List Builder’s Lab

Every day, with credit card in hand, HUNDREDS of your most VALUABLE potential clients opt-in to an email list with the hopes of overcoming their most urgent problems.

And whether you’ve created an online course, or have plans to create one in the near future, the success of your coaching, consulting, or training business rests heavily on your answer to this question.

Because what follows could EASILY be the most pivotal moment you look back on 90 days from now when your email list is flushed with 1500+ super engaged leads ready and willing to INVEST in your product.

You’ve probably been asked this dozens of times. Maybe even HUNDREDS. By business coaches, potential partners, mastermind groups and concerned spouses. They ask it with the best of intentions. But even still, it can land like an A-bomb to an entrepreneur’s fragile psyche. Especially when you’re already skating on thin ice… unsure how many more hits you can take before the ice cracks and you have to fall back into whatever world you just left behind.

Still makes me want to slip on my invisible cloak and dig myself a deep digital hole. And maybe you can relate. Because in my mind, there’s no question more anxiety provoking for an online business owner in their first few years than this one. It’s a question that can make you feel like a total fraud. (or in my case, a flat out failure).

It was almost a year after I left my job as the head of content for Tony Robbins to go off and do this whole “online business thing”. And despite coming from such a great “traditional” background… one which people always seemed impressed by, I was a total amateur at online marketing. And my list of just 600 subscribers (mostly concerned friends and family) confirmed it. Even the few people I DID have on my list were unengaged at best and freebie seekers. Swiping my free report then disappearing before I even had a chance to say “hello”. But the most painful part about it wasn’t the fact that I was spending long nights working my butt off with no results to show for it… It was that my number of subscribers (or lack thereof) served as a such a constant, clear-cut indicator of my failed efforts.

But even still…. I’m grateful people asked it. Grateful that people are asking it to YOU. Because that single question… and the ACTIONS you take to finally be able to answer it with unshakable confidence, holds the key to your flourishing online business.

But before I could take those actions in my own business (and grow my list to over 200,000), I had to learn the hard way why building a big email list of engaged leads and eager buyers was so damn difficult.

You labor for days creating the “perfect” lead magnet… One you believe your audience will absolutely love. Throw it onto a simple landing page (maybe you have Leadpages)… … and then do your best to channel your inner-copywriter without sounding like some late night infomercial guy who speaks in a steady stream of call-to-actions.

Who knows… it might actually convert?? And then… Traffic. You wait for inspiration to hit – write an epic article – post it to your blog and then throw it up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… Anyone who will have it. You beg for likes… comments… shares. And if you’re feeling particularly brave, maybe even tag an influencer or two with the hopes they’ll take notice and wave their magic wand to make it go viral. Maybe you get a few bites. A slow trickle of opt-ins. Enough to count on one hand, but that’s OK. Progress is progress, right? But you find that the people who DO end up on your list are a strange bunch. Oh… they LOVE getting that free report you spent days creating. But your other emails? You know… the ones where you’re actually trying to build a relationship or make an offer? Nope. Not such a big fan of those. They disengage. Drop-off. And you’re stuck having to upgrade your email service provider to act as an expensive parking lot for all that digital dust. Wash, rinse, repeat.

And while it’s true that a pivot may be what’s needed… after working with over 20,000+ students across my programs, I can tell you that in over 90% of the cases, it’s not a pivot that’s needed… but a better strategy. Because as popular as list building has become, it’s still super hard to get right, and most people who struggle have fallen for one of these 6 deadly mistakes.

I’m going to come right out and say it. There’s a HUGE difference between building an email list and building an email list of soon-to-be buyers. And being aware of this crucial distinction informs every decision you make. From the type of lead magnet you create to how you engage with your new leads in the days and weeks following the opt-in. Most gurus will tell you “the money is in the list”. Better-informed experts will correct them and say “the money is your relationship to the list”. But the truth is… The money is in your subscriber’s relationship to the problem they’re trying to solve. And unless your lead magnet and subsequent messaging confirms and reinforces that relationship, chances are it won’t lead to money changing hands. So to summarize: your job isn’t to build an email list. It’s to build a list of future buyers.

Yes, numbers are important. Especially your first 1,500 engaged, ready-to-buy subscribers as this number represents a fairly accurate tipping point for where your online business can become a full time gig bringing in consistent, predictable revenue…