List building is in my opinion one of the best forms of online marketing which a high proportion of webmaster simply ignore. List building is simply the process of building an opt-in email list from those who visit your site. You simply offer a “hook” to your visitors to opt-in to your list. The hook can be in the form of free information such as free sports betting tips, to an entry in a private poker tournament.

The success of your list building depends on three key aspects.

The quality of the “hook”.

The quality of the sales pitch promoting the hook.

The quality of the follow up emails.

It’s common sense to realise that the “hook” must be something the users really wants. You really need to entice the users to go the extra mile and enter their email address which is not such an easy task as you would imagine. Think about your own experiences encountering email opt-in forms that appear on websites. How many have you subscribed to from perhaps thousands you have seen?

Form experience I’m not keen on pop-up email opt-in forms or those annoying scripts that float an opt-in form across the screen. Most of these I will close without even reading the promo text. Also it is a fact that the more information you request on your opt-form, the fewer the numbers of subscribers. At the very most you only need their name and email address although even the name is not really required. Add extra fields such as location, date of birth, sex etc and you are simply destroying your sign up rate.

A good tip I will give those who are using some form of information as a hook is to give the information a physical appearance. A good example is that for one of my sites I offer a Slots Strategy eBook. I have had great success just using a custom banner giving the eBook the appearance of an actual book, directing clicks to a sales page with of course an opt-in form.

I have zero graphics skills so I simply posted a contest on the Digital Point webmasters forum only paying a few dollars for the above design.

Aweber offer a great list building package for less than $20 a month. They also have a large range of templates so that your emails look and feel professional. IMO Aweber is second to none for email marketing. If you are on a tight budget then why not use a free script such as the WordPress Email Capture Plugin. This script is simple to set up plus of course will give you the option to try our list building for free.

Once your list starts to build, you can then move on to targeting your visitors with special offers. We will cover that aspect of email marketing in a later article.

Case Study

I was talking to Gerry Poltorak who runs the successful poker news site Poker News Boy. I will say from experience generating poker sign ups form poker news type sites is no easy task. I also reckon many of Gerry’s visitors are repeat visitors whom are even less likely to sign up to a poker room. News type sites can though be superb list building sites. You have to vary the hook due simply to the amount of returning visitors. If you keep changing to a current topical hook, then news sites can build huge lists.

So what sort of topical hook could Gerry use? Well for the last months or so perhaps he could have targeted those thinking about the WSOP. Perhaps an eBook entitled “WSOP Satellite Secrets” with a sub tag of “Win A WSOP Main Event Seat Free”. He could get one of his quality writers to research the best online WSOP satellites including those sites who offer free step1 type satellites.  I have no idea the sort of traffic Poker News Boys generates but even if he only managed to sign up 2% of visitors a day, in the long term the site would create a decent list.

After the WSOP he could then move on to perhaps something like the GUKPT which is a UK poker tour. Create a new eBook featuring most aspect of the tour plus of course how to qualify. He could even talk to the tour manager to get some form of online qualifier for one of the lower buy in events. If you are prepared to ask, you will find that account managers and poker tour manages will work with decent sites, giving you extra incentives to sign up your readers. You have to be a cheeky git, but if you don’t ask you don’t get. It is as simple as that!

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