How To Start Building A List (Or Build Your List Faster)

Welcome to today’s lesson! I’m going to give you a simple step by step process on How to build a list from scratch or build your list faster if you’ve already started.

First let me ask the question – are you building a list?

Why You Should Be Building a List

If you’re just new to online marketing, you may not know about list building yet, so here is why you need to be building a list…

1. It’s free advertising for life – once you have people on your list, you can email them any time and get them to any website you want.

2. It lets you make MOOLAH on AUTO-PILOT! Yes, automation is a beautiful thing! When you use an Autoresponder, such as Aweber to build yourself a list of subscribers, you can set emails to go out automatically at timed intervals which you can set. You can have anything in these emails.. (hint: have a link to a product) so this way you can really be marketing and pulling in sales from your subscribers while sitting on a beach in the Bahamas.

So if those two thing alone don’t sell you on the need to be list building, then I don’t know what will!

How You Can Start : A 4 Step Process

The next part of my lesson today is how you can start to build a list… or build your list bigger if you already have one..

The first step to getting started building a list is…

1. Choose a niche market – if you already have a niche, great! Skip to the next point.

If you don’t know which niche to enter, choose one that you’re interested in and you know that people are spending money in. I don’t recommend getting into a niche that you have no interest in and little knowledge about.

2. Create something of value to give away – and this is critical to your list building success! Find out what your niche market wants.. and create a free product (PDF, Video, Audio etc) that helps to provide that. In most cases, your product should be an answer to a problem they are having.

3. Set up a squeeze page – This is a simple web page which is designed solely to sell your free product by asking for people’s email addresses. To collect their names and email addresses, you need an autoresponder such as aweber.fullscreen

And to create a Squeeze page, you can get templates or you can use a tool like WP Optins which works with WordPress and allows you to create amazing squeeze pages without knowing anything about HTML or FTP.. so it’s perfect for newbies or busy marketers.

4. Send Targeted Visitors to your squeeze page. Or in other words – TRAFFIC! This is where many new marketers fall over, but I’ll share ONE strategy you can use to get the right people seeing your squeeze page fast!

The method is solo ads. A solo ad is similar to an ezine (email newsletter) ad.. but in a solo ad, your ad is the main focus in that email. There are no other advertisers in that solo ad that you purchase.

So you may have guessed, solo ads are not free. You have to pay for solo ads, but you can usually choose an ad that will suit ANY budget. Even for as low as $5!

Solo ads are up there as one of my favorite traffic sources.. because you can get high quality traffic, instantly!

You just need to go out and find vendors selling solo ads. You can use Google.. search for “your niche solo ads”. I’m sure if you’re in a popular niche you’ll be find a few listed.

Happy list building!

Stuart Stirling

p.s. If you struggle with squeeze page creation, I recommend you checkout WP Optins 2.0 plugin for WordPress. This tool removes the learning curve and makes it easy to create awesome looking squeeze pages in minutes.

p.p.s. Do you have any questions about list building? Pop them in the comments section below and I’ll be glad to answer them for you!

TurnkeyCashkits.com 10,000 Members! Win A Free Cash Kit

In 2008 I registered the domain name turnkeycashkits.com and created a membership site where people could download list building/affiliate marketing pre-sell kits for free.

Just this week we welcomed the 10,000th member! Currently there are 10,020 registered members in the site.

This is a massive milestone for me as it’s the first membership site I’ve owned to reach 10,000 members.

So to celebrate, I want to run a little competition.

Here’s What You Can Win!

For 3 lucky members…

  1. I’ll set up 1 cash kit of your choice on your website* for free… (real world $30 value)
  2. Give you a free copy of my Easy Squeeze Page Traffic videos course… (currently selling for $17)
  3. One 15 minute one-on-one List building strategy session via Skype with me… (priceless?)

Sound good? This should get you on the fast track to building your list because after all, the money is in the list.

Here’s how to enter…

  1. Write me an honest testimonial about Turnkey Cash Kits (or even better, do a video.. 😉 and post it in the comments section below.
  2. Like this post on Facebook or Re-Tweet it on Twitter.com

That’s it. Pretty simple.. but you know, I realized that even though I’ve got 10,000 members, I’ve only got a few very short testimonials on the sales page.

I’ll choose the best 3 testimonials as the winners and get in touch with you if you’re one of them.

For everyone else, I’d still love to use your testimonials on the sales page with your website URL and photo so in that way you still win some free exposure.

If you’re not a member yet, go and sign up for free and check it out so you can write an honest testimonial, but if you’re already a member you should know how great the cash kits are.

Thanks a lot and I’m looking forward to reading your testimonials.

Stu “Sensei” Stirling

p.s. I’ll announce the winners August 1st so you have until July 31st midnight (just under a week) to enter. Good luck and thanks again!

* you’ll need your own domain name, web hosting and autoresponder in order to qualify for my set up prize. If you don’t have them yet, I recommend Aweber autoresponders, Host gator hosting and Godaddy for domains.

Double Vs. Single Opt-In Subscribers: Which is Better?

Hello again friend! Today we are going to talk about gathering email addresses… or what is commonly referred to as list building – one of my favorite topics.

As you are aware, a mailing list full of happy subscribers is a powerful marketing tool that can pay off big over and over again.

But you can’t just go out and harvest every email you run across and start sending email at it.You have to build your list naturally and obtain valid, verifiable email addresses.

When someone agrees to let you send them email, they are “opting-in” to your list. You have their permission to send them as much email as you want (within reason).

You get them to opt-in by providing a page where they can provide their email in order to join your list. This page is commonly referred to as a “squeeze page”.

Now, when someone fills out your opt-in form on your squeeze page, they go into your list database in autoresponder system. I use Aweber but there are dozens out there.

When setting up your list in your AR, you’re given the option to choose whether you want subscribers to confirm their subscription – making them a double-opt-in or not…

(or at least I know that Aweber has this option.. not too sure about other Autoresponder systems however.)

So when you come to this point, you have to make a decision – should I build a double or single opt-in list?

Just to clarify… a single opt-in means once the person has entered an email address, it is on the list.. no confirmation process.

A double opt-in subscriber is one who has entered their email into the opt-in form AND confirmed their email address by clicking on the confirmation link which was sent to their email address.

I can see why single opt-in would be appealing to some marketers but in my honest opinion, single opt-in is risky today because there are a whole lot of people on the Internet who love to fill out squeeze pages with fake email addresses.

Then there are robots that go about spamming every web page they find (including squeeze pages), and then the users who quickly forget they signed up for your list and then accuse you of being a spammer.

Basically, a single-optin list is going to get clogged with junk. The numbers might be impressive, but you won’t know how many of those email addresses are actually valid.

Another thing is that you don’t want to be paying for the junk leads as most Autoresponders charge you by volume.

These are the reasons why most marketers today, including myself are using “double opt-in” subscription for their email lists.

In a double opt-in list, someone submits their email address and then has to confirm it or verify it to complete the subscription.

Once this happens you have proof that they gave you their email address and confirmed it so their is no risk of being accused as a spammer.

Double-optin Subscribers are better!But more importantly, they showed their willingness to be on your list by going through an “extra hoop”.

This is great because it means they are willing to take action – even if it is just clicking a link – which shows they’re interested in knowing more about you and your business.

Exactly the people you want to have on your list!

The downside is that this extra hoop can drastically reduce the number of confirmed opt-ins.

I have found that a good portion (up to half) of your subscribers will never be confirmed!

But you have to wonder…. did they enter their real email address in the first place? Are they actually real people?

Admittedly, many real people do not leave their email client open when surfing the web. So they may give you their email address and not see your confirmation request until the next day. It can take a day or two for some to remember to confirm their subscription.

Others will not remember they even went to your web site and submitted their email so they will just delete the email and you never hear from them again.

Today everyone loves to cry “spam!” when any sort of email that tries to sell them something shows up in their inbox.

The only sure fire way to protect yourself from being blacklisted as a spammer is to have proof that the email you sent was authorized by them when they joined your list.

If you chose the “double opt-in” method then you have this proof, otherwise you might be in trouble.

So obviously I am on the side of the double opt in list.

I would rather have 1 person who willingly agreed to receive my newsletter than 100 who have no idea why my email just landed in their inbox. In this litigious society, you can never be too careful.

Stuart StirlingStu Sensei

p.s. How about you? Are you building a double or single opt-in list? Leave your comment!

 

What is a Reverse Squeeze Page?

I am sure that all of you are familiar with the ‘traditional squeeze page’ and how important it is to grow your subscriber list.

You are probably also familiar with giving away incentives in exchange for people signing up for your list.

But are you familiar with what is known as the “reverse” squeeze page?

In many traditional list building strategies, you tell the customer that if he will give you his email address then you will send him a free report, eBook, or let him into a trial membership of your service. This incentive has been a powerful way to build lists in years past but its luster may be fading.

Today’s customers have become jaded thanks to a lot of “special gifts” that turned out to be nothing more than the oldest PLR on the Internet, or a “secret report” that was not a secret at all.

So how then can we build trust with our customers and get them to sign up to our lists?

The answer is the Reverse Squeeze Page.

This simple technique takes the original incentivized squeeze page tactic and turns it on its head by providing the incentive BEFORE asking for the opt-in.

For instance, anyone who visits your web page would be able to download a special report without having to sign up for your list.

However in your report, near the end or any other strategic position, you ask the user to sign up to your email list.

For software products, you give them the software and then provide a sign up prompt after they have used the software for a while to ‘register’ their copy.

Doesn’t this mean that a lot of people are going to get your gift for free and never sign up for your list?

Yes it does, but you what are you really losing?

The type of people who would take your special report and then never sign up for your list are probably the type who are going to unsubscribe right after downloading your ebook or software anyway.

These are  also the same people likely to never read your emails or take action on any of  your suggestions or purchase your offers, so using this “reverse squeeze page” technique  dramatically increases the quality of your subscribers.

The ones who DO sign up for your list after already reading or using your product are extremely motivated qualified prospects.

Not only have they signed up for your list, they willingly did so after being exposed to your product. How could you beat that?

This type of list building blows traditional methods out of the water, even if the number of subscribers may be lower. Your list will be full of people truly interested in YOU and not just someone trying to score a free gift.

The concept really isn’t all that new if you think about. Back in the late 80’s when computers started popping up in everyone’s home “shareware” started appearing on computer bulletin board systems around the country.

Shareware software was a feature or time limited version of the full program that could then later be upgraded to the commercial version for a fee. Video games like DOOM and Quake and applications like PKZIP all got their start this way and became major franchises.

Stuart StirlingStu Sensei

So what do you think of the “reverse squeeze page” method? See how it is effective to build a hot prospect list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

How To Make Predictable Income Online

With a regular 9 to 5 job, you know how much money you’re going to walk away with at the end of every week or every month.

With doing business online, whether it’s selling products or services, it’s a little harder to predict your income because you get paid when your customers buy – there is no boss to pay you a set amount. You are your own boss!

I don’t know about you, but that kind of thing is a little worrisome to me. Especially when I have a family to feed.

But I have found that there is a way to have predictable online income streams.

And that predictability comes with my subscriber and customer email list.

You probably know how email marketing works – you write a promo email containing an “offer” of some sort and send it to your list.

Then sit back and wait for the sales to pour in!

Basically, that’s exactly how it works – and it pretty much works every time like clockwork.

It does depends on variables like the offer, the sales page conversions and how good my email copy is but usually I can predict exactly how much I will make from each email.

But overall, email marketing is predictable because the number of my subscribers is the constant (also constantly increasing) which means I can predict how many people will open my email, how many will click and how many will buy.

For me, having a list to send offers to whenever I want is the best way to make money, that’s why I really recommend you start building a list too.

In mine and partner James Brown’s new Sniper List Building course, we teach you the steps to building an effective list building system and the techniques to building a responsive list fast.

With a (growing) and profitable email list of your own, you can feel assurance in your marketing with predictable income, and our course will show you how to get there.

Your partner in success,

Stu “Sensei” Stirling

p.s. Are you building a list? If not, what is holding you back? Please leave your comments below.

How To Lower Your Unsubscribe Rate

I’m sure everyone who has a list has experienced seeing their once happy, loyal subscribers unsubscribe. As a list owner too, it’s not fun to see them go.

It mainly hurts because subscribers equal money. For the most part, the bigger your list, the more money you can potentially make when you email out an offer, so losing subscribers is like losing money that you could have made.

But when we get down to it, everyone is going to have unsubscribers. It’s a part of having a list. We can’t stop unsubscribers, but we can help reduce the unsubscribe rate.

I bet you’ve wondered why people unsubscribe and come up with a few possible reasons. Here are some questions you might ask yourself when you see your subscribers leave your list, but are they the real reasons?

Truths Or Myths?

Do I Send Too Many Emails?

Yes, I would have to say that this is probably the #1 reason for people unsubscribing and why I unsubscribe from other’s lists – I just don’t want to get that many emails from them. If you notice a large number drop every time you blast an email, you could try spreading out the times between mailings.

There isn’t a rule to go by because every niche is different. In the MMO niche, I think that more than 3 a week is too many. Everyday is pushing on the borderline of spam.

Do I Sell Too Much?

Contrary to popular belief, sending too many promotional emails is not a big reason for people unsubscribing.

Of course, 100% promotional emails one after the other is not good, but readers expect to be sold too. In fact, tests have revealed that sending too much free stuff and no offers to buy anything will kill a list. People love to see what’s for sale, which is great news for us email marketers.

I would say I send a ratio of 80% promotional and 20% free content. This seems to work for me. The funny thing is, people will unsubscribe even when I send free stuff. So, no, sending too many promos is not a big concern.

Are My Emails Boring or Unrelated?

This is the 2nd biggest reason for people unsubscribing. If the reader isn’t getting any value out of your emails, they will want out. Understand that their time and inbox space is valuable so they only want stuff that will help them.

Some ways to keep emails interesting are to share your personality, let then in on your private life a bit, keep them up to date on a goal you have set, throw in a random (but related) link to a cool story or video you found etc. Mix up the style of writing too, mix up the lengths… send some short and some long, greet and sign off in a different way each time, etc.

Did I Make A Good First Impression?

You may or may not have thought about this before, but it is actually a very, very important factor to keeping a loyal readership. The first time contact with your subscriber can be a big deciding factor to whether your readers will like you and want to read your emails.

I read in a forum thread recently that one marketer experienced drastically lower unsubscribe rates when he started using a video of him talking to his new subscriber on his ‘thankyou’ page.

So, first impressions do count. If you notice that people unsubscribe a lot right after they sign up, then you might want work on a better first impression.

I hope these little tips help you keep your subscribers happy an keep unsubscribes to a minimum. A happy list means a happy and wealthy marketer.

If you have any other methods you’ve used or have heard about to lower your unsubscribe rate, please leave them in your comment below.

Stu “Sensei” Stirling

How To Beat The Spam Filters

Email marketing is no doubt one of the most powerful ways of getting your offer or marketing message in front of your prospects. That’s why list building is such a hot topic.

Although there is great power in email marketing, the hardest part these days is actually getting your email into your prospects inbox.

There are many hurdles for email marketers… but the big one is spam filters.

Spam filters will stop your email dead in its tracks, even before your prospect has the chance to see it if your email has any traces of spam like characteristics.

As I see it, there are three types of spam filters.

1. Your recipients ISP (internet service provider)

2. Your recipients Email client/Computer’s Anti-spam measures

3. Your recipients right hand on the “delete” button

Robot Spam Filters

First off, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting through or ‘beating’ the spam filters of ISP’s etc.

A major one includes removing words and phrases that can trigger the spam filters. For example, “guarantee” is one trigger word, so you can slightly modify it by making it look like “gua’rantee” or “guaran.tee” etc.

There are several spam triggering words out there and here is a list of some common ones to avoid.

Also, other major no-no’s are using too many !!!! and ALL CAPS in your emails, especiallly in the subject line.

It really depends on your Spam “score” in determining whether your email will make it or not. The more bad stuff you have in your email, the higher the score. Luckily, services like Aweber’s email marketing service give you a preview of your spam score before you send it out.

Some other useful tips when constructing your email are to…

  • Send text emails as opposed to HTML whenever possible,
  • Avoid using a free email address (e.g. hotmail) as your sender/from address. Instead, use an email address from your domain name. I.e. “[email protected]”,
  • Not sending too many emails too frequently,
  • Creating a free email account you use for testing and see if your email gets delivered to the INBOX.

The tips above will help your emails stay out of the spam box, and if you get that far, you’re doing well, but the next big challenge is to avoid being canned or worse, marked as spam by your recipient.

The Human Spam Filter

Ultimately, your recipients will decide if they want to keep or junk your email, even if it does get through top their inbox.

Here are some habits I keep when communicating with my subscribers via email.

  • I use my real name as the sender. Some marketers will use their product name or website name, but I think that emails coming from a real person are received with a warmer welcome.
  • Provide useful content. This goes without saying. If you sell, sell, sell, to your list all the time, they will get tired of it and start ignoring your emails, junk it, unsubscribe, mark as spam etc.
  • Make it look not like SPAM. If it looks like a spam email, it will be treated like spam. Get rid of the ALL CAPS and excessive exclamation marks.
  • Use personalization. By that I mean using the recipients name in the email. If helps with response too. Another response booster is to include the date in your subject lines.
  • Use a “double opt-in” sign up system. The spam complaints are much lower and you get people who actually want your stuff.

It really just comes down to common sense with getting through to your people. The best thing you can do is to get them to know you, like you and trust you.

Do right by your subscribers, and they’ll do right by you.

Thanks for reading and best of luck with the email marketing. If you can do it right, and well, you’ll get people waiting eagerly for your emails.

Stuart Stirling

p.s. Want More Subscribers Everyday? Check out my new Easy Squeeze Page Traffic videos and see how you can get a ton of easy free, traffic to your squeeze page.