If you plan to build your own website and make money from it then sooner or later you will come to a point when you start asking a question mentioned in the title of my article.
I’ve never been too much a fan of building an email list and can’t even remember when I subscribed to someone else’s email course last time.
But when I started my online business, at certain point I realized that building a list was not a matter of preference but necessity if you really wanted to take your online business a step further. I can’t say that it is the foundation of your business but it should definitely be the part of your strategy.
The foundation of any online business is having a great, unique content and getting free traffic from major search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. But building an email list can help you increase your repeat traffic and conversions of your website.
I can tell you my personal story on how I changed my mind about building an email list. I once registered my account with Wealthy Affiliate (#1 online business community in the world). The community has been helping people build a successful business online for a long time so far. So I created my free, starter account.
However I was not confident whether or not, to upgrade my account to a premium or not, because it required me to make a payment. I have been receiving emails within 10 days, both from WA and the guy that referred me to that website.
They both were so helpful (not annoying) that I finally decided to upgrade my account. After that, I realized the power of email follow up. Building an email list is very powerful and important for your online success.
How to start building a list?
First and foremost thing you need is to sign up for Aweber (autoresponder service) account, get your code and put it on your site. Aweber provides its customers with a beautifully designed email sign up form to collect subscribers.
To start building your list you need first to create a three or five day email course, giving your visitors part of your knowledge and experience for free that can really help them in solving their problems. Or you can create a PDF guide which is very popular way to get subscribers and give it for free to them.
If you have steady traffic to your website then you should know that a certain or most part of your visitors will not buy your product or service at their first visit because they don’t know you and are not confident in your product or services.
At this point, if you communicate and show them that you want and can help them, they will trust you.
If you show them some care, answer their questions and solve their problems, you can easily convert them into your repeat visitors or even subscribers.
Once you’ve got their emails you can send them an email course (email follow up) and help them in taking a decision in favour of your product, or a service, provided you offer really a good product.
Once you’ve installed Google analytics on your website and start tracking all your pages you will know which pages get a lot of traffic and then put your opt-in form on those pages along with your home page. That way you can increase the number of your subscribers.
But even if you manage to get your first list you need your subscribers to open and read your emails. To be able to do that you need to write a perfect heading for your email course, make it short, clear and catching.
You should create an interesting and informative email course, giving them valuable information, real advice and the part of your real-life experience. If you do it right you will earn their trust and they will follow your advice.
If your website is about SEO (search engine optimization) you can create a 5 day email course. For example, the first day you can send an email explaining what SEO is. The second day, tell them about the importance of SEO for a website success.
The third day, tell your subscribers about the difference between white hat SEO and black hat SEO. And the last day, tell about the importance of white hat SEO, its benefits and insert a link to your product or service. If you do things right you can be surprised at the results of your email campaign.
More ways to grab emails
You can create a squeeze page with OptimizePress and put opt-in form on that page. A squeeze page is a web page created to capture someone else’s email address for further email follow up.
Once you have your website up and running and start getting traffic from search engines and social media, some people that will visit your squeeze page can recommend your free course or free PDF guide or any other valuable information that you have on that page to other people and bring even more visitors to your website.
The purpose of that squeeze page is that they can send other people directly to your page and if you can explain the benefits they can get from your website some of them will end up as your subscribers.
But one thing you should keep in mind: don’t be annoying or send a lot of useless emails (spam) trying to convince the world to buy your product. That way it will never work.
You can be successful with email follow up technique only if you do it ethically, strategically, convincingly and step-wise. Fail to do that and you will lose your readers’ trust.
Remember that your opt-in form should have a catching heading like “My free report on how to be successful online” or “My proven strategies that made me successful online”. If you fail to do that you can hardly get any subscribers.
Also, you can add a pop up window to your site that can help you get more subscribers. Some people don’t like pop-ups but it still works. Some of your visitors may be immersed in reading the material on your site and popup window can remind them about your free course if you have one and let them sign up for that course.
But never set up your pop up in a way that it appears on the screen every other 5 seconds. It’s very annoying and you can even lose your visitors instead of getting him.
In regards to a pop up program, I can recommend you an “Optin Revolution” WordPress plugin that you can easily install within your WordPress dashboard.
Once you’ve installed it, you will find a video tutorial inside the plugin. There are lite (free) and Pro versions of that plugin available.
I recommend Pro because it does have a lot of additional settings to fit your needs. Or you can use the “Popup Domination” plugin.
What to do with my list?
Once you have collected your subscribers, you can send them your free course, and help them make the right decision. You can at times send emails, inviting them directly to your sales page, or a product review page. Having affiliate link on them also helps make sales. The bigger your list is, the more sales you can have with just one click of your mouse.
But you should be very careful when doing this because you don’t want to lose your readers’ trust. You can do it only when you feel that your product is really good. Sometimes send them a direct link to a product without including your affiliate link; just be helpful and it will pay off later.
Additionally, make your subscription form visible to your visitors and don’t hide it. Let your visitors know that you guarantee their privacy and are not going to share their personal info.
When you add a call to action phrase to your opt-in box think of the one that provides a solution to your reader’s problem. But remember that it is not just about getting an email address. Rather it is much about being able to deliver what you promise.
I personally don’t like a call to action phrases, such as “Learn how to make a six figure income” or “Grab my secrets to making $10000 per month” for free from people who are still learning how to make money online.
It would be better to make your call to action phrase with some real promise such as: “Learn how to make money online”.
If you are just starting your online business and are on a low budget then you can install “feedburner email subscription” plugin within your WordPress dashboard. You can find a lot of video tutorials on Youtube on how to configure a Feedburner.
If you want to be a master of building an email list you’d better read my “Autoresponder Madness” review, which is one of the best products of that kind on the web.
Finally, you need to understand that you absolutely don’t need to start building a list in your first day of marketing online though it is highly recommended. You need to build a website first and then drive traffic and build relationships with your visitors to earn their trust.
Only after that, you can start building a list, and generate revenue selling products or services through your affiliate links. If you want to learn how to build a business online and start making real money then read my review of the WA below.