“The fortune is in the list.”
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that said, well, I’d already have a fortune!
However “broken-record-ish” and trite it may sound, it is a truthful statement. The fortune REALLY IS in the list. In a well maintained, quality list of active subscribers that is. There’s no point in going to all the time and trouble to create a list of 100,000 subscribers if you aren’t going to look after it.
The fact is, if you possess the knowledge of how to grow and profit from opt-in lists, you can pretty much write your own ticket. After all, once you own the list, no-one can take that away from you. You are no longer dependant on third parties to reach your readers, no longer dependant on your Google ranking, no longer dependant on traffic from your blog. You can reach your readers and customers any time you want.
(That does not mean that you can neglect your other traffic efforts, of course. Your list is just one of many ways to connect with future customers).
But how do you create and care for your own quality list?
Well, it comes down to getting people to do four things…
1. REQUEST. First things first, you need to convince people to “opt-in” to your list. That is, get them to join your list of their own free will.
I’ve found that giving away a mini-course, or report from your web site is a great way to increase sign ups. After all, you are asking for something from the subscriber, why not give them something in return straight away, at the time of sign up.
Additionally, you need:
– a handful of benefits. A short list of desirable things subscribers will learn if they join your list. Think “what’s in it for me?”. Not too many, though, this isn’t a sales letter. Just a quick summary of the benefits that the subscriber will gain from both your newsletter and any sign-up bonuses you are offering.
– an opt-in submission form. This is the code that you place on your website somewhere ( in a blog post, in the header, on it’s own page… – test what works best for your readers ). Your auto-responder system will provide this for you if you have one ( Don’t have an auto-responder? Click here for a list of the most popular), otherwise there are many free and paid for tools that you can use (here’s a list of some). However you do it, make sure that the form is simple to fill in, and only asks for the bare minimum amount of information needed. Just their name and email address is all you need for now – if you ask for too much information, people will be reluctant to provide it, even if your intentions are honourable. You can (and should) get more information later.
2. RECEIVE. After visitors to your site have requested information by joining your list, it’s crucial that your emails be delivered successfully to their in-box. With all of the filters in place today (among other hazards), this can be quite a chore.
One thing you’ll want to do for certain is check your Spam rating to make certain it’s in an acceptable range. Again, the better auto-responder services offer this feature for you.
You can also do things like…
– Get your subscribers to “approve” mailings from you. A good auto-responder will do this by first getting your new subscribers to confirm that they wish to receive your newsletter. Usually this is done by clicking on a special link in a welcome email. If the subscriber does not click on this link, they wont get your newsletter, so it’s also a good idea to remind them of this on your thank you page. (This is the page that is shown to the user after they initially sign up).
– Authenticate yourself as a legitimate mailer when you receive a “response challenge” from protection services such as Spam Arrest.
3. READ. When your emails successfully arrive at the in-boxes of your subscribers, another task awaits – getting them to actually open your message and read it.
This is going to depend upon your “subject line”. This is the first thing that your subscriber sees when your email arrives. It is paramount that your subject line be intriguing enough to convince your readers to stop what they are doing and take a look inside. You have about 5 seconds to do this…
One way to get this done is to create a swipe file of email subject lines that have convinced YOU to read the messages and then modify those subject lines for your own use.
For example, I received an email that had the subject line of “This affiliate tip is almost too easy” that caught my attention and forced me to read the associated message.
This subject line could easily be used in a variety of different niches…
– This dieting tip is almost too easy
– This time management tip is almost too easy
– This marriage saving tip is almost too easy
Choose wisely, and test some different subjects, just like you would test different headlines on a sales page. A decent auto-responder service will be able to track different opening rates, so you can see which subjects perform better.
Remember that people not all that different from you are your readers. If you wouldn’t open the email based on the subject, they probably won’t open it either. If it would annoy you, it will probably annoy them, too. And annoyed readers unsubscribe.
4. RESPOND. When you have convinced your subscribers to open your email message and read its contents, the only remaining “task” is to get them to respond.
You want them to take action. Click a link. Go somewhere. Spend money with you. Whatever it is that is the goal of your mailing ( which of course you’ve planned in advance, right? ).
A great way to do this is follow a simple catch phrase I’ve been teaching for years: “useful, but incomplete”.
It simply means this: your messages must provide content that is useful to your subscribers (otherwise, they’ll unsubscribe faster than you can say “oops”!), but is also “incomplete” in that there is some additional information that could enhance or maximize that content, and that information is only available by taking the action prescribed in the email.
For example, you might write an article that shares “7 Ways to Profit With Auto-responders” to send to your list. That’s “useful” information to those who are interested in that particular topic. It’s also “incomplete” because they need an auto-responder service to put the information into action. That’s your cue to promote your recommended auto-responder service.
See how it works?
This is a system that has never failed, and will never fail, if it’s done properly. I’ve used it. Others have used it.
So what are you waiting for?