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I just heard a new excuse for not building your email list. In other words, why you should avoid the single most profitable strategy for your business…

This question came in on my Facebook Page… go over there and like that Page. It’s one of the best ways to interact with me (and ask me questions).

And please leave a comment down below. Not getting started with list building is one of the biggest things that holds people back.

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66 Replies to “A New Excuse For NOT Building Your List”

  1. Great video! If you don’t mind,
    I would love to share this at my
    Next speaking engagement on
    June 22nd. I am talking with
    Authors about how to do a “launch”
    And build a list 🙂

  2. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you need to start to be great.” – Zig Zigglar

    E-mails will always be the greatest form of communication to access your customer. If you wonder why people complain at their open rate & blame e-mail it is actually to do with their (lack of correct) marketing.

    As Frank Kerns states “The money is not in the list, it’s in the relationship with the list.”

    Always remember these aren’t number, these are human beings & each individual one should be treated with respect. Because at the end of the day, they are the ones who’ll put food on YOUR table

  3. Great point made, Jeff. The best moment to start is always now – the only moment we have, anyway.

    And the reason why a bigger list is not as responsive is probably because a lot of subscribers are “old” in the sense of they subscribed a long time ago and aren’t as engaged as new subscribers (on average).

  4. Hi Jeff,

    Great video. It doesn’t have to take forever to build a list, I started after going to my first PLF Live last October … and in only 8 months I grew it from 0 to 7,000!

  5. Dear Jeff,
    thanks for sharing those helpful insights. I must admit that I still feel that e-mail marketing is quite complex and getting people to opt-in requires some skills/ strategy. It makes sense that smaller lists are more responsive. Probably the people in a smaller list are really representing the perfect target audience, huge lists might include all kinds of random people.
    A true niche is always smaller, but those will be the people that are truely interested and ready to take action.
    Thanks for inspiring posts!

    • @Hanna: I understand that it might feel complicated… but the reality is that all it takes is a squeeze page (ie, and opt-in page) with some type of an “ethical bribe” where you offer something of value to the person opting in to your list. If you put up a squeeze page that doesn’t convert very well, than you change it. It’s really not a big deal.

  6. Thanks for the encouragement Jeff. I have to admit I’ve used this excuse many times for giving up on something, although I’ve never used it to NOT start a project, passion has usually been enough to get me going. This excuse would surface when results weren’t as speedy as I thought they would be, THEN the rationalizing would start.

  7. Agree with @James McKenna 100% (and love those two quotes by the way!). Being a marketing consultant I have seen lots of good and bad types of campaigns and follow up sequences and if you’re just feeding your list garbage or pitches you’ll have poor results. But actually try to help them (utilizing what Frankie calls “Results In Advance” and other tools) and you’ve got a winner. 😀

    I’ve also found that subscriber source make a difference. If you’ve gotten your subscribers by mailing someone else’s low quality list, or from poorly written PPC ads, etc., then it’s likely your subscribers aren’t truly targeted enough and that may provide roadblocks.

    Bottom line, build the list, and do it intelligently… but by all means, do it, and have faith that it will grow over time.

  8. You can’t get 5000 people if you don’t go out there and get your first. My latest post is all about profitable list building. I firmly believe that nurturing and understanding a small list can get great results and the insight needed to continue getting great results with a big list.

  9. Thanks Jeff..I need to learn more about list building. The 3 subscribers a day example, as simple as it was, really struck a chord with me .

    Frank Foster

  10. Thank you Jeff,
    that’s a good point. I guess I should start emailing my list regularly now to give them some good value 🙂

  11. Awesome video Jeff ~! The light finally came on. I’ve been putting my best stuff on Facebook, Twitter etc but I should be putting my best stuff into our newsletter and then driving traffic to my blog. People read newsletter intently…or at least I do. Do they feel the same way about Twitter? With all the spam. My new goal is to write the worlds best, funniest, most helpful newsletter. This is a watershed video. Somehow your words caused the message to penetrate my thick skull. Thank you Jeff !!

  12. Clare Dreyer


    You have inspired me to get my list together so I can begin communicating with my peeps. I have been collecting business cards from people and asking for people’s email addresses on feedback forms from speaking engagements for a long time. I hate to admit, I have never done anything with them even after they have said “YES” put me on your list.

    So…I am now gathering all of those cards and names and getting them into a database so I can contact them with my Seed Launch offer. My intention is to get them to opt-in to a new list so I will have a real list of people that I know want to hear from me on my topic of starting over success strategies.

    I am sure some of the people will not opt-in for my new stuff and I am comfortable with that. As you have said to us so many times, it’s not quantity that counts, it is quality. It is about having the right people on your list that are truly your ideal customer.

    When you are responding to your ideal customer’s needs and their pain, you are helping them solve the problem they came to solve.

    I am drinking the cool-aide Jeff and I am looking forward to sending out my first email and seeing who wants to come to the party I am inviting them to join. I am also hoping I handle the fear of rejection well on my first pass and listen to my own and your advice. 🙂

    Thanks for all of your wisdom and for always hand holding us new-bees through this process!

    I can see why you were a stay at home dad. You stick with us until we get over ourselves and make something happen! Thanks!

  13. Thanks for this Jeff. I couldn’t agree more. We spend far too much time lamenting about how we should have done something sooner and miss on the fact that now is the next best time. Just do it and learn from doing it. I love the Zig Ziglar quote that was posted earlier.

  14. I am just starting out with my site and thanks to your advice am starting immediately building my list. It’s not growing very fast, so this video was a great reminder for me to stick with it and spend some time finding ways to get subscribers.

  15. Yet another great and timely video message Jeff, thanks!

    One excuse that has always held back my list building efforts is not really the lead magnet and the optin but the follow up. After the first few autoresponder emails about the optin item… what then? How do you keep it going and stay in touch in an engaging way, come up with good reasons and messages to send etc., and do it consistently without eventually fizzling out.

    Thanks again for sharing your wisdom in these great videos 🙂

  16. “Always be growing your list” stuck with me. I felt like I needed to do special launches in order to get people to sign up. Perhaps the real question is this: “How am I driving traffic to my opt-in page?” If I had to choose one strategy to drive traffic to my opt-in, what would you suggest? Guest blogging? Something else?

    • @Francesca: the key is that you don’t want ONE strategy… you want to use multiple strategies, multiple streams of traffic. The exact strategies will vary by market niche and by your assets/skills. Guest blogging can work really well for some people. Other good ones (again, depending on your market and what you bring to the table) include publishing (in all it’s forms), organic traffic, social media, paid traffic (advertising), Joint Ventures and affiliates, and public speaking. And, of course, there are others.

  17. Perhaps I’m just feeling overwhelmed at the scope of this animal… 🙂 I don’t want to be inconsistent, and at the risk of being inconsistent, I don’t do much. So, to go with your suggestion of “Today is the second best time to get started”, I will just narrow this down according to my preferences. I DO love writing and speaking, so I will guest blog, publish my own content, and continue to get booked at events. I am looking for joint venture and affiliate opportunities…I hosted a telesummit earlier this year and it was less than OK as far as list growth. Not sure what I did wrong. Do you do individual coaching? THANKS!

    • @Francesca: I’m sorry, but my business has grown to the point where I just can’t afford to take on individual coaching clients… I’ve just got to many other high-leveraged projects I’m working on.

  18. Hi Jeff,

    I was just thinking about this early this morning on my drive home. I return home and sit down in front of my computer and there you are. You read my mind.

    We’re growing our list at 1,000 optins per month and since watching your video I hatched an idea to grow it to 3,000 emails monthly. Thanks!


  19. Thanks so much Jeff. I am currently working with an email list of 850 – just sent my first email blast out last week. I got an open rate of 26.9% and 19.9% on the second one. I am looking for Joint Ventures with other like minded folks to help them spread their message, grow my business and to spread my message so that we can all soar joyfully into our greatest and grandest versions of who we are.

    Anyone up for building together?

  20. @Francesca,I would suggest your list didn’t grow from the telesummit because of either of the following:
    1) You didn’t engage / relate to the audence.
    2) Your call to action wasn’t strong enough.

    Figure out which one it was, change it and do it again.

    Keep it simple.




  21. “smaller lists are more responsive” – Boom!

    I’m so glad you’re saying this Jeff – people need to be brave enough to just begin and lead their own perfect audience.


  22. Ugh! 2500 blog posts (4-6 / week) with (what I think is) fantastic medical content AND an opt in bonus and the list has not grown much in the past 6 months. 3 / day would be great, but 3/month is going to take awhile. Thought that would change with my free ebook, but no different (website gets 5,000 unique visitors / month, but not sure how many are bots–they piss me off as far as stats go…).

  23. Hi Jeff,
    Love your articles and videos.

    My market is the jewelry and accessories business. I get the impression from reading a lot of different internet marketing articles that the vast majority of the strategies are talked about are geared to selling digital information products. Is this a correct impression?

    What I would like to know is how do these strategies ie.. list building etc.. translate to hard goods niche? Do they apply and if so are they effective for this type of market?


    • @Lui: while much of my work is more focused on people selling information products, the principles definitely apply to hard goods.

      Let me ask you a question… is it easier for you to sell to someone that you have a relationship with, or to someone who is a complete stranger?

      No matter the type of product, it’s always better to sell to someone that you have a relationship with (in less your product is horrible quality). Your list is one of the best ways to build that relationship.

  24. ken ca|houn


    Great points, Jeff… true also when starting in new niches; it’s quality of interaction and relationship with a list that matters, no matter the size. While getting new leads is always the lifeblood of business, if you do things right (high-value content, authenticity), you can do very well with a smaller list. I do higher sales numbers than many of my competitors, with a list size that’s smaller than theirs, because most of my sales are repeat sales to a core group of customers who trust me. I built my business on the “5th sale to someone who trusts me” type approach.

    Your words are true, and encouraging, “mighty oaks grow from tiny acorns”…. the content value, credibility and actual help you give to your lists are a big part of online success, not just ‘massive list or give up-itis’ that some folks seem to have.


  25. Thanks so much for this today. This was the topic of conversation at my dinner table last night, and I’m embarrassed to say that as a newbie to list building, I’ve had the same exact thoughts! How can I get 5,000 people? Will it even make a difference? I do a variety of readings that really help people and it always works so I’ve been working through word of mouth. Also, sometimes it’s considered taboo so it’s sometimes hard to get sharing going, partnerships, etc….and find my niche partners and ideal matching audience. Your video came at exactly the right time for me. Now I just need more products to offer and I’ll be set!

    Do you have any tips on helpful software for content creation and/or online distribution? 😀

    Thanks again. You rocked it out this time. It was definitely synchronicity for me!

  26. Hi Jeff,
    I’ve been subscribed to you for…I don’t know how long. This is my first comment. My first excuse was, “I’m too old.” (I am 70)

    I’ve been trying to build a list since late 2011. I am now up to 25 or 26 now. The post that got me my first two subscribers was this: “I’m talking to myself because I have no list, so I think I’ll just write what I want and feel.” That was my opening sentence.

    I got two subscribers that day! Talk about joy! I knew these people (through another Internet Marketer,) and I commented, followed, etc. But, I offered no value of my own. No product, no freebie to give, just bounced around trying to find direction.

    I’m a writer. No one knows it yet. Just me. But, until the day I can’t type, hold a pen, or hold a coherent thought, I’ll write. These 25 subscribers and I have a relationship built on trust and continuity. I’m almost through bouncing. I’m almost ready to launch a product of my own. Thanks to Tiffany Dow’s 90 Day Product Creation Challenge I shall finally find some direction.

    I keep watering the “list”, and the sun keeps shining, and I keep reading your posts. I may be through lurking. 🙂 I really enjoy these posts. I haven’t said that to you and it’s time.

  27. Hi Jeff,
    Makes good sense to focus on the email list. Thank you for that reminder. ….A journey of a Thousand subscribers starts with the first one! You can make this FUN by setting a goal of how many email subscribers you want in 6 months or a year and putting that goal on a white board. Draw something like a thermometer on the white board with subscriber benchmarks (0, 100, 250, 500, 750, 1000) and keep track every week how far you’ve come. Pretty soon, your list will be hot, hot, hot!!! 🙂

  28. Hi Jeff, I want to inspire people with my story … 2 years ago, Erico sended me your blogpost abouth creating a list, and told me to create a list today! I was afraid of doing so because I worked for a big company … a few months later I started and now I have a very responsive list in a craisy “teaching abouth coffee” in the spanish market of 7500 coffee profesionals” 😉 Creating my list was the best advice I ever had and now I work as an independend consultor due to thit “smal” detail … THANK YOU and Erico for pushing entrepreneurs to ACT! Kim.-

  29. @James Bogash, DC – Those are impressive efforts and tiny results. I went to check out the page and for the life of me can’t find an opt in box on your landing page. I see one buried down at the end of each blog post. It won’t hurt your numbers to do some testing about placement.

    Great video, Jeff. I still remember my first opt in that I didn’t know. I ‘won’ at that moment 🙂

  30. Hey Jeff!

    Really funny that you should mention this right now; I’m taking part in a list building challenge over the next 3 months (specifically for email, it’s called Listapalooza) and it’s a very daunting thing.

    I have a grand total of 4 people right now (none of which are my actual clients, huge oversight there which I’m going to have a word with them about shortly lol) and I’m deliberately not thinking about thousands and thousands. My first goal is 10. Then it’ll be 20. Then I’ll probably jump up to 40 as my next goal. And so on.

    Tricky, scary, doesn’t have to be.

  31. Say Jeff. Nice video.
    I want to start an e-mail list to grow my new business that tailors exclusively to local businesses and local business owners. Believe me when I say that I am starting from ZERO. That is, no personal or business email, personal or business Facebook or Twitter page, no family, friends or contacts… no NOTHING… No One!!! Now…. where would you suggest I begin??


  32. Hi Jeff, I have a list of 600 people. I feel like I would never have something to sell them, or that the effort would not be paying yet. I am waiting for a list of at least 1000 people. I guess that may be I have a little fear af making my first sale. Thanks for this video!

  33. Not sure what to say Jeff. I feel like all I’m going to do is complain.

    I’ll be honest with ya, I’ve never had one person opt-in for free stuff from my blog.

    I assume I’m going to have to email people from my Twitter, facebook and email account to ever hope at getting even 10 subscribers, not my optin form. I have a how to site for musicians.

    Anyway, I’ll stop complaining.

    Mark in Canada

  34. Hey Jeff nice video. I couldn’t agree more. From my studies of the top Internet Marketers the money is in your list. I completed a launch of my site a few weeks ago and went with Google Adwords campaign to kick start and this has given me a subscriber list of just over 100. I am now scheduled to do a solo ad to see how responsive this strategy is. I would be very keen to hear your opinion of paid traffic versus organic traffic. All the best. Kindest regards Kim 🙂

  35. Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for your wise encouragement.

    I have noticed that when I am consistently tending my list, it grows consistently.

    When I put time and interest into connecting with people, my list grows.

    Good reminder that it is quality and relationship over just the numbers.

    Thank you.
    Thank you.

  36. Hi Jeff, thanks for your video post. A few years ago, I started a monthly newsletter for a small niche market. I set up a squeeze page and promoted it to my personal database and a small list an acquaintance had. The first issue of the newsletter went out to 175 addresses. I had hoped for more, but it was a respectable list, especially since it didn’t cost me anything but time to build it. Now for the stats:
    1 year later, after 14 mailings (one per month and a couple bonus mailings) the list was over 600 and I had sent right around 3500 emails in total (average of 300 person list times 12 months) and get this – my sales revenue was also about $3500, so that was $1 per email address. I also was thrilled to have a whopping 52% average open rate, my lowest being in the 40% range and my highest being almost 70%.
    Now the sad part. The amount of effort it was taking to run the newsletter, effective as it was, simply did not make it financially worth it to continue. My niche was so small I realized it would be totally maxed out at 5,000 names, and like you said in your video, might lose some of its potency as it scaled.
    I sent out two more newsletters and then closed it down. So here is perhaps the only good reason to avoid building a list: It is not profitable to do so in some markets, even though growth rate, open rate and sales rate is high.

  37. @Barry – Thanks for the thoughts. I’ve tried a popup box with no change in the past, although I’ve wondered about putting a 30 second delay or something like that to see if it makes a difference, athough that just seems to aggravate mobile users. I could experiment with moving the sign up in the middle of the page. I use Constant Contact and they have a tendency to be limiting in how you can have their sign up boxes appear.

  38. Jeff, I love listening to your video’s. They come at a critical moments of despair. I’m in the beginning of building a list and it takes a lot of thought for a beginner.


  39. Jeff, I love that your videos are always ~6 min long. If I see an email from you and I’ve got six minutes, I will click the link, learn, and enjoy. Thanks!

  40. What you say is obviously common sense – sort of like a “Duh!” moment. And yet … you can “get it” in your head, but be held back from taking action.

    What is that “something” that can hold you back? I’d like to draw on my own experience and see if I can offer a couple tips that might help others.

    I think it’s fear.

    Fear can be a HUGE thing in one’s life. I know it has been for me, and it’s what’s held be back time and again from moving forward.

    The tip is to move into it with E … A … S … E.

    The reason why I believe this is because of my experience and journey with trauma has led me. 5 years ago I learned I was going blind from glaucoma. I’d lost 90% in my right eye and half in my left. I “froze”, then went down the proverbial rabbit hole.

    Well, it’s working with a therapist who does work based on Peter Levine’s “In an Unannounced Voice” that has helped me reemerge. His whole paradigm is that you’ll never get through what holds you back from a mental level. You have to go into your body and FEEL your way through it.

    Ease in there, slowly feel into that area where you freeze. Easefully release the stuck energies through the body. The emotions and mental aspects will then come into alignment.

    Though most people probably don’t have “trauma” around list building, I’d bet that many have a fear around it. Asking people to sign up for your list means coming out, taking a stand, exposing yourself, bringing your voice to the world and have others choose to sign up for your list – or not – based on the content and experience you can deliver to them.

    It can be an edge (it certainly has been for me).

    Anyway, my suggestion is to see if there’s some place in your body where you feel “stuck” about list building, then lean, relax and release into that place.

    The results might surprise you.


  41. Great Blog post! I was brought to your blog through your list 😉

    Always great to hear from you Jeff. As you said, if you do not have a list, and no time machine, the best time to start building a list is TODAY. Truth! Cheers.

  42. Thank you, Jeff, for condensing the fact that building a list is not complicated. I’m fine-tuning my product and the topics included. My area of angst is the technical aspect of the mailings, squeeze pages, et al. Thank God I have an associate isn’t intimidated by it–the telseminars and webinars give me butterflies, too, but the more I do this the more confidence I’ll gain. The first leap seems gigantic!

  43. joan haynes


    I totally agree with you…you must start somewhere. Sounds as if this person is trying to talk himself out of this opportunity to make a lot of money because of “work”…oh, well!


  44. Jeff…I started with a list of about 200 people…..I built that using Fiverr. I even upsold those “buyers” to my ecourse.

    If each of those folks were paying me at least $50 a month (right now 10 of them are) then…that’s $10k a month.

    Guys…Jeff is right on! Build your list and stop worrying about how many you need. You need a list!

    Jeff, what do you think about Solo Ads?

  45. I had 120 subscribers on my list and 64 of them ordered an autographed CD at its release date directly from me. That’s a 50+% turnaround…

  46. John Antaya


    Hi Jeff
    Just to say that your right when it comes to building an email list. It’s like the tree example, if you don’t have one at present then start now by planting that seed and watch it grow into a great shade tree. Relationships with your list is something that has to be nurtured and be honest with them.


  47. Hi Jeff, kicked of the list building on Friday, and all this week new channels including faceboo, twitter, Google, old lists and more Postcards. Target 200 before I do the seed product launch Cant weait for Tuesdays Seeders call

  48. Just got my very first two subscribers!! And you’re right I want to cater to them like they nobody’s business. Thanks for the video 🙂

  49. Hey Jeff…love the idea of asking your viewers to comment below! I just shared this link with a client that I’m hoping uses this same technique when he posts new videos to his blog…keep sharing!

  50. Hey jeff, I hear what you are saying and as I mentioned on one of the bonus calls, I have about 3000 contacts between Linked In, My personal email and my business email and business cards but I am so overwhelmed at the thought of sending 3000 individual emails. And the worst part of it, is that I don’t know what to put in the initial email (the very first email). I have a pretty good idea of what to put in the rest of the emails from when they first opt-in until the sales page (although I still have a lot of work on that). But this very first email to get them to click on the link to the Opt-In page is eluding me! Can anyone on your staff help me with that?

  51. Denise Antoon


    Thanks for the tips today. I have put off the list building because I was working in a one on one service based monthly retainer way in the past. I realized I should have started building the list at least a year ago. Time to get moving on this asap!

  52. Hi Jeff! Man, you´ve been amazing me with your videos and ideas! I´m brazilian, married, have a beautifull daugther and recently realized how I love internet marketing. Then i put up my website but never gave so much importance to build a mail list. But you know what, I´ll start it right away!
    Thanks a lot for inspiring me!

  53. I use a 2400 person email list for my product. Each new offer generates about a 10% response. Then of those about 10% buy BUT almost always before return customers and a great referral system. Invest in your email subject line development to generate more “opened” emails. Email is not dead

  54. Maria From Club Wellness


    Lists are one of my biggest issues. Thanks for the video and comments are all great as well so thanks to all that share their experience.

  55. This is my second time to see your another video.. Thanks for the encouragement Jeff.
    I have to copy this from Jamus McKenna ‘s comment :
    “You don’t have to be great to start, but you need to start to be great.” – Zig Zigglar
    E-mails will always be the greatest form of communication to access your customer. If you wonder why people complain at their open rate & blame e-mail it is actually to do with their (lack of correct) marketing.
    As Frank Kerns states “The money is not in the list, it’s in the relationship with the list.”

  56. Hello Jeff I got an email today from getresponse my list I have there is 700 people I narrowed this down from 10,000 i realized that the list i had was really not followers they was just there doing nothing, not buying. So I got fraustrated one day and shut it down and started again with getresponse. However I got an email today from getresponse the first of its kind it says congratulations you got ****** from Canada just joined your list!
    I thought to myself how come this is the first of its kind? Why have i not received emails like this before. I am now to think this is my first genuine follower? Well well well I really am stunned with the ways of this business.

  57. Jeff, thanks for the great advice, as we’re trying really hard to grow our small healthcare compliance firm. It seems that there is just so much information online about Internet marketing, too overwhelming at times, that it’s nice to read a simple, straightforward post with some good advice. I have no experience with Internet marketing, so I was flying blind for some time, but hoping to gain some clarity in getting our website to rank better. What I find amazing – and challenging – are all the .edu and .gov website that are ranked so high in the search engine results. It seems like it’s going to be a tall order in trying to pass these websites up, but I guess time will tell.

  58. Hi Jeff

    I’m just starting online and the common census is building your list is the most important thing, what I would like to know is what’s the difference from a buyers list and a prospect list as I’m from the network marketing niche and all we taught was your warm market list to contact. I’m doing some PPC marketing via facebook to build my list using landing page and funnel from Power Lead System what did you use for list building? I’ve only seen this post so i will explore your blog.

  59. Hi Jeff,
    I am finally feeling that I got a gold mine that is, Jeff. Yes you are my gold mine. Thank You Jeff for showing me the proper path to travel, to not just make money but to have freedom. But I have one question to ask you; you said, you started with 19 subscribers and today you have 100’s and 1000’s of subscribers on your email list but how did you gained your initial 19 subscribers, I mean did you promoted your blog or landing page where it contained a form to be filled by the visitors and did you use any paid versions to bring that initial 19 people traffic to your blog or website? The reason I am asking you this because I have a blog and I don’t get any traffic to it. So can you give me suggestions on using PLF to promote on Facebook just to get email subscribers and traffic.

    Thank You.

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