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How to Build an Email List Fast | M2M Episode 10

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In episode 10, I’m going to show you how to build an email list fast at the speed of lightning.

Let’s go.

Building an email list is hard. Your goal is to convert a complete stranger into someone who will instantly trust you to send valuable content and offers.

There are long plays like forms within your blog, but there are also shortcuts that can grow your list from zero to over 100,000 in one week.

The tactic is simple. Create your own contest.

Before you roll your eyes, hear me out.

Not all contests are created equal.

And believe it or not, it isn’t based on the dollar value of your prize.

You might have heard of Harry’s. They sell quality men’s shaving products. Before they became a company with nearly 500 employees, they had the same fear we all have before launching.

They didn’t know if they would be launching to crickets.

Long story short, they emailed everyone they knew, had them sign up and share their prelaunch campaign with their friends.

They turned a contest into a game.

By referring a set number of people, you would get a prize at various milestones. At 5 friends, you’d get shaving cream. At 10, you’d get a high-end razor. And at 50, you’d get 1 year’s worth of free blades.

Fast forward 7 days and they had 100,000 email addresses ready at launch.

Let’s break it down.

First: choose a hyper-relevant prize.

Ask yourself this question:

“What kind of people do I want to attract and what do they want?”

Men with beards might want razors and pregnant women might want baby gear.

You don’t need to give away iPads, gift cards, cars or vacations.

Gamify your contest.

Add milestones or ways to get more entries to win. You can use one of my favorite tools like or rafflecopter to host your contest and get subscribers, retweets and followers.

Send 3 sets of messages.

Your first email should go to your target audience. If you have an email newsletter, let them know about your contest and encourage them to share it by highlighting how it will benefit them.

Your second email will go to your friends and family who have your target audience in their networks. Ask them to share it with people who can benefit from it.

Finally, share it in Facebook groups that you are already engaged in. Watch episode 7 to see how you can become an insider in any Facebook group.

If you make it easy to sign up, easy to share and have a prize that will attract the exact people who want it, then sit back and watch your list grow.


Now it’s your turn

If you’ve been seeing your email list grow by 1, 2 or 5 people per day, per week or whatever rate you’re growing at, then start brainstorming some contest ideas.

As your email list grows your business will grow with it. Your traffic will increase every time you send out an email to your list. Your sales will have an uptick with more people to send your offer to.

And to add the icing to the cake, your email list can grow even larger with your next contest, webinar or even blog post. The low cost per acquisition will shock you compared to traditional routes like paid advertising.

Let me know what you think about contests. Do you think they’re effective for list building or an ineffective way in the long haul?


Follow or contribute. Either way, I look forward to serving your online marketing needs.
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Author: Sam Oh
  • Allan Clow

    This is exactly what The Hustle just did earlier this week. They have 3 or 4 milestones with prizes at each one for referring new subscribers. Looks like an effective method. Just to find the balance between what you give away and how much work your audience will actually do for you.

    Great post!

    • Sam Oh

      Thanks Allan. I’ve seen more and more companies doing this and it has proven to be effective every time. Ex. A discount golf passes site did a contest for a new driver + a chance to play in a PGA Tour pro amateur event. Hyper relevant and looking at their leaderboard, they have accumulated well over 1,000 new entries in a few days.

      Would love to hear about a contest you run and the results.

      • Allan Clow

        That’s another great example. I will let you know for sure!


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