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5 Most Powerful Ways To Build an Email List Online

By:     Topics: Email Marketing     More posts about: ,

The money is in the list.

Building a mailing list is vital to any online business, everyone is doing it! You can email all your readers at any given time about anything you like.

Every time I do a new article on my blog, I email my list about it, sending thousands of people instantly to the page. Getting traffic to your website is important, what’s just as important is making sure they keep coming back, time after time. That is why I build a list!

Another bonus of building a mailing list is that you can do affiliate marketing. Say your using a great product like Popup Domination, you want to make some extra money, you email your mailing list subscribers about Popup Domination using an affiliate link. Anyone who clicks that link and buys, you will receive a commission. I do this every month and it’s probably the closest thing to money growing on trees. Here’s why:

Sending an email to your list about a product takes literally minutes. The reward is always thousands of dollars for me. If I did it 4 times in a month which isn’t much at all, that’s likely to be at least an additional $10,000 in revenue that month! Hopefully by now your excited about the idea of building a list.

Before We Start

Those who already do email marketing probably don’t need to read this bit.

Before you can start collecting emails, you need to firstly decide on how your going to collect them. There are a lot of options out there and it’s hard to decide whats the best. I’ve used a lot of different company’s and still currently use Aweber, iContact and ConstantContact.

When it comes to building your list I recommend you grab yourself an Aweber account. Aweber is an autoresponder service which allows you to collect emails, email those said people and a whole load of other options including:

  • Automatically follow up with emails in a sequence. For example, day1, they receive a free ebook. Day2, they receive a email about who you are and why they should listen to you, and so on…
  • Those people you email that don’t open your email, you can email those people a second time to increase the chances of getting people to click your website URL and visit your site.
  • You can build as many lists as you like, for as many different websites as you like. There is no reason to have one big list.

Here are my favorite 5 ways of building a mailing list online.

1. Javascript Lightbox – Using Popup Domination

A year ago I launched a product calling Popup Domination. It works with any website and has 8 really great designs. What it does is add a little box in front of your website when someone visits your page. It looks just like the image below. You give your readers the option to sign up for your free gift and/or newsletter. This is by far the highest converting method for bloggers to build their list. Test it out and if it doesn’t do exactly that, you have 60 days to ask for a refund.

Tip: I suggest showing it 2 seconds after page load, on the second page they visit. This way if they are coming from your mailing list to check out a recent post, they won’t be hit by it every time.

2. Squeeze Pages – Created With OptimizePress

Squeeze pages are vitally important to anyone who wants to build a list! The majority of people give away something to entice people into signing up for their email list. Often that free gift is an eBook and because it’s free, a lot of people will read it. Those who love it, will want to mention it to their friends, on their Twitter/Facebook and even on their website. The problem with all other traditional email marketing tactics such as a sidebar optin or a popup, is that their is no specific place to send people to sign up for your newsletter. You would have to say, “Go to this website and look on the sidebar somewhere for somewhere to sign up for something”. It’s not very convenient. That’s when a squeeze page becomes very handy.

Using Optimizepress, you can build a page in WordPress that will be all about your free gift and it will have an optin box. This page is designed to convert because of the great designs that come with Optimizepress. I often link to this page in articles and say, “Loved this post? Then your love this free eBook I wrote”. Definitely worth doing!

3. Sidebar Optin Box

Although this tactic isn’t anywhere near as powerful as the above two, it’s still important. Sometimes people will see your popup but at the time they may not know what your site is about and if they really want to subscribe. They decide to say no to your free gift and later decide, “oh no, I really wanted to sign up for that”. This is why you have a box on your website sidebar, to offer your newsletter to those who didn’t take it the first time.

4. Refer a Friend – Using List Eruption

For those who offer a free eBook for those who sign up to your list, I recommend you also use this tool. What it does is once a reader subscribes to your mailing list, it will take you to a new page. On that page, you will get a special website URL which will work as an affiliate link. Subscribers use that link to promote to their friends and readers and get them to sign up for your course. It tracks how many subscribe and once they get 5 friends to subscribe, it automatically gives that person access to a new free gift. This is a great way to get your email list to go viral! Click here to check out List Eruption!

5. Launch Your Own Product

One of the best ways to build a list is to sell a product online. When I started Popup Domination, I had perhaps 20,000 subscribing to my list and things were going very well. But a year on, I have a much better list, a customer list. A customer list is a list of your customers email address. This type of list is worth a lot more money than a normal list because subscribers have proven they are prepared to make a purchase on the internet. Now when you email a promotion to a list like this, it’s going to make you a lot more money, in some cases I’ve seen it convert over ten times higher!

This is so powerful that I have friends who actually make products just so that they can sell them cheap and use it as a way to build a list!

Now That You Have a List

When I first started blogging, I built a list.. for what it seemed, no reason what so ever.

I didn’t email my list for months, I simply did it because I saw other bloggers doing it and it looked “professional”. I was also 16 at the time. The first time I emailed my list, I saw quite a noticeable increase in traffic for that day! The more I emailed them, the more traffic my site got and in result, the more money my site made.

Make sure your regularly emailing your list, a minimum of once a week, if you don’t update your subscribers often, they will look else where for content!

Good luck! If you have any email marketing related questions, leave them in the comments below!


  1. Murray Lunn says:

    Been doing a lot of testing with my list and what I’ve found, in terms of response, has been that if you do a consistent headline to alert people about you blog posts – it keeps the clicks consistent.

    I did a wide range of titles but the basic: Sept. Newsletter – Title, seems to do wonders if you keep with it because people have been using this format for years now (especially with eCommerce sites) – no point in reinventing the wheel, ya know?

  2. Mike great post. How many of these are you using on the new photo blog and which one would you start with first. Have a great week and Thanks

  3. David Walker says:

    HI Michael,

    That’s a rock solid list if you will excuse the pun…

    I had not heard of List Eruption before but it looks an interesting take on the old “Tell a Friend” scripts that used to work well back in the day.

    Thanks for the heads up, I intend taking a closer look at it.


  4. Sumon Rahman says:

    Thanks Micheal for this Great post. Highly appreciated. But I’ve a question about Popup Domination that don’t you think this plugin is bit costly for the new comers ? Or any way?


  5. Hey Michael,

    It took me years to realize the power of list building.I’m now very serious about it but it’s not easy. Thanks to Bloggers like you I get motivated and inspired every time.


  6. Thank you for Inspiration Michael.

  7. Hi Michael……
    I’m a software engineer but who have 5 years in the field (in web development project) but i did not have my own website then i started a website but i did not have any idea that how to earn money from the website and that how to improve the website by implementing some user centric strategy… but when i surfing through internet,i found ur retiredat21 site and went through some articles then i subscribed to ur free course….. Im happy to say that now I’m looking forward to read ur post and still reading ur articles in incomediary…. ot only that but also i purchased,, and my girl purchased to start websites. now im reading ur all articles in incomediary to get an idea to design and launch websites under above domain name……. now i know how to start a user centric website and the most important thing that how to make money from website…………….. thanks for sharing ur ideas and experience with us………………… If i say honestly, I had the knowledge and hands on experience in web developing and software engineering, but, there were no motivation to start my own website using my knowledge…. even though, U ENCORRAGE ME TO START A WEBSITE Michael Actually not only one website bunch of websites… The only issue i have is the TIME since im a full time employee… tanks

  8. Matt Banning says:

    Michael! good way to build email list. I’m going to try pop up domination in my new blog and let’s see how much email i can gather.

  9. Kulwant Nagi says:

    Hey Michael you are the inspiration for me. One day i don’t know how but i come up at ur blog and found your blog is filled with all the contents with every successful blogger needs.
    All your post are with very rich content.
    After getting inspiration from your blog i have started my own blog and very soon going to take your superb popup domination software and i know it very well that i will have very good leads form your software because its too much interactive popup from the all whatever i have seen.

    Wish you all the best Brother and thanks a lot for this information.

  10. Thomas Soler says:

    What a great post Mike, I love all your stuff. You have been my biggest inspiration over the past year and gave me the idea for the site I am working on now: ‘BlogMailout’. My goal is to reward bloggers for sharing their valuable content. Keep up the great work! As soon as I start marketing & bringing in good traffic, I am gonna throw popupdomination on because it’s a GREAT product! Thanks again sir, talk to ya soon.

  11. PlusLocker says:

    So Mike, you are saying not to put popup domination on the 1st page? Suppose you are doing affiliate marketing and they don’t make it past the first page (i.e. they click your aff link)?

    My past email marketing endeavors have been duds, but you shed some common sense light that just flew over my head before. Always seemed to struggle with “targeting” the list.

    So, when you launch your own product you collect the emails and THAT list outperforms the “blog” list? Did I get that right?

    Hmmm, after I saw @Alexis blog, I realize how the 2nd page popup would work (to read the content you must click the title).

  12. Chris Tuttle says:

    Hey Michael,

    I’m curious why you choose to use 3 email marketing providers instead of just 1? And which one gives you the best deliverability and do you prefer out of the 3?

    Great post.


  13. You have a knack for making things simple, Michael. I admire it.

  14. Dwight Anthony says:

    Building a responsive list to being in business online. Good post.

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog dot Com

  15. I’ve bought the full Popup Domination when it launched and I use it on just about every site I have – it is a champ for collecting addresses.

    Not sure if you’re planning a 3.0 but I’d like to see an option to have both an entry and exit pop – more for sales pages and squeeze pages. I know another product does it, but Popup Domination is so easy to use and setup.

    I also bought the pro version of Optin Domination today. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

    I own List Eruption and I just don’t think its something I’ll ever use. I just think its a bit spammy like you said.

  16. David Edwards says:

    Hi Michael,

    Awesome post, I just wanted to say thanks for all your tips over the years!. I started back in August 2008 and I’ve finally got my product launch in November (It’s an iPhone game ;])…

    All the best mate,

    David Edwards

  17. Angela Johnson says:

    Oh my goodness Michael. I started building an email for the same reasons that you did. I did it because everyone else was doing it but I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. Now I do have a better idea of what an email list is for. However, the subscribers that I have now, I haven’t communicated with in months (about 4). Do you think I should just forget about those subscribers and try and build a list the right way or should I reach out to them and try to regain their trust? What did you do with the subscribers that you had before you really understood autoresponders?


    • Hi Angela – I don’t know what Michael would recommend, but I’d definitely recommend getting back in contact with the subscribers you already have on your list. A certain percentage of them will be interested in whatever you are now offering. It’s much easier to keep already-subscribed people on board than it is to gather new ones.

      Just make sure you contact them (at the very least) at least once a month, and that you offer them great content for free before you offer them a paid product or service. That’s my two penn’orth!

      Hope this is helpful,


  18. I just started a new site and am focusing on building an email list. With what little subscribers I have I noticed their interaction is much more dedicated and timely than your classic blog reader. I found it tough to build a list when just starting out since I don’t want to force it too much.


  19. fazal mayar says:

    what a good post, im building a list since a while but no real subsscribers but i realize the power of email marketing

  20. Hi Mike!

    great tools!

    I have just installed the Opt-in Widget but I have no idea how to set it up, do you have some kind of manual or guide?

    My main 2 questions are: what´s the Mailing List HTML & Form Action URL

    I’m using MailChimp btw

  21. Thanks. I’ll try the popup domination

  22. Gregg Thorpe says:

    Thanks for the tips, especially the free opt-in widget for the sidebar.

    Your site has terrific content and I’m curious how you get or find or learn these strategies since there are so many of them and you seem to hit the nail on the head on almost every post.

    Thanks again.

  23. Kelvin Igbinigie says:

    Thanks for this great post. I have a little question.
    I’m just about to launch my first blog by the end of this month and i’m really putting things together with the help of most of your posts.
    I don’t know if you know a lot about Mailchimp List builder. I’m planning to start with this as they offer free list building up to 2,000 subscribers.

    Any idea or suggestion for me?


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