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Volume 1 Issue 20 8-25-06

For those who would like to read this in HTML format, this issue of Boomer eZine is posted on the Boomer eZine website at http://www.boomer-zine.com/V1I20_082506.htm and on the Boomer eZine Blog at http://boomer-ezine.blogspot.com.  

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Volume 1 Issue 20 8-25-06  

For those who would like to read this in HTML format, this issue of Boomer eZine is posted on the Boomer eZine website at http://www.boomer-ezine.com/V1I20_082506.htm and on the Boomer eZine Blog at http://boomer-ezine.blogspot.com.

Table of Contents for this issue.....

1.    Authors Comments

2.    Building a List

3.    15 Proven Strategies to Grow Your List

4.    Tip - Deleting Emails from Outlook

Author's Comments

 

Not much excitement this week.  I had to fly to Houston for the day on Tuesday.  That makes for a long day, but it was up and back the same day so I got to sleep in my own bed.

 

On Wednesday, I turned 63 and Linda cooked a great birthday meal for me.  She is a really good cook and the meal was wonderful.  All my children called me and wished me a Happy Birthday.  Grown children are such a great gift!

 

This Saturday is the annual Quail Unlimited banquet so we will be going to that.  It is always a great event, and I usually buy something in the auction.  I guess I will try to sit on my hands this year.

 

As we promised last week, the theme of this week’s issue is about mailing lists.  This is a very important part of being successful on the Internet.  It is much easier to sell a person the second time than to sell them the first time.  Once they have bought from you and you treated them well and delivered as they expected, you have won their trust and they will buy from you again.  This applies to e-goods as well as to hard goods on eBay.

 

Building a List

In all the research that I have done on being successful on the Internet, the most common theme that runs through the success of the most successful individuals is to build a list of customers who then become repeat customers.  You know from your off-line life that the businesses that you continually use are the ones that do a good job and treat you right.  Once you gain confidence in them, you continue to go back to them.  The same is true on the Internet.

I read an eBook called The 30 Day Blueprint for Success that convinced me of the importance of building a mailing list.  The book was a compilation of articles from 15 highly respected Internet professionals from different arenas of the Net who were challenged with the following scenario.

“Dear Internet Marketing Expert,

You suddenly lose all your money, along with your name and reputation, and only have your marketing know-how left.

You have bills piled high and people harassing you for money over the phone.

Plus, you have a guaranteed roof over your head, a phone line, and an Internet connection for only one month.

You no longer have your big guru name or JV partners.  Other than your vast marketing experience, you’re an unknown newbie.

What would you do, from day 1 to day 30, to get yourself back on top?”

(The above quote was excerpted from Volume I of The 30 Day Blueprint for Success.)

The most common method that these individuals used was to rebuild a customer list as quickly as possible so they could be effective in building the business they once had.  Just as an aside, the book was very revealing about the thought patterns of these experts during their 30 day quest to restore the income stream that they once enjoyed.  There are four volumes of this book, but I only read the first one since the pattern they used was repeated.

In a class that I took under him, my friend and mentor, Jim Cockrum (author of The Silent Sales Machine Hiding on eBay) said that if his office caught fire the first thing he would save was the backup with his mailing list on it.

How to manage a List - Autoresponders

Some might consider this a little backwards, but let’s plan for how we are going to handle the list before we figure out how to build it.  We need to be able to capture basic information like name and email address.  We need to be able to automatically send a reply to the person joining the list and verify that they were indeed the person who sent the request to join.  (This is called double opt-in and it is vitally important so you can prove that you are not sending SPAM in the future).  We will need to send out emails to the people on the list in the future when we start communicating with the customers on the list.

To handle this in any volume on your own is an impossible task, but there are services called autoresponders on the Internet that will handle all of this for you.

There are free autoresponders such as FreeAutoBot.com and there are paid autoresponders such as Aweber.com and GetResponse.com.  Free sounds good for a start up, but the downside is the fact that the autoresponder puts its link and some tim es advertising on the emails that it sends for you.  It does not look as professional as a message from a paid autoresponder.  If you use a free autoresponder and then want to switch over to another one later, you face the conversion problems of converting your mailing list.   This can be done with import features in autoresponders that allow for mass input of lists, but it is additional work and the autoresponder will take a close look at the list since this is how large SPAM mailing lists can be loaded into an autoresponder.  This is your choice and should be carefully researched before you make your decision.

I use Aweber.com so that is the one we will discuss.  The site has a 30 day free test drive that will allow you to experiment with it and decide if it is for you.  Go to http://www.aweber.com/?211286 look around.

If you decide to use it (and you will have to use an autoresponder to build a list of any size), one month of service from Aweber.com is $19.95 as of this writing so you can start off with a monthly plan.  Once you are satisfied that this is for you, you can save $60.00 per year with an annual plan.

After you have signed up, log on to Aweber.com and go to the “How to Get Started” page.  This is very complete and has great instructions and tutorial videos to help you set up your first autoresponder.  I like the feature of Aweber.com where you compose your messages off line and then import the info into the autoresponder.  You will need Notepad to compose your messages.  The program is found under your Accessories in Programs on your MS Windows.  If you have not already done so, I recommend that you set up a shortcut icon on your desktop or on your systems tray for Notepad.  It is very handy to be able to open this quickly.  I use it as a scratch pad for copying and pasting things from web pages to print so I can use the info in research later.

Each week when I get ready to send the weekly issue of Boomer eZine, I log onto Aweber and set up what is called a broadcast message.  I copy the newsletter from MS Word to Notepad.  This removes all the Word control characters.  I then copy the text from Notepad to the input area of Aweber and check the formatting.  I then test how it looks by sending it to my own email address.  If I am satisfied, I click a button on Aweber and the Boomer eZine is sent to everyone on the list.

My Aweber autoresponder automatically sends follow up emails.  I recently added a follow up email that is sent 14 days after the initial sign up to thank a new subscriber for being a reader.  Some of you received that email this last week and some will get it in the future.  Aweber does this for me automatically.

Now that we know there is a simple way to handle all those names that you will add to your list, let’s see how to grow your list.

15 Proven Strategies to Grow Your List

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  I read this article and felt that it fit well with the theme of this issue – List Building .  It gives some great advice on how to build your list.

 

By Guest Author Donna Gunter

(c) 2006 Donna Gunter

I've been publishing an email newsletter since 2000, and have to admit I wasn't very attentive to the whole process at the beginning.  Hindsight is 20/20, and I could kick myself for not taking this strategy very seriously, as my email newsletter list is my gold mine because it's filled with subscribers who already know something about me. 

Each week after I send out my ezine, I receive several emails that begin, "Hi Donna!  My name is <fill in the blank here>, and I know you don't know me, but I know you, as I've been reading your newsletter for a couple of years now."  I love those emails, as I know that my reader has begun to like, trust and respect me -- all the characteristics that need to be in place for them to decide to buy something from me.

Many of you may be asking, "Well, Donna, isn't the email newsletter dead?  Everyone is blogging now."  True, blogging is quite an effective way to publicize your business. However, I believe in the power of doing both.  There are people who don't have the time/energy/desire to read a blog and would rather have the info delivered directly to them in their inbox, with no additional clicking required.  So, as long as I can, I'll be doing both..:)

How can you grow your own list?  Or, if you're just starting an email newsletter, how can you get subscribers to the list?  Here are 15 strategies I've used over the past 5 years to get subscribers to my email newsletter list:

1.  Tell your clients, colleagues, friends and family.  Just like a birth announcement, tell everyone you know about your new "baby" -- your email newsletter.  Because you want a list in which subscribers have opted in, don't add people directly to the list.  In fact, many ezine distribution services don't permit you to do that.  Instead, provide them with an email sign-up link, or send them to the form on your web site where they can subscribe to your newsletter.

2.  Have a sign-up box on every page of your web site.  You never know on what page someone will land in your web site. As I look at my web site statistics, I am amazed at some of the search terms that visitors use that make them land on an internal page of my web site.  Don't take a chance that you might lose them -- offer them the option to sign up for your newsletter on every single page of your web site.

3.  Make your sign-up box compelling.  Don't have a simple sign up box that says, "Join our mailing list."  Yuck--who wants to voluntarily receive more email?  Not me!  Give your visitor a reason to sign up for your newsletter, i.e. "Join over 2000 other solo business owners who receive weekly advice on how to get more clients online."

4.  Create one clear call to action.  If you have too many options for action on your web site, your visitor will become overwhelmed and leave.  Conversely, if you don't ask your visitor to take an action, you potentially lose that person forever.  Make your primary call to action on your web site a request to subscribe to your email newsletter.  It's short, simple, to the point, and will help you build your contact database gold mine.

5.  Ask for only 2 pieces of info:  a first name and primary email address.  Many web surfers are want to disclose as little personal info as they can, as they fear receiving spam or phishing emails. Make it easy for people to sign up for your list -- require them to disclose only a minimal amount of info to be added to your newsletter list.

6.  Create a free give-away for new subscribers.  If you know your target market well, you know what problems they struggle with daily.  Write a short report/article/ecourse that provides the answer to a very overwhelming problem that they have.  They can receive the answer to this problem (your freebie) by giving your their name and email address.

7.  Create a squeeze page for lead generation.  A squeeze page is just what it sounds like -- a web site page that "squeezes" contact info out of a visitor.  I have a content-rich ebook that I give away to new visitors.  One of my promotional strategies is to list the domain for that squeeze page, http://www.GetMoreClientsOnline.com, and write very compelling copy about why they would want this information. I get 10-15 new subscribers per day with this technique.

8.  Make an offer in your signature file.  Don't overlook the power of an effective email signature.  Whether you use it on a discussion list, online forum, online networking site, or just in an email that gets forwarded to someone else, ensure your signature file works for you.  In it, make an offer for your free give-away and let the reader know how they can receive that info. I've been hooked more than once by a compelling email signature -- they really work!  You can see mine here: http://www.onlinebizcoachingcompany.com/emailsig.htm.

9.  Create a visual icon for your newsletter.  Visitors respond better to pictures than words.  If they can see a visual representation of your newsletter or of your give-away, they are more likely to see the value in what you're offering and part with their contact info. 

10.  Use a pop-up or pop-over box on your web site. Yes, pop-up boxes are annoying, but they're quite effective.  There are many new varieties now available that look like sticky notes or a paper list, or ones that seem to bounce on your screen.  Most of these newer varieties are not blocked by pop-up blocker software.  You'll want to use one that's eye-catching, contains a very compelling offer to subscribe, and won't be blocked by your visitor's browser.

11.  Make subscribing to your newsletter your #1 goal at events.  Anytime I attend an in-person networking event or speak at a meeting, my primary goal is to get people to subscribe to my email newsletter.  I simply ask people to indicate they want to receive my newsletter by placing an "X" on the back of their business card, and then I add them to my list and they are sent my opt-in message.  At one event, I had to tell the women at my table what I needed in the next 30 days, and I said I wanted subscribers to my newsletter.  Every woman at the table gave me her card and said, "Sign me up!"

12.  Offer a free sample or your archives for viewing.  Some visitors have to be shown before they bite, so show them where you archive your prior issues and let them experience first-hand all the value you offer in your newsletter.  Once convinced, they'll sign up!

13. Ask for referrals from your readers.  In your newsletter or on your web site, ask your readers to "tell a friend" about your newsletter.  There are both free and paid services that offer this option, Bravenet.com being one of the more popular ones.

14.  Get your articles published in other ezines.  Writing articles and having them published online or in other people's newsletters or blogs has been a tremendous asset in helping me grow my list.  Make sure that your article resource box (the info that appears about you at the end of your article) includes your compelling offer to get readers to sign up for your newsletter and receive your free gift.

15.  Advertise on the back of your business card. The back of my business card contains compelling copy about the free give-away I offer for subscribing to my newsletter.  Don't let the back of your business card go to waste and stay blank -- make that space work for you by helping you add subscribers to your newsletter list.

Growing your list takes time.  Better to have well-qualified prospects on your list who are truly interested in what you offer than a large list of people who never read what you write.  Implement 1-2 of these strategies each week to grow your well-qualified email newsletter list.

(c) 2006 Donna Gunter

Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Coach Donna Gunter helps self-employed service professionals learn how to get more clients online at www.OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com. To sign up for more FREE tips like these and claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at http://www.GetMoreClientsOnline.com.

Tip - Deleting Emails from Outlook  

Here is a simple tip for deleting emails from your folders in Outlook.  If you highlight the file to delete and hold down the shift key as you click the delete icon “X” in the tool bar, you can delete the file completely without it going to your Deleted Items folder.  Just be careful not to delete a valuable file.  Outlook will give you a warning message and ask you if you are sure that you want to permanently delete the item(s).  This saves you from having to deal with it later.  

If you want to delete a range of files (like those in your Junk folder), highlight the first one in the range, move your cursor down to the last file in the range and hold down the shift key as you click it with your mouse.  This will highlight the entire range of files.  If you want to delete all of them, hold down the shift key as you follow the instructions in the first paragraph.  

That wraps up our issue for this week.  Until next week, stay tuned.  

John and Linda Howe

www.boomer-ezine.com

www.boomer-entrepreneur.com

www.boomer-marketplace.com

http://boomer-ezine.blogspot.com

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