February 19, 2018

How To Build A List – The Ultimate Guide To Building A List

How to build a list

Want to learn how to build a list that is responsive and has the potential to pull in thousands? No need to pay for any guides, we’ve listed everything you need to know about building a list below free of charge! So read on and get to list building right away…

Have Your Opt In Form In A Prominent Position

The opt in box is your number one tool for building a list. You use this to collect people’s information, so it would make sense to put it in a place where it’s easy for people to see. Studies have shown that the best place to put your opt in form is either at the top of the page to the right, or at the top right hand side of a sidebar. This is where people’s eyes tend to glance when they first visit a website, so putting it in one of those positions is sure to get your box noticed.

Wherever you decide to put your opt in box, always make sure it’s ‘above the fold’ (It can be seen as soon as someone visits your website). Studies have shown that the majority of actions on a website are taken even before the user scrolls down the page, so having your opt in box where all the action is happening will defiantly increase subscribers.

Another factor you should consider when building a mailing list is the size of your opt in box. You don’t want it to be so small that people don’t really notice it, but you don’t want it to be so big it gets in the way. I’d advice you to make it fit in with your current side bar, just make it stand out by using different colours or by making it look attractive (More on what you can do to make it look attractive in the next section).

What To Do Now:

Get a opt in box from Aweber and put it above the fold on your website. Make sure it’s easy to see and is ‘stand out attractive’.

Give An Incentive For People To Subscribe To Your List

One of the best things you can do when list building is giving people a real reason to subscribe. While you can simply put up a opt in form and hope people subscribe to you for the sake of it, it’s often better to give them an incentive for joining your list. And example of an incentive you can give is a weekly newsletter, or a free gift of some sort.

I’ve used both before, and I always tend to gain more subscribers when I give away a free gift such as a short ebook or a song. This is because I make these things appear to be valuable, so when people realise they can get them for free they have no qualms about giving up their email address. Once they’re signed up I also send them weekly emails with interesting news and more freebies to keep them on the list.

What I like about offering a ebook as an incentive is that it’s attractive and can catch people’s eyes. If you have a picture of a ebook cover with the words ‘Free’ somewhere next to it, you’re going to have more people paying attention to what you’re offering. And if that ebook is about what you’re readers want, more subscribers too.

When offering an incentive to potential subscribers, make sure it’s clear what the incentive is. To do this, next to your opt in box you may want to write: “Enter your details below to be sent exclusive weekly tips and tricks about *Enter your niche here*”. Or if you’re offering a free ebook, write “Sign up to our mailing list to receive a free copy of the *Insert title here* ebook. Learn how to master *Enter your niche here* now”.

These are just examples, but notice how both of them have a ‘call to action’. By call to action I mean asking them to take an action (In this case entering their details into the form). Studies have shown that if you simply ask people to do something they’re more likely to do it, so ask people to enter their email address and you’ll get more people subscribing.

Important Tip:

If you’re going to offer a free gift, make sure it’s one that doesn’t alienate any one in your niche. For example, if you run a website for musicians a good ebook would be “How to make money from your music”. All musicians wouldn’t mind making more money from their music. A bad idea for an ebook would be “How to make classic punk rock songs”. While there will be people that will be interested in this and sign up to get the book, there will be a lot of people not interested in this type of music and not sign up because they don’t want the ebook. While the weekly newsletter you would’ve sent them may have been of use to them, the initial offer would have already scared them off.

What To Do Now:

Create an incentive such as a ebook, a short course, or a weekly newsletter. Once it’s ready, implement it in your autoresponder and put the offer up on your website. If you’ve decided to make a ebook, make sure you include an attractive cover for the book. You can easily make covers using eCover Software Pro, or get someone to design one for you.

Use A Lightbox Or Pop Up Box

One of the things I use to build a list on many of my sites is a lightbox (Also known as a pop up box). Using this has more then tripled the amount of subscribers I get in some cases, so is a valuable tool for any one trying to build a list.

The reason why light boxes are so effective is because they’ll hard to avoid. If someone is looking at your website, they may only be focused on the article in front of them. Because of this, they may subconsciously ignore anything in your sidebar, that includes your opt in form and free incentive. If however you’ve got a pop up box which smoothly appears to them in the middle of the screen, they’ve no choice but to take notice. From here they can either subscribe if you have an attractive and beneficial incentive (Which you should have) or simply close the pop up and not see it again.

The key with using a lightbox is using it in moderation. If you have it popping up every time some one opens your page or visits you’re site, you’re going to annoy a lot of people and ensure people won’t be visiting your site again. If you only let it pop up once a week however, it won’t get in people’s way but will still dramatically increase your sign ups.

The lightbox I use is Popup Domination. This is because it comes pre-loaded with attractive designs (No one’s going to take notice if the pop up looks ugly and unprofessional) and is fully customisable.

popup domination
* Popup Domination example

So what’s a good way to use light boxes? Well, I personally like to make my pop up only appear once a week for people who haven’t subscribed. The reason for this is it’s not enough to scare users away, but is just enough to let people know your offer exists. An even I they don’t sign up when they first see your pop up, they’ve been made aware it exists and may come back at a later date and sign up. Once they’re subscribed they’ll never see the pop up again.

What To Do Now:

Get a lightbox (I recommend Popup Domination) and implement it on your website. Add your incentive to it, match the colours to your website, and set it to appear once a week to people that haven’t already subscribed to your list. This will greatly speed up your list building.

Make Sure You Use A Double Opt In Form

One thing you want to bare in mind when building a list, is you don’t just want a whole load of subscribers. After all, there’s no point of having a million people on your list if none of them are opening your emails.

One good way you can cut down on the amount of ‘dead’ emails on your list, is by using a double opt in form. A double opt in form is a form which people have to double opt into. So once they enter their email address in to your opt in form and press enter, they’re sent an email asking them to confirm they really want to receive your information or free gift. If they click a confirmation link they’ll get what they signed up for, if not then they won’t be added to your list and won’t receive anything.

This is good because you’ll know everyone on your list has access to their given email address, and no one has just entered fake details. People often give fake details to get your free offer without giving up their email address, so don’t let this happen to you.

What To Do Now:

Your email marketing software should already have a double opt in option, so make sure it’s selected.

Delete Non Responsive Subscribers Regularly

One of the most important things you can do when building a list is deleting non responsive subscribers. Now I know this isn’t a email marketing tip often suggested, but can be one that saves you a lot of money in the long run. Let me explain why…

No matter how good your news letter is or how good your free gift was, you’ll always get people on your list who simply won’t be responsive to your communications. And I don’t mean people who only read some of your emails or only click the odd link, I’m talking about people who simply don’t open your emails in the first place. You could have the best header in the world offering them 1k in cash, they still wouldn’t open that email. So question, why keep them on your list?

The thing is, having these people on your list is actually COSTING you money! Most email marketing software services charge you a monthly fee based on how many subscribers your have. The more you have, the more you pay. If a lot of these subscribers are dead weight that don’t benefit your business in anyway, getting rid of them could mean that you move down to a lower subscriber number and have to pay a smaller monthly fee. These savings could really add up, so cutting down your list could really help your list building efforts.

I’d advise you to clean out your subscribers list at least once a month. Your email marketing software provider should give you statistics of your list and how responsive each person is, so find those people that are given a bottom rating and delete them. You may have a smaller list, but they be making you more money as you’ll be saving on your monthly running cost.

What To Do Now:

Have a look at your mailing list. Are there any people who have been on there for a good while that regularly don’t do anything? If so, delete them.

Put A Opt In Box On Facebook And More

I bet you’ve never seen this one in any other ‘how to build a list‘ guides. It’s actually possible for you to collect subscribers from Facebook and any other place that allows you to input HTML code. So what’s the benefit of this? Well, the more places you have your opt in form, the more chance you’ll have of building a list fast. People may see your Facebook page but not your website, so this may be the only way you can get certain people on your list.

With Facebook, they allow you to put your subscriber box in your ‘fan page’. If you create a new tab on your fan page which uses Facebook MarkUp Language (FBML), you can enter HTML code as you would in any other site. If you’re not familiar with HTML don’t worry, all you need to know is you need to copy your sign up form code and put it in to your page as you would normally do with your website.

The same can be done with MySpace, as well as any other places which allow you to enter HTML code. The more you put your form in front of people’s eyes, the more subscribers you will potentially get.

What To Do Now:

If you have a Facebook fan page, add a new FBML tab and add your opt in form code to it. Also add your opt in form code into any other place you use which allows you to add HTML code.

Use A Squeeze Page To Build A List Fast

Setting up a squeeze page is essential when list building. Before I tell you why however, I will tell you what a squeeze page is.

A squeeze page is a page which does nothing else but give people the option to subscribe to your mailing list. On these page you’ll have your opt in box, as well as maybe a picture of your ebook or other incentive. You’ll also have some short text with a powerful call of action to get them to sign up.

squeeze page
* An Example Squeeze Page

So why are squeeze pages so important? Well, having a squeeze page means you have a place you can send potential subscribers if they’re not originally from your website. This page is designed only to collect their email address, and not distract them with other ‘shiny things’. Say for example you’re promoting on Twitter and want people to sign up to your mailing list. You could always send them to your main website’s address, but because there’s probably a lot going on in your main page (Or even in any of your articles) they might do something else on your site and not sign up to your list. Creating a squeeze page and sending people there solves this problem.

The good think about squeeze pages is they can be shared around by other people too, and are essential if you ever want to do a list swap with people (More info on this later under the heading ‘Do A Joint Venture List Share’).

What To Do Now:

Build a squeeze page on your website. Keep it short and straight to the point, and once you’ve got the email address direct them back to your main website or relevant ‘thank you’ page.  Aweber allows you to create squeeze pages easily in their main package.

Build Your List More With Social Networks

Social networking can be a valuable tool for building your list. Think about it, people go on these websites to talk and trade information. If you have interesting information for these people, why not go straight to the source and tell them? They will of course need to subscribe to your list to get all the good info, so it’s actually beneficial to both parties.

One of the sites I’ve had the most success with converting the users into my subscribers is Twitter. I use Tweet Adder to fully automate the whole process, and essentially get a bunch of new subscribers whenever I feel like it.

My favourite tactic is this: Find some big profiles in your niche that already have a lot of subscribers. Use Tweet Adder to automatically follow say 500 of that person’s followers. When you do this, make sure your latest Tweet talks about getting your incentive for free and includes a link to your squeeze page. Doing this you will get a percentage of the people following each step and signing up to your list. Every few days rinse and repeat.

Tweet Adder
* Tweet Adder – Used To Build My List Fast

There are other social networks that can be used to spread the word about joining your mailing list, but I stick to just using Facebook and Twitter. You however can use as many as you want.

What To Do Now:

Decide which social networks you’re going to use to help build your list. A word of warning though, don’t use too many as it will take up all your time. Using Twitter and Facebook in moderation is a good idea, Twitter being fully automated with Tweet Adder and Facebook being run like an extension of your own website.

Do A Joint Venture List Share (Ad Swaps)

OK, so far we’ve been looking at ways to build your list manually and at a decent speed. But what if I told you there was a way of making your list numbers grow significantly over night? Well there is, and I’m going to show you how!

Ad swaps is a way a lot of the top marketers grow their lists significantly in a short space of time. This type of list building will become open to you once you have reached a certain amount of subscribers of your own, as you’ll need a decent amount to be able to do the ad swap. These joint venture ad swaps go something like this:

Two people with similar size lists in the same general niche agree to message their own list subscribers with the other person’s offer. The idea is that you will get a bunch of people from their list signing up to your list, and they will get a bunch of people from your list going to them.

When doing a list share it’s important to offer something of real value to these people so you can get as many of this person’s list as possible going over to you. If you offer them something rubbish you will have wasted your time as not many people will subscribe.

You need around at least 500 subscribers before you can do any list swaps, but once you have that many it’ll be a lot easier to get a lot more quickly.

Sound good to you? Want to build your mailing list at great rates using ad swaps but don’t know who to swap ads with? No problem, below are a few places you can find people also looking for list and advert swaps:

  • IMAdSwaps.com
  • Safe-Swaps.com
  • ListSwapper.com

So if you’ve ever wondered how to build a list fast, this is the way to do it.

List Building No Nos

Some people wonder how to build a list fast then come to the conclusion that the best way is by buying subscribers. This however couldn’t be further from the truth. The thing is, paid for subscribers haven’t opted in to receive emails from you, so if you tried to email them there’s a good chance they’ll mark your emails as spam.

When you buy email addresses you’re getting a very low quality of subscriber. This subscriber doesn’t respond to much, and doesn’t really interact with your emails. People hate these unsolicited emails, which is why you always see opt in forms saying “We will never give your details to any third parties, we hate spam as much as you do”.

Another thing you don’t want to do is use a single opt in form. Doing this you’ll have no way of knowing if the person’s entered their real email address or not, and you could end up with a lot of fake subscribers.

The final thing you don’t want to do when building a list is making large numbers of your subscribers unsubscribe. If this is happening, you may want to think about what you’re offering people and why they aren’t enjoying it. Then you can adapt accordingly.

How To Build A List – Conclusion

Building a list is no quick task, but as long as you’ve got a good incentive and you get your mailing list out there are much as possible your list building shouldn’t be too hard. So now you know how to build a list, let’s see you get in on the action!

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