In my previous post, I wrote an article on Should I Start A Blog or a Website First? and some of you shared very good comments in the blog. Today I shall attempt to discuss another common question – “Should I build a list?”.
To kick start the discussion, let’s take a look at what I did when I first started online……
I built an info-rich website in an unpopular niche. As the website started getting some traffic, I prepared an email tutorial series, delivered through autoresponder, as a bait to entice visitors to opt-in to my list. Every email tutorial sends the reader back to my website to read the full tutorial that has Adsense ads in it. Within each tutorial, I also try to promote affiliate products. Other than that, I do not follow up with the list anymore.
Did I regret spending time to build the list? Not at all. Despite my lack of maintenance, it is still adding a few hundreds into my pocket every year, until today.
If you are going to spend time and money promoting a website, yet you are not building a list, you are leaving money on the table, period.
But DO NOT build a list for the sake of building one. In the past, I may simply build a list by offering a PLR or MRR ebook, thinking that I will follow up with the list in the future. I never did. Yes, I’m lazy, but I believe most of you are lazy too.
If you were to build a list, you have to know EXACTLY how you intend to monetize the list. Else, list building will really be a waste of time for you.
In my example above, I offered a free tutorial. Those who opt-in are looking forward to that tutorial. When an email tutorial comes to them, they must go online to read the tutorial. And I monetize every tutorial through Adsense and affiliate sales.
I always tell my regular advertisers that if they are spending money to advertise, they should build a list, especially when they are advertising products in the same niche. But they often tell me things like:
“Kenneth, I’m only interested in the money, not in maintaining a list.”
Building a list is one issue, maintaining the list is another.
You can build a list and get more sales out of your existing traffic without providing any form of maintenance.
For example, there are some lists whereby I simply load some standard email tutorials that come with the affiliate product I’m promoting into my autoresponder. People opt-in to get the tutorial and since every tutorial ends up promoting that product, I manage to get some extra affiliate sales. For such lists, I do not provide any form of maintenance. If they want to unsubscribe, they just have to click the unsubscribe link. But very few people will unsubscribe because after the autoresponder series, they won’t hear from me anymore.
I am not saying this is the way you should manage your list. In fact, this may be the worst list management strategy you may hear. But the worst strategy can increase your profit. Moreover, you are not doing something evil or unethical. Your subscribers get free tutorials on the subject they are interested in. You get more affiliate sales. It’s win-win.
Note: Some marketers may teach you to keep blasting offers to your list until they either buy something or unsubscribe. I don’t do that. I want to maximize my profit, but I am not that hungry.
I need to reemphasize that this is not the way you manage ALL your lists. If you are building a list in a niche that you want to establish a name in, you will have to provide lots of support and follow up emails to build relationship with the list. This kind of list will need a lot of maintenance effort, but the potential return is also much higher.
When is the right time to start building a list?
There isn’t a single answer for this.
If you are building a niche site, you may want to wait until the website starts getting consistent traffic. You won’t want to spend too much time preparing the material before the website shows any potential.
But if you are promoting some program big time, you may want to start building a list immediately.
The key is if you foresee a lot of traffic will be coming to your website, always get your opt-in form ready. You’ll want to retain and recycle that traffic instead of letting the traffic flow through your website.