List Building – Why Do So Many Get it Wrong?

It’s just over a year now that i’ve been consciously been building a list , I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way but i still can’t believe some of the crap people talk about list building. I read several products about list building and they all said  The money is in the List, so build a big list. Wrong wrong wrong.  (I may have even said it myself once!)

When will people stop repeating such bad advice and actually think about what they are saying.

I was reading a thread about list building recently in a well known forum and someone asked about how best to build a list. There were 3 or 4 replies all along the lines of do a free wso, then contact someone with a similar sized list and do an ad swap with them.

For those of you who don’t know ad swaps are simply about sending a free product to another marketers list and they do the same in return, the subscribers get the product by signing up.

On the surface those 2 methods sound like they would work you’ll build a relatively big list in a short amount of time. But actually think for a moment about what you’ve actually done using that method.

1. You’ve got a subscriber who has something for free, nothing wrong there but how do you know they have the ability to pay for future products?

2. You’ve swapped your freebie list with someone else’s freebie list .. once again how do you know they have the ability to pay?

Building a big list like this doesn’t work in the long run how do i know… I’ve done it!

I’ll explain this in terms we will all recognize …Income.

I have several lists , lets take 2 for an example

List one has 8000 subscribers , these were all got via various free reports i gave away.  When someone on that list buys something they get removed from it.  So the 8000 members of that list haven’t purchased anything in a year. Over that year they’ve had 5 or 6 free reports, many of them never even open the emails or download the free report.

The second list is about 200 people.  They have each purchased a low cost ($4) report from me.

If I was to release a report today that cost $5 which list would earn me more money?  I can guarantee that it would be the list with 200 people on it. I would also be surprised if i didn’t earn at least $500

So how should you build your lists?  By creating and selling low cost products, even if you sell them for $1 or $3 or give 100% commissions on them to via something like digiresults which automatically adds buyers to a mailing list.  If you can’t write or create products then buy licenses to good quality products  and sell them.

If you want to give free reports out give them to your list of buyers, show them you appreciate their support.

Personally I always give my previous buyers the option of buying a new product at a fraction of what I sell it for , if it’s $27 I’ll offer them it for $9 -$13 to start with, I’ll also randomly pick some and ask if they would like to review it or test it.

There is a load more to list building and email marketing however that should give you enough to get you thinking and maybe even enough to help you earn some money.

If you have any questions or comments about this or other recent posts please use the comments section below to let me know and i’ll attempt to give you a sensible answer!


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John Lenaghan

Some great tips here, Mark.

I agree that a buyers list is a lot more effective than a freebie list, even if it was built with cheap offers. I find even someone who spends a dollar or two is more likely to buy again in the future.

Ad swaps don’t always have to be for freebies though. I’ve done a few swaps with other marketers who had similar sized lists and similarly priced products (cheap ones) and added new buyers to my list, as have they. You just have to be careful that you know you can trust them, or review their product first, to be sure that you’re not sending your list to some crummy offer.



Thank you for your advice. I recently started building the list and thanks to your article that now I know I need to focus on other more effective ways to make money online.

One of the ways I have learnt is from your sentence: “by creating and selling low cost products, even if you sell them for $1 or $3 or give 100% commissions on them to via something like digiresults which automatically adds buyers to a mailing list.”

I realise I started going wrong. This is now my turning point.


paul nicholls

hey mark

good post

thats certainly true, a list of 10k is useless if none of them spend money and there freebie seekers

thats one thing that i have grasped though about building a list of buyers 🙂

ive finally almost finished my product 🙂 about 10 kazillion of video making hours later lol

cheers mark




Hi Mark,

What you say is true in the main and a buyers list is what I have been working
on for the last few months..

However, I do have a large list of freebie people that grows daily so I give them
more freebies then make a little on the cheaper affiliate programs within the pages.
Not much to write home about but it is something for my effort.

BUT, buyers list, responsive buyers lists is where its at as you say .-)

Thanks for the post,


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