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Why Even a Big List Won’t Save You from Bad Strategy

A big question I get asked all the time here and on Copyblogger webinars (right after how to generate traffic or build a list), isengagement from scratch-1

“How can I get more people to respond/buy/subscribe?”

In my previous post, I talked about what makes content truly successful, and I gave a big answer, but for this particular issue, great content is only part of the solution.

What more do you need?

I will tell you now, it’s not just a big list. In fact, a lot of seemingly successful people are not doing that great and only look like they do because of the size of their list. Smaller businesses are doing much better than they seem because they have a missing piece of the puzzle that makes all the difference.

What’s that piece?

To answer that we have to step back …

The Sequence

Your typical visitor is not going to buy your stuff right away. Enough people do that some advertising-driven businesses can do well, but the vast majority are not going to take your action as soon as you ask, and the higher price point the more you should not rely on the first click leading to a sale.

Rather than try to make a first impression AND get a transaction, we suggest you …

  1. Attract
  2. Engage
  3. Convert

… in that order.

The Magic

When you get this right, magic happens.

You know how little I have posted to this blog in the past year? Not a lot. But people keep signing up to my lists, people buy my ebooks.

That’s got to mean I have a lot of goodwill built up. Obviously this posting schedule (or lack of) would not work for someone just starting out, and my click through and conversion rates are not what they were, but they are still preeety nice.

All this goodwill came from valuable content followed by engagement.

How do I do it?

To simplify things, let’s ignore my Copyblogger work I do and the smaller historical stuff, and focus in on the two big chunks of and Authority Blogger. Just remember that everything you do contributes and compounds your reputation.

  1. = Attraction – If I am doing social media, public speaking, being interviewed, then is going to be the next step. For many people it is the first step. They find me in search or via a referral link. They sign up for blog updates or the free ebooks.
  2. Authority Blogger = Conversion – When the time is right and people want to take the next step, particularly the people in the subset of my audience who want or need to earn a living from their knowledge, skills or experience, you are going to end up at Authority Blogger.

Straightforward? Simple? I would say so.

BUT, it’s not that easy in practice is it? It never is!

Authority Blogger is not just a sales page. It actually has its own, separate list. It has it’s own sequence. I don’t just say “interested in having a blog to market your business? Pay here!” 🙂

Know, Like and Trust

Of course you will have heard this before, but it’s worth looking at correctly.

Out of know, like and trust, “Know” is the easiest part.

Yes, I am saying it is easier to get attention than it is to be liked or respected.

Think about it.

You can buy exposure and attention. I could strip naked and run into the street. But that doesn’t mean you will like me (probably the opposite) and sure doesn’t mean you will buy from me.

So you need to do the other stuff …

  • Educational auto responder sequence
  • Webinars, teleseminars
  • Answer questions

And you have to be approachable, available and personable when you do.

Next Step

Normally I would write another thousand words or two, but it turns out Dany Iny has a resource that will go into much more detail for you. As an affiliate I get to offer you his Amazon Best-Seller book (he is offering to you for free in return for your email address).

It’s actually very good – Aaaand, obviously, he is using the strategy I just outlined!

The process starts with a nice video explaining how you don’t need a massive list, and then he gives you an ebook featuring wisdom from big names like Brian Clark, and popular sales guys like Derek Halpern. He will also invite you to a webinar, and after that will tell you about his program that goes into all this stuff in detail.

Regardless of if you are ready to buy anything, I recommend you check out his sequence. See this stuff working in practice.

Click here and check it out

Feel free to delete my affiliate cookie after you sign up, I won’t cry into my cornflakes if I don’t get sent a commission! Just make sure you observe every step and ask what Danny is doing, why he is doing it, how he positions each part. Compare it to my own sequence if you have been through it.



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  1. I like the concept of “know, like, and trust” so much. It’s so easy to remember as a reminder every time we feel like being lost in our efforts to convert our readers into something more. Nice!

  2. Many people engage in complicated discussions about promotions, engagement and sales discussions. But many people fail to see the simple logic which Chris has highlighted in the article such as Attract, Engage and convert which still remains the core of Social Media Marketing.

  3. I like your article. Thanks for This

  4. Great article, and some very useful tips. I especially find useful your idea of attracting, engaging and converting, and I completely agree, that is the order one should follow in order to achieve success in an online business.

  5. Great point with focusing on engagement. I believe it is nice to have a second platform for conversion. I see also Chris Brogan doing similar things with Human business works. And honestly speaking if Chris was just trying to continously sell, I wouldn’t be going there that often. Indeed, he is the engagement part, I am not bothered that often with selly sells,and when I need I can always check his business platform. Thanks for the great article!.