List building… we are told all the time that the profits are in the list, yet most people never actually build one! Having a list can be invaluable as you can get feedback on new products, you can promote things to them for as long as they stay on your list, and you have recurring traffic ‘in a box’ so if Google delists you site etc then you can still make money while you fix that.
Most websites rely on new visitors to make them money, but with a list you can get the same people back to your site again and again, giving them more exposure to your banner ads, giving them new Adsense ads to maybe click on, and also getting comments off them to feed Google with juicy content!
Yet while the other 3 areas I am going to discuss I think are mandatory if you really want to build a big and profitable business, list building is still an optional element. Some people just don’t like having a list of people they have to maintain a relationship with. I said earlier that you need to do what you enjoy, so if the thought of building a list makes you go cold, then maybe it would be more of a hindrance to you as you will drag your heels and it will make you less productive.
But even if you don’t think you’d like having a list, then at least try to build a small one, just to try it out, because you may find your really enjoy it, maybe it is not as hard as you thought and you enjoy being able to interact with people who visit your site – if you never try you’ll never find out! If you still hate it after trying it then give up and at least you know for sure that it is not right for you.
For those of you who do want to build a list, then there are three main areas you really need to think about:
- Getting opt-ins
- Building a relationship
- Making money!
This is where your list starts from, you need to stick up a squeeze page or an opt-in box on your site and drive people to that in order to get opt-ins, then a service like Aweber or GetResponse collects the details they submit and allows you to send them any emails you have prewritten or any others that you want to write and send out later.
You need a ‘bribe’ to get them to opt-in – what can you offer them to get them on to your list? If you are trying to get them on your list after they purchase something off you then often just offering free updates etc. will be enough to get people to bite, but if it is just on your blog or if you are directing people straight to the squeeze page off an article etc., then you need to have some sort of free report, or even better, a video, which you can offer them in return for opting in.
Make sure it is a good report/video too! That is their first impression of you so if you tell them how great your report is then it turns out to be rubbish, they instantly form a bad impression of you and you would need to do a lot to turn that around. You can use PLR content which makes things a lot quicker, but make sure it is high quality PLR because let’s be honest, most of it is junk.
Make sure you test out different bribes and different boxes/wording on the boxes, to help maximise the amount of people who opt-in to your list each day.
Building a relationship with your subscribers
Getting people onto your list is one thing, but getting them to trust you and to stay on your list is another altogether. You build a relationship with the people on your list through content, that is why they joined your list in the first place – to get whatever content you offered them to opt-in, but they also expect good content in the future too.
The most critical part of building a good relationship with them is the first few contacts, that is when they will form their impression of you. I already mentioned it is important to give them a good report/video for opting in, but after that you also need to reinforce that positive impression they have of you so they remember who you are and look forward to your emails.
The best way to do that is – in the first email they get off you, the one which sends automatically after they join up, then introduce yourself briefly, tell them what to expect in the future from you (more information on dog training etc) and give them another link to the report/video you promised them for signing up. If you have it set up right then they should be taken to the report/video after opting in, but still it is a good idea to put a link in the first email to them just in case they missed it.
That gets you off to a good start, you’ve given them a high quality bribe and you’ve introduced yourself so they are more likely to recognise your name in their inbox the next time you email them (always have your name in the ‘from’ field).
The next step is to over deliver so you stand out from all the other people building email lists that just give thin content and promote product after product to their list to make money. Send them about 3 emails, 3 days apart, each very short, but directing them to some high quality content on the subject they are interested in, it can be your content (which is preferable), or you can just send them to someone else’s site as you still get credit for being the person who found it and referred them to it.
It is important to recontact them like this after they have just signed up because if you leave it 2 weeks or so as you ‘don’t want to annoy them’ then they may forget they signed up to your list! That means when you do email them they are going to unsubscribe or worse, hit the spam button!
So now they know who you are as you have contacted them repeatedly after they signed up, and you have also built a reputation for giving them high quality content, perfect! Now you need to maintain that good relationship and start to make some money, which means alternating between giving them content and promoting products to them.
I’d use a 2:1 ratio of content to promotions, so for every promotion you send then send two non-promotional emails first. Not every non-promotional email has to be super high quality content, it could just be a short tip for them to help them out, but the important thing is you are showing them you are not just bombarding them with promotional emails.
How often do you contact them? Well I have one lady client who emails her list every day, and that works for her as she sends them little tips and motivational emails which they love to receive. You have to choose what is best for you, if you don’t have much time then just go for once every 2 weeks, you did a good job at the start of getting them to remember you so hopefully when you do send an email they will recognise your name.
Just make sure you stick to a pretty consistent schedule so they know when to expect your emails, email more often if you have an announcement or you had something happen on that day which you think they would be interested in, but don’t email them every few days for 2 weeks, then stop for a month for instance.
Making money with your list
This is the bit where it all pays off! Being able to send an email then see affiliate commissions or sales roll in is a fantastic feeling! Or even better of course is having a load of prewritten emails which go out to your list which make you money from every opt-in that comes in.
If you can, then the best kind of promotional email you can send is where you have tested something out, like it and think it would benefit the people on your list. That means you can give them a great email which talks about your experience with the product and sucks them in so they read it and hopefully click your affiliate link.
The second best would be if you see something cool that you haven’t purchased, but think would help them out, then you can write about why you like the look of it and why they should check it out.
The worst kind of email you can send is for a product you have no clue about as you haven’t even looked at what it has to offer, you are just copying and pasting a promotional email the merchant gave you about it, or you are just trying to make a quick buck and have no idea if it will help them or not. Those are the kind of emails I see a lot and they instantly ruin your relationship with your list, because people can see you are not interested in the product and don’t know much about it. Also the product might be low quality, so if anyone buys it and finds out it is junk when you recommended it, then they are never going to trust anything you say ever again.
You don’t need to buy every product (like in the second best promotional email), but you do need to look at every product you want to recommend and think if it really could help out people on your list, and if you’d buy it if the situation was reversed.
Just be genuine in the promotional emails and don’t try to sell the person reading the email, recommend as a friend instead and you’ll make much more money.
And remember, you can always join in the discussion by leaving me a comment below 🙂