“I don’t have a list! What do I do?”
I have been asked this question countless times. My answer is always the same; start right where you are.
I’ve been making my living (and a great one at that) on the Internet for many years now. But it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I made no money at all online.
The two primary reasons were no market reach and no subscribers. Today I have both. But each took time to build. I had to be willing to start where I was.
The challenge many people have is rather than putting consistent effort into both market reach and building a list they procrastinate.
Or they get sidetracked with activities that are not going to monetize their business. Building a successful business by way of the internet is a discipline. Don’t ever believe for a minute it is not. It takes work, commitment, dedication and focus. Anyone who tells you otherwise is likely not making money online. Simple as that.
One of the most important things you have to consistently do is build your list of people who are interested in you and your information. In the past we were somewhat limited in how we could do this. Today, there are countless ways to build a list.
1. A traditional opt in subscriber list through 1SC, aWeber, Infusionsoft, Constant Contact, GetResponse or any number of providers. Keep the long-term in mind as you begin to build your list. Some people look for all the free service providers. Free may not be in your best interest based on your growth projections.
2. Feedblitz or FeedBurner via your blog. Both allow you to build a list of readers who are requesting to receive you posts as you blog. Every time you post on your blog those who have subscribed by way of the RSS feed will get your post delivered into their email inbox.
3. Friends on Facebook. Building a friend’s list is a great idea but not if all you are going to do is market to them. For everyone to get the most value you need to be a “real” personality on Facebook. However, be aware that not everyone is who they say they are. Use discretion with how much information you share.
4. Followers on Twitter. Some people swear by Twitter while others think it is a complete waste of time. If you are only posting promotional information you are not creating value for others. Plan out your tweets to create the most value. You can use something like HootSuite to schedule out your tweets. This way you spend a few minutes posting tweets that will show up throughout the day rather than all at once.
5. Connections on LinkedIn. I really like LinkedIn due to the quality of professional relationships I can build. The key to success is to post high value information. There are some people who are doing no more than promoting their products and services. This is NOT the way to get the most out of LinkedIn. Contribute to conversations; post information you find from other experts that would be of interest to group members, post questions, and always think in terms of how to build relationships.
6. Subscribers on YouTube. The more quality videos you post the more subscribers you will get. Make sure to include keywords in the title of your video and throughout the description. This makes it easier for people who are interested in your content to find you.
7. Article marketing. This is one of the most effective ways to build your expert status as well as your opt in subscriber list. At the end of your article include a resource box that has some type of high value giveaway. When giving information away think in terms of going above and beyond expectations.
These are only a few of the many ways you can build a following of people who enjoy, and look forward to, your information.
When you’re viewed as a viable resource people will visit your blog and website. Make sure you have a way for them to subscribe to something when they do stop by your blog and website.
However, in order to build a strong following you have to go above and beyond the norm. In years past it was a lot easier to get people to subscribe to something than it is today.
Nowadays your information has to be stellar from the start.
The challenge many people have is they are so fearful of giving away content thinkng that if they give stuff away people won’t have a need to buy their information. The opposite is true. When you provide incredible free content people are more inclined to buy from you when you have offers.
But again, your information has to be stellar. Take my 3 part video series – How to Make Money with Teleseminars. This is something I could easily charge for, but I prefer to give it away. Regardless of whether someone invests in my other information or not they have received incredible value from the complimentary information.
Want to see what I mean? Why not subscribe to the FREE Video Series? Not only will you receive incredible information you can also see what I mean by stellar information. Click here to subscribe.
Not sure what to give away? Here are a few recommendations.
- Video series
- MP3 files
It’s amazing how stingy people are with their free information. They seem to think somehow people will magically find them, join their list and suddenly sales appear. It doesn’t happen this way at all.
The fact is, those who are doing great online are those who are constantly providing great information. Free information.
What is your standard practice? Do you constantly offer great information to your market or are you still thinking about that first freebie you will offer?
If you’re still thinking about what to give away isn’t it time to get off the dime and put something to market? I daresay it is.
What do you do to build your list? What is the most effective method you have used?
Why not share this with others by retweeting and forwarding it to your FB friends, LinkedIn connections and others who would benefit?
This is a great article, thanks for sharing. I am one of those people who loves the “free stuff” and usually find myself buying from those who offer value for FREE. I am a true believer in “the more you give the more you receive.” I would love to offer free stuff as well…I just can’t seem to come up with something of value. I have had a Twitter account for about two months and yesterday was the first time I sent a tweet. Maybe I am over thinking this. I know I can do this, it’s just that I get so overwhelmed from information overload. BTW, this is the first time I have commented on a blog…. baby steps!!
Thank you for your comments Cheryl. And thanks for choosing my post to be the first ever to comment on. One way to find out what would be of interest to your market is to notice what is being talked about in forums specific to your market, what is being tweeted about, and what keeps your market awake at night. You can also use a tool like Survey Monkey to survey your market to determine what they would be interested in. Best of luck with this.
Thanks for your interesting article – there is a great deal of value for me in this – I am building a list now – and it helps to read articles like this as you are reminded what you should be doing – and am trying to do these things as well as learning etc – teleseminars are looming up ahead for me – and I understand that they will boost your income but the thought of doing one puts me into a panic!! I will tackle them soon. Thank you for what you share here.
This is one of those posts that makes you want to grab a megaphone and shout the message out LOUD and clear — to be heard far and wide!
Love your advice to “start where you are” if you don’t have a list of subscribers yet.
I have my own version of that same advice. I say, “Begin at the beginning”. 🙂
And talking about sharing …
I wonder if you’d consider going into your Sexy Bookmarks settings, Kathleen, and changing @shareaholic to @KathleenGage for the Re-Tweets. I’ve been making the change, manually, but most people won’t take the time. Thanks!!
Another great read!
This is great advice for non-fiction writers. Does anyone have any tips for building a list of middle grade fiction readers?
Any writer would benefit from building a following and an opt in list. Granted, there are some major differences between fiction and non fiction writers but building your following is very important.
Great pointers Kathleen. I have done many of those things you mentioned to build my list. I also join several online forums in my niche, and post a compelling call to action on my forum profile.
I regularly contribute to discussions in my line of expertise on those forums, offering helpful tips, answering FAQs, etc. When a forum member finds my posts intriguing, they go to my profile, which lists of course, my FREE gift for subscribing to my blog or website, where they can also find more helpful info and resources.
Again, great post…and very helpful–I’ve received the teleseminar gift you offer–and love it.
Excellent tip on contributing to forums. When you find the best forums and are actively involved it is a great way to build professional relationships, visibility and credibility. Thanks for sharing David.
You are so right. Kathleen. With all the technology available, it has never been easier and more inexpensive to get your expertise out there.
Why would anyone sign up for your list if you can’t demonstrate you have something of value to offer? And you do that by educating your prospects on your topic of expertise, like you do with your free video series.
People might also want to consider Mailchimp for their blog feeder. It is mainly known as a way to send newsletters like AWeber, but it does an effective job for blog subscriptions too. I used to use Feedburner, but switched when I found out that I can also manually send a message to my blog subscriber list any time I want in addition to them getting my weekly posts. Far as I know, that isn’t possible with the resources that just provide RSS, but correct me if I’m wrong there. Mailchimp is free to start but can also be upgraded.
I also agree whole-heartedly with the “start where you are” philosophy. Keep it simple, then grow from there.
Thanks for the tip Cheryl. I will see what I can find out on your question.
I can remember there was a time when you really had to build an opt-in subscriber list or it was suggested that you’re leaving money on the table. But like your post points out, today there are lots of other ways to build a list, so just sticking to one option limits your reach.
Not everyone loves the opt-in idea, but I don’t think it’s dead by any means as some will suggest. I’ve actually built some pretty great relationships through my opt-in list, so I definitely recommend it, but do these other things as well.
Thanks Kathleen, nice post 🙂
Thanks for your comments Liz. With everything we have to choose from I am still a strong advocate of opt in lists as well as all the other wonderful choices we have. And yes, it is about building great relationships. Appreciate your input.
Thank you for the information. I am a recent graduate of Web Design & Interactive Media and new at being a market affiliate. I feel absolutely bombarded with TMI. I do not know who is trying to help me or just sell to me. You are very wise and this info has helped me. I now need to begin a subscriber list and just don’t know how without paying for a beginning base. Is this truly the only way to start a big list?