The Personal Touch
Finally, we have the personal touch. It’s something that’s always important when you’re running your own list. In fact, speaking of the personal touch, just four months ago I remember getting a Christmas card from one of the programmers that’s working on something for me. It wasn’t anything special, just an e-card sent via e-mail to all his customers, with a generic dear sir/madam at the top of it. It was nice though, and what’s nicer for him is I remembered it. Heck, I don’t even remember what I had for dinner two nights ago so it definitely did something. I’ve used his services four times since.
The same is going to apply to your subscribers. Send them Christmas greetings for example, and they will remember you. Many people do this already in some form or another, but a little graphic maybe, something fun that isn’t there to sell them on something. Remembering that programmer and his name, and his company name is proof that it works. (I have many more examples of this. It wasn’t just a one off) I’ve seen others do this too, and I still remember them from last year. How many ads do you remember that landed in your inbox say, three months ago? Be personal, but professional, and this will not only be relevant to your business, but more importantly, your reputation and your profits.
All Done – Now It’s Your Turn
Ok so we’ve been through four main possibilities. I hope that I got across to you what the pros and cons, the upsides and downsides are for each example. Remember they’re all categorized loosely here, you can modify and gel one into the other to make hybrids. What I hoped to have demonstrated though is a picture of what effects what and why, when choosing how to maintain your list. Hopefully also this will be super easy for you. Which one is the best to choose? The one that is best for you and your business, not just now, but in the future. Once you’ve gone down a path for a list, it’s not easy to change. Make the right decision now based on what you have in front of you, and you can sleep easy in the knowledge that your choice will benefit you not just from the day you start building your list, but one, two, five, even ten years or more into the future.
It’s your choice. There is no wrong answer. Pick the one that’s right for you and your business.
● Greetings and welcome to list maintenance part two. Let’s continue with our reviews and look at the final few main categories that lists fall in to.
● The personal list – affiliate and ad content. This is much the same as the personal mixed content list, however this time, you’re not sending tips, hints, or content, but ads however only ads for your own products, the affiliate programs you promote and through joint ventures. Although no content is provided, this list type is especially useful if you’re well known, and have previously released products of your own.
● Un-subscription Rate ** Two Stars: Unfortunately many people see this as a plain ad list and unsubscribe if they haven’t been in online marketing for a period of time. Once you have a base of experienced people however, you’re going to reap the rewards. Be wary when selecting this list type, because if you don’t have the right contacts and the right expertise gained through your own products, this won’t work. If you do have those things, no matter what you send people will listen to you, and it’s in this situation that your unsubscription rate drops off and I’d be happy to up this to three or even four stars.
● Subscription Rate ** Two stars again: It’s easier to get people subscribed to your list when they know they’re getting some serious content. Many people yet to reach their goals don’t understand that these lists are powerful, simply for following established marketers and learning about how they run their businesses. Your previous customers and affiliates are your best bet here, especially as they’ll be interested in what you have to say, have lists of their own and be ready to pack out your affiliate promotion on the second level. Beware however, if you have an inexperienced crowd at your disposal they may unsubscribe in numbers due to mistaking your list for a simple ad list.
● Ad Income *** Three stars: This is a pretty tricky one and it totally depends on how your list is performing. Ads to this type of list are in demand because first of all, it’s your personal list that no one else has access to, and two to sustain a list like this for any period of time is not easy, but if you pull it off, it’s going to be one of the most responsive lists you can find. Many marketers in the know are clued up about exactly how valuable such a list is. Generally it’s unlikely that you’ll be selling ads very often, but like the previous personalized list, if you’re stuck for cash one day, it’s a quick fix. Starting to send out ads and offering ads to a very borderline list type like this, and you risk alienating your subscribers, and losing some really valuable people with promotion power.
● JV Circle **** Four Stars: This list is typically what marketers are looking for when they come to joint venture with list owners. Highly qualified list owners ready and eager to both buy products and promote affiliate programs consisting of people who have purchased from you before, or even affiliates who have promoted for you before. All of these factors bring a high value to this list type and make it a great bargaining tool when approaching or being approached for joint ventures. Keep the quality subscribers and affiliates (the resource builders) up, and you’ll find that in JV negotiations, this list type holds much more water than the e-zine or ad list, in some cases as much as the personal mixed content list.
● Response rate over time **** Four Stars: Again, this list types response rate over time doesn’t vary too much from the mixed content personal list we talked about earlier. The only additional things you have to look out for is using too many ads from third parties in a short space of time (remember these people are here to hear about you and follow your business, no one else’s) and secondly, those who don’t understand the concept of learning through other marketers ads, or you happen to change your list type. If your list type changes, but the reason everyone is subscribed does not. This can be devastating.
● General Usefulness **** Four Stars: Because this list is also very personal, it’s not hard to get important tracking information from the subscribers. They’re happy to give it to you simply because they know it’s going to make them more money in the end, and of course many of them are on your list solely for the opportunity to join your programs and things you promote, and make wads of cash. They’re all too happy to reveal to you what turns them on, hence the four stars. The only ones that won’t be forthcoming are those that don’t quite see the concept of this type of list, and it’s likely they won’t be hanging around for long anyway.
● Maintenance Time ***** Five Stars.:The ideal list if you’re short of time or don’t particularly like writing. The only thing you’ll have to do is find out what your subscribers are interested in, which is a short job and beneficial to you anyway. Be wary however, if you haven’t gathered the subscribers though your own products and reputation, this list type won’t work. People jumping onto your list are interested in you and your business, what you’re promoting, and how much money you’re earning, using your list as kind of research for themselves.
● Finally, the ad list. Take every example that we’ve used, and everything that I’ve shown you so far, from relationship building, to useful content, personal lists, and your reputation, throw it out the window, go fetch it, then throw it out the window all over again. It’s a simple list that accepts all ads from everyone, your own products, other peoples products, affiliate promotion and so on. It’s very impersonal and sends no content. Very often, subscribers don’t even know who the publisher is.
● Un-subscription Rate * One Star: Most of these ad lists that I’ve come across either use unethical methods or promise things that they don’t actually deliver on predictably causing a high unsubscription rate. Granted some people may want to see ads, this is true, but from a specific person they know and trust and either work off the list owners marketing or follow in their footsteps. This list type doesn’t allow that either. Even when legitimate methods are used, giving away free stuff for example, it’s not unusual for these lists to be packed full of freebie seekers, who as you can imagine, are not very profitable to anyone.
● Subscription Rate * One Star: As you can probably plainly see, telling people all they’re going to receive is ads is not a good way to get subscribers. In general, these lists are shooting for numbers rather than quality so they can charge more for ads. In summary, they’re hard to get subs for ethically, and quality suffers either way through the sheer unfocused number and type of ads being sent.
● Ad Income ** Two Stars: Not that this makes up for the other huge shortcomings mind you, but generally the ad income can be ok depending on the size of your list. An ad to a list of a hundred thousand for a hundred dollars can look like a good deal to the entry level online marketer, or someone who hasn’t been around and seen the sights yet. Of course we know better though. The response rates tell the story, and when your customers don’t see any response on their ads, if they’re smart they won’t be coming back to give you their cash ever again. Bad news for your long-term prospects, which is what building a business is all about.
● JV Circle * One star, once again: Unfortunately a list that isn’t personal slips up big time on subscriber quality. People that have bought from you, willing to spend cash, affiliates, or even populated with people in your target market are in most cases missing. For this reason, you won’t be a hot topic for joint ventures. Try to barter with one of these, and don’t expect to get very far unless your JV prospect is inexperienced. And in any case, if they’re inexperienced, it’s unlikely the joint venture will be profitable to you in any case.
● Response Rate Over Time * One Star: If you receive a different ad every day for a year from a list, would your make the effort to open and read their mails? Doubtful, unless you knew the marketer well or were interested in their work. It’s a big never-ending roll downhill. The more ads your send, the more people unsubscribe, the less people care, the more you’re filtered, blacklisted, and not taken seriously as a marketer. Your response rates will plummet. Fast.
● General Usefulness * One Star: Unfortunately even general usefulness here is a downer. Again, no one cares what you have to say or about your questions, because they don’t know you. They might have known you if they didn’t receive a load of ads from different people every day, or every week or whatever, but that isn’t the case here. It’s unlikely many will be reading, never mind be motivated to answer any questions you might have or research inquiries. And after all, why should they if they’re not getting anything out of it too?
● Maintenance Time ***** Five Stars: Finally five stars. You receive the ad from your customer, cash lands in your account, paste in the ad, hit send and you’re done. It’s the ultimate speedy list maintenance method. I assure you though, this will never ever make up for it’s shortcomings in other areas. Don’t bother if you’re looking for a serious online business. It’s just not the way to go about things, morally or logically.
● Important note here: These are base figures, and your exact results may be higher or lower than the above. It’s more to give you some insight into aiming your business in the right direction than to give you exact figures and numbers and guaranteed base earning, response rate, income, number of JV prospects etc.
● Ok, the reviews are done with. All that’s left for me to do is give you a few tips that should be implemented from the start to avoid problems with administering your list later or having problems with response rates.
● Remember to divide up your lists for tracking and relevance purposes. If you sell a piece of software and gain a load of subscribers, affiliates, sales and so on through your site, you don’t want to then try to mix it all up and sell them onto an online marketing scheme, because you’re going off track, losing the reason they subscribed in the first place, and will in the end lose subscribers.
● Another reason for doing this is tracking and testing. We already talked in several key areas about how important tracking and testing actually is using your list as kind of a market research tool. You don’t want to be asking about online marketing when your list is based on software sales for example, no one will have a clue what you’re talking about, you’ll get bad data, and a whole bunch of ubsubscriptions.
● Another advantage here is something closer to home and more direct, and that’s simply, it allows you to target people specifically for the type of products you’re selling. We all know how important targeting is, and how much of a waste of time it is selling golf clubs to someone who’s interested in fishing equipment, this is just the same. On a deeper level, you’re allowed massive flexibility too. It’s not just for show.
● Next, the personal touch. Strange as it sounds, send Christmas cards, or a New Year card to your list. It’s important because it makes your list even more personal, maintaining high response rates.
● I remember getting a Christmas card from one of the programmers that’s working on something for me. It wasn’t anything special, just an e-card sent via e-mail to all his customers, with a generic dear sir/madam at the top of it. It was nice though, and what’s nicer for him is it was memorable, and that’s just plain profits waiting to be had that you’re missing out on if you’re not taking advantage of this.
● Ok, so we’ve been through four main list maintenance possibilities. I hope that I got across to you what the pros and cons, the upsides and downsides are for each example. Remember they’re all categorized loosely here, you can modify and gel one into the other to make hybrids. What I hoped to have demonstrated, though, is a picture of what effects what and why when choosing how to maintain your list. Hopefully this will now be super easy for you. Which one is the best to choose? The one that is best for you and your business, not just now, but in the future. Once you’ve gone down a path for a list, it’s not easy to change. Make the right decision now based on what you have in front of you, and you can sleep easy in the knowledge that your choice will benefit you not just from the day you start building your list, but one, two, five, even ten years or more into the future.
● It’s your choice. There is no wrong answer.