Help / suggestions for opt-in building email lists?

by EDIT
15 replies
Hey everyone.

I have searched this forum and found some threads that are 4-5 years old regarding something that I have been thinking about with email marketing.

I am new to all of this as I am sure you will be able to tell by my questions and have tried my best to do a search to find my answers but cannot, so I apologize in advance if this has been discussed already. Maybe I don't know the right terminology to search under?

I am trying to learn about building an email list and have started writing my free report that I will give away in exchange for an email address (basic pdf format) and it seems from reading old threads on this forum that it is inevitable that my free report, provided that it is high in value, will get leaked, copied, and shared on the internet without others actually opting in with an email address.

Does this still hold true in 2015? Are there ways around this? Should I be concerned about this at all?

I have read from some people on old threads here that because it is destined that my free report will get shared with others without an exchange of an email address, that it is a good idea to sprinkle your affiliate links in the report that you give away for free. That sounds like a good idea and all, but here is where I am having a problem with this....

I plan on actually spending a lot of time, thought, and care with my free giveaway and truly believe that I have something different to offer in my report that none of my competitors discuss or that I even see discussed on the internet. The niche that I am about to enter is something that I actually genuinely care a great deal about so I don't want my free report to seem like a sales pitch with a bunch of affiliate links on it.

I was actually thinking about NOT putting any affiliate links on my report at all. Is this a good idea? bad idea?

I have very mixed feelings now about the direction I am heading towards and don't know if what I am doing is the right way of going about things?

I hate to spend all this time and effort in my report expecting to build an email list out of it, but only potentially get a few subscribers because a bunch of people who got my report never even came to my website in the first place.

At the same time, as I have said above, I do care about this niche and the people that I will hopefully attract, so the point that the content is being spread around doesn't really bother me too much because ultimately I would like anyone who is interested in my niche to read the report.

Having said that, it does defeat the whole purpose of trying to build a list though, right? Or wrong? I dunno?

What I was thinking about doing was providing something at the end of the report that will pull my visitors into wanting to subscribe. So if someone got one of my reports from a forum or something similar that was not via my opt-in, by the time they read the end of the report, they will want to go to my site and subscribe.

For example, if my niche was about learning how to read and write English (which it is not) and my free report was a guide on learning the alphabet, then at the end of the report I would put something on there that suggests that if you are a subscriber, you will get emails with tips on how to read and write English now that you know your ABC's (alphabet).

Is this my only option here? Anyone have some suggestions? Experience you can share with me? Or anything to add that will set me in the right direction in creating this report?

Thanks so much in advance.
#building #email #lists #optin #suggestions
  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    I'm not an affiliate but I think this would solve your 'problem'

    viralpdfmaster dot com
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    Making Calls To Sell Something? What are you actually saying?
    Is there any room for improvement? Want to find out?

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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

      Does this still hold true in 2015? Are there ways around this? Should I be concerned about this at all?
      Yes, it still holds true. Thieves will steal.

      Like a determined burglar, a determined content thief will acquire your content. There are ways to make it more difficult to steal, but they also usually make it harder for your legit readers to consume your content.

      You can spend a lot of time worrying about something you can't prevent, or you can do what you can to mitigate the problem.

      Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

      I was actually thinking about NOT putting any affiliate links on my report at all. Is this a good idea? bad idea?



      Having said that, it does defeat the whole purpose of trying to build a list though, right? Or wrong? I dunno?
      I agree that hanging a bunch of affiliate links on your report for the sole purpose of benefiting from thieves is not the best idea.

      You may lose a few subscribers if they happen to overlap between your site and where the thieves post, but I believe that in most niches that overlap will be minimal.

      Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

      What I was thinking about doing was providing something at the end of the report that will pull my visitors into wanting to subscribe. So if someone got one of my reports from a forum or something similar that was not via my opt-in, by the time they read the end of the report, they will want to go to my site and subscribe.
      This is the option I would opt for if I were in your shoes.

      If someone acquires your report outside of your intended channels (your opt-in process), then it becomes similar to a video or article appearing on another website. You want to provide a positive experience for the reader, and offer them the opportunity to extend that experience by reading your emails.

      When someone does get your report via legit opt-in, you want to provide a positive experience and leave them wanting more of what you have to say - your emails.

      One bit of framing I've seen several people use is something like:
      "I hope you enjoyed this and got XYZ from it. If you want more, and you got this anywhere but my site, go to [landing page url] and enter your email address. Thanks, and we'll see you on the other side."
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

    it seems from reading old threads on this forum that it is inevitable that my free report, provided that it is high in value, will get leaked, copied, and shared on the internet without others actually opting in with an email address.

    Does this still hold true in 2015?
    Probably.

    Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

    Are there ways around this?
    Probably some, but does it really matter?

    Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

    Should I be concerned about this at all?
    Only you can decide this. I'm not concerned about it at all, myself. My "free reports" get "leaked" all over the place but it doesn't bother me. I've written them all to allow for that, and I benefit from it, actually. They have links back to my site.

    Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

    I have read from some people on old threads here that because it is destined that my free report will get shared with others without an exchange of an email address, that it is a good idea to sprinkle your affiliate links in the report that you give away for free. That sounds like a good idea
    Well, not so much to me, actually ... but opinions will always differ, about these things.

    Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

    I was actually thinking about NOT putting any affiliate links on my report at all. Is this a good idea? bad idea?
    I think it can be a good idea.

    Some of mine contain none at all.

    Some of my older ones contain one (but never presented in such a way that anyone could imagine that this was the primary purpose of promoting the free report).

    Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

    I have very mixed feelings now about the direction I am heading towards and don't know if what I am doing is the right way of going about things?
    I don't mean to sound "dismissive" at all, but honestly I suspect you may be overthinking an issue that isn't actually very important.

    Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

    I hate to spend all this time and effort in my report expecting to build an email list out of it, but only potentially get a few subscribers because a bunch of people who got my report never even came to my website in the first place.
    If they don't, they don't. Would having great "product security" for your freebie have brought them to your website, anyway? No, I thought not ...

    I actually ask people (in my free reports) not to circulate them to their friends (though I know that people sometimes do) and I explain why at some length and in some detail, so that people can appreciate that referring someone to my opt-in page and encouraging them to opt in, themselves, is doing them a much bigger favor than just giving them the free report! It's logical, simple, easy to understand, and true.

    Originally Posted by EDIT View Post

    it does defeat the whole purpose of trying to build a list though, right? Or wrong?
    Wrong, I think.

    It's really just not that important. It's a free report that (I hope) brands you, brands your website, and promotes your business. How much real harm can it do, for that to spread to additional people?


    .
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    • Profile picture of the author brennonhawkins
      I think you are too worried about this.

      If your report got into the hands of someone via a "leak" you shouldn't
      worry about that because if you're content is well-written and has
      a high perception of value than a non-sub reader will want to go back to your
      site just to subscribe to you.

      You should want your report to get leaked around
      because then more people within the niche will get to know and trust you.

      I wouldn't beg for subs at the end because your current subs would
      probably look down on that.

      In my opinion, you should be putting as many affiliate links as you can
      in there. After all, you are an Internet Marketer, not a charity.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    EDIT, good to see you list building

    Lexi makes a great point; think abundance. Like, instead of worrying about missing out on subscribers celebrate the fact that you'll get subscribers, and extra pub, if people share your book. Think of it this way: on this entrepreneurial journey your fears will be revealed to you both through your personal experience and by experienced, seasoned pros who have been there. We want to help and will get you from Point A to Point B, quickly, by addressing your fears.

    Then, you can feel the fear and do it anyway.

    You have something special to offer. Offer it for free, build your list, connect with leaders in your niche, keep learning and keep putting your newfound knowledge into action. We'll help you act despite your fears when you share them on the forum, and you can just keep going onward and upward from there.

    All the best!

    Ryan
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    Ryan Biddulph, Blogger, Author, World Traveling Digital Nomad
    If you want to become a full time blogger you can buy my course here
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  • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
    I wouldn't really mind people sharing my report, these are not the people that will buy from you anyways. I wouldn't say it's a bad idea to add affiliate links in your report, but don't overdo it.

    All in all i would consider it a good thing it gets shared, more exposure for you and it means it provides value = worth sharing.
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  • Profile picture of the author EDIT
    Thank you all for your thoughts and responses. It has confirmed that I should just forget about this issue and put my head down and keep working LOL, but it has got me thinking a lot about how to write this report so thank you all so much.


    Feel very fortunate to have found this forum because some of this shit is making my head explode lol.


    @ John, that framing that you mention is golden! THANK YOU so much for sharing that!
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  • Profile picture of the author Edson Buchanan
    As a full time online marketer, I would also advice you that thieves will steal. there is not reason to worry about it. Just focus on the paying customers and there will be as long as you have a good product .
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    • Profile picture of the author Peter Lee
      I don't really get bothered by such things as I have no control of that. My main objective of writing a free report is to provide useful information to people who need it and who will optin to get it in exchange for their email. So the free report is just a means to get another new subscriber into my growing list. I am not sure why you would place so much importance and effort in what you just described. I don't. In fact I write many free reports and tweak each of them during testing to see which ones get a better optin rate.
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  • Profile picture of the author EDIT
    The only reason that I placed so much importance and thought into what I was describing, which I don't think I really did a good job expressing in my initial post, is because I wanted to know how a "leaked" report could hurt or benefit me trying to build a subscriber list.

    Now, I want to try to figure out ways in which I can direct someone who has found my "leaked" report to my opt-in to subscribe, which will change the way in which I will write my report going forward.

    Peter, I never even considered the idea that I could tweak the report to test opt-in rates an option. I don't know why I never thought of that, but thanks for sharing that!

    I am seriously really new to all this. I just found out what wordpress is and what hosting is almost 3 months ago and now I want to try and focus on learning how to build an email list so I realize that these questions I am asking are probably really dumb, but believe it or not, they have been some "ahh-ha" moments for me so I cannot express how grateful for all of you more experienced folks taking the time to respond. Many thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author smoor2012
    Alexa Smith had the best response to all of your questions. I understand that you are trying to get things started and have several things on your mind. That is completely understandable.

    What I will suggest is to take your ideas and the passions you have for your niche, write your report and proofread it a few times, then go with it.

    Watch your results and make adjustments as necessary. You may be over thinking this, which you will learn to do less of, and that can ultimately paralyze you. Any of us can do that with any project.

    Once you get things set up, I will suggest to you to try udimi for buying solo ads. It is a streamlined process and I am getting good results with opt ins.

    Good luck. Keep working hard and stay with your passions.
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Kyle
    Hi EDIT (?),

    Illegal sharing of your free report isn't an issue at all and as stated above, plaster your brand and URL all over it.

    Illegal sharing of your paid products is different though and setting up Google Alerts to track those and issue DMCA's to the hosting companies where the illegal sharing is going on is a good but time-consuming procedure in your business.

    The bigger issue though with approaching email marketing is what you can bring to your email subscribers apart from a desire to make money (who doesn't have that?).

    To get the best results from email marketing + marketing in general, think about which of these roles or functions you can serve in a niche (could be more than one or all) for newbies there:
    • Leader/teacher/inspirer (like a black belt teaching white belts)
    • Initiator of change, movement starter
    • Researcher /reviewer/tester (interviews, test drives, case studies)
    • Entertainer
    • Rebel underdog, challenging status quo
    • Tools provider
    • Advocate/critic analyst
    • Community builder/connector
    • Niche industry newsbreaker

    The technical mechanics of email marketing are pretty easily mastered but thinking about your brand positioning, committment to leadership of a niche and level of service are much more important.
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    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      Hey EDIT,
      Your worrying about much to do about nothing. Really !!

      You are paralyzing yourself over something that is a non issue.

      It might get shared but it will not matter in long run. It just WON'T !

      As far as Affiliate links ?

      Yes, keep them out of the Report.

      It is a huge turnoff to your prospects



      - Robert Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author summersalt
    Man, your post was very long. Next time please make it shorter maybe the people like me would have more encouragement to go through everything. Anyways, I think if you are making a free report as giveaway at sign up, its actually a good thing. You can add affiliate links on the report but make sure to let your readers know. If you are not doing this already, you are leaving money on the table. (make sure these affiliate products would be solving the needs and problems of your subscribers and that you aint doing it for the sole purpose of making money off them)

    Secondly, when you have means of making money fro your hard work...maybe you won't be worried about people sharing your report at will. You would even be encouraging it. Knowing fully well that this is bound to happen, you should have call to actions back to your website and optin pages
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  • Profile picture of the author EDIT
    Hey summersalt

    Yes, you are right. My post was way too long LOL. I got carried away because I just have so many questions. This stuff is very confusing to me, but it is slowly starting to make more sense everyday. Thank you so much for all the replies and sorry for the eyesore everyone LOL. Appreciate you all taking the time to read and respond. Definitely will be saving this thread in my notes.
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