List maintenance is one of the most important subjects in online marketing. Your list is your number one and most basic bottom level output for your promotions. It’s expensive and time consuming to gather, but forms one of the most powerful resources and profit potential you have.
For this reason, we need to understand exactly how it works. Throughout my time in online marketing, I’ve tried many different formats. There are clear differences that allow some methods to come out on top, while some fail miserably.
Depending on your business, there are several solutions that might be right for you. For this reason, we need to look at the big five to allow you to decide which one is going to make you the most cash.
Let’s do it.
Overview of List Management – Part 1
● To show you why you need to decide which method you’re going to use to maintain your list before you even start building it for maximum positive effect.
● To explain why it’s so hard to change mid flow, once you’ve already started.
● To show that to get people to listen and take notice of you and avoid complaints, there’s a few things that you’ll need to tell the customer beforehand.
● To set solid goals for your list, and map out where you want it to go in the future.
● To show you how powerful your list actually is to you, and to display how much more earning potential some methods have over others, and how you’re going to capitalize on that.
● To introduce the rating system which will be assisting your decision on how you’re going to maintain your list when from the moment the first subscriber arrives.
● To talk about the advantages and disadvantages of the first list maintenance type, a standard e-zine or newsletter to your target market.
● To reveal the first of the most powerful list type that you could possibly have in your hands, and how to deal with the subscribers and make the most cash out of it.
Understanding List Management 1
Let’s discuss the various methods of list maintenance that have proven successful for many marketers, and the up sides and the downsides that come with them, because to be totally honest with you, there’s no way me, or any other person or guide can ever tell you what’s best in this situation without knowing you, your business, and your future plans, and what you’re going to use your list for.
Please understand that this is no technical report. I won’t be showing you around auto-responders or telling you the best ones to use, or how to use them. No, this is far more important, and will generally form the shape of your future promotions and of course how successful they will become, and in what way.
So without further ado, lets get talking about the fundamentals and the type of things you should be looking at for a start. During this guide we’ll be looking at how each management technique affects your response rate, your customer loyalty, the amount you earn from your list, and what type of promotion it’s suited to, such as your own products, joint ventures or purely affiliate marketing. We’ll also take into account the money you can earn from selling ads to that list, which isn’t quite as important as you may think right now.
Always Be Truthful
So, lets get started. The number one thing that I need to tell you right now, before we even look at these methods is to make 100% sure that the people signing up know what they’re getting themselves into. For example, how many e-zines or newsletters have you ever subscribed to only to find out that they’re not actually e-zines and newsletters, just ad lists (which to be honest aren’t all that bad in particular situations, but we’ll be getting to that in a moment).
The choice you make now will shape your business far in to the future, but more importantly whatever you tell your customers and subscribers they’ll be getting will shape your response rate considerably, and that’s obviously something we’ll want to take into account from the very start. So there we have it. Rule number one, never tell your customers they’re getting something then deny them that, or send them things that they haven’t requested or didn’t know about, because not only will that get you into trouble, but it will also affect the loyalty and trust these customers and subscribers have with you, which is so important.
What we’re aiming to build here is a targeted and effective list that has response rates through the roof depending on what you’re promoting. Don’t forget this also includes affiliates, and may form a large part of your affiliate base. Which brings me onto one more point, before we look through the four majorly used techniques for different types of lists through different marketers.
The Role of Your List Should Always be at the Front of Your Mind
What’s your list there for? Promotion and to allow you to make money from the subscribers selling products that either you’ve created, or affiliate products in your target market, to build joint ventures, and of course increase your affiliate numbers and quality. But there’s one more thing I want you to be aware of. Where do I get all this information? Through ad tracking, true, but my list is also a very important part of this.
Listen to Your List & Reap the Rewards
I know what to sell to them because they tell me what they want. I know when my websites suck or look plain ugly because I ask them. I know what they’re interested in buying, the most effective headlines and language to use when typing out ads in relation to my list, who are in effect my target market. So you see, again we’re promoting not just for profit, but to learn valuable lessons at the same time. Your list provides as much useful data as your advert tracking, no matter how small. This Is your key to developing a successful business that is aimed at your target market, and creating a sales system that works, not just in your eyes, but in the eyes of the people that are most important to you. And that’s your customer, the person who at the end of the day is going to make you a whole lot of money if treated right.
So here’s the deal. Ask. Don’t feel stupid about sending out mails to your list that aren’t adverts, or that might seem like random babble to you. To them, not only will they feel closer to you personally, no matter what technique you use below, (which in turn will have them reading more often) but it’ll give you really important results about you newest product, your website or even an idea that you have for a product that you’d like feedback on before you even start. Use your list in this way.
Promote to learn, not to make a profit, and you’ll end up with far more cash at the end of the year than if you just assume, guess or don’t bother (Which seems to be many marketers out there). Don’t be one of them. Get the knowledge you need to succeed from your customers before they even hand you their money. It works wonders for you, your reputation, your knowledge and your pockets. Ask your list if you’re not sure. It’s so powerful that it’d be a complete waste if not utilized properly. If you’re right, great, go for it. If you’re wrong, your list will tell you so, great again. You can fix it and pocket the cash at the same time. I can’t think of a fairer deal than that. Keep it in mind. Your list is more than a bunch of names. It’s a bunch of opinions, and real important ones at that.
Next up, I’m going to talk to you about the four main methods successful marketers use to maintain their lists. Each one with a different use and purpose, and each one has its ups and downs. Granted I’m biased towards two of them, and I’ll tell you why when we get there. But like I said, there’s no way for me to tell you how to run your business. All I can do is tell you the most effective ways of going about it, and let you decide what’s most convenient for you and where you want your business to go.
The Rating System
Let’s also have a little bit of fun here, too, and introduce a rating system to make things interesting. As we discuss each of these techniques, I’ll talk to you about their pros and cons, and where they would most likely be used, and you can decide if it’ll be relevant to you. I’m also going to give these a starred rating system that will show you the most significant stats related to running such a list. Understand that each list will vary, and these star ratings are only to give you an idea after talking to over a hundred successes with their lists in the following categories. The star rating will be one to five:
Unsubscription Rate: One star means a high unsubscription rate per mailing, and five stars means the best, a low unsubscription rate per mailing.
Subscription Rate: How easy it is to get people to subscribe to the list using a variety of different methods. The subscription rate at one star is the hardest, and at five stars is the easiest.
Ad income: Ad income is the amount of money that’s earned through selling adverts to the list. One star is the worst, or the least amount of money earned through ad selling, and five stars is the best, or the most amount of money earned through ad selling.
JV Circle: This is the ease of using your list as a bargaining tool, for example in ad swaps or product launches, and specific joint venture opportunities. One star is the worst, which is also the least valuable in terms of gaining joint ventures, and five stars is the best, the most valuable that marketers want to get their hands on for joint ventures.
Response Rate over Time: Response rate over time, measures how quickly the quality of the list diminishes, for example when sending endless paid for ads and nothing else, the response rate goes down over time. One star is the worst, where response rate over time goes down badly, five stars is the best, where people keep reading and even wait for your mail to arrive in their inboxes in the morning.
General Usefulness: For things such as research, surveys and requesting information, testimonials etc. Five stars is the best, easiest to get results from. One star is the worst, the hardest to get results from.
Maintenance Time: The time it takes per issue to put together and send out. One star is the worst, taking a lot of time to prepare and send. And, five stars is the best, the fastest, and the easiest to prepare and send out.
Important note here: These are base figures and your exact results may be higher or lower than the following. It’s more to give you some insight into aiming your business in the right direction than to give you exact figures and numbers and guaranteed base earning, response rate, income, number of JV prospects etc.
The Four Methods of List Maintenance
E-zine Or Newsletter: The e-zine, or newsletter, is a list of people that you gather, and send information related to your target market on a weekly, bi-weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. The idea is the useful content that you send them will have them want to keep reading and open your mail each time, keeping your response rates and read rates high.
Ok so here we have it. The staple of most online marketers before they hit is big, and sometimes even after, the well-known e-zine list. I’m sure you’ll already know from reading the intro here that this method in itself can actually become a lot of work. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of work, obviously, seeing as I’m sitting here writing a half million word report spread over 15 manuals, but when it gets to a particular point, it may not be prudent for you to run an e-zine anymore. This however is a good place to start if you have the time.
Expect to have to present an issue of your e-zine every week or two weeks and avoid leaving long, long gaps in between mailings, otherwise, quite simply people will forget you. This is a great place to start if you’re starting out, for the simple reason people like free info, and it’s so much easier to get people to subscribe to this type of list compared to others, even when there’s freebies involved. Of course, you will have to know a lot about your field of expertise to present regular useful issues, or even pull in outside articles from publishers to use as content.
The catch is you’ll have to be on top of things, and it does take some time to come up with good content for issues. The up side to this is people will be waiting for your e-zine. If it’s good and keeps people reading content wise, it’s a surefire way to keep response rates up and to make a connection with your subscribers, the personal touch, which in turn will add up to trust and a higher purchase rate for your own products.
The next upside to this is that you can sell ads for cash. To whom? To your subscribers of course. It’s an instant quick way to earn cash, by selling large solo ads that go out separately from the e-zine, to smaller ads that precede each issue, and even cheaper, mid and smaller ads contained within the issue. It’s a good all rounder in fact. The downside here is many e-zines turn into ad lists (Category 4, which we’ll talk about later). When the ads massively outnumber the useful content, subscribers start to feel cheated and leave. I’ve been there before, and if you’ve tested out or subscribed to some e-zines before you may have seen this.
Another great thing here is prospects. Your e-zine is attracting people who are in your field of expertise and may have lists of their own. This in turn increases your prospects for joint ventures, meeting new contacts that can sometimes spiral into full blown products (This course for example is a product of such a case).
Another great thing about the newsletter and e-zine is it can be quite personal. As the readers and subscribers get used to you as a publisher, and you become white listed (In their spam filers and in their minds) you’ll see a greater interest in your products, because after all, you’re not just another marketer out there spouting rubbish to everyone to make a quick buck. You’re a trusted publisher in an authorititative role, and people will listen to you, and buy your stuff. This takes time though. Don’t expect to become well know to all your subscribers overnight.
Unsubscription Rate: **** Many e-zines have become successful because of their great response rates and low unsubscription rates due to good content. A small lapse though and this can all go pear shaped, especially when it starts to turn into an ad list and subscribers trust is broken.
Subscription Rate: **** A higher than average subscription rate is good news. Reasons for this include people liking to get useful content for free. Once you’ve proven to them that this is the case, it’s not unlikely they’ll tell their friends. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. With so many dud e-zines out there that are just ad lists, it can be hard to persuade people that your list is quality. Use example issues, or a website of back issues to combat this and prove you are what you say you are.
Ad income: ***** Excellent and steady ad income from your subscriber base. Compared to other lists that don’t even sell ads, this is a great way to bring in the few extra thousand dollars per month. Be careful not to over do this though, as subscribers may start deleting mail from you on the basis they think it’s an ad rather than anything useful.
JV Circle: ** Only two stars here for a few reasons. The main one being if you’re already selling ads, it’s quite likely that your joint ventures or any ad swaps you may do with other marketers may reflect the cost at which you sell your ads. Personal non public lists are far more desirable in general, and are much more valuable when put on the bargaining table. There is, however, an income to be had here through joint venture affiliate promotion, a free ad for a percentage of the profits. If your list is particularly good though, and your ad cost low enough, the promoter may instead opt just to buy the ad themselves and bypass the need to pay you a percentage of each sale.
Response Rate Over Time: *** Response rate over time is again higher than average. Of course this stat varies a lot depending on if your subscribers are actually interested in what you’re sending them or not. If not you may see your response rates dwindle. Another danger here is the use of freebies. Get a list of non spenders and freebie seekers, send too many special offers, and they’ll come to expect it, which will also have an effect on your profits. This also applies to outside ads that people may have no interest in that you may be selling. This can only be bad for your subscriber base.
General usefulness: *** Very handy to get that all important information from your subscribers. Many have asked why their subscribers never write to them. I tell them that they need to ask them to write to them about something that affects them, and they will. Again, third party ads can be a distraction, but all in all, if your content is good and people are reading, this is prime research material, albeit not quite as personal as some of the other list types, which can bring in a lower response.
Maintenance Time: * One star. Ouch. You want people to keep reading your e-zine? Well you have to make sure they stay interested, balance the amount of adverts with the amount of content, write articles or organize consent from third parties. If you’re a writer and enjoy this, great, go for it. But many of us just don’t have the time to write a full fledged e-zine every week, because we’re busy with other products and projects. It’s hard work alright, but if you don’t believe there’s anything more productive that you can be doing, or enjoy writing and editing your e-zine, keep at it. The results and income both from your own ads, and paid ads is worth it in the long and short term.
Summary: A great place to start if you have no list at all right now. The ease of pulling subscribers when you’re giving them good content beats any other type of list out there. If you don’t mind high maintenance and putting a lot of time into this, the e-zine or newsletter may just be for you. If however you’re short on time, or don’t enjoy writing articles particularly, the other lists may be more up your street. The results, however, from running this type of list are plain to see and are very encouraging. Just be careful how you balance out ads and content. And hey, if things get too much in the future, you can always slowly evolve the e-zine into one of the other list types, which is how many marketers start out. It is hard work, but a great little earner, and an investment for the future.
Personal List – Mixed Content
Personal mixed content list is a list gathered by you, that you don’t use to sell outside ads to on a regular basis. Mailings contain research, new product information for your customers, a few articles that you write, the odd tips here and there, testimonial requests, and of course the ads for your own products. Mailings are very similar to an e-zine, except for the mixed content and the lower sales of ads to third parties. They also require less content on your part.
One of the most highly used list types by specialist marketers, and in my personal opinion, definitely one of the most interesting and robust of the lot. Imagine having a list of your own, which generally comprises of customers that know who you are, trust your word, many of them having bought from you before or subscribed to your list for the simple sake of following the progress and watching what you do as an authoritative figure in your chosen field of expertise. All of these factors come together to make a highly responsive list and one heck of a joint venture bargaining tool.
These types of lists are usually an evolution of some sort, either from previously published e-zines or newsletters, but of course you can go down this route right away if you think it’ll be beneficial, and it probably will be. What we’ve got here is the quality without having to do the work, and in some cases, considering the content you’ll be sending your list is solely related to you and the projects you get involved with, it’s more personal and has higher response rates than even some of the best e-zines, especially when your subscribers get to know you, or you make your mark as an authority. Bottom line is, you don’t have to spend ages publishing a newsletter every week, packing it with masses of useful content to see a profitable list.
See if you play your cards right and gain the trust you need over time, you don’t need to seduce people with masses of content, they’re just happy to be receiving something for free from a respected marketer. That’s great news for you, because the more you mail them, the more you teach them, share with them and have contact with them, the more trust you’ll get. Usually this comes in the form of short articles, snippets or insights into what you’re doing to succeed.
For example, many of these lists’ often owned by the well-known marketers, send small snippets of the letters they receive, their ad tracking results for a particular project, some small tips, and interesting story that applies to the subscribers interests that they learned that day. Contained within is the ad for a related product. Not all the time of course. It totally depends on whether your goal is to sell, educate, recruit affiliates or get them to tell their friends about you and talk (very powerful) etc. The fact is it’s interesting. Reality TV even though on a larger scale is a big hit, but this is definitely similar with its entertainment value, but goes even further through education.
Who do you admire? Is there someone you want to be like or at least follow in the footsteps of, someone that is already doing something you want to do, and doing it well? If you had a choice, would you want to get on their e-zine list that sends you a list of outside published articles each week or on their personal list where you get an insight into what they’re doing and what makes them successful? I know which I’d choose. So you see, again, the underlying features are the same. It’s a list of people you’re going to get to buy your stuff, but this time around it’s far more focused on you, and the type of people that are subscribing here are the doers. The people that are interested in what you have to say. This is something very powerful that also contributes to the response rate that comes from these lists when selling your products.
So aside from the eased workload, more time to concentrate on your product creation, and developing new ideas, and the increased response rate and trust you gain from these valuable subscribers, what else do we have? Well, let me tell you that what you’ve just created here by choosing this method is pure money in your pocket. Your list, your personal list that you don’t allow anyone access to, packed with people that trust you, ready to take your word that something is good, will help them, or is worth buying is an important bargaining chip.
See, once upon a time before you started list building here, you had to exchange products and high commissions for joint ventures solely related to sales. Now though, not only will your in demand list )that no one has access to but you) put you ahead in the bartering process of gaining joint ventures, but it’ll also sell your products, increase your reputation and allow your resources to grow even further. So you see, once you start with this type of list, expect it to spiral and it will be far easier to build on this in the future.
But you might say to me “I don’t have a reputation to go on. People won’t listen to me unless I have one or they think I have something useful to say”. You’re quite right too, but you can fix that. For example, back when I first started out with online marketing, a friend of mine started up a website with a free option and a paid option. I joined up and sat back for a few months being lazy like I was back then, when I had no concept of actual work. A couple of months later I dawdled back and had a chat with this friend. He informed me that he added a mail your down line option. I was told that I could mail them a training series or two if I wanted in an effort to convert some free members into paid members. I agreed.
The problem was I didn’t know much back then. The only thing I knew for certain was related to lead-generation, hence all these free members piling up in my down line. So I figured I’d teach them what I know, and send them a few guides, which is exactly what I did, and they listened, for the simple reason I included a screenshot of my inbox from the previous weeks of free members signing up in my down line. It was a shot of my inbox with pages of ‘You have a new member’ subject lines and e-mail bodies. That was all. Everyone’s ears were pricked and paying attention. I started receiving requests to join my list, joint venture offers, people asking me what to do via e-mail, if they could have more, and when I’ll be sending further issues. All I did was demonstrate that what I was saying actually worked, not to mention they were only free signups not paid ones that I was showing them, yet they were still so interested.
I’ve taken that lesson everywhere with me ever since that day, and it’s served me well. Provide proof that you have the answers to others questions, even on a small scale, and people will listen to you. So you see, it doesn’t matter if this is your first day in online marketing. If you sent me a mail in a week’s time telling me you’ve arranged 20 successful JV’s in one week, come up with 10 new products and have already developed four of them, each one ready to launch and sell at $500, I’d listen in if you showed me it was true. See how that isn’t even directly related to how much money you’re earning? This is how to run one of these lists. Enough of that for now though, because I’ve got a lovely wad of text for you later on about how to make peoples ears spark up and listen, along with more examples. I hope that gave you a little insight to my thoughts and how you can get started without being a big well known marketer that everyone already trusts. This list is by no means out of anybodies league that knows what they’re talking about in their current field of expertise.
So there we have it, great JV prospects, not too much work for anyone, great response rates, builds trust and your reputation. Amazing stuff, as strong as the upsides are, the downsides equal it. First up, your ad income is going to be cut drastically compared to the standard e-zine, unless you start actually selling ads, which defeats the object and devalues your joint venture prospects if done often or over long periods of time. This isn’t really a huge downer though, because you’ll likely be getting a lot more out of it than you would simply selling $200 solo ads twice a week through your e-zines, but in the way of JV income and resources.
Here’s the real kicker though. If you screw up, you’re in big trouble and may in extreme circumstances have to start all over again. You being an authoritative figure, taking all that time to build up trust, and after one bad decision, one bad joint venture with the wrong person, and your rep is in tatters, and you have a lot of groveling to the subscribers to do to make up for it. I can think of several examples where marketers’ reputations have been tarnished, some even to the point of them quitting the business, because this important resource they built up over the years was destroyed by a JV with someone unreliable or that has a bad reputation that they didn’t know about. Do your research, don’t take big joint ventures lightly, and this won’t happen to you. The biggest risk, but with the biggest reward, as always.
Unsubscription Rate: ***** Generally you’ll find once you’ve built the trust with your subscribers they won’t leave unless you particularly annoy them or do something brash. Beware though, bad news travels faster than good, and a slip up here could cost you a lot.
Subscription Rate: *** Getting subscribers here can be a lot harder, but the rewards greater. As these lists are generally smaller than a large sized e-zine, the numbers can seem a little off putting, but it’s far better to have a list of 1000 dedicated loyal customers that buy from you over and over, than a list of 100k who don’t even read your mailings. Remember quality over quantity. Many subscribers may have also bought from you before.
Ad income: * Virtually zero direct ad income. It’s possible to sell small ads to people if you get short of cash, but it can be harder to do if your list is smaller and more focused than some of the e-zines out there. It’s even harder to charge the price it’s worth for this very same reason. If you do decide to sell ads here and there, keep it rare. Very rare, or your list will lose it’s purpose and subscribers will move on. Don’t forget to push your response rate tracking stats too, or you may find people don’t buy at your higher prices for smaller numbers and stick with an e-zine ad, which to an uneducated eye, provides better value for money.
JV Circle: ***** Due to the personal nature of this list, it’s easy to start talking to people, specific subscribers even, and to become a target for other marketers with similar lists in the same category. Don’t be surprised to find yourself in high demand as this is prime territory to create many a profitable joint venture. That list of people I was sending reports to that we talked about earlier, that was my first mailing, and I still have a bunch of them on my messenger contact list. From just one mailing. Not bad huh? This is what joint venture prospects look like and is by far the most effective way to get them.
Response Rate Over Time: **** Great response rates over time are expected due to the trust you build with these people in such a personal manner. Unless you mess something up big time, loose their trust, annoy them or suddenly stop offering them the insight and knowledge they’re looking for, they’ll keep reading what you have to say, buying your products, and checking out your recommendations. This is especially useful for inflating the value of your list to your JV circle. Watch what you mail very carefully though. One slip up or bad move and it could all be gone.
General usefulness: **** Who’s more responsive, your friends and acquaintances or random people you put questions to on the street? Again, this is where the personal touch is handy. As far as they’re concerned, they’re getting something very important from you. Make sure to ask for something in return in the way of surveys which should be aimed in the general direction of assisting the subscribers in some way, even if you’re publishing the results for their use, a great research tool at your fingertips.
Maintenance Time: *** Three stars and very variable. Sometimes it can take you ten minutes to write a mailing, sometimes less, sometimes a lot more, depending on what you’ve got to say, which makes maintenance time hard to judge unless seeing each circumstance in turn. Not as bad as a fully-fledged e-zine, though not as quick as some of the lists we have yet to talk about. This is a good bet if you’re short on time, or want to dedicate your days to something more productive, or just don’t like writing e-zines and doing research and using outside articles.
Important note here: These are base figures and your exact results may be higher or lower than the stated. It’s more to give you some insight into aiming your business in the right direction than to give you exact figures and numbers and guaranteed base earning, response rate, income, number of JV prospects etc.
Right, we’re out of space here. See you in part two, where we’ll be looking at two more list maintenance methods (the final two) and some general non-technical tips to keep your list pulling in the cash like crazy. Stay tuned.
● Welcome to the list maintenance section of the course. There are various methods of list building that have proven successful over the years, each fulfilling different roles within a business, each with their advantages and disadvantages.
● Throughout this section, we’ll be looking at each of the methods with a view to showing you what they entail before you get started, because once you do, it’s not always easy to change. You’ll also be able to immediately begin to maintain your list using the method that suits your business from the moment those first subscribers begin to arrive on the launch of your products.
● The first aspect that I’d like to talk to you about is one of the fundamentals of list building, and that’s always no matter what make sure that the customer understands what they’re subscribing to.
● How many times have you subscribed to a newsletter or e-zine or given your e-mail address to a business, only to find out that they’re not e-zines or newsletters at all, just straight up ad lists?
● Remember the choice you make now will shape the future of your business, and it will also shape your response rates at the same time.
● As we mentioned earlier, our number one aim is to provide a list for you to promote your own products to with the highest response rates, also giving you a great bargaining tool for when business owners begin to approach you with joint venture proposals.
● Also, keep in mind the other aspects that you’ll be using your list for, attracting joint ventures, affiliates, research as well as making sales and converting new customers through your own products and through affiliate promotion if you chose to go down this path.
● Research is a very important point to make here. If you remember back to the ad tracking points we’ve already discussed. I was telling you about how tracking and testing is important for every aspect of your business, well list maintenance is no exception.
● I find it easy with a list to come up with new product ideas and tailor it to the people who are going to receive the information about the product first. I know what they want because quite simply I ask them, whether it’s the products that interest them the most, or the best headline, or the type of language to use when contacting them, and even what to put in the subject line and from field to get them to read.
● Your list is as much for tracking, testing, and free research as it is for making sales. Don’t feel strange about sending stuff to your list that is just plainly research. Not only will they feel closer to you and your business making them less likely to unsubscribe in the short term, but they’ll thank you for sending them information about the subjects they’re interested in. This also boosts the rate at which you’ll be making your sales.
● In return you get new product ideas, along with a whole bundle of information that you can use to increase your sales. This is promoting to learn instead of promoting for profit and just like with any proven results and research, when you go up against people who don’t have the information you have, you’re going to outsell them at every turn, and recognize and cater to new trends and crazes before they do. Your list is a very powerful tool indeed and should not be taken as just a bunch of people to send ads to.
● Ok so lets get started looking at list types. I’m going to do this from the point of a reviewer and use a points system. This allows us to discuss their pros and cons and pick the one that’s right for your business in a more interesting manner.
● The categories that we’ll be looking at for each list type are: un-subscription rate, subscription rate, ad income, JV circle, response-rate over time, general usefulness, and maintenance time.
● Each of these aspects will be rated for each list type from one star to five stars, the higher the star rating, the better.
● Let’s begin with the standard e-zine or newsletter. Defined as a list of people you have gathered and are sending useful information related to your target market regularly, along with a selection of ads for both your products and other peoples products and affiliate programs.
● Un-subscription Rate **** Four Stars: Many e-zines have become a success because of their subscribers responding to the useful content this list type provides. Lapse in regular sending though and this could go pear shaped, and you need to be careful when looking at your ratio of ads sent to useful content sent.
● Subscription Rate **** Four Stars: A higher than average subscription rate is due to the promise of useful content for free. It’s easy to get people talking about the good content you’re sending out resulting in even more subscribers coming your way through the all powerful word of mouth. Use example issues and article snippets to persuade potential subscribers that you’re the real thing and not just an ad list.
● Ad Income ***** Five Stars: Selling ads is a great way to provide an additional income stream, and your customers are right there on your list already, making it easy to make sales. Be careful not to over do this as to not alienate the subscribers there for the content with too many ads, or you may see your subscriber base and response rate fall dramatically.
● JV Circle ** Two Stars: If you’re already selling ads on a regular basis, why would someone want to split the profits with you when they can reach your whole list for the cost of an ad? The one reason why they may do this is to get a good word from you to your subscribers, something that will only be beneficial from an extremely well oiled e-zine with a well known, trusted publisher of a sustained high quality publication.
● Response Rate Over Time *** Three Stars: This very much depends if your subscribers are interested in your stuff or not. You may see your response rate dwindle if your primary method of pulling in the subscribers is through freebie giveaways. They may come to expect the world for nothing, and get offended when you don’t give it to them. Sending many ads over a sustained period of time also doesn’t help your response rates.
● General Usefulness *** Three Stars: Very handy to get that all important information from your subscribers. Many have asked why their subscribers never write to them. I tell them that they need to ask them to write to them about something that affects them and they will. Again, third party ads can be a distraction, but all in all, if your content is good and people are reading, this is prime research material, albeit not quite as personal as some of the other list types.
● Maintenance Time * One Star: E-zines are high maintenance. Juggling ads purchased, putting together content to keep people reading, messing with joint venture offers, not to mention un-requested feedback from subscribers. A fully fledged, solid e-zine is hard work, time that I’d prefer to be using to develop new products, but if you enjoy writing and publishing, and this is your calling, go for it. If you a enjoy it, spending a lot of time on maintenance isn’t such a bad thing, so that one star is debatable.
● To sum up, an e-zine or newsletter is a great place to start if you have no list at all. The ease of pulling in subscribers when you’re giving them good content beats almost any other list type, and if you don’t mind or enjoy the high maintenance, then this may be the list type for you. Be careful how to balance your content and ads though, too much content and free stuff could have your subscribers leaving rapidly if you can’t sustain that level. On the other hand, too many ads alienates and ultimately leads to the unsubscription of subscribers who are there for the content. An e-zine is also the easiest of the list types to evolve into the other list types over a short period of time, making it a safe bet and a good starting point for any business.
● Next up, we have the personal mixed content lists. Mailings are comprised of research, new product information for your customers, a few articles that you write, the odd tips here and there, testimonial requests, and of course the ads for your own products. It’s very similar to an e-zine except for the mixed content and the less sales of ads to third parties. This also requires less content on your part. One of the most highly used list types by specialist marketers, and in my personal opinion definitely one of the most interesting and robust of the lot.
● Un-subscription Rates ***** Five Stars: Once you’ve built trust with your subscribers, the low unsubscription rates and loss of subscribers often beats even the e-zine. Because everything is so personal and the subscribers are much closer to you and your business, it’s rare they’ll leave you unless you annoy them in some way. Beware though, bad news travels faster than good, and a slip up here could cost you a lot because you and your subscribers have no one else to blame but you.
● Subscription Rate *** Three Stars: Getting subscribers here can be a lot harder, but the rewards greater. As these lists are generally smaller than a large sized e-zine, the numbers can seem a little off putting, but it’s far better to have a list of 10000 dedicated loyal customers that buy from you over and over, than a list of 100k who don’t even read your mailings. Remember quality over quantity. Many subscribers may have also bought from you before or have been directed to you through your own products, which builds and sustains that all important trust and familiarity.
● Ad Income * One Star: Virtually Zero. It’s possible to sell small ads to people if you find yourself short of cash, but keep it rare, very rare otherwise you undermine the whole reason for keeping this a personal list and devalue it through the eyes of other marketers and may just cut your exclusivity and perceived value of this hard to get at list.
● JV Circle ***** Five Stars: When you have a list like this, packed full of pre-qualified subscribers that know you, and you’re not letting anyone else buy ads, you’re piling on the value, and you’ll find your services in high demand once you start launching your products. People know how valuable it is, and they know to get their hands on it, they’ll have to offer you something very valuable in return. That’s your ticket to many successful joint ventures and much more promotion power.
● Response Rate Over Time **** Four Stars: Great response rates over time are expected due to the trust you build with these people in such a personal manner. Unless you mess something up big time, lose their trust, annoy them or suddenly stop offering them the insight and knowledge they’re looking for, they’ll keep reading what you have to say, buying your products, and checking out your recommendations. This is especially useful for inflating the value of your list to your JV circle considerably. Watch what you mail very carefully, though, one slip up or bad move and it could all be gone. Trust is hard to build but easy to destroy in a few short seconds.
● General Usefulness **** Four Stars: Who’s more responsive, your friends and acquaintances or random people you put questions to on the street? Again, this is where the personal touch is handy. As far as they’re concerned, they’re getting something very important from you. Make sure to ask something in return in the way of surveys which should be aimed in the general direction of assisting the subscribers in some way, even if you’re publishing the results for their use, a great research tool at your fingertips.
● Maintenance Time *** Three Stars: Sometimes it can take you ten minutes to write a mailing, sometimes less, sometimes a lot more, depending on what you’ve got to say, which makes maintenance time hard to judge unless seeing each circumstance in turn. Not as bad as a fully fledged e-zine, though not as quick as some of the lists we have yet to discuss. This is a good bet if you’re short on time, or want to dedicate your days to something more productive, or just don’t like writing e-zines and using outside articles.
● Important note here: These are base figures, and your exact results may be higher or lower than the above. It’s more to give you some insight into aiming your business in the right direction than to give you exact figures and numbers and guaranteed base earning, response rate, income, number of JV prospects etc.
● Ok we’re out of space, see you in part two where we’ll be looking at the final list types, and talking about their pros and cons. I’ve left one of the most powerful list types until last too, and I’ll show you exactly how I maintain my personal list with so little time and such high response rates. See you there!