Email Marketing: How To Build an Opt-In List and Profit from it
Email marketing is the missing piece of the Internet marketing puzzle for countless marketers. No matter what your plan is for monetizing your blog or website, email marketing needs to be a top priority.
Sure, it will take a little time to setup, but it is crucial to your long term success and survival online.
A responsive email list will create a solid foundation that your business can stand on for as long as email itself survives. You could take away all your traffic, but if you have a responsive email list, your business could still survive.
Think about that for a minute and hopefully you’ll see the importance of growing your own email list.
So let’s talk about setting up that important component in your online business today.
While most of the Internet marketing strategies I recommend are completely free or close to it, email marketing is the one thing you need spend a little money on. (Besides a domain name and web hosting.)
In order to do email marketing effectively, you’ll need a web-based list management tool. Also called an autoresponder service, this tool will help you grow, manage, broadcast and get emails through to your list.
In my opinion, Aweber is the best at all of those tasks. That is the service I use and recommend.
I have used many in the past, and while Getresponse is also very good, as are a few others, Aweber is still my personal favorite. What you need to look for in an autoresponder is high delivery rates and unlimited broadcasting without extra charges, and that is what Aweber delivers.
Lots of marketers say Aweber is too expensive, but it only costs $19 a month for up to 500 subscribers, $29 a month for up to 2500 subscribers, $49 a month for up to 5000 subscribers, $69 for up to 10,000 subscribers and $149 a month for up to 25,000 subscribers. That’s a bargain compared to how much income your list can bring you every month.
As you can see, the cost of an autoresponder service goes up as you get more and more subscribers, but keep in mind that by the time you surpass 500 you’ll likely be making plenty of money to afford it anyway.
Hopefully you understand the importance of having a list and why Aweber is the service to go with. Now let’s talk about how to set it up.
I won’t go into details of using Aweber itself, there are plenty of Aweber training videos at their site to teach you autoresponder setup and how to use their service. What I want to talk about are strategies for implementing it at your WordPress site.
First of all, most people miss the boat with Aweber and other related services. They create an opt-in form, put it in one place on their site and then plan to broadcast to subscribers after their list grows. This is NOT how a smart web marketer uses email marketing.
Here are the steps the top marketers take…
Step 1: Get an Aweber account.
You can get a free trial here: Aweber Free Trial
Then watch the Aweber training videos and set up your first list.
Note: If you struggle with getting opt-in forms set up, this expert can help you for $5.
Step 2: Write a series of email messages for your follow up campaign.
This is a step that way too many people skip altogether, but I consider it the most important step of all!
Remember, email marketing means growing relationships one at a time. You do that with email follow ups that build rapport with subscribers by offering them helpful tips, asking them to email you back if they have questions, and only very occasionally sending them to an affiliate link or other monetized link that earns you money. Skip this step at your own peril.
If writing is not your thing, then outsource this step. Here’s an excellent email autoresponder series writer that will do a great job for you.
Once you have your series written, plug the messages into your followup campaign so your subscribers get a message every 3-4 days for a month or so. Again, don’t make them all marketing messages with affiliate links. Make sure at least half of the messages simply contain helpful info and your offer to help them as needed.
Step 3: Get Subscribers.
You do this by strategically placing your opt-in form at your web property in multiple locations.
Once your list is set up and your follow up campaign is in place, it’s time to start getting subscribers. Too many people miss the boat here too. In fact, I’ve been quite guilty of this myself.
The fact is, one small signup form on your site will get you only a tiny number of subscribers compared to when you place your signup form at multiple locations. These locations should include…
a. The top of your sidebar at all your pages
b. Immediately after each post
c. On a dedicated squeeze page detailing the benefits of signing up
d. As a check box when they comment
e. On an entry or exit pop-up
f. In an above the fold feature box if your theme offers that option
Note: There are lots of free WordPress plugins that can help you get opt-ins, but to save time and get your signup forms in all the right places, consider using a premium plugin like the one I use called EZPops. The plugin will undoubtedly increase your list growth.
Oh, and as far as what information to ask for in your signup forms, here’s the inside scoop…
You should ask for first name and email address only. If you want to simplify things further you can ask for email address only, which does increase signups slightly, however you lose the ability to personalize your follow-up emails, which I feel is important.
3 Ways To Grow Your Opt-in List Faster
OK, now that you know how to set things up, let’s talk about how to grow that list faster.
1. Offer An Ebook or Software
You can get lots of opt-ins by offering an irresistible ebook for software such as a WordPress plugin for free. You don’t even have to create the giveaway yourself. Just grab an ebook or plugin with plr rights! Here’s a PLR site I use to grab products with full giveaway rights in just about any niche.
You’ll also need a “virtual ecover” made with your URL and name on it so the giveaway is customized to you. You can order an eCover for $5 and in a few days you’ll have a complete giveaway ready to go to work getting you new subscribers.
2. Offer PDF Versions of Your Posts
If your blog is full of great content, you can display a “download this post as PDF” button on all your best posts using this clever plugin. It takes just a few minutes to set up and it will grow your list on auto-pilot. You’ll see an example of this right here at the bottom of this post, as I just added this plugin to my own blog.
3. Get a PAID product up and tied to your autoresponder
Once you’ve been blogging for a few months you really should create your own info-product or service. In fact, you can simply use the blog posts you’ve be writing as content in your info-product.
Then get it into JVZoo when it is done and start recruiting affiliates. If you pay them 75% on the front end you’ll get some people to promote it for you. (You’ll find more details on this strategy in my recent post on how to get traffic to your blog.)
When you add a product to JVZoo make sure you create a new aweber “customer” list and connect that list to the product so customers are automatically subscribed. (That’s an option in the JVZoo product setup area.) Now you’ll be growing a CUSTOMER list which is the best opt-in list you can have! 😉
Your customer list should be single opt-in, and not require confirmation from the subscriber. That’s because the person has just bought something from you. All you have to do is contact aweber and request single opt-in for your customer list and they will be happy to set that up for you.
Making Money From Your List
Your follow-ups will grow a relationship with your opt-in subscribers. You can strengthen that relationship by sending out an email newsletter every week or two as well. When people get lots of free, useful content they will open your emails more often.
You can even sell some products and services via your follow ups and your newsletters. But your real bread and butter will be your list broadcasts.
Once your list size surpasses 50 or so subscribers, I suggest you start sending broadcast emails recommending top products and services in your niche. Just be sure you personally try the products and services before you recommend them. A few bad recommendations can hurt your credibility, so you need to be very selective about what you recommend.
And don’t just send one email then move on. You should plan a multi-email promotion for every week or two. Send an early bird deal, an FAQ email, a “how to use the product” email and a deal ending email. That’s 4X the chance of making sales.
Get personal in your emails and make them different than what the product vendor offers its affiliates.
If you are in the Internet marketing how-to niche, here are all my top promotional emails from the last year. You can use them as your own and simply insert your own affiliate link. 😉