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List Growing Strategies Successful Entrepreneurs Actually Use.

It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

There are countless ways to grow your lists. And everyone that is selling you their method says that it's necessary or you will die miserable and alone. 😉

I disagree. And, in fact, I KNOW that my friends all use a variety of list-building methods and frequently they are completely different – AND they work!

In order to demonstrate my point, I asked my smart friends…

What is your favorite way to grow your lists?
Meaning YOU personally.

What are you doing right now that works best for you?

Note! You'll find a special offer or recommendation for each contributor at the end of their answer. Those links will open in a new window, so they won't interrupt your reading flow. <3

I think you'll find the answers this week interesting and hopefully helpful to your business.

D’vorah Lansky, M.Ed.
Bestselling Author and Course Creation Specialist

My favorite way to grow my list is to do a JV promotion with an Internet Buddy who shares a common audience. The new students that come into our community fire me up, reignite my passion for what I do and stir up excitement in our community Facebook group.

Seeing these new students take action and watching our alumni students pitch in and help the new students get acclimated, makes me very happy and also reinforces that I am on the right path in how I am running my business.

From Nicole: I love Dvorah's courses. This is one that everyone needs. Create Colorful Web Graphics. (With a special coupon instantly applied.)

Ronnie Nijmeh
Founder of

(Click here for a free account.)

My favorite way to grow our list is through Facebook advertising. It can be a little tricky to find the right targeting and setup proper event track, but once it works, it works on autopilot.

A few tips to get started…

1. Zone in on your targeting!

Don't get super fancy. Just start with:
– People who visit your site, but don't opt-in (i.e. a “retargeting”)
– If you already have a list – upload that to Facebook, then create a “lookalike” audience of people already on your email list
– If you have a list of customers – upload that to Facebook, then create a “lookalike” audience of people who've bought from you
You can get more fancy later, but small is best to start. It's easier to keep track and make changes.

2. Make sure you installed the Facebook pixel correctly and you're tracking opt-ins correctly.

This can be SUPER finicky, depending on your website setup. The key thing when tracking opt-ins is to make sure people aren't going to be double tracked if they visit the download page twice.

3. Add UTM parameters to track your ads.

With this data, we know which specific ad drives the opt-in and it gets attached directly to the person's record. This helps us confirm Facebook's data, and also lets us know who came from where.

4. Ideally, you should be tracking sales within Facebook as well.

That way you know 100% when a sale came from Facebook or some other means (Google, affiliate, etc.)

And when you track sales (and not just leads) you will know definitively which ad is more profitable, because sometimes it's not super clear.

For example, one ad might give you leads for $3 each (super cheap!), but a cost per sale of $279… while another ad might give you leads that are $19, and a cost per lead of $19 (way more profitable!).

5. Know your numbers!

What is a lead worth to you? What is your conversion rate to your paid products or coaching? Without knowing your numbers, you have no idea if the ad is profitable or not.

A few metrics that are helpful to know:
– Customer Lifetime Value (how much your client typically spends with you over their lifetime)
– Email Subscriber Value (how much is one subscriber worth)
– Opt-In Conversion (what percentage of landing page visitors subscribe to your email list)
– Sales Conversion (what percentage of subscribers turn into paying customers)

For example… if you know that every subscriber is worth $20, then you can spend up to $20 to break even. So if your cost per lead is under $20, then you make money. 🙂

Putting it together…

Here are some real Facebook ad numbers from the last 14 days for one new campaign:

Note: my Facebook Ad Account is in Canadian dollars, so the cost per lead are even lower. (i.e. $3.17 CAD = $2.41 USD)

Looking at the screenshot above…

Row #1:
You can see 88 leads at a cost of $3.17 CAD ($2.41 USD) and this has directly lead to 1 sale. The “ROAS” stands for “Return on Ad Spend”. 0.16 means we're losing money on this ad because we're spending $1 to generate $0.16.

Not great…

That means we added 88 new people to the list at a cost of $3.17CAD per lead, and we made 1 sale to recoup some of the ad cost.

While this isn't immediately profitable, we know our numbers and our Annual Email Subscriber Value is over $40… so over time, we'll recoup the cost per lead.

Row #2:

Here you can see 31 leads at a cost of $7.73CAD, but this directly led to 3 sales with a ROAS of 2.37 (that means we spent $1 to generate $2.37 in revenue generated)

So in this case, it costs 2.4x more per lead (compared with Row #1), but it generated 15x more sales!

Row #4:

In this case, we're not directly list building. Instead, we're targeting people who performed certain actions on the site (i.e. spent a lot of time on the site, visited the pricing page, etc), and going directly for the sale.

This ad has lead to 4 sales with an ROAS of 24.37. So $1 of ad spend led to $24.37 in revenue generated.

The Bottom Line:

List building via Facebook ads is awesome! Just make sure you have the proper tracking in place so you have accurate numbers of leads and sales.

Then makes sure you know your numbers, so you know what's working (and what's not!)

It takes some time and patience, but it's worth it!

From Nicole: Ronnie is the BOMB! He's got over 12,000+ done-for-you coaching resources (including articles, lead magnets, and checklists) in personal development, health, wellness, and finance to choose from (and more added every month).

You can get 2 for free every month right here.

Cindy Bidar
Marketing Strategist

My very favorite ways to grow my list are the ones that are fun, easy, and don't suck up a lot of my time!

Recently, that's meant offering paid products for giveaways my friends are hosting.

Giveaways are fun because I get to promote them to my list, and they offer a ton of value (typically lots of smart people contribute, so there's something for everyone in a good giveaway). They're easy, too, since all I have to do is create a promo code for an existing product. It literally takes minutes to do.

Here's the best part though: I get to offer fantastic value to my new subscribers right from the start. By sharing a full product with them, they have a much better idea if I'm a good fit when they are ready to invest in a course.

From Nicole: I love love love Cindy's marketing checklists.

Check them out here. (Save $10 with coupon code: 10)

Also, if you don't know WHAT to send to the people who sign up for your freebies, check this out: Get 10 done-for-you follow-up emails here.
Enter this coupon to save $10: 10
(Yes, the number 10.)

Bob Sparkins
(Formerly Known as Bob Jenkins)
Manager, Marketing Education

My favorite way to grow my list of subscribers who are most likely to want to buy in the near future is by offering my slides and some type of extra bit of content after delivering a presentation. Whether on a virtual summit or on stage at a conference, or even on a podcast, I find that it's a great time to build that list. These are people who are focused on you and your content for 30-90 minutes, and they made some kind of effort to be in your presence.

Now the trick is, how do you best get those emails? In person, you can have a sign up sheet (which is still a good old-school way to go) or collect business cards with the distinct mention of “give me your business card and I'll send you my slides and more interesting things…”). Online or off, you can be ready with a website URL to giveaway.

But in all cases, my favorite way to build my list in these situations is by using a Leaddigit. This is a keyword text-to-optin method that has the highest conversions of any of the other methods I've tried. In a lot of these situations, people have their phones, but they are away from their computers. It can be cumbersome for them to open up a browser, navigate to your URL, find your opt-in box, click it, and enter their information in.

Instead, have them open their text message app, and send your word to a number.

In my case, I send a copy of my book, “Take Action! Revise Later” via email when people text TARL to 33444 (in the US).

There are a few different services that do text-to-optin, but the one I like the best because of it's integrations and pricing model is Leaddigits from Leadpages (yes I work there).

Whatever you use, be sure to keep your keyword simple, and easy to spell.

From Nicole: Bob and the team at Leadpages put together a book with 30+ contributors (me included) sharing our best ways to get more coaching clients.

You can download that right here.

Tracy Roberts & Susanne Myers

Tracy and I are PLR sellers and what's working better than anything else for us right now is providing smaller versions of our paid products to grow our list of leads. We give away a workable, usable, valuable sample of the type of pre-written content they can expect with our paid products.

Here's an example of one of our freebie packs: 7 Day Autoresponder Audit.

This particular pack and a few like it perform really well for us. Not only do they convert well when it comes to signups, they also convert really well when it comes to turning subscribers into paying customers. And that's what it's really about at the end of the day, isn't it?

The reason they perform so well to convert free subscribers to paying PLR customers is a bit of a lucky accident. On a whim we decided to include our extensive training document on implementing content like this that's included with our larger 30 Day Challenge Packs. It provides a lot of added value and more importantly it helps our subscribers consume the PLR. They put it to work. They use it to grow their own lists. There's no better way to prove that pre-written content works, and that this whole idea of using a 30 Day Challenge to grow your list works than to see it in action on a smaller scale. After seeing for themselves how easy it is to implement these types of content bundle and that they work really well, it's easy to convert them into customers.

Don't be afraid to give away some of your best stuff. Don't be afraid to teach your subscribers something of value. Show them that you know what you're talking about and help them in a real way. There's no better way to build trust and with that your paying customer base.

From Nicole: You can get Tracy and Susanne's 7 Day Autoreponder Audit (FREE) to make sure that your new leads are actually turning into customers. 🙂

Connie Ragen Green
Best-Selling Author

The most effective way for me to grow my list is to speak, in person and virtually to my best target audience.

This community consists of authors and authorpreneurs who need my help to finish their book, get it published, and create products and courses around the content they have written. I make sure everyone in my circle of influence knows that I am open and available to serve this community with my knowledge and experience.

From Nicole: Connie is an amazing Affiliate Marketer. Her course Affiliate Contest Secrets shows you how she's won lots of affiliate contests. You can check that out here.

Angela Wills
Digital Business Coach

My absolute favorite way to grow my lists is to participate in Giveaway or Bundle Events. I've added hundreds of people at a time to my list this way and it usually involves minimal work because I already have the product, the product description, pricing and all the pieces ready to go. I simply submit my details to the event I've chosen to associate with and then when it runs, the leads start to flow in.

The last event I participated in brought me 300 new leads and counting for about 15 minutes worth of work. It was a bundle sale and I also promoted it as an affiliate and earned over $500 in commissions from the sales I sent to the bundle.

When I tell people how much I love these events they usually ask me how to find some that they can participate in as well. My best advice for this is to get on the email lists of people who do already participate in these sales, myself being one example, and then have a look out for what else they are promoting. Once you find a sale or giveaway and get on the lists of those participating you've very likely to get some emails about other events. Most people do more than one event, because we find them easy, effective and fast for list building, so we keep doing them!

From Nicole: Angela has created a course about how to use Giveaway Events to grow your lists that you will love. You can check that out here.

Nicole Dean
Author, Consultant, Awesome Human
From here!

My coaching clients ask me all of the time what they should do to grow their lists.

My answer is that there are a million ways to grow your lists, but the one you'll do CONSISTENTLY is the one to choose. Because forcing yourself to do something you hate to grow your lists is NOT going to get you momentum.

There are a million ways to grow your lists, but the one you'll do CONSISTENTLY is the one to choose. Because forcing yourself to do something you hate to grow your lists is NOT going to get you momentum.Click To Tweet

However, you can always outsource other list building methods – to grow your audience.

But first, really look at what you love and what you don't love.

What are your strengths and what are your non-strengths at this time.

What could you really commit to being consistent to?

So, if you know you hate writing, then for goodness sakes, do an audio or video method instead. 🙂 Webinars work!!!

If you don't like to have to show up somewhere at a certain time on your calendar, then create a super sexy funnel and master how to send FB traffic that converts.

Choose one place to really focus for a month and you'll get a lot more momentum than if you keep switching from list method to list method, flailing and flustered. I promise.

And to answer my own question?

At, I love having JV partners send us traffic for free and low cost items. It works. All day. Every day. We currently have several FREE funnels for affiliates to send traffic to:

I also use FB retargeting ads there, and we do FB ads offering a free item. If I can't get someone to promote as an affiliate, then I just tap into their audience instead. One larger coach (whose name you'd know) has already sent us $96k in business. Too bad she isn't an affiliate. That would have been a nice payday for her. 😉

Here at, I like to grow my lists by bringing together awesome people to create awesome content and then all share and grow. Collaboration makes me happy and it makes me money.

At, so far we've been mostly growing the lists with attendees to our events. We will be releasing a video series soon based on a presentation we gave to a women's networking group in May that I think will do well. “Women are Catty and Other BS Rules that We Don't Believe”. Watch for that!

Your Turn!

Please let me know what your favorite way to grow YOUR lists is. I'd love to hear what you think!

Nicole Dean

I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Kelly

    Your outsourcing advice is so good Nicole. I’m currently outsourcing a Pinterest project. It’s one of those traffic sources I keep hearing about but never take the time for. Hopefully I’ll have some great results to share soon.

    • Nicole

      Love it, Kel. Yes. I totally recommend outsourcing some traffic, whether it’s to help you to be more consistent at certain things, or to just crack the code on what works! Can’t wait to hear how it goes for you.

  • Leslie Truex

    Great stuff as always Nicole! After GDPR, I did a big email purge, so I’m eager to get my numbers up again an will definitely look into a few of these ideas.

    I’ve been doing content upgrades that link to specific email campaigns. I promote them on Pinterest, which is my largest source of “free” traffic (I say free, but I use Tailwind for Pinterest, which isn’t free).

  • Ellen Finkelstein

    Lots of great information. Two people mentioned participating in giveaways. I found that organizing a giveaway was very effective for me. I did one a year ago and got 900 new people in 2 weeks.

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