We’ve all heard that the money is in the list. The problem is, how do you get a list if you don’t have one?

There are some very specific ways to go about doing this, and it can happen faster than you might think if you are very methodical about it.

Let’s start with what you shouldn’t do:

  • Don’t buy a list

This might seem like a short cut to getting a large email list fast, but the fact it, this isn’t YOUR list. Those people didn’t opt-in to get emails from you. I’ll show you how in a minute that we can get people off of someone else’s list and onto yours.

  • Don’t add an annoying pop-up to your website that says “Join my List.”

Look, no one likes pop-ups and if you create one asking someone to join your list, the best that you can expect is that your visitor will politely close your pop-up and continue to look at your site. More likely, they will ignore you and not return to your site.

Here’s what to do instead:

1. Create a free downloadable checklist or tool

2. Create a mini-course

3. Conduct a webinar

Those are the 3 basic ways that every good list is built from. You will need to set up and opt-in form, and tell them why they will want your freebie. Then you give them the information they are looking for. People love getting information is easily digestible forms, which is why simple tools like checklists or spreadsheets work so well. It’s also why webinars that convey real information can attract folks who want to learn without reading.

But, how do they find your site in the first place to know about your free offer? Ah, that’s the rub – you have to tell them! Here are some ways you can do that:

1. Post your free offer on social media.

You might even want to use something like the Social Boost program to give people an incentive to share your offer with their friends and help make it go viral.

2. Get a partner to email to their list on your behalf.

Unlike buying a list, this is an endorsement from a trusted sender, telling his or her list about your offer. Your goal with your offer is to get them to sign up for your list. Sure, you might need to incentivize someone to share their list with your offer, but this is a great way to get a lot of new subscribers fast.

3. Advertise

Yes, you can advertise. But when you do, advertise your free offer, not your product you are trying to sell them. The goal of your ad is to simply get them on your list.

4. Tell everyone about your free offer

Why not add a line to your email signature letting people know about your free offer. Add your free offer to your business card, voice mail and any place else where you interact with customers.

5. What about pop-ups?

If your pop-up is displayed after someone has been viewing your site already, and you provide them with your free offer, pop-ups can work great. In fact, as a website owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that no one leaves your site without giving you their contact information. So yes, under those circumstances, by all means, use a pop-up to share your offer!

Finally, nurture your list

Once someone has opted in to your list, they have essentially raised their hand and said, “I want to hear from you!” Which of course means, you want to start sending them regular emails. Email them at least once a week to keep their interest up – not with sales pitches, but with real, valuable information they can use. When it comes time to buy, they will remember you (especially if you give them a reason to buy from you occasionally).

I’d love to hear how this works for you – please let me know.