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.
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.
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.