Transcript: You Asked; I Answered: 6 List-Building Questions I Hear Most Often

May 5, 2022

AMY PORTERFIELD: “I've never said this before, but one of the mistakes I think I made early on and we're kind of paying for it now in the business is that SEO, for years, was never, ever a focus of ours. When I had a partner, he felt that there's no need to spend time on SEO and figure it out and use it properly on our website, because we spent money consistently from the get-go on ads. So he thought, you know, ‘We're spending money on ads. That is how we're getting all this traction,’ but then fast forward ten years, and ads are incredibly expensive. They've changed dramatically over the years. They're not nearly as easy to use as they were easy to get cheap leads. So that was a mistake I made. I probably should talk about that one more in the future. But I wish SEO from day one was something I learned personally, something I took seriously, and when I didn't want to do it myself, had somebody on my team do it and really dialed it in.” 

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: So, I have a little homework for you. I want you to head to your favorite podcast-listening platform; search for the podcast Success Story, hosted by Scott D. Clary; and start listening. Success Story is a new podcast obsession for me; and it features Q&A sessions with successful business leaders; keynote presentations; and conversations on sales, marketing, business, and entrepreneurship. Scott recently spoke with a guest about the importance of socially conscious entrepreneurship, and I love that conversation. This is such an important topic right now, so be sure to check out that specific episode, for sure. You can listen to Success Story wherever you get your podcasts. 

Welcome to another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy. Today we’re going grassroots, my friend. We're talking all about list building. But the topics I'm going to cover today aren’t actually things I came up with. Oh, no. They are actually from you. Or at least I'm answering questions that I get from my audience all the time. These are questions I see pop up about list building basically across my entire business. I see these questions get asked on social media. I get asked about them in my lives and on webinars. I get asked about them in my DMs. My customer-support team sees them. They are everywhere. And because I practice what I preach, meaning I listen to my audience, I thought it'd be a good idea to take a moment to rally up these questions and give you some guidance.  

So in today's podcast episode, I'm covering six questions that I get asked more than you can imagine. I mean, if I had a dollar for every time I got asked these questions, well, it'd be a really good day. But to be honest, these are excellent questions, and I'm really excited to give you some guidance on these because being in business for thirteen years gives me an advantage and plays to your advantage, too. And that advantage is that I’ve gone before you. I've learned the hard lessons, and if I can help you get where you're going and avoid the trial and error, or at least some of it, then I'm doing what lights me up. I want to see you succeed. And since we all know that a successful online business means a thriving email list, today's episode is extra important.  

I'm feeling that at some point in this episode, maybe multiple points, you're going to say, “Amy, it feels like you're in my head. This is exactly what I needed to hear.” And because of that, I want you to be ready. So grab your pen and paper, make sure this episode is downloaded so you can easily return to it if you need it, and let's get ready to take some notes so that you can get into action. Sound good? 

Oh, and if you find this episode valuable, go ahead and share it with someone that you feel could use it. I would greatly appreciate that, and I think they would, too.  

All right, let's do this.  

Question number one, “What if I’ve created what I thought is an amazing lead magnet and no one is signing up for it? No one's opting in for it. What do I do?” Oh, boy. I hear this one a lot. I get this question all the time, so much, in fact, that I created an entire podcast episode all about troubleshooting your lead magnet. So it's episode number 437, “How to Troubleshoot a Lead Magnet That's Not Converting.” I'll link that bad boy up in the show notes, for sure, but you can get to it at And promise me this: you'll go download it and listen to it next, because it's going to give you a step by step on how to improve your lead magnet. Plus, there’s a free resource. 

Now, because of that, I’m not going to go too much into this question. But I do have a few things that I want you to think about. If a lead magnet isn't converting, you need to—actually, if you're multitasking, come back to me because this is important. Come a little closer. Are you listening? All right—you need to pay closer attention to what your audience is asking. But here's the kicker: you need to figure out what's underneath what they are asking you. So their questions will be enough for you to start to really pick up and put together wherever they're getting stuck. And when I see patterns in questions, I say, “Oh, I'm seeing a pattern of questions here. There's a sticky point for my audience. How can I support them and solve this problem?”  

In fact, this episode is a great example of just that. There are these questions I get over and over again. I see and hear these questions on social media, like I said, on my webinars and customer support and my inbox. I see them everywhere. And because we kept seeing these pop up, we decided to turn the answers to these questions into a podcast episode, which you’re listening to now. So pay attention, and never stop paying attention, because their needs will evolve. Just like your business evolves and just like your lead magnets will evolve as well. So we've got to as marketers and business owners, we have to keep paying attention.  

So again, head to if you're struggling with your lead magnet, because I promise you'll get some of your questions answered there in depth, in a step-by-step podcast episode. 

All right. Question number two, “Do you recommend that I start with building a website on my chosen platform before I do anything else? Could I just start creating weekly content now, have a landing page for a lead magnet, and then create a website later?” The answer is yes. You could absolutely start creating content now, have a stellar landing page for your lead magnet, and create a website later.  

I'm not at all against this, because something kind of cool actually happens when you do it this way. You get a unique opportunity to learn from your audience, because when you start creating content and putting it out into the world, your audience will give you feedback and engage with you. And from that, you start to become a better content creator. When you become a better content creator, it's easier to get a website up and running because you have a clearer vision of what kind of website your audience would resonate with.  

So I'm all for, let's say, giving yourself six months to create your content and promote your lead magnet. And if you go this route, you'll probably want to have your social-media bios make it really, really clear who you are and what you're about since they don't have something like an About page to check out. 

Now, I do believe everyone should have a website eventually. I just don't believe it has to be something that you do on day one. But here's what I want you to avoid. I want you to avoid pushing off having a website because you're afraid to make one. Deal? I'm all for building your email list and getting to know your audience before you put the time and effort into a website. But you've got to make sure that you give yourself a timeline and get that website created. You absolutely do need one. So don’t procrastinate, because websites are important if you’re running an online business. But if you're creating content and putting it out there and talking about your lead magnet and running it to a lead page in the meantime, well, everyone gets started somewhere. And if the website's going to stop you in your tracks, let's get that content and lead magnet out into the world. 

Question number three, “Do I need to be on social media to have a successful coaching business?” Ooh, I get this one a lot. So this question goes on to say, “I have Instagram, but I'm struggling. I'm comparing myself to others, never feel good enough or interesting enough, and I never know what to post. Do I really need social media? Any tips on how to tackle this challenge?” I believe it is very difficult to build a business without social media. And listen, I wish that wasn't my answer. I wish we didn't all have to use social media to build a thriving business. But when I look around, there are very few—and quite honestly right now, I can't even think of one, but I know a few exist—businesses that don't use social media, and they've been successful. But again, I can't even think of one right now because social media is so paramount to growing a business online. It's just the facts.  

But here's what I want to say. You have to find a way that feels right for you, meaning a way to use social media that feels right for you. So there are a few videos out there that I've done on Instagram Reels, where I'm pointing to things while there's music. I freaking hate that. Now that doesn't mean that I have to get off social media, because I know that my business would suffer. Absolutely, my business would suffer if I weren’t on Instagram and Facebook.  

However, you know those videos where people are lip synching or doing voice overs, and they're kind of funny? I love those. I actually love doing them. I think they're hilarious when I watch other people do them, so I'm like, I'll do those all day long.  

So I said to my social-media manager, Stacey, who I adore, and I got to give her so much props because I don't want to do a lot of things on social, and she's a social-media expert, and she probably would enjoy working with someone who said yes to everything. Like, when I think of Stacey, I think, “Gosh, she would love to work with Jasmine Star.” Jasmine Star’s like, “Yes, I'll do anything on social. Like, I'll be silly, and I'll dance, and I'll point, and I'll do lip synching and everything in between.” I'm just not that girl. So I always tell Stacey, “I'm sorry I'm not as much fun as someone else that might embrace all of this, but I also cannot fake it.” I'm too old to fake it anymore. I cannot fake it. So I'm not doing the things that I don't enjoy on social. So I told Stacy, “Look, I actually like these voice-over things. They’re pretty fun. Let's do more of those.” And she's like, “You got it.”  

And also, I think what I'm going to start doing on Reels, and Stacey and I have talked about this, is doing more talking. Like, I rarely talk on a Reel. I’ll, you know, do the lip synching or something funny. But there's some really great Reels, Instagram Reels, out there, where people are actually talking and teaching and making it interesting and fun. So we’re going to start exploring that as well.  

So you need to understand what you like, and focus on those things on social. Now, sometimes that means experimenting to find out what you like and don't like. So you've got to be willing to feel uncomfortable and silly to kind of get to what you want to do. And there's no harm in trying something on just to see if it fits. Like, if I never tried a pointing video, I'd never know that I never want to do one for the rest of my life. So that's just how it works.  

The other thing I want to say is that you got to keep your blinders on. You've got to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. And listen, I know how easy it is to compare yourself to others on social media. There are many days that I don't feel like I measure up. Really. And I have to remind myself that I need to keep my head down, be crystal clear on what I'm focusing on, and just get it done and not worry about what everyone else is doing. 

Now, before we jump on to the next question, I want you to check out two episodes. So episode number 418, which is all about imposter syndrome, would be a great one if you find yourself comparing yourself to everyone else. Like, just be honest with yourself. If it's something that you know is stopping you in your tracks or making you feel terrible, go listen to episode 418. I actually have a twist on how to look at imposter syndrome that might be very new to you and might actually help you with a mindset shift that I think is important for you to make. 

And then the other one is episode 409, “From Social-Media Posts to Weekly Content: How to Create Your 3-Month Content Calendar Step by Step.” And in that episode, I walk you through planning out all of your content, social media included, and when you have a plan, sticking to posting becomes so much easier. Doesn't become this drama thing that you're, like, dreading. It just becomes part of what you do. So that's episode 409.  

I'll link up to both of those in the show notes.  

Question number four, “How do I start emailing a list that I haven't emailed much over the last year or two? What should I say?” Here's the deal: we don't need to make a big deal about the fact that you haven't emailed in a long time. So what I like to do, or what I like to encourage my students to do, is put together a lead magnet, or you probably already have one you can use, and create a killer subject line so that your subscribers are going to pay attention, and then say, “Hey, I've been working on this free resource for you. I know you're going to love it. Here's what's in it.” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. “And then click here to instantly download it.”  

The beautiful thing is that you don't even have to direct them to an opt-in page, because they're already on your email list. So when they click it, just make it an instant download. So give before you ask for anything in return. That's my motto. So I would probably send this email out twice. Send it out to everyone on your email list; and whoever didn't open that email, send it again with a new subject line. And then from there, I want you to start emailing them every single week. I’m clapping my hands. I’m being more dramatic. Every single week is important here. 

What are you going to email them every week? Well, follow the guidance I give you all the time: create free weekly content—a blog, a podcast, a video—and then email your list about what you've just created for that week and why they are going to love it. But here's what I really want you to take away from my answer here. Don't make a big deal out of not emailing them or being M.I.A. Just send out the email. Make it all about them. You've got this cool resource. They've got to get it. Click here to download instantly. Just make it really exciting and interesting. And then we're going to move on. 

Now, if you want more guidance on this question, I want you to go to episode 377. That's for the episode I did specifically on this topic. It's called “How to Re-Engage Your Email List.” And you guessed it, I give you step-by-step guidance on how to re-engage those subscribers. So that's 

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Question number five, “I'm trying to build an email list from scratch, literally zero subscribers. I don't have social media, but I do have a website. Thoughts on getting out there.” I love this question. And the number one thing is to select one or two social-media channels that you're going to commit to using, and just start using them consistently. Now, there are a bunch of ways to get out there with social media, including going live on Facebook or using the power of Instagram Stories and landing guest posts on interviews on other people's blogs or shows. Like, these are different ways to get yourself out there. You've got to definitely get scrappy to get some traction. But like I said earlier in this episode, do what feels right for you. What approaches get you excited? And then commit to those. 

I do believe we need to use social media. Again, I wish that wasn't the answer, but it is. However, I do not believe that we need to be on every single platform.  

So there's a retailer called Lush, and they're famous for their different types of soaps, and they just came out and said, “We're using YouTube and Pinterest and nothing else,” which is very bold, by the way, considering Instagram is so hot right now, including Instagram Reels. But they just decided that they're going to get laser focused on what’s serving them best. Oh, and of course, they're using email marketing, which I love. So they're, like, YouTube, Pinterest, email marketing, done. I feel like that's a very bold move for a very lucrative company.  

Now, if you're only using your website, you'll really need to rely on organic search like SEO, and SEO is a big deal. Talk about going slow to get where you want to go, but with time, it's going to benefit you immensely.  

You know, I've never said this before, but one of the mistakes I think I made early on and we're kind of paying for it now in the business is that SEO, for years, was never, ever a focus of ours. When I had a partner, he felt that there's no need to spend time on SEO and figure it out and use it properly on our website, because we spent money consistently from the get-go on ads. So he thought, you know, “We're spending money on ads. That is how we're getting all this traction,” but then fast forward ten years, and ads are incredibly expensive. They've changed dramatically over the years. They're not nearly as easy to use as they were easy to get cheap leads. So that was a mistake I made. I probably should talk about that one more in the future. But I wish SEO from day one was something I learned personally, something I took seriously, and when I didn't want to do it myself, had somebody on my team do it and really dialed it in. So now we are starting to make a bigger focus, but, geez, I should have done it years and years ago.  

And just as a reminder, SEO is free. So with ads being so incredibly expensive right now, if I had a stronger SEO play, I'd be benefiting from it right now. And again, it takes years. So even though we've started to really make an SEO play, it's going to take a while.  

So this is an important strategy to pay attention to. So if you’re just starting out, take the time to become a student of SEO, because it can help you immensely when you’re building your online business. 

Finally, question number six, “What would a good lead magnet be for a book launch?” Surprisingly, I’ve been seeing this question pop up quite often. Sounds like I have some authors in my audience, which gets me very excited. So as many of you know, my very first book is coming out early next year. And what I'm finding is the question you may want to consider asking instead is, what are some great bonuses I can offer people when I presale my book? Because when it comes to buying your book, getting presales is a huge benefit.  

So for me, and something I encourage you to think about as well, is what would a great bonus package, or just even one bonus, look like if it were to encourage people to say, “Hey, if I preorder this book, I get these awesome bonuses”? And this is something we see with many, many book launches, right?  

Now, leading up to when you presell and offer those bonuses, I just think about what would be really great content that I can put out into the world from now until when I start to presell my book that will attract the right audience. So that can be a podcast, or maybe that's a really great lead magnet, or maybe you're showing up on social media more. And you do all of this in order to grow your audience and attract the right people before you start to presell your book. Then, when you start to presell your book, you're offering bonuses, so people have to give you their name and email to get those bonuses. They show you they bought the book, and they give you their name and email, and now you send them bonuses.  

So when it comes to hitting the nail on the head with the content that you choose to talk about in these various platforms, I would consider thinking about, where does my audience need to be in order to be ready to dive into my book? So if you’re thinking about growing your audience before you presell and before you offer those bonuses, where does my audience need to be in order to be ready to dive into my book? I love that question.  

And then, back up a little bit from that point, and use those topics to get them ready to be in a place to start your book. And that's what I call the invisible bridge, which I've talked about many times on this podcast. You’ve got to get them walking over that invisible bridge to get ready to buy.  

So, yeah, I don't know what a great lead magnet is to get people into your world to buy your book, but I think the better question is, what kind of great bonuses can I create when they do buy my book, and that is a lead generation in and of itself?  

But I might come back to this question and add even more value to it down the road, as I start to implement my book-marketing plan, which you’ll see me roll out. Make sure you're following me on Instagram. So I'm just @amyporterfield on Instagram. Come over and follow me there. That is where you will literally see my entire book-launch plan play out in real time, starting a little bit later this year. So come on over, and I'll be sharing, you know, lead magnets and opportunities and resources even before the book goes on presell. So, I’m excited about that. 

Okay. Switching gears just a bit. I have some very exciting news to share with you to support you in all of your list-building efforts. I'm hosting my first-ever live list-building intensive boot camp, and it's called Subscribed.  

So here's the deal: I've cleared my calendar so I can be hands on with you as we kick start your email list, and we amplify your reach and nail down your rock-solid, long-term list-building strategy for your business. Subscribed will help you get your email list finally growing, and quickly. By the end of this boot camp, you'll have learned about creating a stellar lead magnet and a corresponding opt-in page to get people to sign up for your lead magnet. So I'll break that all down for you. And your pages are going to be so good that they'll bring in eager subscribers for months and months to come. And I'm also going to share with you what to post, when to post, and where to post so you maximize the content you already have, and that content leads to growing your email list. So it's a special strategy. I also have an intuitive long-term list-building strategy that's going to feel right for you and your business and your audience. You can tweak it to make it just right.  

I'm sharing all of this in the boot camp, and so much more. Again, this is the first time I've ever done a live boot camp like this all around list building. So to join in, all you need to do is go to That's Now, it's not free, but I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised when you see the price point. So go check it out. I really, really hope I see you there. 

Okay. So, we made it to the end. And thanks so much for hanging out with me here. I hope you're feeling excited about growing your email list because here's the thing: if you keep putting things off, like promotions and launches and campaigns, because you don't have an email list, you are slowing down your success. And when you try to launch something without an email list, I promise you if you're not feeling sad about the results because you're not getting traction, and you're feeling maybe so-so about the results; you're like, “Look what I did. I didn't even have an email list, and look what I did,” then imagine what you could do if you also had an email list. Social media is not enough. Social media is fickle. That algorithm can change like that. You own your email list, you control your email list, and I promise you it will result in many more sales, much more revenue, when you start to really focus on a quality email list and that you can use over and over again to promote and sell your different offers.  

So you might be saying, “Okay. Great. Where do I start? You just covered a lot of information.” I want to encourage you to join me in the boot camp. I know I gave you a lot of information in this episode, but the thing is I have even more up my sleeve to share with you when it comes to growing a list of loyal subscribers who are just dying to get your weekly emails. So Jump into the boot camp. Let's get building that email list together so that you never, ever, ever again say, “But I don't have an email list,” or “My email list is really small.” Let’s just end that now. So go to I cannot wait to see you there. I'm excited. I've never done anything like this before. It's going to be really fun. We have been working on it for months and months and months. I think you're going to love every minute of it.  

Thanks so much for joining me for another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy. I'll see you next time, same time, same place. Bye for now. 

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