● Welcome to the list maintenance section of the course. There are various methods of list building that have proven successful over the years, each fulfilling different roles within a business, each with their advantages and disadvantages.
● Throughout this section, we’ll be looking at each of the methods with a view to showing you what they entail before you get started, because once you do, it’s not always easy to change. You’ll also be able to immediately begin to maintain your list using the method that suits your business from the moment those first subscribers begin to arrive on the launch of your products.
● The first aspect that I’d like to talk to you about is one of the fundamentals of list building, and that’s always no matter what make sure that the customer understands what they’re subscribing to.
● How many times have you subscribed to a newsletter or e-zine or given your e-mail address to a business, only to find out that they’re not e-zines or newsletters at all, just straight up ad lists?
● Remember the choice you make now will shape the future of your business, and it will also shape your response rates at the same time.
● As we mentioned earlier, our number one aim is to provide a list for you to promote your own products to with the highest response rates, also giving you a great bargaining tool for when business owners begin to approach you with joint venture proposals.
● Also, keep in mind the other aspects that you’ll be using your list for, attracting joint ventures, affiliates, research as well as making sales and converting new customers through your own products and through affiliate promotion if you chose to go down this path.
● Research is a very important point to make here. If you remember back to the ad tracking points we’ve already discussed. I was telling you about how tracking and testing is important for every aspect of your business, well list maintenance is no exception.
● I find it easy with a list to come up with new product ideas and tailor it to the people who are going to receive the information about the product first. I know what they want because quite simply I ask them, whether it’s the products that interest them the most, or the best headline, or the type of language to use when contacting them, and even what to put in the subject line and from field to get them to read.
● Your list is as much for tracking, testing, and free research as it is for making sales. Don’t feel strange about sending stuff to your list that is just plainly research. Not only will they feel closer to you and your business making them less likely to unsubscribe in the short term, but they’ll thank you for sending them information about the subjects they’re interested in. This also boosts the rate at which you’ll be making your sales.
● In return you get new product ideas, along with a whole bundle of information that you can use to increase your sales. This is promoting to learn instead of promoting for profit and just like with any proven results and research, when you go up against people who don’t have the information you have, you’re going to outsell them at every turn, and recognize and cater to new trends and crazes before they do. Your list is a very powerful tool indeed and should not be taken as just a bunch of people to send ads to.
● Ok so lets get started looking at list types. I’m going to do this from the point of a reviewer and use a points system. This allows us to discuss their pros and cons and pick the one that’s right for your business in a more interesting manner.
● The categories that we’ll be looking at for each list type are: un-subscription rate, subscription rate, ad income, JV circle, response-rate over time, general usefulness, and maintenance time.
● Each of these aspects will be rated for each list type from one star to five stars, the higher the star rating, the better.
● Let’s begin with the standard e-zine or newsletter. Defined as a list of people you have gathered and are sending useful information related to your target market regularly, along with a selection of ads for both your products and other peoples products and affiliate programs.
● Un-subscription Rate **** Four Stars: Many e-zines have become a success because of their subscribers responding to the useful content this list type provides. Lapse in regular sending though and this could go pear shaped, and you need to be careful when looking at your ratio of ads sent to useful content sent.
● Subscription Rate **** Four Stars: A higher than average subscription rate is due to the promise of useful content for free. It’s easy to get people talking about the good content you’re sending out resulting in even more subscribers coming your way through the all powerful word of mouth. Use example issues and article snippets to persuade potential subscribers that you’re the real thing and not just an ad list.
● Ad Income ***** Five Stars: Selling ads is a great way to provide an additional income stream, and your customers are right there on your list already, making it easy to make sales. Be careful not to over do this as to not alienate the subscribers there for the content with too many ads, or you may see your subscriber base and response rate fall dramatically.
● JV Circle ** Two Stars: If you’re already selling ads on a regular basis, why would someone want to split the profits with you when they can reach your whole list for the cost of an ad? The one reason why they may do this is to get a good word from you to your subscribers, something that will only be beneficial from an extremely well oiled e-zine with a well known, trusted publisher of a sustained high quality publication.
● Response Rate Over Time *** Three Stars: This very much depends if your subscribers are interested in your stuff or not. You may see your response rate dwindle if your primary method of pulling in the subscribers is through freebie giveaways. They may come to expect the world for nothing, and get offended when you don’t give it to them. Sending many ads over a sustained period of time also doesn’t help your response rates.
● General Usefulness *** Three Stars: Very handy to get that all important information from your subscribers. Many have asked why their subscribers never write to them. I tell them that they need to ask them to write to them about something that affects them and they will. Again, third party ads can be a distraction, but all in all, if your content is good and people are reading, this is prime research material, albeit not quite as personal as some of the other list types.
● Maintenance Time * One Star: E-zines are high maintenance. Juggling ads purchased, putting together content to keep people reading, messing with joint venture offers, not to mention un-requested feedback from subscribers. A fully fledged, solid e-zine is hard work, time that I’d prefer to be using to develop new products, but if you enjoy writing and publishing, and this is your calling, go for it. If you a enjoy it, spending a lot of time on maintenance isn’t such a bad thing, so that one star is debatable.
● To sum up, an e-zine or newsletter is a great place to start if you have no list at all. The ease of pulling in subscribers when you’re giving them good content beats almost any other list type, and if you don’t mind or enjoy the high maintenance, then this may be the list type for you. Be careful how to balance your content and ads though, too much content and free stuff could have your subscribers leaving rapidly if you can’t sustain that level. On the other hand, too many ads alienates and ultimately leads to the unsubscription of subscribers who are there for the content. An e-zine is also the easiest of the list types to evolve into the other list types over a short period of time, making it a safe bet and a good starting point for any business.
● Next up, we have the personal mixed content lists. Mailings are comprised of research, new product information for your customers, a few articles that you write, the odd tips here and there, testimonial requests, and of course the ads for your own products. It’s very similar to an e-zine except for the mixed content and the less sales of ads to third parties. This also requires less content on your part. One of the most highly used list types by specialist marketers, and in my personal opinion definitely one of the most interesting and robust of the lot.
● Un-subscription Rates ***** Five Stars: Once you’ve built trust with your subscribers, the low unsubscription rates and loss of subscribers often beats even the e-zine. Because everything is so personal and the subscribers are much closer to you and your business, it’s rare they’ll leave you unless you annoy them in some way. Beware though, bad news travels faster than good, and a slip up here could cost you a lot because you and your subscribers have no one else to blame but you.
● Subscription Rate *** Three Stars: Getting subscribers here can be a lot harder, but the rewards greater. As these lists are generally smaller than a large sized e-zine, the numbers can seem a little off putting, but it’s far better to have a list of 10000 dedicated loyal customers that buy from you over and over, than a list of 100k who don’t even read your mailings. Remember quality over quantity. Many subscribers may have also bought from you before or have been directed to you through your own products, which builds and sustains that all important trust and familiarity.
● Ad Income * One Star: Virtually Zero. It’s possible to sell small ads to people if you find yourself short of cash, but keep it rare, very rare otherwise you undermine the whole reason for keeping this a personal list and devalue it through the eyes of other marketers and may just cut your exclusivity and perceived value of this hard to get at list.
● JV Circle ***** Five Stars: When you have a list like this, packed full of pre-qualified subscribers that know you, and you’re not letting anyone else buy ads, you’re piling on the value, and you’ll find your services in high demand once you start launching your products. People know how valuable it is, and they know to get their hands on it, they’ll have to offer you something very valuable in return. That’s your ticket to many successful joint ventures and much more promotion power.
● Response Rate Over Time **** Four Stars: Great response rates over time are expected due to the trust you build with these people in such a personal manner. Unless you mess something up big time, lose their trust, annoy them or suddenly stop offering them the insight and knowledge they’re looking for, they’ll keep reading what you have to say, buying your products, and checking out your recommendations. This is especially useful for inflating the value of your list to your JV circle considerably. Watch what you mail very carefully, though, one slip up or bad move and it could all be gone. Trust is hard to build but easy to destroy in a few short seconds.
● General Usefulness **** Four Stars: Who’s more responsive, your friends and acquaintances or random people you put questions to on the street? Again, this is where the personal touch is handy. As far as they’re concerned, they’re getting something very important from you. Make sure to ask something in return in the way of surveys which should be aimed in the general direction of assisting the subscribers in some way, even if you’re publishing the results for their use, a great research tool at your fingertips.
● Maintenance Time *** Three Stars: Sometimes it can take you ten minutes to write a mailing, sometimes less, sometimes a lot more, depending on what you’ve got to say, which makes maintenance time hard to judge unless seeing each circumstance in turn. Not as bad as a fully fledged e-zine, though not as quick as some of the lists we have yet to discuss. This is a good bet if you’re short on time, or want to dedicate your days to something more productive, or just don’t like writing e-zines and using outside articles.
● 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 we’re out of time, see you in part two where we’ll be looking at the final list types, and talking about their pros and cons. I’ve left one of the most powerful list types until last too, and I’ll show you exactly how I maintain my personal list with so little time and such high response rates. See you there!