A list building mistake that will kill your business

13 replies
Don't let this happen to you.

I recently made a rookie mistake that cost me time and money and I want to share so others don't do the same thing.

I found what I thought was a great niche with a ton of traffic. I found the product I wanted to sell, created a free ebook as a giveaway, built my squeeze page,etc.

I started my test marketing using Google PPC.

I instantly started getting lots of traffic and my conversion rate was 30 percent. But no one purchased the paid product.

Why?

I actually made two mistakes, but the first one was critical.

Mistake number 1- my giveaway was too good. My ebook not only answered the "what", but it also gave them the "how". They searched for a solution to a problem and got the answer. There was no need to spend money on my product even though the paid product was far superior to the free product. They didn't differentiate. For a list building campaign to be successful, the giveaway has to be a teaser. It has to establish you as the authority but leave them wanting more. If they ask a question and you give them the answer, there is nothing left to sell.

Mistake number 2- in my haste to put together my campaign with Google, I didn't filter out the people searching for "free" stuff. As a general rule, you can sell products to people searching for a solution by hooking them with a free offer, but if they start out looking for a free solution, they will not pay for it. Freebie seekers will just take up space in your database. And as a side statement, when you are searching out a niche, make sure the niche isn't inundated with free solutions. Always Google your top keywords and find out who is in the space and what they are offering. There are certain niches that are notorious for being hooks in themselves and there are no paying customers.

I hope my this helps someone else.
#building #business #kill #list #mistake
  • Jimmy Brown, a well known marketer, said in one of his ebooks that a free PDF ebook should be "useful but incomplete". That means that it needs to be good enough to point the prospect in the right direction to solve his problem (so you build authority towards him), but it should not give away the whole solution, which is of course where your products comes in play.

    Basically, you want the PDF to prove that you know how to solve the prospect's problem by hinting part of the solution, and then you point him to your product if he wants to get the whole deal.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1203669].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
    JB is oh so true.

    Why would anyone purchase anything if a free product gives them everything they want???

    Good advice on freebie seekers.

    TL
    Signature

    "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. -- Mark Twain

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1203702].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author fifthnormal
    Getting rid of the "free" searchers is critical. But, out of the two mistakes I think that the giving away the goods in the ebook was probably worse since you might have been able to convert some of the "free" searchers with the ebook (maybe).

    But at least you figured out the problems! Good luck on the next one you do.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1203726].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bobsedge
    I will fix this problem and re-test it. I think another lesson to learn here is that it's important to step back and try to understand why something is not working. The market may be fine, but the approach may be bad. The good news is that I proved that a market exists and that they are seeking solutions to a problem.
    Signature
    www.flexxbuy.com - multiple lender customer financing platform for prime to sub-prime consumers.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1203870].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Marian Berghes
    you say "...even though the paid product was far superior to the free product. They didn't differentiate"

    make it so they differentiate it...if you can find a way so they will understand that just because they got your free stuff that doesn't mean that they "got it all covered".

    Also, you say that you already gave them the answer in the free ebook...how does the paid one become superior?
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1203897].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Originally Posted by bobsedge View Post

    Don't let this happen to you.

    I recently made a rookie mistake that cost me time and money and I want to share so others don't do the same thing.

    I found what I thought was a great niche with a ton of traffic. I found the product I wanted to sell, created a free ebook as a giveaway, built my squeeze page,etc.

    I started my test marketing using Google PPC.

    I instantly started getting lots of traffic and my conversion rate was 30 percent. But no one purchased the paid product.

    Why?

    I actually made two mistakes, but the first one was critical.

    Mistake number 1- my giveaway was too good. My ebook not only answered the "what", but it also gave them the "how". They searched for a solution to a problem and got the answer. There was no need to spend money on my product even though the paid product was far superior to the free product. They didn't differentiate. For a list building campaign to be successful, the giveaway has to be a teaser. It has to establish you as the authority but leave them wanting more. If they ask a question and you give them the answer, there is nothing left to sell.

    Mistake number 2- in my haste to put together my campaign with Google, I didn't filter out the people searching for "free" stuff. As a general rule, you can sell products to people searching for a solution by hooking them with a free offer, but if they start out looking for a free solution, they will not pay for it. Freebie seekers will just take up space in your database. And as a side statement, when you are searching out a niche, make sure the niche isn't inundated with free solutions. Always Google your top keywords and find out who is in the space and what they are offering. There are certain niches that are notorious for being hooks in themselves and there are no paying customers.

    I hope my this helps someone else.
    Taking th devils advocate here : Whole businesses that are very successful can be based on giving away FREE SOLUTIONS and FREE THINGS. Trust me I do it and many other people I know do it too. Its called CPA products and there are some really, really good ones out there where you make money and people buy absolutely NOTHING !!

    A person just needs to do their homework a little bit to find it !!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1203943].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bobsedge
    It's not practical to get them to differentiate. The mistake was that my free ebook provided the "how". Even though the paid product went into far more detail on the "how", the best approach is to talk about the "what" and just touch on the solution.

    I understand what you are saying and it makes sense, but my approach was all wrong. It's not worth patching it up when I can just as easily start again with the right approach. Thanks
    Signature
    www.flexxbuy.com - multiple lender customer financing platform for prime to sub-prime consumers.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1203948].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bobsedge
    Thanks Mike.

    I thought it was important because if I didn't have some experience, I would have thrown the whole project out and deemed this particular market uninhabitable.

    But here is what I know.

    1. The market has a lot of traffic
    2. The market has significant competition of paid products
    3. The market has a significant number of websites running adsense
    4. I'm pretty competent with sales copy

    With these things being true, my conclusion was that my strategy had run a muck. I don't know what the end result will be, but I decided it was worth staying in the game and continue testing.
    Signature
    www.flexxbuy.com - multiple lender customer financing platform for prime to sub-prime consumers.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1204064].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Aitor Astobieta
      Bobsedge,

      I understand how you feel. I have made this mistake several times, but I have learned my lesson.

      Sometimes we have to fail first, and fail hard in order to succeed later.

      Now, you have realized that you want to give something that leaves people hungry for more. You have to excite your visitors' appetites with your free information to the point where they feel the need to buy your product.

      Of course, this is easier said than done. I also have a tendency to give too much information for free.

      Have you considered a more "hardcore" approach?

      In other words, instead of attracting freebie seekers, maybe you should attract buyers straight off the bat.

      I can think of several ways to do this:
      1. Sell your report for a small amount, like one of those $7. Once your visitors pay for the report, collect their email addresses, telling them that this gives them access to a special members area where they can get exclusive freebies along with the $7 report.
      2. Direct them to a sales letter of your product. The higher the price of the product, the more qualified subscribers to your list you will have. Once they purchase your product, collect their email address and place them in a customer list.
      3. Another option is to entice them with a discount: give me your name and email address, and you will be able to buy these product(s) at a discounted price.
      There are many ways to do this. But the idea is to get people into your list who are ready to whip out their credit cards.

      You may get a smaller list this way, but you will be getting a high-quality list.

      By offering a freebie on the other hand, you will be getting more people onto your list, but of a lower quality, since they want free information, but they are not yet willing to buy your products or services.

      I am actually working on a video series WSO on this very subject because it has constantly been on my mind lately.

      Wish you the best,
      Aitor
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1204159].message }}
      • Originally Posted by Aitor Astobieta View Post

        1. Sell your report for a small amount, like one of those $7. Once your visitors pay for the report, collect their email addresses, telling them that this gives them access to a special members area where they can get exclusive freebies along with the $7 report.
        I would advice against capping your opt-in rate by putting a price tag on your report. You can easily slash your opt-in rate by a factor of 10. And yes, I agree that it would be a list made by buyers (which is worth a lot more), but you never know if a non-buyer might later on buy into your future products/promotions.

        That's why I believe that The Funnel should always start with a worthy freebie, building your list as much as possible, and then simply monetize that list with a $7 report if you so wish.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1204734].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author bobsedge
    Aitor,

    This is excellent advice.

    My list building has always revolved around offering a free product as a hook, but you make great points.

    I will split test both ways. Thanks again

    Bob
    Signature
    www.flexxbuy.com - multiple lender customer financing platform for prime to sub-prime consumers.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1204214].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ItsDubC
    Great advice here. I thought about offering a free eBook to build a list but had the hardest time creating an eBook that didn't give too much info away while at the same time not being completely shallow content-wise.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1204764].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author shermancox
    Originally Posted by bobsedge View Post

    Mistake number 1- my giveaway was too good.
    Yep...made the same mistake myself. I think that my ebook has done a lot towards producing a list of folks who expect to get tons of free stuff without paying a dime...
    Signature

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[1213815].message }}

Trending Topics