Posted Friday, January 14, 2005
There are many articles, ebooks and white papers written and available on the Net that deal with building your own opt-in mailing list and how it can help build your business. Here are some first hand reflections on how I am building my subscription base for my ezine, Home Income Quarterly E-dition.
I started with a personal list of associates and customers that numbered about 350. As of today I have a subscriber base of 11,000+. Actually my subscriber base is over 12,000 but I have always had the policy of maintaining a higher base than I actually had. The primary reason I have this policy is to insure that my paid advertisers receive what they are paying for. Each time I do a mailing of an ezine issue, there are always 200 to 400, sometimes more that are undeliverable. This can be due to email systems or sites being down, email boxes being to full or other reasons.
Here are some steps that I took and still use to build and maintain my list.
1. Easy Sign Up Throughout Your Site
Post a subscribe link or box on every page of your site. I have over 150 pages on my sites and I never know from which page someone will enter the site. Having the link or signup box on most pages will increase your chances for new signups.
2. Create A Separate Ezine Page
Eventually I uploaded a separate page just for my ezine. Check out my example at (http://www.homebizlink.com/newslt.htm) This way I was able to put a signup box on some pages that subscribed them by email directly, or I used a "Free Newsletter" link that went to my ezine page above where they see a good description of it, some comments from subscribers and an offer of a free ebook about starting a business on the Internet.
Another good reason to have a separate page for your ezine is so you can submit it to the major search engines all by itself with some specific and targeted keywords.
3. Give Away A Free Sign Up Bonus
Giving something away free is a good incentive to get signups. It can be an ebook or special report that is geared to the topic of your site and business. If you set up an autoresponder or download page, you can make it all automatic so that you don't have to keep sending the freebie out.
4. Signature Files
Another easy and free thing to do is to create a signature file with your ezine information and subscription links similar to the one at the end of this article. And you should set your email software to send the signature file on every email message you send out. Once people become subscribers then you can start building a relationship with them and offer your products and/or services.
5. Write Articles
If you can write articles, you have an excellent vehicle to get additional subscribers. I write about one article a month and send them out to over 300 ezines that have an interest in my topics. The article is always picked up by a certain percentage of the ezines immediately or for future issues. Sometimes five or ten ezines pick it up immediately and the circulation can total in the hundreds of thousands.
This is all free advertising since you have your little five to eight line ad/bio at the end of the article. It is a great way to build your subscriber base. In addition, if the ezine you get published in archives your article to its web site you get extended free advertising.
6. Ezine Directories
There are 1000's of free and paid directories where you can list your ezine and get new subscribers. Do a search at google.com for "ezine directories" and there will be enough listings to keep you busy. I try to post at new ones whenever I get a chance. You might want to keep a listing for yourself of where you post so you can update the listing as your ezine grows.
If you would like a list of some ezine directories, just send a blank email to: email@example.com which is one of my autoresponders and you will have it in a couple of minutes.
7. Trade/Exchange Ads
Another good way to increase your subscriber base is to trade/exchange ads with other newsletters. Once you have built up several hundred subscribers, you can start trading ads with other publishers.
8. Pay Per Subscriber
I have also used the pay for subscriber services a number of times too, paying anywhere from 10 cents to 24 cents per subscriber. Make sure that you are getting opt-in subscribers rather than opt-out. These services are called co-registration services where a person signs up for some free service or item and can also signs up for ezines. The opt-out service signup page has the check mark already in the box and a lot of people signing up aren't aware or miss that they are also signing up for the ezines. This can cause a lot of unsubscribes and probably some nasty notes. I stick with opt-in which means that the person has to check the box for the ezine they want to subscribe to.
I am currently using a service which is double opt-in meaning that they check the box and then receive a confirmation message they have to return. Then I receive the name and email address.
Those are some of the basic techniques that you can use to build your opt-in list. Your own list can be a goldmine for your business. It allows you to keep in contact with present, former or future customers. Building a list is an ongoing process if you want to keep growing.
About the Author
Joe Reinbold, owner of The Entrepreneur's Home Business Link publishes a free weekly email newsletter dedicated to assisting online marketers and home businesses. For a free subscription just mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his site at (http://www.homebizlink.com/newslt.htm)