Seth Godin, the father of permission marketing, has long advocated for electronic newsletters. So, too, has Ezine Queen Ali Brown. Everyone says the power is in the list, and there is a great deal of focus on listing building among those who want to turn their opt-in connections to prosperity sooner versus later.
A few weeks ago, a prominent internet marketer asked me if a press release could deliver a rush of new names to an ezine list. I paused to consider the question. In my experience, the answer is “no.” If your experience is different, now is your golden opportunity to sound off and share what you know. Please share your comments on this blog so others can benefit from the wisdom of your experience.
And, in the meantime, take heart that there are other very effective ways to build a quality list of followers who will one day elect to become your paying customers. After all, not everyone is ready to buy what you have to offer today. Most want to get to know, like, and trust you before they part with hard earned cash. Your task is to earn that trust by providing quality, relevant, and useful content on a regular basis. Then, when the timing and opportunity are perfect, you'll earn your opportunity to be of service and earn fees for your contributions. It's just a matter of staying consistent and mission focused on making your contribution.
Suzanne Falter-Barns, founder of Get Known Now, shared some of her best ways of list building with me during a recent telephone interview. Her list of 36,000 or more opt-in subscribers has grown as a result of a variety of consistent activities and approaches to being of service. Here are Suzanne's top six ways to build a sticky ezine list:
1) Be a valuable content provider in your ezine. Really provide what your people are craving, and it should be something you are personally interested in.
2) Give others free content. Free calls, questionnaires, little articles and check lists, that kind of thing. What those do is give people an opportunity to be on your list. Every time you give them a freebie, you tell them you are adding them to your ezine list, and it's a simple click to get off.
3) Co-registration pages are fun. A trade with someone to reach an even wider audience of potential followers. For example, when someone signs up for your ezine, they go to a ‘thank you' page. On the ‘thank you' page is the tantalizing little blurb about someone else's free report or goodie.
4) Free calls are the big list builder.
5) Commenting on blogs that reach your market with a signature that has the freebie mentioned in it.
6) A mega way to build a list is to create a manifesto that goes viral. People hear about it. They have to sign up for it. A manifesto is a beefy, dense white paper. The manifesto of 5-50 pages that hits an emotional hot button for your audience. One successful internet marketer — Rich Schefren — wrote a manifesto about the problems of small business marketing. Schefren turned that into a $1.4 million product launch.
Suzanne says it's all about reach. Opt outs are part of the business. Opt ins are part of the business. Email leads people to free calls. She confesses, “It's a big slog. There are no home runs or easy buttons.”
Suzanne has been operating her successful internet business for ten years. She is making good money and has some good mojo in the marketplace.
As we talked, I quipped, “It sounds like you've had an overnight success story that took ten years to build.” She laughed and agreed.
As for me, I've been writing an ezine since 2005. My list continues to grow, but it hasn't yet reached the magnitude of 36,000 names. At this point, the focus is on quality over quantity. Some of my internet marketer colleagues tell me that my list delivers great results because my readers are loyal and interested in what I have to say. That is saying something. Rome wasn't built in a day. It happened brick by brick with consistent actions every day.
If you have decided that now is the time to start your electronic newsletter, good for you. I use Constant Contact. The system is very easy to use. I love the reports I get that tell me how many of my readers are opening my ezine, forwarding it to others, clicking on my links, and so on. The folks who handle customer service are always easy to work with and responsive on those rare occasions when I need their help. Check it out and get started building your own community of raving fans, one valuable opt-in subscriber at a time.