"The money is in the list" is horrible advice.
Have you ever received an email like this?
I know I get at least 15 spam emails like this in my inbox everyday.
And you know what?
The spammers that send those out have HUGE lists. I'm talking about millions of emails.
And I'm sure you already know that their conversion rate is less than .0001%.
Big list money.
So if a huge list isn't the answer, what is?
The Secret to Profiting From Your List
Today I'm going to show you how I made more than $2,000 in 24-hours with a tiny list of less than 450 subscribers.
But before we get into my tips, I want to show you the sentence that will help you build and make money from your list.
This sentence represents how everyone should approach internet marketing in 2013. But it's especially important for bloggers and small business owners:
"Turn traffic into relationships"
I first came across this sentence at QuickSprout.com and it really stuck.
It's a total paradigm shift from: traffic x conversions = money.
Instead of looking at your visitors as lifeless "hits", you see each of them as a living, breathing human being…which is much more accurate.
And nowhere is this approach more important than when you're interacting with customers in their most intimate place in the digital world: their inbox.
Now that we have that out of the way, it's time to show you how to get people to sign up to your list, what to send them, and how to turn them into paying customers.
Step #1: Get Them On Your List
The most important part of list building isn't what you offer…it's where you put your opt-in forms.
In general, you want your opt-in forms to be front and center on your site.
For example, take a look at the homepage of SocialTriggers.com:
Derek has decided not to offer anything. Instead, he's strategically placed email opt-in forms all over his site…with a few strong calls to action to grease the wheels.
And it works!
His site has a 10% conversion rate: which is pretty amazing considering that he has a ton of repeat visitors that have already signed up for his list.
However, you can certainly bribe people for their email. This is something that ThinkTraffic.net does and it works well for them:
As you can see, they offer a "Traffic Toolbox" full of value-packed information products.
If you're a new blogger that wants more traffic, this is an irresistible offer that must convert like bananas.
If you have something to offer, then feel free to use that to entice them to fork their email over.
If you don't, consider going the Derek Halpern route and just offering free updates.
But if you really want to give them something tangible, you can repackage some of your best content into a new format.
For example, if you wrote a post about the top 6 lessons you've learned as a party planner, you can turn that into a video or .pdf — and voila! — you have something awesome to give away.
Step #2: The First Email
Your first email is HUGE.
Mess it up, and your subscribers will hit opt-out faster than you can say "unsubscribe".
But if you get it right, you'll create fans for life.
With my list at Backlinko, I always start off my emails asking people to reply with a question or issue they're struggling with:
And you know what?
I reply to each and every email with a friendly, detailed response.
I've had dozens of people say: "Brian, I didn't think you'd actually get back to me. That's so awesome!".
The craziest part?
It only takes me about 5-10 minutes per day to respond to people.
And it's something that literally no one else in my niche is doing.
With so much mind-blowing content already out there in the SEO space, I use this simple strategy to turn traffic into real relationships.
I recommend you do the same.
If you run a small business where you're "the face" of the business, make your first message a personal thank you. And offer your help. You'll be surprised how many people reply.
This is something that PressDoc does really well. Here's an email I received from them after signing up:
Imagine how much this company stands out from their competitors that have "firstname.lastname@example.org" email addresses.
If you're a bigger company with several employees, assign someone from your staff as the go-to person for your email messages. People want great information…but they also want to know that they're getting info from an actual person.
Step #3: Drip Value
Once you've showed them that you're there to help, your next step is to show them you know what you're talking about.
That's where a killer autoresponder sequence comes into play.
In general, you shouldn't re-post stuff from your blog. Sending original — "insider content" — works much better.
Because emails are generally shorter than blog posts, you can turn those topic ideas that were good — but not enough for an entire blog post — into autoresponder emails.
You can also re-purpose your content into videos or .pdf reports — and post them on noindex/nofollow pages that only your subscribers know about.
No matter what format you decide on, it's critical you're sending them valuable stuff:
Quick and dirty tips that they can use.
Your take on the state of your industry.
Because once you've sent them something they actually try — and it works for them — you've got a subscriber for life.
Now that you have a list of raving fans, there's only one thing left to do: sell them something :-).
Step #4: Making the Sale
Believe it or not, but the hardest part of the process is already done:
You've driven targeted traffic to your site.
People signed up to your list.
You've shown them you care about them by lending them a hand with their problems.
They know you're a trusted expert because you've sent them value-packed emails on a regular basis.
This is why a list is to powerful.
What other medium would allow you turn masses of visitors into a thousand mini-relationships?
When it comes to pitching your products (or other people's if you're an affiliate marketer), you have two options:
1. Drop product mentions in a valuable email
2. Launch products periodically
If you have a product or service that's always for sale (for example, a piece of software or consulting) then you want to go for option 1.
But if you sell an information product you may want to stick with product launches.
People love to procrastinate. And it's a well known fact that people are highly motivated by scarcity. So if you sell something that can be sold in unlimited quantities — and therefore not have any scarcity — you may want to consider only offering your product at certain times.
This is a bread and butter strategy that infoproduct marketers use all the time: they make more money by re-launching their product a few times a year than having it available 24/7.
And when you have a list that's trained to expect value when they see your emails, you can be more pushy than your average marketer.
If for some reason you can't tap into the launch method, then you need to be very careful about how you pitch your stuff. As a rule of thumb you should embed links to your product inside of value-packed emails.
For example, if you sold SEO software, you could send them a case study of a client that you helped…and drop in a link at the end that leads to your sales page.
Step #5: Leave a Comment Below
If you enjoyed reading this guide please leave a comment below right now.
I'd love to hear your experience — good or bad — with email marketing.
Any tips or insights that I missed?
If so, let me know by leaving a comment in the box below.