4 Fun Ways Experts Build Their Mailing Lists

One of the keys to building my own list fast has been diversifying my methods.

I don’t have just one opt-in offer.

I don’t promote it in just one way.

I build multiple lists and I go for as many list building strategies as I can to find out what works for me.

This week, I asked a few of my business friends to share how they’ve built their lists to give you some great ideas of how you can get creative, have fun, and build yours, too!

Create a Celebration!

Partner with other business owners to offer a gift in exchange for an email address.

As part of my Working Naked Day celebration (and as an opt-in incentive), I offered eBooks and guides from four other business owners.

At the end of the promotion, I sent the business owners the names and email addresses of visitors who received those gifts.

Lisa Kanarek
Home Office Expert, Author and Founder of

Engage One on One

Engage with your subscribers, one-on-one, as often as possible.

Ask them “What do you need help with?” or “What area/s of (business building/blogging/marketing/social media) are you struggling with?”

Encourage them to hit the reply button and then always respond. Personal correspondence and connections make a difference!

Melanie Kissell
Founder of Solo Mompreneur,

Get Creative

Here are 3 list building activities that have worked for me in the past.

1. Each week I hid 3 clues to a food trivia answer on different pages of one of my retail sites and drew names from the ones who got it right. The winner got a prize. Everyone who heard about it evidently told all their friends and family, but my list ballooned.

2. Another one that helped grow a list on Facebook was a contest to see which fan could correctly guess the Oscar winning movies and best actors that year. The winner got a Color Your Life Happy tote bag.

3. Last year when I attend a women’s conference, Spark and Hustle, produced by Tory Johnson, I decided to interview the vendors on video and then post them to my Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/coloryourlifehappy My fan list grew a lot from that because after all, the subjects told their customers and fans.

Flora M. Brown, Ph.D.

Go “High-Tech” & Get Mobile

Do you have a QR code yet? If not, you need one!

Try http://uqr.me

They’re totally free and you can place them on things like your business cards, print ads, brochures and other items you share with customers at events.

You can link your QR code to a special opt-in page with coupons or even directly to your business Facebook page — you can even change where users land when they scan your code without changing the actual code itself.

This is pretty great because a few weeks after your event is over if you’d like to have the code direct to your Facebook, or page with info on a big sale you’re having you can, it’s totally up to you. :)

Melissa Barham
Barham Virtual Assistance

Now, Pick One!

Which idea could work for you?  Choose one and implement it this week.  Or brainstorm based on these ideas to create your own fun and unique promotion.

Spread the Love


  1. Thanks Michelle..Lots of great ideas..
    Jaime Lee recently posted… Pinterest, Pinterest and more Pinterest!My Profile

    1. You’re welcome, Jaime. I love hearing what others are doing, that helps me get outside my own head and be more creative.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Here’s Why Business Isn’t Rocket ScienceMy Profile

  2. Thanks, Michelle. :)

    Lisa, Flora, and Melissa have some super cool and creative list-building strategies!

    I’m a big fan of collaboration so I love the idea of partnering with biz owners to offer a gift exchange.
    Melanie Kissell recently posted… Hiten Vyas Challenged Me and I Said YesMy Profile

    1. That one is so much fun! :)

      Thanks for sharing your tip with us Melanie!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 4 Fun Ways Experts Build Their Mailing ListsMy Profile

  3. Thanks for featuring me, Michelle. I feel honored to be featured with such a great group of ladies!
    Melissa B. recently posted… Oh, the JOYS of working at home with two little boys.My Profile

    1. Thanks for sharing your tip with us, Melissa. I need to go explore QR codes and get one on my print marketing materials. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… How to “Look Good” in WritingMy Profile

  4. These were great tips! I really like the partnering to offer ebooks, etc. I think this could be brilliant for newer businesses as well as established ones.

    1. That’s one of my favorite strategies, Jeanne. I’ve hosted those types of promotions (like http://www.SmallBizChristmas.com) as well as participated and they’re fun for everyone. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Want More Traffic to Your Blog?My Profile

  5. Love these ideas. Now to implement them.
    Flora M Brown, Ph.D. recently posted… Writers, Is Pinterest in Your Marketing Bag?My Profile

    1. Key step, right? :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Three Quick Ways to Build Your ListMy Profile

  6. Thanks Michelle. The engaging one on one appeals to me. I have replied to comments and asked them how I could help, but have never had any responses. I guess it came across salesy, although I didn’t intend that.

    Any tips there?

    Madonna recently posted… Tap Into a Successful Business MindsetMy Profile

    1. Great question. I’ve had the best response when I just weave it into my ezine in my personal note at the top. Sometimes I get a bigger response than other times though. :)

      I’ll ping Melanie and see if she’s got any tips!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 4 Fun Ways Experts Build Their Mailing ListsMy Profile

    2. Nice to meet you, Madonna!

      I hope these tips will help you. :)

      1.) Engage with the “One burning question” strategy.

      In one of the earliest autoresonder messages you send out to new subscribers, offer them the chance to ask you ANY question they want about _______________ (you fill in the blank). Business blogging? Marketing? Online visibility? Podcasting?

      Focusing on a SPECIFIC topic here is the key. :)

      2.) Follow Passive Panda’s lead! Here’s the welcome email I received from James Clear, owner and author of Passive Panda. James engaged with me, ONE-ON-ONE, as soon as I subscribed to his list.

      We had several follow-up discussions via email where he gave me some awesome tips and direction.

      (Pay special attention to the paragraph that starts with, “And finally, …”)

      Hi Melanie!

      Thanks for joining the Passive Panda community! I’m so glad you’re here.

      Passive Panda is focused on teaching you how to earn more money by spreading your message and getting other people to believe in your ideas. Feel free to read our About page for more.

      Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sending you links to some of our most valuable articles. Keep an eye out. I know you’ll love them.

      Right now, however, I want to thank you for being a part of our community. As a small gift, here is our 7-part Freelancing 101 Course, which will help you turn your skills into income.

      You can get it right here:

      (I’ve deleted the link to the freebie James offers his opt ins. It’s only fair and he deserves that kind of respect.)

      And finally, I want to hear from you. What are you struggling with right now? What type of information would be useful for you and your situation?

      Just reply to this email and I’ll reply as soon as I can.

      Talk soon,
      James Clear
      Founder, Passive Panda

      3.) Create a very simple survey to send out to your subscribers. Ask just ONE question. Maybe something like: “If you could spend one hour with me at no charge, how would you want to use that time? … or … What would you have me help you with?”
      (This will help you out tremendously with market research)

      And no matter the size of your survey, show your subscribers how much you appreciate their time for filling out your survey by giving them some small token of appreciation. A tip sheet? A couple of cool graphics they can use on their blog? A blank monthly calendar they can schedule the following month’s blog posts on? A copy of an article? A list of free press release sites? Maybe even record a few special biz tips. Use your imagination.

      Wishing you awesome list building success, Madonna!
      Melanie Kissell recently posted… Hiten Vyas Challenged Me and I Said YesMy Profile

      1. Awesome! Thanks for stopping back by to share those, Melanie.

  7. Love this ideas! This could be brilliant for a new business. Thank you for sharing.
    Laura recently posted… A Look At Speedy Plans For Eleminate AcneMy Profile

  8. Hi Michelle ,
    The four fun ways to build mailing list are catchy and should be followed to achieve good result.Thanks for sharing!
    Pete Goumas recently posted… Jigsaw Health Coupon & ReviewMy Profile

    1. Hi Pete, I’ve found building my list is more fun with catchy ideas. :) And you’re welcome.

  9. Hi Michelle,
    Its a well presented post.Thanks for sharing your business friends great ideas and their website links to help us in building mailing list.
    waterpearls recently posted… Water Before, During And After Exercise: Avoid HyponatremiaMy Profile

    1. You’re welcome, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  10. Hi Michelle..

    It was a diversifying idea ” 4 Fun Ways to Build Mailing List “..Helps a lot to a newly blogger like me..Thanks for sharing with us..
    Bianca recently posted… second hand cars stroudMy Profile

    1. Glad this was helpful for you, Bianca.

  11. Thanks Michelle for sharing the four fun ways to build a list. We teach fashion courses and work with international designers in the fashion industry and we are always on the look out for ways to engage our audience. X

    1. Hi Jane, it’s great to keep your eyes open for those opportunities!

  12. Practical, easy to implement tips Michelle – I especially like Melanie’s sharing of James Clear’s welcome e-mail. I need to go and review mine. This post has stimulated my desire to connect in some fashion with subscribers, TODAY. I am sooooo suggestible.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Adalia John recently posted… How to Cope With Rejection: 2 Simple StepsMy Profile

    1. Awesome — suggestible is good if it leads to strategic action. :)

  13. Thanks for your useful tips, I think it’s time for me to build a useful and fresh list of the people in my niche. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Julie recently posted… dental treatmentMy Profile

    1. That’s a great list to have, Julie. It makes promo much easier once you know who you can get in touch with to build together. :)

  14. Wow, the internet is such a small world!

    Flora………you and I have actually had a sit down conversation in your home in southern California, about gift baskets! I used to live in YL right across the freeway from you and then moved to Idaho and came allll the way down for our meeting.

    The gift basket business is what originally brought me on-line but I soon learned it would never provide me a sustainable income. (I actually think you mentioned that it wouldn’t.) So I have now incorporated my ability to make gift baskets into my client care by using them as thank you gifts or by providing them as sponsorship in exchange for attendance at a conference. So it has worked out well in that regard.

    Anyway, Flora, great ideas on the contests……….love the hidden words.

    My best to you, (and to you too, Michelle!)


  15. Well!! I highly appreciate your tips regarding mailing list. According to me, if you are new in business or other fields in that condition mailing list has become important for them to communicating with others. Thanks for sharing it.

  16. QR codes! Now that’s an idea I hadn’t thought of. Mobile support tells consumers that you’re up to date and care about cross-platform availability, so that sounds like a brilliant idea.

    Reading your advice (particularly about creativity) made me think that behind having something desirable to offer, being fun and enjoyable is of very high importance when it comes to getting people to follow you. It’s great advice that I will definitely be passing on.

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