Is Your List Building Destroying Your Business?

List building and email marketing is still massive and by far the most effective way of building your online sales potential. You want proof of this?

And you know that you can’t build a successful sustainable online business without a mailing list – in fact without a flourishing email list.

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But are your list building efforts actually undermining you and instead becoming the “silent killer” of your entire online operation?

There are so many myths (and legends) out there about email marketing and the sad fact of life is you may be following closely what you’ve been taught about building your list but in reality all you are doing is wasting your time and hard earned money.

list building“The Money Is In The List”

This mantra is pushed down everyone’s throats right from the first minutes they are online.

This is not only a myth but also the beginning of a sad chain of events that only ends in disaster for any new online marketer

Everyone is telling you to build your list but they are not telling you the dangers involved in taking that very action.

You see the money is NOT in your list

And this brings us to the next notorious hackneyed myth.

“The Money Is In The Relationship You Have With Your List”

The problem with this “manifesto of magic” is the belief that you can simply build relationships with your subscribers by immediately providing them with valuable content that will persuade them to consider you as an authority and someone who they will value and trust.

What a lot of bunkum – “senseless nonsense” (Wikipedia)

Really and truly if you believe that then you really need to rethink your understanding of building relationship with people either online or offline.

In today’s fast moving internet-connected, information overloaded environment, people are extremely skeptical and often seeking instant gratification.

This spells trouble for online marketers who think by that by simply providing even more information it will somehow magically make people think kindly of you.

Many new marketers desperately try to “build relationships” with their new subscribers by sending them some free content or anything that they think the subscriber may need.

We’ve all done this – me included, but it rarely works.

Would your vegetarian neighbor appreciate you giving them beef and chicken pies when they first moved in?

You need to know the specific problems being faced by your subscribers and then as part of your “relationship building” strategy, send them a SOLUTION to their problem.list building

Many list building practices will not enable you to know this vital information about your subscribers and the focus is all too often on “building your list” rather than “building your community”.

There is a HUGE difference in these 2 strategies that I will look at later on in this post.

Suffice to know that content that is useful and relevant to your subscribers WILL always be a positive factor in building your relationships.

There is a distinct difference in the perception of your subscribers between relevant and non relevant content.   

Words of Caution You’ve Never Heard Before

Your reputation and you’re very future online is at stake here.

If you don’t know what are the real needs (“pain points”) of your newly acquired subscribers then send them what you consider to be “valuable content” (and it may well be for some folks)to begin building a relationship with your subscribers is just a complete waste of time.

To your new subscribers, it’s probably perceived as a spam email.

Ever wondered why when you have sent out some great content, a free ebook or video or even a link to a blog post that you considered to be valuable, there was an immediate increase in the unsubscribes from your list, or even worse, registered complaints to your email service provider.

TIP: Always, always, always initially send content to your new subscriber that’s completely relevant to the original reason they joined your list. Never assume you know what they want and need because YOU DON’T AT THIS STAGE!

The problem was not the content you provided or even the intent. I mean we all want to maximize the opportunity of people joining our mailing lists.

The hitch in your list-building process is HOW you build your list.

Building your list the wrong way will destroy you and your business.

It can be so incredibly frustrating when you are doing everything you’ve been told to do to build your list and your online business – and you’re just not getting the results.

Other businesses seem to have just taken off and are growing like mad and making profitability look easy.

In fact, it can be downright disheartening if either you have not had many join your list or the ones that have joined you are the wrong sort of people –they show little or no interest in you and what you give to them.

list buildingDo you want to know where the REAL money is with your list building?

It’s not in the size of your list or the relationships you try to create with your list although over time this will deliver great results for you if done correctly.


“The real money in your list resides in the perception each and every member of your list has of you as a provider of valuable solutions, as someone they feel comfortable to follow, as a leader of their community” – Peter Beckenham 2016

TIP: The attitude or mindset your subscribers have of you is the key to creating an engaged, enjoyable, and profitable list, a community that will follow you and your recommendations.  

That is where the magic of list-building really happens.

You may be the most ethical marketer on the planet but don't expect your new subscribers to engage with you, to know, like, and trust you. They won't. Period!

You have to work hard to earn their respect and their trust. It takes between 8- 10 touches before a person may have the perception that you are the person that can really help them.

The time frame it takes can shorten dramatically if you are more “visible” to your new subscribers. Video is a powerful way to connect and that's why my new subscribers always see a video from me on a bridge page as soon as they opt in. I want to “meet with them” asap and guide them through my join-up process. 

Then in my first scheduled email, there is another video welcoming them and setting their expectations in joining my online community.

Are you a “Churn and Burn” Marketer?

If you are simply buying leads or building your list in order to sell as many times as you can in every contact you have with your list then you are a “churn and burn” marketer.

You must accept the fact that most of your subscribers will leave you sooner rather than later as you are providing little or no value. There will be no relationship building, no community spirit created and your sales potential is limited to those lower-priced front-end offers with maybe an occasional upsell if you are lucky.

I appreciate that some online marketers prefer this model – it works for sure but it's not my cup of tea!

“Churn and Burn” list builders will never be in a position of trust that enables great email marketers to have their subscribers enthusiastically follow their recommendations and purchase products and services worth literally thousands of dollars.

That's where the real money is with list-building and email marketing.

So let’s look at some other list-building fallacies that are probably destroying your valiant attempts to build your online business.

Accepting Low Open Rates As The Normlist building

Let's assume you're doing OK as an internet marketer and your email open rates are say 20% – let me tell you many internet marketing folks would love to have those rates!

But this means 80% of your list, that you have the ability to make a real difference in their lives, is not getting your advice. Why accept this?

Sure we may never get 100% open rates for a variety of reasons but why settle for being average or even worse, less than average, with your open rates?

I don’t want to send you an email that just sits in your inbox (or even worse in your spam folder) and not be able to make a difference in your life.

Like many others, I have failed miserably as an email marketer and made so many crazy and stupid mistakes.

But I finally learned my lessons and even confessed my failings publicly to my list.

Now I believe in myself and my value to others so why should I settle for some miserly 20% or less open rate for my messages?

I’m passionate about this because I care about every single person in my community and I’m all about being part of something and engaging rather than folks just lurking around in the shadows and not participating.

If you don’t want to engage with me then fine – maybe this is not the right community for you.

I want to know if you want to be connected with what I have to share – that’s why I ask my list simple questions regularly – because if a list member is not interested in what I have to offer then that’s fine with me and they should move on.  

There’s also an economic reason for this approach. I mean you wouldn’t normally want to pay for a service that you’re not actually using. Right?

Well you’re still paying for the autoresponder service that is sending out your emails to folks who are not even opening them – that’s a crazy thing to accept from a simple cost point of view. Agree?

What can you do?

It’s Not That Hard to Be Humble

Clean your email list regularly – ask them what’s missing and do they want to leave your list. If they don’t even open these emails then I make the unsubscribe decision for them.

With my list building, I have actually removed lists with thousands of subscribers because of the engagement factor. It wasn’t the subscriber’s problem, it was mine. I build the list the wrong way and never gave myself the chance to engage with them as part of the community I was building.

It’s easy to remove subscribers but they are people and you probably paid handsomely for them either in time or money. So cleaning your lists should be a regular yet carefully thought-out process.

list buildingOnly recently one of my lists of around 900 subscribers was showing declining responses. I looked carefully at the email messages I had been sending them plus the open and click-through rates.

The open rates were down to 5% and no one was clicking my links.

What a wasted opportunity.

I sent them 3 email messages asking for their input and response. Here's the last message I sent out.


Tough List Building Lesson

The result of this mini “revival campaign” was an amazing open rate of over 83% and an actual response by 208 members of that same list.

No open rates like that are completely abnormal for me but it taught me a lesson and a powerful reminder that subscribers are people!

Of that 208 responses 57 of them told me that I was no longer providing the same quality of content and they were going to unsubscribe – they just hadn’t got around to doing it yet!

Ouch, that hurt. But it was true as well. I had not given enough of myself to that list so lesson learned – at least I got engagement and I'll never make that mistake again!

Forget List Size

This statistic is only great if the majority of them are engaged with you on some level and at least opening an occasional email.

Otherwise, you’re simply talking to yourself and that is not a very profitable strategy to follow.

Actually, this principle applies across the whole range of community engagement including your Facebook group, a forum, events, workshops and meet-ups – always be assessing the engagement levels of the participants (and yourself by the way)

You may have a following, you may have a list BUT you may NOT have a community! There is a big difference. Remember list building bis all about people not just the number of subscribers on a list.

Be proactive and engage those people following you and on your list who are not relating and involved with you – maybe all they need is a little genuine care and attention.

Everyone is at a different place in their online journey and you can’t expect to relate and resonate with everyone either.

I’m really interested in people who want to grow, want to grow themselves and their business. That’s my focus – helping people to help themselves to a more enjoyable and prosperous online experience.

You Have To Be Selective Sooner or Later.

I do try to help people on my lists who have no idea of what they want to do but to be honest that can only go so far.

If my subscribers simply want to hang around looking for the occasional freebie or never want to take action and implement the ideas I give them then there is no point in continuing the arrangement.

If they are not finding what you share of interest then don’t just discard them and delete them.

Don’t be afraid to approach them – ask them if they want your help in finding a more relevant community.

Ask them how you could be of better service to them or give them some suggested links to places that may be of more interest to them…and only then remove them from your list.

I love getting great feedback but I also have to run a business and I can’t do that if most of my subscribers are not “buying my recommendations” both figuratively and literally.

Next bit of myth debunking…

Growing a Successful Community is Easylist building

It takes a lot of work, a lot of time, and a heck of a lot of effort

I’m not sure what you want to build but for me, I want to build a business that makes me come alive every single day.

As a 70-year-old marketer, I want a business that fuels my excitement, enthusiasm, and passion in believing that I am making a real difference to the lives of those around me in my community.

Together with MY “WHY”, this passion is what gets me through those difficult moments we all face at some time or another.

Remember anything can be possible if you just take well-planned consistent action – this applies not only to your business but to your life in general.

It’s not an easy road to building a business on your own and you should be seeking support.

By all means, keep showing up and taking action but as well don’t ignore the critical importance a coach or mentor can be to you on your journey.

In today’s fast-paced internet -connected world everyone can get nearly everything they want almost immediately so don’t think you are failing if it is taking you lots of time to build your business. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

TIP: Be prepared in your mindset. It’s almost impossible to get your website visitors to pay for anything online without winning their trust first.

It WILL take time, patience, determination, and courage to build engagement levels with your email subscribers and your community.

list buildingA Massive List = Massive Engagement and Massive Income

Watch out – here comes your “Funnel of Disillusionment”

Building a list very quickly like with solo ads is entering the “mass marketing” space and that definitely means little engagement.


You've got your future sewn up with the 3,000 subscribers you amassed in a week.

Now you excitedly send out an email with some great information and…

You hear nothing…not a bloomin' sound!

You think – what’s going on here? You just spent all this time, money, and effort getting people onto your brand new sizeable list, and for what if they don’t even open your emails?

You created a great lead magnet or spent a lot of time putting on a webinar and you get all these people to come because it's free and so they sign up for their freebie….

And then it’s time to communicate with them, to engage with them and you hear nothing.


Because you now have achieved this massive list-building result but you don’t know who is who, you have virtually zero relationship with them even if you presented a great webinar.

You really don’t know who you can be of service to and who from this new massive list would be a good fit for the community you are trying to build.

So you send out a second email and you get frustratingly few emails opened and even fewer responses of any kind.

This totally impersonal way of building your email list and your business is doomed to failure.

Sure you may get a few quick low-priced sales if you are lucky but with no relationship and trust factors the chances of building your business based on this email list are like building a house on quicksand

Sooner or later it will sink and you’ll go with it!

Mass list building never leads to mass engagement opportunities – that is an absolute myth.

What happens is the exact opposite and either you give up like so many internet marketers have done or you start all over again from scratch.

I know because I tried that mass marketing solo-ad-driven method of building my lists…and it failed…3 times!

Yes, I’m a slow learner and repeated the mistake 2 more times in my rush to create an online income.

No engagement means you’ll never be able to finance what you’re trying to build so instead of only driving traffic to your sign-up pages why not attract traffic to you by creating great content that shows you understand, you are real and authentic and you may have the solutions to the challenges that people have.

TIP: People who have joined my lists after visiting my blog are way more responsive and engaged than any other source of subscribers.

This alone is a major reason to have a blog as an integral hub of your online business.

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In today’s world, you’ve got to stand out in a big way if you want to get noticed at all.


Because for anyone online there are so many different offers coming from so many different list buildingangles plus there is heaps of cynicism out there.

Don’t be scared to be vulnerable, be completely open and honest in your engagements with your list and your community. Share from the heart, share what you truly believe, and why you want to serve the people in your community and on your list.

Amazing things can happen when you do this. People will respond to your authenticity – it’s one of the most powerful forces of attraction on the planet so why not use it? Just be you – build your list one person at a time all the while with a focus on engaging them at every step.

Enjoy the experience of having people reach out to you and tell you how you helped them, how you actually made a difference to them.

This is where the magic happens with engagement.

This is where your business really starts to rock.

This is where you can finally see that light at the end of the tunnel and your PayPal balance will easily pay for the lighting expenses!


I know how busy you must be so many thanks for your comments.

What problems are you having with your list building?

What’s the open rate of your messages by your community?

Are you satisfied with this? What have you tried to do to improve your ability to impact on the lives of your email community?

What’s one thing that is not working for you with your list building or your levels of engagement?

What is the one thing can you change or stop doing today?

What is something new you can start doing today to really have these super-engaged connections?

Leave me your thoughts in your comments below – I appreciate you and always respond.

Let's talk to make sure this program is the right fit for you. If so we can then come to an agreement on the investments required