A Non-Obvious Way to Build Your E-List

Internet marketers are always looking for new ways to build their e-lists quickly and at an affordable cost. So let me tell you about an under-used, non-obvious technique for adding new subscribers to your opt-in list. Using it, I added over 500 new subscribers to my e-list in just a few days – and these were buyers, not just prospects.

What I did was create an e-book with broad appeal to my major markets, which are copywriters and Internet marketers. (In case you are curious, the title of the e-book is “Writing E-Books for Fun and Profit,” and you can see the landing page at myveryfirstebook.com.)

I also priced it to sell. The cover price is $59. But for a limited time, it is available from me for only $19 – a discount of $40 off the regular rate.

Then I approached my affiliate with the biggest list and asked if they wanted to offer this e-book to their subscribers.

Here’s the twist: Instead of offering them the usual 50 percent commission, I told them they would get a 100 percent commission.

That’s right. They’d keep all the money.

It worked like a charm.

My affiliate thought the e-book would appeal to their list, which makes sense, because they target some of the same markets (copywriters, Internet marketers) I do. And with a 100 percent commission, they had a bigger-than-usual financial incentive to offer my e-book to their list.

So, on a Thursday, they sent a solo e-mail blast to their subscribers that had a hyperlink to my landing page for the product. It’s a special affiliate hyperlink, which makes it possible for us to track the source of the orders.

What happened?

Four days later, by Monday, we had over 500 orders.

The affiliate is happy, because they made over $10,000 on the deal. (The orders were placed on my landing page using my shopping cart, so I will write them a check for that amount.)

Their subscribers are happy, because they got a great e-book worth $59 for only $19.

And how do I win? Since their subscribers bought the e-book directly from me, I just added 500 new subscribers to my online list.

You could argue that by not collecting my usual 50 percent of the sale, I gave up $5,000 in profits. But not really. Because if I had not given a 100 percent commission as an incentive, this affiliate, who owns a big and profitable list, would not have sent an e-mail promoting my product to their readers.

My out-of-pocket cost to fulfill these 500 orders is virtually zero, because the product is a downloadable PDF file. Best of all, these are top-quality subscribers I am adding to my list. Unlike most list-building techniques, which add names through free offers, all of these new names are buyers, not prospects. They’ve already spent $19 with me. And buyers are always better than inquirers (those who join your list as a result of a free offer).

The lesson is threefold.

1. If you want affiliates and other online marketers to promote you to their lists, you have to make it financially worth their while to do so.

For a $19 product, a 50 percent commission means the affiliate gets only $9.50 per order. That’s just too little to compensate them for the slot in their e-mail schedule that you are asking them to give up to promote your product. However, a 100 percent commission on a $19 product is equivalent to the standard 50 percent commission on a $38 product. That’s still a relatively modest profit per order. But it was sufficient to get my affiliate to go forward with the promotion.

2. Price the product low. If you attempt this technique with a high-end product, you’ll get few orders – and add few new names to your e-list.

3. Create a product with broad appeal for this 100 percent commission affiliate deal. That way, you capture the maximum number of new names from each affiliate’s mailing list.

Why is this technique of offering affiliates 100 percent of the sale used so infrequently by Internet marketers? It’s psychological: Even though you know it makes sense, writing that big commission check to your affiliate is painful. But it shouldn’t be. It costs you nothing out of pocket. And you add all those new subscribers without paying a dime for online advertising.

One other tip: On the landing page for the product, state clearly that $19 is a special time-limited offer, and that once it expires, the price will go up. This gives visitors an incentive to buy now and not put it off, maximizing your conversion rates.

[Ed. Note: Building your list is a critical part of making any online business successful. Get proven strategies for finding new customers with ETR’s 5 Days in July DVD Library. You’ll get time-tested advice on starting an Internet business from experts who’ve done it themselves.

Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter, a successful Internet marketer, and the author of more than 70 books. Get more of Bob’s advice by subscribing to his free e-zine, The Direct Response Letter. Do so today and get a free gift worth $116.]

Bob Bly

Bob Bly is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in business-to-business and direct marketing. He has been hired as a consultant by such companies as Sony, Chemical Bank, J. Walter Thompson, Westinghouse, and Prentice-Hall. Bob is also the author of more than 50 books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Direct Marketing (Alpha Books), Targeted Public Relations, Selling Your Services, How to Promote Your Own Business, and Keeping Clients Satisfied. A phenomenal public speaker, Bob will share with you how easy it is to start your own business. Whether you’re ready to quit your job or are just looking to make a little money on the side, you’ll want to hear Bob’s advice.