You can’t get more basic and important than email marketing and list building when it comes to making money on the Internet. There is nothing more powerful than having someone’s email address and being able to contact them directly and ask them to check out an affiliate offer. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. There are rules to follow, information to give away, and trust to develop. That’s why every good email marketing campaign needs a good plan.
Creating an Email List
Email lists are operated by services called Autoresponders. The best autoresponder service on the Internet is Aweber – starting at just $20 a month for up to 500 leads. The site pretty much always pays for itself and has some of the highest delivery rates of any autoresponder around. If you don’t already have a membership, get over there and start one.
Once you’ve created your email marketing list, you’ll need to implement an opt-in capture form. I’ve already discussed how to create a popover that will show up a few seconds after someone shows up on your site. These forms are highly valuable, but you don’t need to use them if you’d rather lead prospects more naturally. You can have a simple HTML form on the right side of your page too. I recommend you keep it in the first fold, however. You want that autoresponder signup to be seen by as many people as possible. If you offer something useful, the signup rate will hopefully be well above 10-20% – don’t let the numbers suffer because you don’t put it where it can be seen.
Another possible tool is a basic squeeze page. These are single web pages that offer a small piece of valuable information in exchange for an email address. This is pretty much what you’ll be doing anyways, but a squeeze page will put all the focus on getting those email addresses.
Actually generating leads is what will help you make a real profit with your email list. You want good, hard leads for people who are ready to make a purchase or solve a problem. To do this, you’ll need to offer something of value to them and then follow through on it. I have two primary recommendations here – the free report and the 6 part minicourse.
I tend to lean toward the latter most of the time. Though the free report is a good tool, the minicourse is better though because it allows you to create an expectation that your emails will arrive every day for the next six days. When you build that expectation, you can reduce the chance that they assume your emails are spam. If you give away a free report, they may forget that they signed up for your list by the time they receive your sales pitch, and the message will seem like spam. You need to build up trust with them before you can pitch that affiliate link.
The Opt-in Box
The opt-in box itself needs to be well formatted and targeted toward your prospects.
Here are some specific tips to make sure it gets the job done:
• Use Graphics – Use a graphic for the mini-course or free report to make it seem like a tangible thing. Also, describe the product so they know exactly what they are getting.
• Value Driven Bullet Points – Use 3-5 bullet points to describe specific benefits they will gain from signing up for your free course. Don’t give away any information – just tell them what they’ll get and make it as enticing as possible.
• Aleve Suonsspici– If someone thinks they might get spammed, they’re much less likely to sign up for your mailing list. To avoid this, make sure to place a disclaimer with the opt-in box that says something like “I won’t share this email address with anyone” or “I hate spam as next as the next guy –don’t worry, I’ll keep your email to myself”.
• Free Product Access – If you’re giving away something more substantial, like software or a full eBook, you can require “registration” before they can access and download that freebie. It’s the same thing as a free report, but if you build the entire site around that product, you’ll be able to draw more attention and get more signups. People are used to registering to use something they’re interested in.
When it comes to lead capturing, the opt-in box needs to be more than just a “name here, email here” box in the corner. It needs to be front and centre, clearly lay out the value of the list, and be visually appealing. When you can do all that, you’ll be much more capable of snagging the leads you need.
Formatting Your Mini-Course
A mini-course needs to do many things, but first and foremost it needs to build trust and expectations. When you violate that trust or underwhelm those expectations, you may risk losing your prospects. So, instead of trying to start selling in email one, you need to back off a little bit and show your readers that you’re actually there to provide something of relative value. There are a few ways to do this.
1. Ensure Every Email Holds Value – The point of an autoresponder course is to convince people that your goal is to provide valuable information they can use to solve their problem. If you spend more time trying to sell them something than actually providing that advice, they are going to assume that you are not nearly as noble as you seem. Everyone expects to be sold something online – your goal is to convince them that what you are selling will benefit them as much, if not more, than it benefits you.
2. Offer Calls to Action – Every email you write should have a solid call to action. That does not mean you should try to sell something in every email. You can tell people to read more on a blog, follow you on Twitter, read an article you’ve posted, or download a free report. By acclimating them to performing an action after every message, it will be far easier to convince them to make the leap and click on that affiliate link when the time comes.
3. Provide Incentive – Don’t just offer things to people; tell them why they are of value. Imagine you created an email course that provided solutions to 6 common problems people have with their dogs and aggression. These problems would be very specific, and at the end of each message, you might refer them to articles, websites, and blogs for more information. Make sure you provide not only the information, but a link between that information and action – “click here to learn what it will take to stop your dog from tearing up your cushions”. That kind of message is far more effective because it speaks to what they gain, something everyone can understand.
4. The 7th Day Message – Finally, there is the last message in your autoresponder course, the seventh day message. This is a message that will ultimately cash in on all that good will and trust you’ve built up and allow you to target your prospects to click on a link and buy what you have to offer. The seventh day message needs to do a few things. First, it needs to be urgent.
You need to make them realize that if they do not act right away, they will miss a great opportunity. Do this by giving away a free bonus when they buy through your link – something urgent they will need. By offering this urgency, you can push a waffling prospect over the edge – with a sales boost (for those who’ve opted in) of almost 30% in some cases.
Email marketing is a tricky business because you need to hit on a message that will flame the interest that your prospects have without making them too wary in the age of spam and constant commercialism. Adding value and honestly providing useful information will always do that for you. Remember the old axiom – “value before profit”. If you can provide customers value in what you write, the profits will always come next.
Monetizing the List Over Time
The single 6 message email course is not the beginning and end of your monetization. The whole point of a good email list is that you put together a collection of prospects that you can tap into time and again for months to come, getting additional sales out of them. Once someone has made a purchase from you or shown interest in a niche’s products, it is very easy to make a second sale – much easier than finding a new prospect and warming them up through the marketing process.
After the initial 6 day course is up and you’ve made your 7th day pitch, be sure to continuously provide valuable information over time. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a YouTube video link to a seminar or a simple survey they can fill out. Other times, it can be a new free report or a newsletter full of details on the niche in which you’re working. Either way, keep them attached and aware of your messages.
This way, when it comes time to promote other products, you’ll have a fresh list of prospects who you can tap into with a broadcast email for a big launch or a queued up message with details about various products you’ve reviewed. And don’t worry about selling. There is a stigma in this business that sinks more affiliates than you’d believe – whenever someone goes to sell something via an email they feel bad about it. Whether it’s the image of constant salesmanship or the thought of all those spam messages we get in our own inboxes, it can be hard to make the push and send that email.
Stop feeling bad, though. If a product is good, it will sell to interested prospects.
Everyone else can happily ignore it and no one gets hurt. When you find a good product that you’re excited to promote, make sure you promote it – it’s not worth holding back on. Remember, you’re a business person. This is your job and to make money, you have to make sales.