Category Archives: ListBuilding
One of the first lists I built was associated with this blog.
It was kind of ham-handed — an email once or twice a week with a “join this program, get a prize” hook. The prize was usually X number of hits to your chose site in a rotator I ran across a bunch of traffic exchanges.
And it worked fairly well! It got me a few referrals to each traffic exchange or other site I promoted, and I made some Internet Marketing friends I still have the pleasure of doing things with.
But I think LynnM does it better. She uses Twitter instead of email. She hands out prizes without the strong-arm “join this program” bit, “building her list” with a socially irresistible “reply to me on Twitter and you go into the drawing for [prize].”
It’s “pull” (once you know she’s out there, you can’t resist following her) instead of push (“I’m begging you to fill out this subscribe form”) marketing. Instead of chasing customers, she’s getting friends to chase her.
I admin two traffic exchanges, and there are often days when I make more money from affiliate marketing — emailing the exchanges’ members about a new traffic exchange or mailer — than the exchanges themselves bring in.
Sometimes email marketing can go very, very wrong.
It’s like Aesop’s fable of “The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg.”
So long as its owners were patient, cared for the goose, fed the goose, etc., the goose would lay an egg made of gold once a day, day in and day out, for as long as it lived.
But the owners got greedy. They figured there must be a lot of gold inside the goose, so why not just kill it and get all the gold at once? But of course, that didn’t work. All they ended up with was a dead goose.
A lot of list-builders — TE owners, yes, but others as well — start building a list and then email that list willy-nilly, multiple times per day, with every “opportunity” that comes along. Before long they’re getting more unsubscriptions than subscriptions, and nobody’s buying what they’re selling.
A mailing list is a relationship. It has to be nurtured.
As I so often like to do, I’m going to hold up Cathy and Jolynn as good examples. If I get an email from them, it is almost always about their traffic exchange — promos, events, etc. If it’s about some other exchange or biz opp, that new factor is obviously carefully considered, and usually accompanied by a “bribe” of some sort. I am a member of their exchange. We have a relationship. They don’t abuse that relationship. They understand that every time they recommend something to their members/subscribers, they are putting their own reputations on the line, so they don’t do it lightly. Consequently, when they recommend something to me, there’s a good chance I’ll accept their recommendation and join as their referral.
I’ve belonged to some other traffic exchanges — I won’t name names — where the email pattern runs something like this:
- I get an email in the morning about their latest promo, offer, etc.
- An hour or so later I get an “oops” email because they “made a mistake in the last email.” This happens often enough that the TE owner is either not paying attention, or is faking “mistakes” for the purpose of getting an additional email under my nose.
- About noon, I get a panicked “Omigod Omigod Omigod this traffic exchange/mailer JUST LAUNCHED and I just know it is the BEST THING EVAH even though it’s only been in business for 10 minutes and all I’ve had time to do is sign up and grab my referral link and you should join RIGHT NOW!!!!” email.
- A few hours after THAT, I get an email telling me about the latest, greatest WordPress plugin, SEO software or ebook that I absolutely can’t live without.
And it’s like that day after day after day.
Or at least I assume it is like that day after day after day … but I can’t say for sure, because after two or three days of that I stop reading the emails.
There’s more to list-building than just getting some subscribers and flooding their inboxes. A list of 100 people with whom you have some kind of trust-based relationship, will produce far better returns than a list of 10,000 people who quickly get sick of your constant pitching of stuff you probably don’t use yourself.
There’s a new traffic exchange in town. No, I’m not going to link it here. My list comes first.
Huh? Say what?
My marketing ethos is always a work in progress, and I’m currently testing a new tenet — a “nugget” in Timtech parlance, if it turns out to be right.
Those of us who build lists and use those lists to do affiliate referral stuff (like building traffic exchange downlines) hope that our list subscribers will read our mail and act on it.
But why should they? What have we done for them lately, except fill their inboxes up with emails begging them to build our businesses for us?
Starting this week, I’ve been taking a more pointed “reward action-takers” approach. Early entrants into my latest monthly prize drawing contest got surprise, unannounced prizes. Nothing revolutionary about that.
Starting today, though, I’m going a little bit further and withdrawing from the “early referral” wars for new programs, where everyone gets up a new splash page ASAP and puts as many credits as they can find behind it, hoping to grab that first “low-hanging fruit.”
Instead, my list comes first, and its action-takers get rewarded. I’m offering a pretty nice prize drawing entry to my first days’ referrals to this new exchange (and perhaps some smaller unannounced prizes) … and my list subscribers are the only ones getting that referral link.
The point being, I shouldn’t expect my subscribers to be there for me unless I’m there for them.
The nature of affiliate referrals is that they can get what I’m offering them anywhere … so I need to add some value that they can only get from me. To sweeten that pot, I’m now offering value that only they – not everyone who sees one of 10,000 splashes I place, but just them — can get from me. I’ll let you know how it works out.
… you move on to the next plan. But not before thinking about what went wrong.
I confess, I was expecting big results from my Pizza Plan video/squeeze campaign. By “big results,” I meant that I hoped for double-digit list signups and one or two “rebrand” program affiliate commissions.
24+ hours into the campaign, I’ve seen, well, bupkis. No list signups. No ebook downloads. No affiliate commissions.
The knee-jerk reaction is to blame the program you’re promoting, but I don’t see that that’s the issue. The Pizza Plan is a well-done e-book with a catchy premise. It’s been an Internet Marketing staple over the years, but at the same time I haven’t seen it promoted a lot lately, and thousands of people flood into the traffic exchanges, etc. each week. And finally, I boosted out the program itself with a big badge promoting a very cool prize drawing. All else being equal, it should have moved a few copies, given an effective promotion.
So, the promotion wasn’t effective. That could be for any number of reasons:
Technical: Maybe the splash/video didn’t load properly for many viewers. But I’ve talked to several viewers, and haven’t heard that from any of them. So I don’t think it’s that.
Venue: If I only promoted it in one place, that might make sense. For example, if I only promoted it at Sweeva, and Sweeva’s crowd had recently been thoroughly exposed to it, etc. But I’ve been promoting it across a wide range of traffic exchanges — the Timtech sites, yes, but also a number of independent TEs and at least one Kinder-Rash site — and to tens of thousands of safelist email readers.
Creative: Folks, I think we have a winner. For whatever reason, the video squeeze just didn’t make people want to give me their email information in return for a free e-book download and entry in a prize drawing. Maybe my video just, um, sucked. Maybe I didn’t put a strong enough “take action” prompt in there, so people didn’t take action. Maybe the colors I chose just didn’t tie things together.
So, back to the old drawing board … but you won’t see the results for a few days.
When I do a promotion, it’s the kind of thing that can’t just stop on a dime. The majority of those thousands of safelist emails still haven’t been opened yet. Most never will be (that’s the nature of safelist advertising), but I need to give them another 24 hours or so, just in case.
And since I have to give them another 24 hours or so, I can’t change my list’s welcome message text and download links, which means I either keep promoting the same thing on the TEs, or stop promoting my list altogether.
So, there’s still time for this failure to turn out to have been a success, although I’m not expecting that. While I’m waiting it out, I’ll be putting the next thing together, trying to apply lessons learned with this one.
Update, 08/15: OK, that’s a wrap. Rough stats: 4,500 impressions. No list signups. One click, one referral — but not to the target program (The Pizza Plan); rather to Traffic Ad Bar, which is one of the add-ons I ran this thing through.
Speaking of running ad campaigns through various services, one technical point I’m beginning to appreciate is that the more sources you draw from, the more opportunities the thing has to fail at the network/load level.
This campaign was a YouTube video running on an AdKreator squeeze page, which was plugged into an Affiliate Toolbox tracker and piped through Traffic Ad Bar. Oh — for the purpose of getting people to submit a TrafficWave lead capture form. All five of these are great services which I highly recommend. None of them are perfect … and any one of those five sites being down or slow at any given moment could derail me in my advertising purpose.
How big was the technical angle in this campaign’s failure? In my view, very small. I did see one mention of non-loading/slow-loading, so the angle was there, but I also saw lots of comments that indicated people saw the ad, liked the video … and didn’t take action. And that, I think, was a result of my failure to give them a real push to do so.
Back to the drawing board …
I love giving away other people’s stuff, especially when doing so builds my list, my business, and my bottom line!
Yes, you can build your list and bulk up your bank account using other people’s stuff. Some people do nothing but affiliate marketing and make good money at it. Other people use affiliate marketing to enhance and promote their own products and programs.
So, while I work on the next KN@PPSTER dot biz ”special report” and don’t have the next e-book done yet, I’m filling in the gap with a simple affiliate marketing / list-building project.
Jon Olson’s The Pizza Plan is an “evergreen” product — the program details internal to the book might change or get updated, but the e-book itself will always be a great story and it will always offer a solid plan that a new Internet Marketer can put into action to start succeeding. It’s the kind of product I can give away, and enroll affiliates for, in full confidence that I’m doing a favor to everyone involved while helping myself out too.
Heck, I even made a video about it:
And, of course, hooked the video into a squeeze page now playing at traffic exchanges everywhere.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the (standard affiliate page) box. Use your affiliate programs to build your list and brand yourself — but make sure you’re using good programs, since the branding will follow you.