How To Make Money As You Build Your Email List (Episode #82)

Kevin Kelly said that it takes just 1000 true fans to totally make a living. 1000 true fans - who will all be on your email list - and you can make a living doing it. But, it also works as you build it up. In this episode, we talk about how you can actually make money while you build your list. We talk about the very beginning of the blog profit funnel and how to structure it so that every new subscriber has the potential to turn into a customer. We also talk about some basic metrics which will allow you to actually PAY to get people onto your list... and still make money as you do it. This is the name of the game. :-)

Kevin Kelly said that it takes just 1000 true fans to totally make a living. 1000 true fans – who will all be on your email list – and you can make a living doing it. But, it also works as you build it up.

In this episode, we talk about how you can actually make money while you build your list. We talk about the very beginning of the blog profit funnel and how to structure it so that every new subscriber has the potential to turn into a customer.

We also talk about some basic metrics which will allow you to actually PAY to get people onto your list… and still make money as you do it.

This is the name of the game. 🙂

We are now in Episode #82 of Coffee Break Blogging and once again, we are going to continue on our series to creating and growing a profitable blog-based information business online.

Today we are going to talk about how you can actually build your list and make money while you do it. And also, you could do it dependably because the other thing is that a lot of bloggers they try to build their list; they have got the opt-in on their sidebars, stuff like that, but just they do not have many people actually joining.

A Shortcut To The System

Well, there is a way to shortcut the entire system and we do that by actually using paid traffic. Facebook has come to mind, first and foremost. Now if you have a negative reaction by thinking that you can’t afford that; then I want you to listen to this episode because this is the way that people can afford to go and do paid traffic in these types of things and not actually lose money. If your immediate reaction is that “I can’t afford paid traffic!” I just want you to just kind of see how the numbers work out here.

Now there’s a guy named Kevin Kelly, you may have heard of him and he has a blog post that he wrote about 1000 true fans. It is the idea that all you need really is one thousand true fans to make a living off of it. Now if you look at your email list, you look at what it is that you are actually building there; well if you are doing it right, you are building up true fans.

Obviously, numbers being what they are; not everybody who gets on your list is going to be a true fan. There are going to be those people who are on your list who just casually keep an eye on what you are doing. That’s fine. But the thing is, as you are building your list you are going to be building these true fans. And so, you are building it! You know, one thousand true fans can pay all your bills; you can make a living off of that. But the thing is, as you progress up to that point, you can start to make money. It might not be enough to make a living off of it right away but as you are building this asset, as you are building your true fans you can build up slowly on a graduated incline up to this point where you can actually pay your bills off of this.


But in order to do that, you have got to offer something of value to people because that is pretty much how you are going to make money. At the end of the day, there are two primary ways to make money. There are two things that you have to do. First of all, you have to have something of value that is actually going to help people and the second is that you have to offer it to them. In the more plain English way of saying it; that means you have got to sell it to them. So yes, sales is definitely a part of this and you are not going to be able to make money as you build your list if you do not make offers to the people who are subscribing to your list. That is just how the game has to work. There is no other way to go about it. So the basis of making money is to make offers to these people who are subscribing to your list.

Now, over at the Blog Marketing Academy I talk about something called The Blog Profit Funnel. It is essentially a sales funnel. That is really what it is. So it is not like it’s a new concept and I certainly didn’t invent it. But the sales funnel is this idea of having a graduated series of things that one can buy and generally it is going to move from something on the lower end of the price point up to eventually things that are higher than that.

Getting Them Into Your List

And on this episode, what we are talking about is building your email list. So at this point in the sales funnel we are at the very beginning of the process; the typical pattern. Most people are going to join your list and then they might buy something. Now obviously in real life, it doesn’t always work in that nice linear fashion. Sometimes you are going to have people who literally, the first time they ever join your list; they are customers. They buy something right away. It does happen. Or if you do webinars and stuff like that; sometimes people will… They are sleepy for a webinar and they might buy something on that webinar, they become very quickly; a customer.

But on a general average basis, you can look at the beginning of the sales funnel as being “Get on to the list” so what is going to happen is that these people are going to come in to a squeeze page. Now, we have talked about squeeze pages on this podcast before, but it is a single purpose page and the only purpose of it is to get them on a list. And generally it offers something of value; something that they want, something that they want to learn and you give it to them in exchange for their email address.

Make An Offer

Now here is where you can actually start to make money as you build that list; is that you can put an offer immediately after they subscribe to the list. So what most bloggers do is, the people will subscribe to the list and then they will see a confirmation page or a thank you page. And on those pages you are either going to have, “Oh thank you for subscribing, now go check your email, click the link to confirm blah-blah-blah” or you will get just a general thank you page and just thanks them to becoming a subscriber, yada-yada-yada.

The whole thing is that most bloggers are not putting offers behind the opt-in. They are putting logistical things or just a general “Welcome”. And that is actually a huge waste of real estate if you are looking to make money doing this. So what you should do is put an offer on the page that they immediately see after they subscribe. So they go to a squeeze page and then they opt-in and then they see an offer.

Follow-up Sequence

Now the other thing is that when that person gets on to your email list, you should be following up with that offer via your autoresponder sequence. Now we have also talked about autoresponder sequences in this podcast before. So if you are not following along with me linearly, just back a few episodes. Go back to the 70s in terms of episode numbers of Coffee Break Blogging, and we cover a lot of these stuff. But that autoresponder sequence should follow up with the offer that you give them immediately after they have subscribed. So they are getting hit with the same thing but in two different ways. You are going to give them an offer on the screen and then simultaneously to that they are going to start to receive follow up emails for that exact same offer. And so you have two or three or four different opportunities to get them to buy this one thing.

Now, obviously, it goes without saying you don’t want to be spammy about this, you want to make sure that the offer you are giving them is highly valuable, that is very, very tightly related to the thing they originally opted in for; it needs to flow and it needs to make sense. If you come out the gate with some odd ball offer and they’re like, “What the hell is this?” it is obviously not going to sell and you will be doing your subscribers a disservice. So do not do that but you could still present that offer.

Facebook Ads

Let’s look into how this would work in terms of running paid traffic from Facebook ads or the like, into this funnel…

So you put an ad up on Facebook and then say it is costing you 50¢ per lead to get people into your squeeze page or 50¢ per click to get them over to your squeeze page. And you have a squeeze page, and let’s just hypothetically say that your squeeze page is converting at 50%. Now, 50% for a really well done squeeze page is actually not super difficult to do. Most of them tend to average anywhere between let’s say 30% and I’ve seen them go up into the 60s and 70s. So 50% is kind of right smack in the middle and if you have the right kind of people coming in to your squeeze page and you got a really good lead magnet sitting there you can probably get into the 40-50% range on opt-in. So that means that for every two people that hit that squeeze page one of them is going to opt-in.

So again, it is costing you 50¢ clicks to get over to this page and you get 50% opt-in rates; so basically if you send 100 people to your squeeze page from Facebook it is going to cost you 50 bucks. But because you only have 50% opt-in rate then only 50 of those people are going to opt-in. So for those 50 bucks you would have put 50 people on your email list. Okay?

So you can see that you can actually fund the growth of your list by doing this. Now on this 50 people, you spent 50 bucks to get them there, now you just need to make back 50 bucks from those 50 people to break even or even better, to actually profit; actually make money as you build your list. So it is a numbers game. You present an offer there; you have to track the conversion rate on that offer. Let’s say you have a $10 product; just 10 bucks. Well, you’d have to have 5 of those 50 people buy that $10 thing and you have made back your 50 bucks and you will at least have broken even by putting 50 people on your email list by doing that. Now if you have even one more person buy, you’re making money. Or if you increase your price a little bit and the same five people buy but now it is a $15 product, you just made money.

So it is all just bouncing out the numbers. If you have a lower price product you would have to have more people buy it. Hopefully you see how that works but it truly is a numbers game. And by putting that offer there and if you have enough people buy it you can actually either break even so you’re basically building your list, essentially, for free at that point because you are making back everything that you spend, but if you have your conversion rates are decent enough you guys can make money while you do this. And then of course, everything that they buy after that they buy is all pure profit at that point.

A Funnel Set Up

I want to point you into an Action Plan that I have created inside the Blog Monetization Lab and this is called “Creating A Blog Profit Funnel.” This Action Plan goes right to the heart of everything that we are talking about right now. I don’t get in to how to do paid traffic and stuff like that; it is just a funnel set up; how to actually set up a linear funnel that actually will make you money. And this Action Plan is called Creating A Blog Profit Funnel and it is only available to members of The Blog Monetization Lab so run over to to learn more about that and learn about the benefits of becoming a member to the Lab.

We have got a lot of members joining all the time and I would love to have you on board and I think this is probably one of my favorite Action Plans that I have got inside the library right now and it is called Creating A Blog Profit Funnel.

I will see you next time! 😉


  1. I have been listening to several online marketing podcasts and yours is by far my favorite. I really love how clear a concise you are with your information, and I’ve found it to be very valuable. Thank you.

    My question is:
    I am a musician, and use a platform called Nimbit to sell my merchandise. Nimbit collects the emails and info of the people who purchase my products. I am trying to figure out how to integrate this into my email list (which is currently with MailChimp, but I am considering switching to Aweber per your recommendation). Should I direct add costumers emails into my MailChimp list and start an automated sequence to them, or should I email them personally with an opt-in link (perhaps offering them a discount store code for my online store if they opt-in) and then once they opt-in, begin an automated sequence? The bottom line is, should I consider costumers automatic opt-ins, or should I add an opt-in extra step?

    Taina Asili


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