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Email List Building: The One Blogging Mistake That Costs You Thousands

  • Akshay NanavatiAkshay Nanavati

Imagine you have just written an amazing guest post, waves of traffic arrive on your site, hundreds of people subscribe to your email list. You feel great. Your blog is exploding.

But without knowing it, you have just made a huge mistake in email list building; a mistake that cost you a lot of money and held you back from a great opportunity to engage with your new subscribers.

Want to know what you just did wrong?

Keep reading.

The Wasted Opportunity

Audiences today have shorter and shorter attention spans. They are bombarded with information everywhere they look. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, television, online media, advertisements, all of these sources are battling for the collective attention of society.

Inevitably, people are forced to filter out the useless content from the nuggets of gold that could transform their lives.

As a content provider, or blogger, you are competing with hundreds of millions of other sources for your audiences’ attention. You can’t afford to lose any opportunities to engage with them. One single missed opportunity could mean the difference between your blog being a business or a hobby.

If your website is not making enough money for you to live off of it, then it is just a hobby.

“The Pre-Subscriber Sales Strategy”

Assuming you are running a business, or if you would like to create one, then “the pre-subscriber sales strategy” will help you generate a sale even before someone signs up to your email list.

When someone subscribes, like most bloggers, you probably direct them to a page that tells them they have one more step to confirm their subscription, or something along those lines.

There lies your mistake.

This is a wasted opportunity to stand out from the millions of other competing sources of traffic.

People sign up to your blog because they loved the article they just read. They want to learn what you have to teach them. They are more than likely subscribed to a few other blogs, by no means do they need to sign up to another one. They are doing so voluntarily because they see value in what you are offering them.

Take advantage of that.

How to maximize the moment when an excited new subscriber is about to become a loyal, raving fan?

Offer them a chance to experience your higher end products or services as soon as they become a part of your community.

You might be cringing right now at the thought of selling something to a brand new subscriber.

But selling doesn’t have to be sales-y.

Good selling is nothing more than offering value and solving a prospects problem. By presenting this new subscriber a chance to experience one of your products or services, you are helping them accelerate their results.

How do you make this offer available to them without being sales-y and turning them off?

Here is a script that generated a 20% conversion:

Would you like to double your odds of success… for free?

Hi Friend,

Thank you for signing up. I’m so glad you decided to join this community. You are just one step away from getting lifetime access to the entire set of transformational tools in the “Life Mastery Blueprint.”

Before I send them your way, I just wanted to let you know that I have set aside some time in the next month to personally help you develop an unstoppable mindset, advance your career and create the lifestyle you love. Whether that be traveling all over the world and working from anywhere (my current lifestyle) or just spending more time at home with your family, in this session I will evaluate where you are now, work with you to get clear on the gaps in the way of getting to where you want to be and create an actionable plan to immediately improve the quality of your life.

If you would like me to save you a slot, just shoot me a quick email at with “(Your name) is unstoppable” in the subject line to get more details. That’s it!

Please rest assured that I am not offering you a sales pitch in disguise. This will be a no pressure call with no charge and no catch. If you get value from it, we can talk more about working together long term. And if you feel like I have wasted your time, I will send you over a check for $20 and a book recommendation, so either way you will get value out of our time together. I read over a book a week on the psychology of success, so I know the best ones out there.

If you are not interested in this opportunity, no worries at all, just head over to your inbox to confirm your subscription and you will immediately get access to the “Life Mastery Blueprint.”

It’s great to have you on board.

This was followed by an image of my signature.

“Wait, I Need to Speak with These People on the Phone?”


This is what will make you stand out from the other 164 million blogs in existence.

Most bloggers rarely, if ever, personally connect with their audience. Much of the connection is done through their website or email.

Despite the fact that the internet allows us to virtually connect with people all over the world, people still crave the intimate connection that comes with personally speaking to someone.

You can be one of the rare few entrepreneurs that stands out from the rest by offering that personal connection. Your audience will love you for it.

Since I have implemented the “pre-subscribers sales strategy”, even when someone I spoke with did not hire me, they still left the call grateful for my time and the free value I personally provided them. We continue to stay in touch today via email.

Why the Rest of the Script Works

A vital part of any copy, as we all know, is the headline.

The above headline might sound vague, and it was intended to be.

As a test, I decided to switch the headline to the result I primarily produce for people who work with me. Audacious as it sounds, this is the result I offer, so this was my new headline:

“Would you like me to double your business… for free?”

My conversion rate dropped to zero.

The new subscribers that just signed up to my email list came from a very generic personal development site I had just written a guest post for.  Many of them might not have had a business or even wanted one.

When I then switched the headline back to the more generic headline for another guest post I wrote on a site about life coaching, my conversion rate jumped back up to 10%.

Tweak the headline based on the preframe set for your new subscribers, because if the headline doesn’t work, they won’t read the rest of your offer.

The preframe is the blog from which these new subscribers came from. They have been mentally conditioned to the content of that blog, so you want to align with the state of mind they are in when they arrive at your landing page.

The next step is to acknowledge your audience because everyone appreciates a thank you.

I then let this new subscriber know the benefit they will get from speaking with me, I briefly established my credibility by describing my current lifestyle and let them know what we will be doing in our conversation. Finally, I made it as easy as possible for them to set up a time to for us to connect.

My audience is smart though, they know that most people just want to sell something to them and they are tired of being sold to.

Which is why I let them know this is not a “sales pitch in disguise.” I even offered to give them money if they feel like I wasted their time.

This made me nervous at first too, but as long as you know your material, NO ONE will ask for their money back. I have not had it happen once.

In fact, since I first decided to implement this tactic, I have increased my offer from $20 to $100.

By doing so, this new subscriber will immediately trust you, even if they don’t take you up on your offer, because you have just demonstrated immense confidence in your ability to produce results for them.

When you get on the call with them, all you need to do is understand what this prospect wants, what’s preventing them from getting it and offer them at least one solution for how they can overcome their obstacle. Now you have provided value.

Later on in this post, you will learn how to ensure that you only speak with people you can produce results for based on your expertise.

The One Change that Further Improved my Conversion Rate

The above script worked great for me, it led to just over $3,000 through my coaching and consulting practice.

But when I made this one adjustment to the copy, my conversion rate increased to 25%:

“Why am I offering this?

Firstly, because I love doing this work and it’s what I am good at. Secondly, as a Marine Corps veteran, I have seen firsthand, when you focus on giving, you end up getting more in return and finally because this is also how my business runs.”

Explaining why I made the offer improved conversions and increased trust in me because as Robert Cialdini outlined in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, people are more likely to respond to a request if you use the word “because.”

What Do You Do When Someone Takes You Up On Your Offer?

If 20 people request to speak with you, they could each have different problems and aspirations.

And you can’t help everyone.

So, as soon as they email you, send them a PDF that explains the details of your offer.

In this document, let them know that because of the nature of this offer, a lot of people will want to speak with you and it is physically impossible for you to speak with everyone, so you only work with people who meet a certain set of criteria.

You then outline, in detail, the kind of people you serve and let them know that they MUST meet this criteria in order to speak with you. This is where your customer profile comes in handy.

Dan Kennedy has described the “takeaway selling” strategy as his “biggest secret” to generating “exceptional results in selling.”

Let people sell themselves to you. This will make them want to work with you and it will build credibility by demonstrating your confidence in turning away potential clients.

At the end of the PDF, direct them to a form which allows you to confirm that they meet your criteria and more importantly that you can help them.

Then lead them to your online calendar to schedule the conversation. Timetrade is the one I use.

Click here to get a full copy of my PDF report and feel free to use that script in your marketing as well.

If you don’t want to offer coaching or consulting services like I do, you can still use this technique to speak with someone about a product you sell.

If you get a lot of subscribers every day and you don’t want to spend every minute of your day on the phone, here are four things you can do:

  • Charge people a deposit that you will return immediately after the conversation regardless of whether they buy from you or not.
  • Increase the amount you charge for your products or services and let them know what that number is in the PDF you send them, so you only get the people who are ready and willing to pay for the result you promise to offer.
  • Create a stricter set of criteria.
  • Let them know that this offer is only available to the first 10 people.

As soon as you get as many clients or as many buyers as you want, change the confirmation page back to the standard one.

The best part about this strategy is that you decide how much money you want to make with it. You can use it whenever you feel the need to generate some income.

How great is that?

If You Want to Make More Money with Your Website, Here’s How I Can Help:

  1. If you have any questions about how to implement “the pre-subscriber to sales strategy” in your business, leave a comment with your question and I promise to reply. And if you have any other questions for me about how to turn traffic into sales, post those in the comments below as well.
  2. Download this free report with video trainings that will guide you step-by-step on how to build a business online, even if you don’t have a website yet.
  3. If you have an example of “the pre-subscriber to sales strategy” offer that you would like me to review, post the link in the comments below and I will leave you my thoughts.

23 thoughts on Email List Building: The One Blogging Mistake That Costs You Thousands


I really like this post and I’m going to test out the “free consult” idea to try and get more engagement out of my list.

But isn’t this post more about that, and not about building your list in the first place? To offer this one-on-one call, people have to subscribe, so they’re already on your list. I’d be curious whether these strategies lead not only to more sales, but also higher open rates and lower list attrition. Akshay, what are your comments to this?

Thanks for a good post 🙂

Akshay Nanavati

Thanks Jessica! Glad you liked this post. You are right, this post is not so much about building your list as it is engaging with it and monetizing it.

You can offer this one on one call at any time while engaging with your list, in videos, articles, or just a direct email to your list. The goal with this specific strategy is to offer it as soon as they first give you their information. They will be seeing your offer before they even confirm their subscription to your list. After that, you can send them into a funnel where you give them valuable training and segue into your offer once again.

To answer your other question, since I have started using this strategy, I have definitely noticed an increase in open rates and lower list attrition. By giving away a lot of value to my list, ultimately they want to stay a part of it.

If you offer the opportunity to speak with you one-on-one, you stand out from the rest of the marketplace, because most people don’t offer that. And by offering to give away $100 if people don’t get value, that gives you increased credibility, which will ultimately make people want to hear what you have to say. People will assume you know what you are talking about if you are willing to give that money away.

So outside from increasing sales, this is a great strategy to build credibility, give something of value to your audience, help them get the results they want and connect with them, which will all help increase open rates.

Hope that answers your question and I hope this helps you grow your business! Let me know if you have any other questions and I would be more than happy to help.

Happy holidays Jessica!

Itender Rawat

Wonderful post, well to be honest I wasn’t taking care of email list building ans after reading your post I think I should re-start my campaigns.


Akshay Nanavati

Thanks Itender. Glad you found this article valuable. Well run campaigns are vital for success in your online business. Let me know if you have any questions as you start to build your campaigns. Good luck and happy holidays Itender.


Danny saved the best for last! Great post on a very timely topic.

I am in the midst of setting up something very much like this right now so another perspective is extremely helpful. Thanks, and best wishes for 2014.


Akshay Nanavati

Thanks Howard! Glad you liked it. I wish you all the best in setting up your campaign. Enjoy the rest of the year and have a great 2014 Howard.

Anil Kumar

Hello Akshay,

The Pre-Subscriber Sales Strategy is really great to drive more leads for our campaign. The tips are informative and worth bookmarking.


Akshay Nanavati

Hi Anil. Glad you found this useful and that it’s helping you grow your business! Hope you have a great 2014!

Martha Preston

It never occured to me to try to do this right after they subscribed then again I am a newbie! I just started my list lasst week. So at least I found this out early and can take advantage of turning subscribers into customers thanks so much


Lucky you, Martha

Akshay Nanavati

Not a lot of people do this Martha, but it has been very very effective for me. Glad you found out about this when you did and I hope it helps you build your business while providing more value for your audience! If you have any questions as you begin to implement this strategy, let me know and I would be happy to help. Happy holidays Martha!

Michal Stawicki

I don’t want to spend time on the phone, BUT the idea of providing some value on the confirmation page is great! It works for anyone, not just consultants. And it will certainly make me stand out!
Have you got any ideas for me on “the pre-subscriber to sales strategy” Akshay? I’m a Kindle author. 95% of my subscribers are my readers.
Right after reading this post I consider giving the links to the Lift plans I created which are just the shorter versions of my books.

Akshay Nanavati

I completely agree with you Michael. This strategy can be used effectively in almost any kind of business.

A few things to consider when using this strategy: ask yourself, what is the ultimate outcome you want for your prospective customers? And where are you already sending them once they get onto your list?

When I use this, anyone you subscribes already gets sent into a funnel where I teach them how to grow their business (I am providing more value) and it leads them to my consulting services. This strategy just becomes the first point of access to the thing that I offer that provides the most value: one-on-one time with me. And it helps them get their desired outcome – a thriving six to seven figure business.

So what do you want to sell people who come into your list?

If it is your books on Kindle, are you already giving this away when they subscribe and get on your list? If so, then you don’t want to just reiterate that using this strategy, because you are not giving away anything new. They subscribed to get the book anyway.

Do you have something higher end that you offer? If not, one thing you could do is create a video (video marketing is the best because people get to see you and get to know who you are) with some valuable training as a gift to your new subscribers. And that video could segue into one of your books. End the video by saying something like this “I hope you liked this video as much as I enjoyed making it for you, and if you got value from it, then…” And tell them about your books.

You could even create different videos for different books and test each one out to see which generates the most conversions.

One thing to remember with this strategy is that you don’t want to give away what you have already promised to give away to your subscribers. You want to give something else away that acts like a bonus to your new subscribers. Everyone loves a bonus 🙂

Hope this helps Michael. If you have any other question, let me know and I would be happy to help.

Happy holidays!


This is a fantastic strategy! I really appreciate your sharing. In the stone ages I heard of a sales trainer using something he called his “60-second survey” to pre-qualify people and reduce the number of tire kickers. Thank you for reminding me of this great tool, and I’m going to change all of my thank you pages!

Akshay Nanavati

My pleasure Jason. Hope this proves valuable to your business. I wish you great success in 2014!

Kemya Scott

Akshay this is a brilliant idea! And it makes total sense, the “almost done’ landing page is such a wasted opportunity to really connect with subscribers. I’m going back to revamp my “almost done” pages to include a pre-subscriber to sales offer. Thank you for sharing this!

Akshay Nanavati

Thanks Kemya. I am really glad this helps and I hope you grow your business as a result of implementing this strategy.

Sunil Thakur

I never taking care of my email list.But after reading your article i’m going to start email list building.Thank you Mr Akshay for this great post

Akshay Nanavati

My pleasure Sunil. Glad you found this post valuable and good luck with the list building.

Ryan Biddulph

Hi Akshay,

Excellent! Whether giving away freebies or selling products we are in the business of improving lives. Believe that you are creating value and you will attract many more people using this strategy.

Thanks for sharing!

Akshay Nanavati

Exactly Ryan. The biggest issue I see in the people I work with is not owning their worth. That makes all the difference. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ryan!

David Costa

There is a lot of good advice in this post.
Starting with the almost-immediate relationship you offer with your initial contact (with the promise that you will call them – which is an absolutely brilliant move to create a relationship), to your data points concerning tailoring the headline and copy of the initial contact depending on whom you are addressing, this post has good advice around every corner.
Your advice about ‘takeaway selling’ is right on the bull’s-eye.

Akshay Nanavati

Thanks David. So glad you got so much value from this post.

Comments are closed.