

  2. I don’t know how should I give you thanks! I am totally stunned by your article. You saved my time. Thanks a million for sharing this article.

  3. Hi Cody
    It takes just 5 seconds to know that if a blogger is bragging about something or he actually knows about it.

    Just bookmarked your post and couldn’t more agree with all the points you have mentioned especially the first one because I have personally subscribed to few blogs to get more content, if I like what I am reading. A big thumbs up and will definitely be wondering around from now on..:)

  4. Great Post Cody! Building an email list is essential nowadays, not doing it, is like leaving money on the table. I will give idea of to Running Perpetual Retargeting Campaigns a try for sure!

  5. Great post Cody. I’ve been keen on listbuilding for over a decade and found this super useful, especially retargetting to unsubs. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Adam! Big fan of you and your company. I believe you’re friends with Will Blunt too?

  6. Hi Cody,
    This is one of the best articles I have ever seen on list building. All the tactics you have mentioned are amazing. I was planning to use content upgrade on my blog, but was confused where to start, but after reading this post, I know how to do it right.

    The way you increased your email list is amazing, very few experts out there who knows how to do it and you are one of them.

    I am going to share this article with friends who is struggling with list building.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post
    – Umesh Singh

  7. Damn 36,000 in a year is not to be sneezed at- especially if they are good leads!
    Did you see the comment I left yesterday on using Retargeting to those who don’t optin. but by using the the specific content upgrade as the leadmagnet offer?
    the returns are huge
    I like to think of it as the candy at the checkout…
    You’ve resisted temptation so far but now its one more push and you cant say no 😛
    Give it a try with a specific audience and offer and the relevance/cost and optins are silly $0.02 optins anyone? 😀

    Another great post Cody

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Dan. I agree that retargeting to those who don’t optin is a great way to generate returns for a cheap CPA and that you can use your existing content upgrade as a lead magnet. I’ve tried this before and it flat out works. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

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