The Guide to Building a Mailing List that Rocks! (And Use it to Bring in Profits)

build a newsletterWe hear it all the time: “If you want to make money online you need to have a mailing list.” How true is that? Well, I don’t believe that making a good deal of money online without a mailing list is as impossible as some claim, but having one can definitely help out with the task at hand. In the end, a mailing list is like a bachelor’s black book. An attractive young man will not need one to find a girl. He can go out and “sell” himself easily, but having a handy list of chicks, all potentially interested at what he has to offer, can make things much easier and ensure success. While I don’t have a gigantic mailing list with tens of thousands of contacts, my list has been quickly growing in the past two months. I decided it’s time to share my list-building techniques with you, and, since I am also subscribed to many mailing lists— a few good ones and many useless crappy spam—, I also want to tackle the subject from a buyer’s perspective. That is way more important than the techniques themselves. Provided you can drive enough traffic to your sign-up form, it is easy to convince people to subscribe to your newsletter when you’re offering free cash, but if you promise them an $100 bonus, and fail to deliver, you’ll be losing their trust. This means that it will be very unlikely that any of them will actually purchase your products, share your articles or even check out your latest tutorial. I am going to show you how to build a list first, and then I will explain what you should, and shouldn’t do with it, once you have it in your hands!

How to Build a List Quickly and Effectively

The steps to successfully create a mailing list are three: you need a free product to offer in exchange for people giving out their email to you, drive enough traffic to your free offer and convince them to sign up. Let’s take a look at each of these steps in turn.

STEP I: Create a valuable free product

This has to be a truly useful product. Remember that you’re not trying to sell something; you want to get leads. As already said, if you promise the moon and deliver poop, you may get an email address, but you will not get a lead. As soon as the person you fooled into joining your list finds out, he or she will either opt out of your list, or, even worse, just ignore you. So you may end up thinking that there are a thousand people who are reading the stuff that you are sending them, when the truth is that only one or two are actually listening. Remember:

  • The free item you offer must provide exceptional value.
  • Do not give away something that is difficult or complicated to use.
  • Identify a problem that your potential readers may be having and solve it with your free gift.
  • The quality of your gift is important because first impressions count the most.
  • Copious isn’t a synonym for quality; your to-be lead will not read a forty-paged e-book!

If you are into the “make-money” niche, some method to make a few bucks, which actually works could do the job. It doesn’t have to be a method to make $100 a day; what matters is that it works. In other words you must have tried it out for real and made money for real with it. If it’s just some theory or idea, chances are it may not work, and you will risk alienating all your leads. If you are into the fitness niche you can offer a diet or a fitness tape made by you. Show off your results and, again, make sure it really works. If you are into SEO, you may offer links or methods to gain links, which is what everyone is having so much difficulty with right now. This what I myself do! The best way to check out how I do it is to subscribe to my newsletter, Linkz. On this blog, I explain all my methods for getting links. In my newsletter I take it a step further by actually listing the links I create/earn for my sites and the exact method I used to get them. My “free gift” fits all criteria I explained above. The links I create to my sites are exceptional value, they are easy to get, they address a problem in SEO that so many people are facing these days, hopefully I am leaving a great first impression on my readers and it’s not some copious eBook or a money-making method that takes ages to setup. Make your free gift simple, yet effective.

STEP II: Drive Traffic to Your Free Offer

a) Use your blog

If your blog has some traffic, it’s the perfect place to advertise your mailing list! Even though I don’t have the traffic I want (yet), I am getting an amazing conversion rate from my blog! I mean this one you’re on, right now. I would recommend to avoid using pop ups, light boxes or shadow box and all WordPress plugins that use any of these scripts. I personally find them very annoying. Our visitors search for our sites to find information or read an article. Being blocked by a pop up irritates them, and they will be less likely to hand out their details to subscribe to our offer. I would recommend putting the sign up form among the widgets, the closest you can to the top of the screen, possibly use a captivating image, such as the sweet, cute panda I use for my newsletter Linkz. Also, mention your newsletter in your articles, outlining the advantages one can gain for free by being a subscriber, just like I am doing right here! 😉

b) Use the Warrior Forum

Become a War Room member. There is a fee of about $30 to pay, but, once you pay that, you can offer a Free WSO on their forum. The Free WSO will be either your free offer for people to sign up to your list, or an additional freebie that will offer great value to those who get onto your list. This is a fantastic way to build your list quickly, especially if you are into the IM niche. The Warrior Forum is a very trafficked venue and I can tell you from experience, that if you play your cards right, you can get a good 200 unique visitors a day from there. Even if you get a conversion rate of 10%, which is very realistic for a free offer, that means twenty new leads per day or 600 per month. Now, I am not saying that you can get six hundred leads per month easily. There are a lot of ifs and buts to be taken into account, but it is doable. Remember I am here to help, always, if you give me a chance to do so. There is one thing I have to repeat for the nth time: you want leads not emails. Offer a quality product, not some guru crap. If you do offer the latter, you will likely get an email address, but one belonging to someone who will stay signed to your list to have a good laugh at you and your sub-par offers. This is not what you are after, so deliver the best quality and nothing but the best quality. Did I make my point clear? If I didn’t, don’t worry. I will repeat it a few more times, so that it enters your heads.

c) Use Facebook Ads

Catch two birds with one stone! Get new Facebook fans for your page and new leads at the same time. This is a pretty old trick that always works. First, you need to build a Facebook landing page which will be used as a squeeze page on which you will offer a free product in exchange for an email address. Again, it must be a high-quality product that will manage to solve a problem to your target audience. Of course, you must have a Facebook Fan Page for your brand or blog first. You can also request your page’s visitors to like it in order to receive your gift. Just try to not make things too complicated. Once you have the email address, you can always ask for the like later. Do ask for the like right away, but don’t make it a necessary condition to get the free gift. Some marketers also use the tactic of giving away two gifts: one for the email address and another one for the like. You can get Facebook likes for as cheap as $0.01. To learn how to do this, read one of my recent articles over here.

These are the three most popular methods to generate traffic to a squeeze page, but any other method such as Google Ads, Yahoo Answers, solo ads, etc. will do just fine.

STEP III: Have Them Sign Up

The last step required in getting leads is to have them sign up. Assuming that you created a quality product that will effectively manage to solve one of their problems and you brought enough targeted traffic to your squeeze page, the method you should follow is this:

  • Prove to them that the free item you are giving away will solve their problem.
  • Emphasize that the product is free. Rinse and repeat.
  • Underline the positive change that the product may bring in their life or business.
  • DO NOT LIE. DO NOT LIE. DO NOT LIE ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OF THE PRODUCT.
  • If you are new/have the time, offer to answer for free all their questions about it.
  • Make them feel safe, and let them know that they can opt out at any time.

You can check my own squeeze page here and read my sales advert to see exactly how I implemented the above sales strategy.

What You Should Not Do!

(a) Swap your list with other marketers

This is both unethical, as well as dangerous. You may even risk getting sued for breaking your privacy policy. Don’t do it! Also, some marketers think it’s OK to do list swapping when the other marketer asks his leads first (and you do the same with your followers). This may not be illegal, but I highly discourage the practice. Your leads signed up to your list not to someone else’s. “Hey, do you give me your permission to give your email to my buddy? It’s for your benefit. He is the king … blablabla …” That sounds so unprofessional and desperate. Don’t do it even if you agree with the other marketer to just post a link to their list. This is not the way a marketer with sound ethics moves.

(b) Buy Lists or Traffic

Again, you need leads not email addresses. The people who sell lists or traffic normally get those emails and clicks in a variety of ways. What benefit would your list or business have from enrolling some geeks who unknowingly gave out their email address when they clicked on a button to see the pictures of some naked, hot girl (or boy)? Or, again, people who visit your site on Internet marketing because they want a click in return to their store that deals with winery? You need targeted traffic to get real leads, and there are no shortcuts to that. Do it the hard way since that is the only one that pays!

How to Take Good Care of Your List

You’ve built your list, and managed to provide a quality freebie to each of your leads, which hopefully managed to grab their attention and have them say to themselves, “Hey, this guy [or gal] does know what he’s [or she’s] talking about! This has actually worked for me…” Now, make them want to know more about what you have to offer. Every time they receive an email from you, you want them to say to themselves. “It’s an email from [insert your name here]!!! I can’t wait to see what he has in store today!“. You don’t want them to think, “I was hoping for some positive news today in the mail and all I get is another email from that loser trying to sell me some crap!

I am subscribed to about forty newsletters and that’s what I think when I receive over 90% of them. There are maybe four or five marketers out there, whose emails I get excited for. As far as the others go, my reaction is “Oh no! More crap!” They have my email, but I am not a lead of theirs. Here are a few examples of the junk mail I get:

1) “The Gift is Free, but It’s Useless”

After signing up and getting the free gift that I am promised, I am taken to a webpage stating something such as, “Dear Fool, thank you for giving me your email address. I hope you enjoyed reading my e-book [or using my software or whatever…]. Now I have to tell you that, unfortunately, it is OUTDATED. It will not work today in 2014, but the good news is that I have written a new one. Although I normally sell this book for $20000, I am going to offer it to you for $49.99 … bla, bla, bla …

Another variant of this up-selling tactic is to point out the flaw in the method, which the e-book describes (e.g. “Hey, I know it’s hard to convince people on Facebook to do what I wrote in the book, but I have this other amazing PURCHASABLE info product…”)

This is a sure way to alienate your leads. The free product you offer them is your visiting card: the first impression you make upon them. You told them that it’s valuable in order to convince them to sign up. You likely insisted that this product can bring a positive change in the way they do business (or whatever niche you’re marketing to). Now, after getting their email address and have them do what you wanted, you’re telling them that the free gift is not as valuable as you first implied? It doesn’t matter how much money you have made online, this tactic makes no sense at all. You’re telling your leads the people who gave you their email that your word is not to be trusted. WTH?

Make sure you deliver great value with your gift. Even if one or more of your leads don’t manage to use it properly, try to help them out achieving the results they want or offer them an alternative solution. Under no circumstance you should state that the free gift has little or no value. Make sure that this isn’t the case in fact.

2) “Jack is the Man … No Sam is … No Wait, it’s Harry!”

Don’t they just make you laugh? You get an email on Monday from someone telling you that Jack is the man, the guy who can make you a billionaire in a night and who is a whole different story from all the other gurus you may have crossed paths with. On Wednesday, you get another email (from the same marketer, of course) saying that Sam is “the man”. If you have been disappointed by all the other charlatans you gave your money to previously (including Jack???), fear not, because Sam will “take you to the other side“. By Friday Sam and Jack’s systems are already part of the past because our marketer found out that Harry is the man!

In case, any of you don’t understand this tactic, what the marketer is doing here is going to Clickbank to find useless guru products that have a high conversion rate and high gravity and promoting them to his list. Now, even if the people he’s addressing don’t understand what he is doing, what does recommending a different (useless) info product every day of the week claiming that it’s the “one and only method that works” say about the marketer’s credibility? Even if some of his subscribers were gullible enough to purchase Jack’s or Sam’s or Harry’s “system”, will they ever trust the marketer again?

If you use any of these tactics to monetize your list, you must be ready to keep struggling to grow your list at a very fast pace, faster than the rate at which it shrinks because, once people realize what the whole deal is about (and unless they are completely lobotomized they will figure it out sooner or later), they will drop out or block your emails. If you want to promote products to your list, make sure that they are quality products, not Clickbank crap. I am not saying all products on Clickbank are crap, but you probably know the kind of products I am talking about. Top marketers say that a list is a businessman’s greatest asset, so respect that asset and don’t misuse it to make quick bucks out of pure greed. You need to give a lot to your leads before starting to harvest what you’ve sown.

3) Don’t Send Too Many Emails or Too Little

My own subscribers will get mad at me here, because I have been so busy that I haven’t been able o send more than one email every two months, and that’s really too little. If you are subscribed to Linkz, please forgive me! I promise I will make up for it. Yes, because when people subscribe to a list, they expect to get information and useful tips and resources. If you (talking to myself too, here) just put their emails in a database and forget about them, they will likely ask themselves who the guy emailing out of nowhere is, when you finally send out an email. You should send one email every two weeks. If you send them out more often, you will likely alienate your subscribers.

Remember, your email must be something “special“, which they will be happy to see in their mailboxes. If you send out one every day, it will just be considered on a par with spam. This is like those people on YouTube who vlog daily. You find it so hard to keep up with them, that finally you are forced to stop following them all along. The same can be said of a television show. There is a reason why they air one new episode per week, not per day, nor per month!

4) More tips!

  • Address each of your subscribers by name in the subject line and body of the message.
  • Ask questions to keep your subscribers engaged.
  • THANK THEM! They are trusting you and that’s the very least you can do!
  • Offer value with every email you send!
  • Do not try to exploit them or sell them useless products.
  • Treat them like you would treat your friends.
  • If possible, avoid pitching them any services or products directly.
  • Ask them to contact you back if they have questions.
  • Instead you may put a link at the end of your email to an article where you are selling your products.

This should do it to ensure that you get plenty of subscribers and you manage to earn their trust enough, so that you can monetize your list while providing great value to those who put their trust in you. If you want to have firsthand experience of the way in which I manage my list, don’t forget to subscribe to Linkz. Finally, if you have any comments, concerns or suggestions, feel free to add your comments below or use the form on the About Me page to get in touch with me directly. I am always happy to help you out!

4 thoughts on “The Guide to Building a Mailing List that Rocks! (And Use it to Bring in Profits)

  1. Hi Arthur,

    That was a really great post you just shared with us about building your mailing list. I know that when I started I was mostly just selling stuff so it worked back then but we’re talking about four or five years ago. It’s totally different now so you really need to build a relationship with your list or not only will they just be people taking up room on your list but they’ll never buy anything from you. If you try to sell them too much they’ll just opt-out.

    I hope people who are looking for answers about how this is done successfully will check out your post. Really great information you shared, thanks.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hey Adirenne,

      thanks for checking out my site! Really appreciate it. I am enjoying your blog too (bookmarked it) and following some of the advice you gave in your articles.

      My mailing list is growing pretty fast and, basically, all I have done so far is what’s stated in the article. I am glad that you found the information useful. 🙂

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