HOW TO BUILD EMAIL LIST FROM SCRATCH
What if I told you that making money online is really not all that different from making sales in the brick and mortar world? That’s right. The rules of online selling haven’t revolutionized how people sell. There’s nothing new.
Indeed, the bad news is, if you’re having a tough time selling stuff online, it’s precisely because the rules of selling hasn’t changed. You still have to work with these principles, or else you’ll continue to struggle or continue to fail.
The good news? These can be easily adapted to the internet.
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It’s important to understand what these principles are and their online adaptations, so you can take full advantage of online traffic. Using these classic principles, online income success can be boiled down to six basic truths.
If you want to make money with a mailing list and enjoy financial freedom, you have to wrap your mind around these six basic truths. Make no mistake about it, your budding online income empire depends on it. It must address these six basic truths and the principles they contain.
Truth #1: Create demand out of existing demand
What if I told you that the cheapest source of new business does not involve printing out ads, putting together a Facebook campaign, or spending money on Google Adwords? Instead, the cheapest source of clients for your business are your existing customers. Whether they have bought from you in the past or they’re just members of your list, they are the cheapest source of new business.
Truth #2: Credibility and authority builds trust that ensures sales
When was the last time you bought something from somebody that you did not know? I would venture to guess that your answer would be never. Put in another way, when was the last time you bought something from somebody you did not trust? Again, I would bet that your answer would be never.
That’s how most normal people think. They don’t buy from people they don’t know. They don’t buy anything worth of value from people they simply do not trust.
Unfortunately, a lot of online entrepreneurs are completely clueless regarding this. A lot of them are under the impression that they just need to show ads, drop links all over the place, and somehow, some way, enough trust would be built, and the people would join their mailing list. They’ve completely overlooked the fact that most people who have their wits about them will only trust if there is some sort of advanced proof that would warrant such trust. That’s how normal people think.
Truth #3: Credibility and authority are earned over time
There is such a “get rich quick” atmosphere surrounding online income systems that people have completely overlooked the fact that you need your customer’s trust to turn them from webpage visitors to paying customers.
To get that trust to materialize, you have to build authority and credibility. This is not achieved overnight. This doesn’t happen instantly. Sadly, too many online entrepreneurs think that they just need to show the right page at the right time to the right people and they will make money.
It would be nice if it were that easy, but it isn’t. You have to establish credibility first. You have to create the impression in people’s minds that they know you enough for them to like you. Once they like your brand, to a certain degree, you can then build enough trust in their minds that they would want to take a risk by joining your mailing list. That’s how it works.
People are not just automatically going to fall over themselves filling out your squeeze page just because you dropped the right page in front of them. You have to work with the elements of that page to earn their trust. Often times, you need to show that page several times or show content related to that page to become credible and authoritative enough for them to trust you with their email address.
Truth #4: Your existing customer base is your cheapest source of sales
Old school salespeople know this like the back of their hands. Unfortunately, a lot of online entrepreneurs are under the mistaken impression that they have to spend money hand over fist trying to chase after new leads, when it turns out that they could be squeezing more value for those hard earned dollars by simply marketing to their list.
Truth #5: Building relationships based on trust generates sales over the long haul
If you want to become the next internet millionaire among your circle of friends, listen up. If you take care of your list and turn it into an asset instead of letting it remain a liability, you may be able to generate repeat sales off the same list over an extended period of time.
This maximizes your return on investment, this produces a very positive return on effort, and this can be quite profitable indeed.
The secret? Build a relationship. Those people who joined your mailing list are not wasting their time, at least they don’t think they are.
The reason why they trusted you with their email address in the first place is because they want to hear what they have to say. Don’t abuse this trust. Build on it over the long haul.
Avoid short term thinking. Don’t believe that you have to convert all these people instantly, otherwise, you’re going to drop them like a hot potato. That is a one way ticket to continuous business struggle and eventual failure.
Truth #6: Monetize based on interests
People joined your list for a certain reason. Focus on that reason.
Old school salespeople know that relationships are built on specific interests. When they keep the relationship focused on specific interests and related interests, they open up all sorts of potential sales and income opportunities. Apply these principles to your online business and you would not have to worry about finding new products to sell to your existing list.
This book reworks the old school sales truths listed above, and applies them to an online setting. This adaptation enables online entrepreneurs, such as yourself, to make money over the long haul.
I will present the whole sales process from the beginning all the way to full implementation. I will step you through the process. I need you to make sure that you don’t race through the steps.
You need to understand each and every one of these steps, test them thoroughly, and tweak them to fit your particular set of circumstances. Once you’ve done that, you need to optimize them and maximize their performance before moving on to the next step.
This is not a race. This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. If you’re able to run this online sales development marathon properly, you are well on your way to making the kind of online income you have dreamt of.
But it all boils down to you. Nobody can make these results materialize for you. You have to implement them. You can’t just keep this information in your head. You actually have to carry them out, test them, tweak them, make them fit your particular situation, until you get the results that you are looking for.
Remember, you are building a sustainable sales system intended to produce money, not just now, but long into the future.
Your mailing list can be such a long term income producing asset. For that to happen, however, you have to set it up the right way. Follow the steps below. Feel free to experiment with them and make the necessary adjustments so as to maximize the results you get.
Step #1: Know your market by picking the right niche
As I’ve mentioned above, the old school sales truth of creating demand out of existing demand is crucial for success. The key point here is to note that the demand must already exist.
Unless you are the owner of a large multinational corporation with millions of dollars to spare, you really have no business trying to create new demand.
It would be pointless to come up with demand where none previously existed because your chances of failure are quite high. It’s a much safer bet to scope out existing demand and capture that tried and proven market.
For this to happen, you need to pick the right niche. What is a niche? A niche is a subject matter category that speaks to a fixed range of needs and interests.
For example, people who are thrilled to death about Chihuahua puppies are in the Chihuahua dog sub-niche. These are the people who are looking for anything and everything related to this type of toy breed of dog.
They would probably be interested in all sorts of chihuahua-related charms, chihuahua clothing, possibly even doggy footwear that fits chihuahuas, and so on and so forth.
You have to pick subject matter categories that are tightly defined that already have existing demand. Now, this might seem pretty straightforward, but a lot of people drop the ball here because they pick a niche that has one element, but when they actually start building their business, it turns out that they missed other elements that can influence their success in that niche.
How to Pick the Right Niche for your Online Business
So how exactly do you pick the right niche for your needs? Forget about everybody else’s niche. Forget about thinking that there is some sort of magical one-size-fits-all niche that is guaranteed to make you money.
Set that aside. Focus instead on picking the right niche for you. Here’s how you do it.
First, you need to select a niche based on personal interest.
This is pretty straightforward. Are you interested in that subject matter category? Is it something that you can find yourself excited to talk about? Are you interested in a range of products that you would still be interested in even if you’re not making money off those products?
In other words, you have to personally resonate with this set of products or interests.
Next, is there existing demand?
Thanks to the internet, it’s fairly easy to determine demand for a niche. First, come up with keywords that are related to a niche. For example, in the chihuahua example I gave earlier, you can come up with a long list of keywords that are related to the chihuahua toy dog niche.
Put these keywords into Google Adwords keyword planner tool. This tool will tell you the estimated search volume of those keywords. Look through the volume. Are you happy with the volume? Is there enough demand as reflected by monthly search volume? If not, look for another niche.
Keep repeating this until you find a niche that has enough search volume on Google Adwords. It doesn’t really make any sense for you to target a product that only 50 people searched for in any given month.
Keep in mind that that volume is too low because you probably will be able to convert only a tiny fraction of those people. We’re talking less than five, or possibly even one, unless you are dealing in a niche that has a per transaction or has a lifetime conversion value of tens of thousands of dollars.
Targeting a niche that has very little monthly search volume is probably not a good investment of your time and effort.
Next, you need to look at the commercial value of the niche.
Again, Google Adwords’ keyword planner tool is very helpful in finding this information.
Just do a keyword search and you will see the estimated CPC or cost per click for that keyword. This should give you a rough idea as to how much advertisers are willing to pay for such keywords.
The logic being, if they’re willing to pay that much, then chances are, they are making slightly more than that amount for each conversion. Obviously, the higher the cost per click, the better the niche.
You have to be very strict as far as the commercial value of the niche you’re targeting. The ROI must make sense to you, otherwise, it’s just going to be a waste of your time.
Next, you need to find a niche that has manageable levels of competition.
Again, this can easily be researched by simply typing in keywords related to that niche into Google’s search box. Make sure you use the US version of their search box, and the results you get will show how many other competing pages target that keyword.
Next, you need to make sure that the niche is scalable.
Study the keywords that are related to the niche. Study the websites that already offer products or services targeting that niche. Do you see a situation where a customer will buy one product and be willing to buy another product? Is there a ready set or an identified set of related products in that niche?
Another way to look at this is whether the customers that normally buy products in that niche have well defined interests, so you can sell other products that speak to those interests.
Now, the two categories of products may not be obviously linked, but if you look at the probable interests of people who buy that product, you may be able to find other related merchandise or services that you can sell to the same group of people.
You have to ask yourself this question. You have to be completely honest. Don’t delude yourself. Don’t see stuff that isn’t there. It either exists or it doesn’t. Don’t take any guesses.
This is crucial because when you target the right niche, you are not only able to sell products that specifically address that niche, but the interests of your customers are broad enough that you can find other products to sell to them.
This enables you to maximize the dollar value of your mailing list over an extended period of time.
Your mailing list becomes this solid money-making asset instead of a one shot conversion or sales delivery system that is essentially worthless after you sell to a fraction of your list members in one time.
Finally, you should study whether the niche can be sold to in a low-cost way.
The best way to do this, of course, is to research other businesses targeting that niche.
How do they make money off that niche? Are they selling a book or some sort of digital product that they only need to create once and sell many times over? Alternatively, are they selling something unique and handmade each and every time?
As much as possible, stay away from selling handmade products or products that require a lot of inputs. While you can possibly still make money off such a niche by being an affiliate, you will probably enjoy a higher profit margin if you were to just sell a book or a digital product.
Focus on niches that can be monetized using the lowest cost means possible. This is how you build a passive income business.
You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re providing services and essentially just selling your time to your list members. You probably won’t be able to service many of them and it would feel like too much of a day job.
The whole point of building an online business is to create something that’s passive. You’d like to create a situation where you work only once, but you profit from it many times over.
Think along the lines of publishing a book. It takes work to research, write and publish a book. But once you’ve published it, your costs go down to zero because when people buy a book, you don’t even have to be around to process the payment. They just pay via PayPal or credit card, they get access to the download page, and they click on a link to download a book.
You don’t have to write another word. You don’t have to package another book. It just takes place in the background. You work only once, but you sell many times over. The best part is that the payment processing takes place in a seamless and automated way.
Think along these lines… The lower the cost in servicing the niche, the better.
Step #2: Find your market and interact with end users
This is the part where too many online entrepreneurs fail. Most people get Step 1. Step 1 is usually not a problem to online entrepreneurs. They are able to make great progress with Step 1. A lot of would-be internet entrepreneurs understand the importance of finding the right niche.
But the problem is, building a website is one thing, getting visitors to that site is another matter entirely. This is the part where a large chunk of people simply drop the ball.
You have to remember that there is an iron rule for making money online: traffic = money. If you can find web traffic and convert it, you are going to be making money. There are no two ways about it.
But if you cannot generate traffic, your planned online income empire is dead in the water. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
So you have to make sure that you do Step 2 properly.
Find your market.
You already have a niche target.
Now, the next part is to find people interested in that niche and figure out where they are on the internet. Once you have identified these places, interact with them. Rub digital shoulders with them. The good news is, thanks to the spread and proliferation of social media platforms, this has become so much easier.
You have to look at niches as a series of problems or interests. This is the key. Because people are not going to say to you, out of the blue, “I am a member of the chihuahua niche.” That’s just not going to happen.
Instead, they would tell you, “I’m a chihuahua fan. I love chihuahuas.” Another person would tell you, “I like microbrewing at home.” So the key here is to realize that people tend to cluster based on problems or needs.
The good news is, people interested in a particular problem are already congregating online. They’re already self-segregating.
They’re already separating themselves into small pools of interested people. Your job is to find these places.
They can take the form of message boards, forums, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, YouTube video comments sections, Quora answers, Subreddits, and so on and so forth.
There are tons of places on the internet that are segregated by interests. Find these places, create an account, and join them. This is the key. You’re not just there to observe, you’re there to interact.
Interact by Asking Questions
The first thing that you need to do when you get into these places is to ask questions. Get answers from people, find similar questions, and compare people’s answers. Cross reference the answers that you’ve gotten.
Spit out the most credible answers you’ve received. Become part of the solution. Become a source of information. Get feedback on the quality of the solutions that people are using. By doing this, you are killing two birds with one stone.
First, you’re becoming credible in the group. People don’t see you as just this random stranger that just dropped in out of nowhere. Instead, you are a person who actually has a sincere and genuine interest in the questions that they are asking because you’re asking the same questions.
Second, you are gathering precious information. You’re figuring out what solutions are there and how adequate these are in addressing certain questions.
Old School Sales Truth #2: Credibility and authority builds trust that ensures sales
Keep in mind that you haven’t built your website yet. You have targeted a niche and you’ve found place on the internet where people interested in that niche hang out. At this stage, you are simply hanging out with the community.
But this is a tremendous opportunity because you can build credibility and authority while gathering very important consumer intelligence. This is a trust-building opportunity.
How do you do this? Well, you can build trust in your future product or service by being a credible member of the community. As I mentioned earlier, you can share answers.
Generally, a lot of people build a tremendous amount of trust and authority by sharing the best third party resources. By third party, I’m talking about content and resources produced by somebody else. These are not on your website. At this point, you have no website yet. These are materials that are liked a lot on Facebook or retweeted quite a bit on Twitter.
Whatever the case may be, there is a tremendous amount of proven community interest in this content. This is not just random content that somebody dreamt up. You can actually look at the number of shares, Google Plus, or retweets it has. This is the real deal.
And when you share such tried and proven content, people can’t help but sit up and pay attention. You start developing a reputation as the person who has the right answers and who can be counted on to produce the right answers at the right time.
You should also draw questions. You probably would notice that there are certain questions that are being asked repeatedly. You can ask those questions in a different way and draw interest that way. Keep in mind that credibility is built not just by you supplying answers, but by you asking the right questions.
Another thing you could do to building credibility is to facilitate resources. In other words, you can contact credible sources and request that they come up with resources to share in your Facebook group, LinkedIn group, forum or message board.
When you do this, you go from zero to hero because you’re the person who took the initiative. You went the extra mile. Most people would just ask question after question. Even if they don’t get an answer, they keep repeating the question.
You’d stand out when you ask a question and fail to get the answer, but proactively chase down the right resources. Better yet, you get a highly respected and credible member of the community or an external expert to publish specific information.
By doing all of these, you become a “go to” person. You start developing a personal brand.
When people see your name, they quickly get the impression that this is the type of person that I ask if I need solutions. This is not just some random face in the crowd that may or may not have the answer. This is not just another person asking question after question. This is actually a person who brings value to the conversation.
That’s the kind of reputation you want to build for yourself because this can be very profitable later on.
Where is This All Leading To?
When you share answers, when you make it a point to curate the very best resources for the community, and you become somewhat of a de facto facilitator or even an unofficial moderator, you become a very credible and authoritative person. You are able to facilitate resources, people start seeing you as some sort of go-to source.
If you’re able to build such a persona, this paves the way for people giving you the benefit of the doubt when you give your own opinions or recommendations. That’s the payoff.
That’s where all of this is leading to because when you say that they should buy a specific product, you are not going to come off as some random spammer.
You’re not going to come off as somebody who’s just throwing opinions out there that may or may not matter. Instead, you have a track record of quality results.
People equate you with real knowledge, so they are more likely to take your recommendation. This also helps you get in good with the administrators or group moderators. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can even become a moderator.
How does that help?
Well, when you achieve some sort of official capacity, the credibility of the forum rubs off on you. You may still be sharing your personal opinion, but the fact that under your name or nickname is the word “moderator” or “staff,” your pronouncements become semi-official.
Again, people are more likely to take your suggestions seriously. This goes a long way in increasing your conversion ratio.
For example, with everything else being equal, if two people on a forum were answering questions regarding which web hosting company to go with, but one person is the moderator, chances are, a lot more people would listen to that person. When the moderator recommends a particular hosting company, you can bet that people are more likely to sign up with that hosting company. After all, it came from the moderator.
There is a semi-official dimension to that person’s recommendation. You’re not just some random person who just popped up out nowhere promoting some sort of hosting company that nobody’s heard of.
You can recommend an unknown company, but if you are a moderator, people are more likely to take a risk because your authority and your command of a certain body of knowledge is tried and proven in the eyes of many people. Do you see how this works?
Another benefit you get from investing time and effort interacting with your existing audience on the internet is you can position your upcoming brand to “partner” with the forum or message board or online community you are a part of.
For example, if you’re already a moderator, you can say, “Well, I just started this company, and to show my appreciation for this community, I am giving everybody 50% off. Just enter this special discount code when you’re placing an order.”
Similarly, you can say, “We have this limited amount of special products and it’s only available on this forum.” When you do this, the forum becomes a “partner” for your business. It creates a win-win situation. The forum gets a break in the form of a discount, or it gets access to something that the general public doesn’t get.
For example, you have a limited run of 50 units of a specific product, and it’s only available to members of that forum. The forum administrators and moderators would love you because it makes their forum look extra special.
By engaging in such an exclusive offer, you essentially reward that forum’s members for choosing that forum instead of any other message board or forum. Do you see how this works?
These are just the obvious ways you can benefit from investing time and effort in a pre- launch interaction with your actual target market.
Old School Sales Truth #3: Credibility and authority are earned over time
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, building credibility by drawing questions, sharing answers, picking out the very best third party resources and otherwise building a persona is going to take some time. It definitely will take quite a bit of effort.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, maybe the ROI simply isn’t there. Well, you can’t be a short-term thinker because if you think about it, your initial “profit” should be the credibility you built. That’s how you should measure whether you are benefiting from your activities.
Of course, you’re not benefitting in terms of dollars and cents. That is obvious. But don’t neglect the other forms “profit” could take.
Developing a solid reputation on key platforms to the point where your name has become a brand is worth something because by the time you’re going to be suggesting your products and services, people are more likely to sit up, pay attention, and eagerly take you up on your recommendation.
That’s not something you can do if you did not invest the time, effort and attention to detail required to build a credible persona on online forums catering to your niche. That’s simply not going to happen.
So look at this as a form of profit because it makes your sales job easier on the back end. Sure, on the front end, it will require a tremendous amount of time. It’s definitely quite an investment and commitment, but understand that you’re not only building credibility, you’re also gathering consumer intelligence, and you’re also shaping the discourse regarding the needs that your product addresses.
There are a lot of things going on. Don’t just be so short sighted and focus solely on whether you’re making dollars and cents or not. In many ways, the credibility and reputation you’re building now is probably worth more than the few bucks you could have made by simply jumping into a forum, dropping a few links, and getting out of there.
That’s exactly the “marketing approach” many promoters take. They do drive-by spamming. For the most part, their links go nowhere and are removed quickly. And of those that aren’t removed, most people don’t pay them any mind.
Why? They did not lay the groundwork of trust and credibility. Anybody can publish a link, but since you don’t know the reputation of the person who published that link, it’s essentially worthless.
Think along these lines. Understand that credibility and authority are earned over time. This is a form of online reputation and it’s worth its weight in gold. It may seem like a hassle, but you need to keep in mind that it’s an investment in easier conversions later on.
Finally, when you’re building credibility and authority on LinkedIn groups or any other type of online community platform, you are presented with a tremendous opportunity to develop relationships.
The first type of relationship is, of course, you become some sort of mentor to people who are interested in your niche. You are able to supply the right answers at the right time to produce the right results.
Above and beyond that, you are also able to give community members a sneak preview of the merchandise or specialized service that you’re going to offer. In fact, you may even be tempted to give this out for free.
The good news is, once they get a free taste or a free preview of what you have to offer, you create social proof. You can get testimonials, you can get videos of people using your product. You can then incorporate this information into your formal sales material.
Since there is existing social proof, made possible through your credibility-building efforts in your niche’s community, you may be paving the way for easier sales.
Social proof is a big deal. If you don’t believe me, let me ask you this question: when was the last time you ate at a restaurant with no people inside? I would venture to guess that that situation is very rare with you. You’re hardly alone. Most people would not eat at a brand new restaurant with no people in it.
Now, when you go to a restaurant that just launched and there’s a lot of people, both inside and in the sidewalk, you probably would want to line up. You probably would want to check it out because you want to see what the big deal is about.
That’s how social proof works because people are always looking to see if somebody has tested and tried out your product or service. They don’t want to be the guinea pig. They don’t want to be the first person to test out what you have to offer.
By developing relationships on online self-segregating interest platforms, you pave the way for all of these. You can get a test market going, you can collect very valuable consumer intelligence, most importantly, you can establish solid credibility in your niche.
Step #3: Adopt, formulate, and adapt a list marketing plan
Knowing what you know now about the old school sales truths that I have shared with you, it should be fairly clear that you need to have a system that would enable you to sell based on the trust that you have built. Put in another way, you want to create a relationship with potential buyers, but you control the terms of that relationship.
A lot of online entrepreneurs fail because they put themselves in a situation where they have to chase after each and every new sale. There is no relationship that they can go back to generate a new sale.
If they want to make money that day, they have to find a new customer by paying for advertising or generating free traffic. Whatever the case may be, they have to start from scratch every time they want to generate a sale.
Wouldn’t it be great if you have an existing series of relationships that you can always go back to generate new revenue? This is where lists come in.
Old school sales people would tell you that their call lists, these are telephone lists of tried and proven clients, are gold mines. Those lists may only weigh a few ounces, but they are worth a ton of cash.
The reason for this should be obvious. Those people already know what you’re about. They already have an understanding of the value proposition you bring to the table. When you reach out to them, it doesn’t take much convincing for them to sign on the dotted line. That’s why solid sales people, whether they sell real estate, airplanes, office equipment, you name it, will always work on building a solid call list.
But we live in a digital age now. It’s not like you’re going to have to pick up a phone, go through your list and make pitches. Instead, in the internet age, that has been replaced with a mailing list. But make no mistake about it, your email list is just as potent. This is why it’s crucial for you to adopt a list marketing plan.
At this stage, you’re just creating a plan. You haven’t implemented it yet. You haven’t built a squeeze page, you haven’t figured out what you are going to send, in terms of updates, to members of your list. You’re just putting things together. You’re just trying to get a broad overview of what you need to do. Animating all of this is another fundamental sales principle.
Old School Sales Truth #4: Your existing customer base is your cheapest source of sales
I cannot emphasize this enough. In fact, the reason for this should be quite obvious. It should be as obvious as the noon day sun.
Think about it, if you have an existing base of customers, you already have access to people who have trusted you in the past. You have walked them through the process of them knowing you, liking what you have to offer, and taking the leap to actually trust you. That’s a pretty involved process.
Believe me, accessing those people is much better than accessing people who don’t know you from any random person off the street. You have to basically start from scratch, give them information, try to get them to feel like they know what you’re about, you continue to talk to them or message them until they like what you have to say, and then they trust you enough to have a relationship with you.
When you have a mailing list, people already trust you. At the very least, they trusted you enough to sign up for your list.
Because a list simply represents a relationship. A person entering their email address is impressed enough with what you have to say and what you have to offer that they give you express permission to keep talking to them. That’s all a mailing list represents.
But the good news here is that that is all you need because, as I’ve mentioned above, for anybody to buy from you, they have to first know you, like what you have to say or offer, and trust you enough to want to buy from you.
When people trust you enough to join your mailing list, a lot of that initial legwork is gone. It’s taken care of. It makes it so much easier for you to pitch to these people to buy whatever it is you’re offering.
Now, it’s not a slam dunk, don’t get me wrong. It’s not a simple matter of you just sending a badly worded update telling people to click on a link to buy something. That’s not going to work.
You still have to pay attention to the needs of your list members. You still have to take them seriously. You still have to make sure that there’s a tight fit between whatever it is you’re sending and their actual needs.
But make no mistake about it, when you have people on your list, it’s easier to convert them than if you are just posting ad after ad on Facebook, Twitter, Google Adwords, and whatnot. It is several magnitudes easier to get list members to buy because they have initially trusted you already.
This is no different from an old school sales person picking up the phone, going through his or her Rolodex of past buyers and selling them on a new offer. Whether it’s a new property for sale, a new series of cars that just launched, or a special edition product, it’s so much easier to work with a list of people who have expressed interest in something similar enough to what you’re trying to sell now. And keep in mind that they didn’t just express their interest. They actually bought that item.
Old school salespeople know that their calling list is solid gold. The same applies to your mailing list. You might think that it’s just a collection of emails, but there’s a lot more going on. This is self-created because people voluntarily signed up for your list.
How to Turn Email Lists into a Consistent Revenue Stream
I need to disabuse you of the idea that if you create a mailing list, you essentially just have one opportunity of selling to your list members. Basically, somebody signs up to your list, your automated email system sends them update after update. After a while, they like what they read, and they click on a link to buy something.
In the minds of too many online entrepreneurs, this is enough. They think that the list, at that point, has done its job. It’s outlived its usefulness past this point. They are absolutely mistaken.
Highly successful list marketers understand that the initial sale is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, a lot of them intentionally send out pitches for really cheap products, services and merchandise.
There’s a method to this madness. The reason why they would rather have their initial list of freebie list members buy something that’s priced at a dollar is because they want to get their list members to self-segregate.
List marketers would offer all sorts of free information, free books, free seminars and other free incentives to get people to join their list. This is called a free list. Everybody on that list got on that list for absolutely free. They did not pay one red cent.
Marketers would then send a large wave of offers priced at one dollar or something ridiculously low. What they’re doing is they want people who are sufficiently serious about fixing a certain problem or addressing certain issues, to segregate themselves by stepping forward and paying that one dollar or other low friction fee.
When people do this, they then end up on another list called the buyers list. This is the list serious list marketers pay attention to because this is where the conversions happen.
Make no mistake about it, people may have all sorts of reasons why they gave you their email address. By and large, they’re just interested in the freebie you’re offering. Whether you’re offering a book, a booklet, a pamphlet, an instructional video, a series of videos, a series of instructional emails, it doesn’t really matter. They’re just in it for the freebie.
A lot of experienced marketers would uncharitably call these people “list squatters.” They basically stay on your mailing list and they don’t buy anything. Not ever.
Keep in mind that your email list service provider can charge you based on the size of your list. Depending on the provider you go with, don’t think for a second that if you have a huge list that doesn’t buy anything, that it’s not going to cost you. It will, if you go with a service like AWeber because they go by the total size of your list. Those list squatters can cost you a pretty penny.
Experienced list members then make sure that they send updates that enable the free list members to self segregate into a buyers list. That’s where they send the majority of their updates with all sorts of offers. These are the people who are more likely to actually buy stuff.
The good news is, they don’t just buy once. If they trust your offers, they are likely to buy many times in the future. This is how you make money.
And we’re not talking about getting stuck on the one dollar or low cost range. They can be converted to buy high ticket items. They just need to see the value.
In addition to segregating your free list into buyers lists, you also have to open your mind to other opportunities made possible by modern mailing list technology. You can upsell. In other words, after somebody bought it at one dollar, they can get the option to buy something at a premium which offers a wider range of benefits.
You can also offer downsells. For example, if they don’t want to buy an item because it’s too expensive, before they completely leave the sales process, they are offered a cheaper alternative.
You can gather information from your list and use this information to either sell other people’s products to your list through an affiliate arrangement, or you can simply run a third party ad in the form of a solo ad.
There’s a healthy market of other advertisers out there who are willing to pay you top dollar for the privilege of showing their ads to your list members. They’re essentially leveraging the trust and credibility that you have built with your list members.
There’s just so many ways you can work this. I’m describing these in broad terms at this point because I just want you to open your mind to the fact that your mailing list can be solid gold. It all depends on how you work it. It all depends on the quality of the people you recruit to it.
It also depends on your message discipline. If you are very disciplined in the updates you send and everything is on point, you can bet that people will continue to think that your list is credible and useful. This helps ensure that they would be receptive when you do send an update with an offer. That’s how it works.
The Ins and Outs of Mailing List Marketing
As I have alluded to you earlier, old school salespeople use their call list to turn contacts into cold, hard cash. In the internet age, things have actually gotten much easier.
Back in the day, if you have a call list, you have so many clerical tasks to take care of. In fact, if you are a very busy salesperson, you probably needed to hire an assistant or two just to keep track of your contacts and organize your contact activities to maximize results.
You needed to avoid problems like calling the same person over and over again. You also need to track the results that you got with each call and correlate it with other offers. You also have to stay on top of your marketing contacts’ scheduling so you can take full advantage of limited time offers and seasonal sales opportunities.
As you can well imagine, it can easily become a clerical headache. Well, you can kiss all of that goodbye with the digital age adaptation of the call list, which is the email list.
There are very robust email automation companies like AWeber, MailChimp and GetResponse, that make signing up people to mailing lists, managing their memberships, pruning lists and tracking results, so much easier. In fact, you can run a successful mailing list while you sleep.
This is precisely the lifestyle of a lot of highly successful list marketers. It can be turned into a completely passive income system. Can you imagine building a mailing list and then letting it run with no additional input on your part?
At the end of every week, you have thousands of extra dollars in your bank account. All this happens while you are sleeping, traveling abroad, watching your kids grow up, or otherwise enjoying the very best that life has to offer.
I know this sounds like a rosy picture, but this is precisely the kind of lifestyle a select percentage of list marketers enjoy. You can become one of them if you follow the information presented in this book very closely and, just as importantly, adapt it to your particular set of circumstances.
Before we get into the specifics of setting up your mailing list, I just want to take some time to spell out the key benefits and advantages automated mailing lists bring to the table. First of all, it is scalable.
Unlike a call list where your costs tend to go up due to the additional labor required, a digital mailing list is very scalable in terms of costs. In fact, there is very little difference between having a list that has only one member and one that has several thousand, if not hundreds of thousands, of members.
We’re talking only about several thousand dollars in costs, but when you look at the total number of members involved, that really doesn’t amount to much. Your costs don’t blow out of proportion the bigger your list becomes. This provides you with a scalable messaging platform that can grow very rapidly without burning a hole through your pocket.
Next, an automated mailing list is a very powerful sales platform because the people who find themselves on your list are those who voluntarily signed up. This is not spam. Spam is when you generate some sort of random mailing list and you just blast people with your offer despite the fact that they haven’t heard of you before.
With email marketing, there is a prior contact with the list member. This list member voluntarily got on your list. They filled out your newsletter form with their email address because they want to receive emails from you. They want to get into a messaging relationship with you because they like what you have to offer.
It is completely voluntary. It is completely consensual. You’re not playing tricks, you’re not deceiving people, and you’re definitely not harvesting random email addresses and just blasting them with random updates. The fact that people chose to be on your list
increases the likelihood that, at some point in time, these people may click on a link or possibly even buy the offers you publicize with your updates.
Another crucial feature of modern internet-based mailing lists is that its relationship- based orientation and easy updates gives you a tremendous opportunity to build credibility over time. The more you send updates, the more opportunities you get to become more credible in the eyes of people who have joined your list.
Of course, this can happen provided you send the kind of information they signed up for. For example, if somebody signed up to get updates on proper cat grooming and cat care, and you send them updates involving ferrets or taking care of dogs, chances are, you would lose credibility. That’s not what people signed up to your list for in the first place.
But provided that you send updates that remain on message, and are completely relevant to the interests of your list members, you become more credible with each update you send. Over time, this credibility can lead to a higher chance of converting these individuals.
Please note that to sell anything, whether online or offline, people must feel that they know you, like you, and trust you. This is a lot to chew at one time. Thankfully, with a mailing list, your brand is able to go through this process with the prospect.
When you keep sending relevant updates that actually add value to the lives of your list members, they can’t help but feel that they know you. You’re familiar to them. They might not necessarily read each and every one of your updates, but the fact that they’ve read a few and that they keep seeing your emails, you become more familiar to them. You’re not this random company out of nowhere sending them emails. Familiarity paves the way for eventual trust.
The next step takes place when the prospect opens enough of your emails and develops a clear liking for your brand. They like what you recommend, they like your grand values, they like what you stand for.
At this point, it becomes so much easier to convert that person. They’re not quite there yet, but you have a competitive advantage over other would-be marketers pushing the same product. It’s as if you have already invested in a relationship with your prospect because, now, they like you. They may be aware of other providers, they may know what your competitors are offering, but they like you, specifically. Again, they’re not buying yet.
Finally, after sending enough updates and proving your mettle in adding significant value to the lives of your list members, they may get off the fence. That’s when they decide to trust you regarding your particular recommendation or suggestion. That’s how you close a sale.
Now, I wish I could tell you that there is some sort of fixed and predictable timeline for this, but there isn’t. It really depends on the prospect.
Some people are in a rush and they only need to feel that they like you to a certain extent for them to commit and buy. Others require a lot more persuasion. Even others are more impulsive. The moment they feel that you are vaguely familiar enough to them, they go ahead and whip out their credit card and buy because they are in a rush.
You really don’t know what type of person you’ll get. What’s important is that when you use a mailing list to market to prospects, you leverage this process. You quickly remove your status as a stranger in the eyes of your potential customers.
Another great advantage of mailing lists is the fact that you don’t have to live or die with one update. You don’t just have one sales opportunity. That’s exactly what you have when you buy advertising on Facebook or Google search results.
If your landing page is a sales page, either the person buys or they don’t. You only have one bite at the apple, unless of course you are using the email portion of the order form to collect emails. You only get one bite at the apple when it comes to most online sales situations.
The great thing about email marketing is that even if somebody doesn’t convert with one update, the second update might convince them. If not, there’s another email after that, and another after that. In other words, you get many bites at the apple. You don’t have to live or die based on that one contact. This goes a long way in decreasing your sales costs.
Think about it, if you paid $5 per click, you better sell that person on that click or else you’re out $5. Now, if you had spent $5 to get a list member and you sent that person a hundred emails before they bought something, your cost per sale is 5 cents. Which would you rather have? Spend $5 and possibly get zero sales, or spend 5 cents to get a sale?
The answer should be quite obvious. In this context, email marketing is so awesome because as long as people remain on your list, there’s still a possibility that they would buy something at some future point in time.
Finally, mailing list marketing is so awesome because you can fully automate it. In fact, there are platforms, as I’ve mentioned earlier, like AWeber, where all the everyday management of list members are pretty much taken care of by the software.
You don’t have to manually add members. If they unsubscribe, you don’t have to manually comb through the database to take their email out. Similarly, if members want to change their membership settings, they don’t have to tell you.
All of this can take place seamlessly and automatically in the background because members do it on their own. This is all facilitated by robust and powerful email management platforms like AWeber and GetResponse.
Now that you have a clear idea of all the strategic advantages mailing lists bring to the table, let me spell out some sales advantages you get. Not only is it awesome that you get many bites at the apple, you also get many sales opportunities by simply putting up a mailing list.
When somebody signs up for your list, instead of simply showing them a thank you page, you can have the confirmation page redirect to a one-time offer. This one-time offer, of course, must have something to do with the subject matter of the list or the offer they’re interested in. The more relevant the one-time offer, the higher the chance you can convert that person into a buyer.
Once you have a member on your mailing list, you can then upsell them to related products or services. The good news here is that these do not have to be your own products. You can simply be reseller or, better yet, an affiliate.
You sign up for an affiliate program, you get the affiliate link, and you send it to your mailing list. You don’t have to worry about sales fulfillment, payment processing, as well as creating the product. All those headaches are taken care of by the affiliate sponsor. Instead, you just need to count your money when the commissions come in.
In other words, you build a base of people interested in a particular subject matter, and then you find offers that relate to the topic they’re interested in. In other words, you sell services or merchandise that appeals to the common interests of your list members.
Now, this is not as black and white as you think. For example, if you have a mailing list of new parents, you can promote professional medical services tailored to new parents. That’s the most logical fit. But new parents also have other interests. Maybe they are looking to furnish their new home. Maybe they’re looking for a new toothpaste or other consumer goods.
Don’t think that your mailing list is only interested in a very narrow and tightly defined product or service range. Focus on the interests of such people and research products that are related to those interests.
Of course, to ensure smooth upsells, you would have to write text that allow list members to self filter. Usually, when I do this, I ask questions that first start out with questions that speak to the interest that is most directly related to my list. I then expand it out by talking about other related questions.
Now, when somebody receives such an email, they would read the questions and, if the answer is no, they can just close the email. However, if they keep reading through, then it turns out that they are an audience member that has a related interest and they can possibly convert.
Don’t neglect the power of interest marketing because a lot of marketers are under the impression that you necessarily are restricted to the specific interest of your list. For example, if your list is focused on chihuahuas, then in their minds, you only need to sell products related to chihuahuas.
Well, it turns out that chihuahua owners actually have a wide range of interests that start out with their dog, but can branch out quite a bit. It’s your job as a marketer to try to see where the widest latitude is of related interest and find relevant offers that can speak to those needs.
That’s how you can go from a $10,000 a year marketer to a $500,000 a year or more entrepreneur. It all boils down to how you connect the dots.
Gather Customer Info
In addition to the amazing upsell capabilities of mailing lists, they also help you gather important information about your customer base. This information can help you sell better. It can also help you identify interests that your list members have.
Once you have a clear picture of what these related interests are, you can actually use your existing mailing list as a springboard to create another list targeting that related interest. This increases the likelihood that you would be able to sell more products and services based on that separate interest.
In other words, you turn what would have been a single income stream into multiple income streams as you slice and dice and further refine your existing mailing list. And this is all made possible when you use your list to gather crucial customer information.
Now, you’re not engaged in anything underhanded here. Instead, this is all self reported. You’re not mining people’s information without their consent. Instead, when you hold contests and you get participants from your list, they themselves will give you the information you need. You’re basically asking people to respond in exchange for premiums.
Now, usually, when people hear the word “contest” or “premium,” a lot of people mistakenly believe that this necessarily has to involve money. Not quite. Believe it or not, a lot of people on social media would bend over backwards to get status premiums like a special badge, an interesting graphic, or any other “reward” that doesn’t really cost you all that much.
You can go to places like Fiverr and get a digital badge designed, and it’s only going to cost you as little as $5. But in exchange for those rewards, you get crucial customer information. Don’t automatically assume that you’d have to spend a lot of money on premiums.
In addition to contests and rewarding people for responding to surveys, another way you can gather customer information from your mailing list is to simply pay attention to statistics. Email platforms like AWeber have robust statistical tracking systems that help you zero in on what percentage of members open your emails. They also will let you know how many people click on the links inside your email.
These statistics will help you get a clear picture of user behavior patterns, which you can then analyze to make certain educated guesses as to how to optimize your promotions, recruit more members to your lists, and otherwise add more value to the lives of your list members.
Planning Your List
Now that I’ve gotten you excited about the amazing and tremendous benefits list marketing brings to the table, the next step is to be as systematic and methodical as possible in planning out your list. Make no mistake about it, this series of steps will determine whether your venture is going to be a success or a failure.
You need to pay close attention to these decisions. If you make the wrong move, chances are, your list marketing business is pretty much dead from the get go.
A lot of online entrepreneurs come out of the gates swinging. They’re really excited, they’re pumped up about email marketing, but they planned out their list in such a way that they essentially guarantee their failure.
I’m stepping you through this process so you can avoid suffering the same fate. Here is how you come with a solid list marketing plan:
First, you need to decide who to target. Who is your target audience? Can you define your ideal target customer? Can you come up with some sort of holistic “biography” for such a person? Can you profile that person?
Profiling is not an intellectual exercise. You’re not just doing this just to do it. When you profile your ideal customer, you get a clear idea about what they may be interested in and how they process information. These are important details that can lead you to data that can enable you to find such customers online. You also will get ideas as to how to speak to them and connect with their values.
You have to understand, for list marketing to work for you, you have to speak in terms your target customers would not only understand, but welcome.
The next step is to target the interests of these people. Since you have come up with somewhat of a biography of the ideal customer, you need to then predict what this person would be interested in.
Facebook enables you to do this, believe it or not. My secret weapon in interest targeting is to find my competitors on Facebook. Many of my competitors have Facebook pages.
Once I have their Facebook page, I would then look for people who liked that page. I would go through these profiles by checking out their likes and see which person embodies the average fan of my competitors’ pages. I would then look at their interests and see similarities.
Interests that keep coming up over and over again give me a clear idea that these people have a fairly narrow range of common interests. I pay attention to those interests because, chances are quite good that if I target those, I get my ideal audience.
The next step to planning out your list is to reverse engineer similar lists. For example, you know you’re going to be promoting chihuahua products and services. There is no better way to cut your teeth on that kind of niche list marketing than finding existing mailing lists that target the same audience and range of interests.
Use Google. If you don’t have time, hire a virtual assistant from places like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, or any other country with a large population of people who speak English as a second language.
Get your virtual assistant to create a new email account and sign up for as many email lists that target the niche you’re interested in. Once they start getting emails, they can then create a spec or specification sheet.
This specification sheet should answer the following questions. How do competing lists attract members? How do they address people? What kind of offers do they send? What kind of topics do they talk about? How are their squeeze pages or sign up pages laid out? What kind of promotional texts do these squeeze pages contain?
Also, when you or your virtual assistant signs up for a list, what is the structure of the list? Do they send you to a confirmation page with a simple thank you? Or do they redirect you to a one-time offer? Are there pop ups? Pay attention to the layout of the funnel set up by competing marketers targeting the same niche as you.
Next, map out your list funnel process. What do you want to happen to your users? Obviously, you’re going to drive traffic to a page, and then when people sign up, what happens next? What kind of experience are you building for them? It’s important to map out the list funnel process because this is the only way you’ll know whether it actually fits the interests of your target audience members.
Unfortunately, a lot of list marketers simply go through the motions. They just flat out copy somebody else or, worse yet, they implement some list marketer’s framework.
Now, keep in mind that this list marketer that they are patterning their sales materials from is a person who makes his or her living telling other people how to set up lists. In other words, they’re not building their lists using funnel architecture or infrastructure that existing players in their niche already use.
I hope you see the difference. Map out your list funnel process. Make sure that this fits the interests of your target audience.
Finally, you need to plan out where you will get social proof in advance. This is extremely important.
Let’s face it, if you’re going to put up a sales page and there is no review or recommendation from somebody who obviously used your services or bought your products before, you’re basically just telling the prospect to trust you. Good luck with that.
There has to be some sort of review. Even if you’re giving away stuff, like a free Ebook, there has to be some sort of testimonial people can quickly read or even scan so they can get some peace of mind.
You have to understand that list marketing using all sorts of digital freebies is not exactly new. People are giving away free books all over the place.
To make your particular offer stand out so people can join your mailing list, you have to have testimonials, reviews, or some sort of feedback mechanism, so people can get some reassurance that they’re not just going off on the deep end.
People don’t want to waste their time. Prospects want some sort of assurance that your list will actually deliver the information or the benefit that they’re looking for. You need to get this social proof in advance because this is going to make it easier for people to join your list.
Putting it all together, your plan for list marketing profits is actually pretty straightforward and simple. Put in broad terms, the big plan is to create an existing customer list by giving stuff away for free. Remember, the cheapest source of new sales you will ever have is your existing set of customers.
Now, by giving stuff away for free, you create an existing customer list. These are people who have segregated themselves based on a particular range of interests. These interests, of course, are directly related to the products that you are going to be selling. You give away stuff for free in exchange for people all over the internet signing up for your mailing list. It doesn’t get any more basic than that.
The bottom line is, by putting together a system where sales prospects self select and self filter themselves, it would be much easier to convert these people. You can easily turn such a list into an asset that would continue to produce dollars long into the future. And it all boils down to the classic old school sales principle of selling to your existing customer list. This is the big plan and the big idea.
I need you to wrap your mind around this concept and read the previous sections until everything is clear. Once you have a clear understanding of everything, then we move on to Step #4.
Step #4: Build your list faster using attraction marketing
The first thing that you’re going to have to decide is how your list will attract members. While the big plan is to give away something for free in exchange for people joining your list, the question that begs to be asked is, what exactly would you be giving away?
There are actually many ways you can go about doing this. There are actually many different types of free content you can give away.
Offer a Free Digital Product
The first and most obvious option is to offer a digital product like a book, software, graphics package, or any other content that people can easily download from the internet. These don’t require any type of shipping or warehousing. There is no physical product to be handled. Instead, this is all digital. People can easily download it, they can attach it to an email, and they can send to each other.
The big advantage of offering digital freebies like graphics packages, software, books and others, is that the nature of the product itself targets a specific range of interests. In other words, people who are interested in a book regarding a specific topic are people who are probably more likely to buy products and services related to that particular topic. In other words, the premium itself has a built-in self-filtering and self-selecting mechanism.
Another advantage of digital freebies is that you can upsell using the freebie. When somebody downloads the freebie, which is related to a specific interest, you can show them a one-time offer for a product or service that is directly related to the topic of the freebie.
For example, if you’re giving away 100 keto diet recipes, a good one-time offer would be a keto video instruction package that the downloader of the recipe book can buy for a few bucks. In other words, once you get people to take action on a specific interest that they have, they are more likely to buy products that are related to the digital freebie that they just downloaded.
Ideally, when you’re giving away freebies, you should also build anticipation for the updates that they would receive, now that they have joined your mailing list. This is the best way to play the freebie offer game.
If you’re just going to say to people that you are giving away this freebie, and all of a sudden you start sending them updates, they might get upset. They might feel that you’re spamming them. There might be too much of a disconnect between the point in time where they downloaded the freebie and the moment you start sending them updates.
This is why it’s crucial for your freebie to build anticipation for the content the freebie reader would get from your list. Also, after they confirm the download and they receive the free product, they should be shown some sort of message that tells them what happens next.
The big danger of giving away freebies, regardless of what form it takes, is the ever present threat of “list squatters.” These are people who sign up for all sorts of digital freebies with no intention of ever reading the emails being sent to them.
Now, to add insult to injury, these people don’t even get around to simply unsubscribing because they’re not interested. Instead, they just simply ignore the emails.
Now, you may be thinking that this is a small thing. You may be thinking that there is really no harm done here, but think again. Depending on the email management software you use, you might be charged for the total size of your email list.
Now, it would be great if the vast majority of your list are actual buyers. These are people who actually engage with your updates. Unfortunately, if you have a certain percentage of list squatters, your email list might actually start to lose money due to the extra monthly maintenance costs of such a big email list. You have to make sure that your offer prevents or discourages list squatters.
Another downside to giving away freebies is the fact that it’s not a slam dunk. Just because you offer free stuff doesn’t necessarily mean that people would crawl out of the woodwork wanting to join your mailing list.
The squeeze page or email list sign-up page must be appealing, otherwise, you won’t be able to sign up as many emails as you would like. Without a large mailing list base, you might not be able to make much money off your list because the base is so small and,
given typical conversion rates, you’d be lucky to get a conversion every once in a blue moon.
To produce a higher conversion rate for your squeeze page, you might want to swap out the covers for the digital book or software or graphics package you are giving away for free. Keep playing around with the graphics to see if this increases the email sign up rate.
Another workaround you should definitely employ involves the text of your squeeze page. Before people even think of signing up for your mailing list to get a freebie, refer to the value of the emails that they will get.
You have to understand that this is the payload of your squeeze page. In fact, this is the reason why you came up with this squeeze page in the first place. It’s not to give away stuff. Instead, it’s to get people to engage with your email content to such an extent that they click links and ultimately buy something from you.
Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen if people are unclear or completely clueless as to the fact that they will be receiving emails once they get that free ebook you’re giving away.
Make it obvious. Spell it out. There has to be no space for confusion here. Flat out say that once you download this as part of you giving me your email, you will be receiving email updates.
Finally, when you’re giving away digital products, to ensure that people actually read your emails, there has to be a tight fit between the giveaway and the updates that you will be sending to your list members.
A lot of list marketers completely drop the ball on this and this is why they are unable to make money. This is the main reason why a lot of would-be list marketing millionaires fail. They think that once somebody gives them an email, they basically get a license to spam them. I’m sorry to be the one to report this to you, but that is precisely the kind of thing you should not do.
You have to understand that when people give you their email, they’re trusting you. This is supposed to create a relationship. Unfortunately, if you’re very careless regarding the stuff you’re sending out, people would feel disrespected. People would feel that you violated their trust because they’re trusting you to send a specific type of information. Make sure that whatever you send is directly related to the book, software or graphics package you give out. There has to be a tight fit.
Another way to maximize engagement and results is to use the giveaway as some sort of teaser that would draw your subscriber’s attention to your updates. For example, you’re giving away a book, but it turns out the book is talking about some of your future updates. And for the book’s information to truly benefit the reader, they have to pay attention to your updates.
Maybe we’re talking about an unlock code, or maybe some sort of missing step— whatever the case may be, they have to take your emails seriously and read through them so they can “complete” the book and the value it brings to the table.
This is a very powerful way of building a list – by giving away a book – but at the same time enhancing the engagement value of the emails that you send to your list members. This increases the likelihood that people on your list would actually click on the promotional links that you send. This might mean the difference between you making or losing money off your list.
Finally, if you really want to maximize the commercial value of your list, you may want to create a book series. You can start with a low-value book. This is the book that you give away for free. This basically opens the mind of the prospect to really basic problems and related products.
Now, if they solve those problems, they can see in the book that there are other complicated issues that they can focus on. These involve more money, and then they can buy other products related to those books.
To paraphrase an old saying, there are many ways to skin this cat. What’s important is that there has to be a tight fit between the giveaway and the message you send through your list.
Another type of giveaway you can distribute in exchange for email list sign-ups is simple information. This is called the reverse opt-in.
People can go to your website and click page after page of increasingly valuable information. The deeper they get into your website, the more they are convinced that you understand where they’re coming from; that you have a clear idea of their problem, and
you have the solution. Indeed, people will only click deeper and deeper into your site as you expose them to one solution after another.
However, after a certain point, once they are really pumped up about solving a particular type of problem, you then show them your squeeze page. For them to access that premium content, they have to sign up for your list first. Once they have entered their email, they get the info.
The big advantage of using this technique is you are essentially getting rid of potential list squatters. Think about it, if a person had to click through ten different pages on your site, you can pretty much bet that they are interested in solving a particular type of problem.
You’re not dealing with people who are merely curious. You’re not dealing with people who are not really all that serious about solving their issues. Instead, you are working with people who are motivated enough to gather all this information.
They have self selected themselves. This is an extremely high level of targeting and, chances are, when they sign up for your list, they are probably more motivated to buy some sort of solution.
The big issue with reverse opt-in is that your users may feel like you are twisting their arm. They might even feel ripped off. Why? Well, in the initial pages, they may be feeling that you have led them on.
They might feel that you’re just teasing them by giving them more and more information, and by the time that they are truly interested, you drop the hammer on them and essentially require that they sign on to your list to get the premium content. Really skeptical people might feel offended.
Well, the good news behind that is, if somebody is so touchy and sensitive, you probably don’t want that person as your customer. Let’s put it that way. If this person is unnaturally suspicious and highly skeptical of any kind of commercial motivation, you probably don’t need that person as a customer because if they buy anything, assuming that they get to that stage in the first place, they probably would refund. They are definitely the type that is more likely to complain.
List Building Profit Kit
To ensure that nobody feels that their arm got twisted to sign up for your mailing list, make sure that the premium content is closely related or tied in to the content found in your email updates. How? Well, you can give them the answer that they’re looking for after they’ve opted in, but tell them in the content that they will also be receiving supplemental information that would add more value to what they learned.
They can get discount codes, they can learn about shortcuts. In other words, the updates that you’re going to be sending them actually add value to the content that they already have access to.
Again, there are many ways to play this. You can add value by simplifying things. You can add value by directing people’s attention to ways they can automate or simplify certain processes.
Regardless of how you do it, what’s important is that the update content that you send must add value to the premium content that they are already reading. Also, the premium content must clue people in that there is enhanced or value added information from your mailing list.
The last impression you want to create in the minds of your list members is that you’re just sending them emails out of nowhere. These things don’t really have anything to do with the premium content or, ultimately, their needs. So the tighter the fit between the premium content that you used for the reverse opt-in and the actual updates that you send, the better the relationship.
Remember, this is a relationship. You’re not just getting many bites at the apple, you’re not just getting a highly effective way to convert list members, but you are also engaged in constant communication with them where you are given the opportunity to continuously add value to their lives.
If you focus on adding value, chances are, your list will be successful. However, if you look at building a reverse opt-in powered list just so you can get an opportunity to send emails to people, it might not work out as you expect it.
This is the hardest way to get people to sign up for your mailing list, but it actually can be done. A lot of list marketers, especially beginners, completely disregard this. They think it’s a nonstarter. A lot are even scared to try it out.
Well, it may be difficult, but it is also the most effective in the long haul. Why? When you get people to sign up for your mailing list to get your email updates, they’re signing up for the email update. In other words, that’s the value that they’re looking for.
They didn’t just sign up because you gave them some sort of free book. They didn’t feel like you twisted their arm because they couldn’t get access to a premium piece of content that have really important answers. Instead, they’re signing up to specifically receive your emails.
To make this work, you just have to set up the right page. That’s the bottom line. You are selling the updates as the “premium” that people get for signing up for your list.
How do you go about this? Well, you can tell them that there is a new content that they need to be aware of, and you’re going to let them know via your email. You can also tell them that there may be late breaking news or trends in the specific category of information they’re interested in. Just so they’re in the loop, they have to sign up for your list. You can also tell them that there may be instructional videos, diagrams, or other type of content.
Whatever the case may be, get them to sign up for the list. This is the key because if they sign up for the book, this might be a serious problem. They might be list squatters. If they sign up to get access to really important information, they might feel cheated. Since these people are actually signing up for your updates, this type of subscriber is more likely to convert if they find value in your list.
This method of list recruitment is based on real interest in your updates. This can translate to a higher conversion volume. These people are least likely to be surprised that you will be sending them emails.
The big disadvantage with using updates to build a list is that, often times, list marketers are too vague or too broad in describing what they will be sending their list members. Accordingly, when people look at the squeeze page and see such text, the value that they might get from the list doesn’t jump out at them. Not surprisingly, they’re not excited so they don’t sign up, and the conversion rate is very low.
One of the main reasons why updated-focused squeeze pages convert at a low rate is because the benefit doesn’t grab the reader’s eyeballs and slaps it around. It’s not immediate, nor is it imminent.
You need to create a squeeze page that tells potential list subscribers that there is an immediate benefit from joining your list. You can tell them that every update you send will have some sort of discount code. You can also tell them that with every update or every once in a while, you’ll be sending them freebies or instructional videos.
Whatever the case may be, make the value that they will be getting stand out. It must be front and center. It can’t be just implied. You can’t assume people would read between the lines. Make sure that people can immediately see that there is some sort of benefit, and this benefit must arrive imminently. The closer to instant the benefit is, the better.
Offer a How-To Course or Tutorial
Get people to sign up to your mailing list by offering them email-based information on how to do certain things. With every email, they’re stepped through a particular process of taking care of a problem or doing something.
This method of getting list members is super targeted. First of all, only people who have a certain problem would sign up. Second, only people who are serious about solving their problem would sign up.
Also, this method has a built-in interest. For example, if I wanted to build a wooden cabin, I probably would pay attention to the first few emails I get from a wooden cabin tutorial list because that’s the only way I would know the basics, what stuff to buy, how to prepare, and so on and so forth. This elevated level of interest makes me more susceptible to buy certain products and services.
Deployed properly, the How-To course or auto-responder tutorial series type of email list can be a very powerful sales conversion asset.
The big danger with this method is that it can easily become the victim of its own success. The people it gets may be so narrowly targeted and so specific in what they’re interested in that anything that is not related to the topic of the course would not register with them. They will quickly lose interest in any information that is not related to the course.
However, in the big scheme of things, this is a good problem to have. Believe me, I’d rather have this problem than the other way around where people don’t really have any interest. At least with this situation, as long as you’re disciplined in finding the types of products and services you’re going to promote to your list, you stand a chance of generating a higher level of sales.
The best way to turn an email-based course into a conversion machine or a sales generating asset is to structure the course around actionable information and tie it into other interests.
In other words, they should be able to take action on the information you send and then you can also talk about products and services that are related to other interests that your list members would have.
To help cement the message, send updates in between that build your credibility. Send authoritative content, highlight their needs, and otherwise get the recipients ready for the next update.
The good news here is that the more credible you become in the eyes of your list members, the more likely it is that they would buy something from you. Eventually, by positioning yourself correctly, it would only be a matter of time until they buy something.
Get Your Squeeze Page Designed Right
Now that you have done extensive research on your competitors and you’ve decided the method in which you’re going to gather emails, the next step is to find and hire a squeeze page designer.
Give that person your notes regarding the “industry standard” design for the type of squeeze page you’re looking to get done. If they know what they’re doing, they should see that there’s a common pattern of fonts, text sizes, colors, layouts, and other important details.
The key here is for your squeeze page designer to put together a mailing list recruitment page that doesn’t look so different from other pages in your niche that your respective list members would not know what to do.
You don’t want to surprise them or throw them off to the point that they don’t know how to respond.
Find a Squeeze Page Sales Copywriter
I may sound biased here because I’m a professional article writer as well as a sales copywriter, but if you were to ask me, the most important part of the squeeze page is the text. You can put really amazing graphics there, you can even use the most compelling fonts, but if the text falls flat, you probably are not going to get all that many list members.
This should be fairly easy to figure out. It’s your text that communicates value. It’s your text that reaches out to the potential list members and communicates the benefits that your list can deliver in their lives. It’s the text that can create all sorts of emotional states. You cannot take this part lightly. You have to invest in the right text.
Now, there are a lot of products out there that would give you squeeze page templates. These are ready-made pages. The assumption behind these template-based squeeze pages is that the text really doesn’t matter. Basically, you just plug in certain details and you’re good to go.
Well, now you know why a large chunk of would-be list marketing millionaires are not making all that much money, assuming they’re making any money at all. You can’t use templates. Your squeeze page must be specifically written for your specific audience for a specific purpose in a specific context.
Pay attention to how many times I used the word “specific.” This means your text has to be highly targeted, otherwise, you probably are not going to do all that well.
Include and Position Social Proof Correctly
Now that you are getting a squeeze page done, make sure you include social proof. Social proof is crucial because, let’s face it, there are tons of offers on the internet. Anybody can make an offer, and ultimately, people can develop the attitude that if they’ve seen an offer that’s similar to yours before, your offer is probably like that offer that they’ve seen.
In other words, you don’t stand out. They don’t feel any compulsion to join your particular list because they’ve heard about the problems that you address before. They might have even heard of the solutions you talk about.
When you include social proof, people are reassured. At the back of their minds, they’re thinking, “Well, at least somebody at some point in time tried this out and had a positive experience. If that’s the case, then I should try it out.”
In other words, people do not want to be made to feel like they are guinea pigs. Nobody wants to be the first person trying out an untested product.
Position your social proof correctly. As much as possible, get as many different testimonials from many different people who uses the product in many different contexts. This way, you let the page visitor know that if they sign up for your squeeze page, they will get solid value.
Decide on Whether to Include Video
As the old saying goes, one picture is worth a thousand words. This is true. You can explain so much better with pictures and diagrams. In fact, you can talk yourself out until you’re blue in the face and still not do as good of a job as one single photo. That’s how powerful pictures can be.
Let’s put it this way, if pictures are worth a thousand words, imagine how many words and emotions one single video can deliver. Video is powerful because when somebody watches a video, you can control how they perceive your brand. You can control the direction of the value that’s being formed in the mind of the viewer.
The big advantage of video marketing is that you can appeal directly to your prospect and you can use all sorts of narrative props and tools like cartoons, diagrams, or voice overs, within the same video. You can also use text and statistics.
A sales video is not just a person talking straight to the camera. This gives you a tremendous amount of opportunity to add many different layers of value and meaning to your video which may enhance its conversion appeal. At the very least, when you feature a video of a person talking straight to the camera, it would appear you are speaking directly to the needs of the viewer.
First of all, videos are very expensive. Even if you are getting your squeeze page video done at low cost freelance platforms like Fiverr, it can still cost you a pretty penny. Also, if you’re using the wrong script for your video, you can focus on so many things that the video does a bad job targeting.
Another danger that you have to be mindful of is the fact that if you are sloppy with your script, the video may not add anything new or compelling to the value proposition of your squeeze page. I know it sounds crazy, but you might have been better off just using text or pictures since the video doesn’t really add anything new.
The easiest ways to work around the problems listed above is to reverse engineer your competition’s videos. In other words, use your competition to do your homework. Whatever issues you have, they probably have encountered it before and they overcame it. So identify their solutions and use them.
Also, use case studies for your videos. Record actual customers giving video testimonials. As much as possible, make sure that your video is short, quick and gets straight to the point. It has to be hard hitting. It has to be edited in such a way that almost each and every second of the video delivers solid value.
In a way, video marketing is like boxing. A boxer would try to pack as much power into each and every punch because he wants each punch to count. This should be your strategy with your video creation and video editing activities. Pack as much value into every second as possible. Call the viewer to action.
Finally, to save money, go to micro outsourcing platforms like Fiverr and look for special deals. A lot of video producers there would advertise higher prices, but many of them don’t get that much business, so you can probably negotiate them down and they might be able to cut you a special deal.
Extensively Test All Parts of Your Funnel
Now that you’ve put up a nice looking, well structured squeeze page, the next step is to test all parts of your funnel. Make sure that the list management software is working. When you sign up with a test email, make sure you’re being redirected to the right place and the confirmation pages are correct. Make sure that everything is working properly.
Also, load your squeeze page using a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop computer, and a desktop. Test across all browsers, test across all platforms. The good news here is that there are websites that would simulate how your pages would look on different platforms and browsers. Check those out.
Step #5: Launch and listen to your list
Now, a lot of list marketers make the common mistake of simply launching their list and failing to do anything else. This happens all the time. In fact, if you go to the typical affiliate marketing forum, you’re bound to run across a complaint from one of these marketers.
Their posts usually follow a very predictable pattern. They would say that they ran across some product telling them how to launch a mailing list. They then follow the instructions and launched the list, and now they’re complaining that they’re not making money. There are of course many details that they leave out.
9 times out of 10, people complaining usually did not follow the instructions properly. Often times, they are targeting a niche that is extremely competitive or, on the other end of the spectrum, doesn’t exist. There’s absolutely no demand. Given these realities, it’s not a surprise that they’re not making any money at all.
To add insult to injury, it turns out that they never bothered to promote their list. The only promotion that they got around to doing is to include a link to their squeeze page on their signature line at affiliate marketing forums.
You really have to read such complaints with a grain of salt. You have to read between the lines. Assume that there are many parts missing because if people were completely honest with you, you can quickly figure out why they came up short. It’s very easy to tell which parts are missing.
The good news is, you only need to follow all the steps I list in this book and custom fit them to your particular set of circumstances for you to achieve success.
A key part of launching a successful mailing list is to actually listen to your list. To a lot of marketers, this is actually one of the hardest parts. They can handle pretty much everything else, but they almost always slip up when it comes to this step. Make no mistake about it, this step is crucial because it is built on an old school sales truth.
Old School Sales Truth #5: Building relationships based on trust generates sales over the long haul
You have to make sure that your mailing list trusts you. It has to be built on this solid bedrock. There has to be trust and respect there.
Unfortunately, if you were to lie to people to get them to your mailing list or send them garbage, you are telling them, in no uncertain terms, that you do not respect them. It’s definitely obvious that there is no trust there. Why should they trust you when you don’t respect them?
How do you build this trust? How do you create and maintain a relationship based on respect?
First, you need to launch your list by pairing it with credible content on areas you’re already credible on. This is just a fancy way of saying that you have to establish some initial trust first for people to get to your squeeze page. While it’s possible for you to just promote your squeeze page directly and people build their trust there, they’re probably more likely to convert if they were exposed to credible content first.
For example, you can post many articles that get people to know your brand. After enough exposures to your brand, they feel that they like your value proposition. Eventually, they get around to trusting your brand and they end up at your squeeze page.
These individuals are more likely to enter their email address and get into a long term business relationship with you. To a certain extent, you have proven why they should trust you.
Believe it or not, you could also build credibility by sheer repetition. By constantly exposing them to your value proposition in the form of a banner, a signature line at forum discussions or on social media, people would find your brand credible enough to trust by clicking on your link.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important that you build credibility first. And this requires credible content. Credible content establishes that you know what you’re talking about. It gets the point across that you are worth trusting.
To properly launch your list, you need to pair it with credible content. The good news is, if you follow the steps that I’ve laid out in this book, you’re already well on your way there.
Look at Step #2. When you’re establishing credibility first, you already know areas on the internet where your target audience members congregate. You’ve already taken steps on becoming some sort of credible authority.
Maybe you’re hanging out at forums, reddit or certain message boards. Maybe you are rubbing digital shoulders with taste makers and other influencers on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook groups and pages. Whatever the case may be, there’s already initial legwork there. You’re not just launching your list, and out of the void expecting all this traffic to show up. You did some initial work before you got to this stage.
Pay attention to the sequence of these steps. I did not just pull them out of the thin blue air. They follow a logical sequence. You have to go through the sequence the right way otherwise your list marketing venture may not be as successful as you would have hoped.
Launch your list and integrate it to all your communications. For example, if you have a blog, make sure that your list’s email form is closely integrated with the design of your blog. If you communicate with your target audience members via email, it’s a good idea to mention your squeeze page in your email footer.
If you are active on forums, it would make a lot of sense to create a signature line that has a link to your squeeze page. Finally, if you’re on social media, mix in your link to your squeeze page to your updates. In other words, for every two to three updates you send, include a link to your squeeze page.
The link or social media post must speak to the needs of your social media followers. You shouldn’t just mention your squeeze page’s URL in passing. That’s not going to convert anybody. Instead, ask questions to draw out their interests and needs. Speak to those needs and highlight why they should join your list.
Focus on the benefits that they would get. Focus on how their problems are going to go away. In other words, spell out the value of what becoming a member of your mailing list will bring to the table.
Once you have launched your list and you’re sending out updates, pay close attention to how the updates are being received. It’s really important to make sure that you focus on what works. In other words, give them more content that works and less of the materials that don’t.
I know this sounds pretty straightforward and easy, but it isn’t. There are, after all, many things in life that are easier said than done. This is one of them.
How do you know which is which? How do you know which piece of content works so you can make more of it? On the other hand, how do you know which update is flop so you can stop publishing that type of material?
Well, there are two ways you can find out. First, there is direct customer feedback. These are fairly rare situations where the customer, busy as he or she may be, takes time out to reach out to you to tell you directly what their experiences are. They will give you a piece of their mind so you have a clear picture of what to do.
This is relatively rare, though. Unless you really screw things up, chances are, people are not going to bother. They may never click any of your emails again or they might unsubscribe, but it just takes too much effort for them to really get their thoughts together as to why you need to improve or, on the other hand, why they get so much value from your updates.
The other way you can find out which content works is through customer behavior patterns. You just need to look at the statistics provided by your mailing list service like, AWeber, for you to see important data like the percentage of your emails that are being opened, and the percentage of the internal links within the emails that are getting clicked.
These are actually more important sources of data because they take place in the background. They can’t be faked. You also get the big picture view of how the list, overall, is doing.
By knowing which type of emails are being opened and which type of links are being clicked, you can get a fairly good idea of which type of content to send out and emphasize, as well as how to position your links so they get more clicks.
Use Free Traffic First
After you’ve launched, you need to optimize your list for maximum effectiveness. The way to do this, of course, is to listen to your list members. This is how you will be able to focus on the content that works.
But how exactly do you go about doing this? Typically, list marketers end up failing because they use paid traffic first. They’re in a hurry so they spend a pretty penny on Facebook as well Google Adwords’ traffic.
At the end of the day, they don’t know what they’re looking at. They don’t have a clue as to how this all fits in, and they just end up burning good money after bad.
Don’t do that. Instead, use free traffic first. Why? Well, free traffic may be slower, it may involve lighter volumes, but you would still be able to get the type of behavioral and self reported data that you need to optimize your list’s performance.
Once you have ran enough tests and made enough changes to your lists so as to increase its overall performance, then and only then should you spend your hard earned cash on traffic.
Where to Get Free Traffic
When you’re optimizing your list, you need to drive free traffic. The good news is, this free traffic is pretty much everywhere. Seriously.
Any online platform that enables you to create a link, which when clicked goes to an external site, is fair game. As long as you’re not breaking the terms of service of the site or spamming the stuffing out of the site or otherwise just being abusive, any platform that enables you to do this is a good source.
Personally, I would look to social media. This is the place I would start. I would create an account, and share third party content on my account.
When people click on my account, they would see that all I talk about is a certain niche. If I keep this up long enough, people would get the natural impression that I would know what I’m talking about when it comes to that niche. I would then share that material on other parts of the social media platform that other people interested in that niche would hang out.
For example, on Facebook, I would start with my own Facebook fan page. On my fan page, I will post only niche specific content. After I’ve established a nice track record of high quality third party content produced by other publications, I would then go to Facebook groups that specialize in my niche. Sharing my page content there, people can easily click the “like” button to join my Facebook page.
Again, if I keep this up enough a long time and also engage in genuine interaction with other group members, I kill two birds with one stone. First, I become a credible authority on a select number of Facebook groups. People can tell that I am passionate about a niche and I am a credible source of information. Also, when I share my content from my fan page, they can easily click the “like” button and get my Facebook page updates.
I am able to do this because I am not just posting my own stuff. I’m not just posting materials from my own blog or website. Instead, I am cherry picking the very best third party created content in my niche. These are materials written by experts and established authorities within my niche. You know that this material is solid gold.
The whole point here is to keep this up for a long period of time until I get enough fan page members. I attract their attention due to the quality of the third party content I share on Facebook groups that target a specific niche.
Next, I would hit forums. These are online message boards that speak to the niche that I’m targeting. Now, I don’t want you to get too excited. Depending on your niche, there might not be a forum that is directly on point.
For example, if your niche is coffee cups, there might not necessarily be a coffee cup specialized forum. However, you can bet that there are coffee lovers or coffee lifestyle forums. You can hang out on those and look for sub forums that may have something to do with coffee cups, coffee mugs, that kind of thing.
By joining these forums, I get access to the eyeballs of people that are interested in my niche or who have interests close enough to my niche. I can also share third party content there. I can share my social media content.
Of course, the key here is to establish credibility first. You don’t want to spam forums with your squeeze page URL. This is a sure fire one-way ticket to getting banned. You’re essentially just spamming if you do that. Instead, share useful third party content when you’re on forums. Your payoff is the credibility that you get.
Again, look at Step #2. Follow it. Understand that when you’re doing initial niche research, you’re actually killing two birds with one stone because you’re also establishing credibility at the same time.
Additionally, I would also go to question and answer websites, like Quora and Yahoo Answers. On Quora, you are given a lot more leeway to share links. You can share third party content links and you can share links to your squeeze page.
You’re given a lot more freedom there, as long as you provide real value in your answers. You can’t just drop a link and call it a day. That’s spamming. You have to put in some effort in putting together easy to read and useful information that would build your credibility and also add value to the lives of people looking for an answer.
Yahoo Answers is a little bit trickier because it only allows you to build a link after you’ve reached a certain level. Prior to that time, you have to be a little bit creative.
My workaround is to direct people to do searches for certain key terms or I would post a bullet point and have people do searches. If you know what you’re doing, this can be as good as posting a link.
Other free traffic generating tasks you can do include guest postings. You create a blog post that is directly tied to your niche which hasn’t been posted anywhere else. You then approach blogs that target your niche and ask them if they would like free content. In exchange for the free content you’re giving them, they give you a link within the post.
Keep in mind that this requires high quality content. No niche blogger in his or her right mind would post a spam guest post. You have to put in some work and some serious time putting together guest posts that people would actually want to publish.
You should also build your own blog. When you build a blog, please understand that you highlight your expertise, plus you also get tremendous SEO benefits. I’m not saying that you should blog based on SEO keywords. Instead, you should blog based on actual value.
Your posts must actually answer certain questions. If people find these posts really helpful, they would not only share them on social media, but other bloggers might link to you. This gives you a tremendous SEO advantage. This can be a great source of traffic, but it takes time.
My suggestion is to blog less. I’m talking about maybe one post per month. But every single day, look for ways to promote that blog post.
Maybe you could create satellite guest posts, which you can then get published on third party sites. You can also go on social media and link to your blog post. You can also promote on forums, and so on and so forth.
The great thing about blogging is that it not only helps pull in search engine traffic, but it also directs eyeballs to links that go directly to your squeeze page.
Do This Whatever You Do
Regardless of what you do to get free traffic, create a traffic flow intersection. I know that sounds confusing, but it’s actually an easy concept to figure out. When you get people to click on a link from, say, a forum, you take them to a place where you can promote other content of yours.
So, for example, if you are in a forum, you can post your Facebook fan page link. When they click on your Facebook fan page link, they see your page description, some content, and then they click that, they go to your blog. On your blog, you can then post links to your guest posts. If they click on those, they go back to your website or they can go straight to your squeeze page.
The same applies to your answers on Quora as well as your posts in social media. The point here is to make sure that your content all lead to even more of your content because you end up branding the prospect many times over.
You have to understand that people are not going to trust you immediately just because you came up with some nice looking piece of content. One shot is not going to do it. However, if they notice that it seems like every link of yours that they click leads to high quality, niche targeted content, they can’t help but take you more seriously. At a certain level, you start becoming more and more credible in their eyes. You become an expert in their minds.
This is actually easier than you think because you only need to look at what you’re up against. Chances are, your competitors are just simply looking to get that traffic to their squeeze pages. That’s all they want. They just want that click.
You, on the other hand, are focusing on building credibility. This makes you look good. It may take a little bit longer, but when people actually sign up to your mailing list, they are more likely to stick with you. They’re more likely to understand what you’re about.
Pay Attention to Your Free Traffic Results and Optimize Your Squeeze Page Accordingly
When you’re driving free traffic, one of the most immediate benefits it brings to the table is that you get to know whether your squeeze page is working optimally or not. This is crucial.
One red flag is when people click onto your squeeze page, but they don’t sign up. In other words, you’re able to lead the horse to the water, but you can’t get it to drink. There’s something wrong in the squeeze page itself. That’s where you can start mixing things up. You can start changing different elements to maximize the subscription rate.
This is why I suggest you start with free traffic because if you started off with paid traffic to doing this, you may end up finding out too late that there’s something fundamentally wrong with your squeeze page. You might actually be saying something that turns people off and prevents them from signing up. It’s much better to use free traffic to fix this rather than paid traffic.
Launch a Paid Traffic Campaign
Paid traffic methods
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Step 3. Follow UP letters – your money printing machine
Once you have optimized your squeeze page and you are confident that it is converting your niche traffic at a high enough level, the next step is to launch a paid traffic campaign.
The big advantage of paid traffic is you get a lot of traffic quickly. It’s like turning on a faucet. The moment you sign up for the advertising program at Facebook or at Google Adwords, the traffic starts coming.
When you launch a paid traffic campaign, I suggest that you use retargeting. This is crucial.
When people visit your squeeze page, a cookie is put in their browser. When they go to Facebook, they can see an ad for your squeeze page. When they go on a website that runs Google’s ad system, they see an ad for your squeeze page. Believe it or not, this type of retargeting increases conversions by up to 40%.
Don’t start from scratch. The key is to first use free traffic to prepare for retargeting, then optimize your squeeze page conversion rates, and you then launch a paid traffic campaign on social media to maximize the impact of your campaign’s target interests.
How do you do this? Well, on Facebook, study the metrics you have for your Facebook fan page and play around with the targeting parameters to see if you can increase conversions. For pay per click campaigns, on the other hand, make sure you select search words or phrases with a high intent. This is very important.
For example, “buy white tennis shoes” is a slam dunk if you are promoting an online store that sells tennis shoes. However, if you target tennis shoes, it’s anybody’s guess whether the traffic generated by that keyword would actually convert.
The more specific the intent, the higher the likelihood that traffic will convert. Focus on direct interests. You may have to pay a lot more, but the chances of you converting that traffic are a lot better.
The Keys to Paid Traffic Success
So how do you succeed with paid traffic considering the fact that it can cost you a pretty penny? Well, first of all, you need to start with a small test. Start with like, a $20 budget. Once you get the traffic from that test, optimize as you go.
Keep fixing your squeeze page, keep fixing your text, keep changing your ad creative, until you get a nice combination of a high click through and a high conversion rate. Now, this might seem like a fantasy at this point, but if you pay close attention to your statistics, you would be able to get the numbers you need to start playing around with your materials effectively for better conversion.
It’s also important to focus on intent. When people land on your squeeze page, the intent must be clear. A lot of marketers make the common mistake that volume means success. I’m telling you right now, even if a million people signed up for your mailing list, but none of them are genuinely interested in what you’re promoting, you’re going to fail.
And the worst part to all of this that it would be a very expensive failure. You’re going to have a tremendous amount of list squatters. You don’t want that. Instead, focus on intent.
Now, it’s easy to figure this out in terms of the actual text and messaging on your squeeze page, but unfortunately, if you wait until that point, you’re going to be a day late and a buck short. You really are. It’s like putting out the fire right after it burned your house down. All you get is cold comfort.
You need to also focus on intent prior to people getting to your list. This means publishing articles and getting guest posts on blogs that are highly interest targeted. This means establishing a tremendous amount of credibility at forums and directing the conversation so the interest is very targeted.
Focus on intent prior to the traffic getting to your site. Because if the traffic intent is unclear, a significant portion of people who find themselves on your squeeze page are just going to bounce out. They don’t know where they ended up. In their minds, they’re just clicking through. They thought everything was clear, and then boom, they end up at this squeeze page and they don’t know how to handle it.
Nobody’s being helped when that situation happens. You’re not getting a subscriber. They’re confused. Often times, they’re upset.
So do yourself a big favor, focus on refining intent throughout the process. Get your brand and link on the right areas on the internet. Get that click, make sure it goes to the right page, and be as obvious as you can regarding your niche.
Now, this might mean that you’re going to get less traffic, but believe me, a smaller flow of highly targeted traffic leads to a higher degree of success than a huge river of untargeted traffic. Focus on targeting.
Step #6: Monetize your list using PROFIT TUNNEL BLUEPRINT
Now comes the fun part. This is the part most marketers are happiest about. This is where you make money. To monetize your list, you have to wrap your mind around the old school sales truth of monetizing based on interests.
Old school sales people are able to turn their call lists into gold mines precisely because they know that flesh and blood human beings are not monolithic. For example, if you have a list of people who buy Mercedes Benz automobiles, you don’t just message those people with ads about the latest and greatest Mercedes product. Instead, you also profile those people.
A person who has the money to buy a top of the line Mercedes Benz is probably also the type of person who would like luxury vacations. This is probably also the type of person who’s big into Hermes bags, Prada leather goods, MBA programs, exclusive golf club memberships, you get the picture. Think in terms of interests.
Don’t think that just because you have a list of people buying a specific product that you are stuck with that product range. Old school sales people who make money hand over fist know this. This is why they make so much money because they take one list and convert it many times over selling all sorts of related products that are directly related or closely related to those interests.
There are two ways to play this, you can build your list and offer different products that cater to the same shared interests of your list members. Keep in mind that you’re not offering your own products. You’re offering somebody else’s. The best way to do this is through affiliate marketing.
You join an affiliate program and you look for affiliate products that target your niche. You sign up for those products and you get an affiliate link. You then create an ad with the affiliate link and send it to your list.
Now, if you target your list members’ interests correctly, people would click that link and buy something. When they do that, you get a commission. In this context, you turn the affiliate marketing message into a “parasite” which lives off your mailing list, which is the host. In this case, you are the host because you built up that mailing list.
You can also do this the other way around. You can find other list marketers and ask them to promote your product through your affiliate link. You create an affiliate program. Any list marketer that joins the program gets an affiliate link, and they put such link on their mail links. In that context, they are the host and your message is the parasite.
A good variation of this uses discount codes. This is more personal. This also adds more value to the brand of the people promoting you. They don’t necessarily have to get an affiliate link. Instead, they just have to go to your website and place an order. But for the end user to get a discount, they have to give the discount code you gave to your affiliate.
Now, regardless of how you do this, whether you’re the host or the parasite, make sure that you can track sales. Obviously, you’re going to be very concerned with this if you are the host. You worked hard to build your list and you’re just plugging all these affiliate links, and you want to make sure that they are counting the traffic correctly and if there are any conversions that they are crediting you correctly.
On the other end of the equation, if you are running your own affiliate program and your links are basically parasites on other people’s lists, they want to be assured. They want the peace of mind that comes from knowing that when they share your link, your program is accurately tracking sales.
Whether you’re a host or a parasite, this is the first step to monetizing your list. There are other ways which I will discuss later below.
How to Do List Sales Like a Pro
So how do you sell like clockwork on your mailing list? While it is possible to generate sales by putting together a list and publishing affiliate links, one of the most effective ways is to segregate your list into two buckets: info and buyers.
An info list is essentially just a general list of people who downloaded a freebie, accessed premium information, or signed up to some sort of online email-based course. These are people who are just interested in the answers you bring to the table. They might or might not convert. In other words, converting these people might be a crapshoot.
On the other hand, a buyers list includes only people who have actually bought something. They have actually spent money on something that you’re promoting.
The best way to create a buyers list is to promote a $1 product to your info list. The moment that people from your info list buy that $1 product, they get taken off the info list and get put on the buyers list.
You should then look at your buyers list as your premium list. These are people who have demonstrated that they are not only ready and able to buy, but they’re willing to buy.
A lot more of your attention should be spent on converting your buyers list. They’re already tried and proven. You know that they are willing to spend money.
Sure, you tested them with $1, but believe me, the distance between $1 and $100 is not as vast as you think. Similarly, the distance between $100 and $1,000 is not as difficult as you may imagine. It all boils down to how you position the value. Focus most of your firepower on monetizing your buyers list.
Now, keep in mind that you cannot just completely forget about your info list. You should still send updates to your info list for, if for no other reason, giving people the opportunity to buy a one dollar product.
But once you get people on your buyers list, maintain their trust. Send high quality information. Give a tremendous amount of value, but work really hard to get them to convert to other products.
The reason why I segregate my lists this way is because I want to reduce friction as much as possible. In other words, I want to set things up in such a way that people don’t feel that they are giving up much to buy something.
I give them the opportunity to identify themselves as either freebie seekers or serious enough to actually want to buy something. Once I’ve identified them as “serious enough,” I then spend the vast majority of my firepower converting this base. That’s how I maximize my return on effort.
The Best Part to Your List?
So what’s the best part to list marketing? Well, I look at my list really as an asset that continues to grow over time. And the best part to this is that I can convert people once, but if I send the right update, I can convert them again, and again, and again.
Don’t think that just because you got somebody to buy a $1 product that that’s the end of the story. No. In fact, that may just be the beginning. If this person bought something for $1, if you send the right update that is compelling enough, they might want to buy
something for $10. If that makes sense and establishes even more credibility in their eyes, you might be able to get them to buy something worth $100.
In fact, a lot of business to business lists have been known to generate sales in the thousands of dollars. We’re talking about contract values that are in the four to five figure range. Indeed, for really specialized lists, six figures is not unheard of. It all boils down to the quality of your list.
Focus on quality. Make sure you’re targeting the right people. Make sure you add value to people’s lives. And, most importantly, make sure you are in the right high value niche, and you can pretty much write your own paycheck.
How to Truly Explode Your ROI
Since we’re on the topic of monetization, one of the most important questions that you’re probably asking is how do I take things to the limit? How do I truly maximize my ROI?
Well, let me telly you, just like in the real world, if you really want to be rich, you won’t be able to do it working for somebody else. There, I said it. Unless you become a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you probably would not become filthy rich working for somebody else. It’s just not going to happen.
The same logic applies to list marketing. If you really want to maximize your income, you have to sell your own products. Sure, affiliate marketing can earn you quite a bit, but there are serious drawbacks there. You don’t control the product, you don’t control the sales page, you don’t control payment processing, and you don’t control the overall experience of the customer. There’s just so many things you don’t control.
The flip side is true when it comes to selling your own product. You craft the product based on the actual needs of your list members. By constantly listening to your list members, you can come up with a custom crafted product that truly delivers value to their lives.
Second, you are in full control of the sales page of the product. This is a big deal because you can maximize conversion rates. If you’re doing list marketing and you’re posting affiliate links, you are at the mercy of your sponsor. You’re hoping against hope that they are competent enough that their sales page converts at a decent clip. But that’s anybody’s guess.
You don’t have that uncertainty when you are selling your own product because you are in full control of the sales page. In fact, you can keep tweaking it and optimizing it until it converts at a very, very nice rate.
When you sell your own product, you also are in control of the upsells of that product. For example, when somebody goes to a sales page, they can enter an email address. Once they submit, they are taken to another page, which is an actual affiliate offer. They can fill that out and you can make more money from that. There are just so many opportunities you can take.
Finally, you can also create an escalating scale of value. In other words, you can set up your product series in a way where people initially buy something that’s worth one dollar. You add value to their lives, they like what they get, so you then convince them to buy something that’s $10. After they’ve signed up for that, you can then upsell them to something that is $50 or $100, and so on and so forth.
What makes this awesome is that throughout the life of your list, the overall dollar value per user goes up because you deliberately and purposefully set up product offers a certain way. You don’t have this if you’re just an affiliate. A lot of the times, the stuff that you’re selling is just a one shot deal. Either they buy or they don’t. And even if they do, it doesn’t really open the door for you upselling them to something else.
Step #7: Optimize your list
Your squeeze page requires a tremendous amount of care for you to make a lot of money. Let’s just get that clear. You have to design and redesign it to maximize its conversion rate. In fact, by constantly changing and tweaking it, you can get it up to the point where it converts traffic into list members at a predictable rate.
Use the Darwinian approach
How do you go about doing this? Well, I use the Darwinian approach. You remember Charles Darwin from high school biology or basic college biology?
Charles Darwin said that species evolved through survival of the fittest. In other words, when natural conditions change, certain members of a species are more likely to adapt. Either they’re faster or they have certain anatomical features so they are more likely to adapt to changed situations and survive.
This enables them to reproduce at a higher rate than those who could not adapt as well. Given enough time, those with certain helpful adaptations in their genes tend to dominate. As a result, the species changes.
For example, before the industrial revolution, in certain forests of England, white and black moths were found in equal numbers. During the industrial revolution, a lot of coal plants polluted the air, and a lot of the trees turned black because of the carbon they absorbed. As you can well imagine, white moths against a black tree trunk are easy targets for birds and other predators. Soon enough, after a few decades, only black moths remained. This is the power of adaptation in the natural world.
The good news is that you can apply this to your list marketing as well. Here’s how I do it. I would take an initial version of my squeeze page and I would run free traffic as well as paid traffic to it. This would give me a baseline conversion percentage. This is the “normal” conversion rate.
I would then take the squeeze page and make different variations of it. Maybe I would change the image or I would change the text. Maybe I would change the font or the colors. Regardless, they look different enough from each other. They are, after all, variations.
I would then run paid traffic to all of this. Again, this is done with the assumption that you have optimized your squeeze page initially with free traffic. This way, you’re not starting out from scratch. You’re not just taking blind shots in the dark.
Among these variations, one usually does better. So I would take that “winner” and make variations based on that. I would run the test again using paid traffic, and I would repeat this process of variation and testing, until I find a design that achieves a consistent and predictable conversion rate.
I use this technique on both my squeeze page and my updates. This is crucial. You have to use it on your updates as well because when you send emails, some variations do better than others.
You have to do this testing primarily on your info list. Once you figure out which email titles are more effective and which bodies get more clicks, then you apply it to your buyers list to turbocharge the results you get.
So if you’re going to be using this Darwinian approach, here are some guidelines on how to do it. For squeeze pages, I would swap out the covers, upgrade the texts, swap out the layouts, swap out the font, play around with the graphics and add or take off videos.
For mailing lists, I would play around with headlines or take out or include subheadings in the body. I would also play around with the text of the call to action. Just as importantly, I would also switch the different products I am promoting.
Using this Darwinian method over a long and extended period of time, you should be able to clearly identify stuff that works. Focus on what works, do less of the stuff that fails.
Make no mistake about it, if you want to be successful in the list marketing game, you must choose to be successful.
This is crucial.
A lot of people think that this is just a mental thing; that you can choose to be successful and imagine yourself to be in your mind. Well, it doesn’t just play out in your mind.
You have to take action. It’s one thing to say that you’re going to be doing these things, it’s another to actually put them into action.
The good news is, I have spelled everything out for you…
There is no mystery here. A lot of the guesswork has been taken out. Sure, you still have to customize this information to fit your particular set of circumstances, but a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done for you. You just need to follow the steps in this book with maximum attention to detail.
Be proactive in customizing it. Do a lot of testing, and then identify the stuff that works and build more of it. Also, if you’ve identified a system that works, build a lot of them.
When I first started, I built websites that generated a grand total of one dollar a day. Now, you’re probably laughing your head off right now. You’re probably thinking, how can this lead to some sort of online business empire?
Well, sure, one website generated one dollar a day, but it worked on autopilot and I didn’t have to lift a finger for that site to make that much money.
I then turned around and made hundreds of those websites that generate at a clip of a dollar a day. These one dollar sales add up to several hundred dollars per day. I then take that income and create even more sites. Do you see the big picture here?
Stop thinking short term. Stop thinking small. Instead, become a system builder. The good news is that once you identify a system that works and you built the right one, you can scale it up. This is not going to happen unless you’re proactive.
Enjoy your financial freedom. Nobody can enable you to achieve such freedom except you. Take action today.
Use the revised and updated sales secrets here based on tried and proven old school sales secrets so you can achieve the kind of success you’ve only previously dreamt about.
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