Firstly lets be clear about what is an opt-in list. Every business keeps a list of its customers and potential customers. When the list is only made up of people who have willingly joined it by subscribing or registering, knowing you will be contacting them, then you have an opt-in list. On the Internet it is much easier and cheaper to create and maintain an opt-in list. Note that people generally only join knowing that you will be contacting them with information relating to a 'certain topic'* - we'll talk about this in a moment. Buying lists or copying from other sources goes against the notion of opt-in and sending emails not related to the topics the subscribers originally signed up for will destroy your credibility.
* Think about it, would you join some mailing list that is about a broad range of subjects knowing that you are going to get emails that are totally irrelevant to your interests? Would you have any more respect for the list owner who seems to be the master of nothing in particular and intends to send you mailings about anything he likes (because he doesn't know/care what 'your' interests are)? Let me tell you, when you focus your material and your subject on a specific subject, you get a greater proportion of your readers wanting to join your list. Just as important is the fact that you can then finely tune your offers to their specific interest and significantly increase the response rate to each of your offers. Therefore, it should be obvious that after building your highly targeted list, you can easily waste it all by a careless irrelevant offer. I tell you, do not be tempted to offer something unrelated or even just loosely related to your subject area no matter how lucrative the profits for you! If you have a lucrative product or offer, with a healthy market, then build a new list. The second time around is a lot easier. Ask any expert .
the late great Corey Rudl opened 'my' eyes to the 'life time value' of customers and prospects. In other words it is not that first sale that makes you rich but rather the steady stream of sales over time that makes you wild profits. Just one final point here, when marketing to your list, 'your' emphasis must be on informing and educating not selling and marketing! Nobody joins or stays on your opt-in list begging, "please advertise to me". If you just inform and educate, people will respect and trust you.
Your recommendations will then find willing customers, easily. You can then of course add subtle references to products and offers that you recommend on the periphery of your highly informative communications. Once again you must thoroughly research your offerings and ensure they are completely relevant and of the highest quality.
Look out for my other articles on list building techniques. For now let me show you a few ways you can profit from your opt-in list(s). Once you take care of focus and product quality etc, there are a number of ways to 'monetize' your effort to earn top dollar. Here are some ideas: 1- Advertisements. Advertising your products and services in ezines and newsletters to your opt-in list.
This seems an obvious one. But many people haven't considered advertising other companies' products. This is a rich and repeatable source of income. Just get the above principles about focus and quality right and getting advertising revenue will be easy, successful and soon you'll have a queue of advertisers. Take a look at various ad brokers and ad exchanges etc. Note that because companies can't trust bought-in lists, they'd rather place ads around your newsletters etc.
You could then also offer higher priced 'solo ads'. That is, you could then email your list once a week or once a month with just one ad that is bigger than a classified ad but smaller than an article. Tip: join a few ezines and you'll see exactly what I mean. However, I suggest you reduce the frequency of these solo ads compared with the average.
Be above average, 'less is more'! 2- Look into affiliate programs There is no shortage of 'affiliate' programs for absolutely any market. If there is demand for the product or service in question, there is definitely a good affiliate program out there for it. Join it and profit hugely when someone else does the entire fulfillment, administration etc. Two points: (a) If you're not clear about affiliate schemes, you really do owe it to yourself to do a search for terms like "affiliate marketing". (b) It is just possible but still highly unlikely that after searching thoroughly for an affiliate scheme in your subject area, you find nothing suitable. If so, you have just struck gold! Research and then perhaps set up your own scheme.
I guarantee you, if you can't find a good scheme, there will be many thousands or may be even tens of thousands of others having the same problem. You will be richly rewarded. 3- Direct approach Don't be frightened of approaching other web sites with some sort of proposition for joint effort. Most companies welcome the any reasonable offer that lands in their laps without any effort, when it is intended to make them money. Ask if they are willing to share a percentage of the sales revenue that comes through your list if you market their offer to your list.
4- Product sales There are a great many product wholesalers and distributors who would love you to sell their products. They already have product catalogs, photos, distribution and logistics facilities and marketing write ups etc. They already make bulk purchases and warehouse the goods and are well equipped to fulfill orders. They certainly welcome someone else also selling their products and increasing the sales of something they are already engaged in.
In the US, search for these under terms such as 'drop shippers'. In the UK they are known as wholesalers with fulfillment houses among other terms. I set up exactly this kind of system for three major clients last year .
the clients loaded up the product details from files supplied by the distributor. The client then focused purely on selling and marketing online. They never even touched a product or saw one in their own offices.
After the launch one client told me, who'd be crazy enough to sink a stack of cash into a warehouse, advanced payment for stock or imports etc, then work like hell for weeks and months by the time the stock is sold! This is a dream: we use your hosted end-to-end online product catalog/retail system and make 50% - 70% commissions on products we never touch! 5- Sell information products This is a vast and rich subject which I can't discuss in any reasonable detail. I just ask you to consider it. Often delivery is by electronic means (email, download, etc) with no physical warehousing, fulfillment, shipping etc. Therefore you have no distribution costs at all. The supply is almost infinite and you can package your product in a variety of ways from regular lessons to ebooks to audio material.
No matter what the percentage profit margin, since you are effectively supplying electronic files, there is no supply cost at all. This means you repeatedly turn a profit on every sale over a long period of time. Look into this and you won't be disappointed. 6- Pass-on! You are reading this article therefore you certainly know the importance of having a list. No matter how good or bad the profits from your list, that will only improve when you increase the size of your list.
But don't forget that you must keep your list tightly targeted. Two highly neglected ways of increasing your subscriber base are pass-on and post-on (explained in 7 below). On every informative article or mailing add a little text asking the reader to pass-on the article to a few friends and colleagues that they think may benefit from the information.
You'll be amazed how many people never think of sending the information on to others until they're prompted. You'll also be surprised how many think this is a good idea when reminded. Don't forget to add a little more test to the effect that: ". If someone else passed this information to you, you can benefit from regular informative articles by registering [or emailing] .".
Be sure to put this information in your resource box. A resource box is a short 3 - 6 line paragraph stating who you are, what you do (that makes you an expert) and a link to your website for more information or your contact email address. This goes at the bottom of all your articles and emails. You'll see why next, in (7).
Tip: Some people advise that you can do any advertising in the resource box. I personally think this could take something away from your informative article. I suggest you put no 'overt' advertising in the box. Also you may put off publishers from publishing your information, again see next, in (7).
I suggest you only go as far as offering further or more detailed information from your web site (or by emailing you). If your information is top quality and it should be, then people will naturally want to know more and will click through to your site or email you or take up your offers elsewhere in your ezine. 7- Post-on! On every article or ezine mailing to your opt-in list, include another line of text permitting other ezine, newsletter or website publishers to reprint your article on condition that your article is published in its entirety [if you want it that way] "AND" that your resource box remains attached to your article without any change. A great many other publishers require regular fresh content and you will find a huge number of 'takers' for your top quality articles. Attaching your resource box to all articles and newsletters and 'not' advertising overtly, vastly improves both the response to your articles (i.e.
increases your subscription base) and the reprint of your articles by publishers. This translates to more income from your opt-in list. I have one final tip you: Focus on one of the methods above and keep on tweaking testing, improving. Once you have mastered the method and you see major benefits from your op-in list, then move on to another technique from the above list.
You can apply this idea to virtually all actions and enhancements to your online business. It works extremely well. You will find most of those who fail to make any meaningful profit from their opt-in lists or other efforts, usually have at least one thing in common: a very noticeable lack of focus! Don't be one of them. I wish you success and profit from your opt-in list. The world around us is changing all the time, look out for this and never stop learning newer, more suitable techniques and approaches.
Dr Sami Fab is the founder of OnDemand Ltd dedicated to creating time-saving solutions for the home based, small and medium sized businesses. To see a powerful marketing machine click: www.Autopilot-Business.com