Over and over again, you’re going to hear, “The gold is in the list!” You hear that and instantly get worried because you don’t HAVE a list. Well that’s an easy thing to fix.
The problem starts when people don’t build their list the right way, or they abuse their list just to tap into that “gold” and watch as it dwindles down and dries up because you let word get around that you’re nothing but a product pusher.
So we’re going to go over five things you need to know about list building, and we’ll start with how you view this whole opportunity of communication with your customers and prospects.Nailing Down Your Purpose
Are you seeing dollar signs because you’re envious of the top marketers who have 100,000 people on their lists? Let me be frank with you – size of your list isn’t what determines your profits.
Many of the top marketers in terms of list size perform very poorly on conversions when they blast a promotion to their list. Why do you think this is? It isn’t because the offer isn’t any good in some cases.
What happens is, marketers get greedy and do whatever they can to build up their list numbers, some even sharing names when they’ve previously promised not to!
And some, when trusted enough by a consumer to have their name and email address, see one form of success and decide to milk their list for all it’s worth, turning from helpful guide to product pusher.
Your first step should be in knowing what the purpose of your list is – and it isn’t to make money. That will come naturally. Your goal is twofold:
a.) Help people.
You’re possibly in the mindset of helping yourself right now. That’s understandable. But realize that it’s personally rewarding to help others with whatever issues they may have – and word naturally spread, helping you make money in the process.
b.) Position yourself as an authority.
When you create value and help people, they tend to start regarding you as an expert in your field. You could be the first to even explain something that’s been around awhile – in a way that many people prefer over what’s already on the market!
Creating Automated Lesson Plans
There are two types of email autoresponders that will go out with your list building efforts – follow-ups and broadcasts. You want to fill your follow-up queue so that you’re contacting the subscriber every 4th day or so.
This helps them maintain their recognition of you, it gives you more opportunities to brand yourself as a helpful authority figure, and it opens the door to them welcoming your occasional promotions, too.
You’ll start with a simple welcome email to your list. This doesn’t have to be anything earth shattering. If you’ve offered a freebie in your opt in box area, then make sure they have the download link to it here.
If you offered a series of emails, then go ahead and add those seven communications right away, so that they get what you promised to them. Never offer anything and start list building without having it in place already.
What happens if you promise a series of weekly email lessons and you get lazy and quit at week 12? Your prospect will feel let down and you’ll lose points for the reputation you’ve been building with those initial contacts.
Emails don’t have to be long. They can be half of a printed page (about 250 words) or longer, depending on whether or not you’re promising to send a full newsletter.
You can find topics for your follow up emails just by using the free Google keyword tool. Type in the broadest keyword for your niche. Let’s use dog training as an example.
When I type in dog training, I get results that show me what a good series of follow up emails could be about, including:
• Potty training
• Chewing issues
• Guard dogs
Each email could be a unique lesson according to what has the most searches or whatever you find most interesting.
You can also use things like Yahoo Answers or Cha Cha to find topics to put in your email autoresponder, and forums provide good sleuthing opportunities to see what people in your niche want to know.
Knowing When to Push Promotions
You can promote inside your follow up emails or use the broadcast email system to blast out a one-time promotion. Or, use a combination of tactics. One good way to do it is this:
Use your follow-ups to promote evergreen items that you feel will be around for a long time. As the months and years pass, you don’t want to have to revisit each follow up email to tweak it for what has recently fallen out of favor with your niche.
Whatever you do, ignore the advice to sell, sell, and sell some more!
Not every email needs to be a product push. Some marketers will tell you that you’re leaving money on the table – that’s okay. It’s more important to focus on building brand loyalty because then you’re able to sell to one person many times rather than trying to find a new person to sell to every single day (that’s much harder!).
So when DO you promote products?
• Whenever there’s something timely you need to tell your subscribers about (like a special that ends in 48 hours, for example).
• Whenever you have a perk to offer them (like a special discount coupon they can use to buy something).
• Whenever you’ve finished reviewing a product and want to give your final stance on it.
• Whenever something new is released and they may not know about it.
It’s a good idea to listen to your subscribers and check their pulse on product promotions. If you start getting a bunch of unsubscribes, and they’re telling you that all you do is promote, you might want to consider cutting back to see if your list retention improves.
Should You Go With Free or Paid Tools?
When you go into business, you’re going to want to invest in certain things. One of them will be a list building tool. The messages that we discussed previously can all be done before you spend a penny.
You may be tempted to start with a free list building tool – and to be honest, if the bill collectors are at your door right now, then be smart and go with free – like MailChimp.
However, know that there are limitations (not only in size of your list but sometimes topics that can be discussed) when using something free. Some free autoresponder tools might throw in ads that you don’t want.
There are several paid yet very affordable (less than $20/month) email autoresponder tools like Aweber and GetResponse.
Some companies will charge one flat monthly fee for using their service. Others may have a monthly charge that increases as your list grows. For example, you might have up to 10,000 people on your list for $20/month and then have to pay $50/month for the next 10,000 subscribers.
Automate Your Email Marketing with AWeber
Automate Your Email Marketing with AWeber
Long Term Growth for Your List
To keep building your list, you’ll need to continue working on the traffic generation strategies we’ll discuss later in this guide. Make sure you don’t just send your traffic to a sales page but to a squeeze page (where your opt in box resides) first.
Once they’re on your list, you’ll be able to court them into having a viable marketing relationship with you. But if you send them to a sales page, they could be gone forever.
Why am I even discussing list building when you don’t yet have a business model to pursue? It’s because too many people fail right out of the gate by not starting to build their list on day 1.
They wait, and wait and wait – until suddenly they’ve been in the game for too long and don’t realize that list building is the reason they’re failing – they make one time sales on occasion but can’t ever repeat the sale – and that’s simply not enough to live on.