List Building – My Results

Every Internet Marketer needs to build a list will he or she wants to make money on demand. This is my journey into list building and the lessons that I have learned.

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Creating a list is not that hard but what is hard is creating a quality list with subscribers that are responsive to what you send them.

There are Internet Marketers out there with a huge list that make nearly no money at all when they send their list an offer they cannot refuse but on the other hand, there are Marketers with a relatively small but very responsive list that make a ton of sales every time they send their list an offer.

My mentor at that time recommended building a list if you didn’t have one already. The fastest way to build a list is to buy traffic and direct them to your squeeze page. The more money you have to spend the faster you can grow your list.

The easiest and most popular way to buy traffic is by buying solo ads. I built my list of around 650 subscribers using this method. This is a relatively small list that I built in about 5 months.

Due to the fact that I was on a tight budget, I was always looking for a great offer. A great offer to me was paying less for more clicks and this meant that I bought most of my clicks from unknown Marketers.

Little did I know that this was the wrong way to do it.

I did, however, buy some solo ads from established Marketers, and by doing that I did see a difference in opt-in rate and sales from my OTO’s.

When I bought clicks from an established Marketer with a quality list, I would get an optin rate somewhere between 38% and 74% and make a few sales on the One Time Offers (OTO).

When I bought clicks from unknown Marketers the results were very disappointing. The highest optin rate that I got was 26%, with the lowest being about 3%.  And as you can imagine I made no sales at all on the OTO’s.

I paid on average between 0.22 and 0.28 cents per click from unknown Marketers and between 0.35 and 0.50 cents per click from established Marketers.

To test the quality of the subscribers I created 2 lists in my Autoresponder. One is the result of opt-ins from established marketers and the other list from unknown Marketers.

After emailing both lists for a period of time with follow-ups and broadcasts with free content and offers, I saw that the responsiveness of the quality list (established Marketers) was far better than the list of the unknown Marketers.

Looking at the stats in my Autoresponder for both lists I could see that List 1 was more responsive than List 2. List 1 had an open rate on average of about 8% and a click-through rate (CTR) of about 5% and List 2 had an open rate on average of about 1% and a CTR of less than 0.5%.

When sending an offer to both lists, I never made a sale from the list of unknown Marketers but I did make sales with the quality list.

My only conclusion is that if you want a responsive list you should be willing to invest in buying quality traffic.  In the long run, this list will be more profitable and will be easier to build a relationship with because they open and read your emails.

The last thing that you want is a list of subscribers who are not responsive. Having a big list of non-responsive subscribers will only cost you money because you pay your Autoresponder for the number of subscribers you have.

My advice would be to invest in quality solo ads from well-known Marketers and avoid the cheap ones because, in the long run, quality wins over quantity.

I will not mention if asked, who I bought solo ads from due to privacy reasons.

These results are my personal results and may not be typical for everyone. Let me know by placing a comment here below, if you have a different experience.

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12 thoughts on “List Building – My Results”

  1. I just ran a weekend workshop on email marketing and made this exact point to the attendees. You are paying for those people to be on your list as you pay for your autoresponder, so you do want your subscribers to be responsive. If they are not you should take them off your list to make room for new subscribers to get a chance.

    Enjoy the journey.


    1. Thanks for your comment.

      Last I deleted everybody who hasn’t opened one of my emails in the last 4 months. This reduced my list size with about 125 subscribers. These subscribers were probably just freebie seekers signing up for your free gift and after downloading don’t bother to unsubscribe.

      The lesson I learned was not to be cheap but buy quality traffic and pay for it. In the long run it will be more profitable.

      – Frank

  2. Frank, you are definitely right when you say you must have quality links. I have been viewing comments from fellow marketers and they all have been researching different methods.

    You are on the right track, even though I have not begun building my list yet, I have been observing for the past 2 years.

    I am currently being bombarded with over 1500 emails per day. This started out by asking a couple of marketers which is the best way to begin over 2 years ago.

    At one stage I sent out 1600 emails asking the senders to send say once a week if they wish, but to no avail, I still kept on receiving from many 2-6 per day from individuals.

    After much research, I have found that the source of these marketers selling their lists or part thereof are most of the prominent marketers out there. I do have the list and prices.

    You are on the right track, but DO NOT sent more than say 2-3 emails a week, otherwise you will be not read. I know the feeling. Just give quality info or gifts.

    Keep in touch

    Kind regards and good luck.

    1. Thanks Greg for your comment.
      In my beginning I had the same problem when signing up to somebody’s list,receiving hundreds of emails a day. Trying emailing them to ask for one email per week won’t work because their list is kept on an autoresponder and to segment that list for one person is not done. They prefer you unsubscribe.

      That being said, it’s wise to unsubscribe from lists that don’t bring value. Start reducing your email in your inbox buy unsubscribing from lists that just bombard you with one offer after the other without delivering any valuable information.

      I don’t mind getting offers because that’s what this business is about trying to make commissions on sales or selling your own products but I do expect to receive free information or tips about Internet Marketing

      I do on regular base unsubscribe from lists that don’t deliver what they promised this way I reduced the amount of emails in my inbox dramatically.

      I send about 3 to 4 emails a week with on average 2 of them being an offer.

      Question: Why haven’t you started building a list yet? You’ve being observing for 2 years now so you now know how it shouldn’t be done.

      If you have any questions, let me know and I will try to answer them for you.

      – Frank

  3. Frank

    Interesting testing you did and thanks for sharing, solo ads etc are not something that I have really looked into. What I mean is I have heard of them but not used them at all.

    Do you suggest any good resources for finding quality solo ad list?



    1. Hi Richard,

      Most of my solo ads I purchased at a website called safe swaps. It´s a paid membership where you can buy solo ads ads do ad swaps with members.

      To buy solo ads you don´t have to use safe swaps because a lot of marketers sell solo ads outside of safe swaps.

      I can recommend two places where you can find quality solo ad sellers. The first is Reed Floren’s Solo Ad Directory. Here you can read about the solo ads Reed purchased and the results he had with them. The second is from James Francis. This is his personal rolodex of solo ad providers which he has bought from. He categorizes them by quality.

      Reed Floren’s Solo Ad Directory :
      James Francis Solo Ad Rolodex :

      Hope that this helps you.

      – Frank

  4. Great post Frank, and let me say that i have had similar results to you in fact i had a list which i built from unknown marketers and this list was unresponsive in fact only responsive for freebies, and another list from Known Marketers which convert best,although i have now decided to stop using solo ads for a while!

    What i would like to know also is how do you get rid of an unresponsive list on your AR?



    1. Hi Dan, thanks for your comment. I’ve stopped with solo ads for a while too and concentrating on creating a product of my own. I have a couple of lists that don’t respond to anything I send them. They don’t bother to open the email even for a freebie.
      To get rid of an unresponsive list is easy to do. I use Aweber so I don’t know how it works with other AR but I think it won’t differ much.
      In Aweber you can delete the entire list by going choosing your list at the top and clicking on the link to your right “(Create and Manage Lists)”
      Here you can delete the entire list. If you want to keep the list but just want to delete subscribers then you choose your list and go to the tab ” Subscribers” Here you can delete the subscribers one by one or as a whole and keep you list available for new fresh responsive subscribers.

      I hope that this has help’t you.

      – Frank

  5. List Building can certainly be a problem. I think it separates out the ones without serious commitment. I know its a problem I struggle with, especially since I am on a limited budget. So right now, I am doing article marketing. Haven’t been at it long enough to see results yet, but at least my articles are getting accepted.

    Bob Gilson

    1. Hi Bob,
      There are so many ways one can build a list and all of them have their pro’s an con’s.
      I tried doing it the fast way by buying solo ads. It works great but like I wrote in my post
      it all depends on from who you buy your solo ads from.

      Like you I’m on a limited budget, that’s why I went for the cheap solo ads. Little did I know that
      there are a lot of solo ad sellers that have very bad lists and are just out for that freebie.

      Once I bought 300 clicks for $78 and got 32 subscribers, that’s an optin rate of nearly 10%
      and the worst part was that all the email address’s were in the same format for example, etc.

      It turned out that these subscribers didn’t even collect their free gift and afterwards
      didn’t even open any of my emails.

      Instead of spending all my money on cheap solos it would have been more profitable if
      I spent that money on quality solo ads and building a responsive list.

      I’ve learn’t my lesson.
      Cheap solos = cheap traffic = unresponsive list = no sales = no income

      Hope that helps you a bit but remember don’t give up and keep taking action
      and one you will succeed.

      – Frank

  6. Great post Frank, I think you definitely hit the nail on the head! The old saying of ‘you get what you pay for’ applies here as well. I have pretty much the same experience as you – except that one of the cheap solos I bought from an unknown marketer resulted in a high opt-in rate of 56% but every single one of those subscribers spelled their name in the same format (only first name in capital letters: John, Peter, Lisa) and none of them have opened an email since. No sales either, obviously.

    It is always a great idea to go for those sellers who not only have plenty of positive feedback, but who also have people reporting sales in their feedback. This to me shows that the list actually also includes buyers.

    1. Hi Laura,

      These are lessons learned for me and I hope with this post I can help others from not making the same
      When buying solo ads now I tend to look for positive feedback but not just on opt-in rates but like you wrote, if they
      actually made any sales.

      – Frank

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