List Building - Your Bread & Butter
Elijah James Logan
“Bread and Butter!” That is what people say who are walking along and an obstacle comes between them. They release one another’s hand and walk on either side of the obstacle, then rejoin hands and say, “Bread and Butter”. It’s symbolic. Bread and butter belong together.
Another way the term ‘Bread and Butter’ is used is to denote the main substance of an enterprise. “That trick is his ‘Bread and Butter’ trick.” This means that it is the backbone of his act and that he depends on it and relies on it regularly to sustain him.
Both interpretations of the term ‘Bread and Butter’ apply to list building and Internet Marketing. You just can’t have one without the other. You can’t separate the two because they belong together and, likewise; they are the sustaining part of an Internet marketers business.
List building is the first, most important and most constant of all the tasks that Internet marketers engage in. Their lists are their bread and butter and their lists and their businesses belong together. Neither can exist without the other.
You won’t have to wander around the Internet very long before you will find people saying that list building just isn’t important... and that it isn’t even necessary. Don’t you believe one word of that hooey... and that is precisely what it is... hooey!
That is without a doubt the worst Internet marketing advice that is available anywhere on the Internet... and there is lot of useless information out there. There is useless information but the idea of not building a list is just downright dangerous advice to follow. List building isn’t important... it is absolutely vital... it really is your bread and butter. Without a list, you are simply without a business.
The CAN SPAM act of 2003 made is illegal to send bulk marketing emails without the consent of the recipients. That is the law. The penalties for disobeying this law are tough! You can be fined up to $11,000 per unsolicited marketing email that you send!
It wouldn’t take but one to do a lot of damage and if you send hundreds, you’ll never get the fine paid off… at least not in just one lifetime. Do you NEED an opt-in list? YES! Your list is your bread and butter.
Now, let’s discuss ways in which one can go about building that bread and butter opt-in list. There are several ways that have been proven to be very effective list building techniques.
One way to build your bread and butter opt-in list is to write articles and submit them to article banks.
If you weren’t blessed with any writing ability at all or if you simply do not have the time to devote to writing articles, you can have articles written for you by ghostwriters or you can join a PLR site and download articles that will just need some rewriting to prevent them from being identified as duplicate content by search engine spiders. These articles need to be no longer than 300 to 400 words and they need to be keyword rich. Your resource box needs to include your name and a link to your website.
Another proven list building technique is to join and post to blogs and forums that are dedicated to a topic that relates to the products and services that you sell.
You must be careful not to post blatant advertisements on these sites. That’s a big no-no. You will need to post 3 to 5 times each and every week to these sites and you sig tag on your posts needs to be your name and a link to your website.
Exchanging links with websites that sell products and services that are complimentary to but not identical to the products and services that you sell is another way to build your bread and butter list.
Now, some marketers do not believe in link exchanges. They object to the idea of two way traffic and don’t think that a marketer should ever post a link that takes traffic away from his or her website. The key word, however, is TWO way. A link exchange also brings traffic to your website that you might not otherwise ever see and every person who visits your website is a potential customer or, at the very least, a possible addition to that bread and butter opt-in list.
Then there is paid advertising to consider for the purpose of list building.
A PPC (Pay Per Click) campaign is not free, of course, but if your list is greatly increased because of it then it will be money that has been well spent. PPC campaigns are very effective tools for list building... and more especially so if you can give something away for free. People do love ‘free’. Free reports... free utilities... free E-Books... if it’s free, it adds to your bread and butter opt-in list.
A very effective, maybe even the most effective, way to use paid advertising to build your list is to advertise in E-zines that relate to the topic of your website and to the products and services that you sell.
E-zine advertising is very targeted advertising that has proven to be effective as well as cost effective. The people who will see your advertisement are the very people who are most likely to buy the products or services that you sell and to join your opt-in list... and, did I mention that it is cheap? You can usually get an advertisement in an E-zine for $30 or less.
The well established and savvy Internet marketers all know just how important list building is. List building is at the top of their ‘to-do’ list every single day. List building is never considered a side effect... it is the object of their attraction to every enterprise that they consider undertaking. They know that their lists really are their bread and butter. They fully understand that without their lists that they are without a business and you should believe that with all your heart because it is true.
Leveraging on Joint Ventures
When Internet marketers hear the term, ‘Joint Venture’ they will immediately begin to drool... maybe ever to slightly... but they are certainly drooling.
New marketers dream of getting that first lucrative Joint Venture deal under their belts (and into their bank accounts). Well-seasoned Internet marketers always have both ears and both eyes wide open searching for their next Joint Venture opportunity.
Everybody wants a Joint Venture for the very simple reason that they are lucrative... and ‘lucrative’ is an understatement.
The first, most important and most on-going task of every Internet marketer is to build an opt-in list.
There are basically three kinds of lists and all of them are not created equally.
First there are lists that are bought... these are just about worthless.
Second there are lists of potential customers. Potential customer lists are valuable because they are lists of people who have opted in to a mailing list and may well buy something at some point but they haven’t as yet.
The third kind of list is the ‘paid customers list’. The paid customers list is the one that is very, very, very valuable. This is a list of people who have actually bought a product or service. They have already proven that they will spend money. Most importantly, the paid customer list is one of the factors that potential Joint Venture partners will base their decision of whether to Joint Venture with you or not will base their decision upon.
So... building a paid customer list is the number one task for an Internet marketer. In order to build a paid customer list, you may well have to give something away. One of the best ways to build a paid customer list is to offer a product that is relatively inexpensive... say one that will sell for $9.95 or even $19.95... to Joint Venture partners and allow them to keep all of the profits from the sale. That’s right. Give them 100% of the profit... the whole $9.95 or $19.95 that the product sells for.
What you get is a long paid customer list which will turn out to be a lot more valuable than the $5 or $10 dollars per sale that you would have made. That paid customer list is like your own private gold mine. It can be used to leverage future Joint Venture deals that will add a lot of money to your bottom line.
Another method that can be used to build that valuable paid customer list is to have two membership sites... one free and one paid.
You can then offer Joint Venture partners the opportunity to give away free memberships and an opportunity to gain a commission when anyone that they send the offer of a free membership chooses to upgrade to a paid membership. You can structure this offer as a one-time payment for an up-grade or as an ongoing commission on the price of the monthly subscription.
By using either of the above discussed methods for your first Joint Venture deals you will have built a paid customers list and you will also managed to create some serious credibility for yourself. Both are assets that are beyond placing a value upon. This is the formula for success:
Paid customer list + Credibility = Success
Whatever method you choose to employ, the bottom line is that what you need the very most in order to get a profitable Joint Venture deal is a long paid customer list and some credibility. There are no substitutes for either.
Make no mistake here. Credibility is equally important to a paid customer list. Credibility is achieved by becoming a recognized authority in a niche. The paid customer list adds greatly to your credibility but you need to work hard at building credibility by writing and marketing articles, posting to blogs and forums, etc. Building credibility on the Internet isn’t easy and it takes some time. There aren’t any shortcuts.
With a paid customer list and credibility you will then be in a position to leverage the best and most profitable Joint Venture partnership agreements that are possible. Always remember that adding to your paid customer list is one of the factors that you want to insure when you enter into any Joint Venture agreement.
Now, armed with a paid customer list and credibility, your next move is to find ways to make your potential Joint Venture partners willing, even eager, to help you. Contrary to what appears to be common sense, your best Joint Venture partners are those who, up to this point, you have considered your main competitors.
No, I’m not kidding. These are the Internet marketers who are most closely associated with your customer base. The names and email addresses on their lists are the ones that you want on your list.
Let’s say that you sell ‘whatsits’... you and several other marketers are in the ‘whatsits’ selling business. If you can come up with a product that will make selling ‘whatsits’ easier or explain how customers can get the best use out of a ‘whatsit’ then you can approach your most fierce competitors and turn them into your most valuable Joint Venture partners. They will eagerly assist you in promoting your new ‘whatsit enabler’ product... for a commission, of course.
A product that will make people feel better, look better or solve a problem for them is a product that potential Joint Venture partners will embrace and then they will be eager to help you sell it.
Additionally, you must always offer generous commissions and ample support to all of your Joint Venture partners. This is never a place to cut corners or get greedy and you credibility is always on the line.
If you have made a name for yourself in your niche (gained credibility) and you have a product that Joint Venture partners know will make them look good to their lists (even your most fierce competitors), there is no limit to the help they will be willing to provide for you as a Joint Venture partner!
Invest Regularly in Advertising
Those who choose to make their living by sailing on the rough and tumble sea of Internet marketing are, by nature, confident, self-assured people who well understand that investment in many things is a necessity for survival.
They invest in themselves by learning all they can about the products and services in their niche market. They invest their time, their effort, their energy, and, yes, their money in order to achieve success. You are obviously one of those brave souls.
The one investment that every Internet marketer must invest in regularly in order to achieve success is advertising. The old saying, ‘Advertising Pays’ is as true today as it was when those words were first uttered by a long forgotten marketer of years gone by. It really does pay to advertise. You stand to gain more by advertising than what the advertising costs. That is always a given.
When we talk about advertising and Internet marketing, we are speaking of advertising by a variety of methods that include both free and paid for advertising. All of the methods that we will discuss here are effective ways to advertise.
Some of them will require only an investment of time while others will include an investment of money, as well. Advertising, however, is essential. Advertising should be at the top of the ‘to-do’ list of every Internet marketer every day of the week.
First, let’s discuss paid-for advertising. The fact is you are going to have to invest some money in advertising your product, your service, your website or, even, your free membership website if you are to have any success at all on the Internet. The Internet is a huge place. There are millions of websites. You are going to have to tell people where to find you in this enormous world of the Internet.
When people are surfing the Internet looking for a particular product, service or just information, they always start that search by plugging the key words about their search into a search engine. Search engines are like keys that open the door to information about where to go on the Internet to find what is being searched for and you (your product, your service or your website) will need to be on the other side of that door when it is opened.
This is where PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising comes in. Your advertising budget needs to include a certain amount for PPC advertising. You can set a budget with search engines and limit the amount you will pay each day for PPC advertising. Set that limit as high as you can to begin with and then increase it as you soon as possible.
Another very effective method of paid advertising is to take out advertisements in E-zines that are related to the products and services that you sell. There are thousands of people who regularly receive E-zines in their inboxes about subjects that are near and dear to their hearts.
Most E-zine subscribers actually read the E-zines that they subscribe to and if you have an advertisement in it, they will see it. Advertising in E-zines is a very effective, as well as, cost effective way to advertise.
Usually you can place advertisements in E-zines that have a very large subscriber list for $30 or less per mailing. The beautiful part is that you are advertising directly to your best prospects.
Now, let’s discuss some ways in which to advertise that don’t cost any money. Paying for advertising doesn’t take much time but free advertising requires a time investment. You will always pay something for advertising... either money or time both of which are in short supply when you are an Internet marketer.
These free advertising methods that we will discuss are possibly even more valuable than the paid for ones that we have discussed before because they will not only advertise your product, service or website but, in addition, they will help to build your visibility and your credibility in your niche market.
The first method of free advertising is to write articles and E-Books then submit them to article banks and E-Book repositories for other website owners or E-zine publishers to download and use for free. Articles should never be longer than 300 to 400 words and E-Books don’t need to be longer that 10 to 12 pages.
When you submit an article or an E-Book, you need to include a resource box that includes your name and a link to your website. A link to your website should be on every page of an E-Book. Articles and E-Books need to have attention getting titles that contain key words and the articles and E-Books themselves need to be key-word rich.
The second method of free advertising is to join and post to blogs and forums that are dedicated to topics which relate to the products and services that you sell. Be aware that posting to blogs and forums takes time... and a lot of it. You will probably spend at least one hour per day posting to three or four blogs or forums.
This is, however, time that is well spent. Your signature tag that will be included at the bottom of every post you make should contain your name and a link to your website. This accomplishes three important things: (1) it is advertising for you, (2) it is building credibility for you, and (3) it is adding links for search engine spiders to count, thereby, raising your PageRank in the search engines.
Link exchanges with other Internet businesses who sell products or services that are complimentary to but not identical to the products and services that you sell can be a very effective way in which to advertise, as well.
Link exchange partners should have a PageRank at least as high as yours and preferably higher. You can find link exchange partners in several ways. You can go to link exchange websites and find them there or you can simply plug key words into a search engine and locate them yourself.
New Wave: Give Away Events
There is one thing that has to be said about Internet marketers. They are advertising innovators. Internet marketers simply tossed out all of the written-in-stone advertising policies of brick and mortar advertisers and devised new and effective ways to reach their potential customers.
The Internet itself changed the way that people buy things. People no longer have to get dressed, drive into town, find a parking place, stand in line or wear out their shoe leather searching for the products and services that they want. Three cheers for the Internet!
Internet marketers devised ways in which to reach their customer base that were unheard of in the brick and mortar world of advertising and now these giants of innovation have come up with yet another method that defies all of the principles of advertising that have been established over the years.
This new and innovative marketing technique that I’m talking about is called a “give away event” or a “Joint Venture give away event”
Can you imagine a group of brick and mortar stores getting together and agreeing to give free ‘stuff’ to one another’s customers? I can’t either. It isn’t likely that Sears is going to give something free to JC Penny customers, is it? Brick and mortar stores wouldn’t even dream of giving something free to stores that are not in competition with them. JC Penny would never give something free to customers of an automotive store even though JC Penny doesn’t sell automotive supplies. It just isn’t done in the brick and mortar world. But it IS done on the Internet.
When this marketing technique first came on the Internet, the Joint Venture give away was done only between October and mid-December to try to take advantage of the holiday shopping season but now the Joint Venture give away happens all year long.
The idea here is that people are more than one-dimensional. People who are deeply into Internet marketing, for example, also have spouses, kids, dogs, cats, like to ski or buy boats. People who are avid fishermen may also be interested in getting the best interest rate on their savings or learning to play a guitar. People may belong to one mailing list that reflects their main interest but that doesn’t mean that they are not interested in other products or services.
The fact that people are more than one-dimensional was noted by innovating Internet marketers. They devised a plan to take full advantage of the varying interests of people by putting together the now famous Joint Venture give away.
A Joint Venture give away is usually limited to a specific number of partners. Each partner offers a free gift which is almost always digital and downloaded from his website. These free gifts are usually E-Books, special reports or utilities that are valuable in some way.
Once a Joint Venture give away is organized, every participating partner sends the entire list of free gifts to the members of his mailing list. Those who sell Internet marketing E-Books on their websites will send offers for E-Books about ski vacations and guitar lessons to the members of their list. Those who sell ski equipment will, likewise, send free gift offers for Internet marketing E-Books to their lists.
Every partner advertises the free gifts offered by themselves as well as every other member of the Joint Venture give away and each and every partner in the Joint Venture give away has the opportunity to build his or her list.
As I said before, when the Joint Venture give away was first conceived of it was usually limited to the holiday shopping season but that is no longer the case. The fact is that it has proven to be such an effective list building opportunity that there is almost always a Joint Venture give away or two or three going on at all times of the year now. That number is growing by leaps and bounds as marketers realize the value.
The phenomenal success of the Joint Venture give away begs the questions, how does one put together a successful Joint Venture give away or find one to join?
The answer to finding one to join is really rather simple. You just do a search for ‘Joint Venture give away’ using your favorite search engine and you will find more than a few. Choosing which Joint Venture give away to join can be a little tougher. Remember that you are going to be required to send all of the offers in a joint give away package to all of the members of your list. You want to be sure that the offers are ones that your members will not find objectionable so you need to know who the other participants will be and what they will be offering as free gifts.
Creating your own Joint Venture give away is probably the better option. It is fairly simple to put together a Joint Venture give away but it will require a good deal of hard work. Rather than advertising for Joint Venture partners to participate in your Joint Venture give away, seek out each partner individually and limit the number.
For example: if you are selling Internet Marketing How-to books, you might choose two or three other marketers who sell similar products. Then you might want to look for other marketers who sell products that are totally unrelated to your niche like a marketer who sells fishing supplies and one who sells guitar lessons, for example. Make you Joint Venture give away as versatile as you possibly can.
People really do have many dimensions. They are interested in many different things and those who belong to one mailing list may very well be interested in belonging to another mailing list or even buying the products and services that they find through a Joint Venture give away.
Internet marketers are always looking for new and innovative ways to build their lists and advertise themselves and their products and services. The Joint Venture give away is only the latest way that they have found. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!