Building Your Email Marketing List – 22 Crucial Questions

Have you ever heard the phrase, “the money is in the list?” It’s a classic slogan in digital marketing.  It means an authentic email marketing list will skyrocket your income.

You’re reading this because you want to know more about email lists and how they can boost your revenue. You’re in the right place. Keep reading to discover the answers to 22 critical questions for your email marketing list!

1) How Exactly Can I Make Money from an Email Marketing List?

A lot of people wonder how they can make money from their email list.  Most people earn money from their email list in four ways.

a) Selling Their Own Product

If you have a product, you can sell it through your email marketing list. We’re not just talking about physical products (like clothes, supplements, or electronics) either. In fact, many people use their email lists to sell digital products (like an e-book, a whitepaper, or even a consulting session).

b) Affiliate Advertising

Creating your own product takes either time or money at best and both at worst. That’s why marketers sell other people’s products through their email list, and they take a commission on every sale.

c) Send People to a Monetized Blog

If you have a blog that makes money via advertising, you can send your email subscribers there. Whenever they click on an ad, you get paid! The drawback is you’ll need a lot of traffic to make a solid income.

d) Renting for Advertising 

If you have an email marketing list that is highly targeted, you have something valuable. As a matter of fact, there’s no shortage of marketers that would love to market to your audience. You charge them a flat rate, and they get to send one message to all (or some) of your list. It’s that simple.

2) How Can I Grow My Email List?

Whenever someone visits your website, you present them with an opt-in form. It usually just asks for their name and their email address. They submit their information, and you add a person to your email list.

But here’s the rub. Most people won’t sign up for your email list just because you ask them to. You need to give them something in exchange for their information.

Don’t underestimate the value of their email address either. If you offer a sub-par gift, people aren’t going to sign up for your email list. Provide your subscribers with value throughout the entire process.

That means your blog can’t have sub-par content. Additionally, you can’t give them a useless gift. Here’s a secret about email lists that some internet marketers won’t tell you:

The real value of an email list is not the actual emails!

Think about it. People don’t have to buy anything you sell. They can expunge your emails or banish you to their spam folder.

As a matter of fact, you can buy an email marketing list for pretty cheap. But that’s not the path toward wealth.

Why? Because your true value is your reputation, your integrity, your quality. Once you lose the trust of your email subscribers, you lose what makes your list valuable in the first place.

You always have to provide quality to your followers. That is rule number one of having a successful website and a lucrative email marketing list.

3) What is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is a free gift you give someone in exchange for their contact information.

4) What is the Best Kind of Lead Magnet?

Most people give away knowledge. Things like an e-book, a whitepaper, a mind map, or a useful checklist. Giving away physical products is prohibitively expensive and, therefore, not a viable long-term solution.

5) Should I Give Away an E-Book?

Writing any book takes a long time. Writing a good book takes even longer.

You don’t want to give away something that takes too long to create. You are running a business, so it’s important to value your time. Of course, you want to give away lots of value, but you don’t want to spend weeks or months creating it.

In short, if you’re just starting out, there are probably better options out there.

6) Why Are Beginners Still Giving Away E-books Then?

There was a time when it was popular to give away e-books. Even now, a lot of successful email marketers are giving away awesome e-books as lead magnets.

But low quality e-books are almost a bad joke now. As I mentioned earlier, writing a book takes a long time. So some marketers haphazardly cobble together lackluster writing, focusing on length instead of quality.

A 150 page book sounds impressive but, once people start reading it, they will quickly discover the true quality of the book (which will destroy your credibility & trust in their eyes). It’s better to give away 15 pages of quality than 150 pages of junk.

If you want to give away a lead magnet to grow your email marketing list, make sure it is useful. Make sure it represents your brand.

7) What Makes a Great Lead Magnet?

  • People want something useful/fun
  • People like materials that are easy to consume

Your challenge is to think of something that fits those criteria.

This is important. If someone uses your free gift, they are more likely to have a positive view of your brand.  You want to create something people will readily consume. A great lead magnet, such as a dynamic interview with a thought leader in your industry, will give you an advantage over the competition.

8) What Is Single Opt-in?

Single opt-in means subscribers will instantly receive their lead magnet. The problem with single opt-in is that many people will put in fake email addresses to get the lead magnet. Oftentimes the email address doesn’t even belong to that person, meaning you could end up sending unsolicited emails (spam) without even knowing it.

9) What Is Double Opt-in? 

Double opt-in, sometimes called confirmed opt-in, is the preferred way to create an email marketing list these days. It requires people to go through the extra step of confirming their email. This allows you to get better leads and the internet marketing community generally prefers this method.

10) Does Single-Opt-in Have Any Advantages Over Double Opt-in?

Single opt-in will puff up your list. There are always people who will enter an email, but never get around to confirming it. Many of these people don’t confirm their email, because it is a fake one.

However, some people don’t confirm an authentic and active email. Single opt-in doesn’t prevent you from adding these people to your list.

11) What Data Should I Collect on My Opt-in Page?

You need to collect their email. That is the only non-negotiable.

Most people like to collect a name as well. That allows you to personalize messages to your followers. A first name is enough as some people are hesitant to give their last name.

After that, it’s up to the individual marketer. You can collect a birthday which would allow you to send promos to people on their special day. You could ask for a website if your marketing to businesses. Many lists ask for phone numbers as well.

12) Is There a Downside to Collecting Too Much Information?


Here’s a basic law of email marketing: the more information you ask for, the fewer people will join your list.

There’s no one formula that’s right for every business. But, there are many successful lists that only ask for a name and an email (some don’t even ask for the name).

If you’re uncertain about what info you need, name and email are a great place to start. You can always add more later.

13) How Often Should I Sell to My List?

Remember the money isn’t in the list — it’s with your relationship with the list.

If you try to sell your tribe too often, you will damage your relationship with them.

80% informational content and 20% promotional content is a great place to start. If you oversell, people will quickly unsubscribe from your email marketing list.

14) Do I Really Need to Send Non-Promotional Content?

Overselling your tribe isn’t the biggest email marketing mistake.

The worst mistake is not providing value to your list. Your list needs to generate excitement in your readers. Ideally, you are sending emails they can’t wait to open.

You aren’t going to do that via promotional content. It’s importantly to merely sprinkle the sales stuff in. The main appeal of the newsletter (for the reader) is your unique and alluring view of the industry.

15) How Can I Compete with Experts in My Industry?

This relates to your positioning.

Pick a general topic. Any general topic.

American football. Online marketing. Anything.

If someone wants to stay current on American football, they will subscribe to If someone wants to learn about online marketing, they will subscribe to Quicksprout.

You can’t beat these behemoths by writing about the exact same topics they are. Fortunately, there’s another way.

What is it?

There are 3.5 billion Google searches every day. That’s not even counting other search engines like Bing, AOL, Yahoo, etc. There are a lot of niches out there not being served. This won’t change anytime soon.

For instance, the NFL might write about fantasy football. But the standard leagues have 10-12 teams in them. It’s quite uncommon, but some leagues have 16 teams.

However, all the advice on is geared toward leagues with 10-12 teams.

A person blogging about finding success in 16 team leagues isn’t competing with They have a better chance of grabbing a loyal following than a bland and generic fantasy football website.

The key to a successful email newsletter is becoming a thought-leader in your niche.

This will generate authentic excitement among your readers.

16) How Should I End My Email Messages?

If you’re doing a promotional email, then you should have a call-to-action at the end of your email.

If it’s an informational email, put a teaser about your next email. This will help increase your open rates for future emails.

17) What is An Email Marketing Company?

Trying to run an email marketing campaign from a personal email platform is a headache. Sending carbon copies (CC) or blind carbon copies (BCC) to everyone is a fool’s errand once your email marketing list has reached a certain point.

That’s why it’s recommended to use an email marketing company to assist you.

An email marketing company stores your list of email addresses in their database. They allow you to email your whole list, or only certain parts (segments) of your list.

Email marketing companies have free and paid services. Once your list grows to a certain size, it is almost inevitable you will have to pay to manage it properly. The good news is free email marketing services are robust.

For example, MailChimp allows you to have 2,000 subscribers in their Forever Free Plan. After you reach that limit, you have to start paying.

18) What Is a Conversion Rate?

A conversion rate is a simple mathematical formula.

Number of People Who Sign Up for Your Page / Number of Visitors.

19) How Can I Improve My Conversion Rate?

If you have a low conversion rate, you may have one of the following problems.

a) Call-To-Action Is Not Prominent

Your call-to-action button needs to stand out. As a matter of fact, directing people to this button is the entire point of your landing page.

b) Too Many Forms

We talked about this earlier. If you have too many forms on your opt-in page, you will discourage people from subscribing.

c) Weak Copywriting

Copywriting itself is a vast & complex topic that we will save for another day. In short, weak copywriting means weak communication. You want to give your email subscribers useful and fresh information. Your newsletter will benefit them if it does.

Copywriting is competently yet honestly clarifying the advantages your email marketing list offers. Selling without overselling.

d) Web Design

The biggest design problem is not highlighting your call-to-action button on your landing page.

But your website should also look stylish. It shouldn’t have too many ads, and the text should be easy to read.

20) What About Guest Blogging?

Guest blogging drives traffic to your blog, and it helps your brand get more exposure in the marketplace.

Matt Cutts from Google said guest blogging was not a good link building practice anymore.

But, you should take his words with a grain of salt.

Remember, Google rewards sites that have a lot of backlinks. Guest blogging allows your blog to get a link from another website in the industry.

In order to get these links, people were posting sloppy articles on each others sites for the backlink. That is the behavior Matt Cutts was talking about. That is the behavior Google frowns upon.

However, there’s nothing wrong with posting a high-quality article on a related blog. The exposure will help your email marketing list grow faster.

21) What Is Curating?

Curating is sharing articles written by influential people in your niche. It is better to curate than to post a low quality article of your own.

22) Do I Need to Include an Unsubscribe Link In My Email?

Yes. It’s a part of the CAN-SPAM act.

If people can’t easily unsubscribe from your list (or if you don’t honor unsubscribe requests), you could be subject to a fine from the FTC.


Hopefully this article answered a few of your email marketing questions! Next, learn how to generate leads from your website with this helpful article by Siteoscope.

If you have any questions about marketing, or if you need a freelance writer, visit my website today.