12 Action Steps To Build A Profitable Email List From Scratch

Email marketing rocks!

Savvy marketers are doing it. Even the next internet guy would have something to do with email list. I’m yet to see any marketing tactics that works so efficiently, like email.

If you can get your message to sit at your prospect’s inbox, you’ll have increased the chances of building a deeper relationship and increasing sales by 203%.

Enough of the ranting, I want to show you how to build a profitable email list from scratch. We shall be looking at 12 steps to get you started. There are three things you must do when you’re done with this post. Catch it:

Read – Understand – Implement

That’s sounds like a rule of thumb. Now let’s take it 12 steps further and satisfy your quest for success via emails. Let’s dive in.

email marketing

12 Action Steps To Build A Profitable Email List


1.    Set A Long-Term Goal

Well, who says you’ve to be in BIG business to do BIG business? Don’t believe some of the lies out there – with a concise goal, email marketing can grow your business. Before you start collecting leads, you’ve to know that email marketing isn’t a short term project.

Of course you can build a list to market your product or host a webinar, which is a short-term project. But ideally, setting up a long-term goal that builds a strong business relationship with target audience is where the profit lies.

From the outset, don’t use free email marketing software or a mediocre tool. Invest in a reliable email marketing software and service. Don’t even capture your first email except you’ve written down a set goal for this formidable business. There is more to writing a clear goal – see next line…


2.    Get Ready To Strike

Are you ready to press the right buttons? I don’t think so. Don’t forget that several people have failed woefully because they didn’t prepare. As he right quoted, “Proper preparations prevents poor performance” – Matthew Ashimolowo.

If truly you want to build an email list that can generate income and business ideas for you, there should be a shift in your thoughts. Once you’ve a clear goal, the next step is to think like an entrepreneur. You’ll no longer be dealing with strangers, but with real people who have problems and requires urgent attention.

Email marketing is not for hit-and-run marketers. It’s for those who have made up their minds to connect and engage the right audience. Yes, everyone is not meant to be on your list – but the right people. The competition out there is fierce, are you prepared to trounce every hurdle and excel?

Note: The aim of building a list isn’t to compete with others. That would be a fight in futility. Rather, you should complement what other marketers have done and put a new meaning into a common idea. No matter your niche or business model, don’t compete. Complement instead!


3.    Define Your Platform

The third piece of our email marketing puzzle is to define your platform. How do you intend to capture leads? Will you be using a blog or a separate landing page? The beauty of blogging is that you can create unique landing pages that can work like a typical squeeze page.

Most successful bloggers have turned their homepages into a landing page. The sole aim is to collect leads before redirecting the reader to the posts. And I think this is the best way to go if you’re a blogger. A well-designed squeeze page can work efficiently for other entrepreneurs who run e-commerce and corporate websites.

In all, the platform you’ve chosen must offer value to the prospect. No one is going to give you their email address if you can’t satisfy their taste for exclusive information. Do you know what makes a list building platform enticing? Step 4 has the answer…


4.    Get A Powerful List-bait

List bait gift

What do I mean by a list-bait? Before you could catch a fish, you need a hook, a line and bait. The fish definitely is hungry and needs to satisfy this feeling. The moment you throw the hook into the water, the fish would run toward the bait – not the line.

If you want to capture and build a profitable list, from the outset, you need a powerful list-bait. This can be a valuable short report (7 – 15 pages), an e-book, a software, membership access, WordPress plugin or themes, packaged graphics (buttons, headers, e-covers, vector photos) and so on.

Whatever list-bait you’ve in mind, make sure it’s valuable and would assist the subscriber to achieve his or her goals. The impression you create with your bait would determine how much success it brings.

Don’t give away free stuffs that wouldn’t help someone. Even though the product you’re giving away is free, make it valuable with professional packaging.


5.    Craft Quality Contents

Quality contents that offers something valuable to blog readers and potential customers is the only ‘spice’ that can inspire them. You need people to op-tin? Then stop pushing them. Your focus should be on crafting exceptional contents that cannot be found elsewhere.

We call this “exclusive.” If you’ve this on your blog or landing page, your subscription-rate would go through the roof. Yes, a list-bait has its place in persuading people to subscribe, but insightful content is still King.

But what exactly is quality content? If a 2-year old should ask you the question, what would your response be?

The truth is, every article topic or subject has been written by someone, somewhere. If your article, your review, your press release or blog post offers a practical and authentic solution, then it’ll be regarded as quality content.

And a thorough market research can help you know your audience so that you can write for them. A blog or landing page that offers helpful answers need a roof over its head. Want to know how?


6.    Choose A Reliable Autoresponder

The autoresponder service you choose will either make or mar your success. When I started marketing online, promoting affiliate offers was my first business model. Yes, I did well at it but the email service I was using hindered me from making more money.

It’s important that you choose the right one – streamline your campaigns and have separate email letters for customers and subscribers. In order words, a service that allows you to track clicks, manage campaigns and import contacts from another campaign is important.

There are free email marketing services out there – but don’t fall into using any of them. Invest in a good service (aweber, getresponse, icontact, constantcontact, mailchimp and so on). Remember: Email marketing goal is long-term, not a get-rich-quick tactics.


7.    Attract Targeted Traffic Only

Web traffic is the lifeblood of your online business. But all traffic is not created equal – some are juicier than others. Your list would be more responsive if the right people subscribes to your newsletter.

It boils down to the traffic generation strategy you’re using. Some people use social media to drive traffic to the landing or squeeze page – but ideally, using content marketing could produce better results.

I’ve built a responsive list of 736 people, earlier, who are desperate to buy whatever product I would recommend for them – valuable products, actually. I only used guest posting strategy to drive traffic to my squeeze page and it worked out fine.

If someone can read your guest post or article without skimming through, it shows the person is searching for the right answers to her needs. Write relevant contents and submit to relevant blogs in your niche, you’ll attract targeted traffic consistently.


8.    Set up and Schedule Follow-Up Messages

Gradually, we’re building a credible business. If you’ve read this far, I would like to say a BIG thank you. You’ve done a fantastic job.

But I’m not done with you yet. We need to set up follow-up messages to further strengthen the bond. In fact, this is the first email your subscriber will receive after downloading the list-bait you exchanged for their email address and name.

A lot of people argue that you don’t have to capture names. It’s true that email address it what matters, but now we need to personalize the follow-up messages. Personalization creates an aura for both parties (you and subscriber).

The first email to your subscriber is usually a WELCOME message. It’s a shout out email. In this email letter, you’ll set the interval to “0” so that the message can be sent immediately, after confirmation. I’ll show you how to make this work – a single tweak will do. It’s about your obedience to the 7-rule concept.


9.    Obey the 7-rule Concept

A successful email marketer is someone who’s obeying the 7-rule concept. It’s a simple rule that works to build rapport first, before pushing sales offer to your subscribers.

According to marketing elites, psychologists and behavioral research studies, selling to a stranger would lower your conversion rate. In order words, everyone who subscribes to your email list is a stranger. How do you connect with a stranger in the offline world? You need to introduce yourself, your business, and family and so on.

On the internet, we do similar things. But we use emails to make introductions and showcase our expertise. Therefore, schedule 7 emails to go out to your subscribers starting from the first day.

Some folks like to send emails daily, while others send twice weekly. All in all, don’t bore your subscribers with too many emails. And remember, these 7 emails must be aimed at building relationships – no selling whatsoever. Focus on establishing rapport. I’ll show you how.

10. Educate Your Subscribers

Educate your subscribers

The 7-rule concept is about educating your subscribers. Yes, these people may be Lawyers, Medical practitioners and from different fields, well trained and sophisticated, but we’re all students at every point in our lives – we all need to learn.

Subscribers have given you an open check to educate them. If you do it creatively, without pushing sales down their throat, you’ll make more money and build a thriving business.

Education doesn’t end at your blog alone; you’ve to give away e-books, short reports and any other product or service that can help your subscribers achieve tremendous success.

And don’t be stereotyped to one form of content – use videos, podcasts, slideshows and photos to convey your message.

The goal is to build your credibility and self-esteem needed to market your products later on. Educating your subscribers is a continuous thing, but the first 7 emails will be the foundation. Have you thought about branding?

11. Build Your Email-Brand

Standing out from the crowd is the secret spice in your email marketing arsenal. How do you grow your email list and convince people to buy from you when there are millions of marketers sailing against you?

It’s a tough world out there. The email marketing world is overcrowded and every step you take would enhance or demean your chances of attaining success. Brand building is important. Your brand is your identity – that thing that makes you exceptional and the go-to-person for a specific need in your field.

Your emails should have a format each time you send it. Interestingly, sending emails on a specific day of the week can help you build a memorable brand, provided your emails are worthwhile, well-crafted and easy to use.

Build your email brand by offering subscribers what they can’t get elsewhere. Invite them to your inner circle (membership site) and unveil your underground marketing secrets – that’s a sure way to begin your journey. We’re yet to make any money, why?

12. Profit From Your List Creatively

It takes time to build a huge list of responsive subscribers. But the time spent is never a waste. An email list has the potential to generate five or six figures for you if you’ve been following the above steps.

But making money from your subscribers is the first equation. There are many benefits of having a responsive list of people who enjoy listening to you. You could get product ideas when you throw a poll open. You could get better business connections and deals from your loyal subscribers.

And besides, blasting the hottest affiliate offer to your list isn’t the only way to earn extra income online – in fact; it’s not a good way. The best way is to refer these people to a subscription-based service.

That way, you could earn monthly recurring income without lifting a finger. Refer subscribers to a reliable web hosting company and earn decent income every single month.

Time for Feedback

Your turn to talk


We’ve come to the end of the post – the 12 action steps to build a profitable email list from scratch.

Did you enjoy it? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Have you started building your email list yet?



  1. Christine Brady says

    Hi Michael,

    Excellent information here! I think having a plan in place before your start adding those coveted subscribers to a list really helps too.

    Having an idea of what you will be sending them, how you will be marketing to them, etc. sets you up for massive success.

    And the schedule feature in autoresponders in the best thing since sliced bread!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Christine Brady recommend you to read:Two of the Greatest Trends EverMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Tom, thanks for your comment. I agree with you, that brand and content are very important. But also points #4 and #7 are important, especially during building the list.
      BTW – this article was written by Michael 😉

  2. Erik Emanuelli says

    Hi Michael,
    great article!

    Email marketing is so powerful.
    And it will be even more in future.
    Those are really nice points.

    Treat your email list as real people, helps to solidify the relationship!

    Thanks for sharing, Michael.

  3. says

    The 7-day rule seems new to me and I didn’t even think about this. You really need to establish a relationship with your customers online though they may not reply to your e-mails. It is only customary that you introduce yourself and let them get to know you better so they will be confident in what you offer.

  4. Mary Stephenson says

    Great post. I have heard some of this before, but thanks for laying it out in an easy to understand process. Will have to look at what I am doing and implement more. Also, at the same time being diligent to stick with it and look for more ways to offer more. I am doing affiliate marketing and would like it to be profitable. The product picking was easy, now I just have to figure out how to sell it!
    Mary Stephenson recommend you to read:The Purpose of Our LivesMy Profile

  5. femi says

    i like this list . especially about thinking long term . most times my thinking is within months .
    dont think that far in the years

    also , sometimes you are just guessing what you think people want and giving that away as a free report or webinar or something . how can you be sure that what you are offering is truly desired by your audience
    femi recommend you to read:How do I Become Self Disciplined (II)My Profile

  6. says

    Hi Michael,

    Excellent article, I am not surprised that you offer content writing services.

    Couple of things I wanted to mention.

    First, I believe that most of the marketers do not follow the 7 day rule. I noticed that most immediately begin to send offers without creating any sort of relationship. Those go straight into my spam box and if I would encounter them again I just would not buy from them.

    I am on a list of a few marketers for some time because they send me emails that are of value to me. If I receive an offer from them occasionally I definitely will look at it even though I may not buy. The odd time that I bought from any of my favorite marketers I was always pleased with the product they offered.

    The other thing I wanted to mention is that I used to have a value product (at least I thought so) as a bonus to sign up. I did not think it was doing well so I changed my newsletter box to updates, no bonus and I am getting signups at about the same rate or maybe a little better. I found that quite interesting.


    Dita recommend you to read:Free WordPress Blog Installation And Setup ServiceMy Profile

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