“The Money Is in The List” But, Do You Have One?
Why build a prospect email contact list?
Because market research reveals that people do not usually buy the first time they know about a product or service, smart marketers use smart marketing techniques such as list building to keep “first time” site visitors or prospects in the back-burner (their email lists) so that they can follow up with them (informing, educating, entertaining, offering freebies) until they convert them to buyers and life-long customers.
An opt-in email list is the life-blood of any business.
This post is a follow up to an earlier post on why every business should build their own list, titled “Why Every Small Business Owner/ Blogger Should Have an Email List?“For anyone considering taking an existing offline business online OR just starting a fresh new business online OR recently started doing business online this post will show you how to start building your own list, from ground zero.
The 7 Steps to Email List Building for Beginners
Here are 7+1 steps to building a new list, from the scratch:
1. Get an eMail Autoresponder Service
What is an autoresponder? You need a database to hold the email addresses and contact details of your subscribers so that you can follow up with them later. Autoresponders help you do this.
In addition to that, an autoresponder enables you to follow up with the people that have subscribed to your blog, and it provides an automated way to the follow up process so that it send out emails to your subscribers on your behalf anytime of the day and all year round, without you doing these one by one, for every single subscriber. That’s a great productivity tool for any serious business, online or offline.
Which Autoresponder Should I use?
There are lots of autoresponders for all budget categories – some free for beginners, some paid; some cheap, some expensive; some good, some crappy. Find one that is of good quality and yet fits your budget.
If you are building your small business on a tight budget and want to use the top, affordable autoresponders, you can check out these:
- Aweber is one of the best and most popular autoresponders. It’s good but expensive at $1 first 30 days trial and then $19 for zero to 500 subscribers. Highly recommended IF you can afford it now and in the long run BUT if you can’t afford it, below are pretty good autoresponders recommended for small businesses;
Advice: I advice that you start list building with a good affordable premium autoresponder, so that you do not get broke and out of business before your subscribers (list) start responding with clicks that will fund any pricey autoresponder you decide to use.
Below are 3 top autoresponders that are great YET affordable for a small and home business on a shoe-string budget:
- GetResponse: GetResponse is also up there in the league of Aweber, and allows affiliate marketing. It’s free for your first 100 subscribers, and from your subscriber number 101, you’ll start paying $9.95 for 250 subscribers; $25 for 2,500 subscribers.
- ImnicaMail: I use this one. It’s a very afforadble and good autoresponder that allows affiliate marketing. It’s created by a top Warrior Forum member. You can start with the free account for 1000 subscribers and after that you’ll start paying $3 for up to 1,000 subscribers; $7 for 1001 to 2,500 subscribers. These are way less than half of what you’ll pay for 500 subscribers on other good autoresponder services. (To use Imnica Free for your first 1000 subscribers, click here and then click “plans and pricing” and then choose “Free per month”).
- MailChimp is another one that offers free for your first 2,000 subscribers, and from your 2001th subscriber, you’ll start paying the normal rates at $10 for 500 subscribers; $15 for $1000 subscribers, and more dollars for more subscribers. NOTE: The only snag with Mailchimp is that their Terms of Service clearly says affiliate marketers are not allowed, and that means if you plan to market other people’s products via emails, you may suddenly wake up one day to find that Mailchimp has banned your account. This has happened to many people, although a lot of people are still risking it. However, if your business will only send newsletters (no product promotions) OR you’ll sell only your products/ services you create yourself (not other people’s), Mailchimp is a great autoresponder.
- ListWire (Free for Life BUT…): While some premium Autoresponder services allow “free-to-start-pay-when-your-list-is-big” accounts for small businesses on budget, Listwire.Com is 100% free for life and fully functional. However, there is a not-so-cool catch for getting it free – you will be receiving tons of their marketing emails AND the day you opt out of the emails, you’ll be kicked out of the autoresponder service, and will lose your list. Verdict: I advice you do not use it, there are better options (above).
2. Put up an Opt-In Form on your blog
An opt-in form is what you’ll use to collect names and email addresses of subscribers, and those get stored in your autoresponder. Your autoresponder company will give you a special code which you will paste on your blog, to create the opt-in form.
Once you have signed up for an autoresponder service, it would be time to start collecting email addresses of readers who want to join your newsletter or want to download your free report.
Next, place an opt-in form on your blog sidebar. Here’s a free video tutorial from Idiotproofblogging.com on how to add an opt-in form to your blog. Click here to setup your own opt-in form – watch the video tutorial and implement.
3. Create A Squeeze Page and Send Traffic To It
You should also create a squeeze page on a dedicated page, where you’ll ask your readers to signup to become your subscribers. Because this squeeze page is on a dedicated page, you can place this link on articles you write, guest posts and even forums, in order to get more subscribers.
EXAMPLE: Want to see what a squeeze page is like? Take a look at my own squeeze page here and you can see my opt-in box is on the right side of this page and also on my home page (my side bar).
*OptimizePress is a great tool you can use to create pretty, high converting squeeze pages. Click (image) below and check out OptimizePress.
4. Create a Lead Magnet (i.e. an eBook or short report for Giveaway)
eBooks can do 2 key things for you – establish you as a brand and an authority (to reckon with) in your market and (ii) attract people to you – people who like your book will trail you back to your blog.
You can use an eBook as a list-building tool. Write a short report and offer it as an incentive for readers to enter their emails (into your opt-in box) in exchange for your short report.
- To learn how to create an eBook, click here to read my post on creating an eBook in 1 day. Also read How Giving Away Free eBooks/ Reports Can Get You More Subscribers.
5. Help your Lead Generation eBook to go Viral
Give your eBook some push – let other people know about it, and some may spread the word for you, if they like it. Promote your eBook. Put its landing page or download link in your signature, in forums and emails. Share the link with your social media fans – tweet it, share it on Facebook, share on LinkedIn and other social media channels you belong to.
6. Join JV Giveaways as a contributor
Bigger lists generate bigger sales. It’s just a game of numbers, with lists. Conversions are a percentage of the size of lists and, for instance 1% (conversion) of a list of 500 subscribers is 5, and; 1% (conversion) of a 5000 person list is 50.
If that is the number of sales that the list owners can possibly make whenever they successfully make (affiliate) product recommendations to their lists, wouldn’t you want to quickly grow your list up to, and way above the zero and 500 limit?
What if you knew a fast method to sky-rocket your list size overnight?
JV Giveaways are a great way to piggy-back on other marketers with huge lists to build your own list from ground zero, to thousands in no time. JV giveaway events can last from a few days to a few weeks and that is such a record time to explode your list.
The only “snag” is that you can only enter as a contributor if you have a small report or eBook to contribute. You’ll need to contribute a free eBook or report to be part of a Giveaway. To find JV Giveaway events you can start participating in, go to newjvgiveaways.com.
JV Giveaways are events where contributors pool together various information products in one single place which they offer the public to download for free, at the end of the event.
The good thing about these kinds of events is that it is open to absolutely everyone – zero list, small list, big list – very newbie friendly, you’d say.
7. Always teach them something new – keep offering immense value.
The have opted in as an expression of interest in what you know. So, for your own good, keep that expectation up – never starve them.
Teach them what you have learnt, what you have found in your experience, to work for you. Give them more value – a reason to remain subscribed to you. That’s the way to build a strong “cult-like” bond with your own tribe (subscribers), and get them to like you (and buy from you when you recommend).
Write valuable blog posts that you think they’d like; posts that will teach them something new they can apply immediately and start seeing results. Ask them what they’d like to read about and write on that topic.
Write a series of follow-up emails for your subscribers and load into your autoresponder. Write and send follow up emails to your subscribers. You can block out a few hours to write a tutorial, and then break it into five to seven small parts to make an eCourse series. Then load them one-time into your autoresponder and schedule it to email to new subscribers over 5 to 7 days.
Be a friend and not a salesman or marketer – give tons of value and USEFUL information. They are human and not just “dollars in disguise”. When you stop selling in the front-end and start teaching, they’ll be the ones asking to buy. They’ll want to know where to get that thing you wrote (taught) how it can help them.
Start giving (value) first, before expecting them to buy from you. People give (money) after they receive (value) first, and only when they are convinced that you have what they want, will they give to you, by way of purchases. Position yourself as that giver or their go-to resource person whenever they think of your subject matter or market. If you want to master the art and science of building lists that will generate sales, the course below is highly recommended. You can click the below image to check it out and decide for yourself).
8. Communicate regularly with your subscribers to build a relationship with them
Out of sight is out of mind. As you know, you have competitors who are also building email lists. It is very likely that some of your subscribers are also on their lists.
Fact: The money is NOT in the list BUT in the relationship with that list.
If you do not mail your subscribers frequently, your competitors will, and you’ll lose their attention. Just as with trying to win the hear of a new date, staying in touch helps you get close to getting them know you more, like and trust you. And the truth is that people buy from those they know, like and trust.
Even if you have only one subscriber, make it a habit to stay in touch and keep them updated. Write 1 new email to your subscribers every week or every fortnight. This can be an update about a new blog post or article you submitted at a Directory; it can be educational or entertaining, or even about a personal experience you think they can learn from.
Next Steps: Your List Building ‘To Dos’
Based on the key lessons in this post, here are 5 simple tasks you can do this week, to start building a highly responsive subscriber list:
- Get a good autoresponder service (see step #1 above for the best best autoresponders for online marketers)
- Use baits (free gifts) to increase conversion – from readers to subscribers, and from subscribers to buyers. Give something of value, more than what they’d get from related websites or blogs
- Place an opt-in box on your website/ blog
- Create a squeeze page and start driving traffic to it
- Communicate to build relationship with your subscribers, even if it’s only 1 person for now. Frequency of mailing? A guide is to email them once a week; once in two weeks OR once a month. More is even better but never less than that.
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Have I missed anything? I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts in the comments side.
To your rapid list building success,