25 List Building Tips You Will FAIL Without

26 Oct

Building a large, responsive email list is one of the best and most profitable ways to make money online. Such a list can bring you in big paychecks every time you send out an email – wouldn’t that be nice? It’s not easy though. You can’t just obtain email addresses, send a couple emails, and call it a day while your PayPal account explodes. It takes time and hard work. Luckily these 25 tips will assist in optimizing your email marketing efforts to make the time you spend list building, optimizing your landing page, and monetizing your backend offer(s), that much more effective.

  1. Freebie seekers aren’t as valuable as buyers. While it’d be cool to say you have a list with a million subscribers, the truth is that not all subscribers are alike. Freebie seekers can be converted into buyers, but converting buyers into repeat buyers is much more likely to happen. Especially when they’ve bought a previous product of yours and you over-delivered. Freebie seekers too may be using their “freebie email address” to opt-in and they’ll never open another one of your emails… ever. That’s why they didn’t opt-in with their main email – duh! Avoid acquiring these no-good contacts at all costs.
  2. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Sweet – you just purchased 1 million unique clicks for only $5 from Fiverr?! Incredible deal! Unfortunately none of those clicks will result in a single sale. Believe it or not, bots don’t have PayPal accounts either. While your Google Analytics may look all pretty for a day or two, your bottom line is going to remain at -$5. The moral of the story: if it sounds too good to be true, especially with Internet marketing, it’s too good to be true.
  3. Your leads are better than someone else’s leads. When getting leads from someone else’s list, that person opting-in to your list probably has opted-in to plenty of other email lists as well. Chances are a lead in 62 lists won’t convert extremely well unless they have an unlimited amount of funds to spend. After all, you can only read so many emails a day, you know? Leads that you’ve obtained all on your own through their interest in your product, service, etc., are where the real money lies.
  4. Squeeze pages are best for conversions. Squeeze pages have a single purpose – to turn your visitor into a subscriber. Being that the visitor doesn’t have a ton of options such as reading your blog, looking at your bio, etc., the conversion rate will inevitably be higher. Now after you’ve captured your lead you can work your relationship-building magic, but to acquire their email address initially, a squeeze page is going to provide you with the highest conversion rate. One of the best ways to create a squeeze page – one that converts like none other – is with OptimizePress, a WordPress theme.
  5. Swapping ads with someone’s list can be beneficial, but realize the sacrifice. Ad swaps are one of the most common ways to increase the size of your list. In short, it involves you and your ad swap partner having a free offer (generally free, that is), and having the owner of list A promote the owner of list B’s offer, and vice-versa. While your list can grow at a rapid pace this way, you’re also taking all of your subscribers and have them opt-in to other people’s lists too. As stated previously, when people are part of tons of different email lists, getting those individuals to commit to any sort of paid offer will become that much more difficult. Directory of Ezines is one of the best places around to find huge email lists to get your offer sent to – if you haven’t already, it’s a must-check-out.
  6. It’s about quality, not quantity. Some people make tons of money off of small email lists, whereas others with massive lists make next to nothing. Why is this? It’s all about the quality of your leads. Don’t think 1,000 subscribers who don’t look forward to your emails can beat a list of 100 whom greatly look forward to your email each and every week. It’s certainly important increasing the size of your list on a daily basis to account for unsubscribers, etc., but realize that the level of trust the subscribers feel towards you far outweighs the number itself. If you’ve sent out 100 emails and certain email addresses haven’t opened a single one, delete their contact. All they’re doing is taking up space. Focus on building a quality list, not the biggest one the Internet has ever seen. Heck, if you can build a massive list with quality leads, more power to you!
  7. Always over-deliver when first acquiring your opt-ins. People are so inundated with junk offers and false promises nowadays, when you not only meet expectations but greatly over-deliver, it’s noted. People really do remember, and when they receive your next email or offer, the chances of them opening that email, reading it, and taking action are that much more likely. You always want to provide the utmost quality to your subscribers in every way possible, but when first getting that opt-in it’s just that much more important. You’re fresh in their mind when they receive that initial offer, but months down the road if you decide to start providing real quality (assuming your freebie offer wasn’t all that great), changing their mind about you will be quite difficult – in some cases even impossible.
  8. Double opt-ins are preferable over single opt-ins, but beggars can’t be choosers. In today’s email marketing world, receiving complaints and being seen as a spammer can literally end your email marketing career. This is why double opt-ins are preferred… because it ensures the person is allowing you to email them. Unfortunately, especially with solo ads/ad swaps and for One Time Offer purposes (discussed in #9), single opt-ins can provide the optimal results. Many people say single opt-ins are best for these purposes, and for the most part they are. Just be crystal clear about the fact that the individual is being opted-in to a list, and in the next couple emails inform them who you are again and where they opted-in. This will decrease complaints. If building a list on your website where people are almost certain to want to double opt-in, that’s perfectly fine. There’s a time and place for both single and double opt-ins – that’s why most autoresponders give you both options.
  9. Having a One Time Offer (OTO) can essentially increase your list size for free… even provide you with a profit. A OTO essentially is a paid offer following your freebie when people opt-in (though there can be a OTO for a paid offer too). So imagine this. Someone opts-in for a freebie eBook that sounds really cool. Then all of a sudden they’re offered a OTO. It’s Private Label Rights (PLR) to your freebie (meaning they can edit it, sell it (sometimes), offer it to your list, put it on your blog, repackage it, etc.) for $7. The person then chooses to either just take their freebie and leave or click the buy button, pay $7, and receive their freebie with PLR included. You can then offer a second OTO if you choose, such as Master Resell Rights (MRR; the ability to resell the eBook with PLR rights included), a completely different offer, or a downsell to MRR for merely $7 if the person chose to forego the PLR for $7. Just an example. If you pay $40 for 100 clicks and get a couple $7 sales, all of a sudden you got your $40 back (hopefully more) and plenty of new subscribers too.
  10. Find lists that are fresh… they can exceed the value of overly used ones tenfold. Imagine purchasing 100 clicks, or even 1,000 for a dollar amount (yeah, yeah… I’m getting back to solo ads and ad swaps… they’re really that important). Generally clicks cost in the range of 40 cents each, at least in the Internet marketing world. Now imagine if you’re the first person to buy a solo ad from this list. Or imagine you’re the 50th. Do you think the results will be different? Absolutely! Get in on fresh lists fast and the results of your ad being sent will prove to be much more profitable… especially if you have an optimized sales funnel on the backend. As mentioned above, Directory of Ezines is a great place to start and so is the Warriorforum(.com) if again you’re in the Internet marketing realm.
  11. Don’t get fooled by “fake” opt-ins – bots – they’re all over and can fool beginning email marketers. A click is a click, right? An open is an open, right? Wrong. It’s important to research the credibility of who you’re purchasing clicks from if that’s one of the routes you’re going for as part of your list building. Make sure they have not just good but great feedback. Their over-delivering in terms of clicks is always great, but most importantly make sure the clicks convert into subscribers and preferably even some OTO sales on the backend. Remember that bots do not and will not convert, no matter how good the offer. Avoid them at all costs.
  12. The Warriorforum and Safe-Swaps.com have plenty of legitimate solo ad sellers and ad swap partners. These are two places where you can, providing monetary funds are available, grow your list very fast. First the Warriorforum. You can create a Warriors For Hire, Classified Ad, or Warrior Special Offer ($20, $20, and $40 respectively). All of these methods can bring you in 100 or so subscribers, more with quality copy. Plus everyone on the forum is your target audience, assuming you’re in the Internet marketing niche. There is also a Joint Venture part of the forum where you can find ad swap partners. On to Safe-Swaps.com. On this site you have to pay a monthly fee to partake in the offerings, but there is an entire community of list owners ready to talk business. One perk of their site is that everyone leaves feedback so you can see what other people say about their list – whether it’s responsive, whether they provide the stated clicks, and so on.
  13. Always test the waters with a small test purchase… perhaps 50 or 100 clicks depending on your budget. No matter where you’re getting clicks and potential subscribers from, don’t go all in initially. Even if it’s with a trusted source such as Google AdWords or Microsoft AdCenter. Always use a small sum of money and see the results. Better optimize your campaign, and increase your funding (assuming the last test was profitable… if it wasn’t, reconsider what you’re doing). A perfect way for testing the legitimacy of a solo ad seller is by making a small test purchase too. Even if you are looking for a 500 click package, start with a 50 click one. See what the results are, then scale up from there.
  14. Provide an incentive so great only a crazy person wouldn’t want to opt-in to receive it. It’s all about that initial offer, really. Once someone visits your squeeze page they’re hopefully going to take a read and decide whether they want to opt-in. If they don’t, they’re gone forever and I’m willing to bet they won’t be returning. And as you know, there are so many incentives out there offered to opt-in to email lists. Your offer has to be the best. Don’t blend in and be another one of those offers. Make your offer so enticing and so visually appealing that your visitor would be foolish not to give you their email address.
  15. Use an email marketing service that you plan to use forever… that way you’ll never have to worry about switching down the road. A lot of people prefer AWeber as they’re known for their email deliverability. Many also prefer Constant Contact. Your best bet is to take a look at a couple of your top choices, read reviews (ones written by actual users), and pick the best one for your needs. While AWeber may have the highest deliverability, it is also one of the most expensive. If your budget doesn’t allow it, there isn’t much you can do about that.
  16. 16.   Consider an incentive to “share” after opting in to go viral. There are many plugins out there that let you offer something for free as long as the person makes a tweet, “likes” a Facebook page, or otherwise after opting-in. Some sort of social action must be taken in order for the download to be initiated. You can imagine the effect of 1,000 tweets being sent out about your squeeze page. It makes the page go viral and a snowball is created potentially bringing you in more visitors than you ever could have imagined. Two examples of this are PayWithATweet.com and CloudFlood.com.
  17. Too much hype in your copy makes those that subscribe feel lied to – for example, if they don’t make the $1,693,582 in 7 seconds as promised. You’re bound to have a great offer for people to opt-in. You must! But don’t let that offer involve false promises. Don’t lie to your potential subscribers, nor provide them with an exaggeration of earnings, etc. Be upfront, real, and honest on your sales page, squeeze page, in your emails, everywhere – and in both the short and long run it should pay off for the better. It’s better to surprise someone than disappoint them, right?
  18. A video and social proof – a truly deadly combination in creating trust and the aurora of legitimacy. Showing a video of you explaining your site, talking to visitors, and conveying your personality as well as knowledge can work wonders. Not everyone enjoys simply reading text. Sitting back, sipping a drink and listening is much more relaxing, isn’t it? Social proof is just as, if not a lot more, important. Show testimonials, even videos people have made for you. Give evidence that you know what you’re talking about, and you simply saying you do doesn’t count. Having both together creates this sense of trust and legitimacy making your conversions higher and your conversions stronger, making people who opt-in more likely to open emails, buy your offers, and otherwise.
  19. Plan your autoresponder series out from A to Z before even adding that first subscriber to your list. Follow-up emails are extremely important after getting someone to opt-in. The messages will either cause someone to unsubscribe or make a purchase. They lead people into sales funnels, upsells, and offers period… you know, the way you make money. Poorly written messages or ones that don’t cause people to act can be extremely detrimental. Likewise, well-written and regular messages landing in people’s inboxes, assuming they provide interesting, relevant information, can skyrocket your open rates and social interaction (i.e. getting people to do what you want… write comments, retweet messages, post Facebook comments, etc.).
  20. Never falter on your brand and image; never make your subscriber confused as to why they opted-in or what they opted-in for. The way your emails flow… the way you write… while people may never meet you face to face, they really feel like they get to know you. Words can do that. Telling stories about your life make people genuinely care and look forward to hearing what’s happening next in your life – weird, right? It’s all about being transparent. Remind your subscribers who you are for your first couple of emails. Don’t keep them guessing. In your first paragraph, aware them of what the email is about. People don’t spend time like they used to… with so many emails coming in each and every day, you’re lucky if you grab a couple seconds of someone’s day. You can convince them to read from start to finish by opening up with a strong paragraph and pulling the reader in… let them know what they’ll learn… otherwise, unfortunately, you can only assume the email will be left unread. And chances are, except for those several loyal readers, it will be.
  21. Don’t ever try building an “anything and everything” list. It’s all about building a targeted list and segmenting your lists into ones in which have likeminded subscribers. For example, your list has people, all of whom are interested in Internet marketing or weight loss. If your lists are of random people interested in random things and you don’t know what to promote to them, it’s probably going to be a rather unprofitable list. Segmenting your lists is extremely important as well. Define who’s a lead, who’s a buyer, people interested in this, that, and the other thing. That way you send the right offers to the right people without making them think, “Huh? Why’s he sending me this?”.
  22. Set a daily goal of how many subscribers you want to get each and every day… and hold yourself accountable. Constantly growing your list is important as people only have so much money to spend. If they’ve bought an offer or two through your email, unless they’ve taken action and reaped great benefit from those offers and have more money to spend, will not be interested in making a purchase for a while… if ever again. Gaining fresh leads to account for this and unsubscribers can ensure your email marketing efforts will remain profitable for years to come. Remember – your list is yours – treat it right and it’ll treat you right for a very, very long time.
  23. Realize that you must be willing to spend money in order to build your list to those huge 4, 5, and 6-figure benchmarks. Building a profitable list doesn’t come cheap. No matter what you do you’re going to spend money… otherwise, you’re looking at several subscribers a day or even less. Sure you can blog and have an opt-in form on your website, but to grow that list by blogging alone, it could easily take years. Do you want to wait years to see any success? I wouldn’t want to. That’s why people buy solo ads, do ad swaps, and so on… and these can cost money. But that’s okay! If you’re making more than you’re spending, you’re golden. That’s why it’s important to monetize the backend and optimize your campaign by A/B testing and seeing what converts best, both in terms of acquiring leads and turning those leads into paying customers.
  24. Don’t think that removing inactive subscribers from your list will hinder your results due to your list having a lower total number. “Dud” subscribers, people that never open your emails, are just taking up space. It looks cooler to have a higher number, but don’t focus on that total number too much. Focus on its activity, open rates, etc. If after, say, 25 emails the person doesn’t open a single email, chances are they never will. Pick a number you find appropriate dependent upon how often you send emails. If they open once in a while, that’s completely fine! Not everyone is going to read every email you send out. Those completely inactive people… delete them. Save space in your email list for people that care about your emails. No matter what you do with your list, non-clickers will never benefit you in any possible way.
  25. Do things ethically or run the risk of forfeiting everything you’ve worked so hard for. Your email marketing accounts, no matter the size of your list, can be deleted at any point in time. Now the accounts won’t be deleted, assuming the company’s servers don’t explode, as long as you follow the rules. Don’t purchase lists. Don’t spam your subscribers. Don’t do anything that you think, maybe, kind-of-sort-of might be unethical or frowned upon. That way you never have to go to bed hoping your account is active the next morning.

A lot of people find email marketing to be the end-all, be-all method to making money online. The reality is: these are the people that aren’t making money online. Sure – email marketing is a potentially very profitable venture, but certainly don’t expect to become a millionaire over night from it. It’s a long process and requires you to nurture and love your list like your very own  child… treat your subscribers as if they were your best childhood friends… it’s the only way to keep those subscribers subscribed, happy, and most importantly, opening and clicking-through your emails. After all, no matter how big your email list is, if it’s unresponsive, it’s simply worthless.

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