How I Gained 1,054 Emails in 28 Days

by Derek Halpern · 17 comments

It’s no secret…

RSS is nice, but the real money is an email list. A large, highly-targeted, and responsive email list.

The problem is, how do you build that email list? The “old” way of offering a free ebook just doesn’t work like it used to.

Well, my good friends Lewis Howes and Sean Malarkey told me about an underground way to build an email list, and it worked great. So far, this month, I’ve gained 1,054 new emails to a brand-new email list that started with 0 subscribers.

Not bad, right? Well, webinars are the secret, and now I’ll tell you why they work so well.

Why Webinars are the ULTIMATE Email Bribe

If you want to build an email lists (FAST), webinars are perfect because they have one of the most important elements of a persuasive offer built right in.

Think about it.

What makes people take action on an offer? There are a few proven persuasion principles, but most marketers I know agree that nothing works better than a perfectly executed scarcity play.


People are scared that they’ll lose out on something that could change their life or business.

What makes up an excellent scarcity play?

Limits on quantity and time.

And this is why webinars are GREAT. Webinars have both a quantity and time limit built-in, and it’s not the webinar organizer’s fault, so they don’t look shady. Let me explain.

Webinar software limits the amount of people that can show up for a webinar. Even if you have the maximum plan at GoToWebinar, one of the leading webinar providers, you can only have 1,000 people show up for the webinar.

Then, since webinars are a live event, the time limit is implied. If you don’t sign up before the event takes place, you miss it.

Enough theory though… Let me share some real numbers. Just yesterday, a webinar signup pageconverted visitors into emails at around 60%, netting me an additional 341 emails in one day.

Yes, I had to generate the traffic to earn those emails, but the conversion rate is extremely high, which leads me to the next reason why webinars are PERFECT for building email lists.

How Webinars Help You Stand Out From the Competition

The online world is crowded, and the competition is stiff. Not only do you need to produce stellar work and create fantastic products, you also need to differentiate yourself from everyone else out there.

Well, webinars help you do that because there’s a barrier to entry that other forms of communication (like ebooks, e-courses, and etc) don’t have.

Quite simply, you need the technology to run a webinar (like GoToWebinar), the comfort of speaking to hundreds of people live, and the desire to create an engaging presentation that could last anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.

It sounds scary, and that’s why most people avoid it (the barrier to entry is too high). However, those who are willing to take theĀ plungeĀ and try it out can be handsomely rewarded. Like I said, it’s working for me first hand, right now.

The good news is, most people who attend webinars know how hard they are to create, and in my experience, they’re often extremely grateful for your hard work and effort.

For example, after I completed my last webinar, I’ve consistently received emails from attendees that thanked me for such a great, helpful presentation. I then emailed a few more resources, and one person actually thanked me for “raising the bar.”

Why Webinars are Perfect for Building RESPONSIVE Email Lists

If you want to grow your business substantially, you don’t just need an email list. You need a responsive email list. You need an email list of people who open your emails, click your links, and buy your stuff.

Again, webinars are PERFECT for curing this problem and I’ll tell you why.

When you offer an ebook or e-course, not only must people part with their email to get the goods, they MUST read the information. You’d think, “hey, if they opted in, they’ll probably read it too, right?”

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Some people collect ebooks and never read them. So, while you may grab their email addresses, they never learn what you’re all about, and they may ignore your emails.

Webinars, on the other hand, get people to show up for a LIVE event, and this event is great for building rapport and establishing credibility with newly gathered email subscribers.

Can you take a guess what that does for open rates? On my new email list, I’m seeing open rates that approach 100%. Yes, some people unsubscribe here and there, but the people who stick around, are true fans.

About the Author: Derek Halpern ran marketing at DIYthemes, and is the founder of Social Triggers. To get more tips on how to be confident, sign up to his list here.

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Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate

Good one Derek.

I agree, RSS is interesting but if my own habits represent any percentage of the whole, it’s nowhere near as effective as an email list.

I go for weeks w/o checking my RSS Reader, then when I do, there’s way too much garbage piled up there to even begin to go through.

Someone’s killer message delivered via RSS would definitely get lost in there.

But email – not so much. I read or delete them ALL every day, in real time.


Derek Halpern

It’s true. I check my RSS simply because I need to stay in the loop on what’s going on, but all in all, EMAIL is the way to go. I just can’t believe how easy it is to build email lists with webinars.



I’m sure you’re right about the effectiveness of webinars, but another side of it is a lot of people can’t commit the time when a webinar is being held. People who have obligations like work, social engagements, church activities, you name it. In my case, I work swing shift and the vast majority of webinars I’d like to catch are held in the evenings. So people who use them to gain subscribers have a hard time getting me to sign up for anything.

There are a couple of guys I follow who always have a replay posted. I know, it cuts down on the urgency thing, but it makes it possible to catch more listeners, and email addresses in the long run.



I love this webinar idea – especially the JV bit. I was actually in the process of approaching a service provider to do a JV – this will work perfectly. I can add heaps of value to their list and grow my list at the same time. Love it, love it, love! Thanks for the good quality content.

Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Seems to me that your RSS subscribers would grow congruently. A percentage of those who sign up for the webinar would likely choose to subscribe so they can keep up with the latest. If your subscriber numbers are displayed on your blog then you would be building social proof as a side benefit to building your list.

ron chordigian

great info, i would agree, email and webinars are the way to go…thanks


I agree with Owen and find it very difficult to schedule time for webinars. I prefer to choose the time I can sit down and watch something, and for that very reason I find e-mail so much easier because I can make that choice.

Cam Collins @ DzineBox


I was out of town during your webinar on this topic and was wondering if and Clay recorded it for playback. If not, are there any webinars planned for the future on this subject?

Thanks for the great content.


Carol Cheshire

Very enlightening thoughts.

Jim Campbell

Great job. I believe we attach more value to webinars then we do most other things. So, more value = more credibility = more respect = more loyalty…

Derek Halpern

You’re right Jim. People do believe webinars have higher value, and thats why they’re so great.


Derek, what are some good webinar providers you would recommend for someone who just wants to try it, without having to pay too much? And are there any free ones?

Derek Halpern

I mainly use GoToWebinar… They have a free trial I believe.

Susan Hand

I’m just starting out and finally grew my email list large enough to start offering regular webinars. I couldn’t believe the response to my first one. I also offer replay for people in other time zones that are still interested, but they only get a replay if they signed up for the webinars themselves.

The series will begin this month so I’m off to generating some buzz.

BTW, is it ok to reference some of your studies in my webinars? I promise to credit you. My fans know I’m not good enough to do some of the work you do with this stuff….. LOL



Hey Derek. I was womdering, can i turn my RSS subscribers into Aweber mail list, without asking their permissions? Im just running a blog, a personal one. This article, this whole blog n social trigger, really amaze me. You are my marketing teacher. I am really appreciate if you could write about on how to make a personal blog stands out from anyone else’s blog. Thanks.

Isaiah Jackson

Looks like I got to start doing more webinars, have you heard of other webinar services like Meeting Burner, heard they are pretty good and also MeetCheap.

Lisa Cash Hanson

I have a list building question for you- I’ve been invited like most here I’m sure to be a part of someone else’s webinar that they are hosting. Of course they will / would share my links to my ebook, newsletter, etc; But the “Get Access Now ” Button I’m assuming just sends the opt ins to the person hosting- Am I missing something or is there a way that all of the webinar participants can build their list at the same time? How would that work?