List Building Mistake Or Necessary Evil?

email name, email address, list building mistake, opt in formsOkay, so I have been reading a lot lately about list building and the best way to go about it. I have read, “do this, but don’t do that….huge list building mistake!”  My first response is always…don’t tell me what to do!! :)  But then I remember I’m not a angst filled teenager anymore, so I listen.

In all my reading, I have found some REALLY great tips for increasing and converting your email lists.  I think most of us, regardless of the why, want to find a way to better build our email list.

Some of you may affiliate market,  some may promote your own products…the reasons are endless. So, I won’t waste all of your time going over that kind of stuff. What I really want to do, is share with you a tidbit I read….and get your opinion.

List Building Mistake

I was reading a report about mistakes people make with their squeeze pages. For those of you who don’t know what a squeeze page is, read this brilliant article:

Okay, here’s the “mistake” I recently read about. The author of this report poses the question, “do we really need to collect the person’s name or just their email address?”

Actually, here are his (name withheld because I think it’s IGNERT thinking) thoughts in his words:

The only time we collect someone’s name is on the order form. There is never a good reason we can justify collecting their name on the optin page. Fact – it will ALWAYS decrease your response if you capture their name.

So what do you do instead? Just collect email. That’s it. Nothing else.  Yep, you can’t do that stupid “name personalization” in your autoresponder sequence – but who falls for that crap anyway? And do you really want to “trick” your prospects into buying from you?  I don’t.

So there is no reason to collect a name on an option page. So don’t. Collect email address only and notice a nice bump in your conversion.

Oh really?! People don’t “fall” for that personalization thingy? I don’t think it’s a matter of making people fall for anything. I think the personalization can sometimes differentiate the spammer emails from the real deal lists you have joined.

What is this trickery you talk about?! This author states that there is a “nice bump” in opt ins. Where is the proof? How can you make a claim like that if you can’t substantiate it? A nice bump could be a gorgeous pregnant lady as far as I’m concerned!

Converting your email list should be a top priority, but how do you know what is correct and what is a mistake? I firmly believe that it’s different for everybody. There are definite strategies that increase and convert, but you need to test, test, test to see what works for you.

You can see that I give you tips to build your list when you opt in.  The idea behind all of these strategies is that you NEED TO IMPLEMENT them. From there, you need to test what works and what doesn’t.

The Bottom Line

So here we go. I completely disagree with what this person has to say. However, I am just a little speck of sand in the desert, so I come to you. I want to hear your opinion on the matter.


  • Are we blind to the text input fields on capture forms?
  • Are you more willing to sign up for a list that requires just your email address and nothing else?

I would really appreciate you sharing and giving your feedback!




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34 Responses to “List Building Mistake Or Necessary Evil?”

  1. March 24, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    I am non-marketer (I am a tennis fitness coach learning the marketing stuff) and I do understand that people want to build the list, but it is so much “building” everywhere, that sometimes it’s almost irritating, because one cannot surf and enjoy reading the website without windows popping up here and there reminding me of subscribing… I feel like if the web content is great, then people will subscribe just because they want to read more (just like I did right now, when I found the lavender lady website… ) not just for getting something free. Even though, I must admit that I did subscribed sometimes to get a free report, ha ha. I don’t mind to give them my name. I know a lot of my friends though hate to give out information about themselves. I guess it is very personal.

  2. March 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm #


    I certainly agree. Even if he is correct in the “slight bump” in opt in numbers (which with no proof I am unsure of…and actually doubt) there is still the point of people actually responding.

    Even if they know the game and the the “name” generated is just a token. -which not everyone does- It is far politer to address someone directly rather than being so impersonal.

    If people want to give a fake name that is their right… but this guy almost seems to be so wrong he is almost dangerous.

    Of course, I could be wrong and if he had data to back up his claims from numerous tests with a large enough sample I *might* be persuaded…but it would take some convincing.

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

      That’s what i was hoping for…some cold hard proof!! I still like the personalization feature. I know a lot of folks think it’s cheesy, but the greatest word in the world is our own name!

  3. March 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    I think that not adding a name field can have a SLIGHT bump in opt-ins (like only 5 weeks along pregnant type of bump). I’m sure there are a few very paranoid people that don’t want to share their name. And even out of those people some will sign up with a fake name.

    Will it improve results? Maybe.

    Will it improve them drastically? I doubt it.

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 21, 2011 at 8:20 pm #


      I agree 100%!!

  4. March 20, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Hey Lisa,

    I actually tend to disagree with you. I think name is an important factor. I have a tendency to hesitate for sign ups when they just want my email. It gives me a feeling “What? they don’t even care who I am but just want my email?”.

    So may be a test will do!


    • March 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

      That’s a very good, valid point!

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 21, 2011 at 12:42 am #


      I agree that we should ask for names. I disagree with this guys article he wrote about not collecting names. Im glad to see we are on the same page!!! :)

  5. March 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    I think it really depends on your focus and state of mind. I really am concerned with engaging the readers, and how to get a better response from people. In my experience, it really doesn’t affect the subscribe rate much, but it does affect the engagement.

    You can’t just measure engagement by sales though.Although that is important, I look at other things as well, like how many replies I get.

    For example, I sent out an email the other day and almost 20% of the subscribers on that list replied to the email, asking questions, thanking me for the email, etc…

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

      Hi James:

      Thats an awesome engage rate. Kudos to you. I too measure by response, open rate…etc…I really think that is the TRUE metric we need to be analyzing.


  6. March 19, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Hey Lisa!

    I read that article as well and started thinking like you did. Like some people already mentioned here, I sign up whether they ask for my name or not. If I really want what they’re offering, it doesn’t matter to me.

    When I receive their e-mail, it makes no difference to me if it’s personalized. I’m really after the content IN the e-mail. Of course, I would certainly take notice if the introduction to the e-mail began with “Hey Crazypants!” instead of “Hey Alicia!”. However, I’ve never seen anyone employ this tactic.

    I will be interested to see what your testing reveals. Keep us posted:)

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 20, 2011 at 11:19 am #

      Hey crazypants!!

      Thanks for weighing in on the topic. We’ll see how this al lays out in the end, but I have a feeling asking for the email only is not going to make a big difference!!



      • March 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

        I think the next one that requests my name is going to get “crazypants”. I kind of enjoy seeing it in my inbox;)

        • Lisa Drubec
          March 21, 2011 at 12:43 am #

          I think I will try this as well Alicia!! :0

  7. March 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    I don’t use the name blocks on any autoresponder forms, just the email. I’ve never tested it, I just go with my ‘gut instinct’.

    Here it is: I more quickly sign up when they only ask for email. I don’t ‘not’ sign up when they ask for my name. But I use a series of names because it has been my direct experience that when you sign up for something your name is out there. No-spam guarantees or not, I’m never surprised when I’ve signed up for something harmless, spam blocked or not, and start getting emails for my aliases Joey Bagadonuts, Biggie Gonadoes, Officer Janofski, or Gibby Goffy.

    I just chuckle and say to myself “Uh-huh”!

    • March 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

      Oh yeah, I forgot one . . Father Gibby. Boy did I get some weird spam after that one! :-)


      • Lisa Drubec
        March 19, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

        OH FATHER GIBBY!!!!! LMAO, I can only imagine!!! :0

  8. March 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    Hey Lisa,

    I read the same article earlier today and am of the same mind as you. No one is falling for anything and it is just a nice thing to do; automated or not.

    Oh on that note, “everyone”? I think not. There will always be plenty of beginners that have no idea it is automated, or care for that matter.

  9. March 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Sometimes as bloggers we’re a bit jaded. Now when I get emails with personalization I just think, “oh they’re using personalization” lol.

    I’ve certainly never balked at putting my name in, though. To me it seems like you’d expect to have to put it in anyway,so hopefully that’s what the general browsing public thinks as well.

    I don’t think I’d remove the name field from my sign-up form as yet without clearly demonstrable evidence that it results in higher subscription rates.

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 18, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

      John, I feel the same way. Once I test this name thing, I will be able to determine if it has any relevancy whatsoever.

      For now, I have no issues asking or giving the name field! :)

      Talk soon,

  10. March 18, 2011 at 4:38 am #

    I don’t think this will effect sign ups but then again things could be different in various niches. I use to collect only name and email address for one of my clients and after a request I started collecting birthday as well, the drop in signups was around 3%, which I think is a fair trade off. I don’t think adding more fields affect your signups that much.

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 18, 2011 at 10:13 am #

      Thanks for your feedback Nishada! When you collected birth dates, was that for a promotion of some sort?

  11. March 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm #


    I have ended up with a list with both names and no names because I took the no name advise. In my tests it did not seem to matter. Now I do not use names when I mail the lists as a whole. But I do use names when I mail just to the lists that gave me their name. I still get response from both groups. I think it boils down to how you treat your people once you have their attention.

    The good thing about aWeber, once your person buys you can
    move them over to a buyers list. Then you can give them offers
    you do not give to the others.

    The best thing I ever did was to learn from someone that someone that uses email marketing for 90% of all their marketing. I have been most successful with their techniques. And getting their email as part of their purchase is one technique they teach that works.

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 17, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

      I agree Sheila. I have used both personalization and without.

      It doesn’t appear to affect the open rate, however this guy stated that it would indeed affect the opt in rate…asking for the name that is.

      I am going to test this theory further and see how it plays out.

      Thanks for weighing in!


  12. March 17, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    Hi Lisa, you’ve struck on one of the great debates. Let me add my $0.02 here.

    * Are we blind to the text input fields on capture forms?

    I don’t think so. I always put my first name in when asked. Or just for fun I’ll put in my entire name just to monkey with the personalization. We that fill out these forms all the time though aren’t necessarily in the majority. I’ve found on all of my niche sites that if you ask for the first name, you’ll get the first name. Then you want to be sure you use the correct personalization field on your autoresponder. For instance on AWeber, you use the “name” field and not the “first name” field. Found that out when I tested my emails.

    * Are you more willing to sign up for a list that requires just your email address and nothing else?

    Frankly I don’t care. If it asks I add it. But I sign up to list just for free stuff or to see how the people are using their list to sell stuff.

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

      I agree Robert. The only time I really stop filling out a form is when it goes beyond the ordinary info….for instance, address and phone number. I learned that one the hard way!!!

      Pleasure to see you again!


  13. March 17, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    I’ve actually read about studies that confirm that.

    The least you ask of your list, the more likely people are opt-in.

    I never use personalization in my emails since a lot of names entered are fictitious to begin with. The only time I ever use them is when I send a personal email when someone opts in.

    Definitely something to split test in the future…


    • Lisa Drubec
      March 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

      Hi Ana:

      I will certainly be testing this theory out…you know me!! :)

  14. March 17, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    Hi Lisa

    There are so many opinions on this one eh ;-) I like Murray’s tips. We want targeted traffic after all and just getting heaps of people on a list is hardly worth it.

    For some of us deciphering who is targeted traffic can be tricky. For example, just because someone is an SEO guy/gal doesn’t mean they are not also lavender lovers ;-)

    So at the moment, I’ll keep building my opt-in list and enjoy the ride.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      Me too Patricia! I will test things for sure, but I am going to keep building the list. I agree…people can have varied tastes and thats what makes all of this so much fun!!!

  15. March 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    It really depends on your niche, overall.

    For technical people (such as ourselves) we understand what the name field does but in smaller niches that may not be to technical – I see where it could be good.

    I do like the idea of doing a list on the order form because it prescreens people that may be highly unlikely to take action. Parsing your list is a healthy activity because it keeps it responsive so you’re not wasting time getting clicks that don’t really matter – you could focus more intently on the community that cares. Just my 2 cents.

    • Lisa Drubec
      March 16, 2011 at 10:50 pm #


      I always appreciate your 2 cents and I agree…niche specific could be the key.



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