But you know what. They forgot to tell you something.
I’ll tell you in one word. LIST.
Where is the money? The money is in the list.
Of course they are talking about your mailing list. Once you set-up your website, regardless of the type of site it is you should be working on building your list. Use ethical means, otherwise you’ll find yourself blacklisted!
So how do you build a list? We’ll look at the different aspects of creating a list, and how to keep it fresh. I’m breaking the post down into several, to keep things easier to digest. As usual, I will create a page on e-mail lists and will add the entries to it so it is easy to get to.
So lets start…
How do you build your list?
Easy. Just ask. If you don’t ask, you won’t get the opportunity to capture the user name and e-mail address.
Easy answer. But why should anyone give you their e-mail address? These are coveted, especially since more and more spam reducer applications are out there that could tag your e-mail as SPAM and could potentially get your domain blacklisted (if you are sending e-mails from your domain, and not a generic Yahoo/GMail/Hotmail address).
As a result it’s not advisable to use lists culled from e-mail harvesters, or opt-in lists bought from slightly shady e-mail list peddlers.
What’s the point of having a list of 30,000 untargeted, non-interested subscribers if they will never buy anything from you? Why not have a list of 100, 1,000 or 10,000 highly targeted subscribers who are eagerly waiting for your next product or service and visit your site religiously? I’ll take the latter, instead of the former.
Chances are that the target list could result in sales of thousands, if not tens-of-thousands of dollars overnight! This is not fiction, but FACT. Again referring to the blogroll, those business owners are proving it all the time.
ONCE YOU HAVE A SIZEABLE, PROVEN LIST – GUARD IT WITH YOUR LIFE!
IT CAN BE WORTH A LOT OF MONEY TO YOU AND SOMEONE ELSE!
You should also remember that your visitors are more likely to buy from you if you’ve established that relationship with them. They obviously visit your site, and value the content otherwise they wouldn’t have given you their e-mail address. Treat them with respect, and they will treat you by helping build your business!
A lot of research is done in the on-line and off-line world that indicates it takes multiple visits to a webxite, or newsletter messages to convert a reader/visitor to a customer. I’ve seen this first hand. Years ago I ran a consulting business, I advertised once in a local newspaper with limited results. The salesperson said “you need to advertise atleast 3-5 times before your message gets read. Then you need to continue to deliver that message”. He was 100% right. The first ad didn’t even generate a call. After placing three advertisements (so a total of four) I started getting calls. By the 7th message more of the calls were coming in, and as a result more were resulting in actual engagements to provide products and services.
In all I must have spend around $5,000.00 but it generated 3x – 5x in sales. It was money well spent.
You need to do the same in the online world. Regular messages to your readers and list. Why do you think people in my blogroll post daily to their blogs, or sometimes 2x per day? The message needs to stick.
- Establish Credability – It’s not just getting the message out. You need to establish credability, both in your message and in capturing their name and e-mail address. Assure your readers that you will not spam them — and stick to the message! Don’t betray them, because they will betray you as soon as they get a whiff of something fishy going on.
Do you remember a time when there were door-to-door salesman? They always closed with – “Do you know anyone else that may benefit from <product>?”. How willing were you to give them your friend or family members name? You probably asked them for their business card instead.
- Treat your e-mail list with respect
Once you have their information, DELIVER THE GOODS. Provide solid useful information, otherwise don’t e-mail the entire list. Why send out “noise”? They will just get turned off and may even unsubscribe. That means:
NO get rich quick schemes!
NO get rich quick schemes!
NO get rich quick schemes!
No matter HOW tempting it may seem. You are building your business AND your credability. If you send out junk, be prepared to lose that subscriber and probably earn a bad name in the process.
Although we’re getting into more product marketing with these next two items they are relavent to building and maintaining your list.
- When you finally have a sizeable list, don’t try to hardsell to them. By all means make use of things like special pricing, bonus offers, tiered pricing or other ethical marketing messages. The hardsell never works. Salespeople always try to hardsell me, and as soon as I even get a hint of it — I’m out of the store and generally will never return there regardless of the product and price. I’ll spend more, but will probably buy it elsewhere.
- When you sell a product talk about the BENEFITS of the product. HOW is it going to help your customer? How are you going to solve their pains? I will get more into product marketing later, I’ve got some great posts for you!
The bottom line is this – the benefits of building your list are vast. Just remember to do things ethically.
Lets quickly summarize this post, it’s gotten a bit longer than I wanted but there was a lot of information I wanted to get across to you.
- Your website, like your list is helping you build trust, credability and an ongoing relationship with that visitor. You are building name recognition. Who hasn’t heard of Corey Rudl? Once you’ve established yourself you WILL become the GO TO person.
- You will be able to profit in the long term by promoting different products, not only your own. But remember the products you may promote should be of high quality. Don’t refer bad products to them. This is just as bad as spamming your readers. A definate NO-NO. Refer good product, sell your own quality products and the money will keep rolling in without any additional expense.
- You need a targeted e-mail list. This is like money in the bank. A targeted list will more likely buy from you. For example, what’s the point of trying to sell organic dog food to your list of 10,000 if they all subscribed to an e-mail list for cat owners? What a waste of time, money and most of all energy!
- DON’T SPAM. Who would YOU buy from? A spammer, or someone who has taken the time and care to build a relationship with you? Someone that’s provided good quality information and that respects you buy keeping your private information secure and isn’t sending you offer after offer?
Building your list is crucial to your long term success online.
I will post Part 2 to this post tomorrow, and will talk about 8 ways to increase your e-mail list.