List Building 101: List Buidling Tools

After deciding what niche you’ll be building your list in, what you’ll be giving your list for free to get them to sign up, and have a long term strategy to manage your list promotions, comes the time to actually start building your list.

List building requires at least two basic tools: an autoresponder and a website. In most cases you’ll also need an html editor.

Autoresponders:

An autoresponder is the software that collects the date of the subscribers, store them in the database, sends out the emails to the subscribers in a given sequence, and handles global broadcasts to the list.

The autoresponder is the first point of contact between you and your subscribers. They only subscribe to your list after they fill the form that you’ll get from the autoresponder.

Choosing an autoresponder could be a hard decision. Now most autoresponders offer the same features as double or single opt in, sending html emails, tracking the subscribers behavior, and ease of use of your back office. Whether you’re going to use these options or not, it’s good to have them if they’ll not cost you more.

The point is, they don’t. What costs you more is the size of your list in most cases. The larger your list(s) the more you pay per month. The only exception from this rule is grabthatlead, which charges you $9.95/month regardless of the size of your lists. There is less options with grabthatlead (only double opt in, no tracking, and most of the work has to be done manually), but it’s a good start for someone who is not going to be changing their plans too often.

Other options include Aweber, Getresponse, and iContact.

For a long time Aweber and Getresponse have been the only players in terms of deliverability, ease of management, tracking, spam checks … etc. But for the past year or so iContact started to gain more ground on basis of giving the same features as the above two while starting with less than $10/month (as opposed to $19/month with Aweber and $17/month with Getresponse) for the first 500 members.

I would like you to know that I am affiliated with iContact and I’ll get paid commission when you buy through my link. That doesn’t mean any misleading information here. I am also affiliated with Grabthatlead and Getresponse, but I recommend iContact for a reason:

Lately most of the big names in the IM industry are using iContact, like Fran Kern. If someone like Fran Kern switches from Aweber to iContact there should be a good reason for that.

Website:

Your website could just be a landing page that persuades that visitors to enter their emails and get your free gift. Although so simple, but is not easiest to set up. You’ll need an html editor to build your page and insert the html code of the lead capture form.

Also it’s not the easiest to drive traffic to. A one-page website like the one described above is not preferred by search engines. Even when you buy traffic, in terms of PPC quality scores the chances are that you’ll pay more per click that you should.

The alternative is a blog with a lot of valuable content and a lead capture form in an obvious place that offers the free gift in exchange for email addresses.

For building a blog you only need to install WordPress on your server and paste your lead capture form in a text widget on top of the side column with a big distinct header that attracts the reader. You could also use an exit pop-up lead capture form, although academic study says that when the exit pop-up matches the content of the website the response is significantly lower than when its content is totally different from the website.

Any hosting company from those advertised on the side bar offer one-click WordPress installation. I highly recommend hostgator for two reasons:

1. Ease of use. You can install WordPress with clicking a button, filling the blanks, clicking another button and you’re done.

2. Faster servers than most other shared hosting.

This blog is built manually and hosted on 1and1. I love it, and never had a major problem with them for over 4 years. But I have to do everything manually, including updating WordPress and installing new themes and plug ins.

That’s it for the tools. Really it’s that simple. An autoresponder and a website is all what you need to start building your own virtual ATM machines. The sooner you start the sooner you’ll see results.

The next post will be about driving traffic to your website. Enjoy.

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List Buidling 101: Decide What To Do With Your List Before You Start Building It

When we get to the actual steps and tools that you’ll be using in list building you’ll find that it’s so easy that you can start building multiple lists at the same time by clicking some buttons. It is important to learn these technical stuff, or have someone in your team who can do it, but there is another issue that you should focus more on before you start building any list.

What are you going to do with this list? The purpose you are building this list for is to be able to generate traffic on demand to certain pages so that you make money. Isn’t it all about money?

Ok, yes it is about money, but in order to get to that point you need to have a list building strategy that aims at maximizing your lsit responsiveness. You need to see ahead of time what are you going to do with your list 1 year from now.

One of the mistakes that I did when I started building my lists is that I used a free autoresponder that only allowed mass mailing. Without an automated series of emails going out to my list I had hard time keeping track of what I’ve sent and what to send next to whom. That made it easier for me to just send one email to all of my list members every once in a while.

What that did to my business was destructive. My list was reponsive at the beginning when I was actively sending them information and promotions regularly. But when I stopped doing that for a while due to other life issues my list forgot who I am and some have even sent me asking “when did I sign up to your list” or something like that.

Where am I going with this story? You need to do two things in order to keep your list responsive:

1. Be consistent. If they expect an email every week from you don’t skip a week without sending it. Any paid autoresponder can handle that for you. Just write the emails you want to send to your list IN ADVANCE and insert them in the sequence and you’r done. This also keeps your list members on the same sequence as one another. To explain this imagine you are sending those emails manually and every week you write a fresh content and send it to your list. Your older members have seen the beginning of the series, while your new members can only see this week’s content.

A $10/month autoresponder can solve this issue for you. You can still send the fresh weekly content, but the original series has to go to your list regularly and on time every time they expect it.

If you don’t, someone else will take your place and will be their hero for providing similar content but with consistency.

2. Always put content first. The purpose of building the list is to send promotions that make you money, but without sending free valuable content to your list you are not building the AUTHORITY RELATIONSHIP with your list members. This authority is what gives you the credibility that will get your list members to respond to your promotional offers.

If you have been around in the Internet Marketing field for a while you must have heard of Mike Filsaime’s 7 Figure Zone and Frank Kern’s InfoMillionaire. What those people did is that they provided highly valuable information for free and got thousands of people on their lists. They monetized the process by no brainer back end offers (OTO’s and monthly subscription to their magazines).

Their free content were enough for many people, including myself, to start building online businesses on solid foundations. That alone has built their authority figures for their lists. When they send promotions as affiliates to other Internet marketing gurus, they get on top of the super affliate lists very easily just by sending a few emails to their lists.

Their free valuable content gave them the credibility that when they recommend something to their readers, they trust them and believe them. They dont’ have to hide their affiliate relationship with the product they are selling, We know they are affiliates but we also know thay are not going to sell us cheap.

What I want you to take home from this article is that you need to be there in your list’s life on regular basis with valuable free content. That’s why they are on your list, and if they don’t get it from you another marketer will provide it and take your place in their lives.

To the right of this article you might find an ad for one or more autoresponders. Invest in one of those as low as $10/month and start building your empire on solid foundation.

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List Building 101: Who do you want to join your list?

Back to the base line: you want to build a list of people who are interested in your niche, and you want to build a relationship with those people so that they respond to your promotions in a way that makes you money. Right?

Now let’s break that down into smaller pieces that we can digest:

You want PEOPLE to give you the permission to send them emails of a certain nature so that you can make money.

What kind of PEOPLE do you want to give you this permission?

There are 2 main characteristics that have to be represented in those PEOPLE to make your list building efforts profitable. These 2 characteristics are:

1. They are all interested in your niche

2. They are all in a position that they can buy from you

There are other characteristics that depend on your niche, like gender, age, location, level of education, have a certain health concern,  … the list goes on. But without being interested in your niche and/or without their ability to buy from you, then there is no money to make here.

By being able to buy from you I mean that they are over 18 in most cases, have their own electronic payment methods, and can afford your product(s).

And being interested in your niche is vague, but it can be finely defined by doing the proper market research.

In most cases, the proper market research starts with doing a keyword research. Google’s keyword research tool is the best and is free. You don’t really need those fancy keyword research tools if you know what you are doing. They save time though, so you decide at what point in your Internet marketing career you’ll need a fancy keyword research tool.

Click here to learn how to use Google’s Keyword Tool.

From the keyword research you need to know what actions do your prospects search for: are they searching for how to stop something, learn about it, increase it … etc. These action words are not necessarily typed in the search box by the searcher. It’s your job to learn that from they searched terms.

Example:

If you do a keyword research about “panic attack” you’ll find that there are searches about how to treat it, how to stop it, and about the symptoms or causes of panic attacks.

So you have 3 actions searched here: treat, stop, and learn. Treat and stop are mentioned clearly in the searched terms, but “learn” was implied by searches about the symptoms and causes.

Why is that important for you as an Internet marketer who wants to build a list?

These searched actions are going to be your guide on how to bribe those people to join your list.

Following the same example; if you are selling a cure for panic attack you might want to give an educational bribe to help your potential customers decide whether what they are having is panic attack or not. Your target will be those who are searching the keywords that imply the need of education. Provide them with what they want then tell them about what they need.

One of my favorite instructors used to say: “You don’t know what you don’t know”. And it is true in our exmaple above. People who are searching for panic attack symptoms or causes are not sure yet whether they need a pill, a diet, a visit to a psychic, or an informational ebook. You will give them what they want (more information) and after you educate them about the condition you tell them that they need your ebook or audio (or whatever you are selling) in order to solve this problem.

I know when I try to educate people about things that I had to learn on my own I don’t pass the information easily to them. So, if you still think it’s not clear enough please use the form below to ask your questions.

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