BUILD YOUR OPT-IN LIST
Let’s review what an opt-in list is: a collection of e-mail addresses you get from people who are interested in your product, and request to join your autoresponder list. This means your autoresponder messages will not be considered spam, and the reputation of your business will help build consumer confidence and increase sales.
Now that you know why you need an opt-in list, let’s talk about how to get one. There are several ways to collect addresses for your opt-in list, and you should institute as many as you can to develop a wide subscriber base.
Free methods: Articles, e-books and mini e-courses
You can’t beat free! Though these list-building techniques take a little more time and effort than paid methods, they can be extremely effective in getting subscribers for you. In fact, you may have already done much of the legwork during your market research phase.
You can write articles pertaining to your topic, or articles that contain some of the information found in your product, and post them across the internet. Be sure the article contains useful information that will pique readers’ interest and get them to want more. When submitting your articles to other sites for publication, be sure to include your name (and company name, if you have one) and a link to your web site. If you have professional credentials that tie in to your subject, write a brief bio to include as well.
E-books and giveaways/contests
Just as the idea of free list-building methods appealed to you, the idea of valuable freebies will appeal to potential customers. Obtain short, informative e-books on your topic (or write one yourself) from affiliate programs or other internet marketers, and then offer them as an incentive to sign up for your opt-in list. You can also advertise a contest to give away a certain number of your product, chosen at random from people who sign up for your list during a prescribed period of time. NOTE: Setting limits on sign-up time and the number of giveaways gives people added incentive to act now. This is a technique you may want to incorporate in your autoresponder messages.
Developing a mini-course—a shortened version of your full product—is a great way to increase interest in potential buyers. When setting up a mini-course, break your product up into several sections. Give away a few secrets in each “lesson,” but not all of them. Remind mini-course subscribers that much more information can be found in the full version of your product, and include links to both your product page and your autoresponder landing page in each section. Plug your mini-course into your autoresponder program and fire away!
Pop-up ads can be an effective means of gathering addresses for your opt-in list when used on your own site. No one enjoys visiting a site about a topic they’re interested in, only to be bombarded with boxes proclaiming they’ve won free gas for a year or can lose 10 pounds in the next week. But used on your own site, pop-up ads let people know immediately that they can sign up for your list and get exactly the information they’re looking for delivered straight to their inbox. Recent studies have shown on-site pop-up ads to increase sales levels by up to 33 percent.
Paid methods: PPC campaigns, classifieds, and co-registration lists
When it comes to building a subscriber base, a little bit of money goes a long way. Most paid list-building methods are relatively inexpensive, and if used properly will more than pay for themselves in a short period of time.
For every paid method of obtaining subscribers, you will need your complete site URL and a brief (one- to three-sentence) description of your site. Word your description the same way you would in your autoresponder messages: make it short, to the point, and compelling. You will also need a list of keywords you want people to be able to find your site with through search engines.
Some popular paid list-building techniques are:
PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Campaigns
Pay-per-click ad campaigns bring visitors to your landing page by advertising your site on strategic points on the front search results page of keywords related to your topic. The term “pay-per-click” refers to the way you pay for the ads: a certain amount is deducted from your account—the money you put in to fund the campaign—each time someone clicks on your link. The most popular PPC program is Google AdWords; basically, though, all PPC campaigns work the same way.
Here’s how it works: when you sign up with AdWords, you submit a list of keywords and product descriptions. For example, if you were offering an e-book about how to increase web site profits, a list of your keywords might be: website, web site, web site profits, increase profits, internet, internet profit, online profit, online business, internet business, web site business, make money online, and so forth. Come up with as many keywords and search terms as possible so you can increase your chances of getting visitors. You may also consider including common misspellings of your most important keywords; in the previous example, possibilities would be: bizness, busness, inernet.
NOTE: You can use Google’s free keyword tool to generate even more related search terms for your topic.
AdWords ads appear on the right-hand side of Google’s search result pages in shaded boxes. The ads consist of four lines: the first line is your ad’s title, the last is your site’s URL, and the two middle lines are descriptive text. Length is limited—25 characters for the title, and 35 characters each for descriptive text—so you should choose your wording carefully. Also, you can’t use excessive punctuation (Make Lots of Cash!!!), gimmicky repetition (Money, Money, Money!), or inappropriate symbols/abbreviations (Big Bux @ my site 4 U).
So, following the above example, our AdWords ads might look like:
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AdWords operates on a pay-per-click basis. This means you pay nothing for your ads unless someone clicks on them. When you set up an AdWords account, you assign a monetary value to your keywords according to how much you’re willing to pay for each click on your search terms—the minimum value you can assign to a keyword is 1 cent. You can start an account with $5, and you will never be required to put more in –however, if you find your web site traffic increasing, you may want to consider adding to your advertising budget. In addition to the minimum, you will set a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) value for your keywords. But even if you reach the maximum, the AdWords program automatically determines the lowest price you need to keep your ranking.
AdWords and other programs like it – simple, inexpensive content-targeted ads.
Yahoo! also offers a popular PPC program called Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture). You may find one more effective than the other—and it’s always helpful to try multiple methods. More visitors means more sales!