Building Responsive Email Lists

Building Responsive Email Lists

If big is good, bigger must be better. Well, maybe … but size isn’t everything when we talk about email lists. Many marketers with ‘big lists’ might wonder why sales figures aren’t growing as fast as they would like.

The answer could be that the marketers are focusing on quantity rather than quality. A large list is not necessarily a responsive list.

What is a responsive list?

In the simplest terms, it’s a list of subscribers who know you, trust you, and are in a position to respond to what you are offering.

You can ‘tweak’ your existing lists to make them more responsive but, ideally, a marketer will build a responsive list from scratch.

Create your list with care

A big list beats a small list most of the time, but a list is only a means to an end. You don’t hear successful marketers bragging about list size alone; the real aim is to convert contacts into customers.

A bigger list, or more sales? Which would you choose?

Be careful how you build your list. Be strategic about how you market to it. Be aware of what is actually happening when you send out an offer.

How to build a responsive mailing list

Here are some basic things you should do:

1. Avoid buying email lists

It is possible to buy thousands of email addresses from someone else’s contact list, and still end up with sales that fail to satisfy you. It’s about relationships. Your list should grow naturally and organically, so that your contacts can get to know, and trust, you and your business.

2. Use the double opt-in strategy

Lists that require a double opt-in will always be smaller than those that don’t require confirmation, but the quality will be higher. Remember, when people really want something, they will follow the steps to get it.

3. Target the demographics

Demographics tell you who will buy, and the reasons they buy. Knowing this gives you a better understanding of their needs and wants.

4. Use an autoresponder

Why struggle with each and every email, when there are affordable services to do it for you? Yes, sometimes you might want to reply personally, but let the professionals get your list sorted for you.

5. Think about price, and value

How much should you charge for your super-duper whiz-bang product?

That’s up to you. What is your product really worth? Really? FREE? $7? $37? More? Or a lot more?

The real question is this: What is it worth to the people on your list? Pay attention to that, and then do what works for you.

As Angela Hall from Wealthy Affiliate says, “Always – Always – Always provide value to your list. Whether it’s a newsletter or you’re selling – give something of value to them”.

Speaking of value, you can now download this new e-book free.

What’s your experience with list building?

Feel free to share in the comments section below.


  1. Great post. I set up a mailing list on my blog about a month ago and I’m not sure how to go about my marketing campaign. I do have one subscriber who is legit. This post summed up the most important principles. And yes I would rather have a smaller list with quality subscribers. I’m surprised that people really think that “buying” subscribers works. Perhaps it has in the past? When you buy subscribers it makes me think of those spam emails I get which annoy the heck out of me.

    • Thanks Vanessa. I think it is about finding the right audience and offering the right solution. Easier said than done, but keywords are crucial to get visitors. I am soon to offer an E-book that looks at gaining and maintaining list subscribers.

  2. As you pointed out,quality is always better than quantity especially as you build out. I would much rather have a list of a few hundred than a few thousand knowing those few hundreds will make me more money in the long run.

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