A-Z of Growing Your Business Online – Email List


This month I’m taking the alphabet and giving you tips from each letter on how to grow your business online. Today’s letter is E for Email List.

You may have heard the motto before – “The money’s in the list”. Well, there is a reason they say that! The real “money” is in your relationship you cultivate with your list.

Some people think that email marketing is dead. But the reality is, most people check their email every day. Usually first thing in the morning on their phone before they get out of bed. So it reaches a large number of people, and often daily.

With an email list it can be easier to have repeat visitors to your website (and/or shop), and you can nurture potential leads to become customers.

Here are some steps you can take to get started generating an email list.

Sign Up For An Auto-responder/Email List Service

To start collecting emails you will need to sign up for an email service. Two of the most popular ones are Aweber and MailChimp. I’ve tried both. Here are some advantages of each one.


Aweber is a great service that is highly popular. It has a great drag-n-drop interface and it handles the auto responder sequence really well. Other things I love about it include the fact that it’s opt-in code counts your page views and opt-ins, so you can see your opt-in conversion rate easily.

The down side (for me) is that the interface is not as user friendly, and the information that you get about the emails that you send out are not as easy to get anything useful from them.


MailChimp has a free option, which is great for those just starting out. When you have a smaller list too, there are cheaper options than Aweber. So MailChimp is a great option for those who are starting out on a budget. I also feel like MailChimp has more personality, and is updated more often. Aweber looks like it has had the same layout since 1999 (which it may well have).

Mailchimp’s dashboard is great, it gives me all the information that I need at a glance. Another thing I like about MailChimp is it makes it really easy to segment your lists, where as in Aweber you have to create lots of lists.

The down side to mailchimp is I find it’s autoresponder sequencing not as easy as Aweber, but overall I prefer Mailchimp.

Opt-in On Your Website

Once you have signed up for a service, you will have to place an Opt-in form on your website. Again, both services have form creation. MailChimp’s is not very logically placed/easy to find. You have to go into lists, then your specific list. Then there is a menu up the top for sign up forms. On the other hand, Aweber’s is annoying because you have to go through every step, even if you just want the plain code.

Create An Opt-in Offer

Create a compelling opt-in offer. Make people want to sign up for your list. Some ideas include an exclusive ebook, a coupon or discount voucher, or access to something exclusive. When you create a great opt-in offer, you will get more sign ups to your email list.

Send Out Useful Emails

Send out a series of useful emails that people will want to read. Don’t worry so much about people who unsubscribe (unless everyone is unsubscribing). You want people on your list who are excited to hear from you, people who are a good fit for you. Test to see if different frequencies, different content, or different headlines perform better, but always think about what the benefit is to your audience.

Ask For Feedback

Ask the people on your list often for feedback and use it as an opportunity to survey your audience. You want to be continually improving.

What’s Your Opt-In Offer?

Let me know in the comments below! If you don’t have one yet, what kind of thing are you thinking about offering?

No Comments

Jennifer Kennedy

I’m definitely one of those people who checks their email each and every morning when I wake up! It’s a bad habit, I know!! I need to seriously invest in a real alarm clock so I can keep my phone away from my bed.

I’m slowly trying to build my email list. It’s moving slowly and steadily. I definitely need to reach out to my list to see what topics they would like to read. Thanks for the reminder!!


Jan Koch

Hi Carlie,

my opt-in incentive is my eBook, that you would need to buy if you don’t subscribe to my list.

One drawback of having a mailing list is that you have to constantly send mails. That won’t work if you’re searching for 100% passive income, but otherwise people are leaving a lot of money on the table.

I’m also checking my mails in the bed every morning. I started to try and get rid of this “bad habit”, but as it turned out I felt really uncomfortable not knowing what happened at night.

So I stopped following this trend and now I’m fine with reading mails in bed – I just don’t answer them.



Ashley F

Hi Carlie, nice summary of the importance of the mailing list. I have a free twitter guide to getting followers on my site. I am using MadMimi, but it does not have an auto-responder. Did not know that Mailchimp did, so now i might reconsider because I do this manually for the moment. Not a big deal but might become annoying.
keep up the good work


Carlie Hamilton

Thanks for the comment, Jennifer. I really want to stop reading my emails first thing in the morning because it then hangs over me until I get to a computer and reply to them


Carlie Hamilton

And it’s a great ebook. Damn, I have to get around to reviewing that one because I think it is valuable.
I have trouble with my newsletters too, as I think long, and I want to send really short, quick tips that people can act upon. This is just a mindset thing, and this A-Z challenge is part of trying to think smaller.
The answer you are looking for is to create an auto-responder series. Set it up, and then you will only need to update it every so often.


Carlie Hamilton

You have to have a paid subscription to get Mailchimp’s autoresponder service. It depends on the size of your list, but for beginners it only cost $10 a month (compared to Aweber’s $19, it all adds up).

Thanks for commenting Ashley


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