The Money Is In The List
You’ve heard that expression before, right? As an affiliate marketer, building a list of prospects is fundamental to your success. There are certainly other ways of making affiliate sales but many would say that doing so through having an email list can be one of the most effective – and here’s the reason…
An email list literally allows you to make money on tap. Once you have a list you can simply find a relevant product to promote, type out an email, press send and make instant sales.
There’s a little more to it of course but please understand that this IS the reality once you’ve got a decent sized list of targeted prospects.
So, how on earth do you build a list if you don’t have one?
The first thing is to get together something that you can give away in return for people signing up to your list… It could be a free report, video course, etc.
Whatever it is should be highly appealing to the people in your niche. You want people to be desperate to join your list so that they can get hold of your freebie, so it’s worth investing the time to create or source a great product to give away.
You could create it yourself or find a good quality product that comes with Private Label Rights or Resale Rights.
Once you’ve got something to give away then you need to set yourself up with a squeeze page. This is a simple one-page website where you tell people what your free offer is, together with an opt-in box where they enter their name and email address.
Most squeeze pages follow a fairly similar format, so have a look at other’s in your niche to get a feel for what they are like.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that in order to build a list you’ll need to sign up for an autoresponder service such as Aweber, Get Response or the one I use and recommend Trafficwave. They give you all the tools you need to capture and store email addresses and to send emails to them once you’ve built your list.
Behind your squeeze page you should have a paid offer, called a One Time Offer (OTO). Again, this could be your own product, a resell rights product or even an affiliate offer – but whatever you decide it makes sense to offer people something to buy as soon as they sign up to your list.
You’ve engaged them enough to persuade them to give you their email address so there’s a decent chance that they might also be in the mood to buy something. Most won’t buy of course but a percentage WILL and thus it provides you with the opportunity to make some money as you build your list.
You’ll also need to set up a download page (a simple page which thanks people for signing up and provides them with the link to download their freebie.
What you’re doing here is building a simple sales funnel. I’m not going to cover list building in great depth here because there are plenty of guides to list building available online – and many of them are free.
The point that must be emphasized however is that building a list is pretty essential for any online business owner and it’s a particularly valuable asset to have to us as affiliate marketers.
Getting People On To Your List
Once you’ve built your funnel then you’ll need to send traffic to your squeeze page. There are probably hundreds of different ways out there of doing this, including solo ads, Facebook ads, article marketing, forum marketing, linking your squeeze page to your blog – etc.
If you’re just starting out and can afford to spend a bit of money on advertising then many people would recommend solo ads. If you don’t know what a ‘solo ad’ is then it’s really simple – it’s just where you pay somebody who already has a list to send out an email to their subscribers promoting your free offer.
Solo ads are popular amongst many because they can provide you with an opportunity to build your list pretty quickly…
Most solo ad sellers will offer you a certain number of guaranteed clicks.
So, if somebody guarantees you 200 clicks from the solo ad and your squeeze page converts on average at 45% then you’re going to get 90 new people joining your list. Once a solo ad has been sent you usually get the traffic pretty quickly, so it’s possible to build a list of hundreds or even thousands of people in a matter of days.
Obviously solo ads cost money. But if your sales funnel has paid products behind it then you could recoup back the cost of the ads and even make an upfront profit. Often you won’t recoup back your costs initially but you’ll have a list that you can market to for years to come.
A key aspect of being successful with solo ads is knowing your figures – especially your conversion rates… If you know the average conversion rate of your squeeze page and backend offers then you can work out how much you can afford to spend on solo ads.
It’s important to TEST your funnel thoroughly so that you can improve on it. You can split test different offers and work out which ones convert the best.
Take the following example:
You’ve got a free report you’re giving away to build your list and you make two different squeeze pages promoting the report. You do a simple 50/50 split test on your offer, which simply means you send 50% of your traffic to one squeeze page and 50% to the other (there are plenty of tools out there that enable you to do this)
You buy a solo ad with 200 guaranteed clicks, so 100 of those people will see the first squeeze page and 100 will see the second. When you’ve done the test you find that the first squeeze page converted at 32% (so 32 people subscribed) and the second one converted at 48% (so 48 people subscribed).
As you can see the second squeeze page converted at a much higher rate than the first. So imagine if you had not bothered testing and had simply thrown up squeeze page number one.
You’d have lost out on quite a few subscribes, and as you bought more and more solo ads you’d lose out on even more. PLEASE test and track because it’ll make your chances of success so much higher.
Once you’ve built up your list to a certain size using solo ads then you could consider moving over to adswaps. These usually work exactly like solo ads, only instead of paying money for the other person to send out your offer you simply return the favor and send out their offer to your list.
With adswaps you obviously need to have a list in the first place, which is why it could be a good idea to start with solo ads and then move up to adswaps once you’ve got a list.
Where do I purchase solo ads or find adswaps?
There are no shortage of places online where you can find solo ads and adswaps, especially if you’re in the internet marketing niche. Two places to start could be: http://www.safe-swaps.com and http://www.warriorforum.com
However there are loads more too and if you have a dig around online you should be able to find them quite easily.
Don’t have money to spend on advertising?
If you’re trying to build your list and don’t have any money to spend at all then there are other options. A good one can be forum marketing, where you sign up to forums in your niche and post to those sites whilst including a signature link to your squeeze page.
Forum marketing works well for many people, although you need to make sure that you get your strategy right. The key to forum marketing is to forget you are actually there to promote your squeeze page.
Instead you should simply join in the forum conversations and become an active member of the community. Demonstrate your knowledge but NEVER mention your squeeze page or any of your products.
Your signature link will do the “selling” for you because people will see your posts, be impressed by your knowledge and thus decide to click on your signature link, which will take them to your squeeze page.
NOTE: it’s always important to check out forum rules and establish whether they allow signature links to external websites because some don’t.
Promoting affiliate products to your list
Ok, so you’ve either already got a list or you’re on your way to building one. The way you make money as an affiliate is to let your list know about products you recommend – and that means sending them out promo emails.
As we talked about in a earlier article one of the key aspects of being a list owner is becoming a ‘trusted advisor.’ People on your list are looking to you as the expert and when you send them an email saying “go and buy this product” then they are trusting your judgement – which is why you need to carefully select the product’s you promote, as we discussed earlier.
If you’ve done that – and are genuinely recommending products that you think will help people on your list – then you shouldn’t have a problem with or feel “bad” about selling to the people on your list.
But here’s a quick warning… When you sell to people, some of them get upset. That’s just a fact of life and there’s nothing you can really do about it. Some people seem to think that your only job in life is to provide them with free information.
If people don’t like the emails you send or get “upset” because you’re selling to them then they can simply go and unsubscribe. You really don’t want those sort of people on your list anyway.
But while you shouldn’t have a problem with selling to your list (it’s how you make money) you also need to remember that you need to provide a balance between selling and giving people free valuable content.
At the end of the day you’ve got to give people a reason to stay on your list – so just like a TV show can’t show adverts all day without any programs then you can’t simply send promo email after promo email without any content.
Some people DO do that but those sorts of marketers burn out their lists very quickly and rely on constantly getting new people onto their lists in huge quantities to replace the ones who got fed up with being sold to all the time.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the above strategy but it’s definitely not how you want to build a long term business.
Study how other marketers talk to their list.
While making money from a list can be as simple as sending out a quick email, pressing send and watching the sales come in, the reality is that you’ve got to carefully craft the emails that you send out. Before we go any further I would advise you to spend time studying how other marketers do thing’s.
Sign up to other people’s lists in your niche and study their emails. What subject lines do they use? What about the way the main body is written? What affiliate products do they promote? How often do they email their list? How much free content do they give and how much do they sell?
Spend time studying and watching different marketers and you can learn an awful lot. Every marketer has a different style and way of writing emails, so which appeals to you most? Consider selecting two or three different marketers who’s emails you particularly enjoy reading and watch carefully how they do things.
Wrapping Up How To Start Building Your Email List
We’ve covered some ground here and look for my next post where we will discuss crafting your email. I hope this gives you some direction. I know it can all be overwhelming at first so you if have any questions about how to build your email list just reach out.