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Why You MUST Build Your Email List – Instructions Included


how to build your list

“I hear his list is like over 1 Million people. He doesn’t even let that shxt leave his side!”

“DAMN, that’s crazy! 1 Million?”

“Yeh man! Why do you think his events are so successful bro? It’s that huge list.”

“I wish I could afford a hacker to get to that list. Can you imagine how crazy our events would be?”

*nervous laughter explodes into the night*

“Hahahah! Man that’s CRAZY!”

As they weave in and out of the car park, dodging parking attendants and stuffing flyers into the drivers’ side window, we couldn’t help but overhear these half drunk street team members plot their nightlife takeover.

Their target? None other than quite possibly the biggest urban event promoter in the US, Sir Alex Gideon of AG Entertainment.

Did he really have 1 Million email contacts?

Dr. Evil

Did he really have it clutched to his bosom at night in a silver briefcase connected by handcuffs? Who really knew. But the thoughts rang through my mind… no not of bosoms, but the importance of building a large email list.

If the biggest urban promoter built a massive email list of possibly millions, why shouldn’t we?

To this day building an email list has become one of our most vital assets. Truth be told, our party sites were once even hacked in the early days, in an attempt to get to our own list, and we didn’t even have a million members like AG.

Now you know if people are willing to commit crimes to get to your database, then it must be quite a valuable asset to have.

So let’s learn why and how to build your own vital asset. Your email list.

What you’ll learn in this post:
learning 1 The benefits of building your email list.
learning 2 How to get yours set up and secured in the shortest time possible.
learning 3 Ways to build your list.
learning 4 What you should email your members.
learning 4 Also things to avoid.

Just like building your own website, it’s important to build your own email list because it’s an asset you will OWN.

RELATED READING: Tutorial On Setting Up Your Own Website in 5 Simple Steps

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Phase 1: Benefits of An Email List & Why It’s Important

Let’s be clear! Building an email list is the most important asset your business will ever have. Not your Twitter followers, Facebook fans nor Instagram friends. We know, blasphemy!

We can actually hear the social media lovers screaming at the top of their lungs as they come for me with their pitch forks and torches, but before you burn down our little village just hear us out.

The great thing about having your list rather than some social media platform is that…

1 – You Own It

Your list is yours no matter what happens with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and any other platform that will be hot at the moment. So whether people join or leave those platforms, you will always own your email list.

Also as discussed in a prior post, if you end up losing your social media accounts, followers lost, fans gone etc, you will ALWAYS have contact with your audience because you OWN your email list. Sure it will suck that Twitter or Facebook doesn’t love you anymore, but so what, you can still tell your list know where the next event is and how to get there.

2 – Build A Relationship With Your Audience

Another benefit of owning your email list, is that it allows you to build a relationship with your base. You can keep them updated with upcoming events, send birthday greetings to those celebrating, share pictures, videos and reviews from your previous events.

The more they can directly hear from you, is the more they can build a connection with you, your events and what you do.

3 – You Can Communicate Directly with Your Members

In tandem with building a relationship, is the fact that you have a direct line of communication. You can express your ideas, feelings and events without any filters.

Whereas say with radio, magazines and other advertising platforms, they censor or tell you how THEY want you to communicate your message to THEIR audience.

With email, you are the radio, you are the magazine, you get to say exactly what you want, when you want.

4 – Cost Effective

Speaking about radio, TV and other old media, their ad rates suck for the most part. Even worst, you may not even know how effective these channels were for your event, because tracking for them aren’t the best.

There’s a famous quote used amongst media giants….

With email you don’t have that problem because you can track email open rates, if people clicked on your links and also in some cases, if those clicks converted to sales.

Sure many email services cost a nominal fee per month to market to your database. However, you can communicate with them as often as you would like.

Just imagine the cost of having to communicate your message to say 50k people through regular mail (yes some people still use those), billboards, radio and any other form of traditional advertising? The cost would be through the roof.

5 – You Can Track Your Influence

As we alluded to in the the cost effectiveness of having an email list, you can track your marketing.

You can see who opened your email.

See which headlines and messages connected with your audience.

Track if anyone clicked on your links.

You can also see if your advertising is converting into sales, RSVPs and all around interest in the event.

Many email providers show these metrics at no additional cost to you, it comes standard. However if they don’t, there are several services that allow you to create tracking links to understand how your audience is interacting with your marketing message. One such great service is

Tracking, is how we were able to realize that even though we had all our social media channels firing, most SALES came through members of our email list.

Phase 2: Get Your Email List Going

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of having a list, how do we set up our email list? Here are a few options for you.

1 – Sign Up Online for A Service Provider ( MailerMailer / Aweber )

Sign Up for Aweber

There are many email list service providers available. No, we’re not talking about GMail or Yahoo. By the way if you’re using your regular email to send thousands of email, SHAME ON YOU!

You’re running a business so act accordingly. Also sending out regular emails to thousands of people through a free email service is a quick way to get banned from those providers. To make it worst, it’s quite inefficient. I’ve heard of promoters setting up separate email accounts per thousand contacts, having to log in to each account and send their emails a few at a time.

Sounds like a nightmare!

If you’re doing that STOP IT RIGHT NOW and get a proper email service.

Services like Mailer Mailer, Aweber or Mailchimp allow you to import all your contacts and communicate with them all within a few clicks.

You can schedule emails, segment your lists based on the type of event they attended, birthdays, gender, whether they’re a free RSVP or a paid member, plus tons more.

Can your GMail account do that? Highly doubt it!

These email list services also allow you to create sign up forms for you to add to your websites and social profiles, so it’s easy for other patrons and attendees to add themselves to your list.

2 – Wufooo Or Eventbrite

If you’re not ready to spring for an email list provider yet, there are other alternatives like and

They’re both user friendly alternatives that allow the regular person to set up events and forms for their events. Not that email list providers are for tech geeks, but some people can get frustrated if the terminology goes over their head and they don’t have a tech geek friend nearby.

With Wufoo and Eventbrite, you can just follow a few steps and have your forms or event up in the matter of minutes. Not only will you have the ability to sign party people up for your event, but you will have the ability to email all sign ups for future events.

You’re also able to export all RSVP and ticket buyers when it’s time to upload them to an email list provider of your choice.

3 – Add Sign Up Forms to Your Website

Whether an email list provider or a service like Eventbrite, you will want to post sign up forms and ticket codes on your own website. Setting up your own website is quite easy, check out the tutorial here.

Now why if those platforms exist, would you want to put their codes on your own website?

Great question!

YOU OWN YOUR WEBSITE, so you will have less distractions. Your audience can focus on the desired actions you want them to take, signing up for events and joining your list.

Many times when you’re on social media or even Eventbrite, there are so many bells and whistles that could distract your audience.


Look Squirrel

Phase 3: Ways To Build Your List

Now you know why you should build a list and how to set one up, but how do you get people on your list? There are many ways you can do this, BUT here’s a few to get you started!

1 – Add Your Friends

Your first list members will quite likely be the emails and contacts of your friends and associates. Many email list providers now have the ability for you to import your contacts from your GMail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL ( lol Do people still use that by the way? )

You will simply add your friends and associates at first to your list, to let them know what you’re up to. So you’re not starting your list from ZERO.

2 – Have A RSVP / Sign Up Form Online

We’ve gone over this in the previous section on setting up your list. You want to plaster your RSVP, email list forms all over your website, so people get on your list. If people are interested they will sign up to get more information about your next event and plans.

3 – Have Someone Collect Emails at Events

“Hello goodnight! Do you want to sign up to our email list for free drinks, giveaways and more?”

We’ve been greeted by them on many an occasion. The email/list girl or guy, armed with their pen and pad, or for the tech savvy promoter, Ipad or tablet. Encouraging event attendees to join the email list.

At the door of your current event is one of the prime locations to get email list sign ups. They’ve already shown interest by showing up at your event, so why wouldn’t they want to know when your next event is?

It’s also a great way to get new list members because you never know how they discovered your event and might not have initially been on your list. Friends could have invited them, they could have just been rolling by and saw the line, or they might just like that venue and showed up randomly. Now you have the opportunity to add them to your list.

Don’t just have your list person ask them to join your list. Give people some form of incentive to sign up. Free drinks, list discounts and opportunity to win contests that are advertised only through your email list are great incentives.

4 – Run Contests

One method of adding members to your email list that works like gangbusters is running a contest. This also works quite well for adding members to your social media channels, but more on that in a future post.

Make sure you join our email list, to find out when we create a post on that.


Who doesn’t love a good contest?

You can run contests to win passes to your event, tickets to a concert, sections at your venue, drink tickets, etc. Of course for people to find out if they won the contest, they have to sign up to your email list. Smart right?

Out of many of the strategies discussed, contests are one of the fastest ways to get members on your list. Then you can follow up with details of the contest, your next contest and of course regarding whatever events you have coming up.

You will have a few people drop off your list after the contest, but many will continue to stay because they “have a chance” of winning the next go around.

5 – Social Media Ads

tweet tweetI’ve mentioned before the pitfalls of solely relying on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to promote your events, however there’s a massive benefit to you having those accounts.

Yes, to build your list.

There are MILLIONS of fans and followers on social platforms and if you run ads on those platforms targeting the right people, you can get them to join your email list that YOU OWN!

Social media advertising are amongst the cheapest ways to acquire leads for your next event. We’re talking CENTS in some cases.

Think about it! If you can pay a few cents, even a few dollars to get people on your list, to eventually have them pay DOLLARS to attend your event, why wouldn’t you start an advertising campaign right now?

Don’t rush off yet, finish reading this article. LOL

There may be some learning curve to advertising on these platforms as with anything new, so it’s important you start slow.

Twitter and Facebook, allows you to set daily limits for your ads. You can start off advertising to millions of people by setting a daily budget of as little as $5 and $10 per day.

Once you figure out how to make your ads convert profitably, then you can ramp up your daily advertising budget.

Another thing to keep in mind is targeting of your ads. It’s important you target the right audience with your ads, which is a breeze on Facebook. You can target people with your ads who like certain genres of music, live in certain cities, are a specific gender, married or not, on your current email list, along with many other awesome options.

One sniper method on Facebook ad platform is the ability to target your ads to people who are fans of your competitors. They’re already shown interest in going out to certain events, so your ads will be very targeted, convert better and will be cheaper. You’re welcome!

Phase 4: What Should You Even Email?

List service, CHECK!

Members on your list, CHECK!

Now what the hell do you send them?

1 – Details On Upcoming Events

Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out, but just in case…. you want to make sure you’re emailing your list members your upcoming event details.

Let them know, who, what, where and when your next event is.

The good thing with an email list is that you can include as much as you want in it, so you’ll want to add as many upcoming events in the email as relevant. We try to keep this down to max 3 upcoming events as not to overwhelm the email reader.

We also try to include the most important event in the email as well as the current / most recent event on the calendar. The important event could be a big annual event that you want your members to know of way in advance.

2 – Birthday & VIP Info

Outside of your current event email, the Birthday / VIP email will quite likely be your most profitable email you send.

We make it a habit to send an email at the beginning of the month to our list, encouraging them to book their upcoming birthdays and celebrations. Literally every time this email goes out, the phone rings with a section booking.

So have this type of email, set to go out to your own list every month. Also within your regular event emails, include a blurb regarding birthday and VIP details.

3 – Pictures and Video from Previous Events

Don’t just take from your list, make sure you’re adding some sort of value. This value can come in the aspect of sending out pictures and video from the previous event.

Whether people attended or didn’t attend your event, they love to see themselves and others in pictures. They get a good feeling seeing who was there, get a vibe of the experience and see for themselves that the event was worth attending.

Outside of that, people love to take the pics of themselves to use for their social media profiles.

“Hey look at me! I was at a party and looked awesome!”

“I woke up like this! FLAWLESS!” (Yep all ladies want to wake up like Beyonce)

Beyonce flawless

The video and picture email, will be your email that has among the highest open rates for your list. Start sending those today!

4 – Recap, Thank You and Follow Up Messages

Another version of the picture email that you send out will be the recap email.

This is the email you send out thanking anyone that attended your event, thanking anyone that helped with the event and also to paint a picture of what the event was like.

This is another GIVE / good karma email. You know your momma told you it was good manners to say THANK YOU. That goes for emails, parties and supporters as well.

Phase 5: Mistakes to Avoid

This article would not be complete if we didn’t point out things to avoid when building and promoting to your email list. Many promoters commit these and many cardinal sins, which ends up burning out their list very quickly.

Here are some sins to avoid.

1 – Don’t Spam Me Bro!

Some of you will take the advice in this post and run off with excitement to build your list and get blast happy. CALM DOWN BUDDY! This is the quickest way to end up in the SPAM folder and have your events ignored.

Your audience entrusted you with their email for a reason and expect value. They don’t expect you to flame their inbox without regard.

Think of it like a girl giving you her number at a party and tells you to call her. Now ,if you begin to call this girl every single day, multiple times, don’t you think she’d find you quite creepy or desperate?

She might even have to block you, or put you on restraining order. Not cool!

Don’t be a desperate email, creep, spammer. Don’t blast their list every day, don’t be abusive!

2 – Don’t Buy or Steal Lists

We’ve heard of many promoters trying this and guess what? They’re idiots. I know, HARSH!

It may be lack of patience or just plain greed, but buying or stealing a list is not the way to go.

First of all, it’s against the law. Not some made up internet law, but real law. You could go to jail for it, if a list member is aggravated enough.

don't get locked up

Bubba Inmate: “Hey, what you in for?!”

You: “Man, I bought some emails on the block, to pack my party!”

Bubba: “OK! Bend over!”

Don’t get raped by Bubba for buying or stealing an email list. It’s not worth it, unless you’re into that kind of thing.

Other than being illegal, that list you bought is a cold list and will quite likely ignore every message you sent them. They don’t know you or how they even got on your list, so why should they come to your party?

Again… CREEPY!

You will now have wasted your money buying the list, have poor conversions, be seen as a creep and worst face the possibility of legal action ( and Bubba’s affection!)

Worth it? We Thinks not!

3 – Don’t Sell Your List

Buying or stealing lists is bad, but just as bad is selling your email list to other promoters and nightclubs. You may be shocked, but promoters do this all the time.

Some outright sell their list or trade lists in an effort to make more money or build a bigger list.


Now we’re not talking about advertising other people’s events and services to your list. We’re talking about outright selling or giving away your contacts for others to own in their database.

This is wrong on many levels. The most flagrant though is the violation of trust again. Many people use email as their primary source of communication, so the fact that this source is sold or bargained away will be viewed in a terrible light.

Also when you sell or trade your list, it will drive down the effectiveness of your message to your target audience. If they become inundated with messages from everyone telling them to attend their party, when your email hits their INBOX, the likelihood they it will be ignored is high.

You violated trust, might end up being ignored and now created competition for yourself.

Imagine how much it would suck for members of your list choosing to attend some competing club’s event because you sold them away to the competition.

Triple FAIL!

4 – Don’t Forget to Back Up Your List

This may be a tip that many may overlook, so it bares mentioning. Even though many service providers are quite reliable, things happen, so it’s important that you have a copy of your email list stored in multiple areas.

Picture waking up one day to find out your email list provider lost your database, or you’ve failed to make a payment and they decide to shut down your account. YEP, THE HORROR!

All that hard work and effort building your database gone, just like that! It’s never happened to us personally, but we’ve heard some nightmarish stories. Some stories, questionable, but you just never know.


And remember, if it’s not backed up in 3 ways, it doesn’t exist! That’s what the geeks say anyway!

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We hope you found this post useful and you head out to get your email database started immediately!

Building your email list is an asset that will keep you ahead of your competition, while building a relationship with your base. Sure it’s great to have big followers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other platforms, but those can be swiped from you in the blink of an eye. You will always own your email list, regardless if you lose those social media accounts, so you can sleep safe at night.

Start building your email list from day one and over time it will grow to become your most leveraged asset.

You now now why, how to and what to do with your email list. Now get going!


 tweetable Tweet this! Some people like my advice so much that they frame it upon the wall instead of using it. – Gordon R. Dickson
 tweetable Tweet this! If you’re not building an email list, you’re an idiot. – @derekhalpern
 tweetable Tweet this! Half my marketing dollars are wasted – I just don’t know which half. – John Wanamaker
 tweetable Tweet this! How to build your email list and conquer your market!

Now It’s Your Turn – What’s Your Experience Building An Email List?
If you have any ideas related to building a list or any questions, make sure to leave a comment below.


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