Matt ZavadilWritten by Matt Zavadil
Updated February 27, 2024

If you’ve been a blogger or YouTuber for any length of time, it’s likely that learning email marketing basics has crossed your mind more than once.

It’s just as likely that you’ve put it off…

…for a variety of reasons.

Here are the 3 excuses I most often hear as reasons to put off list building:

  • “It seems too complicated and technical.”
  • “I’ve heard about lead magnets & I don’t understand the process.”
  • “I have too much on my plate already with blogging and/or video creation.”

It’s Too Complicated

I fully understand the fear you may feel around this issue. I had this thought at the very beginning, too.

Here’s what I found out, however…

Remember when you thought blogging or video creation was too technical or complicated?

You overcame those fears and list building is not nearly as complicated as you might think. It’s the same process we all must overcome in order to do anything related to an online business.

Take it step by step, block by block until your reality is one that includes daily email subscribers.

I started building lists over 10 years ago…ancient history when it comes to the Internet. It was fairly complicated back in those days.


Big difference because the tools available make it as simple as drag and drop to create your landing pages, optin forms, etc and get them integrated into your blog or on YouTube.

Only experience will convince you whether list building is too technical for you to be successful at it…

So, for now…

…just make a decision to start now and allow your own experience during the beginning steps to help you decide how far to go with it.

Lead Magnets

As soon as you begin investigating the list building process, you’re sure to come across the concept of creating what are called Lead Magnets.

A Lead Magnet is a fancy name for something incredibly simple:

A giveaway…a freebie…a gift…

…something you’ll provide your blog readers or video consumers that will get them excited to become your subscriber.

The entire point of this post is to deep dive into Lead Magnets, so hold on a moment and we’ll attack this issue in detail below.

I’m Already Too Busy To Start List Building Now

Let me ask you a question:

Are you building an online business in order to feel good about how great your blog or YouTube channel looks or to make money?

If you want to make money…

…then list building isn’t an option…

…it’s THE #1 way you will convert prospects into buyers.

If you’ve convinced yourself that anything other than list building is the way to making money online, then I encourage you to re-think things.

Generally speaking, your readers or YouTube watchers need to see your sales messages 7 times before they will buy from you.

When you consider that the large majority of these people will see only one blog post or video that you produce, making money is a lost hope if you have no way to follow-up.

Remember that making money online is similar to making money offline.

The sales process offline also requires repeated selling sessions and frequent follow-up to make the sale.

Don’t fall into the “get rich quick” crowd trying to convince you that somehow the psychology of selling is different online.

There are no “Magic Buttons” to push that create “magical” sales on the Internet. No, you must build the same trust with your online prospects as you do your offline prospects.

It’s possible that you might need to build even more trust online because people have heard of the many untrustworthy individuals lurking inside the “Interwebs”.

With this in mind, the only online real estate you have the ability to build on that allows for consistent and personal follow-up…

…is your email list.

Remember that YouTube can take away your channel at any time. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the next greatest social media channel to come out in the future…

…all of them…

…can delete your accounts at any time they think you’ve violated their terms.

You don’t own those platforms.

You own your email list.

This point is a huge business distinction in terms of your overall future success.

Now that we’ve handled why it’s so important to get started with your list building, let’s help you see why understanding Lead Magnets is crucial.

How To Create Your Lead Magnet

Again, your Lead Magnet is nothing more fancy than some sort of free gift you’re going to provide to your subscribers. You may also hear it called an “ethical bribe” or “free offer”.

When your goal is adding a new subscriber, your Lead Magnet plays a vital role in getting your prospect to fill in the form that provides you their email address.

OK, what is a Lead Magnet in a practical sense?

Your Lead Magnet might be:

  • Video training
  • Audio training
  • Checklist
  • Coupon or some sort of discount
  • Webinar training
  • Cheat sheet
  • Free software trial or demo
  • eBook
  • Local educational event

While I realize it’s likely that you’ve heard about these types of “freebies” that you need to give to your subscribers, there is an important piece of the puzzle that people new to list building miss:

It’s All About Relevancy

Years ago you could get away with language on your optin forms that said something along the lines of, “Subscribe to my Newsletter”.

No longer!

You now must ensure that your Lead Magnet is specific and relevant to the content of your blog post or video. Don’t make the mistake of creating a general free offer and expecting your prospects to optin no matter where that offer is presented.

Instead, you need to create a Lead Magnet on a “per page” or “per video” basis. Think through the overall idea of your content and then create a free offer that continues the conversation inside your prospect’s mind.

For example, if your blog post is about the 19 ways to free up money in your budget, it would be a good idea to create a Lead Magnet that provides 7 additional ways to free up money.

Continuing the conversation with more help for your prospects that relates specifically to what they just consumed is far more effective in attracting subscribers than something more general in nature.

Getting results online is all about staying specific to what’s already going on inside your visitor’s mind. You’ll convert more visitors to subscribers if each post or video you produce puts this practice into action.

Your focus from here should be to turn each blog post and video into a lead generating machine. Turn it into a formula so that each type of content you produce has this process built into it. For example:

If your content is a step-by-step tutorial, then consider condensing it all down into a 1-page pdf as your Lead Magnet. Or, if your content is a list, then give away a longer list as a way to build your list.

Segmentation Beats List Size Every Time

I want to touch on an additional reason for why you want your Lead Magnets to match the content of each post or video.

Doing this allows you to place your subscribers into different categories. The technical term for this is segmentation.

By segmenting your list into different categories, or buckets, if you will, allows you to follow-up in a specific and relevant way.

Let’s say your blog is all about personal finance. If one of your blog posts attracts subscribers interested in debt elimination and another one gets subscribers interested in investing, then you’ve set yourself up for future income success.

The reason for this is that the subscribers interested in investing are likely to unsubscribe if you follow-up with information about getting out of debt. They didn’t sign up for that. They want more tips about investing.

Yes, you want to build your list size over time. But if you focus on segmenting and remaining true to what subscribers want when following up with them, you’ll see far better results than building a list of people generally interested in your overall niche topic.

Keep The Technical Aspects Simple At First

Make a commitment to start list building immediately. As you do, keep it simple.

At some point, you’ll most likely want to invest in landing page creation software. For now, however, don’t worry about adding too much to the mix.

Sign up for one of the email service providers out there (Mailchimp is free for the first 2000 subscribers, for example) and get used to that software first. Most ESP’s provide you simple landing pages you can link to from YouTube or your blog. They also make it super simple to add embedded optin forms to your blog.

Use those tools first. Focus on planning your Lead Magnets according to the instructions above.

Get “a” result. Then, based on that result, keep moving forward in your education regarding how to increase your list building results.

By the way, if you think your situation requires an individual coaching session or using an expert to get things set up for you, shoot me an email on my contact page. I’ll let you know how I can be of service in this area to you and your business.

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