Here we go again with that ‘The Money is in the List‘ stuff. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – the money is not ‘in the list’. The money is in what you do with the list. And if you don’t generate a solid, targeted list to start with, you might as well just hang it up. Whether you’re a Rich Man or a Poor Man you, if you follow these list building tips you’ll never have to worry about being a Beggar Man.
Tip Number One – Start now!
List of Things You Need to Build a List
Traffic: Obviously, you’ll need plenty of targeted traffic. But you don’t have to wait until you hit a certain number before you start. If you have one visitor a day, you need have enough to start your list.
Incentive: You’ll need something to give your readers an incentive to join your list. Maybe it’s a free guide or a weekly newsletter. It’s up to you, just make sure you deliver on your promise.
An opt-in form: You’ve seen the forms. Put one in your sidebar, above the fold, and on landing pages, your Facebook fan page, and anywhere else you have visitors.
A plan: Before you can start generating a list you need to know how you plan to monetize your blog. Otherwise how will you target your subscribers?
Paid traffic generation
Here’s where that Rich Man, Poor Man thing comes in. If you want a lot of traffic fast, you can buy it. Inexpensive traffic exchange sites will send you tons of traffic but it won’t be targeted at all. You’ll start building a list but who knows who will be on it.
You can pay a little more and use Facebook ads to drive traffic to your landing page. This method really doesn’t cost that much, relatively speaking, and you’ll get better quality traffic.
You can spend a lot of money and use Google Adwords/Adsense Ads to drive highly targeted traffic to your opt-in form. But you better know what you’re doing or you can lose a lot of money.
Free list generation techniques
If you have no list, and no money to start one, don’t fret. There are plenty of free ways to get people to subscribe:
Offer a freebie: There’s always the good old ‘Subscribe here and get this FREE!‘ incentive to get people to subscribe to your list. The better the freebie, the more opt-ins you’ll get. Offer them something like a free weekly newsletter and more people will stick around instead of bailing after they get your one-time-only freebie.
JV with other blogger: Find other bloggers I your niche and offer to do an email JV where you cross promote to each other’s lists. You send your subscribers to his opt-in form and he sends his subscribers to yours. Most bloggers will want to know subscriber numbers before they agree to this and they’ll want them to be fairly equal.
Collaborate: If you’ve already put together a comment tribe or a blogging collaboration, get everyone together and each of you write a post about the benefits of subscribing to another blog’s newsletter.
Sharing: Ask your current subscribers to share your emails with their friends. Just make sure you send them something worth sharing.
Have a contest: I recently tripped over a new site that I think is going to revolutionize on-blog constest. There are websites that allow you to set up a contest where you can require your visitors to join your list, follow you on Twitter, Like you on Facebook, share a link, follow or share other bloggers’ content, or whatever you want them to do. As they complete each task they enter whatever proof you require into the blog that you post on your form and once they’ve completed everything they’re entered in your contest. I opted in to a mailing list just so I could see how this thing worked!
Where to get your opt-in form
You’ll want to use a reliable, reputable email service provider, like Aweber, to handle your opt-in forms and your list. Aweber will require your subscribers to opt-in before they can receive your emails. This protects you legally as well as helps develop a stickier, more responsive list.
Aweber also offers all the customization capabilities you could ever want and you can even put one of their forms on your Facebook fan page. Their service costs a few dollars each month but it’s well worth the investment. You can eve get the first month for a dollar, just to try it out.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Rich Man, a Poor Man, a Beggar Man or a Thief (well, yeah, I guess the ‘thief‘ part does pose a bit of a problem. But you get the idea) – just get started now. Don’t wait until you have time. Don’t wait until you have traffic. Do it now. Before it’s too late.