How to Build a Huge Email List of HOT Leads in 2024 For Your Lifestyle Business

Reading Time: 35 minutes

It may not feel like it in the direct response social media world we’re living in these days but building an email list is still a vital element of your marketing strategy.

Without doubt, the communication landscape is changing rapidly and we interact with brands and businesses more on social media these days than via email.

However, a weekly email from a favoured brand is a good reminder sometimes that we haven’t caught up with them for a while and will encourage us to go and check out what they’re up to.

Plus if they’ve just released a great blog post or podcast or piece of content that would totally pique our interest we may not hear about it unless we get an email.

The simple fact is attention is so divided these days that the maximum opportunity we give ourselves to communicate with our customers or potential customers, the better.

Quick Takeaways:

  1. The Power of a Solid Lead Magnet: Highlight the importance of creating a compelling lead magnet to attract email subscribers, as it’s the foundation for building a strong email list.
  2. Diverse Lead Generation Strategies: Emphasize the variety of lead generation methods available, from quizzes and webinars to eBooks and exclusive communities, showcasing the diverse options for engaging different audiences.
  3. The Role of Email in Marketing: Reinforce the idea that email is a crucial marketing channel, not just for sales but for building relationships, trust, and providing value to subscribers.
  4. Email Content Strategy: Stress the importance of delivering valuable, humanized content in emails to keep subscribers engaged and interested.
  5. Consistency and Testing in Email Campaigns: Highlight the need for consistent, high-quality content in emails and the importance of testing different approaches to see what resonates best with your audience.

Is Building an Email List Still Worth It?

Back in the day email was my No 1 sales tool. (Back in the day being 10 years ago)

Before I employed any other marketing strategy I would prioritise building my email list as I knew that each subscriber would equate to roughly $1 in monthly income.

Sure enough in my first year of business, I built my email list to around 25,000 and generated close to $250k.

It wasn’t an exact science but always came fairly close.

Nowadays, however, the medium has changed. The world is a different place and even more so now than when I started people love to buy but hate to be sold to.

In fact, I recently signed up to join the email list of a podcast I regularly listen to.

The podcast hosts always give great value, they’re entertaining, generous with their content and I always get a lot out of each episode, so it was a no brainer for me to leave my email address at their website.

What followed, however, was totally incongruent with their brand. Within minutes I had a sales pitch in my inbox, followed swiftly by another and every day I continued to receive 1 – 2 emails all trying to sell me something and offering me nothing of value.

I was so annoyed by their emails intruding into my day, I unsubscribed and sadly haven’t listened to one of their podcasts since.

So is building an email list still worth it? Of course!

The people that open and consume your emails are your ideal target audience. They are your advocates, your buyers, and your word of mouth marketing team.

But rather than seeing email as a sales tool, you need to view it as another marketing channel.

And just as you would with social media, it’s your job to be creative, entertaining, educational, and most of all useful.

I’ll show some examples and give some great ideas for email campaigns later in the post, for now, let’s start building your email list.

How to Get Started Building an Email List

The goal is to build an email list of subscribers who LOVE receiving your emails and look out for your name in their inbox!

This is no mean feat in today’s highly distracting, attention divided world. But, let’s reach for the moon my friend, and we may float amongst the stars!

I’m going to take you through 6 key steps to building your email list and give examples and ideas along the way.

Let’s go.

6 Steps to Building an Email List of Subscribers Who Love Hearing From You!

1. Create a solid lead generation offer.

Otherwise known as a lead magnet, the idea is that you give something of value for free in exchange for an email address.

Otherwise, why does someone want to give you their email address in the first place?

Just because you have a form on your site that says so?

I don’t think so my friend, competition is fierce and you need to be thinking out of the box.

Or as my old friend Jason says;

Quote from Jason Fladdien about the box with his picture of him wearing tie and coat in the background

You need to know your customer intimately.

You need to get to the heart of what your potential customer wants & needs. What is their main motivation and how can you address it for free and in such an attractive way they want to trade their name & email address for it?

How can you be supremely useful?

Your goal with your lead magnet is to offer so much value that the subscriber will want to read your emails, consume your blog posts, join your communities & buy your products.

Let’s use Ruban Selvanayagam of Property Solvers Auctions as an example. For his auction finance service, they provide free guides and information on how they’re superior to others with similar offerings.

Awesome Lead Magnet Examples

Marie Forleo knows her audience well and knows that women who follow her want to build a business & life they love.

They may be plagued by doubt, fear and all the other insecurities that stop us from going for our dreams.

So her offer is her audio program;

How to Get Anything You Want!

marie forloe email list building lead magnet download app

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty attracted to learning how I can get anything I want!

Talk about owning the box, Jenna Kutcher breaks all the rules here and offers not one, not two, not three but four different ways to join her email list!

1. What type of Instagrammer are you quiz
2. 5 must-have Instagram apps
3. Get your next 1000 followers webinar
4. Captions that convert PDF

These are just some of the many ways you can join her email list. She has free offers scattered all over her site.

jenna kutcher email list building lead magnet example with a quiz asking What type of Instagrammer are you
jenna kutcher email list building lead magnet example with Uplevel your Instagram narrative
jenna kutcher email list building lead magnet with narrative saying My 5 Must-Have Instagtram Apps

Boom by Cindy Joseph doesn’t just offer the old get 10% off here discount button. They have a club. A club that 400,000 pro age ladies are already a part of!

boom by Cindy Joseph email list building lead magnet example saying The Pro-age Revolution Starts here

With pics of both their products and ‘normal’ looking more mature ladies they’ve nailed their target market to a tee. No wonder they’re on track to do $20mill of sales this year.

boom email list building lead magnet you are invited to join the boom Club

Gardeners World has an entire page dedicated to competitions which of course to enter you have to register for the website leaving your name and email address.

gardeners world email list building lead magnet example where you can win when you enter the list

Gone are the days of a simple ‘sign up to my newsletter‘ unless you’re a huge name and brand already and then you’ll probably get away with that.

The rest of us need something specific and highly targeted to our target market.

My sister as an example is a keen gardener and she’d probably leave blood for a chance to win a robotic mower! There is the power of knowing what your ideal audience wants.

So what kind of lead magnet can you create to start building your email list?

Types of Lead Generation Offers

As I’ve shown with some of the examples above, your lead gen offers can range from;

  • Quizzes
  • Audio programs
  • Competitions
  • Webinars or Videos
  • PDF’s or ebooks
  • A club or closed community of some kind


  • Templates
  • Printables
  • Free trial to software
  • Apps
  • Vouchers or Discount codes

Whatever your imagination lends itself too and that can be delivered in a scaleable form.

Remember you could end up with 100’s of sign-ups a day, so a 15-minute free coaching session may be quite tough to fulfil.

Check out Amy Porterfields ‘The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Lead Magnet for Your Audience

Here Amy walks you through 7 different lead magnets including;

  1. A cheat sheet
  2. A workbook
  3. A guide
  4. Video or Audio Training
  5. A challenge
  6. A quiz
  7. A free course

Listen to the podcast to hear Amy give awesome examples of these strategies in action.

Building an Email List Without a Lead Magnet

Later in this post, I’m going to walk you through creating a lead magnet step by step, but what if you want to start building your email list fast and don’t have a lead magnet?

Or what if you absolutely don’t want to create a lead magnet at all, but still want to build your email list! What then?

Well, believe it or not, you can build an email list without a lead magnet.

Think Tim Ferriss 5 Bullet Friday

Tim Ferriss email list building lead magnet enter your email and get 5 things the author love using

or Mari Smith’s Social Scoop.

Mari Smith email list building lead magnet click here to subscribe

No ebook, guide or video training course here. Just good old fashioned content curation!

Gather together the best resources in your industry on a weekly basis and send that out to your subscribers so they don’t have to go searching for it. This is also a fantastic way to start to network in your space with people you’re linking too!

You can send them a message every so often and let them know you love their stuff and are sharing with your audience. I know I’d be over the moon with an email like that and the more I heard from you, the more likely we’d strike up a relationship!

As Brian Dean from Backlinko says in his blog post about Blogger Outreach send an ‘I Love Your Blog’ email;

screenshot of an email for blogger outreach example

Alrighty, so there are some ideas on how to start attracting people to leave you their name and email now how do we actually set this up technically?

2. Sign up for an Email Provider

If you don’t currently have an email provider you’re going to want one!

There is a multitude of options available for you.

Active Campaign
Mailer Lite
Convert Kit
Get Response
Constant Contact

and the list goes on.

From my perspective, in my early days of email list building I used Aweber, for years, however over time it’s counterparts began updating with all sorts of flashy bells and whistles while it stood still. So being a bit of a sucker for bright shiny objects I started to try lots of different providers out including ‘Get Response’, ‘Constant Contact’, ‘Active Campaign’ and ‘Infusionsoft’.

Right now I’m using Mailchimp which is pretty simple to use, although it’s a little clunky and has limited automation features, so I may well start to investigate a better option.

Your email list is so important, you’re going to want an email provider you love to use.

Recently two new kids on the block have caught my attention and I will be exploring these as potential future options;

Flodesk – for the more visual amongst us
Birdsend – strictly for content creators

For ecommerce, my platform of choice is Klaviyo as it is built for Ecommerce stores and has all the flows you need built-in, such as abandoned cart, product purchase etc. However, it’s not the cheapest option.

As your audience grows you’ll want to ensure you have an easy to use platform, with great segmenting and automation tools.

The guys over at Email Tool Tester have actually done a fab explainer video walking you through what your ideal email provider should have;

They also have a great article to accompany the video – The 13 Best Email Marketing Services for 2020

From looking at their video and reading through the article it looks as though Active Campaign may be a solid all-rounder for any business model, including Digital Marketing, Service Providers & Ecommerce.

The best thing to do is pick the top 2 or 3 you’re attracted to, give them a call to see if you can access a demo account or sign up for free and have a play.

Nothing will beat you actually going in there yourself and seeing how everything works for yourself.

Don’t spend too long choosing. Just pick one and get going! Remember action is the name of the game!

So we’ll get to creating your email campaigns shortly.

Beforehand you’ll need to;

3. Create a Landing Page

When I first started in this business back in 2010, my first landing page was built using a platform called Kompozer and I was guided through the process by a very popular ebook at the time called, Create Your First Website by 3.45 This Afternoon, written by my good friend Chris Farrell.

create your first website book by chris farrell

That was back when you literally had to become a web developer to create anything remotely technical on the web!

Nowadays, you don’t have anything like that kind of learning curve.

Platforms like Leadpages or Clickfunnels do all the heavy lifting for you. You literally add text & images and drag and drop boxes into position and boom a beautiful-looking landing page is created!

I’ll be honest I’m a Leadpages user and have been for years now. Quite simply, it’s super easy to use, I can get a new landing page up in less than 10 minutes and I love the lead links and the pop-ups.

Here’s a quick tutorial on creating a landing page inside of Leadpages;

There are, as with autoresponders, a multitude of choices available to you though and once again you just have to do a bit of research and decide which is best for you.

But before you head off to drag & drop to your heart’s content, it’s important to know the most important elements of a landing page so you can create something that converts visitors into an email subscriber.

As I said above platforms like Leadpages make it easy for you and offer conversion optimised templates for you to personalise.

Leadpages landing page sample templates

However, I am not happy unless I’m getting upwards of a 50% conversion rate on my landing pages, and in my experience, there are 5 key components;

The 5 Components of a High Converting Landing Page:

1. Specific headline

This is critical! All the time, I see people using really vague headlines that don’t tell me exactly what I am going to get.

Look at your lead magnet and ask yourself what problem are you solving.

The secret is to get specific for example;

  • 25 blog headlines that will increase your readership today
  • 10 ways to do SEO in 5 minutes a day
  • Lose 10 pounds in 7 days

Your landing page headline needs to succinctly offer a specific solution to a problem, so that a visitor will look at it and think, ‘This is exactly what I am going to get.’

Specificity sells!

Be sure to test different headlines to see what works in your niche (and what doesn’t!)

Other very specific examples of great landing page headlines;

hubspot lead magnet download now for free
Hubspot Lead Magnet
Digital Marketer lead magnet become an insider for instant Access
Digital Marketer Lead Magnet
Jeff Bullas Lead Magnet enter to have free copy of book
Jeff Bullas Lead Magnet

2. An image/video showing a visitor what they will get

An image tells a thousand words! Years ago images outperformed videos almost every time. Nowadays studies all over the web prove that video increases conversion rates.

BUT it is worth testing and measuring in your own niche. To get going, start with an image and then when you’re ready add video and see if it gives your page a boost!

Here is a great article by the folks over at Instapage with some rules of adding video to your landing pages. I particularly like Rule #3. Short and sweet is key!

3. Add benefit-driven bullet points

Your landing page bullet points need to be benefit-driven, NOT feature-driven.

Drive home the benefits someone will get from receiving your free gift and signing up to your email list, for example;

  • ‘Diet book with 25 recipes’ could become ’25 recipes that will help you shed 10 pounds in a week.’
  • ’10 expert SEO tactics’ could become ’10 SEO techniques that will generate over a thousand new visitors to your blog every day’

See the difference?

4. Opt-in button

I’m a real advocate of playing with the wording on this button. You don’t have to stick to ‘Submit’ or ‘Opt-in’. I like injecting a little personality. ‘Yes I want in! Give me my free gift.’ or, ‘Yes Jo, can’t wait to download my free Ebook!

Feel free to play with the text on your opt-in button and, as before, test and measure to see which one gets you higher opt-ins.

Also, make sure it is as near to the top of the page as possible so it’s instantly seen when someone lands on your landing page.

And lastly, add a ‘spam notice’ message under the opt-in button, e.g., ‘We will not share or sell your email address.’

It’s important to reassure people that they won’t regret giving you their email address.

5. Add ‘social proof’

In an ideal world, it would be great to add testimonials at the bottom of your landing page from people who have already downloaded your freebie and signed up to your email list. Social proof is huge in this day and age!

Think about the different products you buy and the things you try, based on recommendations, reviews and referrals. Testimonials are becoming more and more important, and they’re relatively easy to gather.

Just ask two or three friends to have a look at your lead magnet and get them to write you a little testimonial.

Whatever you do though don’t let this stop you from putting up your landing page. It’s something you can do as you go, in the meantime just finish the landing page after the opt-in button.

For more great tips here’s The Definitive Guide to Creating High Converting Landing Pages from Neil Patel, complete with visual examples!

4. Create your Thank You Page

Unfortunately, your landing page is only one piece of the puzzle, two hugely important elements that directly follow the landing page are the thank you page your visitor lands on after leaving their email address and the first email you follow up with.

Here’s a video from yours truly explaining the importance of your thank you page;

Lastly here are some more examples of great thank you pages from the folks over at Optin Monster.

5. Create the first follow up email in your email platform.

As soon as your visitor has entered their email and viewed your thank you page, your email platform will now do its job (because you told it to) of sending out that all-important first email.

But what should be in that first email to a), get them to open it & b), get them to open more!

Here’s another video from me talking about what should be contained that first email;

(Please note no longer exists, the creator Justin who’s main gift was in the ad buying world has moved on to bigger and better things with his new company AdSkills)

Here’s an example of the first email subscribers receive when they sign up to get my Build a Business You Can Run From Anywhere in the World ebook;

Hey *|FNAME|*,

Thank you so much for requesting your free ebook;

Build a Business You Can Run From Anywhere in the World

(Just click the above link and it should open automatically or you may have to right-click and save)

After 10 years of traveling the world while building six & seven figure online lifestyle businesses, it’s now my mission to arm action takers like you with the knowledge, tools, strategies & inspiration to build your own lifestyle business you can run from anywhere in the world, whether that be your kitchen table or a beach in Fiji! 🏝.

By lifestyle business, I mean turning your passions into profits and spending your days doing something that you love and that funds your ideal lifestyle, whatever that means to you.

I would welcome the opportunity to get to know you better and to hear what your plans, goals & dreams are and more importantly how I can help you to achieve them.

Please join the Your Lifestyle Business FB community to introduce yourself, connect with me and start to network and surround yourself with like-minded individuals all on a similar journey.

What Happens Now?

Just so you know what to expect from me.

Every week I send out my ‘Make It Happen Monday‘ email on a Monday (funnily enough) which includes my latest blog posts, podcasts, or videos, plus some tips, strategies, and lessons learned along with a Monday Motivation message to help you start each week with a bang! 💥

I’m also readily available in the group to answer any questions and guide and support your journey. In fact, most of the action happens in the group so do be sure to join. 😊

If at any time you feel my content isn’t for you and you don’t want to receive any more emails from me, you can simply click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of any email and I’ll be gone!

I’m hoping though, that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship and that through my teachings and content you’re able to build the business and life of your dreams! (I know that sounds a bit woo woo, but I mean it and I’m living it!) 🤘😎🏝🗺

Congratulations on taking the first step towards your Lifestyle Business journey *|FNAME|*!

I can’t wait to see where you go from here.

See you in the group.

Jo 🙂

For more examples of great follow-up emails look no further than the master of email marketing software Ryan Deiss and his team over at Digital Marketer.

Here’s his guide to building an Email Marketing Machine!

image of a machine shows email machine diagram

6. Nurture Your Email List.

Ok so here’s where it can get tough.

How do you come up with great emails that your audience is going to want to continuously open and consume?

Once again you need to be asking that most important question – How can I be useful?

Firstly know that you’re not going to get a 100% success rate. Some you’ll win, some you’ll lose.

Also, it’s highly likely your open rates & click-through rates will diminish over time. People get used to seeing your emails, they’re busy, they get distracted, they don’t have the time, they move onto other projects and forget to unsubscribe, etc.

But, it’s your job to create emails your subscribers LOVE to see in their inbox. You need to get creative, test and measure, ask questions and try to start conversations. (Please note you can always start a conversation in an email which plays out on social media by adding links to chats, questions, posts etc)

So, what kind of content should you be sending out on a regular basis?

1. What’s your objective with your emails?

Is it to create conversation, connect with the person elsewhere online, showcase your expertise, get them to click through to your website, highlight offers or promotions?

Start with knowing what you want your outcome to be for sending each email.

If you want to showcase your expertise, then you might send a longer, more informational email with some great tips on how to achieve something.

If you want to highlight a promotion it might be an image-heavy email showcasing your products.

If it’s to create conversation, you might link out to other resources and offer your opinion.

If it’s to connect elsewhere you’ll probably be telling them about a post you published or a new video on a specific landing page or youtube.

Whatever you do, don’t send emails just for the sake of sending emails, know what you want to achieve and what action you want the reader to take, if any.

2. Be human!

There’s nothing worse than an impersonal email that offers no value whatsoever except to assault your senses with huge caps based headlines, bold colours and promises of great offers!

When are the bigger companies going to get it?

Here’s one I received today from a hotel we’ve previously stayed at here in Phuket.

The Surin Phuket's nomintaion email example to VOTE NOW

Why would I vote? What enticement is there in that email for me to take time out of my day to vote for the hotel, as lovely as it is?

I’m sad to say that some smaller businesses do this also. I’m not going to name & shame but there is a very successful brand online who started as a digital magazine and now sells courses, who simply bombards my emails with impersonal sales messages, many of which come with big colourful headlines and huge impressive numbers of what they’ve achieved which I guess is supposed to make me swoon.

I never get the feeling they’ve taken the time to really consider who I am or what I want/need.

There’s a book out which I haven’t read yet, but have been recommended to do so called Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Winsmarketing rebellion book by Mark Schaefer.

book entitled Marketing Rebellion by Mark Schaefer

The world is changing my friend. The more you treat every single email subscriber as a friend and member of your community the more people will stay with you, open and read your emails and take the action required.

They will also become your fiercest advocates and help to build your email list by recommending your content to other like-minded individuals or groups.

When writing your emails, always ask;

  • Is this useful?
  • Does it meet a need?
  • Does it inform, educate or entertain?
  • How can I make it even more valuable to my email subscriber?

3. Add value

Why will anyone open and read your emails if they don’t get anything from them?

People are busy busy busy these days and being bombarded with content every second of every day.

There needs to be a reason they open your emails and a good one!

I love Tim Ferris 5 Bullet Friday emails as an example.

tim ferris 5 bullet email example

Every week he links out to cool short reports he’s discovered, a book he’s reading, a show he’s watching, something amazing he saw on YouTube or Netflix. His emails have led to me going down all sorts of rabbit holes consuming all sorts of great information.

Here’s the real kicker though, its information you won’t find anywhere else on his site.

He’s not just linking to his own blog posts or doing a round-up for the week of information you can access at any time.

(Although he also sends out a weekly email with links to his podcast episode or blog posts.)

Each link is to something unique, something timely, something that’s piqued his interest that he hopes will resonate with some of his audience.

It’s an interesting approach.

On the other hand, I also receive a weekly email from a local fitness guy here in Phuket who sends out a mini blog post in his email on something to do with feeling good, putting mind and body first etc. I always have something to think about after reading his email and it’s only a 1-minute read. Fast & valuable.

You know your audience, you know what they want. When you craft your emails ask yourself, how can I best serve my audience and don’t be afraid to…

4. Test & measure

There are no right or wrongs when it comes to this, there is only test & measure.

What appeals to me won’t appeal to you. What appeals to you won’t appeal to someone else. And you must remember you’ll never please all of the people all of the time.

So don’t be afraid to try out different approaches.

Try a weekly newsletter, a link roundup, a personal story, links to your content online, links to other people’s content online. You can use Flipsnack as a newsletter maker to create interactively and easy-to-track digital newsletters.

Whatever you think is useful, valuable and is going to help grow your community and your relationship with them.

Track each email for open rates and click-throughs to see what works and what doesn’t. People will vote through their actions, so just keep testing and measuring and do more of what works!

5. Show up!

I’ve always preached consistency when it comes to anything you do in your business, but the meaning of that term has changed over the years.

With the sheer amount of content on the web today whether your email comes out every Monday, Friday or a different day each week I don’t think is important anymore, (unless like mine it’s called Make It Happen Monday, or Tim Ferris 5 Bullet Friday, then clearly it needs to come out on that day).

What is important though is that when it is published it’s consistently great. Don’t email for email’s sake and send out something half-hearted.

However, you do need to be emailing regularly or your audience will quickly forget about you. (At a minimum once a week.)

Show up for your business, show up for your community, respect their time and send them content that’s worth it.

6. Share your scars not your wounds

How you communicate with your audience will absolutely determine how your business grows.

People do business with people, never has that saying been truer than it is today.

However don’t mistake this current trend of baring all with our customers and being ‘vulnerable’ with rambling on about your problems all the time, especially in your emails.

Feel free to throw in a personal sentence or two to add context and personality, but always have your end objective in mind, which is how you can serve your reader the best way you can.

I heard Amy Porterfield recently say on a podcast ‘share your scars not your wounds’. What she means is, don’t work out your personal issues with your customers. They’re not your therapists.

Share experiences by all means, good or bad, but then share how you resolved any challenges you’ve had. Your customers want results and they have their own ‘stuff’ to deal with.

You, your brand, your products and services are the solution to their challenges.

This is a huge subject and I could probably cover a lot more, but for now, you need to start building your email list and make it happen!

How to Create Your Lead Generating Offer

So we talked above about the importance of creating a valuable lead-generating offer for the purposes of building your email list.

But how do we go about creating our email list-building masterpieces?

Creating a pop-up advertising our ebook is all good and well, but how do we create the ebook? Where does it get designed/made? How do people download it to their computer and how does it fit into our funnel?

You may have similar questions for videos, quizzes, audio programs or cheat sheets.

Let’s solve the mystery!

Technology Rocks!

When I created my first lead gen funnel, I remember holing myself away in a hotel room for 2 weeks and recording all the videos to go into my offer.

In true Jo Barnes style, I wasn’t just going to offer a little ebook, oh no! I wanted something far more grandiose.

I set about creating the free offer of all free offers.

A 21-day video course on ‘How to Start a Business in 21 Days’, a 13,000 word ebook, templates and access to a private forum!

a21 day video course on "how to start a business in 21 days" book and CDS

The challenge however, was that I had no idea how to record and edit videos, where to host them, how to create pages and all that malarky.

Add to that technology wasn’t where it is today and so nothing was an easy process. It was a steep learning curve with a lot of coding and techinical problem solving.

I remember it being a very stressful & tearful couple of weeks, but with the help of clever friends and a lot of grit, my freebie was launched.

Thankfully today it’s all so much easier!!!

These days we have things like an ‘unlisted’ option in YouTube, so video hosting is free and takes second to upload. There are ‘ebook creator’ apps, places you can get a cover designed for a fiver and apps on your phone to record easy audio.

In fact, due to technological advances, you could get a solid free offer up and running in a few hours.

So let’s go!

1. How to Create and Upload an Ebook

While writing this post I found an old post with a video walking you through the exact steps I took to create and upload an ebook. ‘Yes!’, I thought, I already have the info, I don’t need to recreate it.

Oh my gosh, talk about going back to eight-track tapes. That’s how fast technology moves. It was like watching an old black and white movie!

two old man in coat sitting on a bar and laughing hard

So here’s my updated guide to creating an ebook!

Option 1 – If you already have loads of content on a wordpress site or articles you’ve written that you could collate into an ebook, you can literally copy & paste the relevant URL’s from your site and BOOM! Bob’s Your Uncle, Fanny’s Your Aunt and there’s your ebook.

Check out Designerr here

If starting from scratch however, you’ll need to;

1. Choose your topic. What is your ebook about? What’s the problem you’re providing a solution for? See my Content Marketing post for coming up with awesome topic ideas not just for blog posts or videos but also for bigger projects like ebooks or even courses.

2. Break your topic down into relevant chapters and then I like to create 3 – 5 bullet points per chapter, which act as sub-chapters and allow me to then write the main content quite quickly as it’s all broken down into chunks. (It’s kind of how I write my blog posts also, writing 300 words on a specific bullet point is much easier than writing 2000 words on a broad topic).

huge elephant inside a red living room MEME

3. Write the content.

4. Design the inside & outside of the ebook and save as a PDF. This can get tricky unless you’re a whiz with word, so personally I this task outsource to someone on Upwork or Fiverr to get the job done for me.

You can also use an app as detailed above.

Here is an extremely detailed walkthrough of how to create an ebook by the folks over at Hubspot – How to Create an Ebook from Start to Finish with free templates.

And here are some mistakes you might want to avoid from the folks over at Smartblogger – How to Write an Ebook: 21 Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

2. How to Create and Upload an Audio Course or PDF

Create your content.


Scripting an audio recording is a lot like writing a blog post or a chapter of an ebook;

  1. Start with the result in mind. What is it you want your listener to have learned by the end of the recording (this may well be the title of your offer also)
  2. Then break it down into mini headlines and mini chapters.
  3. Either write the full script or simply bullet point what you’re going to talk about.

Then using a voice recorder app on your phone or computer just record yourself speaking the words.

In an ideal world you’ll want to use a half decent microphone so the sound quality is good, but a pair of headphones from Amazon or a cheap lapel mic will do the trick!

Screenshot of a complete Microphone set for sale on Amazon

You do not need an all singing, all dancing, condenser, stereo, anti vibration, noise cancelling, professional studio, which also does the washing, cooking and cleaning microphone! (Although wouldn’t that be nice!)

As for software, I’ll be honest I use screenflow as I’ve used it for years for both video & audio and I can easily add intros & outros and merge audio etc.

But you can use Zoom or Skype these days to both record video and / or audio.

Here’s a detailed walk through by the fellas over at Flipped Classroom Tutorials on how to use Zoom to record both audio & video;

And if you have a look at my post on podcasting, you’ll see all the ways to create a podcast including a great video by the awesome Pat Flynn on using GarageBand for audio.

PDF / Cheatsheets etc.

Create your copy or design on a word or pages doc and export as a PDF on your computer. It really doesn’t get any easier than that.

These days the platforms even have predesigned templates for you to use!

PDF/Cheatsheets Choose template page

Also check out for over 50,000 templates you could use to make your lead gen offer really pop!

Screenshot of my canva app profile create design page

You can also create mindmaps using mindmapping software and export as a PDF. I created a mindmap many years ago with 116 email list building promotion strategies and used it to build my own email list!

Screenshot of my 116 email list building promo strategies

Hosting your content.

Ok so you have all this fabulous content, where do you host it so you can add a link to your email or your thank you page and your new subscriber can quickly and easily download what they signed up for?

You have options, my friend! I recommend;

  1. Google Drive
  2. iCloud Drive
  3. Dropbox
  4. Your own server

Here’s a great Wiki doc showing you how to upload an mp3 to google drive, iCloud drive and Soundcloud producing a downloadable link.

Simply follow the same instructions on google or iCloud for documents and away you go!

You can also upload it as a media item on your WordPress blog.

Screenshot with red arrow pointing upload your lead magnet to wordpress

And if you want to get super technical you can upload directly to a folder on your server via Cpanel or an FTP client.

3. How to Create and Upload a Video Course

You may think a video course is a bit over the top for a free lead generation offer, but the higher the perceived value of your offer the higher your conversion rates.

So if you have a tip or strategy that you think translates best into video why not make it into a mini-course and offer it in exchange for an email?

I go into creating a paid online course in great detail in my post How to Create a 6 Fig Online Course, so please head over there for step by step instructions but for now here’s an overview of the process for a free offer;

  1. Create a script (much like creating your audio script)
  2. Decide whether you’re going to use slides, be a talking head or record your screen. (Remember to keep it simple, this is a free offer).
  3. Using specialized software, Screenflow for Mac, Camtasia for windows / Mac or much cheaper options include Screenpal or, record your slides, screen or you!
  4. Trim & edit if necessary
  5. Upload the videos as unlisted onto YouTube and link the playlist link in your email. Super quick and easy, no extra work required, or…
  6. Start a new closed FB group. Record your videos as lives within the group and pin to the top. Create your lead gen page and in your first email, give instructions that to access the videos they need to join the Facebook group. The fastest & easiest way to create a mini video course, attract people into your email list and grow a Facebook group at the same time!

I’ve recently been using Streamyard for hosting FB lives, but they also have a ‘record only’ function. You can record yourself and/or your screen and make great looking, high-quality videos which you can then download to your computer and upload to YouTube or Vimeo or wherever you host your videos.

A great alternative to some of the more advanced recording software out there.

Phew! The possibilities are endless, with the best part being how easy all this is nowadays. Thank you Tech Gods! We love you! ❤️

As I said above my first ever freebie took me 21 days, and involved lots of tears, clumps of hair on the ground and a serious amount of alcohol. I don’t recommend this strategy!

meme of a woman trying to drink in a huge wine glass with red wine in it

Yes, we’re looking for transformational value here, but as much as possible try to keep it simple!

How to deliver your free email list building content

So you have a beautiful ebook, a mini-course or a great audio program on offer. How do you actually deliver it to your new subscriber?

Simply link out to it from your thank you page or include the link in your first email.

Here’s an example of how my subscribers access my ebook Build a Business You Can Run From Anywhere in the World:

screenshot of a sample email list first email

Creating a great lead-gen offer is much easier these days and can be done and live in just a few short hours. It’s an imperative part of your marketing strategy so don’t skip it!

The one regret I hear over and over from businesses and marketers is that they wish they’d started building their email list earlier.

So don’t be that person and start building your email list today!

Once you have a fab lead magnet in place, your nurture sequence ready to go, and a beautiful looking landing page, how do you now let people know about your transformational freebie?

47 Ways to Promote Your Lead Magnet

I am going to keep this super simple.

Once you’ve created your lead generating offer you need to post about it everywhere!

Here are 47 places & ways you can showcase or promote your lead generating landing page;

Blog / Website

1. Home page

amy porterfield email list building example

2. Sidebar

ylb lead magnet sidebar free download

3. Bottom of posts

ylb lead magnet bottom of posts click here to download for free

4. Pop up

marie forleo email list builder pop up download now

5. Footer

ylb lead magnet footer highlighting be a part of the YLB Community

6. About page

gary vee lead magnet you can subscribe

7. Resources page

smart passive income lead generator subscribe now

Any other pages you feel it might be prevalent!

Social Media

8. FB Group pinned post

9. FB Group cover

FB Group cover email list landing page

10. FB page pinned post

11. FB Page Cover

Boss Mom Lead Magnet on facebook page

12. FB story

13. FB profile link

14. FB Profile Cover

15. Facebook videos, posts, general content

AP lead magnet link posted on facebook

16. FB Lives

17. IG feed

18. IGTV

19. IG story

SL lead magnet link post on IG stories

20. IG profile link

YLB list builder IG profile link

21. IG Lives

22. Pinterest

JK email list building landing page - Pin

23. Linkedin

24. Twitter

YLB pinned lead magnet on  twitter post

25. Tiktok

26. YouTube video description

sample YT description link to lead magnet

27. YouTube invideo links

28. You Tube channel page

youtube channel page link to lead gen offer

29. FB Ads

30. IG Ads

JK IG sponsored ad post for email list building

31. Pin Ads

32. YT Ads


33. Medium

Add a link to your freebie in your author bio section or even within the body of your text.

34. Podcast Intro & Outro

Talk about your freebie within the intro or the outro of your podcast, or even use your freebie as the sponsor of your show!

35. Podcast interviews

Get interviewed on other podcasts and when asked where can people find you, send them to your freebie.

36. Guest Posts

Link to your freebie in the bio section of your post or even within the body text of your article if relevant.

37. Quora

Answer questions and link to your freebie for more info!

38. Ask your audience to share it

Ask your growing audience to share the link with anyone they feel it might help.

39. Other groups

With the group owners permission post about your freebie in other groups. Many groups I’m part of have particular ‘sharing’ days when members can share their own resources.

40. Forums

Yes forums do still exist and if you’re an active and valuable member you’ll most likely be able to add a link to your freebie in your signature and in response to specific questions.

41. Co-promotions

Connect with peers and entrepreneurs in your industry or niche and organise co-promotions. You let your audience know about their freebie and vice versa.

42. Summits

Get involved with online summits and offer your freebie as your gift.

43. Solo ads

Pay a reputable brand to send out a solo email about your freebie to their email subscribers.

44. Content syndication

Use content syndication platforms to link back to your freebie.

45. Email signature

Link to your freebie in the signature of ever email you send out

46. Sponsorship / Advertising

Pay to advertise your freebie on someone else’s website or podcast or within their content.

47. JV Giveaways

Not so common these days, but still out there, sign up to carefully targeted JV Giveaways.

The more I find scattered about the internet the more I’ll update this section, but hopefully, this has given you some ideas for promoting your lead magnet and also your products and services when they’re live! 😎

How to Make Instant Sales

I mentioned using advertising and sponsorship above to promote your lead magnet, but of course, you’re going to have to pay for those strategies. So how can you create an ad campaign for your email list builder which costs you nothing or even returns a small profit?

The answer is in generating instant sales. In other words, as soon as someone signs up to your email list you make them an offer.

Many years ago, on my ‘thank you page’ after someone signed up to my email list, I had an offer for a cool piece of software that was only $17. It was relevant to my free offer, a valuable piece of kit and cheap to encourage an impulse buy. It’s basically just a non-aggressive upsell.

Picture of a woman who is in MCDO uniform with headset on her head and taking picture in front of the drive thru window

It was so popular I was able to run Facebook ads to my landing page for free and built a huge email list over a couple of years as a result. Even better, a solid 60% of my list were buyers which meant I had a good chance they would purchase something else from me if I built a good relationship and offered enough value.

You can do this in any number of ways;

  1. Place an offer for a product (yours or an affiliate offer) on your thank you page.
  2. Send subscribers to a video or webinar that leads to an offer in your first email
  3. Invite them to join your FB group which has an offer pinned to the top
  4. Place affiliate links or links to a sales page throughout your PDF or mini-course
  5. Add great offers on your website, so as soon as they sign up and visit your site, the offers are in plain sight.

Be creative!

Selling is not bad. As long as you’re looking to give a huge amount of value, meet your customers’ needs, entertain, educate, solve problems, etc. Be proud of your offers. If you’re not proud don’t offer them. They’re not good enough.

Making Regular Sales

The following strategies don’t qualify for ‘instant’ sales as such, but I want you to be making sales as quickly as possible, and not taking years before you see a penny for your hard work.

The simple fact is that we as humans tend to over-complicate everything.

For years I believed you needed complicated sales funnels, a huge audience, an email list of thousands or a network of influential friends to make any decent sales.

I spent hours, week and months creating complex email flows and sales pages sending a subscriber from one page to another in the hope of making a sale.

I added scarcity bars (remember those), redirect pages, tripwires and self-imploding timer apps to emails and web pages to encourage people to buy.

You name it, I tried it.

But in all reality, it doesn’t need to be that complicated.

There are definitely more complex strategies you can put in place as you grow to create some nice high converting sales funnels but for now, I’d like to get to the nitty-gritty of simply making a sale.

What do you want to happen?

This is the question you want to get super clear on to start making sales as soon as possible.

What’s the result you’re going for?

Let’s imagine you want to be an author and therefore your goal is to write and sell books.

You may be thinking, I need to build a community, a successful blog, network so people will promote my book, etc. And yes you probably do need to do all of those things.

However, to get started you need to write and sell books. That’s the result you’re going for.

Don’t spend 2 years building a blog and a Facebook following and get so wrapped up in what you’re doing you don’t actually write a book, let alone sell one.

Audience building is important (in fact it’s everything), but don’t wait until you’ve built your audience to try to sell your product.

Have your wares on show from Day one so as you build, people have the opportunity to buy from you if they want to.

Quick story;

A good friend of mine wanted to be an affiliate marketer for a very specific piece of software. She started building a Facebook group around the niche as a whole in the hope she’d build an audience and sell the software.

My suggestion was; write down every single question you can find online about the software. Make short actionable youtube videos answering every question with your affiliate link in the description and on the screen.

Immerse yourself in how to rank on youtube and while you’re creating all this content ask viewers to also join the FB Group.

At the very least you’ll get new members for your group, grow your following on YT and people will get to know you. But the chances are, you’ll start to make some affiliate sales far quicker than spending months talking about the overall niche within which the software sits.

There is no right or wrong here. Both are good strategies, but get to the root of what you want to happen first and then build your community and network around that.

The faster you can make sales, the more motivation you’ll have to keep going.

Other Routes to Faster Sales

  • Read Steve Scotts books on how to write a book in 2 weeks and upload to kindle, then immerse yourself in kindle books and selling on kindle. You can also use your books as list builders so as you grow your list you grow your business and vice versa.
3 books by Steve Scotts

Steve scott
  • Host FB Lives interviewing creators of products and link to your affiliate link. As you grow your audience on Facebook, you can invite the creators of software and services onto your lives, or showcase their products for them.
  • Add a video course to your website with a pay button. You may think you need a big fancy funnel but how about if you literally created a simple sales page and added it to your website, no-frills, no fuss, just there as and when people want to buy.
phone on table with earpods and keywords the Instagram lab teach me how to Insta link
NM sample course

  • Add an affiliate offer as a sponsor of your podcasts. Think you need to wait until you’re getting thousands of downloads before you can attract sponsorship to your podcasts? If you’re an affiliate for a product or service, advertise that at the beginning of your show giving your affiliate link.

12 Ways to Monetize You Brand

Another good friend of mine is building a new brand on Instagram. He challenged me to come up with 10 ways he could monetize his brand.

So we hopped on a FB Live and I walked him through 12 ways he could monetize his brand. You can see the replay here;

How To Build an Email List: Summary

Building an email list is a vital part of an Online Lifestyle Business strategy.

Unfortunately, however, it seems to be a major roadblock to many would-be lifestyle entrepreneurs.

When you go down this path, you’ll get stuck at what list builder you should create, then how to quickly and easily create it. You’ll get embroiled in what landing page software you should use and whether you should include video or not. Then you’ll stall when you’re unsure how or where to promote your lead magnet.

I’m hoping this article has covered all of those potential roadblocks and more.

Do be sure to come and join our Facebook community to ask any questions and get support from like minded lifestyle entrepreneurs all on a similar journey.

Thanks for reading, I hope it helped!

Jo 🙂

How To Build an Email List: FAQs

How do I generate an email list?

To generate an email list, start by integrating email signup forms on your website, including more landing pages with clear calls to action. Leverage content marketing to offer exclusive content that prompts visitors to leave their email addresses. Additionally, utilizing social media platforms like LinkedIn accounts can broaden your reach.

How do I create a valid email list?

Creating a valid email list involves collecting email addresses through legitimate means, like email signups on your ecommerce website or brick and mortar store. Ensure you provide a clear email marketing call to action and offer value, such as exclusive access to information or products, to encourage signups.

Can you build an email list for free?

Yes, building an email list can be cost-effective and free. Utilize your existing website and social media channels to capture email addresses. Offer valuable content or referral programs that encourage existing subscribers to share your content, helping to grow your list organically.

How do I create an automated email list?

To create an automated email list, use email marketing software that allows you to set up automatic responses or regular updates. This can include welcome emails to new subscribers or regular updates about your products or content. This automation is an effective list-building tactic, saving time and enhancing your email marketing efforts.

What are the best marketing tools for effective list building?

The best marketing tools for an effective list building tactic include email marketing software like Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign, SEO tools to optimize for search engines, and CRM systems to manage your customers’ email addresses effectively. Incorporating guest posting and guest posts on relevant blogs can also drive traffic and increase email signups.

How can I use exclusive content to grow my email list?

Offering exclusive content is a powerful list building strategy. You can provide access to exclusive articles, eBooks, or webinars only to those who sign up for your email list. This encourages more visitors to provide their email addresses in exchange for valuable content.

What role does a call to action play in capturing email addresses?

A call to action (CTA) is crucial in guiding visitors to sign up for your email list. It should be compelling and clearly state the benefit of signing up, such as receiving exclusive updates or access to unique content. Place CTAs prominently on your website and within your content marketing pieces.

Can referral programs enhance email marketing efforts?

Yes, referral programs can significantly boost email marketing efforts. By incentivizing existing subscribers to refer friends, you can rapidly expand your list. Offer rewards or exclusive content to subscribers who bring in new email signups through referrals.

How effective is guest posting in email list building?

Guest posting on popular blogs or websites can be an effective list-building tactic and one of the most practical email marketing strategies. It allows you to reach a new audience and direct them to your site through backlinks. In your guest post, include a link to your email signup form or mention your exclusive content offers.

Is it beneficial to have multiple email signup forms on my website?

Yes, having multiple email signup forms on your website can be a great strategy. Place signup forms strategically across different pages to maximize visibility and convenience for visitors, potentially increasing the rate of email signups. Using a reliable and trustworthy email marketing tool can also help make the process easier and faster.

About the author

Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links, from which, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products and services I’ve used or would use myself. If you choose to purchase from any of my links, thanks so much for your support! 😊