How to build an email list from scratch and turn it into a passive income

In this post, I’ll show you how to build an email list from scratch and turn it into a passive income.

This is an elaboration on another post where I go over the basics of creating an email newsletter which you can find right here.

In this post, I’ll show you

  • How to get insight in your audience and filter out people that’ll make your life miserable
  • How to identify a common pain your audience lives with so you can offer a profitable solution
  • How to find affiliate products that function as this solution
  • How to send hyper-targeted emails by segmenting your list so they’ll look forward to every email
  • How to make sure every month you’ll receive money no matter what happens.

Get insight into your audience by creating customer avatars.

Somebody with a considerable amount more experience in sales and marketing once said “.. The company that knows the most about their audience is the company that’ll win in the end..”. If this is true the customer avatar is the ultimate tool that’ll lead to victory.

The customer avatars make it possible to get insight into the mind of your ideal customer. You can find out his fears, doubts, what makes him happy, who influences him etc. All this data is essential when it comes to creating an email list that’ll be effective when it comes to creating a passive income.

This way you can filter out people that opt-in, but aren’t part of your target audience. The people that give you headaches, because they’re complaining all the time, the people that lead you on with millions of questions and never buy anything and all other groups you just don’t want to deal with.

Identify a pain your whole target audience lives with

The only way this will work is if you can offer a solution for a certain pain your target audience has. The goal is to create a passive income so it would be ideal if you could help everyone at the same time through sending an email with tips, information, and other things.

No matter what goal someone has there are steps they’re going to have to take to achieve that goal. Frank Kern once made an illustration in which he maps out his target audience journey and the three biggest roadblocks they’ll encounter.

When you know these roadblocks you can offer an affiliate program that helps them get over every roadblock and get a nice commission over it off course haha.

Places where you can find affiliate programs

It isn’t always easy to find that perfect affiliate product that connects with the people on your email list their needs.This is why I advise you to list up a few affiliate programs and take a few weeks to evaluate the programs on them.

To be honest I’ve seen a lot of companies that offer affiliate program but the quality of their solutions was awful. To make your list work you need their trust. So make the commitment to always give them the best of the best service.

The first place I would do is to google.

Just google Affiliate program + ( pain and or gain )

Check out Clickbank

Check out

Segment your email list

Successful email lists have a lot of satisfied subscribers that have been there for years. I’ve been in a few email lists where it almost seemed that they read my mind and offered me the most ideal products before I even knew I needed them. This might seem like magic to some, but they do this by segmenting their audience.

Your audience might have the same goals, but might be on different stages in the journey or they might different tools to get them there. Through segmenting your audience you’ll know exactly what everybody on your list needs.

Automate the process

It wouldn’t be passive if you have to singlehandedly write emails and send them to all the people on your list. If you had 10 people this might be a valid way to be successful but that’s nowhere near the promise I made at the beginning of this post which was to show you a way to create a passive income.

The next thing you need to do is create an email sequence based on your customer avatar that builds a relationship with them. You do this by segmenting your list and sending hyper-targeted email sequences that give massive amounts of value and at the same time show what you’re all about.

You use an autoresponder to send this email sequence to everyone that subscribes to your list which saves you a massive amount of time.

Before going out and creating an account with a random autoresponder I recommend checking out some reviews and legal policies on their websites. A lot of them have a strict list of what kind of companies they allow to make use of their autoresponder. For example, Mailchimp doesn’t allow users to do affiliate marketing.

I personally would advise you to go with Aweber.

Haven’t heard any complaints from anybody that uses it.

Recurring membership program

Funneling people through your email list and offer them affiliate offers is nice and all, but it doesn’t guarantee that you earn a fixed amount of money every month (unless you’re offering affiliate products with a recurring commission).

This is why I recommend starting a membership program where the members pay a monthly fee. When somebody told me about this for the first time it felt like something very complex, but it’s easier to create than you might think.

Yes, you could create this entire website dedicated to the members with all these advanced options but trust me that’s not necessary. It could be as easy as creating a private Facebook dedicated to the members of your program.

And voila you now have a private digital area for your monthly paying subscribers in which you can give all the value you want without it being available to everyone. The next step is to create a payment method.

Create a PayPal account to receive the monthly contributions from your members.

Step 1. Create a business account on PayPal

step 2. Create a PayPal button

Go to tools > All Tools > PayPal buttons> Select button

Step 3. Enter payment details

In item name, you write u what you’re selling or what service you’re providing.

Step 4. Fill in Price & choose a currency

You can customize the button and kind of other things which you can find info on here.

The moment people authorize you to deduct through PayPal on a monthly basis you give them access to the Facebook group.

The contingency plan

You can earn a lot of money just by creating an email list and offering affiliate products but what happens when these companies your partner up with go bankrupt or for some reason stops their affiliate program. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately and how to make sure your income doesn’t make a nosedive.

The answer I came up with is to create your own similar products you also offer on the back end that can replace some affiliate products.

And this how you build an email list from scratch and turn it into a passive income.

The steps are pretty simple but don’t underestimate the workload to set this all up.

That’s all for now.

Until the next post!


This all starts with creating a website and learning how to direct traffic towards it. This is why I advise you to join communities with like-minded people to learn from. WA is one of those communities. You can create a free account and gain access to free training, support from experts & free hosting. Check out my WA-review right here to see what it’all about.

2 thoughts on “How to build an email list from scratch and turn it into a passive income”

  1. Thank you for a very informative post. There are things here I haven’t even considered. I really like the secret Facebook group option. I can’t tell you what a great piece of information that is (I thought I’d have to develop some ridiculously expensive system and you made it so easy).
    I was always taught to make my mailing list as easy as possible to join (i.e. don’t require so much information that the client will choose not to sign up just because it’s too difficult). Is the avatar approach pretty simple or is this more of a method to weed out the people that will make my life miserable?
    I appreciate your post and thank you for giving me some great ideas!

    • Thnx! I appreciate the kind words.

      Yeah the facebook group really is a gamechanger.

      I only suggest to filter some people out to make it fully passive elsewise it can sometimes happen that you’re kind of running a 24/7 customer service for people that are value leeching. Yes, with the avatar approach you’re weeding out people but it does make it easier to send relevant emails to your email list, because you know exactly what everyone wants.


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