Is Email List Building Worth the Time and Effort?
Almost every guru worth his salt is telling you to “go email list building“, “you must have an email list”, “build an email list and you’ll be made” and then almost assumes that you’ll know why or gives a glib explanation of “because that’s where the money is”. What your local friendly guru (LFG from now on), isn’t telling you is how much people without a list are making, the costs involved once your list gets big or, most importantly, list quality over list quantity. I’ll deal with these points in the same order:-
1. There are ways of grabbing traffic on a regular basis and sending them to simple forms where if a name and email address is handed over, the sender gets paid an agreed sum of money. Usually known as Cost Per Action or CPA offers, the usual deal is the more complex the form, the more the sender gets paid (a few cents for name and email up to several dollars if address, date of birth or other details are involved). The system relies on fresh leads being sent to the same offers – something an email list is no good for. If your list sees the same offer over and over again, they’ll think you lack imagination and leave anyway so CPA marketers tend to put themselves where hundreds or thousands of people will find them daily rather than relying on people they found once. There are ways of CPA marketing with a list and without a website, but you’re constantly searching for new offers within a given niche.
2. Up to about 5000 subscribers, using an autoresponder to manage your list(s) looks quite reasonable money-wise to the newbie marketer but the financial figures start to look frightening once you exceed 10 to 20k, especially as some autoresponders do not automatically remove bounced emails (emails that don’t exist or mailboxes that are full) and expect the list owner to do their own list clean ups and purges. This becomes an essential regular task especially as you get near the next price-break point. You only want loyal readers who are willing to buy, not hangers on grasping for the next freebie. You need to find out about your own autoresponder as some even count double opt-ins who haven’t yet double opted-in towards your total. That could be a very large number (On one autoresponder account, I had three times as many of these in-limbo subscribers as I had actual opted in ones) and could push you over that next limit if they are counted as part of your ‘team’. I have to say that Get Response don’t do this but there are some that do, including some big names. However, there’s no need to frightened on building a big list as it should be able to pay for itself if you’re sending the right offers to it.
3. One way to really make an email list pay for itself is to only accept quality subscribers onto it. By far the easiest way to guarantee getting quality people is to only accept people who buy from you. It only needs to be a dollar, so long as they have had to pull out their wallet (or login to Paypal) to get something from you. There are many marketers who swear by this method (Alex Jeffreys calls it The Superlist Method) as they know once somebody has bought something once, they are highly likely to buy again and again and again. Sure you end up with a smaller email list as fewer people are willing to buy to get on it, but those who are on it have passed all three stages (prospect, subscriber, buyer) of the ideal email list inhabitant all in one go. This is how many marketers can be happy about giving away 100% commissions to affiliates for getting their products sold because they know that these buyers could be worth $10+ a month as opposed to the average $1 per month on a ‘normal’ email list built on the free offer (ethical bribe) principle.
So is it worth the effort to build an email list. No matter what your niche the answer is a resounding yes, but you have to make it the right sort of list.Turn you prospects into subscribers and turn them into buyers as soon as possible and once you have them on your list, treat them like gold. They’re proven buyers so you don’t need to sell to them at every opportunity. You can build a relationship with them, tell them your stories, encourage them to you theirs. From these stories may come ideas for your next product which is always a bonus. If they’re talking about it, they’re already interested and once again you have a ready made audience.
Don’t kill your list with offer after offer. Keep up the value in the form of more free products and advice or at least soft sell the next product rather than shouting the next sliced bread approach. If your list is your friend you will find it far more profitable than if you treat it like your purse.
What are your opinions on email list building? Have you got any ideas on attracting your ideal subscribers? Do you have experience with managing large lists or a number of smaller lists in multiple niches at the same time? Share your experiences in the comments below or just share this article with your social media friends and ask them to comment.
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