One mantra you hear repeated over and over again, at least when it comes to internet marketing and making money online, is “The Money is in the List.” Is that still true? Or are lists an useless nuisance for the subscribers and a waste of time, and eventually money, for bloggers?
If you are like me and ended up subscribing to a “few” email lists than the following scenario will seem familiar to you: A new tool or product appear in your niche and “whoops” magically your email inbox fills up with all this sales copies that urge you to buy the new tool or product via their “special” link. Most of them even start with: “My old friend X.Z. just put this cool new xyz on the market and I totally blown away about it…” and then comes the sales pitch. Affiliate marketing at its finest.
In preparation for this blog post I checked and NONE of the email lists I am subscribed to, has provided me with anything else then sale pitches and affiliate products. No added value whatsoever ;-( And did I ever buy anything from them? Nops, the last product I bought was Marketing Samurai and that was because of the long trial period they offered together with the TDC. So if I don’t buy into these sales pitches, why would anybody else?
Lets be honest, people DO buy from these lists, but are they happy with the purchase? How often have you bought something from one of the gurus and how often have you regretted it? And how often have you been happy about the purchase? I don’t say that every product promoted by affiliate marketers via their lists is rubbish, but far too many are and far too many people buy the wrong products and tools, wasting so their money. A typical affiliate commission is often 40% or more, an earning margin like this might tempt people to recommend products they never tested and therefor can’t recommend in a honest way.
Whenever I feel the temptation to start a list, I ask myself what kind of products could / would I sell, with a good conscience, to the subscribers of such a list? I come normally up with only a few and that are the ones I am already promoting on my blog (see first side bar). That are products and services I use myself since some time and that I know and can recommend. So, as I don’t feel comfortable to promote each week a new affiliate product I have never tested myself, I don’t build a list — at the moment.
The other thing is the difficulty to get people to subscribe to, and stay on!, your list. A lot of internet marketers use some “bait” to achieve this, like free ebooks, free reports, free ecourses, etc. I personally think that I am better off putting such material in form of posts and pages on my blog and to increase this way the value my blog has for ALL my readers, not only for the ones that give me their email address. I fear I would dilute my content by spreading it too thin over too many channels.
But again, your own mileage might vary. You might be interested in doing a lot of affiliate marketing and you might have attractive material to use as a “bait” so that people subscribe to your list. My experience and my reasons don’t have to be yours. But let me give you at least some tips, from the perspective of a subscriber, to help you to be a better lister (sorry for the pun):
- Make your list useful to your subscribers by providing them with a lot of great, free material.
- Keep sales pitches clean and to the minimum.
- Promote only products you can honestly recommend.
- Do everything you can to make being on your list a true advantage for your subscribers and unsubscribing from it a disadvantage.
Ok, last words, as I researched about lists, list building and the like I came across two tools. One is Aweber, a paid solution most internet marketer seem to use and PhpList a free, less well known, alternative. So, if you want to get your toes wet with list building, these two might be a place to start with your own research 😉
So, what is your take at the whole “The Money is in the List!”-mantra? Do you have / use lists, do you have success? What would you recommend others to do, or not to do? Me, myself and I want to know, not to mention my rabid readers! 😉 (Anybody knows who said this? Nothing to win, just for fun!)
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