What Would YOU Do (List Building Strategies 101)

by cjp214
27 replies
Hi all,

I've spent a good deal of time studying and applying IM. I'm familiar enough with the "basics" of affiliate marketing, SEO, keyword research, and product development.

But I'm ready to take this thing to the next level. I always hear "the money's in the list," "build your subscribers' list, man!" etc. It's something I haven't tried yet, but I'm ready to let it rip.

So, here's my question to the fellow Warriors out there: what's the best way to build an email list?

Other considerations to keep in mind:
  • I plan to pick a niche and promote several (nice-related) affiliate products OR my own products
  • This list doesn't need to be huge; it just needs to be large enough to be worth the time I put into it.
  • My ultimate plan would be to create 4 or 5 of these sites in different niches to build up my passive income through these different lists.
  • I plan to have simple site design... just a squeeze or opt-in page, home page, about, contact, etc. If it all possible, I want to avoid creating any additional blogs (already have one that takes up a lot of time)
  • I would entice visitors to join my list by giving away a free report, audio recording, or another info product (lead magnet)
  • Then I would provide subscribers with free, valuable (niche-related) content (and occasional offers). Ideally, I would use an auto responder to set this up and plan the messages in advance.
  • My budget is pretty tight at this point. I'm not planning on paying someone to do this for me, but I could swing a few PPC campaigns.
I'm curious to know: in your experience, how would you drive traffic to the site and get that traffic to subscribe to your email list? What strategy or strategies do you think would work the best in the scenario I've laid out?

Obviously, I'm not going to be able to get this perfect right off the bat. I will implement and tweak as I go. But I wanted as many people's opinions (those of you who have "been there, done that") to get me started in the right direction.

Thanks a lot and I'm looking forward to everyone's answers.


Corey
#101 #building #email marketing #list #list building #strategies #traffic
  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Focus on building a quality lead generating platform first. I use blogs. I focused first on stocking my blogs with content my target audience wants. Everything flows from there. Gain credibility first then build a list quickly based on their needs. The truth is your market is TELLING YOU WHAT THEY WANT. It's up to you if you want to listen or not.
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    • Profile picture of the author cjp214
      Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

      Focus on building a quality lead generating platform first. I use blogs. I focused first on stocking my blogs with content my target audience wants. Everything flows from there. Gain credibility first then build a list quickly based on their needs. The truth is your market is TELLING YOU WHAT THEY WANT. It's up to you if you want to listen or not.
      Absolutely. It's amazing to me how many people get this completely backwards. I don't pretend to know everything about IM but it's staggering to me how many people ignore the "signals."

      The internet is the largest bitchfest known to man (and lady) kind. As annoying as it can be ("no, I don't care about how sad you are your favorite football team lost...go tell someone else on facebook"), it's a great tool for finding out exactly what people want.

      Yet people persist with promoting a product that they like or think is cool. Worse yet, they take the time to create a product that they think their niche would like...

      The remedy:

      1. Pick a niche
      2. Build traffic/credibility by delivering content the niche finds valuable (if you don't know what to write about, just ask them)
      3. Promote a product to that list that solves a problem you know your niche has

      Takes the uncertainty right out of it, no?

      Thanks again for your reply.

      Corey
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  • Profile picture of the author adsassist
    Make sure you make a list for each product/niche. The more targeted your list is, it will be easier to keep them happy with their needs.

    Capture names and emails when you sell a product. A buyers list is the main goal in building a list.Your selling rate will be higher with a buyers list then a freebie list. Buyers list will convert around 8-10% as a freebie list will be around 2%. Depends how well you market your lists.

    For traffic, try every traffic source you can. Find the ones that fit you best. Not everyone can do every traffic source. Some people are better then others. Once you find the traffic sources you are good at, spend most of your time with them. You will only get better and that's when you will generate hoards of traffic.

    Hope this helps
    Justin
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    • Profile picture of the author cjp214
      Originally Posted by adsassist View Post

      Make sure you make a list for each product/niche. The more targeted your list is, it will be easier to keep them happy with their needs.

      Capture names and emails when you sell a product. A buyers list is the main goal in building a list.Your selling rate will be higher with a buyers list then a freebie list. Buyers list will convert around 8-10% as a freebie list will be around 2%. Depends how well you market your lists.

      For traffic, try every traffic source you can. Find the ones that fit you best. Not everyone can do every traffic source. Some people are better then others. Once you find the traffic sources you are good at, spend most of your time with them. You will only get better and that's when you will generate hoards of traffic.

      Hope this helps
      Justin
      Thanks, Justin. It definitely helps. I understand that previous buyers are where the email list "gold" is, but I didn't know the difference in conversion rates was so significant.

      One question for you (and this will sound ignorant, I'm sure). How exactly do you collect someone's information and add them to your email list when they buy something from you? I was planning on using E-Junkie for my online payment processing. Can I integrate E-Junkie with Aweber/Mail Chimp so the information is added as a subscriber?

      Another issue I had was I wouldn't want to put someone on a list just because they bought something from me. Do you think it's a good idea to allow them the option to subscribe? Or at least ask them about it instead of just doing it?

      Anyways, thanks a lot man. Much appreciated.

      Corey
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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    Originally Posted by cjp214 View Post

    So, here's my question to the fellow Warriors out there: what's the best way to build an email list?
    I offer the following observations (excuse my not typing them out again, please): http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post6123982
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    • Profile picture of the author cjp214
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      I offer the following observations (excuse my not typing them out again, please): http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post6123982
      You are excused! Thanks for your reply. You gave me some interesting things to think about, especially re: the all holy squeeze page.

      Oh yeah. And nice avatar...

      Corey
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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        Originally Posted by cjp214 View Post

        You gave me some interesting things to think about, especially re: the all holy squeeze page.
        Ultimately it's something you have to test for yourself. In my opinion, a lot depends on traffic demographics, but it's certainly not difficult to prove that some of the best future customers are people who won't opt in to a squeeze page. More in this post: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post7632801
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by Anomalous View Post

          My suggestion is to be careful about this part. My experience is that too many freebies train your subscribers not to buy.
          This is spot on. Scan through just this forum, and count the number of people who complain about subscribers consuming all the free stuff and then unsubscribing, complaining or crying spam when sent a not-free offer.

          Maintaining a responsive list is like that old formula for writing a speech - tell 'em what you are going to tell 'em, tell 'em, tell 'em what you told 'em. Give them what they expect. The neat part is that you get to decide what they should expect.

          Originally Posted by Anomalous View Post

          There is an art to weaving your offers into your content. I avoid hard selling, but I am promoting an offer in every message I send. Each offer I promote is promoted through a sequence of messages; I never just take one shot at it and move on to the next offer.

          For example:

          You could have the first message in a sequence introduce a product you've used successfully, and simply share your results.

          The next message could provide "social proof" by linking to your blog post where you've embedded YouTube videos of real testimonials.

          The third message could then be a guide on how to get on-going support for this product, and how to get involved with on-line communities of people that are also using this product.

          See what I mean? You sort of build a system around a product, and increase conversions with repeat exposure.
          This sequence works. Here's another one:

          > Introduce a problem/opportunity and define it in the terms you want to use.

          > Explain the parameters of a solution, and what said solution has to do to reach the end result.

          > (Optional, depending on the product) Explain the solution in excruciating, step-by-step detail. Someone following this should be able to reasonably expect a favorable result.

          > Offer your product as an alternative to the manual solution. Show how it eliminates the most painful/boring parts of the manual solution. Invite subscribers to check it out.

          Repeat with another related problem/solution/product sequence.

          This works best if the niche within which you're working isn't too specific.

          Originally Posted by Anomalous View Post

          IMHO, sprinkling promotional offers throughout a long sequence of super content and freebies is a great way to work hard for very little return. Don't be afraid to sell, just do it in the spirit of helping people. Promote products/services you believe in and have experience with.
          It's been quoted so often as to become a cliche', but it's true...

          "You can get anything you want if you help enough other people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar
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  • Profile picture of the author Anomalous
    Originally Posted by cjp214 View Post

    • Then I would provide subscribers with free, valuable (niche-related) content (and occasional offers).
    My suggestion is to be careful about this part. My experience is that too many freebies train your subscribers not to buy.

    There is an art to weaving your offers into your content. I avoid hard selling, but I am promoting an offer in every message I send. Each offer I promote is promoted through a sequence of messages; I never just take one shot at it and move on to the next offer.

    For example:

    You could have the first message in a sequence introduce a product you've used successfully, and simply share your results.

    The next message could provide "social proof" by linking to your blog post where you've embedded YouTube videos of real testimonials.

    The third message could then be a guide on how to get on-going support for this product, and how to get involved with on-line communities of people that are also using this product.

    See what I mean? You sort of build a system around a product, and increase conversions with repeat exposure.

    IMHO, sprinkling promotional offers throughout a long sequence of super content and freebies is a great way to work hard for very little return. Don't be afraid to sell, just do it in the spirit of helping people. Promote products/services you believe in and have experience with.
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    • Profile picture of the author cjp214
      Originally Posted by Anomalous View Post

      My suggestion is to be careful about this part. My experience is that too many freebies train your subscribers not to buy.

      There is an art to weaving your offers into your content. I avoid hard selling, but I am promoting an offer in every message I send. Each offer I promote is promoted through a sequence of messages; I never just take one shot at it and move on to the next offer.

      For example:

      You could have the first message in a sequence introduce a product you've used successfully, and simply share your results.

      The next message could provide "social proof" by linking to your blog post where you've embedded YouTube videos of real testimonials.

      The third message could then be a guide on how to get on-going support for this product, and how to get involved with on-line communities of people that are also using this product.

      See what I mean? You sort of build a system around a product, and increase conversions with repeat exposure.

      IMHO, sprinkling promotional offers throughout a long sequence of super content and freebies is a great way to work hard for very little return. Don't be afraid to sell, just do it in the spirit of helping people. Promote products/services you believe in and have experience with.
      Thanks, man. Sounds like you've been reading some of Ben Settle's emails (and if you haven't, you should hop on his list!)

      Agreed about the sequence of emails promoting a product. I've watched Ben do it in my inbox every freaking morning... and I still haven't subscribed. Although I can't afford his newsletter at this point, I'll probably break down and subscribe to the darn thing when I can because he has been chipping away with his sales message over time. Pretty cool stuff.

      There are obviously different opinions about how much free content to offer vs. the amount of time you devote to promotion. I think it is possible to offer valuable info and sell in the same email. It'll just take some practice before I get good at it.

      Thanks for your reply,

      Corey
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  • Profile picture of the author owenlee
    The driving traffic part depends largely on your skills and how much effort you wanna put in...
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  • Profile picture of the author jgant
    In 2012 I started taking email marketing more serious. I did the following for traffic:
    • Solo ads
    • Banner ads
    • SEO
    • Article syndication
    • PPC (Bing AdCenter mostly)

    I invested about $6K at least in paid traffic directly to a squeeze page. It was in a niche I know well. Most of these leads were not good for affiliate marketing. I'm still in the hole.

    I put a lot of time creating a decent 4 month email sequence expanding on the niche with unique content peppering in relevant offers.

    Granted I'm fairly new to email marketing in earnest, but the results weren't good.

    I'm back to organic list building by creating large and informative blogs and attracting subscribers from the blog after they read the content. Yes, it's far fewer subscribers, but they're engaged and recognize me (or my pen name or my brand).

    I've learned that subscribers via quality content are the most valuable (although buyers may be more engaged ... but I haven't gone that route yet).

    I'm still fairly new to this email marketing so take what I have to say with a grain of salt. Traffic sources really do matter, especially for freebie sign-up options. I didn't have a hard time converting visitors to subscribers ... just a hard time making it pay from paid traffic sources.

    Please do your own testing though. This is my experience, but many warriors do well with paid traffic sources.

    Ironically, my first email marketing endeavor, which I did start haphazardly 2 years ago is in a small niche in which I was and am the only real player. I've built up 1,500 subs of highly targeted readers who are very responsive. I promote very few products, one of which is a recurring commission software. This tiny list now generates mid-4 figures a month. I NEVER paid a nickel for traffic - it's all from the blog. This is what taught me that FOR ME blog traffic results in better, albeit fewer subscribers.
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    • Profile picture of the author cjp214
      Originally Posted by jgant View Post

      In 2012 I started taking email marketing more serious. I did the following for traffic:
      • Solo ads
      • Banner ads
      • SEO
      • Article syndication
      • PPC (Bing AdCenter mostly)

      I invested about $6K at least in paid traffic directly to a squeeze page. It was in a niche I know well. Most of these leads were not good for affiliate marketing. I'm still in the hole.

      I put a lot of time creating a decent 4 month email sequence expanding on the niche with unique content peppering in relevant offers.

      Granted I'm fairly new to email marketing in earnest, but the results weren't good.

      I'm back to organic list building by creating large and informative blogs and attracting subscribers from the blog after they read the content. Yes, it's far fewer subscribers, but they're engaged and recognize me (or my pen name or my brand).

      I've learned that subscribers via quality content are the most valuable (although buyers may be more engaged ... but I haven't gone that route yet).

      I'm still fairly new to this email marketing so take what I have to say with a grain of salt. Traffic sources really do matter, especially for freebie sign-up options. I didn't have a hard time converting visitors to subscribers ... just a hard time making it pay from paid traffic sources.

      Please do your own testing though. This is my experience, but many warriors do well with paid traffic sources.

      Ironically, my first email marketing endeavor, which I did start haphazardly 2 years ago is in a small niche in which I was and am the only real player. I've built up 1,500 subs of highly targeted readers who are very responsive. I promote very few products, one of which is a recurring commission software. This tiny list now generates mid-4 figures a month. I NEVER paid a nickel for traffic - it's all from the blog. This is what taught me that FOR ME blog traffic results in better, albeit fewer subscribers.
      Awesome reply, jgant. Thank you.

      I think I'll stick to the free sources now and see how that goes. Then, if I'm not getting the results I'm looking for, I'll incorporate PPC and other paid campaigns as I continue to learn.

      That's awesome about your list. And that's my ultimate goal, really. I don't mind if I have a small amount of subscribers, as long as those subscribers are responsive enough to make the niche commercially viable.

      I would really love to learn enough about email marketing to build 4 or 5 niche sites like the one you mentioned in your post. Then you could use some of the profits to outsource traffic generation and content creation while you developed new products to offer your subscribers (or found new affiliate products).

      A few questions about your successful niche site. Did you find products you wanted to promote first and then built the niche site around it? Or did you just pick a niche and then found products? How did you judge whether the niche would be profitable before you dove in? Finally, I understand that your subscribers came from your blog readership. How did you drive traffic to that blog? Did you use SEO on blog posts, or other traffic generation strategies? How often did you have to post on the blog to keep people engaged?

      Phew. That's a lot, I know. But you have my brain firing this morning.

      Thanks a ton,

      Corey
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  • Profile picture of the author khooster1
    Blog traffic conversion is higher than paid traffic most of the time. However it is time-consuming. My take: use both. It is important to have multiple streams of traffic.
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    • Profile picture of the author doshmachine
      For Free long term traffic try a few of the following.

      1. Blog comments in high traffic blogs on your niche.
      2. Forum posts in related threads and start your own threads in high ranking forums on your niche.
      3. Submit all your blog posts to article directories with relevant links included. Do this after they have been indexed on your site so your site gets authority.

      These will start to drive a consistent flow of targeted traffic for little effort.

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      • Profile picture of the author cjp214
        Originally Posted by doshmachine View Post

        For Free long term traffic try a few of the following.

        1. Blog comments in high traffic blogs on your niche.
        2. Forum posts in related threads and start your own threads in high ranking forums on your niche.
        3. Submit all your blog posts to article directories with relevant links included. Do this after they have been indexed on your site so your site gets authority.

        These will start to drive a consistent flow of targeted traffic for little effort.

        Traffic Tips | WPOptins Plugin
        Good ideas. But don't article directories require unique content? Do you "spin" your blog posts before submitting them to an article directory... or when you make multiple submissions to different directories?

        If it's worth the time and effort, I'm willing to make the investment.

        Thanks,

        Corey
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        • Profile picture of the author doshmachine
          Originally Posted by cjp214 View Post

          Good ideas. But don't article directories require unique content? Do you "spin" your blog posts before submitting them to an article directory... or when you make multiple submissions to different directories?

          If it's worth the time and effort, I'm willing to make the investment.

          Thanks,

          Corey
          You could give a couple a re-write (not spin) for every few submissions but the point here is not to rank on google. Your site gets the authority anyway... if you post them to directories after it has been indexed on your site.

          People will read these somehow and if they are good quality, interesting content, relevant to your niche they often end up on high traffic blogs etc with better ranking than yours... with your links intact.

          The traffic will come from the links themselves not their affect on google.

          Given that you've already written them you might as well get some extra mileage out of them....

          It can be a surprising amount of extra mileage
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  • Profile picture of the author Nicole K
    Blog traffic is very effective and a great way to make your list. But it takes time and you need a lot of patience. Paid traffic on the other hand, is much faster and you can have a list of a few hundreds in days. Whether you use free or paid traffic is up to you depending upon your finances and the time you have on your hands.
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  • Profile picture of the author adsassist
    Originally Posted by cjp214 View Post

    Thanks, Justin. It definitely helps. I understand that previous buyers are where the email list "gold" is, but I didn't know the difference in conversion rates was so significant.

    One question for you (and this will sound ignorant, I'm sure). How exactly do you collect someone's information and add them to your email list when they buy something from you? I was planning on using E-Junkie for my online payment processing. Can I integrate E-Junkie with Aweber/Mail Chimp so the information is added as a subscriber?

    Another issue I had was I wouldn't want to put someone on a list just because they bought something from me. Do you think it's a good idea to allow them the option to subscribe? Or at least ask them about it instead of just doing it?

    Anyways, thanks a lot man. Much appreciated.

    Corey
    You have 3 ways to build your buyers list.

    1. After they buy the product have them register in order to get access to your support page for the product.

    2. Have an opt-in form for updates on the product and/or other products.

    3. All of the above. Both in one form.

    Yes you can do this with most auto responders.

    Just don't add them to a list they didn't ask for. Was not an ignorant question at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author JHandy
    If you are fairly new to IM, slow down. Spending money on something that you do not understand makes no sense. One of biggest failures that marketers make is to get gung ho and hyped up about making big money on the internet, but don't slow down long enough to count up the cost. There is a cost to pay and it's with REAL hard earned money or your precious time. My suggestion to you would be to go with TIME. The internet is not going anywhere and if you don't slow down to learn the right way, you'll back where you are 5 years from now. Now once you've figured a couple of things out about how you are going to solve problems for your particular niche and they began to buy in to your solution, then you're making some headway. I would just say, it would be advisable not to come on here to TAKE from the internet (your niche), but to GIVE to your niche and they will love you for it and tell you exactly what they WANT to buy from you. Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author paul nicholls
    Just keep things nice and simple

    Because the reason why most people faili is because they over complicate things

    step 1 - create a blog within your niche to use as your content platform so you can create content and get the best of both worlds by not only giving your subscribers good info but you are creating more content for your blog which will attract more traffic which in turn builds your list bigger.

    step 2 - Link your separate squeeze page to your blog, this is what i do so you can build your list form your blog and from your squeeze page.

    step 3 - create a half decent front end product and sell it for around $10 to build your buyers list

    step 4 - build your traffic using the 3 best free traffic methods. Youtube, facebook and forums, this pretty much works in any niche and maybe do a bit of paid advertisement once you get some spare money.

    step 5 - set up affiliate programs for your products

    step 6 - build your tribe of raving fans that will buy what ever you create

    step 7 - just keep increasing your numbers (subs, traffic and conversions)

    that is pretty much it

    you could always create a litle membership site for extra income and also create more expensive products as you progress but this process above is bullet proof

    this is all i have done :-)

    ok now would you please send $27 my paypal account, that is todays lesson done!
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    Originally Posted by cjp214 View Post

    I'm curious to know: in your experience, how would you drive traffic to the site and get that traffic to subscribe to your email list? What strategy or strategies do you think would work the best in the scenario I've laid out?
    Driving highly targeted and warmed-up traffic to your site would of course work best in converting visitors to subscribers. This is what I have excelled at for over 16 years in online marketing through article syndication. It has been so effective that it is used exclusively as the marketing method of choice for building lists in whatever niche I choose.

    An excellent tutorial of this marketing model is covered in: Turn Words Into Traffic, by Jim and Dallas Edwards. Although quite dated, this book is more relevant now than ever before, especially in today's perspective of the Panda update and Google's ongoing algorithm changes.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tenzho
    I focus mainly on Solo Ads... That's the best targeted traffic source IMHO.
    Then I will redirect them to a high price OTO below $50 price point.

    Normally I would get my investment with just 2-3 sales.
    Then I reinvest the money into buying solo ads again.

    I would Rinse and repeat the whole process to build my list
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  • Profile picture of the author brianoliveruk
    This is a great thread...
    In my opinion, the best way to get buyers on your list is to create your own products. Do this on a consistent basis and if you have a favorable affiliate program you will start to gain the attention of JV's who will drive all the traffic for you.

    Thanks
    Brian
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    Originally Posted by cjp214 View Post

    how would you drive traffic to the site and get that traffic to subscribe to your email list? What strategy or strategies do you think would work the best in the scenario I've laid out?

    On the topic of getting them to subscribe:

    # 1: Have a report, audio and/or video with a compelling title
    targeting your best prospects (in other words something that
    appeals to their most desperate needs and desires) eg. 7 Most
    Costly Mistakes....

    The quality of that report and its title is really important. If
    you want your new subscribers to trust you and spread the
    word about you, you have to deliver high quality content.


    # 2: Also promote an email course (so there are two incentives
    at the point of sign up...a gift and an email course).

    eg. 21 Insider Secrets to...

    The reason for an email course is simple. You want your subscribers
    to look forward to opening and reading your emails.

    Again quality content is a key to build trust.



    Outside of that you can test different headlines and copy on your
    optin page.

    You might also have multiple landing pages with different content
    and copy based on how your prospects are arriving there (in other
    words target your pages tightly for your traffic).


    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author cwinning
    Hi cj, I've just started out in email marketing too. I've created a squeeze page with a free email marketing report followed by a email sequence that firstly builds a respected relationship with my audience then starts to promote some products I think could help them. I'm happy with this set up but I, like you, am now looking for the best ways to promote my squeeze page.

    Again, like you, my wallet is a little light so I am concentrating on free methods. I'm posting on forums, I've signed up for social medias where i've started to brand myself and business, I'm using classifieds and today I've made my first youtube video. I'm in no hurry for this to work which is why I'm not investing heavily. Once I've mastered the free sources of traffic I'll look at solo ads etc. and hopefully things will start to take off.

    I have a free blog set up where I've posted a couple of times and based on the above discussion maybe I'll invest more time in it.

    I think building a buyers list is dependent on having your own product. This will take even more time and definitely more investment.

    Good luck to you, hope you find a winning formula.
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