Why Build a List

‘The Money is in the List’ is the resounding mantra heard by anyone interested or engaged in Online Marketing. The logic of this statement is widely accepted, and it is the reason why Online Marketers spend large amounts of time and energy in list-building activities. Let’s explore why this phrase has become the guiding light for online marketing success.

List building involves having people sign up to have their names entered into your database. This is usually initiated when they become aware of you by seeing something that you have published on the Internet relating to a topic that interests them. As a result, when people are pleased with your material, and are interested in getting more of what you have to offer, they willingly provide their contact information and their permission for you to email them regularly. Usually, they will sign up to your list via an “opt-in box” that is located on your website, blog, or other such site. When they do this, they are legally giving you permission to email them on a regular basis about a specific topic.

This contact information is usually loaded into a database that is often maintained by an Autoresponder company like AWeber, GetResponse, Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc. Alternatively, you can host that information on your own website via a database, but it’s usually easier for an Autoresponder company to do it, since it has greater experience in managing such information and has systems in place for getting email messages delivered.

As a result of being interested in your material, the person is originally drawn to you and opts to be added to your list. Now you have the opportunity to build a relationship with that person over time. By producing quality content, you have the ability to be seen as an expert in that subject. As you interact regularly, your ‘know, like and trust factor’ increases with this subscriber. It is well-known that most people will only purchase from companies that they feel comfortable dealing with. This can only happen over time by providing quality information on that topic of interest.

Although it is possible to make a random sale from someone passing by your site on the Internet, if you really want to build a solid business and a reliable, consistent income, you have to build your own list. The best way to ensure an ongoing audience for your offerings is to have them eager to receive what you have to say, produce or recommend. You can build a good relationship with the people on your list so that they will continue to come back to you and purchase from you regularly. The way in which you build a relationship is by emailing the people on the list on a regular basis.

Therefore, the truth of the phrase “the money is in the list” is proven because it helps to create an ongoing relationship with your customers. The list is the tool that will help you to earn repeat sales. This is why you must have an opt-in form on your site, blog, and similar sites; building a meaningful list to create a relationship with your subscribers, is the only way to create a sustainable business and build a reliable and sustainable income online.

The Importance of an Autoresponder in List Building

In order to be successful at Email Marketing, you have to get people to choose to be your list via an Opt-In Form on your Website, Blog, and/or elsewhere. Once you have them on your list, you begin to develop a relationship with them by maintaining regular contact and showing them your worth through the quality of the material you provide to them.

In order to build a relationship with your Subscribers, you must email them regularly. There is a proven and logical sequence to the way in which the interaction should occur for it to be effective. In the early stages, you must provide valuable information free of charge to build your reputation as an expert in your field. Your generosity in providing this content without requesting payment will start to create good will and build your reputation with the members of your list. You will be seen as someone who can actually help them out, and they will start to look forward to additional contact with you.

Initially, when a person signs up to be on your list, there are several specific interactions that should occur in this early phase. During the opt-in activity, they have provided some important information. At minimum, they have given you their name and email address, and depending on what you’ve asked for, they may also have provided additional important information. Obviously, you will want to capture this data and store it in an organized manner, perhaps sorting it into some kind of categories that are relevant to the needs of your business.

Next, if you require them to confirm their subscription, you will need to send them an email requesting that they do so. Upon receipt of this confirmation, your next email will welcome them and tell them what they can expect by remaining subscribed to your list. If you were to have several people signing up to your list all at once, you would have to send out numerous emails repeatedly just in order to meet the requirements of this welcoming phase of the interactions. If this was to be done manually, it would be very time-consuming. Instead, with a quality Autoresponder, you can set up these emails ahead of time, and then have the Autoresponder send them out in the right sequence and at the chosen time intervals whenever a new person subscribes to your list.

Similarly, if you have promised the subscriber a free 7-part report, with each installment delivered separately for example, in return for opting-in to your list, the Autoresponder can be set up to deliver each part with the appropriate time intervals. As each new subscriber joins your list, the Autoresponder will automatically know where they are in the schedule of delivery and send them the next email in the sequence. Then, when you transition the subscriber to your email list within the Autoresponder, you can be sure that they will also receive your correspondence when you send out broadcast emails regularly.

As you build your list of targeted prospects and communicate with them consistently, they will become increasingly responsive to the offers you present in your emails, whether they are for your own products/services, or for affiliate products/services. As your List grows, you see how complicated it can be to connect with all the Subscribers. An Autoresponder is virtually essential to maintaining order and retaining your sanity in sending out the right emails at the right times, while also storing the person’s important contact information and preferences and purchase history. It is virtually impossible to build a responsive list without one.

Single Opt-in or Double Opt-in?

One of the key business tools you will utilize in your online business is the Autoresponder. This tool enables you to build an Opt-in List to which you can send email messages in order to establish a relationship, demonstrate your authority, and to make sales. However, a question that frequently comes up regarding email marketing and Autoresponders: single opt-in or double opt-in?

What is the difference between single and double opt-in? A single opt-in assumes that the first time someone gives you their contact information, they are subscribing to your list. The double opt-in process is based on the assumption that a person may have provided their contact information in exchange for your free offer, but they may not want continued correspondence with you. The second opt-in asks them to confirm that they wish to be added to your list.

There are proponents of both methods who debate why their preferred way is the better choice.

Single opt-in advocates argue that it’s hard to get people to confirm their choice. People have to open emails to find the link to validate that they did want to be added to a specific list. If they fail to do this, then those people you thought you had added to your list are lost. Essentially, they have to subscribe to your list twice, making it twice as hard to gain them as a subscriber.

Double opt-in advocates argue that it’s worth the extra step to get people to confirm their wish to be added to the list because they will be much more receptive to your emails in the long run. Also, it is like the action of clicking on the confirmation link is conditioning them to interact with you, thus getting them to be generally more responsive to your emails.

Single opt-ins are risky because third partiescould sign people up to a List; a single opt-in can lead to these people getting your messages without their validation. When this occurs, usually these people will get very angry and they’ll often blacklist you and complain to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), which can cause major problems for your business. This is the main argument against the single opt-in method, and why double opt-in advocates believe it’s worth the extra step of confirmation in order to be protected from such complaints and issues.

Therefore, in this debate, the stronger argument would tend to lie with the double opt-in, confirmation side. This argument is further strengthened because many Autoresponder companies require, or highly encourage a confirming step in order to be in compliance with regulations about sending emails to large lists of subscribers. In addition, statistics show that there are more unique Opens and Clicks, along with fewer Hard and Soft Bounces, when requiring double opt-in confirmation. Therefore, the extra effort it takes to get a double opt-in confirmation from a subscriber will likely, in the long run serve to safeguard you from Spam complaints as well as possible service disruptions from your ISP.

Which Autoresponder to Choose?

Today, in 2014, Online Marketing (also referred to as “Internet Marketing” or “Digital Marketing”) has become an established, mature business activity. As a result, there are more tools, offered by more competitors serving this business than ever before. One such area of increasing choice is in the field of Autoresponders, the tool that allows you to build your own opt-in list so that you can mail to them on a regular basis. This consistent contact with the subscribers to your list can serve to convert them into loyal followers, and eventually lead to regular sales. Below, we will take a look at some of the Autoresponder companies that are available to online marketers today.

Two of the earliest Autoresponder companies that are still around today are AWeber and GetResponse. These two Autoresponder companies started in 1998 when online marketing was just a new industry.

“AWeber started as an Autoresponder service, but also includes newsletter tools, RSS-to-email for bloggers, and many applications that integrate with such popular small business marketing tools and services like PayPal, WordPress, and many different shopping cart services.  AWeber offers a $1 trial for the first month, and then allows you to send emails to up to 500 subscribers for $19.95 a month.”

“GetResponse offers a free 30-day trial, and then allows you to send emails to up to 1,000 subscribers for $12.30 per month.”

Another early email marketing company is Constant Contact.  It actually started as “Roving Software,” but whose name was later changed to Constant Contact.  Like AWeber and GetResponse, it serves hundreds of thousands of customers around the globe.  Just like AWeber, it too has expanded beyond email marketing to include other online marketing aspects, including social and mobile aspects.

“Constant Contact gives you a 60-day free trial of their Essential package, which costs $45/month for up to 500 subscribers.  They also provide Basic and Ultimate versions of their Autoresponder packages, at $20/month and $195/month respectively, for up to 500 subscribers.'”

MailChimp started in 2001, but has only become well-known over the last few years.  However, its popularity has really soared, as 3.5 million users send over 4 billion emails per month using the service.  One of the main reasons is because they charge cheaper prices than most of their competitors.

“MailChimp started in 2001, but has only become well-known over the last few years.  However, its popularity has really soared, as 3.5 million users send over 4 billion emails per month using the service.  One of the main reasons is because they charge cheaper prices than most of their competitors.”

Certainly, it is recommended that you use a third-party Autoresponder service to send out your emails because they have experience in handling and in delivering large amounts of email successfully, and in dealing with spam complaints.  Most of them allow discounted or free first-month trials to get an idea of how the services work so that you can try before you buy and commit to them.  Many of them also provide discounted rates if you choose to pay annually.  Check out all of the ones above and others to determine which one will best fit your business in terms of features and pricing.

How Often Should You Email Your List?

When it comes to Online Marketing, you have often heard the advice about building your List because your list is essentially your client base.  So, it is obvious that “The Money is in the List”.  It is very important that you build your List so that you have a growing number of people to market to because they have given you their permission to correspond with them often.

By maintaining regular contact with your Subscribers, they come to know who you are, to like you as a friend who connects with them regularly, andto trust the information and recommendations you provide.  This is in turn increases the possibility that they will be willing to purchase from you.

There are varying schools of thought when it comes to how often you should email your List.  Some suggest emailing once per day or at least five times per week.Others suggestyou should email every other day, a total of three to four times a week.  Still, others suggest only emailing once or twice a week.  With all of these differing opinions, how do you decide what to do?

The correct answer really depends on your Niche as well as your on Target Market, and specifically on how often your ownSubscribers want to hear from you based on their appetite for the content you provide to them.  You can gain this vital feedback by tracking your Open Rates and your Unsubscribe Rates byexaminingthe statistics in your Autoresponder Control Panel.

Keeping track of these statistics will give you a good reading on whether you are emailing your list at the frequency rate that they prefer.  Emailing them too much will likely lead to low Open Rates because your subscribers will be ignoring your emails, and possibly to high Unsubscribe Rates because they tire of seeing your emails constantly in their inboxes.

Alternatively, if your subscribers hear from you only sporadically and infrequently, it will likely lead to low Clickthrough Rates because they either become disengaged with you or are not certain of who you are and what your relationship is to them.  Even if they remember who you are, they won’t develop the important ‘Know – Like –Trust’ feeling for you, and will not recognize your status as an Expert because you don’t stay in contact with them enough to make a favorable impression on them.  Thus, they’ll ignore your recommendations as well.

Figuring out how often you should email your List is vital to having success with email marketing.  By determining how often you should email your subscribers, you will have a better chance of making a strong connection with them and having them trust your recommendations when you promote products and services to them.