List Building 101: How to Get your List Members to Take Action

Getting your subscribers to take the action you want is what you build the list for, isn’t it? And to get them to take the desired action is what makes the difference between a virtual ATM machine and a pain in you know what.

There are several factors that affect this relationship between you and your subscribers and they take place during all of the steps of the process even while building the list. I’ll focus on the most important ones from my point of view in this article. But first let’s first identify what actions you want them to take.

There are 3 main actions you want your subscribers to do when you send them an email:

1. You want them to open and read your email.

2. You want them to understand that there is a benefit waiting for them when they click on the link in your email.

3. You want them to buy what you are selling (or promoting) once they are on that website.

So your goal is to make sales, and that can not be achieved if your subscribers don’t open your email and read your message. There are reasons you open emails from somebody and ignore those from another person. Let’s have a look at what factors interfere in making this decision.

First and before you even start building your list, the niche itself plays a strong role. Say you are in the dog training niche for example, people don’t take action earlier than 14 days from being exposed to your message.

Another important factor about the niche, if it is something you don’t really like to talk about, as in the above example you are not a huge dog lover or you don’t even have one, it will be hard for your subscribers to feel your passion because it really doesn’t exist. Being passionate about your niche transmits to your subscribers in your words and they feel it. If you are not talking to them from your core identity (borrowed from Frank Kern in “Core Influence”) you have less chances of getting your subscribers to take the action you want.

The equally important factor as being passionate about what you are selling is your history with your list. Do all the good things in the world, then send your list to a crappy product/offer and you can kiss most of your subscribers goodbye. It takes only one bad recommendation to screw your relationship with your subscribers.

So you need to do your homework and make sure you are recommending really great value. Only recommend stuff that you know will deliver more value than the money they will pay for it. And this is under your control. Even if the offer’s value is high enough, you can add more value by giving your bonuses that complement it and make the best combination since Saturdays and Sundays.

If you happen to goof about it, and its possibly not your mistake (like when the product you are recommending goes out of date the next day because of a change in a law or some rules), make sure you make it up for your subscribers. First admit it and apologize to them, then send them a free gift. If you have their physical addresses, and your niche is profitable, try sending them a physical gift if you can. Physical gifts can be visible all the time, while digital ones are only visible when you come across it on your hard disk.

The last factor for today is that you need to be clear about the action you want your subscribers to take. Ask them to click on the link and buy what you are recommending. Give good reasons for the action you are asking them to take. If you are not sure how this product will help them then it’s not a good idea to write to your list about it.

That’s it for today. Now please go back to the top and read this article again. If you think it’s a good article to share, please use the twitter button at the top to tweet about it, or share it with your social friends using the buttons below.

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List Building 101: The Best Source of Traffic

To build a list you need to have a website, on which you have a lead capture form you (you got from an autoresponder) on what is called the “Landing Page”. This page is where you’ll be sending your visitors to see your offer and subscribe to your list in order to receive it.

Building a website, copy writing, and designing a landing page is not rocket science, but if you have the money to outsource it (or just out task it) go for it. The hours, or days, that you will spend on doing this is much better used in finding markets and designing list building machines … let someone else worry about the technical stuff.

Once you have a “list building machine” you need to start sending people to the landing page. Most of the time you’ll hear people, including myself, talking about PPC, banners, social media, SEO … etc. Those are great sources for the long run, but you want thousands of people to sign up to your list now, then add some more using the above sources of traffic.

Here is what the “gurus” do, and works like charm every time:

Joint venture with people who already have lists and give them a good percentage of what you are charging for entering your list (whether on the front or the back end).

To do that go to Google and search for your niche. You’ll find websites that have lead capture forms. This means they are building lists. Send them emails requesting a joint venture: they send their list emails about your offer and in return you give them 75-100% of the immediate revenue when they take action.

This way you’ll have an army of list owners sending you the most responsive people on their lists for free. You pay them the money that they will make you, and only when you get paid that money.

If you do it right, like having them create a buzz for you a week or two in advance before your site goes live, then let them all know in advance that the offer will be available in a specific time window … if you do it this way you’ll get flooded with new members signing up to your list in a matter of hours.

Owning this list, and managing it the right way (by building trust and emotional attachment with your subscribers) is your gate to have money knocking your door asking you to take it.

By owning a huge responsive list you get other webmasters and list builders to contact you and ask you to do just the same as you did to build your list. Do that in different niches, like one niche every month, and in one year you’ll have 12 virtual ATM machines that only cost you hosting and autoresponder fees.

How does that sound? Please share your thoughts and concerns by leaving a comment below.

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List Building 101: Strategic List Building

After you decide what are you going to do with your list for at least 1 year ahead, and pick your tools (hosting and autoresponder) it’s time to put a strategy for the list building process.

In this post I’ll assume this is your first list to build, so I’ll start from scratch.

A good strategy for list building is based on what you want to do with the list. If your goal is to use it for direct email marketing then you want a list of people who read your emails and click your links. To get your list members to do that you need to train them on it.

Here is how:

Say you want to do direct email marketing in the “weight loss before wedding” niche. You want to target women who are over weight and about to get married. Your first step is to find out where they hand around. Search for wedding related terms on Alexa and pick the websites with the lowest Alexa rank. Take their urls and check the visitors demographics using quantcast.com. From Quantcast.com you can get the age group, education, and level of income of the visitors of these websites.

Now you have two options:

  1. Advertise for your landing page on these websites, or
  2. Advertise anywhere else targeting the same demographic data.

You can do both. What I would do is to advertise on these top ranking websites in the wedding niche. The traffic will be very targeted. Then I would expand my campaign to target the same demographics using other advertising media.

If advertising on those website is out of my reach I would use other advertising methods to target the same demographics (gender, age, income, education, singles, with or without kids …).

After your decide on the source of traffic it’s time to write everything you’ll send them over the next year. Using the same example, this bride would be interested in losing weight and maintain that level. You’ll need to prepare at least one article per week in addition to the initial download that they’ll receive once they sign up to your list.

In the autoresponder settings, provide the download link to the initial “weight loss before wedding” pdf file (or videos or whatever media you have chosen to deliver your valuable information) in the first email that goes out upon opting in.

Then post the articles on your website (or blog) in the full format, and set up your autoresponder to send out a teaser about each article and a link to the article page.

Here is why you should do it this way:

The pdf file (or the initial download) has to go immediately after signing up. It can not be delivered on the form of an email course because a bride is not going to delay her wedding until she receives the whole series. Urgency is good, it means there is an emotional factor that pushes towards responding to your recommendations.

The rest of the emails will contain a teaser only, and to know the rest of the article they have to click on the link. This is how you TRAIN your list members on clicking your links.

If you can get your prospect to sign up just to receive the email course your chances of having your emails read are bigger.

Also keep this piece of information in mind:

Always provide valuable free content, even when you are promoting something.

The valuable content will keep your list members attached to your newsletter, and will build your credibility as an authority in your niche. This credibility is the difference between a highly responsive list and a useless one.

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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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List Building 101: Theory and Mechanism

Last week I wrote about some list building facts and why anyone has anything to do with marketing on the Internet must build a list. This week I will explain how mailing lists are built. The information in this article are very basic, so if you are an advanced Internet marketer you might feel like you already know most of this.

The theory behind all list building mechanisms is the same as selling and trading: “You give something and get another thing in return”.

In list building you give your product, and you get the contact information of the receiver. You could also get some money as a price for what you are giving, and some times you just get the contact info.

Now I would like you to reflect upon the theory above and see how it applies to almost any thing you bought or downloaded on the Internet. All free reports, ebooks, software, and any downloadable material on the Internet requires that you “register” or “subscribe” or “opt in” to a list of some kind in order to access the download link (or activate the download).

And anything you buy requires that you submit a payment method that includes your contact information. Have you seen all of the “make money online” products on ClickBank? They are not there only to make money on the purchase itself, it’s more about building a list of proven buyers.This list will be used in the future for promoting high ticket products related to making money online ($2000 and up).

But building a list is not all about getting a huge number of people into your mailing list, it’s way beyond that.

If you sign up to a newsletter or a mailing list and for any reason you are not happy with what you are receiving, why would keep getting these emails? You’ll definitely opt out (unsubscribe) from that list. Right?

So, the other part of building a list is keeping your subscribers happy. Not only that will keep them longer in your list, it will also make them actually open and read your emails.

You don’t want a list of 1,000,000 subscribers who never open your emails!

And that’s why you need to plan for your list-building process at least 1 year ahead.

In the following articles I’ll write more about what to give your list, how to give it to them, and how to keep your subscribers happy. So stay tuned and come back often.

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List Building 101: Facts

Whether you are an affiliate marketer or selling your own product you MUST be building a list. Your list is your biggest asset in this kind of business. There are no fliers that you can distribute in your neighborhood about new products or discounts. In the virtual world email is the way to communicate with your customers.

Say you have a review site and you are sending traffic to it. And say it converts at 2%. 98% of the traffic will come and go away forever without buying. And you either paid for this traffic or worked hard to drive it to your website with articles and SEO techniques.

But if you capture 40% of those visitors you are multiplying your chances of making a sale several magnitudes by following up with valuable content while recommending the product you are selling.

Also, your list is the source of traffic under your finger tip that no body can take from you. If you have been around in the Internet marketing world for a while you must have heard of the horror stories about Google unplugging the sources of income for tens of thousands of families by closing Adwords accounts of affiliate marketers without a warning or explanation.

And for SEO, when Google changes the algorithms all of your hard work will go down the toilet and you’ll have to start it all over after you figure out how to do it this time. Besides, some dirty competitors do reverse SEO to knock you out of your hard earned position or out of Google’s index in some cases.

So, whatever you do, make your highest priority is to capture your visitors into your mailing list, and start building a good relationship with them by sending them valuable content in each email you send to them.

That’s why money is in the list.

Even if you have a secret source of traffic that you guarantee will work for you like a clock without any interruption, imagine having 40% of your visitors every day opting in to your mailing list. If you do it right and build the healthy relationship with those visitors, you have an instant traffic machine whenever you need it.

Especially with launches, you don’t have the time to build a campaign for a launch that is due in a week or so. With your loyal list all what you need to do is to send out a series of emails and you are done.

Recently Gary Ambrose (a very respected Internet marketer who works only from home with his wife) suggested that in order to succeed with affiliate marketing you need to first have your own product. And the reason he says so is that you get to build a list of buyers in your niche who are more likely to respond to your affiliate promotions in the future.

Given that not every one can have their own products (a membership site as he suggested to be specific), a list that’s built by giving away free content is not necessarily of a lower quality than that built by selling your own product.

All what you need to start building a list my way is some quality content that you prepare by yourself, outsource, or buy it ready as a PLR or MRR; an autoresponder, and a hosting. Away from the cost of the content, the autoresponder and the hosting might cost you as low as $14.5/month. If you make $1 per subscriber every month then you only need 14 people in your list to be in profit. This is not a promise though. The more people you have in your list and the more valuable your content is the more likely you can profit from your list.

Another topic that is going to be covered in this series is how to monetize your list. Do this right and you’ll never let another day go without capturing your visitors information.

So hang around and stay tuned for the next installment of the List Building 101 series.

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How to Steal Other People’s Businesses; Legally and Ethically!

As a working from home dad I came across hundreds of self claimed gurus who jump on the market with an info product about making money online, or an MLM scheme of their own and require you to pay them in order to get access to the info product or qualify for commission in their schemes. With no exception, I could easily reverse engineer every single one of them. I am proud of it, especially when I copied the system used by one of the biggest names in the industry, and a year later he sold it to the public as an info product. I was one year ahead of the world without having to buy this product.

In this post I’ll show you how to reverse engineer any successful business you come across. Just be patient and read carefully.

Here is the plan:

  1. Find a niche you want to do business in. All niches are profitable by the way. Some are more profitable, and some require hard work. Just find a niche that you have passion for. Something related to your education, expertise, hobby, anything you are good at. For brain storming and new niche ideas watch Oprah’s show, infomercials, TV commercials, and the news.
  2. Then find a list in that niche. Search Google for a broad term related to this niche. Visit the top websites until you find an opt in form. This means a list is being built. Take notes of the websites, their URLs, and how to contact the webmaster.
  3. Contact the webmasters to inquire about advertising on their newsletter, the cost, the frequency of sending out their newsletter, and some stats about the list (size, open ratio, conversion .. etc).
  4. Decide on which list are you going to advertise first. Please be aware that some lists might cost you thousands per ad sent only once. If you have the money go for it, if not put it aside for the future and work with a smaller list.
  5. After you chose the list, visit the website where you found the opt in form. Is it paid or free subscription?
  6. Subscribe to that list to see the sign up process. Is there a one time offer? Is there an upsell or downsell? Take note of the list-building is being monetized (the OTO package, the upsell, the downsell, the prices ..).
  7. Find PLR (Private Label Rights) products that go with that list, you know … like the ones you saw in your way while subscribing to that list.
  8. Build a website close to the theme of the list website, preferably a membership site with built in autoresponder. Prepare the give away gift to capture the names and emails of this list members, and set up your one time offer and downsell (done automatically with the membership script) at a price close to the one you saw on the one time offer of the list site. The theme and the price are supposed to be within the comfort zone of the list members.
  9. Design your ads and start advertising on that newsletter to get subscribers to your own site. From the PLRs that you found, and even those you used in the one time offer, prepare some packages to sell to your list on weekly basis.

Et voila, you’ve got yourself a business. Even better, you’ve stolen the active members of that list. Do it again with other lists and you’ll get yourself the super responsive dream list.

At one point PLRs will no longer be enough to fulfill your list’s needs and you’ll need to have your own product. Use the freelancer websites to get someone to do it for you if you can’t or have no time to do it yourself.

But for now stick to PLRs. Build your list and your membership site first, then start getting your own products to expand your business.

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