Posts Categorised: List Building 101

Sometimes I am asked questions that are brilliant in their simplicity. I consider them brilliant because they open a door to understanding that I may not have thought to explore or articulate before.

For instance I have always said that list building is an important concept in email marketing, but I was asked the question, “How important is list building?”

At first glance it would be easy to say, “It’s really important.” However, that expression simply provides a vague portent of doom if the client fails to build their list in a comprehensive way.

Let me paint a picture for you.

You have developed an online business using products derived from a supplier that your immediate contacts are raving about. As you apply list building techniques more and more email addresses are added to your database.

There may come a time when the supplier of the products you sell goes out of business. If you have developed your entire business on one specific product you may come to believe your business has come to an end or that you need to start a new business from scratch.

If, however, you can develop two or more product lines sold under one business umbrella then something wonderful can happen when a supplier goes the way of the dodo bird.

This is the point where your email list becomes more important than the products you are no longer able to sell.

Why?

If you have built your list organically and the individuals represented by that list have discovered a trust in you then the occasional shift in product lines can often be viewed as a greater service to the customers.

Do you see what has happened? The list building becomes more important to the success of your overall business than the product lines you carry.

At some point the customers develop a trust in you and your ability to provide quality products and service. It is even possible to have an occasional revolving door when it comes to product lines and still hold on to most of your list.

When you are able to establish trust with a large list you gain greater flexibility in product lines and business opportunities because most of the list will remain interested in your business even if they don’t take advantage of every offer you send.

This scenario is impossible to duplicate with rented lists. Admittedly this process can take time to develop, but it holds the greatest promise for long-term email marketing.

Pop-Up Windows

Use pop up windows to get peoples’ attention. There are several types of pop up windows available to you with varying degrees of effectiveness. Some of the most effective pop ups are called hovering ads. They are difficult to block, and they will get your visitors attention. Unfortunately, some unethical advertisers have given pop ups a bad name. Don’t let that stop you from utilizing one, but make sure you don’t abuse the technology.

Co-Registration

Co-registration might be the fastest ways to grow your list. By collaborating related but non-competing businesses, you can multiply the speed of your list building process. For example, a dog grooming business might collaborate with a veterinary, sharing each other’s databases. Several related but non-competing businesses might develop a newsletter they could make available to their shared list. Everyone would benefit because the content would be great and the workload would be more manageable.

Contests

Getting your visitors involved through a contest can be an effective list builder. The contest details are published throughout your website, but only subscribers are allowed entry. The contest could be for anything that interests your customers. The best contests have brand enhancing value for the company and entertainment value for the website visitor.

Contact Customers
Contact your previous clients and ask them to sign up. It is an often ignore but powerful technique. Explain your customers that you are building a list of satisfied customers to improve your business. People that have bought from you before are already interested in your company. While you contact them to sign up, ask them for feedback about your company.

Membership Site

Create a membership area within your site. In the special area for your subscribers, you can provide additional resources not available to unsubscribed visitors. Your content has to be excellent. Your visitors have to believe they are getting real value when they sign up. Emphasize the value of the membership such as $29.00 value per month. To justify the value, maintain and update your content constantly.

Auto Responders

Use an auto-responder solution that works. Apply the right technology to guarantee best results. Aweber is an auto-responder service that costs only $20.00 per month. An auto-responder service will automate most of the mundane tasks of maintaining your list. A professional auto responder can provide you with statistics to examine the effectiveness of your campaigns. The appropriate auto-responder solution must be an integral part of your building strategy.

Spam And Your List

Building and maintaining communication with your list requires e-mail. Take the following steps to avoid being labeled as a spammer:

* Comply with the CAN-SPAM law
* Don’t purchase e-mail lists, build your own
* Keep records of subscribe requests
* Avoid spam trigger words such as free, earn $, discount, etc

Double Opt-In

Requiring double opt-in is a great way to avoid being labeled as a spammer. Double opt-in requires your subscriber to opt-in twice. First, they opt-in when they complete the online sign up form. Second, they confirm their subscription through a link that has been e-mailed to them. Double opt-in protects you and your visitors.

One of the keys to online business is effective list building. This may seem like a simple process, but for any business owner that has tried to develop a list they know that list building is a necessary, but difficult process.

One of the first knee-jerk reactions business owners may experience is to purchase a third party list of email subscribers while others may rent a list. The evidence for success (or lack thereof) is in the number of recipients who consider your email an intrusion or worse yet, spam.

You may ultimately find a few receptive customers, but for the most part this approach feels a bit like those dinner calls from telemarketers.

One of the fallacies of online marketing is that in order to be most effective you need to have a very large list. The truth is you can have a relatively small list of recipients if they are highly motivated. These individuals enjoy receiving your email and you make sure what you have to send is quality material.

Don’t look at the size of your email list as the litmus test for your success in business. I would much rather have a small organically grown list filled with individuals who love what I have to offer and are inclined to come back often than a larger list of individuals who simply hit delete when they se my email.

I would much rather have these customers email me with positive feedback instead of those who express great anger that they receive the emails at all.

By developing your own opt-in email system for list building you improve the chances that those who do sign up are likely to be converted from prospect to customer. It may be best to leave shot-in-the-dark email marketing methods behind.

Give your site visitors every reason to sign up. It’s not a bad idea to give them more than one reason. You can develop free downloads or extra knowledge-based content available with sign up. You might even go so far as to provide a sample email or ezine for prospects to look at so they can get a feel for the type of information you will be sending.

Keep your content laser focused. While you may have diversified interests, chances are pretty good your customer signed up because you stated (or implied) that you would be providing content, information and opportunities associated with a particular product or topic. Don’t disappoint your customer’s or prospects with information that is out of focus.

List building is an important way to gain and keep valued customers, treat your list building efforts as the development of long term friendships. Seek to serve the customer first and they’ll likely be first to come back for more.

The lifeblood of any Internet marketer is their list. If you have an opt-in email list then you are sitting on piles of cash, if you properly use your list then your earning potential is very high.

As many people ask “How do I build a list?” the following points describes some of the best ways for building your email list.

1) Newsletter / E-zine

We are in the Information Age and so people are desperate for information. Everyone is so busy with their lives they don’t have time to find the information for themselves. Publish a newsletter in your niche that is full of valuable content and you will get people flocking to you to sign up.

2) E-Courses

People are hungry for information, so a free e-course will persuade people to part with their email address. Create at least a seven part course that is delivered every few days into their inbox. Of course, the e-course also subtly sells your product!

3) Articles

Write articles and distribute them to article directories. Include your newsletter sign up in the resource box and if you have provided good quality content, you will get the visitors who will sign up to learn more.

4) Free Books

A free e-book is an excellent way to build your list. It doesn’t have to be an epic tome, just valuable information that people will exchange their email address for. You can write one yourself or get one ghostwritten for you. Make sure though that it is information that your visitors will want to have, and make sure you have included links to your products and sites in the book. You can also include affiliate links to further maximise your earnings.

5) Free Membership Site

Creating a free membership site is an excellent way to get people’s email addresses. Offer valuable content for free but only to signed up members. You can then upsell them other products or other levels of membership with more products and more resources available to them.

6) Squeeze Page

A squeeze page is a pre-sales letter page where you capture a person’s email address before they move on to view your sales letter. This is reportedly very effective and you can also personalise the sales letter with their name or other details from the squeeze page.

7) Pop-Up

Pop-up windows, particularly unique and different windows, can be very effective at persuading people to sign up for your newsletter. These can either pop up as the visitor enters your site, or when they leave, reminding them to sign up for more information.

8) Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is where you give away something of value that people want to pass to all their friends. It may be a video, a book, a game or anything similar. However, whatever it is, it has your web address in it so people can come and sign up to your newsletter and get more info.

9) Free Giveaways

A very popular new method of list building are the big Internet giveaways where lots of people submit products that are available for free in exchange for a newsletter sign up. These are excellent ways to rapidly build your list – though be aware that freebie seekers may not make for the most responsive of lists.

10) Sign-up bonuses

Offer your visitors a bonus if they sign up for your newsletter, e.g. “20% off XYZ for readers” or a number of e-books or reports that will be of interest to them.

Using these 10 simple strategies you can build your list and then leverage their earning power.

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