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List Building Mistakes Every Small Business Must Avoid

Here are six potentially fatal mistakes related to email marketing lists and why you should avoid them.

When it comes to making money online, developing a targeted subscriber base of active and repeat customers is an essential ingredient in the recipe to success.

Having a list in your marketing arsenal will instantly maximize your outreach, while making it easier to make money with less work involved.

For example, with a mailing list you can simply create broadcasts that go out to your entire subscriber base that feature a blend of high quality information and content with promotional based offers.

You can then include affiliate promotions for products and services that you are interested in advertising, as well as gaining valuable feedback from your subscribers on the different types of products that they are interested in.

This information will help you develop your own product line of high quality, in demand products with a ready-made customer base waiting to purchase your releases.

It’s an exceptionally easy thing to build a list, even if you are a complete newcomer to the world of online marketing and business. The trouble comes when people approach list building in such a way as to hinder their chances of actually being able to fully monetize their mailing list.

Let’s take a look at the most common mistakes made by business owners using email marketing.

The #1 and biggest mistake is not using a professional autoresponder.

An autoresponder is a tool for you to use online that allows you to quickly collect names and e-mail addresses, and automatically follow up with those specific individuals in any fashion that you want.

Normally when you are building an e-mail list, it is smart to give away a free report, audio or video, so when a prospect subscribes to your list, they get something of value in return.

After the person signs up for your list, and downloads your free piece of content, the autoresponder can be set up before hand to automatically follow up with the individual educating them about whatever it is that you choose, in whatever way that you choose.

One of the most important steps you’ll ever take as an email marketer is in choosing to power your mailing lists by establishing an account with a professional autoresponder provider.

There are many different reasons why setting up a remotely hosted autoresponder account is important, including:

  • Increased Deliverability:
    There is no sense in spending time crafting a high quality broadcast or email if no one is able to receive it.

    By setting up your mailing list with an experience autoresponder service team, you can rest assured that your emails will make it to their destination.

    It’s their job to maximize deliverability rates and help you connect to your subscriber base quickly and easily.

    Professional autoresponder providers typically offer a quick “email check” prior to sending out your email that will analyze your mailing and determine whether it’s likely to be filtered by anti-spam tools. This enables you to quickly edit your email so that it is far more likely to be processed into your recipient’s inbox.

  • Safeguarding Your Mailing Lists:
    Professional autoresponder providers offer frequent back-ups of your database, in the event it becomes corrupted or inaccessible.

    This is extremely important, because the last thing you would want to do is spend the time and energy developing a massive list of subscribers, only to lose it all.

    Your autoresponder service provider will also handle all requests to unsubscribe, helps you comply with CanSpam regulations and provides you with the ability to write as many newsletter messages as you wish, and set up the dates and times when you want them to be published.

    This means that you can write all of your messages at once and have them trickle out to your subscribers on specific dates.

    Important Features:
    If you are interested in maximizing your open rate and overall response rates, you need to utilize the different features available within your autoresponder account including your average open rate, opt-out rate, response rate and whether any complaints have been sent in regarding your recent mailing.

    Keeping a pulse on your subscriber base and how well they response to your broadcasts will help you improve your mailings and tailor your campaigns so that they directly communicate with those who have subscribed to your lists.
    You can review detailed statistics for your entire newsletter by logging into your autoresponder administration panel (most autoresponder services should offer enhanced features, some with the option to upgrade for access to advanced tools)

    IMPORTANT NOTE: It is quite difficult to switch autoresponder providers once you have established a mailing list, as your subscribers will have to re-subscribe to your new list.

    Keep this in mind when you begin building your lists and choose to create an account with a reputable autoresponder company right from the start.
    Please contact us to find out which autoresponder we prefer to use.

The 2nd biggest mistake is a poorly structured squeeze page.

One of the most important elements of a successful email marketing campaign begins with a well-constructed squeeze page (the page that encourages your visitors to give you their email address).

Your squeeze page is the ‘doorway’ into your email marketing system and if it fails to convert visitors into subscribers, you will struggle to build your lists. Your squeeze page needs to be very clean and simple.

You want people who visit your website to be given ONE option only; to subscribe to your newsletter or mailing list.

This means that you need to minimize any external links, and really emphasis your opt-in form.

You also want to limit the graphics that you use on your squeeze page, so that it loads quickly and doesn’t distract your visitor from your objective; getting them on your mailing list.

In order to create an effective squeeze page that encourages visitors into subscribing to your list, consider the different types of incentives that you can offer. When it comes to listing the benefits you need to be clear and concise.

Make sure they understand ‘what is in it for them’, and what you are offering that will assist them (remember, solve a problem, address an issue, offer a way to save time, money, relationships, etc.).

When creating the body content for your squeeze page, consider underlining, highlighting or colorizing important information so that you can draw attention to the areas of your squeeze page that you want your website visitors to pay special attention to.

Savvy marketers feature a “bribe” on their squeeze pages that provide a special offer in exchange for a visitor subscribing to their lists.

You could offer:

  • Free Report
  • Free Ebooks
  • Free Sample Product
  • Free Video Guides
  • Free Tutorials
  • Free Sample Chapter (from a paid product)
  • Free e-Courses, Newsletter, Magazine

This a very effective method of building your list, however you need to make sure that whatever you decide to offer is directly targeted towards your niche market.

Make sure that your squeeze page looks professional with a clean template and simple layout. If you aren’t familiar with HTML and editing code, you will find it easier to purchase a pre-designed squeeze page template that you can easily edit and customize to suit your needs.

Again, we can help you to set up your mailing list forms.

Mistake number three: Failing to build brand awareness.

It’s important to build brand awareness and develop a relationship with your subscriber base, because the more that your list members trust you and the product recommendations that you make, the easier it will be to convert those subscribers into repeat customers.

Every message and broadcast that you send to your subscriber base should directly represent your brand.

You should also register your own domain names and set up professional hosting accounts that can house your squeeze pages and websites. It’s important that you establish an online presence and give people clear direction as to how they can reach you or find out more about you.
There are many different providers available online that offer both domain names and hosting accounts and we can give you our expert advice if you don’t know which one to choose.

Mistake number four: Failing to deliver quality content.

This is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes (and fatal mistakes) that both new and seasoned business owners make when running their list campaigns.

While the objective of building email lists is to effectively monetize them, you need to earn the right to send out promotional based emails.

This starts with first building a relationship with your list by offering high quality content, free tools and resources and material that is helpful and well received.

Once you have worked towards connecting with your subscriber base, however, you need to maintain that relationship by focusing on a well balance of solid, high quality content with any promotional emails you send out.
In fact, one way of maximizing open rates and response from your subscriber base is to over-deliver on quality content even during times when you don’t have a scheduled launch or affiliate program that you are planning to promote.

People tend to notice habits, and if they discover that the only time you seem interested in contacting them is when you have something to sell or promote, you will quickly lose any trust and credibility that you may have earned from your previous communication.

Keep this in mind whenever you create a new email campaign or broadcast.
Consider whether your email truly offers value and is written so that it genuinely benefits your subscriber base. If you build a solid relationship and brand with your subscribers, you’ll subsequently build a very responsive and loyal customer base.

Mistake number five: Letting their lists run cold

You absolutely need to focus on staying in constant communication with your subscriber base. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to email them every day, but what you want to do is consider creating a posting schedule so that you can get into the habit of connecting with your subscribers regularly, while demonstrating consistency. Your subscribers will then begin to expect your emails on certain days and by doing this, you will begin to see a dramatic increase in your open rates.

The more consistent you are with your broadcasts, the easier it will be to condition your subscribers to accept promotional based emails and advertisements in between mailings containing free content and resources.

Mistake number six: Failing to monetize

While it’s very important to provide your list with fresh, useful and free content, resources and information, you are in the business of email marketing so that you can build a profitable business and you need to get into the habit of monetizing your list right from the start.

Here are a few ways to quickly monetize your lists:

  • Affiliate Products
    You can promote third party products to your list, where you will earn a commission each time one of your subscribers purchases the product using your referral link.

    To begin, visit http://www.ClickBank.com or http://www.PayDotCom.com and review products relating to your industry from within their marketplace.

    With these two resources alone, you will have an unlimited number of products available to promote, covering dozens of niche markets.

  • Sell Advertising Space
    There are many benefits of offering ad space within your newsletter including the fact that you can set your own price structure based on the number of subscribers you currently have the exposure that you are able to offer to potential advertisers and sponsors, increasing your prices as your list grows.

    You can also consider solo mailings at a higher price once your list has grown enough to make it worth their while.
    With offering ad space within your newsletter, you are in full control of the types of advertisements that you accept, so if you currently have your own product line, you could avoid promoting competing products.

    In order to set up a successful advertising program, you will need to be able to provide detailed statistics and demographics regarding your subscriber base.

    I recommend building your list to at least 1,000 subscribers prior to offering advertising space so that you are able to offer greater value to potential advertisers who are looking to maximize exposure for their products and services.

  • Create Your Own Products
    With direct access to potential customers, you already know the types of products or services they are interested in, so the next logical step is to create your very own product or service catering to your existing subscriber base.

    Consider surveying your subscribers to determine what types of products or services they would be interested in and create a secondary squeeze page so that subscribers can choose to join your new newsletter to receive information on when your product is ready to launch.

    This will help you determine the overall demand for specific products prior to creating them.

But Isn’t Email Marketing Kind of Dead?

No, it is not. In fact email marketing has never been more alive or as effective as it is now. Every website wants you to give them your email address, whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or The New York Times. Why is email marketing so relevant and important?

The answer is very simple. Everyone has got an email address which they log into several times a day. Most people with smart phones are signed into their email accounts 24/7 with push notifications enabled. Email is much more personal, direct, and a reliable way to get in touch with most people.

What are the Advantages of an Email List?

During our years of online marketing experience, we have learned that building an email list is probably the best thing you can do for your website and your business.

An email list drives much more traffic and has a much higher user engagement rate than any other platform.

Why? Because when someone subscribe to your email list with double opt-in, they are really interested and are much more likely to open your email and click on the links. It is not such a surprising fact, here is why:

Email is Personal – Email allows you to land into a user’s inbox. There is no ranking system limiting your reach. Your message is intended for a user and it lands into their inbox. It is very direct, personal, and casual.
Email is Purposeful – To get your email a user needs to signup for your email list and confirm their email address. Someone doing this much work is obviously already interested into hearing from you and is much more receptive and responsive to your message.

Email is Targeted – As we mentioned earlier the user has already shown interest in your products / content. They have already given consent to learn more by receiving your emails. They are much more likely to click, buy, and spread the word around for your products and services. Since you already know what they like, you can deliver them highly relevant content and offers to get better results.

Email is One-on-One – People read email in the privacy of their inbox. The message is not on a public wall or timeline. They can ask you questions directly in private with confidence. You’d be surprised how many people don’t want to ask questions on public forums where everyone can read them. Email also allows users to build a one-on-one relationship with you. Gradually they develop trust in your brand and proudly spread the word around.

To summarize all of this, email works a lot better than any other online marketing tool. Big name brands learned that a long time ago, and this is why they spend thousands of dollars on social media campaigns to get people to sign up for their email lists. They understand that the email is the best long-term investment and people will continue to get their message at a very low cost for a longer period of time.

If you don’t have a mailing list or you don’t know how to create an effective email marketing campaign, why not contact us today to see how we can help your business increase its profits.

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