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How Do You Build A List?
There are numerous ways in which you can build a credible list. More are evolving through the experience of innovative online marketers all the time. We have discussed the most widely used methods in this ebook and how they can work for you. Almost all of them are simple to get in place to get you going on your path to profit.
The online marketing business wouldn’t be where it is today without autoresponders. It saves a tremendous amount of time by completely automating the process of communicating with your subscribers. An autoresponder uses software that can be programmed according to your requirements. Once you set the parameters of how you want things done, it just follows instructions. You can be as creative as you want. You don’t even have to make a major investment on one these days – several sites offer them for free.
Why Is An Auto Responder So Important?
Autoresponders save time and time is money while building your lists. If you send promotional emails from your ISP, you will be reported as a spammer. The next thing you know, you might have to close shop. Autoresponders can be exclusively used to send these routine follow up emails to the thousands of contacts on the list. You can plan and keep your emails ready, and set the autoresponder to send it at the specific intervals you want. It can keep track of subscribers signing in and even respond to let them know they have been signed in. Practically every single routine emailing activity can be handled by the autoresponder, which is why no online marketing can do without it.
How It Works
You can use a follow up autoresponder that can keep the follow up work ongoing with your contacts. No subscriber is going to worry about when your next email is coming, and you certainly cannot expect them to remember your particular message among the hundreds they must be getting on a daily basis. That’s where an autoresponder comes in. To keep your business information alive in the subscriber’s mind.
Program It And It Does The Rest
You only have to keep your messages ready, decide on a sending schedule and your autoresponder takes care of the rest for as long as you have set it. This will mean that you can concentrate on other equally important issues while your sales keep coming in, thanks to your autoresponder’s faithful follow up. In fact, it even lets you go on holiday while it keeps your office practically running!. Your autoresponder can help you send out useful information to your contacts. Instead of using the same: dear subscriber: for all your contacts, you can make your autoresponder address each contact by name and send the email. It is always nicer to receive an email addressed to us personally than get the feeling that we are one in a massive group of recipients. The autoresponder can even be programmed to wish your contacts “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”
It can track your lists. This means you can make carefully thought out offers to your target audience. They just want to know what is in it for them. So you can structure your message accordingly so that it appeals to them. Experienced online marketers recommend that it is better to use autoresponders that give you an update about contact statistics. This can be split into month/week/day to tell you which of your leads are active and which ones have opted out, helping you in healthy list maintenance.
Keeping In Touch
Autoresponders help you in keeping in touch with your subscribers, giving them relevant information about your business, say, when you get fresh stocks or if you are planning a discount sale. Or you can even make your new subscribers some kind of special offer. This will keep your contact list alive and help you turn them into continuous sales!
You can also get your autoresponder to get activated when a contact signs up at your website. After they write their name and email address, when they send the information, it goes to the autoresponder URL that will send an acknowledgement right away.
Factors To Consider While Buying An Autoresponder
When you decide to use an autoresponder, you want to ensure that it is the one best suited to your needs in terms of performance, customer support, features and cost. These parameters must be balanced and convince you that it is the right one for you.
In terms of performance, the main thing to consider while getting an autoresponder is delivery of email. The higher the ability to deliver emails, the better. The provider of the autoresponder must support you with prompt customer service that knows what it is talking about. Just imagine getting stuck half way through your campaign! So look for one that is accessible easily and responds quickly.
Features are only as useful as you find them for your business. It is possible that you may not use all the features your autoresponder provides. But you can have it working efficiently for you when you are clear about what you want and set it accordingly. Next, you want to check that what you are paying to use your autoresponder does not cut into your profits. After all, you are trying to find ways to build your lists, not incur losses. So check what it will cost you in service, set up, monthly expenditure and other costs that may not have been mentioned. There is no use getting an autoresponder that you can’t afford.
Sequential Auto responders
Technology is advancing all the time to make the online marketer’s life easier. Many online business use what are called sequential autoresponders. These collect and save the names and email addresses of your contacts. This enables it to continue to send messages in sequential intervals, set by you, to your potential contacts. It can also take attached documents.
To summarize, your autoresponder can help you build massive lists depending on what you use it for. It helps in building an impression of your reliability, makes your customers have more faith in you and keeps them thinking about you. This will lead to more profits through frequent sales.
A lot of online marketers have tested and tried this strategy to build their lists. The main thing here is to make a good ebook that the user will want to get for free. This is usually offered as a sign up bonus – when the customer leaves his email id and name. As a next step, the user is taken to the website URL to download the ebook from there.
In fact, these days you need not even go through the trouble of writing your own ebook. You can outsource it to writers who then give you the full resale rights of the book. After you get your ebook ready, ensure that you add your optin page or autoresponder URL to every page of the ebook, to help the user find you right away.
You can make an ebook that runs to several pages or just a few, there’s no standard length. People like to receive free ebooks, particularly if they are interested in the information it contains. Ebooks are inexpensive to give away because you don’t have to maintain physical stocks since they are in the digital format. You can send them to your users through your autoresponder, so delivery is quick. You don’t incur shipping charges. What’s more, you can give away as many copies as you like.
Ebooks can be given away for free as an incentive to sign up with you, or you could also charge a nominal fee and give away the reprint rights to your subscribers. They, for their part can also give it away for free and make money by doing this. But these tend to be hot for a while and then the excitement wears down. The trick is to keep writing new ebooks all the time to keep your audience eager. You aim here is to increase your list size with more subscribers. By increasing the number of links pointing to your own website, you can also rank high with the search engines.
Ways In Which You Can Use The E book To Build Your Lists:
You can use your ebook to build your lists in different ways. Many people enjoy receiving relevant information that they are interested in.
An ebook given away free draws the visitor to your website. Ebooks can be used in the following manner:
- Offer the complete ebook in return for referral email ids or testimonials, which you can use.
- Writing your own ebook makes you look like a specialist or professional in your field, and builds credibility.
- You can post your ebook on various free websites, which will ensure an increase in the number of downloads.
- Some marketers offer just the first two chapters of the ebook, giving the visitor the choice to buy the full ebook.
- Make your ebook work for you to build your lists by making it a limited offer for that particular topic. You can inform your visitor this ebook will only be available for the next 24 hours for free download, encouraging them to take advantage of the offer right away by signing up with their email id and name.
Ezines are not only useful as great list builders, but are an inexpensive and efficient way to keep in touch with your subscribers and interact with them. You can keep them updated with what is happening in your organization, telling them about new product launches and other innovations you have introduced. Not only that, it’s a good publicity tool for your website. Ezines help in following up with the customer on an ongoing basis. Through its content, the subscriber is encouraged to visit your website often. People don’t take action on a single message. They need to be reminded constantly before they can consider buying your product. Ensure that you have an online version of your ezine on your website. This will help it to be indexed by the search engines and bring lots of visitors to your site. In each issue of your ezine, use keywords related to your business because gradually your ezine pages will get into the search engines.
Theme Based Ezine
When you plan your ezine, decide on a specific theme that suits your market, and the kind of people you want signing up with you to buy your products. This will enhance the type of list you want to build. You want the people who opt to receive your newsletter to read them and recommend them to others, who will also build your list by subscribing to your ezine. Initially it is better to just have an easy sign up box where your visitor needs to only fill in email id. Some people tend to think that online marketers are always looking to get personal information. You don’t want to put them off. Your subscribe link must appear on every page of your website, preferably at the top left hand corner as everyone tends to look there first. Remember to mention what you are offering for free near all the links.
Exchanging Ads With Other Ezines
You can use your ezine to expand your lists by putting an ad for it in other ezines and websites, preferably related businesses that are non-competitive. Here also, remember to include information about your freebie. You can in turn carry ads for those websites/ezines and divert traffic toward each other and benefit mutually. The more web partners you have, the more busy the traffic will be on your website.
And by the way, you can use free content on your ezine as well if you cannot write your own. The biggest advantage of an ezine is that you will make people get used to seeing communication from you at frequent intervals. Your ezine can carry special offers without the risk of spamming.
Over a period of time, you can skim through your old ezines, make ebooks out of similar content, and use these as free gifts. We all intend to save some of the information we receive but never really get around to it, what with the volume we receive. So this will be a nice little idea to use. You must make sure you write/use good stuff in the ezines; otherwise no one will bother to read it.
Every email you send out must have your registration/subscription link. Add a registration button or link to all e-mail correspondence. Also have a “if you liked this, recommend it to a friend” kind of link in every ezine. That helps in spreading the word about your products ethically.
Interacting With Your Prospects Through Your Ezine
The reason why your prospects signed up for your ezine is because you said that you would give them information they can use. It is important to stick to this promise over and over again to maintain this list. Make sure you provide the content you promised. They must look forward to your next ezine. Let the tone of your ezine be informative, instead of as a tool to increase sales. This will give it a sort of consultative approach and build good relationships with your list. So how can you use your ezine to interact with your prospects? Read on…
- Ask questions in your ezine. Request your subscribers to answer the question from a choice of 3 answers, which they can do by clicking a link.
- Encourage feedback from your subscribers; you can provide a link where they can post their feedback and other remarks. Make sure you acknowledge these and maybe even have a small giveaway to those whose feedback is included as a tip in your next ezine. How’s that?
- Invite questions and suggestions from your readers. Ensure that you reply to these in subsequent issues. Ezines give you the image of being an expert, which in turn brings you respect, making you look trustworthy.
With this, I am sure you can come up with some more effective ideas!
Yet another proven method to build substantial lists is by writing keyword rich articles, pertaining to your line of business. This can work whether you post them on your own website or in other big article sites and directories. These article directories and other site owners look for content they can share with their readers. These sites get continuous targeted traffic from people, who are looking for different kinds of information, and when you post there – it is almost guaranteed that your article will come up in the search results if it is related to the search. When you include your opt in URL at the end of every article you post, this ensures more visitors to your site. A brief message with your URL will also trigger your reader’s interest, making them want to visit your site for more, putting them in a receptive mood to sign up with your list.
Let other ezines and sites reprint your articles, insisting that they can do so as long as they keep the links to your site. You can keep track of these users so that you can continue to send them subsequent issues. You can also ask them to send you an email asking for your permission to use your material. This makes more validated contacts.
Just like other information you post in the form of ezines, ebooks, etc., your articles must also be concisely written and loaded with the kind of ideas your reader would like to see. If you cant write articles, you can also get free content from various sites across the Web.
Blogs are a terrific method of building lists, extensively used by online marketers. They are the current trend with most organizations to keep in touch with their customers – both old and new. It is an interactive tool, and what’s more, the search engines like blogs. Your other list building tools can be included in your blog by providing links to them.
What Are Blogs?
Blogs or weblogs are websites or parts of them where there’s information on a regular basis. This is related to the target user and reflects the main website of the business. Its almost like talking to your visitors through a diary. Blogs are written in an informal manner. They use what are called RSS feeds to update your user on what is happening on the site. Blogs are also permanent, since all the content can be archived. This means the person visiting your blog can get hold of everything you’ve done so far. Blogs can be linked to your other promotion URLs. When this is done, every time you put new information on your blog, your entire network of links will bring in visitors who can then be followed up using your autoresponder.
Most smart online marketers post and offer and invite their visitors to leave feedback. We always tend to identify with fellow-buyers – in that way this interaction is valuable, authentic and a great way to increase your sales.
Content On Your Blog
What you post on your blog is up to you. As with all other communication material, you must take care to post keyword-rich content so that it is picked up by search engines to attract traffic.
Some people even hire professional bloggers to do this work for them.
You can post information about your products, news relevant to your industry and even personal experiences. Its basically an ongoing conversation that builds trust in the long run and keeps your visitors coming back if they liked what they saw.
How To Let Your Contacts Know About New Content?
Your blog is a web page. So unless your contact visits it, he or she won’t be able to read new content. How will you let them know you have added new information? You can email your list through your autoresponder to let them know. In fact, include a couple of lines from your post with the link to the blog so that they can reach your blogsite through the link and read the rest of your post. Some marketers go further and send the new content fully via email, just like you would send an ezine, to the subscriber’s email.
Even in the offline world almost all businesses maintain a blog of some sort. There was a time when they were not taken very seriously, but now, they are viewed as one of the best marketing methods. Every business must maintain a blog, since it is extremely easy to manage, particularly in the online business. There are many marketers who start a blog even before they build their website, because of various free blogger sites available.
E-courses are much like ebooks, except that they keep your subscribers anticipating the next part. They are sent to them in series at varying intervals. This is easily possible through an autoresponder. This is feasible when you want to maintain steady contact with your users. Ecourses can be of any frequency. They are easy to put together. Once you decide on the topic you can write your own ecourse or outsource the work.
How To Organize
You would want to organize a week’s worth of daily material to keep the flow. Suppose you are sending out an e-course on say, how to build lists. Each issue must have the link to your website or autoresponder and also give your subscribers the option to unsubscribe. If they are not interested, there is no point continuing to send them content. At some point they may report you as a spammer and that’s an unpleasant situation. It would be a good idea to begin every issue on a personalized note, introduce that specific part and end it with the title of the next issue. Sending one part every two days will give your user time to go through the content.
When The Course Comes To An End
At the end of the course, you can ask them to recommend other users to you, if they enjoyed what they read, so that it can grow your list. But why would they do that? What’s in it for them? Tell them that they have a chance at winning a special giveaway – mention what it is – and then ask them to forward it to three people for a chance to win it. This is also a good time to give them a special introductory offer to encourage them to take action toward purchasing your product. Don’t forget to ask them for feedback regarding the ecourse.
Squeeze pages are an interesting concept as list-building tools. They have revolutionized the online marketing business by their utility in increasing traffic. With a well-designed squeeze page, the marketer can enjoy limitless benefits. Assuming you have a website, you can make a squeeze page that will have something attractive for your visitor to want to be on your list. It has a web form, through which your autoresponder can subscribe them automatically and send them further information.
What Squeeze Pages Do
Squeeze pages let you get your visitor’s contact information so that you can send them information at their email id. They are a prelude to your main website, almost like an advertisement – with an eye-catching headline, good content that is relative to your main website along with a sign up form through which the visitors can give you their email address, permitting you to send them more information regarding your products or offers. The content should preferably bulleted points so that your visitor can quickly decide to sign up.
But again, why would your visitors volunteer contact information to you just because you want them to? You have to offer an incentive. So come up with something that they perceive as valuable to them that can convince them to agree to receive your promotional emails and give you their email ids.
The entire idea here is to tempt your visitor to want to know more about what you have written on your squeeze page, and therefore sign up with their contact details to receive that information. You are trying to bring them to your main website. The advantage here is, even if they don’t end up buying something during the first visit, you’ve got their email addresses – so you can remind them from time to time.
What If You Don’t Have A Web Site?
Now suppose you have no website. What can you do? One of two things – get one right away, or else use your autoresponder URL. So your squeeze page will carry your autoresponder URL, which means your visitors will sign up by using that link to subscribe. But it is better to get your website as soon as possible since you will need one anyway.
This is a good method that will build your contact list. If you have expertise in a particular field or are knowledgeable about a subject, write interesting reports and give them free as sign up bonuses. Send the report only after they leave their email and name. This way you also make sure that you have their permission to send them the report. Your autoresponder can take care of mailing this.
The report could be a generalized report on your industry or a specific topic that relates to your business, that gives information of value to the reader. It can also summarize the results of a survey you took. Make sure it contains links to your ezine, website, autoresponder URL, blog, etc. Also include a link, which enables your contact to pass the free report around.
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