The Truth About Buying a List

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Sometimes when people start thinking about building their own list, they get impatient. They know it will take some time to write the squeeze page and set up an auto-responder series. And once that part is complete, they still need to drive traffic to their squeeze page to build their list.

Then these folks see what seems to be an easy solution: buy a list! And they wonder, “Why, build a list when I can just buy a list?”

Here’s why…

For starters, some of these offers (like the “buy a list of one million email address” offers) are totally bogus. If you actually purchase one of these lists and start sending email to them, you could lose your ISP, your email, your web host, your domain name, your payment processor and everything else associated with your business. That’s because some of these firms are scraping addresses from around the web and selling them, meaning you’ll be spamming if you use them.

One legitimate alternative, however, is to use a co-registration company. This is a company that asks visitors who’re signing up to one newsletter if they’d like to receive additional information on a related topic (hence the name co-registration). This is how the co-registration company generates targeted, opt-in leads, which the company then sells to marketers.

However, since most companies sell these leads to multiple marketers, these leads end up on various mailing lists. And that means these leads could get inundated with offers, which makes the leads less valuable to you. Plus, since these subscribers weren’t specifically asking for information from you – meaning they didn’t ask to join your specific newsletter – these leads aren’t as responsive as the ones you gather yourself.

Bottom line: Buying co-registration leads is more like a traffic generation strategy as opposed to a straight list-building strategy. If you do use this strategy to build your list, be sure to follow these tips…

  • Find out how the leads are collected. Some companies will actually collect leads specifically for your newsletter, but of course these are more expensive. Others collect highly targeted lists. Avoid the untargeted lists, and RUN from any spammers.
  • Ask how fresh the leads are. The more recently they were collected, the more responsive these leads will be.
  • Find out how many others will get the leads. Obviously, the fewer marketers who receive the leads, the more you’ll pay for the leads. If you pay less, then the leads will be less-responsive, because they could be inundated with offers.
  • Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company. In other words, look for an established history and high praise for other reputable people. If you don’t see any of that, you might just be dealing with a company that scrapes email addresses (AKA spammers).
  • Find out if the lists are cleaned. That is, are bounced email addresses, duplicate addresses, and obviously fake email addresses pulled from the list before you buy it?
  • Keep these leads separate from your own leads. Since these people don’t know you, you need to warm these leads up by sending them relevant, targeted emails. It’s better if you keep these leads separate. Indeed, you may have a goal of getting these leads to join your regular mailing list (and discarding any leads on the list that don’t join your list after you’ve sent a few emails).

As you can tell, buying and using co-registration leads is really an advanced strategy for experienced marketers. If you don’t have any experience under your belt yet, file this strategy away and don’t use it until you thoroughly understand the process and how to research the company.

That’s it for this time.

Next time we’ll return to talking about building your own list, starting with the topic of choosing an incentive.

Take care

Clive

Author of Fiction, Non-Fiction Books and step-by-step Lessons

MISSING Brenda Johnstone was last seen coming out of Ponders Pub. She said goodbye to her two workmates after saying, she would see them at work tomorrow, started to take the fifteen-minute walk home carrying only a handbag. Her father employed Johnny Stevens, A private investigator. A suitcase of her clothes went missing the day she left home, but Brenda had not taken them according to her family. Brenda had not turned up for work since she disappeared. Was she, abducted or did she leave home, of her own free will that, is what Johnny Stevens had to find out?

Kindle: From Amazon

How to Collect Email addresses

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We’ve touched on this broad idea of building a list. But that leads to a specific question. Namely: How, exactly, do you collect these email addresses so that you can start building your prospect mailing list?

Here are four popular ways…

Create a Squeeze Page or Landing Page

This is where you offer something valuable (such as a free e-book or e-course) in exchange for an email address. In this case, the entire web page is geared towards getting the person to join your list, meaning there aren’t extraneous links, ads or other information on the page.

For example, you might submit an article to an article directory which includes a link to read a related report. This related report is only available to those who join your mailing list.

If the only choice is to join the list to get access to something valuable or to leave the page, then this page is referred to as a squeeze page (because you’re “squeezing” visitors for their email addresses). For example, you might offer forum access, an e-book or even access to a sales letter only after someone gives you their email address.

Because creating a dedicated landing page with the sole purpose of collecting email addresses is such a powerful strategy, that’s what we’ll focus on for many of these lessons. However, you can and should incorporate some of these other email-collecting tactics, too. Read on…

Add Subscription Forms to Your Site/Blog

Every page of your website or blog should include a subscription form along with a call to action (where you tell people to join your list). In some cases, you might include a link to send people to your squeeze page. In other cases, you may just embed the subscription form directly on your site.

For example, your subscription form and call to action should appear in the sidebar of your blog (on every page). At the bottom of each article you may also include a link to your landing page with a call to action such as: “If you liked this article, you’ll love the full-length report which [insert benefits of report], click here to claim yours now for free!”

Collect Email Addresses on Facebook

You can set up a Facebook Fan Page and embed your subscription form directly into Facebook. Then you simply encourage all visitors and “fans” to join your list.

Embed the Forms into Sales Pages or Via Exit Pop-Ups

Another way to collect email addresses is by embedding your form on your sales pages (if have any). The danger, however, is that these forms just serve as a distraction and thus a sales leak which lowers the conversion rate. That’s because prospects could come to your sales page, see your newsletter offer, take advantage of it and then forget about ordering.

The good thing, of course, is that if they do indeed join the list, you can follow up with them and still close the sale. However, some prospects will join the list and leave your sales page… but then they won’t confirm their subscription. Or perhaps they entered a wrong email address, so they won’t get your email. Either way, they’ve left the sales page, before buying and you have no way to contact them.

The solution? Use an exit pop up. This is a window that pops up and pitches your newsletter offer ONLY when the person is leaving the sales page. Since the person was leaving, you’re not interrupting the sale or lowering the conversion rate. And yet you get a chance to capture the person’s contact info to help close the sale.

Again, you should be using all of these methods. Since the landing page is the most powerful and advanced method (with more steps involved), that’s what you’ll learn how to do in this course.

Next Lesson is The Truth about Buying a List

Take care

Clive

Author of Fiction, Non-Fiction Books and step-by-step Lessons

THE HITMAN They came for him. They missed him but killed his wife. He decided not to wait for them to come for him. To do what Special forces had taught him. Sometimes times the best form of defence is to attack. This was one of those cases. Yes, he would go after them.

Kindle from Amazon

Choosing an Auto-responder

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Last time you learned about self-hosted mailing list manager solutions. This time let’s look at some of the pros and cons of a third-party solution. Here they are:

  • Someone else controls your list. If your auto-responder goes down, no one will be able to join your list or leave it, nor will you be able to send an email to your list. That’s why it’s important to choose a reputable company with limited downtime and dedicated tech staff who can handle these issues.
  • No special knowledge needed. On the plus side, if something does go wrong, a professional will fix it (not you). And that means you don’t need to have any technical knowledge to run a mailing list when you use a third-party service.
  • The company works on deliverability issues. If you choose a reputable service that works closely with email providers and ISPs, then more of your emails will get to their intended recipients. The reputable company will also handle all spam complaints on your behalf. And it’s for this reason that many people choose to use third-party solutions.

No matter what type of solution you choose, here are some features you need to look for:

  • Auto-responder. Be sure to choose a mailing list manager that offers an auto-responder. In particular, make sure that you can upload multiple messages into your auto-responder (preferably unlimited).
  • Large database. You don’t want your solution to limit how many people you can add to your list. Most third-party responders offer a large number (almost “unlimited”) number of subscribers, though the prices increase as your subscriber numbers increase. If you choose a script, be sure the script has been tested with large numbers so that you don’t end up with a corrupt database.
  • Allows personalisation. This means you can collect first names and then include names in your emails (e.g., “dear [first name]”).

Preferably, you should also look for:

  • Tracking features (such as a service that tracks open rate, bounces, etc).
  • The ability to segment your list and email just one portion at a time.
  • Templates (such as email templates, subscription form templates, etc).
  • Unlimited autoresponders, campaigns and emails. That way you can set up multiple mailing lists.

If you’re interested in a third-party solution, then here re additional features you need to look for:

  • The company offers good support. Look for a website that has tutorials as well as live support (preferably phone support, but email is ok if inquiries are handled promptly).
  • The company is reputable and established. Don’t trust your mailing list with a company that just popped up on the scene yesterday, unless you know the owner. It’s better to go with an established company with a good history.
  • The company has a high deliverability rate. Make sure the company does indeed work to ensure high deliverability. (TIP: Free mailing list providers don’t do this.)
  • Find out what happens if you get a spam complaint. No question, at some point you will get spam complaints, as some people find it easier to hit the “spam” button rather than unsubscribe from the list. Find out the company’s policy and the threshold for these complaints.

Suggested Solutions

Since a third-party service is the easiest way to get your list up and running, that’s what I recommend you choose (especially if you don’t have experience in this area). Here are some of the best third-party solutions that have great features (including high deliverability) and good support staff:

  • Aweber.com
  • GetResponse.com

Pick your service and get acquainted with how it works, because next time you’ll find out the different ways of collecting email addresses!

Mailing List Manager

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Before you can start building a list, you need to have the tools to enable you to do so. This means you need to get an auto-responder and mailing list manager. Fortunately, the vast majority of mailing list manager work as auto-responders too. Nonetheless, let me define these two terms:

Mailing list manager:

A mailing list manager is a script or service that allows you to put a form on your site so that visitors can join your mailing list. Some scripts or services only allow you to collect an email address and perhaps the first name, while others allow you to define your own fields and collect additional information (such as postal addresses)

Once your subscribers are in the database, the mailing list manager allows you to send live broadcasts (mailings) to all or part of your list. The manager may track statistics, such as open rates. It also handles un-subscriptions, so all a person needs to do is click on a link to leave your list.

Auto-responder:

This is a special feature that’s included along with most mailing list managers. When someone joins a list, your auto-responder immediately sends them the email message of your choice. Most auto-responders allow you to set up a series of emails that get sent out at your chosen intervals. (Later on, you’ll discover the best intervals to get the best response.)

Now, there are two main mailing list auto-responder solutions. One is a self-hosted solution, which is where you install a mailing list manager script on your website. The second is a third-party solution, where a company provides this service for you.

In this lesson, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of the self-hosted solution. Next time you’ll learn more about the third-party solution.

Self-Hosted Solutions

The self-hosted solution means you need to install a script on your own server is your mailing list manager. Some people simply install a script with their regular web host (indeed, there may even be one included in your control panel), while others maintain separate servers just for sending emails.

Let’s talk about the simplest of these options, where you need to install a mailing list manager-script. Here are some of the pros and cons:

  • You need to have some technical knowledge (or hire someone who does). At the very least you’ll need to know how to install a script on your website. You may also need some knowledge of databases so that you can back up and maintain your database of subscribers.
  • You need to know how to get your email address “white-listed” with ISPs. In order to achieve high rates of deliverability, you need to work closely with major ISPs and email address providers to whitelist your emails so that they get to their intended recipients.
  • You’ll need to deal with spam complaints. If several people on your list report your email as spam (and it does happen), you need to deal with these complaints yourself. These complaints may end up in getting your address blacklisted.
  • You’re fully responsible for keeping all your data safe. While you should always make backups of data even when using a third-party service, you need to maintain the primary database as well as a backup.
  • You have more flexibility. Many third-party services have rules about what you can send and how often you can mail your list. Indeed, most services have price increases as your list grows. When you manage your own mailing list manager, you don’t have to worry about price increases plus you have more flexibility. And for this reason alone, many choose the self-hosted solution.

Next time you’ll find out more about third-party solutions, plus I’ll give you links of reputable providers.

 Take care

Clive

Author of Fiction, Non-Fiction Books and step-by-step Lessons

Clive Harman, author of Shattered Dreams: The Story of My Life. Tragedy, love, comradeship and shattered dreams.  These are some of the elements that, have made up the adventures and challenges of author Clive Harman’s life.

For Kindle: from Amazon

Responsive List How to Build one

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Last time you learned about the three main types of lists you can build. From here on out you’re going to learn the step-by-step process of building your own responsive list.

You’ve already received an overview of how to do this (back in Lesson #1). Basically, it’s as easy as choosing an incentive, writing a mini sales letter to encourage people to join your list, and setting up an auto-responder series so that you can build relationships with your list. Later on, you’ll discover all sorts of neat tips and techniques to help you boost the responsiveness of your responsive list.

But first, let’s talk about what kind of traffic you’re sending to this responsive list.

You see, many times new marketers quickly build up a big list and they start expecting the $1 per subscriber per month income. These marketers are shocked to discover they don’t earn anywhere near $1 per subscriber per month. Some earn zero – yes, zero – from their responsive list. Then they decide list building doesn’t work.

Nothing could be further from the truth. But responsive lists are only profitable if you do these two things:

  1. Pitch targeted offers. (We’ll talk about how to do this later on in this course.)
  2. Send targeted traffic to your offer.

You see, this course is all about building a profitable responsive list. However, one of the keys to building a profitable responsive list is by making sure the offers and traffic are both targeted.

Let me give you an example…

Many times I’ve seen people set up general sites like “joke of the day” sites. They then build a responsive list by offering visitors the chance to get a daily joke by email. It’s a great way to build a responsive list, but the problem is that this list isn’t very targeted.

Sure, everyone who joins this list likes a good joke. That means the marketer could sell things like joke books, humour videos and similar products. However, many marketers don’t do well selling to such a diverse group, so they start trying to sell other “mass market” products like ringtones, dating opportunities and a plethora of other products to their humour-loving list. And then the marketers bomb out because they started pitching untargeted offers to their responsive list.

In other cases, some people build a list by offering a contest. Problem is, they offer something like a cash prize. Thus people who sign up to the responsive list aren’t necessarily interested in the niche – instead, they’re just interested in winning money. So when the contest is over, the marketer is disappointed to find a totally unresponsive list.

TIP: If you want to build a list with a contest, offer niche-related products as prises. For example, offer a dog training book as a prise if you want to build a responsive list of dog owners.

Bottom line: start with a tightly focused target market with a definite problem. For example, dog owners need to know how to housetrain their dogs. Overweight people need to know how to lose weight (fast). People who restore old cars need to know how to swap out engines. Beginning gardeners need to know how to keep their gardens free of weeds.

Once you’ve selected your target market, focus on solving their specific problems by offering free niche information in your newsletter (which helps you build a relationship with these folks) as well offering paid solutions (via your affiliate link).

Now that you have the basics down and you understand the concept of building a targeted list, you’ll learn about the tools you need.

Next lesson Mailing List Manger

Take care

Clive

Author of Fiction, Non-Fiction Books and step-by-step Lessons

THE HITMAN They came for him. They missed him but killed his wife. He decided not to wait for them to come for him. To do what Special forces had taught him. Sometimes times the best form of defence is to attack. This was one of those cases. Yes, he would go after them.

Kindle from Amazon

Which of These Email Lists Should You Be Building?

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Everyone says to build an email list because that’s where the money’s at. They’re right. But hardly anyone ever tells you what kind of email list to build. Problem is, there are several kinds of email lists you should be building!

Let’s go over the top three:

Prospect List

This is the email list mentioned in last time’s post. Just as the name implies, this is a list full of prospects. Usually, you build this email list by offering something valuable (for free) to your prospects, such as a free e-book, a free video or even an e-course.

The goal of this email list is to build a relationship with your prospects so that you can increase your sales. That’s because people buy from those they know, like and trust. Offering high-quality free information and solutions to your email list not only helps build this trust, but it also gives your list a free sample of the type of solutions you offer. So if you’re also selling information, (like books or e-books) it gets your prospects thinking, “Wow… if this is what his free information is like, I can only imagine what the paid solutions are like!”

And that’s not all.

Whether you’re selling information products (like e-books) or physical products (like backyard grills), offering useful solutions triggers your prospect’s sense of reciprocity. That is, they almost feel obligated to purchase something for you just because you’ve given them something useful.

Let me explain…

Think back to the last time a friend took you out for lunch. What did you do in return? I bet within a few weeks you returned the favour by taking this person out for lunch.

That’s reciprocity. When someone does something for us or gives something valuable to us, we feel obligated to return the favour. Indeed, we feel psychologically uncomfortable until we’ve repaid the favour.

Your prospects are no different. If you offer something very valuable for free, some of them will feel obligated to return the favour. That’s why embedding links for products and services inside of your free reports, e-books, videos, and even the newsletter itself is such an effective way to make sales.

You can build a prospect list no matter what you’re selling. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling your own product or selling to a niche market as an affiliate. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling $1 reports or $1 million jets. No matter what, a prospect email list is a powerful tool, which is the reason this course focuses on building a prospect email list and profiting from it (especially via affiliate sales).

Customer Email List

If you sell your own product, then you should also be building a customer email list. Once someone buys a product from you, they get added to this customer’s email list. (Where applicable, you can also remove them from the prospect email list.) This is one of your most valuable lists because proven buyers are more likely to buy from you again. So while you might get 2% to 10% or more of your prospect list buying from you, you could get 20% or more of your customer email list responding to your offers.

JV Partner email List

Finally, the last type of list that you should consider building is your partner list. This isn’t a list of prospects. Rather, it’s a list of marketing partners (such as joint venture partners or affiliates). You should contact people on this list from time to time to build your relationship with these partners and keep them informed about any marketing or partnership opportunities.

As you can see, all three of these lists are important. Depending on your business model, however, you may not have a need for all three lists. That’s why we’ll focus on the prospect list since this is one list you can profit from no matter what you’re selling.

Stay tuned, because next time you’ll find out how to start building your own high-response, big-profit prospect email list!

Take care

Clive

Author of Fiction, Non-Fiction Books and step-by-step Lessons

Clive Harman, author of Shattered Dreams: The Story of My Life. Tragedy, love, comradeship and shattered dreams.  These are some of the elements that, have made up the adventures and challenges of author Clive Harman’s life.

For Kindle: from Amazon

Introduction to Building your List lessons

photo of clive harman

Building your list is one of the best ways to increase your income online. If you drive traffic to your site and you’re not building a mailing list, then as many as 99% of your visitors are completely wasted. They won’t buy your product… and they’ll forget to come back to your site. They’re gone forever unless they happen to run into another one of your ads.

Now compare that to building a list. Depending on the quality of your traffic and the incentive you’re offering, you could get anywhere from 20% to 50% or even more of your web traffic to join your list. Doing so gives you the opportunity to follow up with them repeatedly, build a relationship and close the sale.

The profits you make from your list will vary. It mainly depends on your niche, how targeted your subscribers are, and what types of offers you send them. However, a good rule of thumb is that you’ll make about £1 per subscriber per month. Go ahead and do the math – you don’t need a very big list in order to make a very comfortable living!

So how do you build a list? Like this:

  • Step 1: Select your autoresponder/mailing list manager. You can choose a self-hosted solution, such as an auto-responder script that you install on your own website. Or you can choose a third-party solution, where a reputable company hosts your list and sends out your mailings.
  • Step 2: Choose an incentive. Your visitors need a reason to join your list. That’s why you need to choose an attractive incentive (a freebie or “bribe”) to get your target market to eagerly join your list.
  • Step 3: Set up a website. Your next step is to create a compelling squeeze page or other landing pages that convince your visitors to join your list. You do this by sharing the benefits of joining your list, which includes not only getting access to the freebie, but also the benefits of your newsletter.
  • Step 4: Create an auto-responder series. Next, you need to create an auto-responder email series with a minimum of 7-12 emails, spaced just a few days up to a week apart. This series helps you build a relationship with your prospects on autopilot. And it also gives you a chance to make money since you can pitch targeted offers to your list in these initial emails.
  • Step 5: Drive traffic! Once your system is set up, you can start driving targeted traffic to your squeeze page or any other page on your site that focuses on funnelling people to your list.

And you see, over the next several weeks and months you’re going to learn everything you need to know about using short articles to drive massive traffic to your sites, build your list and sell more products. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming up:

  • You’ll discover the five main purposes of an article – and how to construct articles that serve these purposes.
  • You’ll find out how to optimise your articles for the search engines to pull in traffic from Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines.
  • You’ll discover the places to submit your articles to, including article directories, popular niche blogs, social media sites and so many others.
  • You’ll find out how to write engaging articles that keep your readers hanging on your every word. You’ll even discover some little-known tricks to make sure your readers always read your entire article!
  • Plus you’ll discover how to write a persuasive resource box that gets people rushing to click through to your website.

For the purposes of this course, we’re going to focus on the first four steps. Basically, over the coming weeks and months you’re going to discover the secrets of building a profitable list, building a relationship with your subscribers, and sending content to them that makes them crack open their wallets and  you’re going to get an in-depth look at the entire content marketing process, plus you’ll discover several little-known article marketing tricks. But first, let’s start with a good overview of the process so that you know how it works…