Email List Building

Email List Building


Overview of Email List Building

While talking to the people from my email list and my associates, when I asked them what was the hardest thing to do for them related to online marketing when they first got started, the answer was email list building.

The reason behind this is that the email list building is embedded in us as one of the biggest aspects of online marketing - which is the truth. Your email list will form the basis of your marketing ventures from now and into the future.

Unfortunately, while there is a good side to this for the people that get it right, for those that get it wrong (which I should note I also did when I first started out) it can become quite an nightmare.

In this guide I will:

- Introduce top methods of email list building that will work alongside your other resources to create the business that you desire.

- Introduce five main resources that are going to help you with monetization and to show you how email list building ties into all of them, creating a self sufficient system that builds itself with little input from you. It will also demonstrate that what you can achieve simply by using your own uniqueness in your own area of expertise (your niche market) can far surpass any email list building service that you can pay for.

- Go over the first and hardest hurdle any online marketer will tell you they came across, and how to get started.

- Show you that just one hundred people on your own email list can, in fact, without too much trouble, outperform a purchased list of any kind more than hundred times its size.

- Introduce several ways in which you should be building your email list at all times.

- Show you that to get the initial list off the ground will take effort on your part, but once it's off the ground and profitable for you, sales will flow, and in turn, the size of your list will grow.

email list building


Quality over Quantity

There are so many email list building services on offer out there. If you visit a search engine, and do a search for email list building methods, you will be attacked by all sorts of products and services. Most of them, I hate to say, - don't work.

There, you will find some advertisement that will tell you that you will have a 10k mailing list by the end of the week – totally not true. Most of us fell for that in our early years, for example. What you will find, however, is that buying leads is not so important. You know why? I can tell you that with a mere one hundred people on your own email list (if you follow this guide here and take it slow and steady), you will find that you will outperform most of the 10k lists out there, because your email list is better quality.

Your email list is better quality because you created it over time with people that are interested in exactly the matter that you are working on. Those people are most important to you. They are your loyal audience and your customers or potential customers.

Generally, your own email list comprises of customers that know who you are, that trust your word and those who subscribed to your list for the simple sake of following the progress and watching what you do as an authoritative figure in your chosen field of expertise/niche.

We don't want a huge list of fifty thousand freebie-seekers, or fifty thousand people that are there and are un-targeted, or people that have even been paid or bribed in some way by a lead generation company to join your list. In this case, you will find yourself sending mails out to thousands upon thousands of people that never respond to you. This comes with a great cost to you and your pocket, but without any profit. Only profit goes to the company you paid for these leads.

I should say at this point that there are people out there who do make their living through unsolicited email, numbers over quantity. They pick up servers in other countries that don't have anti spam laws, or are not restricted in any way, and send out millions upon millions of mails, and sure they make money. In my eyes however, this is not online marketing. It's not ethical, it doesn't build a solid business base for your future, and it gives those of us with legitimate lists a bad name. It just makes our lives harder than they need to be. If this is the kind of information you are looking for, you won't find it here. We are looking at real business here.

NOTE – Keep in mind – always quality before quantity.


Getting Started

The first thing I want to talk to you about is getting started. The number one thing I have seen over the years, from my friends and those that didn't make it was that they were put off in the beginning. You know the story, and in fact, you may have experienced it or you are experiencing this yourself right now – “I only have a hundred people on my list syndrome”. And complain that all isn't quite happening fast enough.

Let me put your mind at rest here. Done properly, with a good solid product (optional in joint venturing) and making some new contacts through a single website, a single product or service, not even directly aimed at increasing your email list size or quality can put you up two, three, five, and even ten thousand subscribers within a few months. I have seen it before, and I have experienced it. We will talk more about this in a moment, but first I want to be sure that you understand that the numbers don't matter.

So what if you only have a hundred people on your list, when all of those 100 people know you, trust you, know your products or services, and most of them either bought from you before or see you as more than a random nobody sending them emails. I would pick that 100 persons list over a random low quality, purchased leads or whatever list consisting of 10,000 people any day. Whatever you do, don't get demoralized by low numbers. Numbers mean nothing, it is how you interact with your audience and how they respond to you that matters.

And on that note, there's something else I want to get out to you right now. If you have done this before, or have thought about doing it, or haven't done it yet, listen up. It's amazing how many people I speak to, asking how their email list building is progressing, and they say to me - oh yeah, I only had three, four, five hundred on it, so I ditched it and started again. They weren't responding to me anyway. How to make them respond to you is a different issue altogether, but please, do not start ditching lists like this to get organized again.

The bottom line is to stop starting again. Never do that. If you have done so before, it might be too late to revive your old subscribers without embarrassment. If you are thinking about it - don't do it.

One hundred people on your own email list is a gold mine on its own, and hey, only ten more times of these and you are at 1k already (I mean unique subscribers). If you have no idea what I am talking about, all this giving up lists stuff, then ok. Take note, and fix your organization and your situation before starting anything new, or you might just find yourself in the above situation and wasting the last few weeks, or even months in severe cases of your promotion time and budget. I’m still amazed at how many beginners actually throw prospects away.

email list building - proven methods


What You Do To Build Your List?

This is a great starting point to help you on your way in building your email list as one of your main resources. Am I building my list by doing this? Ask yourself this question every time you carry out a task. In fact, you should really be asking yourself if what you are doing is helping you build one of your primary resources. If it's not, then you shouldn't be doing it because it is likely that you are wasting your time and your money at the same time.

Always think in terms of your email list. When you ask affiliates to promote your site, are you gathering the leads that the affiliates are sent to you for your own list? When you are discussing joint ventures (whether they are long term or short term), are you thinking about whether it will benefit your list? Even when you are mailing your own list, or contacting your affiliates, or placing an e-zine ad, or dealing with PPC search engines, are you increasing your leads? Is your list getting bigger and being packed with quality subscribers? Lead generation makes an immediate profit every single time. Never forget that. I am talking about organic lead generation, not paid one.

Something I really want to tell you now, and that is how the people with established personal lists of their own customers doing great. You will want to give them whatever it takes to get access to their audience, even if it's just an ad or two sent by them on your behalf.

Imagine how awesome would it be to be able to wake up in the morning with a new product, put it together and immediately have an instant and free promotion tool at your disposal where your product reaches, not only top affiliates, but at the same time people who are willing to buy.

If they are not willing to spend on your products, then quite frankly, you shouldn't want them on your list. But that’s wrong thinking. Before purchase trust has to be built, relationships established, etc.

A way to ensure that the people on your list do indeed want to buy products is to get your contacts from other private lists through simple joint ventures that allow parts of their list to add to yours.

A simple ad swap, for example, or joint venture that sends their list to your product/follow-up system, or even better, through an endorsement in which your email list will benefit. This is joint venturing at its most basic, but at its best.


About Professionalism

How seriously do you take your own email list building? As you know (explained in more detail in “Email List Maintenance Guide” - see section Personal Mixed Content List, you can use your own list as a powerful bargaining tool and grab free sales from whenever you launch a new product?

If you have been around for some time, you have been told that, quote “email list building is more important than making sales”, or even the other way around in some cases, that, quote “sales being more important than building your email list”.

The first quote you probably heard from some of the most experienced marketers out there, which say that email list building is all that important and how it is the main resource in online marketing. This is probably why a lot of people get disappointed and quit. They quit because they believe that their list is not growing fast enough and that they will not succeed. Well, wrong thinking.

We have all those other important resources that build on and complement each other: affiliates, customers, JV partners, and, of course, email list.

The second quote makes me laugh. Its typical low-level marketing stuff, where someone sets up a free website with a lot of pop-ups, trying to tell us and show us that they know everything there is to know about marketing. No one knows everything there is to know about marketing.

Anyway, the general trend of these types of sites is to persuade you that the people that earning big incomes from online marketing aren't telling you the truth how they do it. This is where you will generally be told that sales are the most important thing a marketer can aim for - totally wrong if you think long-term.


Most Effective Email List

The best parts of your own email list come from your customers, the people who bought from you - not from leads, e-zine ads, subscription forms, etc.

If you have made a sale before, where are those customers now? Are they on your list, or did you let them go? These are the people that should land on your list before anyone else. They are the most important ones that have bought from you before, and most likely will buy again if you don't abandon them or forget about them.

Note – Customers are your most important resource, no doubt about that. You noticed by now that everything we talk here links into building other main resources, and that is not a coincidence. Everything is interrelated.

So, building your all resources at the same time is the right path to take. In the next segment we will discuss the product with the sole intent to build your resources.


Affiliate Program Opportunities

How about doing something that everyone seems to miss because they don't get any immediate profit? How about setting up a single sale product, or a membership website with the sole intent of building your resources, but not a free one? Setting up a profit-based website where you will receive no profit, or very little profit. Sounds strange, right? Think for a moment, though.

Remember again, we talked about pulling all your resources together, where all main resources will join together to make you profit. I will take one example here, using an affiliate system as home base.

Raise commissions for the affiliate program (put it abnormally high - I'm talking 80% and upwards – even 100%), then give up your stake in your Joint Venture and give 100% commissions. What’s the point you might ask? Well, you've just set up a huge circle of resource building ways. This is also a start point of the product funnel for very experienced marketers.

People will be attracted by your amazing affiliate program (in this example) and give their best to promote you and your products and/or services. You can go other routes also, like very well made products for a reduced price, or some sort of great offer, but this is the easiest to demonstrate for numbers sake.

Once you have people attracted by your affiliate program, the number of affiliates promoting for you will rise drastically. And already, you've got people doing the work for you, although granted you are not getting paid directly.

Don't forget though, that these guys promoting you will not only build your customer base, and your email list at the same time, but they have just become your resource themselves, adding to your affiliates’ base that will stay with you and promote your future products.

See how you went from a seemingly totally unprofitable idea that most would throw out the window immediately, to a great resource builder. Who would have thought that paying high commissions to people to promote something on which you don’t make much profit would be such a powerful marketing method?

Now, even though, it's pretty easy to come up with such a website, something I would like to mention here before moving on - it’s your website, and it has a special way of gathering contacts.

Offer free e-book or free report and make sure that you place opt-in form above the fold - the point where visitors have to scroll down to see content. There is always discussion on which option to use – single or double opt-in option. I was writing about that in section “Squeeze Page and Split Testing”.

Note - It's important to ask for the consent of anyone you plan to add to your email list. If you send an email without consent, you will appear as a spammer, and create a bad impression of your brand. So, get permission before you send email in order to avoid building a bad reputation and getting blocked by potential customers.

You can read more about affiliate programs and affiliate marketing in "Affiliate Marketing Strategies" section.


Maximizing Subscriptions without Losing Sales

Firstly, I will say to you to not interrupt your sales process at all if it can be helped. This is especially important when you are selling a product to make a profit, so you don't want any obstructions to make to potential buyers like putting some ads around or popup windows, etc., to annoy or put your customers off.

There are many ways to offer a subscription. There are also many places where you can put an opt-in form. Now we are not talking about sales letter or sales page. The best place to put an opt-in form is in the right sidebar, just above fold, and also in pop-up window at the fold.

Email List Building - Opt-In Form - Right SidebarOpt-In Form - Right Sidebar

Email List Building - Opt-In Form - Pop-Up on CenterOpt-In Form - Pop-Up Window in Center

If you want to place an opt-in on the sales page, do it at the top of the page or preferably down the side of the sales letter. In both cases place it on the side. Avoid any obstructions from the sales material.

Note – On sales page do not use pop-up windows (the window that appears on the top of the browser) or pop-under windows (the window that appears behind the browser). They both will turn the attention of the visitor.

You can also offer your visitors the chance to receive the sales letter in a split format through follow-up if they don't particularly have the time to read the whole thing straight up.

Any of these methods beats the conventional way, due to the fact that you are not interrupting the sales process.

It is always advisable to offer a download of a free e-book, free report, trial version of the software, etc. in subscription form. It is an incentive that people appreciate.

If you feel you are losing out on subscribers you can always create a product purely for resource building like I mentioned above.

Now on the other hand - the only time I would consider sales to be more important than putting up subscription box in front of your visitors and potential subscribers is when you are selling a high ticket item. I am talking here $250 upwards. When you are selling something at that price, the people seeing the product should already have you on their trusted list, and you should already have them on your most precious list or as part as your resources, whether they are your affiliates, long term customers, or even your joint venture prospects.

Note - When subscribers join your email list and confirm, they will start receiving emails on a regular basis (as set in your campaign). Some subscribers will not expect that, so to avoid subscribers’ frustrations provide them with information about a) how many emails you will send, and b) how often you will be sending emails to them. Providing that, you will set subscribers’ expectations. The frequency of sending will be determined by your campaign strategy.


Nonprofit Resource Building

Let’s talk about developing a nonprofit resource building idea - sacrifice a profit for resource building.

Ideally, you would want to build all your resources at the same time. However, when this is not possible through a specific circumstance (joint venture for example), and if you get the choice of sales over resources, my advice is - don't do it. In my opinion and my experience, always should be resources over sales, unless you've set out to sell a high ticket item to your long term customers (as mentioned in the previous section).

Remember, like we talked about earlier, and I'm going to say it again and again until every single person reading this understands it - where do the most powerful resources lie? Joint venture, other people’s lists, people that have already bought from you and are willing to buy again, the best affiliates, the best customers?

You have no need to go searching for new blood when others have done the work for you. When you get a joint venture (JV) partner with a good list and few top affiliates with a good list too you did a great job.

You better make sure you gather them as leads over sales, because you may not get another chance to sink your teeth into this particular valuable resource.

The second option relating to sacrificing profit for resources is through e-zine ads. I have no doubt they still work, and there's plenty of good well read publications out there that aren't there just to provide another source of  advertising for us. You just have to find them and carefully evaluate them.

Subscribe to a few and see what they are about before even thinking about sending ads to them. When you know that your targeted market is contained within, get out there and start hitting the e-zines through paid solo ads (generally the only ones that seem to work) with the sole intention of building your list. As I said earlier, evaluate them carefully.

I have seen some examples of people actually selling a product, but placing a kind of the entry page, a questionnaire that asks for information prior to visitors’ being able to read their sales letter. Well, I am not fun of this method, but since this doesn't immediately interrupt a sales process already in motion, it can hurt profits if you are not selling a lower price item. Again, this is with the intention of building resources. If you are not one heck of a copywriter that can persuade people to move on and fill in the details with the minimal available information about you, stick with less risky methods.


Personal Affiliate List

A personal affiliate list is pretty much the same as the Personal Mixed Content list (discussed in Email List Maintenance section).  But this time, you are not sending tips, hints, advices, or content, but affiliate ready ads, instructions, guidelines, strategy models, affiliate ready promo material for programs/products that you promote yourself and of course your own products.

This is different from an ad list because here all the products that are promoted are yours. The content that is provided here is in the form of instructions, guidelines for affiliates and affiliate ready ads, so that your affiliates have all-in-one package and can start promoting you immediately.

This has a great profit potential for all types of marketers, especially those who sell digital products (e-books, videos, courses, software, web elements, music, etc.). For those marketing entrepreneurs who sell physical products the way of doing things are a bit different and affiliates’ margins are much lower than in case of digital products.

If you ask yourself how possibly affiliates keep their subscribers interested when all they are doing is sending ads, don’t worry. Each affiliate, especially experienced ones, have their techniques and also big, segmented subscriber lists. They don’t promote your product to everybody - they promote it just to those that are interested in that niche.

Besides, it is advisable to include a series of at least 7 promos emails with rest of material that you send to your affiliates. Who knows better your product then you? If you are not good in writing sales letter, try outsourcing.

Well, your job is not done yet. You still have to promote your own products to your subscribers list, which will not take much time, but, at the same time, you are aiming to not just get sign-ups, but also to grab some extra affiliates to join your affiliate program and promote for you.

This is probably the best example that shows that to make a profit, you don't have to concentrate on instant sales, and making sales yourself. In fact, in this case, it's far more profitable to be promoting for affiliates and let them promote you on their lists.

Let say a few more words about affiliate program. Imagine that your list consists of twenty other people exactly like you that have lists on their own of people they promote to, either for sales or for more affiliates. When your ad goes out, you are likely to get a certain amount of sales, depending on your list quality and also on the number of your affiliates and their quality. So now you are in a position to promote, not just your own list, but to twenty more lists. Isn’t that great option?

If you have been in online marketing for some time, you know that multi level system also exist. Depending on what kind of product you sell, if you are interested in programs with more than one level you can find it (two, tree, even more levels). Well, that is another topic. I just wanted to demonstrate here, how this type of list works.


Personal List - Ad Content

If you already have built a circle of people that trust you, they are pleased to know what you are doing. They sit on your list, and watch you. They watch how you handle situations, how you prosper, what moves you make, how you organize things, how you prioritize things, what software you use, what you promote, how you promote, etc.

Now, if this is the case, any ad you send them will be welcome and they will be interested to look at that. As we all, who trust and know somebody will feel that what that person is sending is profitable, or might be profitable. Here I am talking about mixed content ads (not strictly related to interest of the subscriber. I discuss this in guide “Email List Maintenance” - see section Personal Mixed Content List.

If you are not well known to your list already, then sending just outside ads without much content might seem like a simple ad list to your subscribers, and might result in a loss of interest and loss of subscribers. So, be careful.

My advice is simple. Even though the work load is low, you don't really need to perform any other list maintenance aside from your standard product creation, and of course searching for new products to create, it’s probably better to exclude sending outside ads to your personal list until you are established, or have a good base of people on your list that know you, trust you, and know how good you are in your niche. Of course, sending ads about your own product, in the subscriber’s area of interest is welcome.

There is another alternative, and it involves getting yourself known through joint ventures and through other people’s lists. In this case, if people start migrating to your list, you won't have to worry about them leaving because they are intrigued with your offerings.

When you are using this type of list, make one hundred percent sure that it's right for your business, your status with subscribers, and the type of promotion you want to carry out.

You will also find out do your subscribers know you already, or they haven’t at least heard of you. If they don’t know you, they will be gone fast from your list for the simple reason - they don't understand what you are offering to them with your mailings.

Note – You need to know your subscribers and they need to know you.

This is most definitely a great list type, and does work well. There are many marketers out there that utilize this list so effectively. Every single one of them, however, was either established already when started using outside ads in this list’s type in their marketing efforts, or got established really quickly through recognition and other people’s lists. As you can see it's a tough balance to make, but once you've got it, this can be a great profit method.

Once you've got a good base of people with similar interests, however, you are going to do well with your promotions through your personal email list. Be very careful when using this list type, because if you don't have the right contacts, or the right name/expertise/trust setup, it won't work.


Advertisement List (Ad List)

An ad list is generally a list that you build to send outside ads without any useful content at all. This is the easiest and fastest method of list maintenance/building of all. Despite a major problem with un-subscription rates, and the challenge of getting people to subscribe in the first place, it is still widely used, solely for income from ad sales.

For me, ad list is totally amateur marketers’ club activity.

Take every example that we have talked about, and everything that I've shown you so far here and in the Email List Maintenance guide - from relationship building, to useful content creation, from your reputation to personal mixed content lists – well if you use this method, it’s like you throw all your efforts and trust of your subscribers through the window.

So, you may wonder why this is even reviewed here if it's so terrible. Well, the reason for me to do so is to show you what your list can turn into if you are not careful about managing it or if you get careless.

If things get out of hand, and your email list turns into an ad list, you have had it. Aside from short-term cash you are going to bring in through selling ads, it doesn't even compare to what you can earn by selling your own products, partnering in joint ventures, or promoting other peoples’ programs.

So what do you get from an advertisement list? Well, you get ads. That’s about all. The thing is - all you are doing here is getting a bunch of people together on a big list, saying 'forget the relationships, forget the trust, forget reputation, forget JV partners, forget my own products, forget useful content, etc.’ my aim is to get the biggest list so I can sell ads for the highest price.

Despite my apparent lack of enthusiasm for this type of list, some people do still seem to insist that this is the best way to earn fast cash. Maybe this is the best option for you if you don’t know how to create your own product, or you don’t know how much money is in affiliate promotions (when done correctly), or just you don’t have the time.

If you are running this kind of list right now, or if you did it in the past, don't be offended, just let it be known that it is not, by far, the best way to make money from your list.


List Segmentation

Now let’s talk briefly about list segmentation. I don’t know how you gather your subscribers and I don’t know do you use few opt-in forms with different free gifts for same email list. If that is the case, you should separate those subscribers into few different lists guided by their specific interest.

All those subscribers shouldn’t be on the same list when you send mailings. For example, people interested in and sign-up with you for the software program in the design category, probably will not be interested in, let say, software in the construction category that some other subscribers from your same list signed up. All those different interest groups have to be separated and receive mails in their own interest area.

Otherwise, they lose the reason why they subscribed in the first place, and you will probably, in the end, lose subscribers. In some cases, it’s not that they are not interested in what you are sending to them, it’s just that they don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

Another reason for doing this is your tracking and testing. We already talked in several key areas about how important tracking and testing actually is using your list as kind of a market research tool (see also “Email List Maintenance” section).

Don't be afraid to split your lists up and have two or three smaller ones related to different markets or different areas. This is something that has to be done, and the extra work and maintenance is worth it by far when you look at the possibilities and the clear research data you can gain from each targeted list individually.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with introducing one list to the other with related topics and inviting them to join if they are interested. Just don't randomly mold them into one though, or you will confuse people.

Note – Don’t put all your subscribers with different interests in the same list and hope that the right people will read what you send them.


A Few Final Points

When speaking about your own personal list, don’t forget the personal touch. Remember your subscribers on holidays - email them few words and send a card. Those are simple things that make people remember. Be personal, but professional, and this will not only be relevant to your business, but more importantly, to your reputation.

Whatever you do, do it professionally and in detail. Take all aspects into consideration before you start working on it. Don’t offer anything to your subscribers that you know little about. Make a research, learn about it and then talk/write about it and offer it. There are many examples on the market today when people sell something they don’t know nothing about. That can only hurt your reputation and trust.

All that was presented here is an introduction to the topic and I hope I reached you and showed you upsides and downsides of the subjects we discussed. You can use one method or make a combination, all depend on what is best for your business, not just now, but in the future too. Once you choose the path, it will not be easy to change.

Start building your list, and think of years to come. Forge relationships, build trust and reputation. There is no right or wrong answer when you ask yourself what to do – all depends on your business and your personality.


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8 Responses to Email List Building

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