Let’s take a look at the most common mistakes made by email marketers when list building.

Failing to build brand awareness

It’s important to build brand awareness and develop a relationship with your subscriber base, because the more that your list members trust you and the product recommendations that you make, the easier it will be to convert those subscribers into repeat customers.

You should also register your own domain names and set up professional hosting accounts that can house your squeeze pages and websites. It’s important that you establish an online presence and give people clear direction as to how they can reach you or find out more about you.

There are many different providers available online that offer both domain names and hosting accounts including Namecheap.com

Promoting irrelevant products

Every email you send to your list should directly work towards strengthening your brands recognition for value. This means that you must be extremely careful with the kinds of products you promote as well as the quality of the products you endorse.

Whether you are the developer or not, if you give it your stamp of approval, your subscriber base will hold you accountable should the product or service fail to deliver.

You should therefore always review each product or offer you are planning to promote so that you can not only stand behind it, but can directly answer any questions that your subscribers may have about the offer.

You also need to make sure that the products and services you are advertising are relevant to your newsletters overall theme or topic. If your subscriber originally signed up for your newsletter in order to receive information on “network marketing”, they aren’t likely going to be responsive or happy if you begin to send out content relating to “dog training”.

Keep your emails focused and relevant. If you end up venturing into a new niche or are interested in exploring other markets, you should work towards creating individual segmented lists for each niche.

Failing to deliver quality content

This is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes and may be fatal mistakes that both new and seasoned email marketers make when running their list campaigns.

While the objective of building email lists is to effectively monetize them, you need to earn the right to send out promotional based emails.

This starts with first building a relationship with your list by offering high quality content, free tools and resources and material that is helpful and well received.

Once you have worked towards connecting with your subscriber base, however, you need to maintain that relationship by focusing on a well balance of solid, high quality content with any promotional emails you send out.

In fact, one way of maximizing open rates and response from your subscriber base is to over-deliver on quality content even during times when you don’t have a scheduled launch or affiliate program that you are planning to promote.

People tend to notice habits, and if they discover that the only time you seem interested in contacting them is when you have something to sell or promote, you will quickly lose any trust and credibility that you may have earned from your previous communication.

Keep this in mind whenever you create a new email campaign or broadcast.

Consider whether your email truly offers value and is written so that it genuinely benefits your subscriber base. If you build a solid relationship and brand with your subscribers, you’ll subsequently build a very responsive and loyal customer base.

Letting their lists run cold

You absolutely need to focus on staying in constant communication with your subscriber base. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to email them every day, but what you want to do is consider creating a posting schedule so that you can get into the habit of connecting with your subscribers regularly, while demonstrating consistency. Your subscribers will then begin to expect your emails on certain days and by doing this, you will begin to see a dramatic increase in your open rates.

The more consistent you are with your broadcasts, the easier it will be to condition your subscribers to accept promotional based emails and advertisements in between mailings containing free content and resources.

Failing to segment

Segmenting your lists does more than maximize your chances of having your emails delivered successfully. List segmenting will also help you effectively communicate and target specific subscribers, increasing response rate and helping you create successful broadcasts.

For example, if you developed a mailing list catering to the “Internet Marketing” crowd, it’s likely that your subscribers come from different backgrounds, are currently at different levels of their marketing training or are interested in various areas of the Internet Marketing industry.

By segmenting your lists, you can create content based on each groups interests and skill levels as well as develop products and services around each subscriber category.

With Aweber, you can easily segment your lists by creating a custom field for your actual opt-in form. This custom field should help you better identify your subscriber based on their location, skills and interest.

Using our Internet Marketing list as an example, a custom field could include “How long have you been involved in Internet Marketing?” which subscribers would answer at the point of subscription.

You could then log into your aweber account and conduct a search that would pull up people who had provided specific information in the custom field.

You can then save each group into its own individual list, and name it accordingly (New Marketers, 3 Years experience, Seasoned Marketers, etc) so that you can easily remember it for future broadcasts that you send out.

Simply select the group whenever you create a new email and it will be sent only to this group.

Copy & paste fanatics

When it comes to promoting affiliate products to your list, you need to avoid the common “lazy email marketer” tactic of utilizing existing affiliate resources to promote products and services to your list.

Instead, create customized emails that truly connect with your target audience and speak directly to your subscriber base.

Since the majority of affiliate marketers will be busy using the pre-made content offered by the merchant, you will be able to stand apart from the crowd by simply developing your own unique promotional based content.

Besides, you know your subscriber base and what they are likely going to respond to, and by crafting emails that really touch down on the things that are most important to them, you will be able to maximize the results of every broadcast.

Failing to monetize

While it’s very important to provide your list with fresh, useful and free content, resources and information, you are in the business of email marketing so that you can build a profitable business and you need to get into the habit of monetizing your list right from the start.

Here is my recommended system for email list building: Virtual Profit System.



A passionate small business entrepreneur that educates and motivates other entrepreneurs generate traffic to their businesses to create residual income for life. A successful blogger and network marketer who specializes in traffic generation strategies.

    26 replies to "Tips On What Not To Do In List Building"

    • Laurel Regan

      Helpful information for people looking at building an e-mail marketing list. Thanks for sharing this resource.

      • Siphosith

        Welcome to my blog Laurel and thanks for commenting.

    • Dr Lisa Thompson

      Great points!

      One thing that is huge for me is the branding. You need to have your own branded URL to set you apart from your competition

      Dr. Lisa

      • Siphosith

        Very true branding is so important.

    • Joan Harrington

      Hi Siphosith,

      Great post and tons of awesome tips for list building and what NOT to do 🙂 Thanks for always sharing tons of value on your blog! Have a great day!

    • Brian Meehan

      Some great list building tips there. I like your copy and paste point. It’s important to modify or rewrite the provided affiliate material.

      Thanks for sharing the article.

    • Donna Ward

      I can certainly identify with each and particularly these – Failing to monetize, copy and past and letting your list run cold – I helped one of my clients grow their list to 1000 in 3 months and then he only emailed once in awhile and lost most of them quickly. – Relevant post for me as a list builder! Which all bloggers really need to look at.

    • William Earl Amis Jr III

      Siphosith, you have all great focus points when managing your list!

      When I read your title. That led me to feel you where going to walk us through various ways to keep a list and places to help build it. That was just my take on the title.

      You have done a great deal of work. Bringing us the motivational attitude we need to keep our list alive with interaction. That is something I did not expect. Well done!

    • Tommy Olsson

      Thanks for sharing these very valuable advice about what not to do in list building, great content 🙂

    • Jenelle Livet

      Great information here. I have a solo ad business and people are always saying that they are getting optins but no sales. The thing is that people do not buy straight away, they need to know like and trust you. So many of my customers just expect to get leads but never follow up with them. This is the secret to listbuilding and I think it should be called relationship building. Solo ads are the start of the funnel you then need to warm up your leads and get them to love you.
      Thanks for the post

      • Siphosith

        Thanks for your comments Jenelle, great tips.

    • Andrea Ansari

      Thanks Siphosith for your tips on email marketing, tips on what not to do in list building!

    • Zach

      Good advice. I can tell you from experience that if someone sends me something that has nothing to do with why I originally showed interest in their product, I unsubscribe immediately.

      • Siphosith

        Very true one is interested to what they originally subscribed for.

    • Kyle Nelson

      Thanks for a great inside look of what not to do when creating a list. I think this is more helpful then what to do because not only do you say what not to do you give an alternative. Great article

    • Mark

      Excellent advice Siphosith!

      I particularly like where you advise us to segment our list.

      By effectively using our opt in box to segment our potential subscribers
      and then develop relevant content for them.

      That is definitely away to improve our open rates.

      And your advice about building brand awareness and not to just send pre written copy & paste email message.

      Especially if you’re marketing one of those opportunities that has massive numbers of others promoting virtually the exact same thing!

      You just become another face in the crowd, after your potential subscriber receives a gazillion emails that look exactly the same, word for word!

      You’ve offered some extremely solid advice here! Thank you!

    • donna merrill

      Hi Siphosith,

      Great tips on what not to do on email lists!

      We do have to build brand awareness and never ever promote irrelevant things to others. That will turn people off…I know, I’ve unsubscribed to many of these emails lol

      When it comes to quality content, that’s what I look for in an email sequence. It keeps up my interest. Because I email, I like to read other emails I opt into. Gosh some of them have no quality at all. No engagement! Just a bunch of junk to buy! I quickly unsubscribe.

      Thank you for doing this post because many are unaware of how to do email sequences the proper way.


      • Siphosith

        Very much agree with you, so many are not aware what goes on in email marketing. Thanks for commenting.

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    • Chery Schmidt

      Hello Siphosith, Now I wish I had the chance to read a post like this one a few years ago. Great job my friend! What No to do OH YEH I think I did all them wrong..

      It is so important build brand awareness, you do need to build that trust factor HUH?

      OH Yhe getting others to know like and trust you is the only way to go..

      Thank you so much for sharing… Chery :))

      • Siphosith

        I began that way too until you begin to research and read more

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