First, let’s talk about the “rules” of list building.
- The reason to have a list is so you can SELL them stuff. LOTS of stuff.
- You build the list by offering a freebie. It doesn’t matter what the freebie is, so long as it entices them to sign up and it’s vaguely related to your niche.
- You build the list using a squeeze page because you don’t want to distract them with content.
Do you agree that this is generally (as in almost always) how it’s done?
Then lets see what might just happen if we BREAK these rules…
First, the “selling lots of stuff.” Of course this is why we have a list, right? Why else would you build a list if not to make sales? Well, what if you built the list so that you could build relationships, much like you do on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media? What if all you offered to your list was great content and no sales promos – what would happen?
- Your open rate would likely go through the roof.
- Your readers might actually stay with you instead of unsubscribing. And they might READ your stuff.
- Your readers might even forward your emails to other people, who then sign up to your list.
- You can send people from your newsletter back to your website to soak up more of what you have to offer, thus increasing your web traffic.
- People will learn to TRUST you and your brand more.
Pretty radical, right?
But what about selling? How are you going to make money? Simple. On the occasions when you want to sell, you send people to your website. Maybe you send them to an article about increasing conversions, and in that article you recommend a resource. Or you send them to a blogpost about fitness, and along with giving some great tips you also recommend the same fitness book you’re reading.
Because your open rate is through the roof and because your readers pay attention to what you say and they trust you, they are then far more likely to act when you recommend something.
Let’s tackle that second rule of list building – “It doesn’t much matter what the freebie is so long as it entices them to join.”
Really? Someone who probably has never heard of you before has just joined your list in exchange for your freebie. Let’s say it’s an ebook. So one of the first impressions they have of you and your work is what? You got it – the EBOOK. So what’s your ebook? Some PLR crap you threw together in about 10 minutes. Whoop-dee-do.
But what if you took some time and made a really high quality product with tons of great, usable information and even formatted it beautifully – what would their impression of you be then? Totally different, that’s for certain. Now they’ll think highly of you – highly enough to OPEN your emails, read them, go back to your website, and yes, buy the products you might occasionally recommend.
Last but not least, the third rule of list building – use a squeeze page. Why do we use squeeze pages? Because we’re holding the visitor hostage. Imagine the following spoken in a Gestapo-like accent: “YOU VILL FILL OUT DIS SQUEEZE PAGE OR YOU VILL NOT PASS!” (Yikes!) Do you know how many times I’ve been sent to a squeeze page only to close it as fast as I would kill a cockroach I found in my kitchen? And can you tell me you feel any differently?
Then it’s likely safe to conclude that many of the people who land on your squeeze page may feel the same way. Even those who do fill it out probably do so reluctantly.
Worse yet, tests have shown that leads generated from squeeze pages are worth far less in monetary terms than leads generated from opt-in forms on pages filled with great content.
Sure, you will indeed capture (notice that word “capture”) more emails from a squeeze page than from an opt-in form on your website. But one email from the opt-in form can be worth more to you than a dozen or more leads from the squeeze page.
Why? Because they don’t know you or what you can offer them at the squeeze page level. They are stone cold on you. And they tend to remain that way because next they’re sent to a SALES PAGE where you are immediately trying to SELL them something.
But when they opt-in to your list from your website, they’ve seen your work. They’ve seen your name. They’ve probably seen YOU if you have a photo or video of you there. They’re getting to know you. To like you. To TRUST you. They actually want you to email them. They’re not filling out the form because they have to, just to get to the next page. They’re filling it out because they WANT TO.
I know, what a concept, right?
So go ahead – I DOUBLE DARE YOU – start breaking the list building rules and see what happens. I will bet you will have a much better and more responsive list of people who know, like and trust you.
And yes, as an added benefit you might even make MORE money. Now what a pity that would be, right? 😉