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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Affiliate Marketing 101: Direct Linking

Direct linking is to drive your traffic straight to the advertiser’s landing page. Years ago this was the only form of affiliate marketing, but with the increasing number of affiliate marketers and the fierce competition on buying the keywords that convert into sales/leads for the advertiser direct linking has become a thing from the past. Or has it?

One of the biggest names in affiliate marketing has been direct linking for the past 5 years. This guy makes millions of dollars every year from affiliate marketing, all without bothering himself with building websites.

This super affiliate also uses buffer websites when he needs to, like when buying traffic from Google Adwords. And he’s been happy with his results, until he met with another dynamic affiliate marketer who kept trying to convince him to build lead capture pages, lists, and relationship with his potential buyers.

Now it’s becoming confusing, let’s refer to the direct linker with G. and for the relationship builder with R.

G. resisted R.’s suggestion for a while on the basis of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”, and that whenever a loop is involved the conversion drops. A year later he tried it in one of the niches and to his surprise, in the matter of a few months he’s built a list that makes him $400 every time he sends out an email. Given the nature of this niche, $400/email promoting CPA lead generation offers, that’s pretty good.

It’s true that any looping or buffering drops the conversion in most cases (unless you’re a good copywriter). But that’s only on the front end. By building a list and building a positive relationship with your subscribers you are building an “on-demand cash machine”.

G. and R. are not fictional, they are affiliate marketing millionaires who I learned from over the past 3 years.

Now let’s talk about you for a while. Should YOU be direct linking?

The answer is: absolutely. Let’s think strategically for a minute:

If you are just starting, or say, if I am going to restart in affiliate marketing here is what I would do: I would pick some offers in different niches and build direct linking campaigns on Yahoo. The advantage of using Yahoo PPC traffic is that it’s not that expensive, and Yahoo doesn’t penalize me for direct linking like Google. The offers that start converting are probably in good niches. I would then start testing other offers in the same niche also by direct linking. If they keep converting then I am in a lucrative market.

From my PPC conversion tracking I would know what keywords are converting into buyers and I start building a website around those keywords. This will serve two purposes:

  1. Focused SEO efforts so that I start generating converting traffic from organic search results for free, and
  2. Get higher quality score on Google Adwords when I buy traffic to this site.

Then I would continue testing new keywords and offers to optimize this campaign while testing other niches the same way I did with the first one.

So direct linking is not dead. It works, and if not profitable at least you get data to build a profitable campaign around.

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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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Simple Plan to Make Money Online

The only way to make money online is to control some traffic and monetized. This applies to any form of online business regardless of the business model or the market it targets. In this post I’ll explain a simple plan to make money online. It’s not for everyone, but if I were to start allover this is what I would do. If this plan works for me, it will certainly work with some others, and you might be one of them.

The idea is to invest on your passions, talents, experience, education, skills … whatever you are good at. No matter what it is, there are certainly some other people in the world who are interested in the same topic and have access to the Internet. The reason I am stressing on your own passion first before any keyword or market research is that I want you to start with something you can write about, and write a lot.

As I said above, the only way to make money online is to control the traffic. See what Google is doing? They buy anything they think will bring them more traffic, like youtube and admob. Then they’ll worry about how to monetize it.

So .. your job is to control some traffic related to the topic that you have chosen. And this is how to do it:

Go to Google keyword tool and search about keywords related to the broadest term about your niche. Here is the link to Google Keyword tool (See “how to promote just any product” post for how to use it):

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

Find some keywords with high enough monthly search volume to deserve your efforts and search Google for these keywords. Shortlist your keywords based on the number of competing web pages.

Now you have some keywords to build a small website around. If you already have a hosting account, go to name cheap and buy a domain name that includes any of your keywords, and change the nameserver settings to be hosted by your hosting account. If not and you’ll need a hosting, go to hostgotor and buy a baby package with a 25% discount if you use the coupon at the top of this page.

With hostgator you can build a wordpress blog like this one with a few mouse clicks. If you have a 1and1 hosting like mine then you’ll need to go to wordpress.org and download the latest version, unzip it on your computer, go to your 1and1 account and create a new database for it, then change the wp-config-sample.php with the new database information and change the name to wp-config.php. Upload everything to your server using an FTP like filezilla, then visit your website and you’ll be asked to create a blog by entering the name of the blog and your user name. It will create a password for you to log in that you can change from inside.

If you can’t buy a hosting now you can start with a free Google blog (blogger.com). But this is a temporary solution because Google is deleting any blog that smells promotional. And there is no way to get it back. Once you start making money go to hostgator and buy your own hosting that no body can take from you.

Now it’s time to write: Write at least one page, or blog post, about each of the keywords in your list. Keep it within 500 words. Post them, then write a shorter version of each article and submit it to article directories like ezinearticles.com and goarticles.com with a link pointing to your website.

Your articles will take some time before publishing. Now you have to do two things before they go live:

1. Send an email to your personal contacts (friends and family) and ask them to visit your blog and give you a feed back.

2. Submit your RSS feed link to RSS directories like feedest.com (a bit slow these days).

The reason you need to do the above two steps before your articles go live is that you want search engines to index your website and detect some traffic before they can detect any links to your website. This is how it should go naturally.

From that point on, give your website 30-60 minutes a day to write a new post and a smaller version to submit to article directories. This is how you’ll grow your website and the free traffic machine.

That’s it, your done establishing your money machine. Now you might be asking, where is the money?

First of all, you’ll need to leave it un-monetized for a couple of weeks. After you start seeing traffic (use statcounter.com, it’s free and can tell you who came from where and did what on your site) it’s time to apply for Google adsense. Once approved grab your code and post it on your blog.

Blogger.com includes a built in adsense application process. Just click some links in the “monetize” tab. This is the fastest way to get approved for adsense. But your own website is also fine and I got approved in 24 hours. Just make sure your website content are unique (not copied).

This is going to be your main source of income. To maximize your earnings keep using Google keyword tool and find more expensive words to write about and include in your posts. Every time you post on your blog make a smaller version and post it to article directories.

If you want to add some more streams of income on the same site you can recommend products from an affiliate network like clickbank, Google affiliate network, Amazon, or any CPA network. Just make sure what you are recommending provides value to your readers.

Later on, you can start building a list by giving your visitors a gift (an ebook you wrote or have the give-away rights to) and send them emails every time you have a new post, and if you find a product that you can recommend to your readers with confidence and gives you commission all what you need to do is to write to your list about it.

How does that sound? Please leave your comments and/or questions below.

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Affiliate Marketing 101: Residual Traffic

One of the most controversial posts on this blog was that titled “Affiliate Marketing 101: Traffic: Organic vs. Paid“, where I wrote about how unreliable organic traffic is vs. paid traffic and why you should only consider paid traffic if you are going to build a business.

It is really as simple as it sounds; you can build a business only on what you pay for. The changing algorithms make it impossible to optimize your site for search engines on a long-term fashion. Instead you’ll have to be optimizing your website frequently. Compare this with paid traffic. You pay for traffic, and you get it.

But there is a draw back in paid traffic: It’s not residual. You pay for traffic today and you get it, then you have to pay again for the same traffic tomorrow and so on.

A residual source of traffic is the one that sends you traffic every day once you establish it. And the more source of traffic you build the more daily traffic you get from those sources together.

Does this kind of traffic exist? The one you work for today and get traffic for a long time as long as it is there sending you traffic? And every day you work on it you accumulate sources of residual traffic that send you more traffic?

Yes it exists, and in both forms: paid and free.

Build a List:

First off, whatever your source of traffic if you are not building a list you are losing more money on the table than you are making. Think about it. The highest conversion rate on a landing page I’ve ever heard of was around 8%. Say it’s 10%. That’s 90% of your website visitors leaving your website without making you money. You paid for this traffic, yet you are passively watching it leaving your site.

Even with free traffic, to get organic traffic you work even harder to get that, yet you don’t do anything to follow up with your visitors who don’t take action.

It’s easy by the way. The easiest thing to do on a website is to add a lead capture form anywhere and offer your visitors a gift for stopping by asking for their names and email addresses to send the gift to their inbox.

And you don’t need to create the gift. You can buy one ready and just give it away. And don’t think about it as an extra cost. By building a list you are doing the most important thing an online business owner should do. The list is your asset. A website with a list is worth several fold more than a website without a list when you consider selling it.

Write Articles:

An article that points to your website is a source of traffic as long as it is live online. The more articles you write the more streams of residual traffic you get to your website. It’s that simple.

Again, on your website, no matter which one of the three affiliate websites described on this blog (lead capture, review, or blog) always make sure you capture your visitors info to follow up with them. Build a relationship with more free stuff and valuable info.

Frank Kern once said: “Over cool your competitors” if you want to win the competition. And you do that by providing more value to your list members over the time.

Other Web 2.0 Properties:

In addition to article directories, there are other sites that let you publish your content in return for a link to your website. Squidoo and hubpages are among the most famous examples.

Again: don’t forget to build your list.

Social Media:

Social media, another type of web 2.0 sites, allows you to link to whatever you want, and build relationships with millions of people out there. Examples are facebook, twitter, my space … etc. They work like a charm as long as you don’t spam. Be cool, be likable, be social, and don’t forget your website in your profile and when appropriate.

Don’t forget: the list.

Social Bookmarking Services:

Social bookmarking services should be used for the this purpose: bookmarking and sharing your bookmarks. If you only bookmark your stuff you are missing on the value you could get from these websites. Bookmark other cool stuff. Cool stuff get large search volumes, which means more people to view your bookmarks, and your profile.

Before I finish this post there are two things you need to unleash the power of residual traffic:

1. Tools that you’ll be using to build your list, and

2. a guide on how to use articles and web 2.0 property to drive residual traffic to your website.

List Building Tools:

To build a list you need 3 things: a website, an autoresponder, and a gift to give away. If you are in the Internet marketing niche I can help you with the gift.

If you are not, first check with the product owner. Quite a number of product owners, especially on clickbank, have rebrandable ebooks or demo software that you can give away for free to build your list and make them sales. The other sources are PLRs and MRRs (you can google your niche + PLR or MRR). The good ones will cost you, but it’s money well spent.

The autoresponders are competing with one another in a way that makes your life as a user even better. My favorite is grabthatlead.com, which costs $9.95/month no matter how big your list is. It’s a very basic and reliable autoresponder. If you don’t have your own tracking system then you might as well consider other big names like icontact. They both have a free version.

And for the website, you need a domain name that tells all about your niche to your visitors, and a reliable hosting. You can get both for $42/year (vs. $9/year only for the domain and $120/year for hosting any where else) from ipage.com. I’ve got only positive feedback from people like you who took my recommendation and purchased ipage hosting, especially regarding the technical support: efficient and friendly.

Web 2.0 Guides:

1. Direct article marketing (free download)

2. Hubpages Free Traffic Report (Free download)

3. Squidoo guide (free download).

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Essential Online Marketing Tools: Domains and Hosting

To be successful online you need to first “exist” online. Your online existence is virtual of course, and is manifested in one thing: your website, which is composed of two things in return: your domain name and your website content.

If you are on a budget scroll down to the end of this article for a nice surprise

Choosing the Domain Name

Your domain name is like your virtual business address. When people want to stop by your “store” or “office” they have to go to your website through your domain name.

That’s why it’s highly important to pick up a domain name that’s:

  1. easy to remember, and
  2. tells all about your business.

And here is the thing: there are no duplicate domain names. Once a domain name is taken it’s taken. The only way to get it is to buy it from it’s current owner for whatever price they decide.

So, if you have been putting this step off, you’d better move faster and reserve the easiest domain name to remember and at the same time represents your business.

A dot com domain might cost you less than $9/year to get it from namecheap.com. It’s nothing compared to the price you might have to pay in order to get it from a current owner.

Choosing the Host

Your website content is your virtual property. The design, the texts, the graphics, and any downloadable material you might have on your website all together compose one virtual building.

For people to see the content of your website you’ll need to host them on a server. And here comes the dilemma: what hosting company should you build your business on their virtual property?

There is no straight answer to this question, it all depends on what your business model and size. And here are two distinctly different cases to make the picture easier to image:

An incorporated business would consider buying a server. First of all, it’s part of the capital costs and can be deducted from the company’s taxes within the capital depreciation limits over the years. So, it’ll get paid for by tax money. Another important thing is that an incorporated company would rather have every thing that belongs to the company under one roof for security purposes. Besides, having their files on a third party’s property makes part of the company’s operations under the control of that third party.

The other example is the extreme opposite, a small affiliate business. For affiliate marketing a dedicated server is out of questions. All what you need as an affiliate is a blog, a review site, and a lead capture page. You can host all of those and have plenty of extra space and bandwidth if you get the baby gator hosting package (use the coupon at the top right of this page for 25% discount). Unlimited means you get to host unlimited number of domains and websites on that hosting package.

The only question for an affiliate is how reliable this is. This is a controversial issue. The same hosting company might give one customer the best experience ever, and give another one the worst nightmare.

To solve this problem on choosing the suitable hosting for your small business you can either take the cheapest one and make it a habit to back up your site on your hard drive ever time you make a change, or go for a bit more expensive hosting with a trusted brand like Yahoo! hosting, which is also unlimited and includes a free domain.

If you are on a budget you can start with a $1.99/month unlimited hosting package that includes a free domain. Follow the link below to get one of those.
Award Winning Web Hosting

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