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        Your Online Business's Greatest Asset : Email List Building Techniques

        © 2021 Elena Fawkner

        One of the most common questions I get asked goes
        something like this: "I've just signed up for your xyz program
        and it's great.  But now I want to start making money by
        selling it to others.  How do I find people to sell it to?"


         

        The stock-standard reply goes like this (regular readers
        of AHBBO will recognize the following words from last
        week's Q&A segment):

        "First off, what everyone needs to understand is that this
        business is a numbers game.  Something like 2-3%
        (estimates vary) of all people who read your ad will respond
        to it.  Of these respondents, a similar percentage will
        actually buy from you.  So, as you can see, the name of the
        game is to get your ad in front of as many pairs of eyes as
        possible.

        "It is for this reason that spamming is such a problem.
        People come to the realization that this is a numbers game
        and, when they do, the uninformed conclude that all they
        have to do is bombard their message to as many people as
        possible and 2-3% of 2-3% will yield sales in sufficient
        numbers to make it worthwhile.  This approach does have some
        superficial logic to it, of course, which is why it seems to
        appeal to so many.

        "What the rest of us understand, however, is that this
        approach simply doesn't work.  Most people will not only not
        even open your message (we all develop a spam radar very
        early on) but won't deal with you in any shape, manner or
        form because these tactics paint you as a charlatan.  In
        addition, of course, spamming is downright illegal in many
        countries and parts of countries.

        "So, how do you, legitimately, get your ad in front of the
        numbers of eyes you need to generate a fair return on your
        investment?  One approach, certainly, is to post your ads in
        the free classified sites.  Superficial logic dictates that
        it's sensible to see whether your free ad generates a
        response before spending money for paid advertising.  Well,
        your free ad WILL generate a response.  Unfortunately, it
        probably won't be the kind of response you're hoping for.
        Usually, you'll just wind up on some spammer's mailing list
        or find your autoresponder bombarded with other people's
        advertising messages.

        "The reason for this is simple.  Who do you know who goes to
        the free classified sites when they're looking for a
        business opportunity such as the one you're promoting? Not
        many.  The reality is that the vast majority of people who
        frequent the free classified sites are those who are placing
        their OWN free classified ads!

        "So, what's the answer?  It's threefold.  The first is
        something to get going with right now.  The second and third
        are longer term investments in your business that will yield
        results over the longer term.

        "Firstly, when you're just starting out, you're going to have
        to rely on paid advertising to generate all your enquiry.
        This means spending money on paid ads in ezines that target
        your target market.  You need to write a few different
        classified ads and monitor the results, tweaking your ads,
        one element at a time, until you have one ad (or a few) that
        consistently generates good enquiry for you.

        "Once you're at that point, you can begin to start
        advertising aggressively, confident that your ad "pulls".
        Be prepared, also, to reinvest your profits back into
        advertising.  This is how to build a serious business.

        "Secondly, and longer-term, create your own website.  The
        traffic to your website is a rich source of prospects since
        these people are already obviously highly interested in what
        you have to offer since they've sought you out.

        "Thirdly, develop your own list.  This means capturing the
        email addresses of your site visitors.  You do this by
        inviting them to leave their email address with you so you
        can stay in contact with them about developments at your
        site of interest to them.

        "Also, supplement your website with a newsletter that people
        can sign up for at your site.  By establishing and developing
        relationships with your site visitors and newsletter subscribers,
        you are investing in your own highly targeted list of people
        who are likely to be very interested in the programs you are
        promoting not only now but in the future.

        "This is the basic approach to running a business online.
        Don't be concerned if you're not generating quick sales at
        this stage.  As you can see it takes a LOT of time, effort
        and commitment.  The good news is that your investment will
        pay off over time."
         

        The focus of this article is the third step of that process:
        developing your own list.  As suggested above, there are two
        main ways to go about doing this.  The first requires that you
        have your own website.  The second doesn't.

        THE WEBSITE-GENERATED LIST

        If you have your own website, you need a way to capture the
        email addresses of your site visitors.  Now, "capture" doesn't
        mean using some devious means of tracking email addresses
        without the knowledge of your hapless site visitor, if such a
        thing is even possible.  What it means is directly inviting your
        website visitors to provide you their email address so you can stay
        in contact with them, let them know about changes to your
        site and let them know about new products and services that may
        be of interest to them.

        Your likelihood of success or otherwise in getting people to give
        you their email address is directly related to one thing and one
        thing only: the content value of your site.  If your site is barely
        more than a sales page for all of your various affiliate programs,
        don't expect people to give you their email address.  Why should
        they?  What have you given them of real value that would make
        them think that you may have something of even more value to
        talk to them about in the future?

        To the contrary, your visitors are likely to be disappointed and
        annoyed to find that, despite the promising description in your
        search engine listing, your site is nothing more than a collection
        of affiliate programs they could have found from any one of a
        thousand or more sites they've been to this week.

        So get the foundation right before you start to build your house
        and way before you start inviting people over.  Take the time
        to create a website that is unique, that has REAL content
        and which offers visitors something of genuine value.  This
        takes REAL work and REAL effort and REAL time.  That's
        because you're creating a REAL business!

        Once you have created a real website with real content,
        then, and only then, should you invite visitors to leave you
        their email address for future contact purposes.  You will, of
        course, establish and adhere to a privacy policy for your
        site to govern the uses to which any email addresses will
        be put.  In particular, you must keep those addresses secure
        and confidential and never EVER reveal or otherwise make
        them available to any third parties.

        Over time you are going to amass a significant number
        of email addresses.  These addresses are your "list".
        Once you have a "list", you have a ready-made group of
        qualified prospects to whom to market your existing and
        future product range.

        THE EZINE OPTION

        Publishing your own ezine is the other main way of
        cultivating your own list.  This option doesn't require that
        you have a website (although it is recommended you do
        both).

        Although you may not have a website, the same comments
        about quality of content that were made in the context of
        websites apply equally in the case of an ezine.

        It is only if you publish an ezine with quality content (and
        this means a LOT more than publishing a couple of
        articles written by other people with a few ads thrown in
        for good measure) that you will attract and, more importantly,
        retain, subscribers.

        Your ezine then becomes the vehicle to communicate
        any offers you want to make to your list.  Because you
        have been communicating with your readers week in, week
        out, because you deliver consistent quality content, and
        because you've been around for a while and seem to know
        what you're talking about, your subscribers get to know you
        and trust you.  And that makes any purchasing decision
        much easier.

        Some publishers add anyone to their subscriber list who
        makes contact with them.  Others only add subscribers who
        specifically request to be subscribed to the ezine.  It is this
        latter group who will cultivate the better quality list because
        the average interest level of subscribers will be much higher.

        If you intend to accept paid advertising in your ezine, you
        should definitely stick to the strictly opt-in version.  Advertisers
        will only pay for highly targeted lists that get results.  Sure,
        you may make the first sale but what you want is repeat
        advertising and this depends on your advertisers getting good
        returns from the ads they place with you.
         

        There are many ways to make a decent income from an
        online business but none of them come with shortcuts.
        Because online marketing is a numbers game, you must
        somehow find a legitimate way to get your message before as
        many pairs of eyes as possible.  But as we've all heard
        many, many times before, it takes an average of seven
        exposures to your message before someone will make a
        purchase decision.

        Sure, if you spend sufficient money you can generate enough
        exposures to make the sale.  THAT sale that is.  But then you
        have to start all over again to make the next one.  You lose your
        investment of time, money and energy as soon as that one ad
        campaign is over.

        The point to take away with you is that, as well as being a
        numbers game, internet marketing is as much a relationship
        game.  By cultivating your own opt-in list you have created an
        established bank of pre-qualified, targeted, interested prospects
        who know you and trust you.  You'll find that your response rate
        will be much higher than from a cold-start ad campaign in someone
        else's ezine.  But it's not easy.  It takes a lot of work, time and
        effort to create a quality list.  And so it should.  You're building a
        business, after all.

        So treat your list like gold.  It's your online business's greatest
        asset.  Besides you, that is.

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