April 21, 2014

How to Build an Email List

Email Is Still the Best Marketing Tool

This post is for anyone who needs to build an email marketing/subscriber list. I’m an author, so it is written from that point of view.

I think that most authors are finally seeing the light and are starting to wonder, “how do I build an email list?” And that’s a good thing, because an email list is far more valuable than a few thousand Facebook fans, or tens of thousands of Twitter followers. Better even than a horde of crazed picture fanatics on Pinterest or the tech community on G+. The problem most authors have is trying to figure out…

How to Get Subscribers

I struggled with this for a long time mostly because I shy away from anything that might come across as “pushy.” I abhor the popups that many people use on their sites, and it doesn’t much matter whether they appear the instant I enter, after I’m 90% through an article, or when I’m about to leave the site. I don’t like them in any form.

And I’ve never felt that “buying” subscribers gets you anything. When you give away a tablet or any kind of prize, the vast majority of the entrants are there to win the prize, not because they’re interested in your books or you as an author. They’ll go away with the prizes and the summer wind.

That left me with few options. I tried the back of the book link, and it helped a little. And of course I have a visible subscribe form on my website, prominently placed on every page. But neither of them did much. My list was slowly growing, but slowly was the key word in that sentence.

And Then I Found Digioh

I was looking for an easy way to deliver files to readers without wasting a lot of time. When I looked into Digioh, I discovered they offered everything I needed and a whole lot more.

  • Digioh will securely store and deliver my files while keeping track of every download those files get.
  • Digioh can detect if  the file/s have been forwarded and they will prompt a new user to join the mailing list before they are able to download the file.

Here is a screenshot from the settings area on the site where you determine which security option you want to assign, when (if ever) you want to suspend downloads, and how many downloads per customer you want to allow.

list grower security


Membership Security makes sure that only your subscribers get access to your download, if it gets forwarded to friends or posted on Twitter they will see a “No Access” page.

What Does This Mean For You

I’ll tell you how I use it. I upload a file to their site and set the preferences I want for that particular file.

If I want to get more reviews for a book, I can send Tweets, or post on Facebook, or G+, or send a newsletter from my blog. If I include a link to the Digioh file anyone can go there and download it. I can post one link for a Kindle version and another one for epub. The best part of this, is I can set preferences on Digioh as to whether I want to restrict this to existing members of my mailing list, or set it for “list grower” security. That means if someone tries to download the file, and they are not on the list, they will be prompted to join the list before they can download it.

You can use this anyway you want. For my mystery/suspense books, I give away a novella in exchange for a new list member. And on my career site, I give away a couple of checklists I made up for resume and interview preparation.

You have the option of using the links any way you like. You can put a link on Facebook, in an email or a Tweet, or you can put buttons on your site. All of them geared toward lead capture. And Digioh can track them all. You’ll see who is downloading your file, and how many times they download it. (You control that in the settings)

You can also set it up with an auto responder (with MailChimp and others) so that a “welcome” email is sent to new list members at a specified time.


Depending on what plan you have, Digioh also offers levels of customization. You can have your own logo as a background for the download page, customize the download buttons and many other options. Here’s what I use for my mystery site, and the one below it is for my career site.

Here is a screenshot from Digioh’s site regarding customizing.


Customize Your download Pages

customize menu


You can take full control of your brand by adding your own logo and any other marketing text to your secure download page. Here are a few samples from my mystery and career websites.


Digioh logo GG Digioh NMR logo






PayPal Integration

Another great option is the ability to integrate Digioh, MailChimp, and PayPal. If someone buys a book on my site, Digioh will automatically add the customer to the appropriate mailing list, and I will also receive a notification that someone bought the book. Furthermore, MailChimp will send an auto response with the download link for the book they purchased, and/or a welcome message. And this is all easy to set up.

Cost of Plans

Digioh has several plans, ranging from a Pro plan at $10 per month to a business plan that runs $30 per month. They also offer a 30 day free trial. The table below will show you what you get/don’t get with each level.


Business $29.99 ProPlus $14.99 Pro $9.99
Files 500 50 10
Downloads 25,000/month 1,000/month 200/month
Bandwidth 150GB/month 25GB/month 5GB/month
Max File 5GB 1GB 100MB
List grower
Mbr. Security X
Exp. Dates X
Dwnld limits X
Custom Pages X
Logo X X
Signup Fields X X
CSV export X X
Folders X X



If budget is a concern, and it always is, look hard at the $10 version. It offers the most important options—list grower security and tracking—and it gives you 200 downloads per month.

Saving the Best For Last

The best feature, in my opinion, is the lightbox. You install this code on your website and then put download buttons where they will be noticed the most. When visitors click on the buttons, a screen pops up asking them to register for the free download (or whatever you’re giving them) and they don’t even have to leave the site. You can check it out on either of my sites by pressing the green or orange buttons. One is for a novella I wrote and the other is for a few checklists for interviews and resumes. This is what the buttons I made look like, but there is a lot of flexibility in how you design them.

Finding Family button NMR website button






Try out the links, and sign up for the mailing list. The worst that can happen is you get more good articles with tips like this.

Here are the links:




There are a lot of new ways to build email lists, but I like what Digioh has put together. It’s simple and it’s classy. And best of all, it works. To check out what Digioh has to offer, click here.






If you enjoyed this post, please share.

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. And he also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series.

He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”

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