Email list building has been a hot topic among internet marketers for years. In the beginning, before wordpress, email marketing services and pre-made templates were available to the masses, building an email list was difficult, required lots of development, time and money! Because of this, competition for opt-ins were low, conversions were second to none, and the need for split-testing was minor.

With the extreme demand for email list building related tools and services, the market has exploded and today it seems fair to say that the opposite situation holds true. Competition for opt-ins (at least in certain industries) are through the roof whereas conversions are likely to be lower as the one offering something in return for an email address will have a difficult time to differentiate himself from the crowd.

Today, everyone can start building an email list. Everything needed in the process can be set up in a matter of hours and will cost the person a couple of bucks. The issue faced by people who want to build an email list have clearly changed over time. Today, the main problem for a lot email list builders seems to be;

deciding which squeeze page theme / plugin should they use, and which email marketing service provider should they use. How should you convince people to sign up to your list. How do you get a high open-rate, etc.

We see new products and services every single week related to list building. They all have various advantages and disadvantages. In a list building post series, I will take a detailed look at several different plugin / themes which can be used to built your email list. I will also discuss pros and cons of various strategies often used to built a list. I will also take a closer look at the different email marketing companies.

I often see posts on forums requesting a list comparing list building tools and services, and so far I haven’t seen any really good source. So this post series is my attempt to make one. But before we jump to the meat of the whole story, here is a short introduction on list building for ya’.

So, lets first discuss

Why a list is so valuable?

If done the right way, your list can be a very valuable asset.
When someone signs up to your email list, they basically request information from you. Now you can;

  • bring readers back to your website on demand
  • ask questions and get feedback
  • increase trust and your status, by sharing valuable information
  • create an auto responder (follow-up emails) ending with a product / service recommendation = potential income

These are just a few but some of the most typical ways that people tend to utilize a list. Lets take a look at some specific examples;


Glenn Allsop from ViperChill…

will send you an email there is a new blog post on ViperChill. ViperChill is updated infrequently so needless to say, Glen surely does not spam the people on his list. The content on ViperChill is awesome, so whenever I receive an email from Glen, I always open it. I am quite sure the same holds true for the majority of people who receive emails from Glen.

Lead Magnet Glen uses the following to convince readers they should sign-up

  • Get all of the latest ViperChill posts
  • Exclusive access to my favorite SEO Tools
  • Free 18-page PDF on SEO products I’ve purchased

It’s a very clear and simple message, its free and kind of interesting. Specially if you have read a lot of the stuff posted on ViperChil, you want(!) to know Glenn´s favorite tools.

Although I don’t know the number of subscribers Glenn have, I find it really interesting that he does not use the famous pop-up subscribers windows. This could be for various reasons, but Glenn knows his stuff, and I’m sure he has a very valid reason for this. Another interesting point is that he only asks for your email – no name needed. Less action is likely to increase conversion, and I am sure Glen has tested this thoroughly.

One of the key reasons why Im still subscribed to ViperChill´s email list, is because I get what was promised when I signed up. Glenn is not spamming anyone with useless emails. I think I have received a total of two emails from Glen promoting products – those were his own; namely OptinSkin and PostSkin. Just like all the other emails I get from Glen, the link was actually pointing to his blog, where I could read a lot of details about the product. Needless to say that when product promotion happens this way, I have no issue with it, whatsoever.

Glenn Naturally uses OptinSkin in order to collect emails – his own product (which is the same we use here on PPI).


Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome…

will send you a copy of his ebook “ebooks the smart way”. In addition to this he will send you exclusive only business and blogging tips. The emails I have received from Pat have been exactly that – exclusive. They have also been very insightful with actionable tips, which is why I open every single email I get from Pat.

Lead Magnet: Just like Glenn, Pat Flynn also offers an ebook in return for your email address.

  • Free access to a guide on how to publish, market and automate your own killer ebook
  • over 25,000 people have enjoyed the ebook

So sign up, and you will get a copy of his ebook. If you, like me, are a loyal reader on SPI, you know you want to read everything Pat releases, including this ebook, which is why it is an easy sell. Pat also uses social proof in order to convince you, by stating the fact that more than 25,000 people also grabbed a copy. An optin form is used in the sidebar and below every blog post. Just like on ViperChill, you wont be disturbed by popups.

One thing I think Pat could benefit from, would be to inform readers that by signing up, they will receive exclusive emails with awesome small business tips and tricks. They have, from a personal perspective, been of even more value than the ebook.

The reason why I stay on the SPI´s email list is because I receive what I was promised along with quality information. Pat does not promote products via email. He use it to bring visitors back to the blog. Just like Glenn, Pat also uses OptinSkin to collect emails.


James Dyson, founder of OptimizePress…

have sent me emails with updates on the upcoming OptimizePress 2.0 along with product recommendations. However, he is very picky when it comes to recommending other products. I think I have received a total of 3 emails over the last couple of years. Two products recommended have been Easy Video Suit and Traffic Grab (which is now a part of Fast Web Formula). First of all I want to know everything about OptimizePress 2.0 and as James only recommends top notch products, I will stay on his email list and continue to read everything he sends this way.

Unlike the two sites mentioned above, I have not actually signed up for something in return on Optimize Press, as you simply don’t have the option to do so. I did however sign up on BusinessJolt (a blog where James use to post – this has now, unfortunately, been shut down) back when James was running the site.

I can’t remember the details of what was offered, nor the look and feel of the optin form used. However, I remember why I did sign up. I was an instant fan of OptimizePress, and I wanted to know everything James was up to. So far he continues to deliver. Although he does promote products via email, its always something worth looking into.


Ryan Lee from…

tends to send an email to his list every single day. In this email he links to a new post on his blog, and writes a few words about it. As I know what to expect from Ryan, and he continues to deliver this on a daily basis, I stay on his list. There are no sudden surprises with odd product recommendations.

Lead magnet: Ryan will show you exactly how to run an online empire – from a coffee shop

This along with some other bullet points. He does infact work from a coffee shop (starbucks to be exact) – this is highlighted in his emails fairly often :-) Now you wont receive an ebook or guide with this explanation, but you will be notified every time he has something new on his blog – And if you go through all the stuff posted there, I think he is pretty spot on with that statement. As noted above, this is good stuff, and no fluff.

Ryan uses an optin form in the sidebar, and in the footer – No popups. Again, the key thing here is transparency and honesty. Although some people might find the daily emails to be a bit too much, I am getting used to, and I wouldn’t be without it.


Zac Johnson from…

Sends his readers an email once a week, which is a recap of all the blog posts that have been posted to his blog during the week. In the email, you can read a couple of lines from each blog post with a link below, pointing to the actual blog post. I enjoy reading all the stuff posted in ZacJohnson, and this way I know I wont miss out on any new blog posts. Sending a weekly news letter like this, with blog updates, is a completely automatic feature offered by Aweber. Set it up once, and you never have to worry about this again.

Lead magnet: Subscribe to my Super Affiliate Secret Tips Newsletter and get Exclusive Promotions, Updates and Mailings

I have been with Zac for a couple of years now and I plan on keeping it that way. Just like on Ryan’s email list, I am automatically notified as soon as something new has been posted on Back when he released his book Blogging Tips: Confession of a Six Figure Blogger, I was offer to grab a free copy – simply because I was on his email list.

Just like the guys above, Zac does not really sell directly via email. He uses it as a way to bring readers back to his blog.

On you will only find an optin form in the sidebar. There is no popup.

The guys highlighted above do promote products, most of which are their own, and a few other products. However, the key aspect here is, they don’t spam you with products which they haven’t tested and find useful. They also limit the number of recommendations to a very few but awesome products or services. Another important point to note here is that what is promised when you opt-in corresponds with what is actually delivered.

the key aspect here is, they don’t spam you with products which they haven’t tested and find useful. They also limit the number of recommendations to a very few but awesome products or services. Another important point to note here is that what is promised when you opt-in corresponds with what is actually delivered.

Every now and then we see a new course on list building, sold with the idea that there are secret techniques to be learned which will quadruple your optins with the speed of light. However, when you look at the details, its all really pretty obvious.

  • Don’t lie
  • Don’t spam
  • don’t “recommend” products / services which you haven’t tested and truly do endorse

Think about the email receiver as a real person. How would you behave if you were talking to this guy in the real world? Think about that and try to have a similar approach online.

How does this relate to passive income? well, directly it doesn´t. But it does relate to income, and although not completely passive, then at least partially. Of course this all depends on how you utilize your list but the short version is; with a list you can easily and quickly (and automatically) send traffic to a any website, which potentially equates to income. 

Get ready to start building your email list. In the next post we will take a look at all the different ema

Get ready to start building your email list. In the next post we will take a look at all the different email marketing companies so you easily can get a good idea, which service if the right one for your needs.