How I started my email list

The money is in the list. With a list you can build on your relationship with your clients so they are more likely to buy from you and also let them know of exciting products and services. For me, I wanted to keep in touch with my community and build my reputation as a web marketer, so what better way to do that than to create an email list with a monthly newsletter? To get myself into action on this goal, I had an networking event coming up so I decided to hand out postcards with a website URL where a free report was available for download when visitors opted into my email list.

To make this happen there was a number of components that I needed to build or configure to work together. The cost was just over $100 (mostly for the postcards). Use this blog post as a guide to build your your own!

Step 1: Create Your Offer To encourage people to opt into my list, I wrote a free report called “Five Ways to Make Your Website Googlicious”. Most website owners do not know much about SEO (search engine optimization), so my goal was to open their eyes on how they could make their website more search engine friendly.

Step 2: Create the postcard I used VistaPrint for creating the postcard. On their site (Advertising and Marketing –> Postcards), I found a template that I liked and added the text I needed. Your choices of templates are overwhelming but otherwise the process is straightforward. Cost: approx. $90 for 250 double sided glossy postcards

Step 3: Squeeze Page For the squeeze page, I bought the domain www.yoursuccessfulwebsite.com and recruited a bored college student to create a squeeze page out of a template we got for $9. I’m not happy with the template code, but it does the job. Since I hosted the site in a subdirectory in a bluehost.com account I already had, I didn’t have to buy additional hosting.

Finding Images On the postcard there is a picture of a person looking through a spyglass which aligned nicely with the messaging of the postcard which asked “Can Your Customers Find Your Website?”. To reinforce the messaging and as a memory jogger, I wanted to show a similar image on the website. I found one in istockphoto.com for a few dollars.

Image Tweaks for the non Graphically Inclined While everything looked great on a PC, I arrived at the seminar with my Mac laptop and found that that the header of the website was not displaying properly! For the just in time simple or last minute tweaks to images on my Macbook Pro I used Paintbrush which is a free download.

Step 4: Autoresponder / Email System Since I wanted a flexible autoresponder for multiple uses, I created an account at aweber. aweber is $19 a month for 500 contacts. If you just want to just email a newsletter to a list, you might consider icontact which is cheaper. Both will generate web form code that you can copy and paste into your squeeze page for your opt-in box.

Comments

  • Based on other freebies on the web and feedback I’ve received, I overdid it on the free report. In its current format, it’s 22 pages long and provides a lot of value. I probably should charge for it, however for now I’m going to keep it as free – you can get it at www.yoursuccessfulwebsite.com
  • Despite the lure of getting my website done for free, I might try a service like elance next time. Or since I am a do-it-myself type of person, find a better template.
  • I got lots of positive comments on the postcard. It definitely stood out, both in its size and coloring, compared to the business cards that most were handing out.
  • However, I did not get tremendous uptake on my free offer, about 7%, it would have been more lucrative to have a packaged service or product to sell and close people on the spot, however since I currently am not selling either, I’m happy with the results so far.
  • Be prepared to spend some time configuring aweber (or whichever ESP – email service provider you choose). There are multiple steps in opting into a list and you have to think about the experience for your visitor for each step. For example, where should your visitor be sent to after they have typed in their email address and name? What should you say in your welcome message when they join?
  • This one should be obvious, but I will say it again, test your websites in different browsers and both on a Mac and PC. Not only did the header look different on a Mac, but the opt-in box code from aweber looked different in IE (internet explorer) rather than firefox – requiring another fix.

I hope this overview helps you put together your own email list and opt-in web form. Good Luck!

About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a traffic and conversion expert specializing in SEO, Copywriting and Facebook Ad Campaigns. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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Leave a Comment:

13 comments
Louise Edington says August 16, 2010

Thanks for such useful information – I am bookmarking this post to return to again later to see if there are parts of this I can implement for finding families to host AuPairs.
louiseedington.wordpress.com

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Jean Bentley says August 16, 2010

Great information and like Louise I have bookmarked to come back later.

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Michael Cavitt says August 17, 2010

I am approaching this point. Thanks for the guidance.

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Heidi & Atticus says August 17, 2010

Great information, KathyAlice! I am Definitely going to read your report… so much to learn! Thanks

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Donna McCord says August 17, 2010

I am in awe of your technical expertise! Most of what you shared is like Greek to me! but I am going to save your info and read your report as well; I am using a company called Demand Force that helps me communicate with my email list and that has been super, so I have been relying on them to keep us connected with our customers.

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Darcie Newton says August 18, 2010

Great stuff…I really like the clean look of your landing page. I downloaded your report and can’t wait to read it.

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Kathy Alice says August 18, 2010

Thanks everyone, I hope the free report is helpful. BTW. I would love everyone’s input on what topics to write on. To that end, I have a super SHORT survey (it’s really short, I promise), check it out!

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Kathy Alice says August 18, 2010

Donna, don’t be shy about asking questions. It helps me understand what to explain better. I do know that the above post covered a lot, but if you want me to elaborate on a part of it, just let me know!

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Candace Davenport says August 18, 2010

Very good post. I am slowly ‘getting’ it! One question. Like you said, I have noticed setting up squeeze pages etc., that depending on the browser, they look different. You said you were able to fix that. Is there one fix that allows a page or site to be seen the same on all browsers or do you have to pick and choose? Thanks!

Candace Davenport
http://www.ourlittlebooks.com

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Jennifer Duchene says August 19, 2010

Always helpful to get information that makes you think about details. In my business (design and one day makeovers) I get my clients thinking about details all the time. Expertise gives you the knowledge to create a product that is above the ordinary. I will definitely download and read your report. thanks so much!

Jennifer Duchene
The Home Makeover Mixtress blending cool & cozy style!

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Bill Browning says August 20, 2010

Great step-by-step info on building your list. Really lowers the intimidation factor.

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Jen Sako says August 20, 2010

Ooohh. I need to bookmark this page! I have this very project on my marketing to-do list and you broke it down for me very nicely.

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Kathy Alice says August 23, 2010

Hi Candace,
Sorry for the slow response, your comment was captured by the spam filter. There are coding standards that if you follow should make your site compatible with all browsers, but the reality is that you run into problems anyway so you should always test. In this case the “get it” button was much bigger in IE than in Firefox, so it overflowed the box.

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