You’ve probably heard people banging on about how ‘the money is in the list’ and how building a targeted list of followers is the very best way to make money selling stuff on the internet.

Whilst this is true, being told that you must have a list and that you can use it to make a big income online
is very frustrating if you have no idea how to build one in the first place and what to do with it when you have one.

I often find it much more useful when I am told exactly how NOT to do something. It seems to give me a much clearer picture of what I actually have to do to achieve my objectives.


Here are 6 things that you absolutely must NOT do if you want to build a list of active subscribers who care what you have to say and buy the products that you promote:

1. Fail to Even Try to Build a List: You will never build a list unless you get an autoresponder and create lead magnets with subscription forms for your blogs and webpages. There is absolutely NO point whatsoever in sending traffic to affiliate links without any lead capture element as this strategy almost ALWAYS loses money on paid traffic and never brings free visitors back to your websites to look at your affiliate promotions again. In short it’s just really BAD online business.

2. Use Poor Lead Magnets: The most common strategy for building an email list is by offering people free products in exchange for their email addresses. The free products you offer are known as lead magnets and their purpose is to give people an incentivize to join your list. These can be reports, software products or even just access to a private page with useful information on it. The key point is that your lead magnet has to be GENUINELY valuable. You might be able to capture a few leads with a good squeeze (lead capture) page but if the lead magnet behind it is rubbish this will damage your profits and branding. This is because your lead magnets are a preview of what you know. It’s a preview of what kind of valuable things you might offer in the future. It lets people know you’re an expert in your field. Your lead magnet should actually be of such high quality that people would be willing to pay for it. The higher the quality, the more people will want to buy whatever you offer for sale later, because they will automatically think, “If the freebie is this great, the paid stuff must be truly amazing”.

3. Promote Poor Lead Capture Pages: The conversion rate of your squeeze pages can make or break an online business as it can determine whether your ad campaigns lose money or do what they were designed to do and make a positive return on investment, so that you can scale up your advertising and earn a lot of money.

4. Not Follow Up with Your Leads: Having an autoresponder sequence in place which follows up with your email leads and helps you to build a rapor with them is a great way to increase the profitability of your list. Your follow ups are a great way to add value to your leads by providing them with genuinely useful information related to your niche. Doing this reminds them who you are, why it is a good idea to open your emails and this will lead them to trust your future product recommendations, thereby building your engaged audience and ultimately your bottom line. Failure to send follow ups to your email list can be very damaging to your business as you can lose quality leads who have forgotten who you are and decided you must be sending them spam emails without permission.

5. Use the Wrong Autoresponder: There are a number of criteria that your autoresponder service must fulfil. If it doesn’t fulfil each of these criteria then it’s going to damage your business. Firstly it must be able to get your messages into the inboxes of your leads rather than their spam boxes. This means your autoresponder company needs to maintain good relationships with the major email providers like gmail and hotmail. Secondly your autoresponder must be able to add leads to your list via single optin rather than double optin. This extra action of confirming their email address will reduce the visitors to leads conversion rate of your squeeze page. I think it is very unlikely that anyone could type out an email address and click submit simply by accident and, whilst I understand that people can put a fake email into your squeeze pages, this issue is easily resolved by simply using an intermediate page which asks your leads to check their inboxes to access your lead magnet rather than putting the link to your content on the page your squeeze page redirects to after people enter their details. A good autoresponder service will also address the spam complaints that you get as an email marketer. You will get spam complaints and snidy unsubscribe messages from people despite the fact that you aren’t actually spamming anyone – that’s just how some people are.

6. Send Only Hard Sell Emails: Your leads subscribed to your list because you gave them something valuable. Sending them nothing but promo emails will damage their opinion of you and, whilst you’re email marketing to make money, you need to help people along the way for it to be truly worthwhile. You need to intersperse product promotion emails with ‘value-adding’ emails which help your subscribers and simultaneously build your brand. Also you can even add value in your product promotion emails by providing honest reviews of the products, offering bonuses to purchasers and even providing information on how to use the products. I only promote stuff I’ve personally bought, tried out and found to be something that actually ‘does what it says on the tin’. This reduces the number of things you are able to promote, especially in internet marketing, as some products don’t live up to their hype. Nonetheless, this approach is much more beneficial to your leads, your brand and your long-term income.