The Most Overlooked Reason For List Building


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This is a guest post by Troy Broussard. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Human nature is odd some times. There is this rebellion that is inherent in our nature – something embedded in our psyche – that just compels us to do the opposite of what we’re told. You would think we would just “get over it” after childhood, but the reality is that we tend to repeat the same mistakes.

You Know The Drill

Any new blogger will tell you how important list building is. They can give you a dozen or more reasons and likely present you with a formula you should be following. You know the trick – create a great giveaway, sell the value of it, get optins, build rapport, market to your list and triple your revenue. It’s ingrained in all of us. If this is new ground to you then you should check out Email Marketing Basics: All You Need To Get Started to get the lay of the land. So if list building is such common sense, why is it that so many bloggers still don’t have a decent list?

It may be that we’ve just heard it too many times and refuse to accept it, or it may be that from the same message being constantly preached at us we just brush it off as hype. If I’m speaking to you personally, well, it’s because I too went through the same evolution. Maybe it was because it seemed such a daunting task at first, but the likelihood is that it is for another reason – pride.

Don’t Let Your Ego Hold You Back

Our ego doesn’t want to start off and build slow and grow over time. Our ego wants 5,000 people on our list overnight and so many – like me – let that hold them back from getting started. There is this notion that until you have a big list, talking about it is almost embarrassing. But the reality is, list building, like blogging, or link building or traffic building is something that takes time and effort and the sooner you get that small snowball started, the sooner you can roll it down the hill.

Don’t Procrastinate

My business partner and I fell into that same trap. We focused our efforts on “building traffic” on the site before starting in on the list building – big mistake. The problem is the longer you wait, the more of a pink elephant it becomes and the worse you tend to procrastinate about doing it. Well, let me tell you right now, you don’t want to make that mistake.

We’ve all seen the many benefits of list building as they are commonly presented, but most of these benefits tend to be discussed in financial terms. How list building can double your income through back end sales – that’s the #1 reason you hear everywhere for getting started. And it’s true. In fact in our own experience we can attest to those types of rough numbers – generally a doubling or more of our sales after we started to develop a meaningful list.

Here It Is

The fact is, however, that there is one huge benefit to list building that I rarely see mentioned at all – increased traffic. It seems so obvious and perhaps that is why it is overlooked. But over time you can significantly change the traffic patterns on your site via list building. Rather than being a passive recipient of visitors you can instead direct traffic at will as your list grows.

Let’s say you have a site that generates about a 100 unique visitors a day and you begin to really concentrate on your list building. You create a great giveaway and optimize your site towards getting optins. Now, just for purposes of the example, let’s say you only get about 5 people a day to optin to your list – that’s a small 5% of your traffic. We’ve seen much better percentages and worse – the numbers will vary dramatically based upon how targeted your giveaway is to the needs of your reader, your niche, your site design (is it really geared towards getting you optins?) and many other factors including the catchy title and subject of your giveaway. Another factor that can really impact your optin percentage is the quality of the eCover artwork. Sounds picky, yes, but it’s true.

Do The Math

Now just 5 optins a day doesn’t seem like much, but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Let’s extrapolate that out over the course of a month and say that it nets you 125 optins a month (after those who unsubscribe). And then let’s go ahead and fast forward about 5 months and assume you have around 700 people on your list (we’ll assume you got a little better at it over time). Here’s where the fun begins.

What begins to emerge is a shift in your traffic patterns. As you send out a broadcast or a pre-programmed autoresponder, you will get a percentage of people who will then come to your site and check out the blog post you mentioned or the product you reviewed, etc. With a list of 700 and assuming a 10% click thru (we often see numbers in the 25% to 40% range, but let’s keep it conservative here) that’s another 70 visitors coming to your site. For a site getting only a 100 unique daily visitors, an additional 70 off a single email is pretty impressive.

Be Patient

Now the effects of this will be small at first and will take time to build up – just like your list will take time to build. In fact it will probably sneak up on you and at some point you will wonder where this additional traffic is coming from. Another factor that will influence how quickly you begin to see this trend in your analytics is the approach you take to engaging your list. Some prefer to simply send broadcasts, but for others less disciplined or time constrained, they choose to simply create an autoresponder and let it drip feed the messages out over time.

With today’s sophisticated autoresponders such as Aweber, you can actually do both as well. For example you can have an autoresponder and set it up to only send out on Thursdays so that the rest of the week is reserved for you to send out a broadcast as well (on Tuesday perhaps).

Depending upon your method, you will see different traffic patterns emerge. If you want to see how the list can affect your traffic the quickest, use the broadcast approach. This way each time you send out a broadcast , your entire list will be seeing it all at once and the traffic response will be more pronounced. When we first set this up on one of our sites, we had it all programmed into an autoresponder and it took us longer to really observe the gradual growth in traffic that was occurring. Either way the net result is the same – more traffic. Over time your list can become a very valuable traffic driving commodity for you. This can give you many options that you currently just don’t have.

Lessen Your Dependence On Search

Recently the Google Farmer update hurt a lot of sites. Now, most bloggers weren’t affected as they tend to write all original (or mostly original) content and these scraper targeted algorithm changes didn’t likely have much impact on them. But we all know that Google is constantly refining the algorithm and that at any time we could lose – even if temporary – significant traffic to these changes. It’s not uncommon to see traffic fall way off for a period of 5 to 10 days when an algorithm change has got sites bouncing all over the place and several data centers down while others are being updated. But if you’ve got a big list, you can remain in control of a significant portion of your traffic. So, rather than depending on Google for scraps, you can still command a significant audience.


Of course all of the old reasoning for list building still applies. List building will still forge more rapport with your readers and make marketing to them much more profitable (especially if you’re marketing your own products or services). List building also has many other positive impacts on your site development and they all increase the bottom line. But just in case you needed one more reason to get off the proverbial couch and get your own list started, list building can become a hidden gem of your own traffic on demand if you just give the chance and get started!

About the Author: Troy Broussard is the co-creator of a non-traditional blend of in-depth candid reviews of SEO tools and services as well as a blog of pertinent SEO and article marketing tips and advice. He is also the author of “Article Marketing Lies,” a 60 page candid look at practical and effective SEO strategies without the hype.

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9 Responses to “The Most Overlooked Reason For List Building”

  • Tyson Faulkner

    That’s a really good point. I know a lot of times I don’t think that building my list will give me more traffic because those people are already on my list so what good does it do?

    But traffic is traffic and the more times you get people coming back to look at your site the more relationship you will build with those people so they know you and trust you and are willing to take your recommendations.

    • Troy Broussard

      Absolutely Tyson… remember it takes multiple exposures for most people to pull the trigger and buy… so the more you can keep them coming back the better off you are.

      Thanks for the kind words…


  • Louie Sison

    Don’t procrastinate is the my favorite point you tackled in this post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Troy Broussard

      Yeah, procrastination can be a tough one… but ultimately you have to ask yourself one question: What do you fear more – the uncertainty and fear that comes with taking on something new? or GUARANTEED failure through inaction? Because that is what procrastination is – guaranteed failure…

      The longer we procrastinate the more we create this big build up over something that usually is just “not that big of a deal”…. Learning to confront procrastination is like any skill, the more you practice it the more proficient you become.

  • Rakesh Kumar

    Well i do linking to create community where i can serve and have some helpful info.

  • Troy Broussard

    Hi Justin,

    Adding a giveaway can be powerful for sure, just make sure to not make the mistake many make and just throw any ole thing up as a giveaway. Instead really over-deliver to your readers and put some extra effort into something that is super high quality.

    My goal and recommendation to you as well is that you try to always make your giveaway something that you would be comfortable selling for $47. If you strive for that level of quality, it will surely leave a great impression with your readers…

    Take care,


  • Justin

    My email subscriber list is slowly growing at the time. I need to add something like a giveaway in order to get more people to sign up.

  • Pradip Gharpure

    Very good article on the issue, mentioning clearly the problems faced in list building . But i am still not aware as to how to use to list to direct the traffic and earn money etc. I now have about 2500 comments on my blog- maybe atleast 3000-4000 maybe real of them, neglecting the duplication etc.

    I would like to know the tool which can help to list those email addresses and further like to know how to use it in future. ]

    thanks for such information.

    • Troy Broussard


      Using your list is simply a matter of using your list management software such as Aweber to communicate with your list members. Provide value and seek to educate first. In time as you begin to promote products through your list if you have established good rapport with your readers you’ll have good success. If not, well, the list really gains you very little…

      Not sure why you’re mentioning blog comments with listbuilding… though there are tools that allow you to generate optins from your comments such as MaxBlogPress’s Subscriber Magnet.


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