List Building 101 – Creating a Funnel

listbuilding 101 - building a list funnel

Building A List Funnel Can Be Complicated !

So, I’m getting into list building a bit more these days and it takes a bit of time to get your head round the whole process. It’s so much more complicated than a good old website with a link to an affiliate product. But this simple approach is so limited and vulnerable, if you buy into the merits of building a list.

For instance,  you can’t build a relationship with your visitor if they visit your site once, never to return again. Plus, you are limited to the types of visitors that you can receive – mainly free or SEO traffic. This makes you vulnerable to changes from search engines like Google.

So list building it is.

You can develop a relationship with people that sign up and you can use some forms of paid traffic which makes you less dependent on Google and their search engine pals (well, pals might not be the word for it)

The basics of list building are to create a squeeze page. This is a one page website that gives something away (a free gift) in exchange for an email address. When you have an email address, you can reconnect with the person that signed up (now your subscriber).

The more you connect with the person through email, the more likely they are to trust and value your opinions (or get fed up with you and unsubscribe).

At some point you can suggest products that you are affiliated to or own yourself that the subscriber should buy. In this way, you make a bit of money (or a lot depending on how much you sell).

To take this on a bit further, you could create what is called a list building funnel. This is slightly different to the previous example in that it makes a pitch to the new subscriber in between them signing up for their gift and getting the gift.

The pitch is for another product that complements or relates to the free gift in some way. This other product is for sale at a fairly low price such that it doesn’t put the person’s nose out of joint too much.  After all, they were expecting something for free so having to buy something is not high on their list of priorities.

With this said, some people will buy, depending on how well you pitch the product and how well it complements the free gift. When this happens you have immediate revenue.

This revenue can be used to subsidize your list building efforts. In other words, you re-invest it into paid traffic or it pays for other costs needed to build the list. When you start using paid traffic you can build the list faster and, of course, you are less reliant on free traffic.

What’s more, when you know the statistics on how often this paid offer converts a subscriber to a buyer, you can make more strategic decisions about how you build the list.

When you know how much a subscriber is worth to you, you can also make more strategic decisions on how you build the list and ultimately grow a business (of sorts). The standard internet marketing lore or old charter (phrase shamelessly nicked from Robert Rankin ;) ) is that each subscriber is worth $1 a month to you.

So with this revenue or projected revenue inked in, you can buy more traffic or invest money in creating products that might interest your subscribers. You could employ (outsource) people to do things for you. This would free up your time to do things that are more important or revenue generating.

But that’s getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

The nuts and bolts of a list building funnel are quite complicated.

  • You need a squeezepage which offers a free gift.
  • Then a thank you page where the people that want the free gift can get it.
  • You need to set up a list to keep the email ids of these people.
  • This list needs one or more email messages set up that can be sent out to the good folks on the list.
  • If you are offering a paid product, you need a pitch page for that product.
  • You need some form of payment processor on the pitch page – a paypal buy button for instance.
  • If people buy the product, you need a download page where they can get the product.
  • You also need to set up a list for these people that bought the product.

This is an important distinction as there is a big difference between the people on the free list and the people on the buy list. Namely, they are willing to spend money. You should treat them differently.

  • This list will also need some email messages set up to keep the people interested in you and what you have to say. This is where you develop your relationship with your subscribers.

So as you can see there is a lot to set up and a lot to test to see if it is working. What’s more, it something that has to be constantly tinkered with. You need to track what is happening so that you can improve various aspects of the funnel.

And you should also be adding to the email messages all the time. This could be as part of the regularly  delivered auto-responder series or special one off broadcasts.

As I say, it takes you a bit of time to get your head round it all….well, it does for me anyway.

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