It’s time to answer your questions!
It’s Monday again, which means it’s time for me to open up the ol’ mailbox, and see what kind of questions I can answer to help YOU build your biz…
Remember: You have questions. You want them answered. To make it happen, all you have to do is send ‘em to [email protected].
Business, marketing, copywriting, life, whatever — you pick the topic and the question… And I’ll answer it to the best of my ability.
Let’s dive into today’s question on list-building. And be sure you read this one all the way to the end, because I have something incredibly valuable that I want to give you for free…
Here’s my question.
I want to build and email list from the ground up.
I’m presently and inch-wide, mile-deep marketing service solution provider. I’ve never built an email list because I never needed one. But now, for the first time, I am going to want CUSTOMERS who buy my products, as opposed to CLIENTS for whom I do mile-deep marketing work.
I still take clients, but typically I hand-pick them and then make the sale, or they come on referrals. (no need for a list).
But with “me in a box” marketing and business-building products, I want to a following of raving fans who become loyal customers.
Presently I’m packaging up my knowledge and adventures in helping companies grow … and later this year will be selling a suite of business-building products both live onstage, via JV webinars and through our own in-house marketing, which will include a TON of offline to online marketing.
In preparation for selling online and before I begin offline to online activity, I want to start building a list now. I can spend up to half an hour a day, no more, and can rip out good copy on ANY aspect of marketing, sales, business-building and copywriting.
So how do you build a great list … starting with no list, a half-hour a day max and no desire to buy traffic AT THIS TIME? FYI, I have Aweber, a WordPress blog and lead pages now?
Thanks and all the best,
Copywriter and Direct Marketing Expert
PS – I loved your sales letter re: Titans of Direct Response
Russell, first thing I want to do is applaud you…
I think you’ve been listening to my advice. OR you’re listening to someone I agree with!
It’s smart when your primary income is coming from client work to find a way to diversify and get more leveraged income.
It gives you more freedom. It gives you more possibility. And it gives you more total control of your life, to live it the way you please.
Now let’s look at how to answer your question.
And in my usual fashion, I’ll start off by NOT giving you a direct answer to your question…
Let me challenge your assumption…
You think you want to start off just by building a list, but not paying for traffic. Of course you do! We ALL want free traffic that will convert to loyal customers that give us a lot of money.
It’s not impossible, but it’s also maybe not the best use of your 30-minutes per day.
Why not spend that 30 minutes per day today building something that you could sell for a little bit of money, that would allow you to attract the RIGHT customers, and build your list through paid traffic?
When you’re able to pay for traffic, you’ll be able to build your list much quicker and easier. You already know this.
If you want 1,000 people on your list 6 months from today, so you can launch your flagship product at that time, you have two options. You could work really hard to get a bunch of free traffic for the next six months, and try to convert that free list into paying customers when you launch. Or you could spend the next three months coming up with something really valuable that you could sell to your target audience, and the three after that trying to sell to them to build your list as you finish your flagship product.
It may take you longer to START building the list the second way, but the end result will almost always be worth it.
A few more thoughts…
Be careful about the novice mistake that a bigger list is a better list. You aren’t obviously making this mistake from the contents of your email, but it is common enough that I need to warn against it. Breakthrough Marketing Secrets still has relatively small distribution, a year after its first launch. But my per-subscriber value is through the roof, because I have enough of the right people on the list, willing to respond to the right offers. I’d rather have a tiny list of the right people than a giant list of the wrong people.
Along those same lines, WHO are you targeting? This can be one of the best ways to answer this question. You mentioned that your consulting practice is an inch deep and a mile wide. Information and coaching businesses are hard to make work — and even harder to launch — with that approach. What laser-focused narrow audience can you provide unique value to? The more focused you get, the easier you’ll find it to decide how to reach them. Including ways of reaching them today at little or no cost.
Get in the mind of your ideal reader… What is it that they most want? What result do they most want to achieve? What can you provide them that can achieve that result — or at least get a measurable step closer — in a set time frame, with as little effort as possible? Package up that promise, and offer it for free. Dean Jackson’s 90-Minute Book process is a good example of that.
The answer that you most want to hear…
Because it’s the easiest way to create effort that masquerades as results…
Is to do a daily email.
(Like me, like Ben Settle, like the millions of marketing “experts” that now also do a daily email after buying Ben Settle’s newsletter or listening to his podcast.)
Create really compelling content that your ideal target market is going to want more of, and give them a way to get more by opting in.
This works, but the growth isn’t rapid, in most cases. It’s slow and steady.
It compounds. It grows like a snowball rolling down a hill. But you have to be committed for the long haul (or else you’ll just be committed!).
30 minutes per day writing about a topic you know means you can probably write 300-800 words per day.
Post that to the website, share the links around a few places (certain WordPress plugins can publish them automatically) and it will start to grow.
The more readers you get, the more you’ll get talked about, and the more still you’ll grow.
But it’s largely outside of your control, and it involves putting in a TON of effort before the payoff is seen.
The worst part? You don’t even know if folks who sign up for your free email will turn into buyers! And the sad truth is that most won’t. Even your most vocal, rabid followers. Some will even complain when you ask them to buy.
So, you’re not even going to know if this is a GREAT LIST, like you asked for, until you ultimately start trying to sell stuff.
That said, a lesson I learned from Ken McCarthy…
And I’ve written about this before. Ken McCarthy was the founding father of “internet marketing.” He put on the first ever internet marketing seminar in 1994, in Silicon Valley. In the 2000s, he held 10 consecutive years of THE internet marketing event of the year, called The System Seminar.
He’s the guru’s guru on internet marketing. If you can’t trace your internet marketing lineage back to The System Seminar, you don’t know where the people who are teaching you learned from, or where their mentors learned from. Because EVERYBODY learned internet marketing from Ken.
Ken once told me that — despite making all the money he needed from internet marketing — he never got as rich as he could of. Many of his students went on to make a lot more money than he did, or ever would.
Why? Because Ken spent his career as an internet marketing educator teaching what worked and what was accurate about internet marketing — NOT necessarily what people wanted to hear, or would pay the most for.
He focused on GREAT CONTENT. He started off by putting out great, useful content on internet marketing, for anyone who wanted to hear. And he spent his whole career as a teacher putting out great, useful, profitable content for anyone who wanted to hear.
Others would bend to the whim of the market, and offer up the latest whiz-bang “system” to every JV under the sun, in order to milk as much moolah out of every duped wannabe they could.
Ken didn’t want to do that, so he kept putting out incredible content.
Ken’s was the snowball approach.
His students — especially the more nefarious ones — have come and gone. Their fortunes, most often, were easy-come, easy-go.
Ken’s students are still thrilled with what they learned from him, earning back 10X, 100X, 1,000X on every lesson they invested in.
His reputation, though it doesn’t reach as far, is still sterling.
He taught great stuff, and those who followed could follow.
I think this mindset is what you need if you want to build a GREAT LIST.
It will probably be harder than you think it should be. It will take longer. And it won’t get your “instant gratification” instincts all riled up.
But if you really want to build a solid, sustainable information business — starting with free traffic — you need to follow Ken’s lead.
Deliver incredibly valuable content. And see who will follow based on that.
Now for the free stuff — MY incredibly valuable content…
Last November, I held a small workshop where I taught my best content on copywriting. It was a brain dump from my first decade of success in marketing.
The copywriters who were there are beating controls, growing their careers, and enjoying better successes than ever.
Not only that, the knowledge they gained was foundational. Every experience they have and copywriting skill they learn can build on it, propelling even greater success.
You currently can’t buy the recordings anywhere. But I’d like to give them to you for free.
Russell mentioned that he liked the sales letter I wrote for Brian Kurtz, for The Titans of Direct Response. You may not know, but Brian has now officially made the DVDs of Titans available for public purchase. (I rewrote the letter for this offer, too.)
Because I was the copywriter, I’ve gotten first crack at letting you in.
If you click my affiliate link below and order the DVDs, I do get a significant cut above and beyond my royalty. Because this is so beneficial to me, I want to make it beneficial to you.
And so if you order the Titans DVDs through my link by MIDNIGHT THURSDAY (April 30th), I’ll ALSO give you download access to the audio recordings AND handouts from my copywriting workshop.
Brian has already piled on a HUGE amount of valuable direct response material. The DVDs themselves and a TON of bonuses. Ken McCarthy was there and is on the DVDs, AND he agreed to let Brian give you an exclusive interview Ken conducted with one of the greatest copywriters of all time, Gary Bencivenga.
Now I’ve tried to add enough ADDITIONAL value to pay back the cost of the Titans DVDs many times over.
Oh, and Brian also has another free gift for you, if you buy through me — it’s a good one! But you’ll have to order to figure that one out.
Once you’ve ordered, forward me your confirmation email and let me know, and I’ll manually send you a download link for the workshop recordings.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets