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List Building for Dummies

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The money is in the list. You’ve probably heard that before, right?! But what does that really mean?

It means that you need to build an e-mail newsletter list of people in your market because that’s how you get money. This is also known as list building.

Yes, you should build it even if you do not have any products to sell right now because if you are planning on selling anything online, you need to realize that the best conversion media by none is email marketing. Despite all the wonderful social media platforms, statistics show that good ol’ email still works better.

I recently wrote about how I did a rather simple launch of an online product that generated me $6,659. I could not have done this had I not had people on my list that I could send the offer to. This was based on a small list of just 1,200 people. Just 1,200 e-mails and I got $6,659! Do you think I would have preferred to have 12,000 people instead? Do you think I would have made more in sales? Do you think I’m actively working on growing that list? (Hint: the answer to all these questions are “hell, yeah!”).

Here are the reasons why it’s a big plus to have your own newsletter list:

  • Scalability (Same effort, bigger results)
    The thing I love about email lists is its scalability. It takes the same amount of time for me to send out an email whether I have 100 or 10,000 e-mails on my list.But if 5% of the recipients end up buying what it is I am selling (based on my emails to them), then I will have 5 customers in the first case while I will have 500 in the second. All based on the same sales effort!
  • Points of Contact (Makes “Multiple Touches” possible)
    It’s just so much harder getting the sale on the first point of contact. There is a concept in marketing called the Rule of Seven which says that a potential customer needs to see or hear a marketing message seven times (multiple touches) before they actually buy a product. By being able to send people multiple emails makes it possible to get your message and product in front of them, enough times to make your offer interesting. That wouldn’t happen if they just saw a quick ad somewhere. E-mails make the Rule of Seven possible for you.
  • Lead value and acquisition cost (Measuring cost becomes easy)
    When you start putting offers in front of your list (either your own products or products that you are an affiliate of i.e. getting a commission per sale), you start to get an idea about how much money you can make on your list.There is an old saying that one subscriber is worth $1 per month. So if you have a list of 1,000 you would be able to make $1000 per month. However that also varies depending on the industry you’re in and a ton of other variables.

    If you remember the recent product launch I referred to earlier, I made $6,659 over roughly 14 days with a list of 1200 people. But if I went on to calculate the average value per subscriber (or lead), it would in my case be $5.5 (at least in the month of the launch). Of course not everybody on my list will buy my products.

    However, it does give me an idea about how much money I should be willing to put into getting a new subscriber to my list.This is one of the reasons why I don’t mind paying almost $1 per subscriber using FB ads.

So how do you get started building your own list?

There are basically three things that you need in place.

  1. some kind of list/autoresponder system
  2. a landing page and
  3. something of value that you can give away to people signing up for you list.

STEP 1: Getting the Autoresponder System in Place

You might think that with my 15 years in IT, this should have been an easy thing for me.

However, I’ve been through several providers before I found the one that works best for me. I started out with AWeber because at the time that was what everybody recommended.

Later, I moved to Mailchimp because AWeber had issues with international character sets and because Mailchimp was free up to 2,000 subscribers.

After using Mailchimp for several years, I migrated most of my lists to GetResponse.

Some things just felt hard to do in Mailchimp like they insist on double opt in – that is, only adding people to your list after they have confirmed their email address by letting them click a link in an email.

Also, Mailchimp might be free to start out with, but they make up for that in higher pricing when your list starts to grow. GetResponse supports signup without double opt in and its price is cheaper than Mailchimp when your list starts to grow.

But now that my system for selling online products,, will soon get more automation built into it, I might move all my lists there. The reason is that Simplero makes selling information products so easy!

Simplero started out as a billing system, but also got list management and a lot of other awesome stuff.

Whew! That was a bit of a detour telling you about my journey with autoresponders.

If you’re just starting out, you should probably check out GetResponse.

Once you’re registered you need to get a landing page.

STEP 2: Setting up the Landing Page

A landing page is just a simple page where people can sign up for your list. You could simply create a new page on your website and put the “form code” that you get from your autoresponder system into the page.

But there is one reason why I won’t recommend that: Conversion! How many people who sees your signup page will actually sign up? That’s your conversion percentage.

At the moment, I use LeadPages for pretty much all my signup pages, and I consistently get between 40%-70% signup rates. That means that more than every other person who sees my landing page will end up handing over their email addresses.

That is because the LeadPages templates have been created by conversion ninjas and have been tested again and again. If you simply create your own page and stick a signup form on there, you will most likely not get high conversion numbers. And in that case, you are wasting traffic (and if you pay for that traffic, you’re wasting money).

So while LeadPages is a paid product, the value I’ve gotten from it has far outweighed the price of it.The good thing about landing pages is that there is typically not that much text on it. Actually the simplest landing page templates in LeadPages are often the ones that convert the best.

STEP 3: Giving a Free Gift for them to Sign Up

Now that the landing page is set up, you need something to give to people who sign up. Some call this lead magnet.

A lot of people use e-books, and this is also what I am currently offering for both my English and Danish sites. However, in a recent webinar I did together with LeadPages, they shared some of their knowledge that they have on lead magnets.

Often, people want a quick fix and they feel overwhelmed about having to read a full e-book. They suggested that instead of making a full e-book, simply making simple 2-page resource guides for your particular niche would do the trick.

How awesome is that?! You don’t even have to write a 60-page e-book to get your list started (like what I did 🙂 ), you can simply create a quick and simple resource guide on a couple of pages.

I typically simply upload the resource guide (or e-book) as a pdf file to my website and then direct people to a download page (either on LeadPages that has some great templates for thank you/download pages or on my own website). I then make sure that people are redirected to this page immediately after they have opted in.

And, I also see to it that I put the URL to the download page in the welcome email I send them.

Getting traffic to the landing page

We’ve covered some ground here, but let’s go to the most important part: getting traffic to your landing page.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m totally in love with Facebook ads. That might change in the future, but right now it’s possible to get subscribers to your list by advertising your lead magnet.

I currently pay something like $1 per subscriber to my list. You might think that this will get expensive as people start joining your list, but you need to see this as an investment now that I’ve shown you that you can make so much more than what you paid.

So there you have it, if you haven’t started building your own list yet, you should really get started already. Even if you are not yet selling anything! Because it’s so much more fun to be able to launch your product to 1000 warmed-up leads than it is to start with an audience consisting only of your family and friends.

Are you already using email marketing in your business? What are your results?

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3 Responses to List Building for Dummies

  1. Sammy says:

    I really liked the fact that you brought up the concept of The Rule of Seven. Very interesting approach. Thank you!

  2. Sammy says:

    Amazing work. So detailed, yet so easy. Perfect for beginners like me.

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