Why List Building Should Be Your #1 Priority

In my opinion affiliate marketing is the greatest job in the world. It’s one of the fastest ways to make a high income online, in a relatively short amount of time, and with little risk or expense. You get to work when you want to and from where you want to.

Since you’re selling somebody else’s products and services there is no order fulfillment or customer service involved which in my experience (with my other business) are the two biggest headaches.

Which Online Marketing Model?

There are ways to make money online without a website but I definitely recommend the tried-and-true model where you make your own website. You can start your own affiliate website in three simple steps, with little expense, and without any experience. It’s so easy. In fact, as proof I built 100% of this site by myself without any experience whatsoever.

But there are some fundamental flaws with the affiliate marketing model mostly because so many key factors that you work on are ultimately out of your control including:

  • SEO
  • Offers
  • JV Partners
  • Social Media Platforms

All of these things come and go and can disappear literally overnight. The more you rely on these things the more volatile your internet business really is. That’s where email marketing comes in. Email marketing to your own private list of fans, customers, and followers will always be 100% under your own control. In fact, your list is the one asset that nobody can take away from you.

Jeff Walker explains:

The Money Is In The List

I’m sure you’ve heard it before many many times but it’s true. If you have something to sell your list will bring you more income than any other single method. Not only is your list the most important asset you have but it can come with you. What I mean by that is if you have a website on your chosen topic that dies for whatever reason your list will be unaffected by it. You can simply start a new site and move all your peeps over to the new site with one email notification. It sure beats starting all over again.

Your list is the most effective way to communicate and engage your audience with information, offers, news, tutorials, and joint ventures. They subscribed to your list to hear what you had to say so they’re interested in not only what you’re doing and what you think they should be doing too. They’re fans.

How Much Is Your List Worth?

I don’t have any quantitative data to back this up but many list building experts believe that on average each subscriber on your list is worth $1 per month in income potential. This may or may not be true, and I’m sure the value swings wildly from niche to niche, but there’s no denying the fact that a subscriber who likes and trusts you is more likely to buy from you. That’s just common sense.

If you’re just getting started in affiliate marketing don’t be intimidated by the seemingly daunting task of getting started with list building. All lists, regardless of size, were created one email address at at time.  One of the best ways to learn list building is to select a few affiliate marketers that you know and like and simply subscribe to their lists. You’ll quickly grasp what it’s all about.

List building and email marketing is so critical to your long term success in internet marketing that I’ve broken it into a four step process for you below.

Email Marketing 101

How To Build Your Own Email Marketing List In Four Simple Steps:

  1. List Building Software
  2. The Ethical Bribe
  3. Opt-In Forms
  4. Follow Up Message Strategies

Email Marketing Step 1
Step 1: List Building Software

List building is easier than you may think. List building software tools automate the entire process for you once you get it set up and getting started is quite simple.

There are many list building software products to choose from but in my opinion the gold standard is still AWeber. I’ve used it for all of my list building for nearly a decade now and still love it.



Autoresponder Emails

What is an autoresponder? It’s a program that automatically generates a set response to all messages sent to a particular e-mail address. Here’s a short video showing you how that works:

Grab AWeber

AWeber develops and runs an opt-in email marketing service used by over 120,000+ small businesses, bloggers and entrepreneurs around the globe. There are alternatives out there but I believe AWeber is second to none when it comes to email automation reliability.

Why AWeber?  Most of all: reliability. And some easy to learn features including:

So, step one in list building is to go get AWeber or a similar list building software product to get started. And if you click on my link to buy AWeber I will be paid for the referral just like you will once you’re up and running.

In the next lesson I will go into the ethical bribe which is the bait used to lure subscribers to your list.

Email Marketing Step 2
Step 2 – The Ethical Bribe:

Now that you have your email software system in place (step 1) you’re ready for the next phase – the ethical bribe. The ethical bribe is simply something of value that you’ll exchange for the email addresses of the subscribers you want to attract. The ethical bribe is especially important now since people are becoming increasingly concerned about their online privacy. You’ll need a strong valuable freebie to get them to part with their email address.

 “Match Bait To Critter. If you want a yard full of deer, do not put a 50-pound block of cheddar cheese outside. Put out a big salt block.” – Dan Kennedy 

The ethical bribe is not only intended to build your email list but also your credibility too. It’s your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge in your niche and connect with your audience on a personal level. For this site I use The Super Affiliate Handbook. On that note, if you’re not already on my list please click here and go get this valuable free report now.

Types Of Ethical Bribes:

  • ebooks
  • audio interviews
  • resource lists
  • free reports
  • software
  • template
  • tutorial
  • mini-courses
  • videos
  • quick-start guides
  • access to private site area or forum

Where To Get Your Ethical Bribe:

The best way is to create your own. After all, if you don’t know enough about your topic to share some valuable insight about your topic perhaps you better choose another one right?

If you have the knowledge to share but can’t write well or produce videos, software, templates, or interviews look for some help. Fiverr.com is a great place to find help fast with these types of projects, and nearly all for only five bucks!

If you lack the know-how or would rather buy an ethical bribe to share look on a PLR (private label rights) catalog site like this one for rebrandable ebooks, articles, videos, and more.

Whether you know if or not you’re getting bombed by ethical bribes every day. Coupons, happy-hours, limited time discounts (sales), buy one get one free, bonus products when you buy, free trials, etc. Start paying attention to the types of offers you respond to and adjust those strategies within your own marketing.

Just remember that the key to your giveaway is that it needs to not only be something of value but something relevant to your target market. Remember Dan Kennedy’s quote above? The more relevant and valuable your bribe is the higher your response rate will be, the larger your list will become, and the more money you will make.

Delivery Of Your Ethical Bribe

I believe there is a tutorial on various delivery methods you can use on the AWeber site. If not let me know and I’ll put together a tutorial here. Thanks.

In the next lesson I will explain where to place your list opt-in forms on your site to attract attention and subscribers.

Email Marketing Step 3
Step 3 – Opt-In Forms

Now that you have your list building software and ethical bribe selected its time to set up the email capture forms on your website.

One of the most important components of any email marketing campaign is of course, the web form. Without a way to sign up to your list, you’ll have a hard time finding anyone to send email to. That being the case, you want to make sure that your web forms are getting people to sign up. Your ethical bribe should be clearly stated front and center and your opt-in form needs to be placed where it will get their attention.

As I mentioned in step 1 I prefer using AWeber to manage my campaigns. I’ve used the AWeber platform for all of my list building for nearly a decade now and still love it. When it comes to opt-in templates you’ll find dozens to choose from there and every one of them is customizable to fit your site’s color theme. Plus the AWeber opt-in designer, as well as their other tools, are super easy and fast to use.

Simply pick the template you like, make any minor edits needed, and place it on your site. There are step-by-step tutorials available to walk you through the process effortlessly even if you’re a non-tech newbie.

Where To Place Your Opt-In Forms:

You’ll want to place your opt-in form on the home page (near the top above the fold) and a few other strategically-placed areas on your site. Here are some good places for your opt-in forms:

  • Home page (of course)
  • Top of sidebar
  • Footer area
  • On your About You page
  • At the bottom of a post on your site

Personally I avoid pop-up boxes since they upset so many people and they’re also so 1990. I believe you never want to start your relationship with your subscribers by pissing them off. But if you disagree you’re welcome to test pop-ups on your site if you like to. Speaking of testing, I highly recommend you test several different opt-in forms on your site and keep track of which one converts at the highest rate. The AWeber dashboard will help you do just that, and there are tutorials on setting up split-testing opt-in forms there too.

Email Marketing Step 4
Step 4: Follow-Up Messages

Before you can turn on your new automated list-building machine that will work for you 24/7 you have one more task to complete. And its important too because it will become the first impression you make to your new subscribers so you want to make sure you come across the way you want to be perceived.

As you’ve learned by now the best part of auto-responder software like AWeber is that your messages are delivered to your subscribers automatically, and in the proper order, as they join your list. To make this magic happen you’re going to have to write an initial welcome email and perhaps at least a few follow up messages.

How Many Follow Up Emails Do You Need?

So how many messages do you need to write before sending people into your list funnel? That’s a great question and one without a definitive answer. It depends upon how much work you want to do up front and how timely and relevant you want your messages to be.

I’ve opted in to lists that have anywhere from one to sixty messages already completed, queued, and ready to deliver. If you’re more hands-off you may want to write as many messages as you can up front to minimize your work on the back end. If you’re more involved in your business on a daily basis you may want to consider writing only one or two auto-responder messages and the rest live and delivered as a broadcast message. A broadcast message is one that’s sent immediately and not pre-scheduled.

I learned list building from the legendary marketer Frank Kern (you’re welcome Frank!). Frank prefers to write and queue only one initial welcome message and the rest he delivers live as a broadcast message. This does take more work but keeps your messages timely, relevant, and news-worthy. Ultimately it’s up to you on how to implement your list strategy.

How Often Should You Email Your List?

This too is discretionary since frequency is really your decision. Plus every niche is different. Many guru’s believe you should email you list every single day. For me personally I think this is a little overkill simply because when I send a message to my list I want it to be something very good so I tend to be selective in what I send instead of looking for ‘something’ to send my list every day just on principal. In my experience people get tired of being bombarded by too many messages that are thin on content or 99% promotional. You need to give before you can get.

Bonus Content: How to Quickly And Easily Grow Your Email Subscriber List

Growing your email list organically can be a difficult task. The first step is to start getting people on your list. In order to attract more subscribers, you need to make sure you offer plenty of opportunities to sign up. That doesn’t mean you litter your site with endless signup boxes either.

Here are a few tips on what you should do:

  • Use Lookalike Audiences on Facebook to identify and reach people similar to your current subscribers
  • Expand your reach into other social media platforms as well and provide good content up-front
  • Give your audience several different ways to give you their email address
  • Put together or buy a strong lead magnet to sweeten the pot for on-the-fencers
  • Deals, discounts, contests, upgrades, and other incentives are just a few ways to make your email list even more appealing

Learn more about how to grow your email subscriber base in the infographic below.

Photo Credit: Vincent_AF via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Carla216 via Compfight cc

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Affiliate Disclosure
Disclosure: The operator of this website is a 3rd party marketer with a material connection to product/service providers appearing on this site in that we are compensated for sales made through our affiliate links.

If you have any questions please contact me (Bill) at beachroulette @ gmail.com.


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