When we want to make money online, one of the moving parts is an email list. That’s what list building for traffic is all about.
Why? I’ll tell you why.
We build an email list:
- Because when we build an email list we can connect with people.
- Because when we send good stuff people go look at our good stuff.
- Because when people look at our good stuff, hey, that’s traffic!
When we get traffic to our good stuff, the search engines notice. That’s called great!
- Because when search engines notice, they quite often reward us by sending us more traffic.
- Because search engines want to deliver results that match what searchers want.
- Because advertisements provide revenue to search engines and if the search results aren’t relevant search engines don’t get the behavior they want from searchers! (Yep – clicking on advertisements so search engines get paid and get searchers to return to click on more ads)
Search engines give free help finding stuff so that they can get paid in many ways. Over time, how a search engine makes money is, at best, a moving target.
So what we give wants to be well labeled. By that, I mean, accurately described.
That way, regardless of “today’s” way of rewarding content… we continue to give free help to real people with real problems.
When we give value, there are folks on the Internet who can make money online based on showing what we’ve got. Some, such as search engines, will send folks our way and find a way to get paid for doing so that’s not connected with us. Such as advertisers!
Others will simply steal our stuff. That’s okay – give anyway!
It’s reality. Some people steal.
How to handle theft:
- Recognize it’s inevitable.
- Recognize mostly it’s not worth our time pursuing.
- Recognize we help ourselves when we choose to forgive.
- Recognize we want to keep giving anyway.
Real people with real problems:
Building a list we can be proud of is about connecting us and our help with real people who have real problems we can make a difference with. It’s about developing relationships.
When we help people, over time, people who take our help and benefit from our help, will begin to respect us. Some will like and trust us.
Some people buy. Some people will buy from us.
Some of who buy from us, will continue to buy more from us. That’s natural because we will continue to provide more help that they find useful.
Sometimes people will do what it takes to begin to get transformation and real results from our help. That’s when our business online becomes real.
We deliver results. We pay attention to how people get specific outcomes from our help.
We package up our help more efficiently.
That’s when we make a difference. Because what we do matters to people who want what we can deliver to them in the way of specific outcomes.
Helping people transform their lives matters.
- Getting people unstuck.
When we’re making a difference, do you know what else happens?
- Our joy in serving.
- Our contentment in serving.
- Our ability to get get paid increases and can produce a predictable income stream.
- We learn how to help more people and we make money online by a business that is truly sustainable.
- We can give back to the world and leave a legacy.
People and moving parts:
Ahhhhh… but to get there requires effort over time. Because it involves people. Because it involves moving parts on the Internet and in our own mastery of what we offer and the technology supporting us.
And we’ve got to have all the parts in order to attract the right people and be able to help them. So there’s going to be a path to building our own process.
Building our process for our business is similar to our offline processes we’ve come up with for living each day of our personal lives.
For example we have our own processes for:
- Doing our own laundry (sort for color? hang to dry?)
- Getting ready for bed (relax by reading, listening or watching something?)
- Getting up in the morning (jump out of bed singing? drink coffee?)
We took tasks and put them into something that fits us and has the pieces involved. Just like water and soap are part of doing our own laundry, building our list, attracting Internet traffic, and creating an offer that converts are part of our process when we want to make money online.
Attracting the right people:
Once we get our processes together, we can put the moving pieces and the people together so we can help people. We help people either by making our own products and services or by some other business model, such as affiliate marketing (selling other people’s products and services) or advertising (where our stuff’s so good people hang out with us and we, well, essentially, sell the fact that people hang out with us and might go shopping while hanging out).
When we’re helping people we can figure out a way to get paid. Helping people is what we need to do regardless of what way we choose to get paid.
What do I mean? I mean that regardless of our choice of business model what we must do is help people in a way that makes a difference. Otherwise people won’t stick with us and we won’t get paid.
But when we do get the people and the moving parts in place?
- Then people who are ready, willing and able to benefit from our deeper help will find us.
- Over time, people refer people to us for help, too!
People show up one by one:
- Internet traffic happens when the moving parts are in place because we have a way to attract people to us one by one.
- Internet traffic is about real people with real problems showing up.
- When people with real problems show up, we can help.
- When we give a little bit of free help, people begin to connect with us.
SIMPLE and EASY are the key:
When we get email replies from people on our email list, we can suggest easy, simple ways for them to solve challenges they face that we’ve already figured out. Simple and easy are the key because it happens faster, better and cheaper when we stick with simple and easy.
Stick with simple and easy. No matter how detailed your process has to be because of the tasks involved, keep it simple and easy.
It’s a hard lesson. One we all learn and relearn daily! 😉
So when we look to build a list, let’s build a list we can be proud of:
- Let’s do so by being ourselves.
- Let’s do so by experimenting.
- Let’s include multiple lists so our experiments are targeted.
- Let’s figure out how we can help people simply and easily!
Clarity and purpose:
When we build a list we can be proud of what we’re doing is teaching ourselves too! We gain clarity and purpose.
That’s right, we build a list we can be proud of through our own clarity.
We build our list around who we are and what we do best.
When I use the word clarity, I’m talking about our clarity of our own purpose as human beings.
Figuring out our purpose:
That takes effort over time to figure out. It’s not something we simply look in the mirror and say, “Aha!”
We have to search for our clarity of purpose. To some extent, we must experiment and fail forward toward success.
Our own personal clarity comes when we begin to recognize who we can serve best! Here’s a clue: where we find it simple and easy… and fulfilling.
That’s where our time, talent and treasure overlap with what people are spending money on right now. That’s what fits us.
Why I’m writing:
I’m writing to show you how our own clarity of purpose determines whether we build a list we can be proud of. Or not!
I’m writing to share how to build a list we can be proud of. How to fail forward to that as a success.
Our Email List IS Our Market:
- Because our email list is our own personal market space.
- Because our relationships with people on our list form our market place.
- Because we can make a difference when we’ve got a relationship with people who have problems we know about solving.
Our list is a testing field. It’s an experiment in finding out who belongs there and why.
So we want to get it right. Badly enough to restart over and over again.
Yep. Even if it means creating and then discarding many lists along the way.
Let’s close our eyes for just a moment…
(1) Action! Clicking through to us is how to become our visitor, whether that’s because someone just found us using their favorite search engine, or some other way such as a referral from another source.
(2) Attention! Our content that person clicked through to become our visitor at, well, either our content catches attention – or not.
(3) Conversion! After consuming our content, there’s a decision point. Our visitor subscribes – or not.
When we have clarity of purpose:
(1) We begin to know exactly what we’re best at and who we can best help… today. This is a moving target!
- That means we are not the same yesterday, today and forever.
- That means our subscribers will come and go.
- That means our lists themselves will come and go.
- That means we want to pay attention!
(2) We know we cannot be best at everything.
- So we experiment.
- So we test.
- So we create multiple lists.
- So we explore to figure out what fits best.
- So we observe.
(3) We’re willing to get better at what we do because we like it. We’re willing to work at making it become well defined because it’s stuff that matters to us.
(4) We begin to become the “Go To Person” for our expertise.
- Sometimes we’ll get that “15 minutes of fame” as something we can spark into more.
- Other times we simply put in effort over time, testing, measuring and continuously improving what we’ve got out there.
- Other times we’ll rejoice that we can restart our lists or simply add new ones because they’re simpler and easier to fit us so we serve better.
(5) We enjoy our days more.
- So we can give extra attention happily.
- So we’re helping people in ways that matter to us.
- So we feel joy and contentment in serving.
- So when we get email replies from our subscribers, we’re happy to help.
- So we grow and include pointers to products and services we offer that give more in-depth help than a simple email reply can provide.
(6) We limit interactions with people we aren’t best at helping.
- Sometimes what that looks like is the deconstruction and decommissioning of a list.
- Sometimes we unsubscribe people that don’t fit.
- Sometimes we simply turn off one or more of our lists as we focus elsewhere.
- Sometimes we transition our good stuff over to someone else who’s going to carry on with our stuff because we’re selling the business to them. ( For example? Hey, my dentist sold his practice! Lots of professionals do this offline. When we build a business, we’re building an asset!)
(7) We don’t mind that we repel people we’re not a fit for.
- We become clear on who we fit over time.
- We get joy and contentment from serving in ways we fit.
- So we feel good about repelling people who simply don’t fit because we are learning who we are and how we can go make a difference in the world by being ourselves.
Let’s look at how to figure out how to gain clarity of purpose!
- Because clarity of purpose is the bottom line of how to succeed online.
- Because how to succeed online requires a foundation of clarity of purpose.
- Because we gain joy and contentment by serving with clarity of purpose.
How to take steps toward our clarity of purpose:
We identify who we want to attract and who we want to repel!
We figure out who we are in life. That’s who we want to be online.
So we specifically target prospects with something in common with our ideal, best buyers. We behave in ways that grab their attention.
We focus our time and effort!
We invest ourself. We recognize that gaining clarity of purpose in our online business is a process.
We test our results. We adjust your process.
We observe our successes online!
We help people. We begin to connect with people we help.
We observe who takes our help and runs with it to success. We observe who simply takes our help for entertainment.
We take action that moves us to our success online in tiny steps!
We begin to pay attention to what we do that’s simple and easy. We begin to notice where we put in effort that does not reward us.
Yes, we help people along the way. But we move to places where we’re appreciated with the things we find simple and easy for us.
(5) Free gifts
We keep giving free gifts!
Yes, people on the Internet expect free gifts. So the Internet has come to be a place that demands free gifts.
There’s a good side. Because it’s become a way for buyers to discern whether there’s a fit with you before investing.
Transformation vs. Entertainment
Getting free stuff online has also become a way of life for freebie seekers who are not yet willing to take action to transform their lives. As a result, our stuff is simply entertainment for people who are merely curious about, instead of ready for, the transformation we offer those who take in our help in deeper ways.
By the way, that’s going to be true of a lot of our buyers too! Taking action for transformation is attractive but requires work that many aren’t willing to do… even when there’s ability and willingness to pay!
So we don’t get to know in advance who’s showing up for entertainment. That’s why we’ve got to help all who show up.
Maybe, just maybe, we can inspire the spark. That’s part of why putting all our stuff in a process is so critical.
That’s part of why keeping it simple and easy matters. Ahhhhh… Aha?!
Getting to ‘Aha!’
How does clarity of purpose gets us to the solid foundation for our success online?
Or – put in the simple and easy form of two words? Bottom line!
What is the bottom line?
- We want to help, in some tiny way, shape or form, anyone who finds us.
- We want to help a little bit.
- That’s right, we only want to help a little bit.
Why we want our free stuff to help just a little bit:
- Because people don’t get problems overnight.
- Because people don’t recognize problems in an instant.
- Because people build habits around problems.
- Because the world is full of information about how to solve problems, so if someone was going to solve their problem all on their own without any interaction from a real person, all they’d need to do is go to a public library.
- Oh, and yeah, because we want to get paid online, so giving everything free wouldn’t be sustainable anyways!
We want to do so automatically as a way of letting people who want more to identify themselves and let us know.
That’s to say, we automate our help by putting out free stuff.
whether the timing is right for someone to buy or not!
How do we attract our future best buyers?
(1) Be ourself
Write quality, useful content connected in some way to our business. Publish our content as articles. Choose to publish in ways and places our ideal, best buyers will find us and read our content.
(2) Link back to our business
Let our readers find us so some will choose to become our visitors. Folks who like our free stuff that they first encounter may want more free stuff right away. So let’s give!
(3) Create a blog or blogs
Write a handful of substantial articles and post them on our blog. Be boldly ourself. Focus as tightly or loosley on our own business as we feel moved to be. Link back to our blog or blogs from stuff we put online and include ways to connect with us by inviting people to join our email list or email lists.
Once we’ve published content on our blog, let’s start writing and publishing more content in other places. Let’s get our content online wherever we discover that our buyers hang out. Let’s give helpful content your buyers find useful.
We focus our efforts ever more tightly so we end up with simple and easy ways to help people. Let’s choose urgent problems we can solve. Let’s begin sharing steps in solving those problems.
As we continue to write, let’s be ourself, and do so ever more boldly. That’s how we’ll gain ever more clarity about who we are and what we do best. As we do, we’ll tend to draw visitors who have those problems closer to us. Then let’s engage so we can develop relationships of respect, liking, and trusting by being bold enough to help with real problems.
We’ll find over time that we get clarity on our purpose. As we begin to feel clarity of purpose, we tend to shine. That’s when our business begins to flow from our heart and the pieces begin to come together. That’s when we need to observe what we’ve done along the way and make it simple and easy.
Won’t we annoy people who don’t connect with you?
Yes! That is exactly the point.
We want a lot of our readers not to visit!
We want a lot of our visitors not to subscribe!
Yes, you read that right.
We want to repel some people!
(1) There’s good reason to push away people who don’t have the urgent problems we choose to focus upon!
(2) We’re going to become among the best in the world at some aspects of what we do. So we’ll focus on where we can provide the best products and services. We’ll continue getting better at those.
(3) We cannot help everyone! If we try to help everyone, we’ll end up being no great help to anyone because we’ll be scattering our time when we could be helping real people with real problems while getting better at what we’re best at!
Our ideal, best buyer is likely to have problems our solutions match, right?
Our subscribers we can best help have that same stuff in common with our best buyers, too. That’s why we can help each other. 😉
How can it be important to repel people?
(1) Finite resources.
We use some of those finite resources for each subscriber. When we attract the right subscribers, whether they buy or not is irrelevant because we learn something from each interaction.
The reverse is also true. That’s why we waste finite resources when we don’t repel people, because we simply don’t get to learn what we need to learn when we’re attracting the wrong people.
(2) Mental energy.
Good subscribers ask questions. Relevant questions increase our mental energy!
The reverse is also true. That’s why we want only those with relevant questions, and the best way to do that is to repel those who aren’t able or willing to ask.
(5) Technology stuff.
The moving parts is technology stuff. There’s lots of reasons we only want the right people on our lists.
For example, when we build lists of people who don’t open our emails then there’s a chance of our email not getting delivered.
Why? Because Internet Service Providers (ISPs) pay attention to whether your emails to their email customers get opened or not. When most don’t get opened, you risk being listed as spam. Then future subscribers who use that same Internet Service Provider (ISP) might not get any of your emails.
(6) Who we are
We’re not the right person to help everyone! Recognizing that is part of our clarity of purpose.
So let’s encourage qualified visitors to opt-in to our lists.
- Let’s make that so by our behavior toward qualified visitors.
- Let’s encourage unqualified visitors to disqualify themselves by leaving without opting in by those same behaviors.
How? I’ll tell you how!
Our behavior will attract or repel based on fit!
(1) What we put out
What we put out there online smells right to a qualified prospect. They join our list because it feels like it might be a good fit. They feel like they’ll get good stuff.
(2) What we give as free gifts
What we give away creates a feeling of connection with the right people. They may or may not ever buy from us but they will help us learn what we need to learn. They give us feedback and opportunities to help them that help us get better.
(3) What we say as our call to action
When we invite the right people to our list, what we offer feels natural to the right people. They take action and join our email list so they can get what they want out of it. By repelling the wrong people, we get to build a list to be proud of because we’re connecting with people, building a relationship with people who begin tor respect, like and trust us.
Then, other things being equal, when we later create something that includes what they want to buy, those who are going to buy that choose to buy from us rather than from a stranger.
Clarity of Purpose
When we have clarity of purpose, it shines through in all we do.
(1) Qualified visitors recognize your value and fit.
(2) Free gifts attractive to qualified visitors act like a magnet.
We grab more of your qualified visitor’s attention.
Divided attention is a reality. And even the right people are going to have divided attention when they find us. That can be good.
Why? Here’s an example:
1) Some people may be in a focused mode, maybe even doing research trying to find what you offer. Yet these same people are drinking coffee in a crowded, noisy room. Or caring for an elderly parent or a young child – or a combination.
(2) Your gift’s attractiveness and fit pulls attention to you. You pop to the top of mind like a strong magnet pulls nails to the top of a box of feathers.
(3) You grab attention! Then you keep it because your call to action means you’ve told your qualified visitor exactly what to do.
When we give directions, we tend get action when the action is simple and the fit feels right. There’s less analysis because the feeling that we fit what someone wants hits a tipping point.
Your Call To Action:
Tell your visitor what to do.
Keep your directions simple!
For example, build your list by asking visitors to enter first name and email. Use a simple form. Use a button that clearly tells your visitor it’s the place to click to become your subscriber.
UPDATE: Check out this example from what I’m doing now: http://slowselfimprovementguide.com/listbuildingfortraffic/
and here’s an article from that site sharing what I’m doing now: