Original List Building Build Your List The Way No One Else Does

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Original List Building: Build Your List The Way No One Else Does

All the guides tell you to put an opt-in form in the sidebar on your blog and offer some kind of freebie to build your list. But the one thing the guides don’t talk about is the response rate. So let’s put the dusty old guides aside and talk about building a mailing list the way no one else does it. A mailing list filled with subscribers who actually open your emails and click through on your links.

The problem with traditional list building is that once that subscriber gets the freebie you’re offering he has no incentive to open your emails. He gets to read your informative content whenever he visits your blog and he knows your emails are just filled with your sales links, so why bother?

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Since the goal here is to build a responsive list of subscribers who actually open and read your emails, get rid of that opt-in form with the attached freebie and start putting together a newsletter.

Build Anticipation

Over the next couple weeks, start mentioning your upcoming newsletter in your blog posts. Let your readers know you’re working on something that’s going to include exclusive information that only subscribers will have access to, information which won’t be available on your blog.

Create Value

Once you’ve built up some anticipation, announce your newsletter in a blog post and include an opt-in form in that post – not over in the sidebar. Be sure you let your readers know that they’re going to be getting top-notch content that no one else has access to.

This blog post is where you start ensuring that people are going to open your email.

Inform your readers that if they decide to subscribe to your newsletter you expect them to open your emails. Let them know you’ll be working your tail off to deliver exceptional content, you’ll only be sending them an email once a week, and you expect them to open at least two emails each month. If not, you’ll be deleting them from your list to make room for someone who really wants the information you’ll be including in your newsletters.

And that leads us to Scarcity

It costs money to maintain a mailing list and the bigger the list, the more it costs. Regardless of how many people open your emails. Let your readers know that you’re only allowing a set number of people on your mailing list and you’ll shut it off when that number is reached. Whether or not you actually shut it off is entirely up to you, but trust me, if you pull that opt-in form off your blog for a few weeks and then announce that you’re opening up your mailing list again, you’ll definitely get an avalanche of new subscribers each time you do it.

Why does this list building technique work so much better?

This technique works for a number of reasons:

  • Instead of a one-time download, you’re providing ongoing value with the top-quality information you’ll include in each newsletter
  • You’re placing a perceived value on that newsletter – if the subscriber wants to remain on the list, he has to open your emails. You’re happy to provide this exclusive information for free, but in exchange the subscriber has to read it or he loses his spot on the list.
  • You’re adding in the scarcity factor by limiting the number of subscribers. They can either join your list now, or they’ll have to wait until spots become available again.

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  1. Julia Spencer

    As about building aticipation, then it can be really useful. You can use in your posts such words as “Don’t miss”,”Waiting for the post”

    1. Steven

      Thanks for your comment Julia

  2. Kate Finley

    GREAT tips! Love these. Thanks for sharing. This is something I’ll be working on in 2013. I’ve already been accumulating emails but need to have a specific plan in place and this will help.

    1. Steven

      That’s good to hear Kate! Keep me posted on your progress.

  3. Will Allen

    Great stuff Steven! I’ve been building lists with free traffic now for a while and these tips are dead-on.

    Also, I wanted to add that it helps to have an opt-in plugin like Optin-Skin or Hybrid Connect. These plugins can do a lot including allowing you to put the opt-in box in different parts of your blog. They also allow you to test and track so you can know for sure which location delivers the highest conversions.


    1. Steven

      Thanks for your comment Will. Using these plugins can definitely help, but I usually prefer implementing my forms manually. Moveover, all the performance tracking is already handled pretty well by Aweber.

    2. Will Allen

      Did you build the forms yourself or did you outsource their creation?

    3. Steven

      The forms are built within Aweber…

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