Rule #4: Build a List

April 5th, 2010 by Rob Willis Leave a reply »

Another practical piece of advice for all Internet marketers is to build a list. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to, or how well your current efforts are working. Building a list is always a surefire way to 1) allow you to make more sales to your existing customers; and 2) convert your website traffic better.

Now, when it comes to list building, the best place to get started is by getting an autoresponder account. You can do this through one of the two major autoresponder services:

1.         http://www.aweber.com/

2.         http://www.getresponse.com/

Unfortunately, purchasing an autoresponder service is the easiest part. Actually getting things rolling, building a list, and using it to convert subscribers into buyers, and buyers into repeat buyers is the truly challenging part.

Fortunately, there is a process for this, too. Start with the following five steps:

1.         Create some content for your autoresponder. It doesn’t matter whether it is a free newsletter, a free report, a free book, or something else. What’s important is that it has to be free, it has to provide value, and it has to entice to site visitors to join your list. Beyond that, you can be creative.

If you create low-quality content and use it as your hook to get people to sign up, it might work initially, but once people read it, they’ll be disappointed. In the long run, this will translate into unnecessarily forgone sales. So do it right the first time.

2.         Create a “squeeze page” or an “opt-in” page for your site. Unless you are only selling one product on your site, this opt-in page should not be on the main page of your site. Instead, it should be located on a subdomain. In fact, if you want to split test your results by trying different squeeze pages, you should have more than one of these subdomains—each with a slightly different setup. Then send identical traffic to it (perhaps through PPC sources) and test your conversion rates.

3.         Alter the main page on your site to include an opt-in form. You might do this through a non-invasive “slide-in” or “hover-over” ad. Alternatively, you could include it in a sidebar, at the bottom of your main page, or at the top.

4.         Finally, send traffic to your opt-in forms. Do this through pay per click campaigns, text ads, and joint venture partnerships. But when you do it, send your traffic to distinct subdomains. This will allow you to track the convertibility of your various traffic sources, so you can determine which are profitable and which are not.

5.         Monetize your list. This is often the trickiest part of the list marketing process. Fortunately, there is a large variety of different ways in which you can do it. I personally suggest that you do it by periodically giving away free reports that guide your readers into making purchases through affiliate links (or from your own product selection). This will usually be more effective than direct marketing attempts.

Of course, list marketing is a complicated process; and there is a lot of debate over the best way to do it. But without even knowing the best way, you can benefit significantly by creating a list and using it to market your products. And this is precisely why I suggest you do it immediately if you haven’t started already.

To Your Success,

Rob Willis

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