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The Step-by-Step Process to Setup a List Building System for Your Blog

February 13, 2019

Last Updated on - May 28, 2024  

minutes read

setup a list building system

When should you start off with your list building?

And what goes into putting together a fool proof list building plan in place?

Now that we know how to create a lead magnet (we discussed this in the last post), let us look at the step-by-step process to start capturing email addresses on our blog.

If you would like to skip this post and go to the Show Notes and Resources, you can do so by clicking here.

One proven fact is that email is by far the most effective medium to reach your fans today. In fact it is even more effective than social media.

But the biggest challenge is on how to build your list fast. I am sure you don’t want to take years to build a list of 1000 subscribers.

So in this post we will look at a few strategies on how to build a list fast and also how to get the most out of your list even if it is small.

Before we do that, let me re-iterate the principle that I follow. This is something I learnt from Andre Chaperon.

Your profitability doesn’t depend upon the size of the list. Instead it depends upon how engaged your list is.

So even if your list is small, you could very well be making a lot more money than people who have a huge list.

If you are thinking as to why we are talking about list building even before we have put out our first piece of content, then you might want to write this on a piece of paper and paste it somewhere that you can always see it – “The Money is in the List”.

That’s right. If you are ever going to make decent income; income that can substitute your 9-5 job, then it is going to be from your list.

It is personal experience that is speaking here. I will keep that rambling and the story for some time later. But at this point, keep in mind that your list is the most important thing for you.

So, if your list is going to be the most important thing for you, then shouldn’t that be the first thing you should think about?


Let us assume you have installed your blog and you post your first article. You then share it on social media sites and a few visitors come over to your site. Imagine if you don’t have a lead magnet on your blog.

What happens then?

Those visitors will read your article and then leave. Isn’t that a loss, even if it was just one visitor?

You lost a prospective subscriber.

It is hence that I suggest that you put together your lead magnet or, optin bribe as we call it, the first.

On that note let us get straight into the strategies.

Step-by-Step Process to Setup a List Building System

This is a simple 6 step process and is the pre-requisite to start capturing email addresses

First things first. There are 3 important things that you need to keep in mind even before we start.

Make the process Simple – Everybody is short of time today and we do not want to put in too much of efforts to achieve something. Its the same with signing up to a newsletter as well. If the process is simple, the better the results.

So make the signup process simple for your visitor. Don’t ask for too much of information. Keep it to only the email and the name. That should be good.

Put together a highly relevant optin bribe – This is something that we discussed in the last episode. If you know your reader profile, you will know what they are looking for. And if you know what they are looking for, then you can easily put together a good optin bribe (also called as Lead Magnet) using the steps that we spoke in the last week’s episode.

While creating an optin bribe, it is important the the “perceived value” of the bribe is high. Your visitor should feel the need to enter their email address and download the bribe as soon as they see it.

Publish Valuable content – A visitor to your website might not be entering his email address and downloading an optin bribe in the first go. He might browse around to check the quality of content you are publishing just to make sure that the lead magnet that he is about to download is valuable or, not and if parting with his email address is worth it or, not.

Now that we have the preliminary requirements in place, it is time to get set for list building.

Storing Your Lead Magnet

The first thing you need to do is, to decide where to store your lead magnet so that your users can download it.

The best place to store it is Dropbox. A free Dropbox account is more than enough and you can store pretty much anything on there. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that you should restrict the file for access to only someone who has the link.

Another place that I would recommend is Amazon S3. You will need to create an account with Amazon S3 in order to be able to store files there. But it is a good alternative to Dropbox.

Choosing an Auto-Responder

This is one of the most critical things in building a list. Your auto-responder could make or, break your list.

Hence, it is important that you choose the right one – somebody who is reliable, who can give you the flexibility to manage your lists and who can give you the best control of managing your subscribers.

While there are numerous auto-responders out there, I always recommend Aweber.


Because they are reliable, listen to their customers, is easy to use and gives you more than what is required to build and nurture an email list.

One another reason why I choose aweber is because of the tagging feature. Their tagging feature is one of the easiest and best. If you are not aware of what tagging is, then in one line it is basically a method to segment your subscribers.

There are numerous other autoresponders out there and you are free to choose any of them. If you already have one, then there is no need to go and buy another one.

Creating Your list

Once you have decided on your autoresponder, you will need to setup your first list. This process will be different with different autoresponders.

Hence whichever autoresponder you choose to, you can follow their instructions to setup the list.

Here’s how you can do it in Aweber –

Step – 1: On your dashboard / homepage, scroll all the way down and click on the “Create a New list” button.

aweber createalist

Step – 2: Enter your Company Name, Website, Sender name and Sender email address and then select a physical address (if you have already created one) or, create a new one.

aweber listcreationstep2

Step – 3: Enter a “List Name” and a “List Description” for the list you want to create. Keep in mind that both these information will be visible to your subscribers. So you might want to enter something that clearly talks about what the list is.

aweber createliststep3

Step – 4: The final step is to customize the “Confirmation Message”. This message is used only if you have selected the “double optin” message where a subscriber is added to your list only once they click on the confirmation message.

It is a good idea to customize this confirmation message so that you don’t sound like every other person sending an email to the same subscriber.

aweber createalistStep4

Once you are done, you can just click on the “Approve Message & Create List” and you are done.

This step of creating a list could be slightly different with other autoresponders, but it will be more or, less the same. So you don’t need to worry too much about it.

Setting up your Autoresponder Series

This next step is the most important in this series.

If you are not aware of what an “auto-responder” series is, then this simple definition would be able to explain it to you.

An autoresponder series is a series of emails that are sent to your subscribers automatically at a pre-decided date and time.

This autoresponder series is the one that helps you build a relationship with your subscribers. It also helps in subtly promoting products to your subscriber.

Since this is where you could make or, break your relationship with your subscribers, there are a few important points that you need to keep in mind, when you are setting up your auto-responder series –

  1. The frequency of emails you are sending is extremely important. Don’t send too many emails and also don’t be an email-miser.
  2. The goal is to build your relationship. Hence don’t make your autoresponder series overly salesy and promotional. Give value to your subscribers and that too in abundance, before you really start promoting anything to them.
  3. Keep your promises. If you have promised something to your subscribers in any specific email, then give it to them. If you break your promises, you break your relationships.
  4. Craft your emails. It is different from writing your emails. When you write, you do it for the heck of doing it. But when you craft, you carefully work on creating a masterpiece. Spend time in writing your emails and keep perfecting it.

The first email in the series will be the welcome email where you will be delivering the optin bribe to your subscriber. This is also an opportunity to introduce yourself to your subscribers and also set some expectations on what they will be getting from you as a subscriber.

Follow it up with the autoresponder series. If you have written the emails well, then you will be surprised at how responsive your list will be to your emails.

Setting up your Optin form

Now that you have setup your autoresponder and the email series, we can create our optin form.

There are numerous landing page builders and optin form builders out there and you can pick any one amongst them.

But I would recommend Thrive leads.

Because they are the best when it comes to creating and deploying your optin forms. They have an amazing and simple to use inline editor that you can use to build beautiful optin forms, either from one of the many available templates or, from scratch.

In fact I would recommend that you go for the entire Thrive themes package because we will be using another one of their products, called Thrive Architect in the next step.

One important step in list building is to make your optin form follow your website visitor. Hence you will need to place your optin forms at various places across you website.

Thrive leads gives you multiple options like widget optin forms, welcome mat, top-ribbons, slide-ins etc. which a lot of the other optin form builder plugins don’t.

Hence you can create a uniform looking optin form across multiple styles and place it across your blog at strategic locations.

When you are creating your optin form, keep the below points in mind –

  1. Create a simple, minimalist looking optin form. Don’t go for jazzy ones. They distract people away from signing up.
  2. Ask for minimum information. Only an email address field gives maximum conversion. BUt I would recommend that you use Name and Email address, because capturing the name will help you personalize your emails by addressing it directly to the subscriber.
  3. Use a 2 step optin form, if possible because that has shown to convert better than normal optin forms.
  4. Don’t use vibrant colors. Keep it simple.
  5. Time your optin form in such a way that it appears after a few seconds of the visitor being on your website.

Now that you have your optin form ready, let us move onto the next step.

You can also create a landing page for this same optin bribe. You can use Thrive Architect to do it. Just keep in mind that it should look and feel similar to the other optin forms that you have designed.

Create a Thank You Page

A thank you page is more than just a page to say “Thank You” to your subscribers.

In an age where attention spans are short and there are hundreds of emails competing for those few seconds and where marketing is considered as a SPAM until the user feels otherwise, it is important that you don’t let go of an opportunity to stay connected with your visitor.

It is here that you can use the thank you page.

In your thank you page, give some clear instructions to the user on what the next step is. This could be –

  1. Whitelisting Your email address
  2. Confirming their request to receive information
  3. Moving the email from the “Promotions” folder to the “Inbox” if the user is on gmail. You can show them how to do it by using a short video or, gif image.

At this point there is another nice little trick that you could do.

Since the visitor has subscribed to your list and opted for a specific report/guide/video about a specific topic, show him more of the same topic on this page. For eg: if your visitor opted in to receive a report on building an email list fast, show him posts about the same topic, from your blog.

This is something you can do with Thrive Architect and that is why I was recommending Thrive earlier.

But this trick is only useful if you already have a blog. If you are just starting off, then you will need to wait a little while before you are able to do this in your thank you page.

These are some of the preliminary work that you need to do so that you are ready to build your list as soon as you publish the first post on your blog.

In the next post we will be discussing, how to strategically write your content so that your list building takes an auto-pilot method

Show Notes

This is what we discussed in this episode

  • The important tools that we need for effective List Building
  • The 3 important things to do before you even think about List Building
  • The 4 key essentials of an Auto Responder Series
  • The 5 things that can double the results from your optin forms

Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Here are the resources we spoke about in this episode –

  • Andre Chaperon – Auto Responder Madness
  • Aweber
  • Thrive Leads
  • Thrive Architect
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon S3
  • Thrive Themes

Thank You for Joining in

I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you did, please do take some time out to rate the show on iTunes and provide us with a genuine review. This helps in the overall ranking of the show and will help people find the show.

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About the author

My name is Dilip. I am a fan of the internet and love the many opportunities that the world wide web provides. If used constructively , the internet can give you an opportunity to lead a life free of the 9-5 treadmill and will be able to give more time to your family members.
Read about internet entrepreneurship at my blog.

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