The Money's in the List!
Donald Nelson, copyright 2005
“The money is in the list.”
This is one of the slogans of internet marketing experts
say that it is very important to build up an opt-in list and
then make regular mailings which will enable you to sell your
goods and services.
If you doubt this slogan, then you should consult with one of
my close friends and colleagues who has been quietly building
his mailing list over the best three years. Recently he sent
out a mailing to all his subscribers, asking them to help out
with Hurricane Katrina relief work. He was astonished to see
that immediately following the mailing the traffic to his
website jumped ten-fold over a period of three days and
counting. Not only did his traffic increase, his e-book sales
and subscriptions to his new course went through the roof.
And, there was not one word of a commercial pitch in his
message to the list.
What is the secret of his success? Even he is scratching his
head. But, really it is not a mystery. He runs several free
auto-responder courses from his website, delivering high
quality information on health and well-being, topics that are
important to all of us. Because the content of his mailings is
of a high standard, he has won the trust and confidence of
thousands of people. This is what electronic marketers call
“pre-selling”. Now, whenever he has something to say, his
readers are eager to listen.
If you run a website and do not already have a mechanism for
building up a list of interested readers, then you should
consider doing it now. Here are a few ways to build your list.
1. Start a periodic newsletter with a subscription form on
all the pages of your website.
However, if you want the kind of success that my friend had,
you should write good articles, or get quality material from
other writers and send it to your list on a regular basis. If
you don’t know or don’t already have a mechanism for
collecting addresses and mailing a newsletter, you can get a
free service from www.bravenet.com or a professional service
2. Offer an auto-responder tutorial course on your website.
People come to the web to find solutions to their problems or
answers to their questions. Write a series of how-to articles
or information articles and offer them as a series that is
sent automatically on a periodic basis whenever people
subscribe. You can use an auto-responder service hosted by
commercial companies or use an auto responder
script installed on your own server. A versatile auto
responder is available from
Aweber (it is hosted on their servers and you don't
have to install any software) or you can
buy an auto
responder script and install it on your server.
3. Write a small e-book in PDF format and offer it as a
free download in exchange for an email address
PDF documents are the industry-standard these days, and if you
supply good information that is related to your field of
activity, your web visitors will be more than happy to trade
their email address for a free download. PDF downloads are
also viral; people pass them along to their friends and if
your information and links are in the e-book, you are likely
to get a wide readership.
4. Publish your articles on other websites and newsletters,
mentioning your mailing list in your “resource box.”
One of the best ways to build your list is to get your
articles published on other websites and in the electronic
newsletters published by web masters in fields related to
yours. At the end of these published articles you should put
your author information (this is also known as a resource box)
and include a hyperlink to your website and a mention that
more of your articles are available in your newsletter and
give a url where people can sign up for it.
One important thing to consider about list building is that
whenever you are offering something, even if it is for free,
you must sell it to your readers by describing what it is and
how it will benefit them. You can’t succeed with a one-line
sentence saying, “Sign up for our free newsletter.” If you
have a newsletter, you should give a list of past articles. If
you have satisfied subscribers, publish some testimonials.
Every day many people are visiting your website and some of
them would like to know more about what you have to say and
would like to hear from you on a periodic basis. Give them a
chance, by using some of the list-building methods that I have
Nelson is a web developer, editor and social worker. He has
been working on the Internet since 1995, and is currently the
director of A1-Optimization (http://www.a1-optimization.com),
a firm providing low cost search engine optimization,
submission and web promotion services.