Smart way to build a list that sells

(This is an AI generated audio.)

The key to any online enterprise is a responsive email list. It is your most valuable asset. Here’s why:

Selling requires buyers. There are three ways of advertising to prospective buyers.

  1. Least effective: Write articles and post to blogs hoping that someone buys.
  2. More effective: Advertise to people who are looking for what you have to offer.
  3. Most effective: Send email to people who have told you that they want more.

Email to an enthusiastic, loyal prospect who knows and trusts you costs almost nothing and has the highest possibility of success of any kind of advertising.

Emailing your offer to some giant, bought list is even less effective than writing articles and posting. They don’t know you and you’ve alienated them by cluttering up their inbox. If you convince a reputable email list service such as Aweber to let you upload this list, they will suspend your account if you get too many spam complaints. Don’t do it.

I’m going to show you how to build your own highly responsive list. Your advertising costs will go down. Your profits will go up. You’ll have a clearer vision of what your customers want. And you’ll minimize refunds.

There’s no doubt that with a responsive, loyal list and your passion, you can change the world.

If you don’t have that list yet, it’s not your fault. The system is rigged against you. The catch is that the absolutely best way of building a list is by already having a big list. The reason: you cannot find joint venture partners who will email to their lists in exchange for you mailing to your list promoting their products.  There is no faster and cheaper way of building a highly responsive email list than by finding JV partners in closely related niches to mail for you.

To add to your frustration, some gurus—many of whom truly are legitimate marketing gurus—say that the easiest way to build a list is to launch a product or write articles.

Well …good luck on launching a product without having anyone to launch to or writing articles and hoping someone will come begging to join your list.

I have a lot of respect for these guys; they are very good at what they do. But the big guys have big lists that they keep refreshed through their JV partners not by submitting articles or launching to no one. It has been so long since the established gurus had to build a list from scratch, that things have changed and the techniques they learned just don’t work anymore.

I assure you that it is possible to build the right list quickly—a list that is intensely interesting in your subject, wants to know more, and is eager to please you. You can do it quickly without spending a fortune.

If you’re like me, you don’t have the patience or time to develop a product to launch or write 30 or 40 articles and post to many different forums, etc. You want to cut to the chase without wasting time or money.

Let’s get into it. – I may tell you things that you already know. If I do, good for you! I want to start at the beginning and move quickly.

You give away a lead magnet for an email address. That is the basic principle of email list building. This concept has worked since the beginning of the Internet. How you find your prospects to tell them about your lead magnet that solves their problem continues to change rapidly. I’ll tell you what works right now.

A lead magnet is something of value, something that the prospect would ordinarily have to pay for. It solves a single well-defined problem—it is not the complete roadmap to success but it is a start. It is also sales literature designed to prove that you understand their problem and you are an expert.

Your lead magnet should be concise, entertaining, well written and never, ever boring. It absolutely must deliver what it promises. (I am considering a course on lead magnets. It is an art form unto itself. Let me know if you’re interested.)

People are looking for your lead magnet because they have a frustrating problem they want solved quickly. If you give them information that they can use immediately, you’re starting to build a relationship and a list – a list that is starting to trust you and will want more.

Your challenge is to get your solution in front of them where they are looking.

You could be in any industry for this to work, but let’s assume you’ve paid your dues on building responsive email lists. I want to walk you through that process so you can use what I’m doing as an example.

Since Google owns YouTube, there are really only two advertising ecosystems that matter, Google and Facebook. Google has the broadest reach; Facebook has the best demographics. (There are Bing, Yahoo and others, but you’re in a hurry so go after the low-hanging fruit.)

Both of these systems are very complex. I simplify them as much as I can for you. If you’re new to this I suggest you pick one or the other to start with.  Of course, I’ll show you both and let you choose.

In this lead magnet that you’re reading right now, I’ll teach Google.

I’m going to show you the two fastest ways of getting your lead magnet in front of true prospects.

  1. Placement Ads: Place your Lead Magnet ads on specific places where people who need your solutions go. Internet entrepreneurs wanting to learn about starting and running an online business look at the YouTube channels of the true gurus of internet marketing: Brendon Burchard, Jeff Walker, Eben Pagan, etc.
  2. Search Ads: Advertise on websites with the most used search engines: Google, YouTube, and Facebook.

Placement Ads are by far the simpler of the two. I have used them very effectively on YouTube getting a cost per view as low as $0.03. The technique is very straightforward.

  • Simply take the keywords you used when you uploaded your video and the title you gave it to search YouTube.
  • Make note of the URLs and YouTube channels of the top four or five videos presented to you by YouTube.
  • Go to the last 25 seconds of each video to see if there is a link in the video’s end card. If there is, click the link to get its URL and add it to your list.
  • When placing your ads with Google, tell them to put them on the YouTube channels and the URLs you made note of.

Since you picked your keywords because they best describe your video, people looking for your expertise are much more likely to see your ad.

In contrast to placement ads, search ads are more wide spread but offer you less control over where they are shown.

Since the average YouTube visitor spends 23 minutes per visit, we should start in that part of Google’s empire.

Step 1.  You shoot a YouTube video giving interesting, immediately actionable, and concise information that a prospect can do to start building responsive email lists. It should refer to downloadable free information that has even more information—your lead magnet. Be sure to give them the full URL to your opt-in page.

Step 2.  They click the link and their browser opens to a page on your website with a sign up form—your opt-in page.

Step 3.  They sign up; (my autoresponder service) gets their email address and redirects them to your thank you page. At the same time, Aweber sends them your prepared welcome message with a link to your downloadable PDF.

Step 4.  Your thank you page tells them that they made a great decision and that you will do every thing you can to help them build the list they need because it’s true. It also tells them to check the mail.

But there’s a problem. There are many videos that address the same thing. You can either wait patiently or advertise. Since you’re an entrepreneur, it’s in your DNA to act quickly. You advertise.

The first question you have to decide is, do you advertise the video or do you push people directly to your optin page? Here are the trade-offs. Once a lot of people start to view your video, YouTube gives it a high ranking and it is presented to more people. – It gets seen more.

To illustrate, I put up the video, How to Land a Plane, and moved on to other things. During its first year 4 people subscribed to my channel and it was viewed 17 hours. In June of 2017 (but not since then) I advertise it for about a month. To give you the latest data, I checked it out today. In the previous 365 days, over 2,100 people subscribed and 148,200 people viewed it for a total of 10,158:20 hours. YouTube says that I earned an estimated $548.68 in the last year just from others advertising on my video.—Not bad passive income for something that I haven’t touched in years.

There are three compelling reasons to advertise the video itself. First, it will become free advertising. Second, it gets people to your website. And third, it increases your ranking in YouTube’s search engine.

A fourth-ish reason is: once you have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of views in the last 365 days you can join the YouTube Partner Program, which allows you much more control over your videos.

You need to weigh the benefits of advertising your video vs. the advantages of sending people directly to your opt-in page with your ads. You never know for certain until you test.

There is another important YouTube lesson that I would like to pass on before we get back to the nitty gritty of list building: social proof.

When many other people say the same thing, we tend to believe it. When people who have not obvious ulterior motive say the same thing, that’s even more reason to believe what they are saying. That’s social proof. In Internet marketing, it’s comments. A page full of comments, all saying Wow! And suddenly it’s a great video and you, the video-maker, are the expert.

When I last looked at How to Land a Plane, it had 102 comments. For a long time, no one commented then suddenly comments exploded. People comment when others comment. If there are no comments, it is hard to get that first comment. Get your friends and relatives to comment. It’s free advertising.

Okay, back to list building details.

You don’t know which ad will perform best, which placement is optimal, or whether to use a search ad network or a display ad network. None of us do when starting an ad campaign. So you attack on a broad front looking for the best return on advertising dollar. Then you optimize, driving you cost per email address lower.

Here’s how to optimize:

Try different approaches, find the best, set the poor performers aside, and try variations of the best performer.

Google Supports Three Kinds of Ads Everywhere

Ads can be only text, text and graphics or video-based. Text are the by far the easiest and fastest. You can easily spend several hours making a video ad, but the jury is still out on which is the most effective. (I suspect that it is more determined by the quality of the ad than its format.) Which brings us back to that fundamental marketing principle: you don’t know until you test.

Here is what you need to do first before advertising on Google.

Google offers two kinds of ad campaigns: display or search.

  • In a display campaign, you tell Google where to display your ads.
  • In a search campaign, you tell Google which keyword phrases you think your prospects will choose.

To illustrate display ads, let’s look at using Google Display Network to promote the video.

  • People who want responsive email lists are usually interested in Internet marketing.
  • Advertise the video on the YouTube channels of successful Internet marketing gurus. (That way you know you’re advertising to YouTube visitors who need responsive email lists.)
  • To find the Internet marketing gurus’ channels:
    • Google ‘top Internet marketing gurus’
    • Go to YouTube and searched for each of the guru’s channels. For example, search for ‘Guy Kawasaki YouTube channel.’
  • You’ll need to ensure your ads show on each of the channels you pick. (You may need to get an account on TubeBuddy to find the channel IDs – contact me if you need help on this.)

To illustrate search ads, let’s look at using Google Search Network to promote an opt-in page. This is where you let Google decide where they display your ads.

  • Since Google depends on the keyword phrases that best describe your product and its benefits to your customers, your choice of keyword phrases makes or breaks your ad campaign.
    • Google shows ads based on highest quality score and your bid is vs. other advertisers completing for that spot. That means that if you have a great ad, precisely targeted key words and a landing page that is highly relevant to the user’s search, your ad may get displayed in preference to a competitor who is willing to bid more.
    • Google will help you select keywords with their Keyword Planner. I use TubeBuddy for keywords that I would run on YouTube.
    • Here are some tips for successful search ads:
      • Use negative keywords. com is a good reference for negative keywords.
      • Optimize for the conversions you want.
        • If you want views of a video, a click through of the ad is good.
        • If you want an email address added, then optimize to minimize the cost of someone making it all the way to your ‘Thank You for Subscribing’ page.
        • If you want to maximize sales, then optimize for landing on your ‘Thank You for Buying’ page.
      • Research keyword—never target broad match keywords; target exact matches.
      • Test bidding strategies.
      • Do A/B testing and use extensions.
      • You should optimize ads via manually controlling conversions, once optimized, then switch to letting Google optimize on Target CPA (Cost Per Action) or Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend).

Be aware that mobile devices (smart phones and tablets) have surpassed laptop and desktop computers in number of hours viewed. So make certain that those ads with imagery play well on mobile devices.

This is right place to explain why you signed up for Google Analytics and connected it to YouTube and Google Ads. It helps you with optimization, re-marketing, and market research. Here’s a very non-technical explanation of how this works.

You need to log into Google Analytics. They generate a snippet of JavaScript from Google Analytics, called a Global Tag, written just for your website. Put it on every page. (Problems? Contact me!)

You can optimize or let Google do it for you. The process is the same:

  1. Google shows your ads.
  2. Each time a prospect clicks on an ad, the code snippet sends a message to a Google server.
  3. Prospects click on some ads more than others. You’ll use this information later, but you still don’t know if he or she has joined your list.
  4. When a prospect signs up Aweber puts him or her back on your thank you page. The code snippet tells Google that the action you wanted optimized was completed.
  5. Google has been keeping score. After enough information to make a decision, either you or Google picks a winner.
    1. When Google is optimizing, it will show the winner more than any other.
    2. When you are optimizing, you can pause the poor performers, generate some variations of the high performer and see which one of those does best.
    3. At any time while Google is optimizing, you can (and should) check the progress, pause the poor performers and, create variations of your winner. –That’s what I do.


  1. Every time prospects land on any of your pages, your website sends messages to Google.
  2. Google also marks the visiting browsers.
  3. At some time later you can advertise to these prospects even if you don’t have his email address!

There is a better chance that he will do what you want when you advertise to him again, than someone else who has never visited your website. Later the prospect visits a website that Google can advertise on and sees one of your ads.

Since re-marketing is so much more cost-effective than either search or display ads, many advertises try to focus there.

It does not matter how someone discovers your website, your remarketing list continues to grow. During the first visit, you many not have yet launched a product under development, but when you do, you can advertise to those who visited an article or blog post about that subject. It is a very powerful tool.

Market Research

It is easy to equate customer surveys and market research. But there are many, often better ways of conducting market research. Many of those techniques are available to you while you build your lists.

When you are optimizing your ads, you are learning which words and phrases resonate with your prospects. Use them when you communicate with your prospects – in marketing copy, online courses, blog posts and more.

By producing several different lead magnets, you learn which subjects your prospects look for. Remember: Customers buy what they want, not necessarily what they need.

For example, of the 22 aviation-related videos I’ve put on YouTube, 92.4% of the time my prospects are watching just one video: How to Land a Plane. That tells me that my entry must start with landings. Only then do I have the opportunity to convince them that they need to know other aspects of flying.

Google Analytics gives you an overwhelming amount of data: how each keyword phrase performs, how many visitors come from various geographic areas, how long people stay on each website page, etc. This is all valuable market data—data that helps you decide which products to introduce, which ones to abandon, which pages need to be improved and much more.


The people you want on your list are those who are interested in what you can do for them. You get them on your list and start to build trust and credibility by giving them an immediately actionable, well-explained and entertaining lead magnet—something that they would ordinarily have to buy—in exchange for their email address. You tell prospects this free information is available by an advertising campaign that leads them to your opt-in page and onto your mailing list.

Your next Step: Keep them interested and get them buying. That’s a subject for another time.


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