There’s a very good chance, that everything you’ve been told about list building and email marketing is wrong!
All the conventional techniques and strategies hit their peak years ago and have been getting more and more ineffective ever since. Some people do still use these original strategies and by sheer numbers and time in the game will get some half-decent results… but for most people starting out, it’s just never going to happen.
Unfortunately, so many marketers are so invested in their own training packages, business opportunities and referral programs, that they keep flogging the old model…
Even though they know it just doesn’t work.
The conventional wisdom goes like this…
- Create an optin page.
- Connect it to your autoresponder.
- Offer a freebie so the visitor opts-in.
- Send traffic and watch your list grow.
- Email your list with endless offers…
- Get rich!
The Money Is In The List after all… everyone knows that!
But you only have to examine your own behaviour to know this is all a lie.
- We don’t opt-in if we can help it.
- We don’t read most of the emails we do get.
- We look for any excuse to unsubscribe.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I hear about an offer I actually want via email, I’m just as likely to go do a search to see who is offering the best bonus package for buying through their link!
And I do this with a clean conscience because those marketers who are emailing me, have never taken the time to create a real connection or any attempt to find out how they can help me…
These are the guys who email virtually every single day, with one random offer after another…
Always proclaiming today’s hot new launch is the best thing ever created…
But they’ve made zero connection and have zero credibility…
So I have zero loyalty.
So sorry if this upsets anyone, but this approach to List Building & Email Marketing is dead. The people working this way are deliberately using you and don’t deserve your support.
FACT: People Are Immune To Money Magnets
The tacky name says it all… ‘Money Magnets’ have been so over-done, most people assume any ‘bait‘ you offer for an email address is going to be rubbish, so it takes more than a random freebie to get opt-ins.
FACT: People Use Throw-Away Email Addresses
People aren’t idiots. They know the only reason you ask for an email address is so you can send them crap they don’t want. So anyone who downloads stuff regularly will have a throw-away email address that they NEVER check.
FACT: People Unsubscribe FAST!
If they happen to use a real address, the second you start sending them offers they don’t want, they’re out of there! And even that is assuming your commercial emails get past the spam filters.
So if you’re serious about building a list, you need to accept that your audience is wise to your motives and pretty savvy about avoiding the old entrapment strategies.
So what will work in this environment?
Is there a system that actually delivers real subscribers?
People who’ll give you a legit email address, and who actually want to hear what you’ve got to say?
Subscribers who might eventually be open to hearing you recommend affiliate offers?
Well it is definitely possible…
But it takes time and effort… and yes probably some money as well… to set it up.
But it can be done and is most definitely worth it!
It’s a three step process of bringing in plenty of new subscribers, making a serious effort to engage and connect with them, and then dropping the rest BEFORE they hurt your deliverability numbers.
OK, how do you get enough new subscribers?
These days I mostly use one of just three methods that I’ll explain next, but over the years I’ve tried all kinds of approaches and bought dozens of software tools and training systems to generate leads.
Some worked really well, but just took too much time and effort.
Others worked great for a while then kind of fizzled out.
And the vast majority were rubbish… usually just a gimmick with a slick salespitch.
So now I rely almost entirely on the following systems. They either run more or less hands-free in the background, or else I fire them up for specific campaigns when the time is right.
1. Organic Blog Subscribers – Hands-Free
The strategy is simple… post great content on your blog, drive traffic to your blog, and let those who are interested choose to subscribe for updates.
I use MailPoet to send out automated weekly digest summaries of any new content… so I can just focus on publishing great content and growing my audience… and my list builds on auto.
And because I rarely sell to these people ‘directly’, when I do send offers, I get a really good response!
This approach does take time to build numbers but it’s worth it, so start ASAP.
These are the best quality subscribers you could ever hope for, because they choose to hear from you because they like what they heard… not because you promised them a treat!
2. Link Jacking! – Set and Forget
I bought a simple WordPress plugin for this years ago and it still works a treat! It basically lets you capture subscribers after they’ve clicked a link on your website or blog, to got to another website or offer.
ie. The visitor clicks a link, the target page starts to open in an iframe on your site, but your opt-in form appears over the top, effectively blocking it.
So the choice is simple… if they want to see the page underneath, they need to opt-in.
And most people do!
This very powerful because they’ve already decided that they want to see the target page before your form popped up, plus there’s some implied authority because they tend to associate the opt-in with the destination page, not you page.
So you can use this when linking to other blogs, social media posts, authority sites, news sites, videos and more… it basically turns any content you link to into a reason for people to join your list!
When tailor your follow up messages to reflect the subject of their initial interest, you can build a very receptive list, on total autopilot.
When you apply this technique to specific subject matter, using relevant articles, videos, authority websites etc… you can build a custom mailing list of people with that very specific interest.
ie. If you link to a video on dog training, then pop up the optin on the video page, you’re going to build a list of people who want to know more about dog training… so you know exactly what offers to send!
These days I use a custom solution of my own to achieve a similar effect, but the AbsoluteJacker plugin is still available, so could be a good place to start.
The catch is, you do need a fairly busy site to get the initial link clicks, to get the optins.
So if you want to grow a big list, you need to set up lots of links on as many blogs as possible…
I watch my blog stats carefully and any time I see a new link appearing in the Exit Pages stats, I set up a Jacked Link to catch some of that traffic!
This is very much set-and-forget, especially for the niche subject lists. So hook it up to a relevant autoresponder series with a good mix of content and related offers, and it can chug along quietly in the background on complete auto!
3. Buying Quality Leads. On Demand
Most list building systems will tell you to use free traffic sites… safelists and exchanges… to promote your optin pages.
This is a horrible waste of time…
The audience on these sites are sellers not buyers, so the conversion rates are dismal… and the work required to build a list of any useful size is astronomical.
Instead I use various paid options to generate larger numbers of higher quality visitors, so my opt-in rates are significantly better and the new subscribers are much more responsive too.
So much so, I’ll run regular paid standalone campaigns specifically to add numbers to my lists. Here are the three traffic sources I use most often:
I mostly use Udimi, a marketplace where you can buy Solo Ads to other people’s lists. You pay per lead, so it’s not particularly cheap, but these are quality lists… fully reviewed real-time by the buyers… so these leads convert really well. And once you use this option you will never go back to cheap traffic!
- I’ll start by finding a good affiliate offer to promote.
- I’ll pay to have my email for that offer sent out to someone else’s list.
- I’ll use an optin form for my landing page.
- Then direct the visitor to the offer from there.
So not all the people who click will even see the offer, but that’s not my goal anyway. I’ll get quality leads added to my list, and a few sales to cover my costs will be a bonus.
I’ll make sure the offer is relevant to the list I’m building. I’ll tie the theme and message of my opt-in page to the offer. And my first messages will establish connections between them, the offer and the relevant benefits I can share if they stick with me…
This one sends my email out on auto, every day, for about 1000-1500 views each time.
I use it largely for my own offers, but any time I’ve got a gap I have a few good affiliate offer emails ready to go, set up like the Solo Ads above.
People have to opt-in to even see the offer, so I don’t get a huge number of sales, but mostly I’m just after the opt-ins… pulling people from ProfitsLion into my own mailing system.
Again I work hard early to establish a connection and provide real value before I even think about sending offers.
This is my main source of new leads these days, delivering 200 fresh new leads every single day. These are people who have agreed to hear about new offers and ideas for online businesses etc, so a good portion of them tend to be quite receptive.
They are new leads and there’s no real connection yet, so I’m careful to share plenty of quality, useful content up front… just like I would if they’d arrived on my blog!
You can read my full review & strategy for My Lead Gen System here… plus I’ve got a special bonus package on offer if you decide to give it a test drive!
List Marketing Isn’t Just Emails
Of course email isn’t your only option for connecting with your subscribers.
Many people will market via text messages, push notifications via websites and apps, Facebook messenger, What’sApp and more. Regardless of YOUR preferred platform, you should make sure it’s the subscribers preference as well…
A lot of these methods are popular simply because they make it easier to get your message in front of your audience… but you won’t see many stats saying the audience actually appreciates those efforts!
Personally I stick mostly with email, though my autoresponder does support text messages, so I am starting to incorporate those into selected campaigns where ‘urgency’ is a factor.
Interestingly, when I’ve offered this as an option for general communication, even to my most active subscribers… the response has been terrible…
They’ll read my emails but they don’t want me texting them too!
So you can also safely ignore the people who’ll tell you that email is dead but some other medium is where you need to be…
They’re missing the point as well.
The problem isn’t the platform, it’s the way it’s used.
The key to success is the quality of the connections you make through the messaging you send…
Not the platform you use to make it happen.
Bottom line is, email still works, if you make a genuine connection.
But I’m just as certain, none of the of the options above will work if that connection isn’t there.
So a lot of the emails I send are intended to send my readers to some of my different blogs, in the hope they’ll find something that resonates with where they’re at right now.
That way I share a bit of what I’m about and what I might be able to offer them… and I let them choose to connect with me.
And those that do are my most loyal and valuable subscribers.
I’m also a pragmatist though…
If it becomes clear there’s no connection to be made, I do have systems set up to funnel those people into my traditional mailing lists. I still try to share useful content, but I do slip in a whole lot more offers!
But only for a while.
I track everything and if people just aren’t opening my emails I delete them so their inaction doesn’t impact my ability to get emails delivered to the people who are interested.
Likewise, if they’re opening but not clicking, I’ll move them through a special purpose built campaign packed with my most tempting and irresistible offers…
If I still can’t get a click, I delete them too.
Because you cannot afford to be emailing non responsive people over the long term,… it will hurt you!
The thing is, sooner or later, these lower quality lists do end up getting the lions-share of my leads… but I can assure you my smaller high-quality lists make many times more money for me!
So I’d encourage you to give this Quality over Quantity approach a decent trial yourself.
It’s definitely worth the effort.
Other Stuff That Will Never Work As Promised!
OK, just before I wrap it up, I want to talk briefly about a few of the paid list-builder solutions you might encounter… and why you should definitely avoid them!
Viral / MLM List Builders:
There’s a few of these paid solutions that promise all kinds of ground-breaking, never seen before multi-step optins to make your list grow at lightning speed. The idea is actually pretty old. People opt-in just to join the program itself, but to do that, they need to optin to multiple people’s lists first…
So in theory, the system generates 3-5 times as many opt-ins from the exact same traffic.
In reality this just magnifies the same old problems… people resist opting in to one list, so they’ll absolutely hate the idea of opting in to 5 at once!
In fact the only people who will actually complete a process like this will be other marketers who desperately want a list…
So again you’ll be building yourself a list of sellers, not buyers.
And you’ll be paying a monthly fee for the privilege!
Viral Downline Builders:
Most of these just aren’t worth the effort and the only thing that keeps them going is a general fear of missing out. The idea might seem reasonable and the numbers they’ll show you will be inspiring… but the reality is, most people won’t ever do the work.
So if you do work it and bring in a load of people, all you’ll be doing is promoting the website for the owner.
So it’s about the slowest way to build a list that I’ve ever used, and if you’re paying for it, that’s even worse.
I’ve saved the worst for last… these are the guys who will guarantee that you’ll get a minimum number of clicks or opt-ins AND some will even guarantee you’ll make sales.
All without knowing anything about you, your offer, what it costs and whether you’ve ever sold a single unit in the history of the internet?
But none of that matters… because it’s not real.
If you don’t make sales, all they have to do to honour the fine-print in their guarantee is send your email again!
You are no more likely to make sales from that second email, but it doesn’t matter because they’ve met the terms of their guarantee.
So save your money!
No legit provider will ever guarantee sales. And very few will even do it for opt-ins.
Remember the old adage…
If it sounds too good to be true, call BS and walk the other way!
OK, hopefully that’s give you some practical ideas on how you can get a useful volume or quality leads into your list? The next step is to send the right kinds of emails to engage them to the point where you can create a real connection.
It takes a little more time and effort than most people want to invest, so that becomes a huge opportunity for anyone prepared to do it right!