The Disadvantages Of List Building

Too many people blog about the advantages of list building but very few talk about its disadvantages. Before you start building your own list, it’s important that you know the disadvantages.

1) List building is costly

When you first started in internet marketing, there are 3 things you are always advised to do. 1) Get a domain name, 2) get a server, and 3) get an autoresponder.

The first two are unavoidable, but autoresponder? Think again.

A decent autoresponder service like will cost you $19.90/month for up to 500 subscribers. That’s 4 cents per subscriber per month.

How much juice can you squeeze from the same 500 subscribers every month?

The truth is your list will die faster than you think, not literally of course, but they will ignore your emails. It’s a blessing if they unsubscribe, because that means you can free up some space for more subscribers. But often, they simply remain in the list but ignore your emails. That’s bad because you are paying 4 cents every month for each of them!

If you are just starting out and still learning the ropes, and you want to build a list, I strongly suggest that you get a self-hosted autoresponder script, such as our MYOB listbuilder script which you can download free from your account. If your list grows too big, which is a good thing, you can always invest in a better script and a better hosting server.

2) List building is costly!

Even if you use a self-hosted autoresponder script, list building is still not free. It will cost you time, which is the most expensive thing in the world!

If you want to build relationship with your list, you will have to communicate with them via blog or newsletter. That will take you time to prepare.

If you don’t care about building relationship and simply want to flood them with deals and promotions, you will still have to spend time in finding those deals and preparing those emails.

You can set up autoresponder emails that last for years, but those contents will be outdated soon and you’ll still have to change the content every now and then.

The same amount of time you use to do all that could otherwise be used to create more websites or systems that can run on autopilot and make you more money automatically.

Having said that, nothing is really maintenance free. You just have to plan your list building campaign wisely so that it will not end up taking too much of your time.

So, should I build a list?

My purpose of sharing with you about the disadvantages of list building is not to discourage you from building lists, but to get you better prepared for what is going to come.

As I explained in this article, the key to building a lasting business is to keep building assets. And your list is your asset.

In fact, the challenge now is not just to build a list but to build a community. List building is just the first step.

22 thoughts to “The Disadvantages Of List Building”

  1. Hi Kenneth, yes, it takes time to build a list and constant work to keep the info on your autoreponder letters up to date. I fully agree with you. But still, it is very important to start building that list a quick as possible.

  2. I have been thinking about the same problems because I am planning to start email marketing business someday in the future.

    Building a relationship and make people read emails is probably the hardest part, one solution to this is a very strong self-branding so that people remember you from the first look at your website.

    The problem of costs and making more money than you spend can be solved with your own affiliate product, it may be PLR product too. This way you also reduce advertising costs if you get some affiliates promote for you.

  3. Hello Kenneth, list building is a big part of internet marketing and probably will be for years to come. But, you are right, it does end up costing you either in the form of money or time. In my case, it always seems to be the time element! There’s a lot of competition and it takes time to prepare, promote your links, squeeze pages, splash pages, etc. Promotion and marketing with list building is not a one shot deal, it must be consistent, always ongoing and aggressive!

    Thanks again for the post,


  4. Hey there! I know this is kind of off-topic however I needed to ask.
    Does operating a well-established website like yours require a lot of work?
    I’m completely new to blogging but I do write in my diary daily. I’d like to start a blog so
    I can share my personal experience and views
    online. Please let me know if you have any ideas or tips for new aspiring blog owners.

  5. It seems the best list building idea is to buy opportunity seeker leads and mail or promote your best affiliate link to them but what is the best solution to email this list? most autoresponders do not allow importing of a purchased list

  6. I am interested in internet marketing, and as you said we have heard most about the positive sides of list building. When we list the positive sides we will get attracted to the list building easily and will never think of the other side.

    1. List building is an important part of email marketing and automating this part will make things easier for you. I am glad to find a script with auto responder system, its a treasure for email marketers. Thanks

  7. Fortunately I use an autoresponder that:
    1. Has a flat rate price – no matter how many subscribers I have.

    2. Has an affiliate program and at the moment I am making money from my autoresponder, even before I have sent out one letter to market any of my other programs.

    Trying to work smarter…not harder :-)

  8. There are loads of good autoresponders out there. Best to try a few of them first before deciding which one you will use on a permanent basis. Most will offer a free trial, so try out more than one, most of them will offer an affilliate program, so once you have a few referrals you’ll be getting your autoresponder free!

    1. A very interesting article about list building. I agree with you that our sales letter has to be very compelling, appealing and convincing enough to attract signup. People are getting smart and surely they don’t want their mailbox to be bombarded with “junks” daily.

  9. what to say to my list and do i communicate everyday or other day do i send a promotion once a week and in the rest with free stuff and knowledged based materials OR should i set it up in campaigns each week or month and let it run thru campaign then set up new




    1. There is really no fixed rule, but there are 2 extreme schools of thought.

      1) Promote to them till they unsubscribe. (You are likely to see more result)
      2) Keep on providing values. Promote once a while. (Time consuming, less short term result. Long term, unsure.)

      I would say you should provide them with some value as often as you can, but in every email, promote something.

      The reason is this: New subscribers have the highest purchasing desire. If you are too subtle in promoting, you are missing the sales. On the other hand, you don’t want to act like a blatant marketer that annoys them. You want to position as someone who provides true values. So the best way is to give some values at first, but always promote something at the end of your email.

  10. I read your information on the Disadvantages of not building a list and it very informative .how can I use this method for blogging?

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