80/20 List-Building: How to Quickly Grow a Massive Email List in 2015 (And Beyond)

By Jack | list building

Mar 03

[themedy_button url=”https://my.leadpages.net/leadbox/147756c73f72a2%3A113896832b46dc/5704147139559424/” icon=”signal” label=”Bonus Video: See How I Use Facebook Ads To Grow My List On Just $4 A Day” colour=”red” colour_custom=”” size=”large” edge=”straight” target=”_self”]

“The size and quality of your email list will determine your online business success.”

But don’t take my word for it:

“I have literally built a multi-million dollar business on the strength of my email list. Ninety percent of my income comes from it. Even today, my email list is still my number one business priority—and asset.” (Michael Hyatt)

“Without a doubt, our email list is the best investment we’ve ever made.” (Douglas Karr)

“Email is the most important channel for you to cultivate.” (Social Media Examiner)

But I’m sure you’ve heard, “the money is in the list” about 5 thousand times by now… So let’s get into the problem with list building today and how you can fix it – for good.

Why you’re still looking for the ULTIMATE list building guide

Google the phrase, “how to build an email list” and BAM! You’ve got 577 million list-building articles at your fingertips – for free! Soooo, busy business owner… your list building problems are solved, right? Not a chance.

Screenshot 2015-03-02 15.28.58Too many weak list building “tricks.” You and I both know there’s not enough time to read even 1% of the building articles out there. Plus, each article gives you different “tips and tricks” to follow.

Run webinars? Start social media contests? A/B test opt-in offers? Sure those things might bring some opt-ins. But you’ve got a business to run. And “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

So which list building tactics actually work and which ones waist your time? To find the answer, let’s turn toward the 80/20 principal.

80/20 List Building

[themedy_pullleft colour=”blue” colour_custom=”” text=”The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”]

Question: What’s the 20% of list building activities that will get me 80% of the results?

  • Website Opt-In Offers
  • Facebook Ads
  • Skyscraper Technique + Content Upgrades


Add These 5 Opt-In Areas To Your Website

An opt-in offer is an “ethical bribe” that turns your website visitors into leads. You know you’ve got a solid opt-in offer when your visitors gladly trade their contact info for your offer.

Warning: Don’t make this list-building mistake: You want an email list of potential customers right? So make sure your giveaway is irresistible to your ideal customer. (Not just any website visitor.)

Think about a pain point that your perfect customer has. Can you solve that problem with an ebook, white paper or video series?  If yes, that opt-in offer will help you get better opt-in rates while building a list of qualified leads.

2 Easy Lead Magnet Ideas

Multi-Part Email Series – If your lead magnet will be written, I suggest putting that info into 4-7 separate emails instead of a single ebook. Why?

First, it gets your readers into the habit of opening your emails if your lead magnet content is dripped out over several messages. Plus, when you break down the content into small, bite sized chunks, more of your leads will actually read and use your lead magnet content.

Video Download Are you “camera friendly?” Hate writing? Than this lead magnet is for you. Video is a high converting lead mag because it’s more personal and most of us would rather watch a video than read an ebook. You don’t even need to be in front of the camera. Just do a screen shot video.

Tip: Make sure you an external mic for any video you put out for best quality.

Lead Magnet Example

email marketing opt-inAt emailsthatsell.com my perfect client is struggling with knowing what emails to send that will bring customers. She might already have a large list, but she’s not sending anything because she’s afraid of sounding spammy.

So I offer this potential client a lead magnet that addresses that pain point with the  4 biggest mistakes businesses make with email marketing.

[themedy_alertbox icon=”envelope-alt” colour=”red” custom_colour=””]Notice how I designed my lead magnet for my perfect client, not average website visitor.[/themedy_alertbox]

Once you’ve got your perfect lead magnet, here’s where to put it:

  • Homepage


Use wordpress? Easily create your own welcome gate for free with Noah Kagan’s free plugin. Or use Leadpages.

  • Popup/Slide up


Get a slide-up box like this (and other killer tools) for free with SumoMe.

  • Menu


The menu bar is your most clicked area on your website. Take advantage of that by placing a link to your opt-in page.

  • Sidebar


Sidebar opt-in areas work best when they scroll with the page. That way, your readers always see your side bar opt-in offer. To easily make your sidebar scroll with your reader, download this wordpress plugin: Q2W3 Fixed Widget (Sticky Widget)

  • Footer of the content


Footer areas are a great place to add your opt-in offer. But there’s one more place to add content that will beat all of these, thus toping our 80/20 results. It’s call a “content upgrade” and I’ll tell you everything you need to get the most results.

But first, let’s dive into list-building activity #2: Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads: Build Your List For $1.90 Per Email

Facebook Ads for List Building

This Facebook ad brings me new email subscribers for $1.90

The opt-in areas on your website will convert your traffic into subscribers. But if you’re just starting out, you’ll need another way to grow your list before you have tons of traffic. That’s why I recommend building your list with Facebook ads WHILE your blog traffic/subscribers increases organically.

But before you start buying emails, ask yourself this question first:

[themedy_alertbox icon=”user” colour=”green” custom_colour=””]How much is a new email worth to you?[/themedy_alertbox]

In other words, what would you pay for a new email address?

Here’s how to find this out. (And this is an important 1st step if you’re thinking about list building with ads.)

How much profit do you make when you get a sale?(For this example, let’s say you make $100 per sale.)

Next, figure your conversion rate for your email list. How many emails do you need to collect and run through your email marketing camaign before you get a sale? If you have a 5% conversion rate, you need to add 20 emails to your list to make a sale.

Use this formula to find out what a new email is worth to you:

[themedy_alertbox icon=”envelope-alt” colour=”green” custom_colour=””] Conversion Rate X Conversion Value = Value Per Email[/themedy_alertbox]

In our example, the formula will look like this: 5% X $100 = $5

If this is the case, you can spend $5 to get one email. That’s your breakeven point. If you can collect emails for less, (and your conversion rate and value holds true) you’re paid list building activities will be profitable.

Anytime you have a value per email address over $5, then you owe to yourself to test paid list building. And if you didn’t, rethink your offer and try adding premium products/services to increase your customer value. Also, if you’re not converting at least 5% of your list into paying customers, you need to optimize your email marketing campaign, fast. Because you’re leaving big money on the table.

Why Facebook Ads?

I’m a huge fan of Adwords because you can get people exactly when they’re searching for something you offer. But Adwords is jam-packed competitive and relatively expensive.

Plus there’s a bigger learning curve to getting your Adwords campaign profitable. And that’s why I’m teaching you how to do it with Facebook ads.

Here’s Noah Kagan’s rockstar guide to spending your first $100 on facebook. 

Combine his tips with a simple landing page like this and you’re done.

Keep this in mind: 

Facebook only lets you target by demographics and interests. To make sure you attract your perfect customers, laser target your ad with a highly specific lead magnet. Offer up something that only your perfect customer would be interested in.

Watch this video to learn exactly how I grow my list for just $4 a day

Facebook Ad List Building Trick

Get Traffic + Convert It With “Content Upgrades”

There’s 2 parts to this last one, but it’s super important. We’re gonna use the best traffic building strategy on the planet, the Skyscraper Technique plus my own twist that will get you even more traffic/backlinks and shares per article.

To get loads of traffic to your site:

Skyscraper Technique

Brian Dean’s Genius Skyscraper Technique + Content Upgrades is The Fastest Way To Grow Your Email List

To find link-worthy content, I use Open Site Explorer, Click on the “Top Pages” button:

And search for content with 25 linking root domains or more:

[themedy_alertbox icon=”signal” colour=”green” custom_colour=””]How to get even more traffic for each article your write: Find everyone who shared the original article link… Plus RELATED LINKS![/themedy_alertbox]

For example, if you find a popular article on email marketing tips, instead of just reaching out to people who linked to the #1 most popular article on email marketing tips:

Email Marketing Tips – 10 Tips to Get You Started

I can also reach out to the authors of these super-popular articles:

  1. 20 Tips for Dramatically Better Emails
  2. 5 Innovative Email Marketing Tips That Drive Readers to Action
  3. 11 Sure-fire Tips on How to Make Sure Your Email Marketing Works

This gives me 4 times the number of TARGETED people I can reach out to for links/traffic. Thus, giving me 4X the amount of results.

You’ll have 500-1000 potential authors to reach out to for each article so hire a 4$/hour virtual assistant to help you do this.

The bottom-line: Use the skyscraper technique and you wont’ be blogging in the dark. So if you spend 3 hours a day for 5 days on your epic content, it won’t go to waste.

Convert your traffic with content upgrades

The next thing you need to do is create a content upgrade for that post. This will get you most of your email subscribers.

Think about it as a bonus chapter that people will have to trade their email for. You could add a bonus video for the post (like this facebook ad video) provide 2 real world examples or case studies, a checklist or anything else that someone who enjoyed the post would be interested in.

A few more content upgrade ideas:

  • Ebook (specific to the post)
  • Cheat sheet
  • Email series
  • Video
  • Private blog content
  • Early access to new features

This bonus facebook ad video (where I show you exactly how I build my list) is my content upgrade for this post:

Facebook Ad List Building Trick

Click here to watch how I grow my email list on $4 a day with Facebook ads

Your turn: Start using the 80/20 principal for building your email list today.

Just make sure you’re following up your list with awesome email marketing!

[themedy_alertbox icon=”heart” colour=”blue” custom_colour=””]Leave a comment below and share your favorite content upgrade idea.[/themedy_alertbox]


About the Author

Jack Reamer is a B2B SaaS lead generation expert who focuses on growing his client's MRR via powerful cold email campaigns. He lives (and surfs) in San Diego, California.

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