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Blog posts here at ViperChill generally receive a large number of comments. Within just a couple of hours, there’s a good chance I’ll have 30 or 40 in need of reply. The discussion really picks up when my post goes out to readers who have subscribed via email. Though less than a third of the audience here opts for email updates, I get more comments from these readers than anyone else.
Why? Quite simply, email subscribers are more engaged than anyone else. People can ignore your Tweets, Facebook udpates and even RSS updates, but they can’t ignore an email. Even if they simply delete it, they have to engage with you in some way. If you want tips on growing the most valuable readership of all, then this post is for you.
Since I started out in internet marketing around five years ago, it has been drummed into me by fellow marketers, forum members and bloggers, that “the money is in the list.” The list they are referring to is a list of email addresses from people who are interested in what you have to offer.
If you ask any marketer who is trying to make money if they would rather have an email subscriber, RSS reader, Twitter follower or even Facebook fan, every single one of them will tell you the first option. Email subscribers are more likely to engage in your content, talk about you to others, and purchase your products. This has been proven time and time again.
I have some very profitable email lists in other industries I participate in. Though most of the traffic to my affiliate sites is through SEO, not all of my sales are directly attributed to it. In some niches, it’s better for me to grab a visitor’s email, give them value and then promote a product to them, rather than trying to sell to them straight away.
I have never built a list in the internet marketing niche before, besides my readership here at ViperChill, so I decided to create one. I highly doubt that I’ll be promoting any products to this list, but instead I’ll just focus on giving as much value as possible to those who have signed up.
A squeeze page, for those of you feeling confused, is simply a page which is designed with the sole aim of collecting a website visitors email address. The page I created for my case study was cloud: niche, and if you head on over there you can see how tempting it is to give away your email address.
The premise is simple: Give something away so valuable, that people want you to email them. For my side project, I thought it would be a good idea to regularly email people with profitable niches I discover. I simply don’t have time to build sites in every industry I come across, so I thought that I may as well give the ideas away.
In most industries, a 10% conversion rate on a squeeze page is considered to be phenomenal. So, to reach a 64% conversation rate is simply unheard of. Keep in mind that this means two out of every three people who visit the page, sign up to my offering.
Here’s what I did differently…
In most industries, the typical squeeze page you’ll find online tends to work best for conversions. You know the one I’m talking about: Red headings, flashing arrows and fake highlighter text. There were a few reasons I didn’t follow this approach when I created cloud: niche though.
First of all, I don’t “relate” to these types of pages at all. The ViperChill brand has been built on me being personal and offering value. If I go and create one of these typical squeeze pages, it’s going to harm my brand and I would be doing something I don’t feel good about, just to collect a few more email addresses.
Secondly, the type of squeeze page I mentioned have been totally overused in the internet marketing niche. The conversion tactics in place are so common now that they just don’t help conversions at all. In fact, I think because so many people are using the same practices, a site visitor ends up having one bad experience with that type of page, and vows never to sign up to one of them again.
I believe that having a design which was more professional than most definitely worked in my favour. It’s not something I paid hundreds of dollars for either. I found it on a free templates website and then customised it myself. It definitely wasn’t intended to be used as a squeeze page, but that’s exactly what I used it for.
If you look at the site, do you feel like I’m going to spam you with irrelevant information or fill the regular emails with ads? Probably not.
A few months ago, the affiliate blogosphere was going crazy over a new style of opt-in form which claimed to increase opt-in rates as much as 40%. Basically, instead of having fields such as Name:_______ Email:_______ Phone Number:________ in a simple list, one marketer decided to do things differently.
They created an opt-in form which used a mad libs format. Instead of the above example, they worded their opt-in text along the lines of. My name is ______ and my email address is ________. If you wish to call me, you can do so on _________.
The underscores were the spaces left for the website visitor to fill in the information. The result? Twice as many people filling in the form. After this original case study, a number of other marketers tried it out and received similar results. You can probably understand now why I used the phrases “My name is” and “My email address is” instead of the simple one word field labels on cloud: niche.
I received over 400 signups to the list on the first day I released it to the world. Instead of blogging about it (which I didn’t do until two weeks later) I simply shared it to some of the members of Cloud Living. This is something that is a great addition to the Cloud Living course and made signing up an obvious decision to most people.
Before you think I just duplicated my current audience, keep reading. Though some people who joined the list were already aware of me, the majority of people landing on the page weren’t aware of me previously. I’ll explain how in the next section of this post.
Though many people had no idea who I was, they still converted highly because I was offering something relevant to them (it’s likely they wanted to make money online) and because it made total sense. I wasn’t giving away some “Adsense Secrets” guide offering to make them thousands of dollars, which would have peaked suspicion.
Instead, I was simply offering to email them with niche ideas I discovered, but had no time to develop sites around. The offer was simple, honest, and it made sense to sign up.
This idea is pretty genius, if I say so myself, though I wont take credit for coming up with it. A few weeks ago my friend Kelvin Newman released an eBook about link building. Kelvin is someone I’ve spoken to online for a few years now and he clearly knows his stuff, so I was happy to check it out. Though his eBook was free, I still had to pay for it.
You see, Kelvin used a service called PayWithaTweet.com which meant that people had to Tweet or Facebook share a link to his website, in order to download the PDF. When I created cloud: niche, I decided to use the exact same service. It helped to bring a flood of traffic to my website, but after a few days, I really wasn’t happy with it.
First of all, I couldn’t use my own button image and instead had a choice of just three options. Secondly, the pop-up where people had to sign into Twitter or Facebook displayed flashing ads for the service creators website. And finally, the site name and buttons used the word ‘Pay’ with a dollar sign, which I believe would have confused a few people.
I decided to solve my own problem, by creating my own service. Thus, cloud: flood was born. It is 100% free, contains no ads, and you can even upload your own buttons. I can’t make it any fairer than that. If you do use the service, just please don’t go overboard with it. Getting so much free website traffic can be addictive ;).
When someone signs up to your email list, you can send them to a “Thank You” page of your choosing. I created mine at http://cloudniche.com/thanks/ for anyone who wants to bypass the process. The aim of the page was to remind people to confirm their subscription and to give them an offer.
The offer was for an eBook I only promote on this website. A 20-page guide which shows, in detail, how I grew this blog to over 10,000 subscribers in just 12 months. In order for people to get the guide though (you guessed it) they had to Tweet or Facebook share a link to my website.
The idea was simple, but it took off. Here’s a sample of just some of the tweets that were posted:
Traffic would pick up on random days, purely because a new person will tweet about the landing page in order to get the eBook, which sends another wave of visitors to my squeeze page. According to the bit.ly link (which was only used for Twitter) almost 700 people discovered my page because of it.
That’s probably why I quickly had over 1,000 people on the list.
Think about this for a second, if you don’t totally get the concept. Every time someone wants to download your product – in this case, an eBook – they must tweet a link to your website. Let’s say that one person who tweets your link has 500 followers, 50 of which go to your site, and 10 of which end up tweeting your link in order to get the freebie as well.
If they all have 500 followers, and 10% end up going to your website, you’ve now reached 5,000 people you wouldn’t have had access to earlier, and received 500 visitors on your website. The process to create this kind of system is also ridiculously simple…
Step One: You create something for free to give away to your website visitors. It could be an MP3 file if you’re a musician, a zip file full of PSD’s if you run a design blog, or simply an eBook on your topic of choice.
Step Two: You create a button on cloud: flood which includes the link to the file people will receive after they share your link, and a URL field for the link you want people to promote.
Step Three: You put the button on your site, and watch the traffic flood in.
If you already have quite a large audience, the exponential effect of this idea could literally threaten to take down your server. Especially if the freebie is valuable. Of course, I don’t recommend you use this for everything you want to give away to your audience, but definitely try it out on some things.
Can you think of any creative ways to use the tool? I would love to hear them in the comments. I’m giving away the domains Supercarblog.com (Supercar gets 22,000 exact searches per month) and eBookMillionaire.com to the best suggestions.