The past few days have been some hectic ones for me. I've been doing some…
Why do you think that many give up their dreams of making money online very easily?
If you answer, confusion and overwhelm then you’re definitely correct.
Every day thousands, if not millions, go online with the dream of living the dotcom lifestyle… (whatever that may be really!)
Unfortunately, only a few achieve that dream.
There are a number of reasons for this. For example, with so much information out there and with everyone telling you what you should do and shouldn’t do, you’ll always end up confused and overwhelmed!
Besides, many online business models seems to over complicate things so much that trying to make them work only result in creating more confusion and overwhelm.
The result is that it’s much more easier for many to give up than see their dreams through!
In this blog post I want to share with you a truly SIMPLE online business model that will save you the heartache and confusion.
Now, this business model is easily neglected by many because of its simplicity. Many others only see it as part of their business strategy and tactic. The fact however is…
…it’s one of the most POWERFUL online business models, ever!
So, what’s this online business model…?
After years of doing business online and having tried nearly every business model out there, I can categorically say email marketing is the simplest but most powerful online business model you can think of!
As you may have heard it a number of times already, the money is in the list. The problem however is that as digital marketers we’re always looking for some advantage to make more money but in the process we overlook what’s right in front of us!
What’s Email Marketing and How Does It Work?
Wikipedia.com defines email marketing as,
“The act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves using email to send advertisements, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness.”
Email marketing is aimed at building a list of prospects (also known as leads) who are interested in buying your products or services. First, you will need to connect with your target audience by offering them high quality information in exchange for their subscription.
You can collect leads using a combination of squeeze pages and opt-in forms. These forms are generated by your autoresponder provider and are embedded into the HTML code of your squeeze page template.
Each time a visitor to your squeeze page enters in their name and email address and confirms their action, they are added to your mailing list database, and become an active subscriber.
With the subscriber added to your database, your autoresponder kicks in and emails your prospect a welcome email that you’ve already set up. This is sent out automatically within minutes of their subscription.
From this point on your autoresponder continues to email the subscriber on pre-set dates. The purpose is to develop a relationship with them so you can convert them from subscribers to active customers who are ready to do business with you over and over again.
Basically, your list building funnel should consist of three major parts:
1: Squeeze Page With Opt-In Form
2: Compelling High Quality Offer or Incentive
3: Follow Up Emails And Broadcasts
Making Email Marketing Work for You
If you’ve been wondering why email marketing has not worked for you in the past then you need to understand that the key phrase in the email marketing definition above is, “commercial message“. The secret is in sending a blend of promotional based emails and relevant and useful content.
For example, if you create 4 emails that are scheduled to be delivered accordingly, you could set them up as follows:
1st Email: This should be set to instantly go out to your subscribers thanking them for subscribing to your list. If you have promised a free download or whatever, this email should also contain the download link.
2nd Email: This can be scheduled to be sent on the third day (whatever day you choose) after your subscriber has confirmed their request, and includes an email offering free content, additional articles or another report.
3rd Email: This may be sent out on the 7th day of the sequence, promotional based, advertising a related product.
4th Email: This may be scheduled to go out a day or two after the last one. It may include some content and maybe a reminder about the product you promoted in the last email.
The balance that you use, when mixing up free content with promotional based material is entirely up to you, however the more value you give to your list, the easier and faster it will be to develop a relationship with them.
While many advocate an aggressive approach others would rather tread carefully, initially focusing on building a relationship with your list, and then doubling that up with promotional offers, or recommendations to affiliate products.
But whatever route you want to take it is essential that you ‘condition’ your list so that they grow accustomed to receiving promotional based emails from you on a regular basis. It they only see your list as a means of getting “FREE” information you might see a lot of unsubscriptions whenever you try to promote to them.
It’s up to you to keep a pulse on your subscriber base, and determine what works best, how frequently you contact them, and whether they respond well to the products you are promoting. But, just don’t be afraid to experiment and test out new ideas and innovative ways to consistently grow and maintain your subscriber base.
That being said, let’s now dig deeper on building a profitable mailing list.
The Tools You Need For Email Marketing
To build a profitable mailing list you’ll need some specific tools. These include:
A Professional Autoresponder Account
With autoresponder services like www.GetResponse.com and www.Aweber.com, you are able to set up an unlimited number of mailing lists, each one featuring a customized code that serves as your opt-in box.
This is important as it helps you to tailor your emails to directly communicate with targeted groups of subscribers who are interested in specific information or topics.
Squeeze (Landing) Page
A squeeze page houses your opt-in form and provides a place for your contacts to find you, evaluate what you are offering and make the decision to become an active subscriber of your list.
A squeeze page is very similar to a salespage in terms of its primary function, which is, to pull in customers and motivate them to take action, in this case, subscribe to your list.
That call of action is essential in creating high performance squeeze pages. You need to clearly direct visitors to enter in their name and email address as well as instruct them to confirm their request to join your list (if you are using double opt-in).
One thing to keep in mind when developing your squeeze page is that it should motivate visitors in the same way that a traditional sales page should. However, the actual structure of your squeeze page will be very different.
With sales pages, they are typically designed to offer as much information about a particular product or service as possible, since the main focus is on transforming a visitor into a customer.
However, with a squeeze page you aren’t asking your visitor to make a decision to purchase or commit to anything other than to subscribe to your mailing list where they are rewarded with a free product.
Keeping this offer or giveaway in mind, when you develop a squeeze page, you need to have a strong focus on your market, and design your offer around an existing problem, need or question.
To come up with the best incentive offer possible, you’ll need to thoroughly evaluate your market and other competing offers so that you can create a relevant product that is in demand and more likely to capture the attention of your target audience.
Squeeze pages should be designed to offer a clear navigation system, basic structure and template and a compelling offer.
There are a number of options open to you in creating your squeeze page. If you’re good with html you can code your own squeeze from scratch.
But with the many landing page creator program out there you wouldn’t want to go into that trouble. In fact, when you sign up for a GetResponse account you’ll have access to the system’s landing page creator. Here you’ll find different landing page templates that have been proven to work in different markets. Once you’re logged in you simply need to choose one and customize it to your taste.
Apart from the Getresponse landing page creator another powerful one I will readily recommend is Landing Page Monkey. Now, that may be some sexy name for a landing page creator but beyond that with Landing Page Monkey you have a whole lot of features that makes it easy to creator high converting pages.
Another reason you may want to check this one out is that you’re not restricted to one autoresponder. You can integrate it with different types of autoresponders so if you’re already using another autoresponder getting Landing Page Monkey is a good option for you.
This is what you’re offering your subscribers to get them into your mailing list. It is essentially, the most important element on your squeeze page.
If your giveaway (offer) doesn’t motivate visitors into subscribing, all of your marketing efforts will be lost. This means you’ll need to make your offer to be of interest to the majority of your target market.
The higher the quality of your giveaway as well as the more relevant your offer is to your market, the easier it will be to recruit new subscribers.
One of the ways you can do this is by creating a shorter version of a hot selling product, and offering it for free to anyone who subscribes to your list. The idea is that if competitors are successfully selling a similar product which you are giving away for free it will be easy to sign up visitors to your list.
Some giveaway incentives you can use include:
- Free Reports
- Free Ebooks (full length of leaked chapters)
- Free Tutorial Guides
- Video Tutorials
- Free or Trial Access To a Membership Program
- Free Booklet with “Top Tips”
- Free Weekly Newsletter Subscription
- Free templates or graphics
- Free Audio Interviews, Lessons, Tutorials
The key is to make your giveaway relevant to your audience’s need. You want to make sure that your target audience is actively searching for similar information, and that it is being sold successfully in the marketplace. If you do that, you will have little difficulty building a massive list of targeted prospects who will be eager to receive your emails and broadcasts.
If you plan to promote an ebook or e-course of some kind, a very powerful method is to offer a leaked chapter of your info product. By offering this free chapter, you’ll not only provide new subscribers with a sample of the quality of your work, but you’ll also generate buzz around your upcoming product launch.
If your giveaway is well written, you will find it exceptionally easy to build a subscriber base of people who will likely purchase the full length version when it launches.
This is also a savvy method of creating a viral campaign for your upcoming launch as people pass around the ‘leaked chapter’ to everyone they know.
The two easiest ways of getting your freebie created are, outsourcing and buying PLRs.
If you are interested in outsourcing your project to experienced freelancers, you can easily find a trustworthy professional from the following freelance marketplaces:
Just make sure to provide your freelancer with a clear outline of what your project entails and be sure to follow up by requesting updates and reviewing the content after it’s created.
If you’ll rather use private label rights (PLRs) material, make sure you spend time revising the material so that it blends well with your own personal style. This is very important as you will want people to recognize your brand and become familiar with your work, right from the beginning.
Some sources for PLR you may want to consider are:
How to Design an Effective Squeeze Page
As I have mentioned above, your giveaway incentive (freebie) is definitely the most important piece of your list building package. However, your squeeze page need to do the “selling” for the prospect to “see” the value of your freebie. This is why we said earlier that it serves the same purpose as a sales page.
It’s important therefore that you create a landing (squeeze) page that will effectively sell your freebie. Here is a quick overview of the most important elements that you need to include in your squeeze page:
A Compelling and Attention-Grabbing Headline
This is the very first thing that your visitor sees.
To be effective the headline should not only attract attention but also draw in the prospects keeping them focused long enough to become confirmed subscribers.
Your headlines text size should be larger than the rest of the text on the squeeze page. For increased exposure, consider adding color to your headline (red and blue works well).
You may also want to highlight your headline and any sub headline that you use. You can use the <h1> and <h2> tags to enlarge your text, which will not only help with capturing attention from your visitors but will also alert search engine crawlers that the enlarged text is important.
Center your headline within your template and try to work in your opt-in box so that it is close to the headline itself. If you are using a CSS based squeeze page, your opt-in box could be placed in a right column, with a bullet list of benefits featured in the main body of your page.
You should keep your content trimmed down so that it focuses only on the most important information that you have to share. Avoid wordy squeeze pages that offer endless paragraphs of information. Your squeeze page has ONLY one task…
…to convert visitors into subscribers!
So, you need to keep it clear, concise and of course, exciting!
You should split test your copy to determine what will increase conversion rates. But in the meantime, here’s a quick overview of how to structure your squeeze page content for better results:
a) Use Bullet Points To Highlight Benefits
Bullet points emphasize important features and draw attention to the special aspects of becoming a subscriber of your list.
This is a great way to showcase the benefits of becoming a subscriber, and what they will receive, in return, for their subscription.
For example, if you were offering a report on a topic like: ‘Insider Secrets To Finding A Work At Home Job’, your benefit list could include:
- Discover how to land a high paying online job even if you have absolutely no experience working online!
- How to avoid heart-rendering work at home job scams!
- Discover the #1 freelance website where 99.9% of new telecommuters are able to secure employment in their first week online.
- Create a compelling resume that guarantees you stand out from the crowd and get noticed by top paying companies online!
b) Retain Focus At ALL Times
Eliminate any external links and keep your squeeze page focused. You should avoid all of forms of distractions either by linking to external websites or internal pages on your site.
You should be focused ONLY on getting the subscriber on your mailing list.
c) Strong & Clear Call To Action
If you want your squeeze page to successfully recruit new subscribers, you NEED to clearly direct visitors to fill out your opt-in form and confirm their request.
Do NOT assume that people know what to do. Remember, not everyone is likely to have experience with mailing lists, and so you need to directly instruct them as to how they are able to gain access to your free, high quality offer.
Similarly, you should also direct them to confirm their request to your list once they have entered in their name and email address.
If you are using a double opt-in format, you will NOT be able to communicate with those who have not verified their request. So, make absolutely certain that you are following up and instructing everyone to confirm.
You can do this by automatically directing subscribers to a secondary page on your site that thanks them for subscribing and tells them that the final step is to check their email and confirm their request to join your list by clicking on the verification link sent out by your autoresponder system.
Consider highlighting your call to action, or using bold text to emphasize it, like this:
“Submit Your Information Immediately To Claim This FREE Report – Before It’s Gone!”
This creates a sense of urgency and gets them excited about what you’re offering. This is an important element to keep in mind. You may also want to try a more specific scarcity tactic, like:
“Only 25 Copies Available! Claim Yours Before It’s Gone!”
d) Minimize Graphics and Use Them Wisely
Your squeeze page should load quickly and remain clean and focused. However, it’s been proven that using report covers, or ecovers can increase subscriber rates by giving your visitor a visual picture of what they will receive after subscribing to your list.
Make sure that the graphics you use are high quality and original, and that your report cover portrays the product or offer you are giving away accurately.
If you are offering a short report on…
“Dog Training Mistakes To Avoid”,
Make sure that your report cover clearly illustrates the topic.
Always make sure that you personally go through the subscription process before launching your campaign to make sure that you receive the initial welcome email sent out by your autoresponder, and that your opt-in box itself works properly.
Squeeze pages can be as detailed and lengthy or as short and precise as you wish, depending on your target market and overall layout.
You NEED to make sure that you emphasize the benefits of joining your list, and that you highlight the opt-in box, drawing attention to it and whenever possible, keeping it visible above the fold.
Always use a headline that explains exactly what they will receive after they become a subscriber. People don’t always give away their email address so easily and it’s your job to explain exactly how they will benefit by doing so.
Regardless of how you structure your squeeze page, you need to thoroughly test what works and how you can improve it.
Now, let say again that with Getresponse.com or LandingPageMonkey.com you get a number of already proven landing page templates. You don’t have to stress yourself wondering if your landing pages will work. Check them out and make your pick.
Your Email Broadcast Schedule
To better organize and manage your email marketing for the best results, it’s important that you create a schedule of when you plan on releasing new broadcasts, as well as your actual autoresponder sequence so that your emails are going out on a regular basis.
Being consistent will help you develop a relationship with your list while conditioning them as to what and when to expect your next email. By doing this, you will find that your open-rates will increase as subscribers begin to look out for your emails.
When creating your first email campaign, I suggest creating 6-10 emails (for a start). You can then add additional emails into your sequence as time goes on.
Remember though that subscribers who are already a part of your email cycle will not receive new emails that you add to the sequence unless you send out an actual broadcast.
You should set your first email to go out automatically, after a new subscriber confirms their request to join your list, with additional follow-up emails being sent out every 2-3 days.
Here’s an example of a one week email sequence:
Monday: Free Report
Tuesday: Free Article
Wednesday: Promotional email
Thursday: Free article
Friday: Promotional email
Saturday: Promotional email
Sunday: No email
Always keep notes of any ideas you have for email content, and if you are outsourcing content creation to freelancers, make sure that you always proof-read the material and add in your own style.
You want your subscribers to become familiar with your brand, and so even if you outsource the majority of the work you need to apply your own personal style to every email you send out.
You also want to focus on balancing the amount of promotion-based emails with information-based ones. This will help you to retain more of your subscribers.
The more value you offer, the more responsive your list will be. You can add instant value by purchasing private label rights material and revising it so that you can create free reports for your list. You can also compile articles into ebooks or reports as well.
Final Words: Conclusion
Email marketing and list building is truly one of the easiest methods of building automated income online. With a single click of the mouse, you can instantly broadcast a promotional based email to a built-in customer base, without having to worry about the cost of customer acquisition or advertising.
In order to monetize your lists effectively however, you need to focus on treating your subscribers well so that they trust you and of course, respond to your offers.
You can stand out from the majority of email marketers in your industry by over-delivering on fresh, quality content.
Remember that people sign up to receive your emails believing that they will benefit in some way. If you deliver quality, relevant and useful information that truly helps them, you will be rewarded with an active and responsive subscriber base.
Focus on building a relationship with your subscribers through constant contact and updates.
Don’t let your list run cold by failing to communicate with your subscribers. It’s relatively easy to design an email marketing campaign by using high quality private label material, and by hiring content writers to create articles that can be used within your broadcasts.
Hope this has been of help. If you will want to have more help in this area then sign up for my free newsletter below. As a bonus for your free subscription you will receive a week long tutorial on email marketing success.