[BONUS EN] List building, the secrets marketing Queen Amy Porterfield – Episode 129

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She is the queen of list building and online course creation in the US. Her business weights more than 70 million dollars. She trained almost 50 000 persons with only 8 online courses. She is my mentor, and she kindly accepted to come over to my podcast for her very first interview on a French podcast. She is Amy Porterfield.
If you don’t know who Amy is, go listen to her podcast Digital Marketing Made Easy Podcast, it’s one of the biggest US podcast, and it is full of golden nuggets for anyone who wants to build a business online.
I launched my very own podcast, thanks to Amy. It is also thanks to her that I created my online course. And these two things became my new job. A job that I love, that I can do anywhere, and whenever it suits me. There are few people that really impacted my life, let me tell you that Amy Porterfield is undoubtly one of them.
Today I asked her to tell us about a topic that we both love : list building, and especially how to grow your email list.
Be prepared to take notes, this episode is very special. To be honest with you, it’s the episode I’m the most proud of since the beginning of the Marketing Podcast – and this is number 129.
Amy does not give us just « classic » tips that you can find everywhere, she gets into the real thing, she goes deep, she gives actionnable advices, and she share her very own strategies. When you know that several hundreds of thousands of people gave her their email address, when you know that she adds almost 2000 new address in her list every week, you can bet she has one thing or two to teach us about list building.
Now you got it, Amy is American, we recorded this episode in English, it’s the very first time I do that on my podcast. So you can either choose this episode, fully in English, or you can choose to listen to the episode in French (it’s right before this one).
By the way, I want to thank from the bottom of my heart Catherine Benmaor who is a professional voice over and the host of the beautiful French podcast Souvernirs d’Enfant for the huge voice over work she did on the French version of this episode. Catherine, without you none of this would have been possible. A huge thank you 🙏🧡
we mentioned it during the episode : 
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Episode transcript


Hi there. Welcome to the marketing podcast, Amy.


Well, thanks so much for having me. I’m delighted to be here.


I’m absolutely thrilled that you’re here on that podcast with me, Amy. It’s quite a huge thing for me to have you on my podcast, Amy, just for the people who might not know you, you are the host of Digital Marketing Made Easy Podcast, which is one of the biggest podcasts in the US. And you help hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs reaching their dreams every week, every month.

And you also created two digital courses, actually more than two digital courses, but the two that you have right now on are List Building Society and Digital Course Academy, where you help people grow their email list, and also create a digital course. You happen to be the reason why I have a podcast and I have a digital course today, because you’re the person who introduced me to both things and introduced me to the business. So thank you so much, Amy, to be here with us on the marketing podcast.


Oh, Jeez, that’s so fantastic to hear. I love that you also have this amazing podcast. And like you said, your digital course. So, yeah, I think this is going to be a great conversation.


Yeah, I’m looking forward too to our conversation. Amy, what I wanted us to talk about today is about one thing that I believe is so important, but I want to have your view on that. Although I think I know. I want us to talk about list building because I’m hearing a lot of people saying list building is an old thing. It’s not working anymore. It’s not that good. What do you think about list building? Do you think it is still a good thing to do? Do you think it is still important to have an email list?


Absolutely. I think it’s one of the most important assets you can have in your business. I always tell my students that social media is fickle. Although it’s a fantastic tool to engage and possibly grow your audience. It’s fickle in the sense that that algorithm can change at any point. And boom, your whole business could change if you are only relying on social media.

So I always say don’t build your business on rented land because we do not own anything about social media, but instead make sure you have an asset in your company that is yours that you control, that you can go back to again and again. And that is an email list. Also, email tends to convert at four times higher than any social media channel, especially if you engage your email list. So it’s a powerful tool and alive and well.


I totally agree with you. And actually, on the day we are recording this podcast, Elon Musk just bought Twitter, so we don’t know what’s going to happen. But seriously, if all of your business is built on Twitter, you may be a bit scared today thinking what’s going to happen? So totally, fully agree with you. I think it’s a bit dangerous not to have an email list, actually not to have something that you fully own. Definitely.

A big question. One of the first question actually that comes to me whenever I talk about list building and sending emails to your audience is : Estelle, what is the ideal frequency to send emails? When should I send an email? Is there any ideal frequency?


This is a great question because when I teach people how to grow their email list, now that they have people on their email list, whether it be 100 or 100,000, it doesn’t matter. People will say, okay, what do I email them and how often am I supposed to email them? And the answer to how often is at least once a week. I’d like to see you email your subscribers at least once a week.

Now the next question that often comes is, well, what am I supposed to be emailing them? So the way I teach my students is that we all need to be creating original content, content that comes from us, our ideas, our experiences, and that content usually is in the form of a podcast like you and I are doing. So we’re probably very biased to this way of creating original content, but also you have the option of a blog or video as well. But every single week I encourage my students to create original content, let’s say a weekly podcast.

And then to get back to the question of what am I emailing my subscribers? Well, once a week, usually on the same day, same time every week, for me, it’s every Thursday morning I’ll email my subscribers and tell them that I have a brand new podcast coming out on the online marketing Made Easy podcast. So I’ll tell them, come listen. But in the email I’ll entice them. I’ll tell them what they’re going to learn, why it matters to them, and why they need to listen.

So every single Thursday, rain or shine, I have a brand new podcast that comes out, which means I have a new email that gets sent to my subscribers. So at least on a weekly basis, some people email twice a week. That’s fine as well. Anything more than twice a week. You’re probably adding in some promotional emails around some kind of launch or campaign that you’re doing. But if I’m not launching or if I’m not promoting anything, it’s once a week.


Perfect. Once a week is easy. Also, you know that you can do it. It’s not that long, especially if you have a content that you’ve created. As you said, you just have to tell people about that content. So it’s really reusing what you already have. Usually what I’ll do is I use my introduction of the podcast episode. I use it directly in my email, I tweak it a little bit and it works really well.

what I’ll do also, I like to add a little something so that when I tell people, hey, come over to my newsletter, actually, they know that they have a little something else. Maybe we’ll talk about that. Sometimes it’s a lead magnet. Sometimes it’s just an advice that I have because I used some tool or whatever. It could be that I think it would be interesting. Do you think it’s a good idea to add that little thing in an email?


Absolutely. Adding a little extra value, peaking their curiosity, giving them something that they feel is really beneficial to their growth as a business owner, I absolutely love it.


Cool. Awesome. All right, so the second question that people ask when I talk about list building, it’s always the same. It’s : « Ok Estelle, I understand. It’s great. We need to have an email list. Fine. How do I do that? How do I build my email list? How do I attract subscribers? Do you have specific strategies that we could use to attract new subscribers?


Absolutely. So those that are listening that are starting from scratch with zero on their email list, then they’d probably benefit from listening to some of your episodes that you have about lead magnets, which I know you have several, which is really where you want to start. So if you’re starting to grow your email list, you need something of value to give away for an exchange of their name and email. And so, of course, that’s a lead magnet. There’s so many different ways you can create a lead magnet, but everyone needs a lead magnet in order to really see some traction with their list growth.

And of course, you need an email service provider. So you need a tool that will help you collect those names and emails and send out those email broadcasts that you have. So knowing that you need a lead magnet and you need an email service provider and that you have a lot of podcast episodes on the topic of lead magnet that people can go back to, where I want to pick up is some strategies that I’ve seen help me immensely in terms of growing my email list.

And the first one is that I have to make an effort to get in front of the right audiences. And right now, this very moment, speaking to people on your podcast that have probably no idea who I am. Since I’m primarily known in the US, this is a great place for me to be. And so I so appreciate you inviting me on the show.

But now that people will get to know me, you might go check out my podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, or go to my website or follow me on Instagram and all those places on my podcast, on my website, on my social media. I have lead magnet opportunities, ways for people to get some kind of freebie to get into my world.

So it really is this holistic approach to list building in terms of making sure I get out in front of the right audience. So if you didn’t ask me to be on your show, then I would need to pitch myself to other shows, tell them the value I can offer, and hope that they’ll have me on their show. So sometimes people aren’t coming to you in the beginning and you have to go to them. I’ve absolutely been there. But the most important thing is if you pitch yourself to be on other people’s shows and you make that a priority, like every week I’m going to send out one new pitch to get on somebody else’s podcast – That would be a great goal – Make sure that when you get that traffic, you’re ready for it. So if somebody were to find me and they go listen to my podcast. I’ve got many lead magnet opportunities on my podcast. I used to do one every single show.

Years ago, every single podcast, I did some kind of freebie. I don’t do that anymore. It’s kind of a lot of work, and we decided to kind of scale back, but it worked like gangbusters. So having these lead magnet opportunities on your shows, great idea. On the homepage of your website, in a link in your about section, the number one visited place on a website is your about page. You can link to different freebies lead magnets you have on your about page.

So making sure that you have opportunities for people to get value and sign up and get on your list everywhere that matters. So that’s strategy number one, putting yourself out there in the right places, pitching yourself for other people’s podcasts and video shows, but making sure that your platform is ready for list building. So that’s strategy number one.

The second strategy that I think has helped me immensely is to go beyond the PDF. So if you have, let’s say, a cheat sheet or a checklist, and that is your lead magnet, your freebie. And let’s say that it’s not working as well as you hoped it would. Sometimes we need to go beyond the PDF, and the situation I’m thinking of now is to create a quiz or some kind of assessment. Do you have a quiz in your business?


Yes , I actually do. And it works like it’s perfect. It’s my best lead magnet. One of my best lead magnets.


What is the quiz about your quiz?


It’s about to know what kind of entrepreneur you are and what kind of strategy, depending on where you’re at, what kind of strategies you should implement.


Brilliant, brilliant. Hopefully people can link to that in your show notes because that’s such a great quiz. And that’s the thing about quizzes. People love to take quizzes because they want to learn more about themselves. So what kind of entrepreneur are you? Where are you in your journey? I have a quiz that teaches you what type of digital course you should create for the type of business you have. So people love to learn more about themselves and quizzes will allow them to do so. Because when you’re thinking about getting somebody’s name and email, that’s a hot commodity. So it has to be a value exchange. So an assessment to learn more about yourself hugely valuable.

And you can run ads to the assessment, you can link to it in your social media, you can mention it on your podcast. It’s a great list builder and it’s kind of a level up from a traditional PDF lead magnet. And it tends to do better than a PDF. So something to think about. And if you’re into paid ads, we’ve seen lower paid ads for quizzes than anything else we’ve done, meaning the cost to get a lead for a quiz tends to be cheaper than to get a lead into a master class or get a lead to optin for other things. So that’s always a perk as well.


And then the last thing, this last strategy is a mindset shift that I think everyone needs to adopt. And that is this idea that you should always be list building. It’s a motto that I teach my students always be list building. Now the beautiful thing about that is it doesn’t mean that you have to work on growing your list every single week in your business. I will grow my email list to at least 1500, if not 2000 this week. And I will not have thought about how I did that. That is a place you can get to.


And the way you do that is you look at your business and think, how can I add these different opportunities throughout so many different things that I do, to have list building opportunities pop up at the right time for my audience. So for me, I have an automated webinar that runs every single day. You can sign up for it at any time. So automated webinars help grow your email list. I also, like I said, mention a lot of freebies on my podcast. I get interviewed on other people’s podcasts.


But in addition to that, once a quarter we do what I call list building blitz, where I’ll spent a week that I’m focused on growing my email list where we have a special promotion going on, or we’ve created a special lead magnet. And that week, instead of selling something, I’m promoting this freebie and many different ways to grow my list. So these different quarterly list building blitz help immensely because then they carry on week after week and I don’t have to think about list building every week.


So always the list building is a motto I think we all need to have in our business because really without a viable email list. Notice I didn’t say big email list, a viable email list, one that’s engaged that people want to hear from you. Without a viable email list, it is very hard to grow your revenue long term in your business. So the best time to grow an email list was yesterday. The next best time is today.


Today, definitely. Thank you so much. Because actually you gave us some really cool strategies here. I’m thinking, obviously the moto. I’m thinking the list building blitz week. I love the idea because you focus on one thing and you just go there and I think it’s a great idea. You mentioned something. It’s not about having a big list. It’s having a qualitative list, including people that engage in that list. So a lot of my students actually tell me, look Estelle, I have a list, but I haven’t been actually sending as many emails as I should have. Maybe it’s been a month, two months, six months that I haven’t sent any email. Is there a way we could reengage an email list that we didn’t work on properly?


I love this question. Absolutely. So a lot of my students will come to me and say, you know, I’ve got 500 people on my email list, but I haven’t emailed them in six months. And I don’t know what to say, but I want to get back into the game. And so the first thing I always say is, let’s not make a big deal of it. And what I mean by that is let’s not send an email and say, oh, my gosh, I’ve been gone for so long. My life has been messy. I can’t believe I’ve neglected you. I’m so sorry. This is what I’ve been doing. No, they don’t care. We do not need to go into any of that.

Instead, I would find an opportunity to give your list a freebie that they don’t have to sign up for because they are already on your email list. So let’s say you recently created a new kind of lead magnet, freebie of some sort, and people have to sign up for it when they go to your optin page. Well, I would take that freebie, and I would email all the people on your email list. I’d think of a really great subject line that would be irresistible. They have to open up that email.

And when they do, I’d say, hey, I just wanted to let you know I’ve created something new. I thought you would enjoy it because XYZ here’s why and just click here and it will instantly download for you. Hit reply and let me know what you think.

So engage with them, give them something of value right away. Tell them why it is valuable for them and ask them to reply back. And if they do, make sure you reply back as well. So we’re just giving them this opportunity.

Now, that’s email number one, email number two is the similar email going out to anyone who did not open that email or they opened it, but they didn’t click on that freebie. And your email service provider can help you figure that out. But I want another email encouraging them.

One email is never enough. When you’re doing promos, when you’re trying to get people to move and take action, one email is never enough. So I would send another email.

Once you’ve done that, now you’re going to start with those weekly emails, rain or shine, you’re getting those weekly emails out so you don’t get in this situation again.


I love this idea of coming back to them with a gift with something for them. My motto is give something before asking for something. And I think it goes with the content creation. It’s exactly that. And I love the idea that you’re absolutely right. People don’t care why you didn’t send them email. They didn’t even realize it. Probably they do realize you’re sending an email because they see your name popping up in the email provider.

So coming with a gift, something of interest for them. I think it’s the best way to have your email open and have the interest re engage with them. I love this idea.

Actually, when we’re talking about engagement, what would you recommend to increase email list engagement? I’m thinking exactly what you said. How to increase clicks or direct responses. We know that having people responding to emails, especially Gmail, but we know that a lot like the majority, most probably of emails are on Gmail now.

So we know that when people respond to an email, it’s the best way not to end up in spam and to have better stats with our emails. So do you have any ways to increase that engagement with people listening to us? Not listening, but reading our emails?


Yes. So to increase the engagement, meaning making sure they’re opening the emails and reading them and responding to them.


And especially yes, responding and clicking.


Got it. Okay, so one of the things that has helped us immensely is to move that click, the link for the click up higher on the email. So we’ve played around with a lot of different opportunities here, and I just want to first set the stage that when you want people to click on a link in an email, just like one email is never enough, one link is never enough.

So make sure that you have two to three opportunities to click the same link within that email. And the PS is probably one of the most perfect places to put a link. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

One thing I want you to think about is if you always kind of write a lot and then you’ve got the link, maybe the first or second sentence, you find a way to include that link right up there at the top. So if they want it, they don’t want to read the whole email and they just want to get to it, they’re going to click it right away.

Another thing to think about is most people won’t read every word of a long email.A lot of people will skim. So if they’re skimming your email and they get to the bottom, the PS, make the PS excellent. Don’t skim on the PS.

So it might be hey, if you made your way all the way to the PS and you skimmed this email, here’s exactly what you need to know: I’ve got a 24 hours promotion going on right now. You’re going to miss it soon. Click here for all the details. And it just sums up the whole thing.

So I love the use of a link higher in an email and also in the PS. And maybe depending on the length of the email somewhere in the middle. I think having multiple places to click is important.

Another thing to get that engagement up is, you’re right, if you can have them reply to that email even better. So two things about that.

Number one, when you ask somebody to reply to an email, whatever reason they’re replying make it as easy as possible. In fact, in marketing, when you ask anyone to do anything in terms of engaging with you, it has to be quick and easy for them.

So if you want to say hey, click reply to this email and tell me one thing that XYZ, whatever it might be, keep it the simple question that maybe they need to write one or two sentences and they’re good to go. That would be the optimal thing. The more they have to write, the less people will respond.

But the second thing about asking someone to respond to an email is if you can write back personally to everyone. I remember when my email list was a whole lot smaller. It was around Thanksgiving. I asked people to share one thing they’re thankful for. They wrote back tons of people, like 100 people wrote back, and I responded to every single one of them individually. And that’s the beauty of having a smaller email list. You create customers for life.

And so if you can respond to those emails even better, maybe you get someone on your team to help you as well. But you’re right. If they respond, you’re more likely next time to end up in the right inbox on Gmail.

And then finally, that subject line is really, really important. And the best advice I can give you to get people to actually open the email is that you become a student of really stellar subject lines.

So a few ways you can do this. One, you can go to different marketing websites that focus on email marketing and all things online marketing : Digital Marketers, one that comes to mind, possibly Social Media examiner would have some good articles about this. But read the articles about how to write a really good email subject line. So learn what it takes.

Number two, you’ve got to experiment with different subject lines and pay attention to what’s working in your own world. And then number three, when you see an email that makes you open it up right away, use that as swipe file, take that subject line, save it wherever, put it in a Google Doc so that you can come back to it and maybe make your own version of something that got your attention. So it will likely get other people’s attention as well.


Totally. I love the swipe file. I do that all the time for landing pages, that kind of things. Anytime or advertising. Anytime you see something that is good, that is good for you, that stops you. Because that’s probably one of the hardest things to do in marketing and in digital marketing is to stop to get the attention of people.

Anytime someone gets my attention, I do a screenshot. I keep it on my mobile phone, if I’m on my way, on my computer, wherever. But you need to keep it and you can study that afterwards. I think it’s an amazing advice that you give us here. I love it actually.

And I love your idea of the PS. That’s something that I actually do because you told me to do it actually.




Yeah. But that works so well for two reasons. I believe the first reason is because it’s right at the end. So some people you said just go straight at the end and see if they can get something.

And also it really is something that we do when we are writing a proper letter to someone. So it really feels like personal to me when I have a PS, I think it’s really oh, sorry, I forgot to tell you something. And you add a little idea or something and I think it really feels personal and it works really well for me when I look at my stats. Actually, I have a lot of clicks on the PS so that’s really something that is working well.




I have one last question for you, Amy today. And that’s actually a question for me, really for me at some stage when you have an email list. So we all know and that’s absolutely normal whenever we send an email to our list, some people and I think actually it’s a good thing, some people will unsubscribe because they have the right to unsubscribe. Obviously we are in Europe here. So we have that RGPD or maybe in English that’s not these letters. But anyways, we have that law that says you can’t send email to anybody without having the right to do it without them saying yes, I want to receive your email

And that’s great. So whenever we send an email we will have some people who will unsubscribe and that’s fine. But at some stage and that’s exactly what I have right now. Any time you send an email, you have a certain number pretty much of people who unsubscribe. And that’s exactly the same number of people that actually subscribe to your email list on the week.

So how do we pass that moment when we have a kind of a plateau where we can’t seem to grow anymore or it’s really long because people are unsubscribing as much as subscribing. Do you have any idea?


Yeah. So when you’ve hit a plateau or you’ve gotten to a place that you’re like, wait a second, I’m losing as many people as I’m gaining. One of the things first, let’s look at the people that are unsubscribing.

One thing to pay close attention to is every day if you’re growing your email list every day you will get unsubscribes. You can’t be everything for everyone and so people are deciding if you’re a good fit for them or not, and if not, great, you wish them well and you do not worry about a few unsubscribes every single day.

However, if you see a rush of unsubscribes and it’s important to look at your metrics every single week, how many did you lose? How many did you gain? Looking at that just once a week is much better than daily. But if you’re seeing more, you’re losing almost more than maybe even your gaining or it feels like a lot of people.

One of the things you want to ask yourself is, okay, so how am I attracting new people into my world? Am I in the right place? Am I clear about who I’m marketing to and is my message resonating with them.

Because you shouldn’t be losing more than you’re gaining. However, sometimes that does happen and so that’s why I would look at my marketing message and also pay attention to where you’re attracting people and are you in the right place to attract the right people?

But another thing, when you’ve hit a Plateau or you’re just like I’m not gaining as many followers as the effort I’m putting into it. Typically what I’ll do is I will look at the delivery method. Meaning if I’ve always done PDFs, that’s when maybe I do a short video as the new freebie or maybe a 20 minutes audio that is only exclusive to those that sign up for this free offer that I have.

I also will look at up leveling like I talked about earlier. So if I do a lot of PDFs, an up level would be a quiz quizzes take longer to put together. You either hire someone to do it for you or you do it yourself. But they’re a lot of work and so that’s an up level. But if I was hitting a Plateau in my email list, I would absolutely look into that.

I’d also look into the deliverability of my emails, making sure that my emails are getting sent out and finding themselves in the right places in terms of the right inbox. Because sometimes it has nothing to do with what you’re sending out and everything to do with the tool you’re using. So I would look at your metrics and the tool to make sure you’ve got really good deliverability as well.


Awesome. Thank you so much, Amy. It’s quite amazing. I’ll say it again because I have to say it is quite amazing to have you on my podcast. Amy I’m so happy that you took the time and I know that your agenda is really full so I’m so happy that you took the time to come over to us in Paris although you’re not in Paris but people who are listening to you


I whish I was there with you.


Ho yeah, please come over but yes. Thank you so much to be here with us and to give us all your advices. I’m pretty sure all the people who are listening to you right now are thinking « oh, my God I really have to do things on my email list ». So I’m going to follow up with them to check that they actually put the effort and do the things, so thank you so much. Where can people follow you? I know that a lot of French people don’t listen to you yet so where can they follow you?


Well, thank you so much for asking. You can check me out at online marketing made easy. That’s my podcast and I bet we’ve got a lot of similar topics we talk about in different ways so if they love your podcast I think they’re going to love mine as well.


Definitely. Definitely. And I wanted to say you’re not mentioning it but I want to mention it if some people who are listening to this episode actually want to build their email list and they want to go fast and go straight to the good ideas, you have a digital course called List Building Society that will help you do that so go directly to that. Believe me, I know Amy and I can tell you anything she teaches is gold so please go there.


Thank you much you can find that details at Amyorterfield.com/listbuilding.


I’ll put everything in the show notes obviously.


Thank you.


Thank you so much, Amy.


Thank you, friends. Take care. Bye.


One comment on “[BONUS EN] List building, the secrets marketing Queen Amy Porterfield – Episode 129

  1. Coraline dit :

    Excellent épisode Estelle ! Merci de m’avoir fait découvrir Amy que je ne connaissais pas 🙂

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