Essence of the list
A subscriber list is essential to any website or Web-based company, even if the entity is a small venture specializing in a specific niche or a larger, more established general merchant; because such a list – also referred to as an opt-in list – can make a world of difference in the form of extra income (and profit?) generated for an online business, niche-based entrepreneurship or personal cause, even if that cause is non-profit in nature. In today’s business environment, rarely would you come across an eCommerce site – big or small – that is operated without a subscriber list.
The main purpose of a subscriber list is to allow a company, Web marketer or online merchant to promote websites, products and services to “opt-in” subscribers via a email. Such promotional emails are permitted because the subscribers previously “opted-in” to the list thereby authorizing the business or marketer to send email, newsletters and other promotional materials to their inboxes. The benefit of this arrangement to marketers and businesses is clear: they make money from any purchases. But there is also benefit to the subscribers: they can be kept abreast of latest trends, new product offers and industry news so they are able to make better and more informed decisions.
It is because there is mutual consent between the two parties that any email sent to a given subscriber list is not considered as spam mail, which is obviously illegal and unwanted. Overall, the volume of promotional material that reaches subscribers’ inboxes, successfully opened, and read is enormous; and this material includes catalogs, newsletters and other such promotions. But it is sent because the subscribers themselves have signed up to receive it; meaning that they do want it to be sent to them.
While building a subscriber list should be an essential task of any business, it is important to point out that only a small percentage of website visitors actually opt-in to a subscriber list because many people find promotional mails annoying; but if you are a business owner or marketer who wish to build a subscriber list you’ll probably have more success in doing so by providing a high quality newsletter or catalog which, in turn, would demonstrate the time, work and care you put into this material and therefore should work to create interest in, and attract more readers to, your content after which you can watch your list nurtured and grow.
You can also achieve such a list-building goal by having good and interesting content on your website, because if visitors like what they see and read on your site they are more likely than not to want more; and a newsletter would certainly be one way to attract them back to your website. Many businesses utilize little teasers, appetizers (in the case of restaurants) and samples to attract customers and your or entrepreneurship should be no different in its approach to building and maintaining a quality subscriber list.
That having been said, keep in mind that a subscriber list can be used for purposes other than marketing your products and services in the sense that, it can be a powerful tool to enhance an already popular and reputable brand, or build an industry brand and create a credible, sterling reputation when used properly in joint ventures (JVs) and community forums. Of course it would be good to first build a successful list with a huge number of subscribers, because the more subscribers your list is comprised of, the more money you can make and therefore the more of a demand that would be created for your list in JV arrangements.
Ads, affiliations & deal-making
The following paragraphs provide an insight into several ways your business can make money using nothing more than a subscriber list.
Place advertisements – There are many corporations who will be willing to pay to put their banners and ads on a list with many subscribers. Selling or renting out lists is not a good idea so rather than doing that, many companies would rather place ads with lists boasting a huge subscriber base, and as a result, your newsletter could be selected by these companies and rewarded with many ads, each of which spells money.
Establish affiliations – Affiliations with other companies that have at least a semblance or similarity to your site’s topic and content will encourage other companies to provide links and brief descriptions of what they offer, or their products and services. With every click made on the link that directs or leads a subscriber from your list to their site, the company will pay you. This is known as P4P or pay for performance.
Make deals with other companies – By asking for a small percentage of sales done through your list with these companies, every sale done by customers that have come from your list and have gone there because of your newsletter would trigger a payment to you by the other company by way of a smal percentage of the sales created via your list. Pursuant to this arrangement, the more members of your list that buy from them, the more money you make.
Products from other sites – A quality, well-maintained list will help you to get products from other sites on a consignment basis and sell them to your list members via a newsletter, catalog or other email campaign. Simply place descriptions, articles and photos of the product in your preferred medium and when list members express interest in a given product – or even place and order – you can get the product from the other site and sell or deliver it to your buyer.
Sell ebooks or article content – Selling ebooks and compilations of article content to your list is another way to monetize that list. Manuals and how-to articles are usually in great demand and many people will be willing to shell out money to gain knowledge about a certain topic or given subject. With your existing list trusting your expertise in that area, an ebook could be offered and sold or used as an incentive.
Create a network out of your list – Get people to invite more people to view your site and subscribe to your list. The larger your list is, the more people will be able to click on your links and affiliate links as well as make your advertisement rates higher.
Selling certain types of information – Subscribers are willing to pay for information if they know that it can be trusted and relied upon. Use your list to get more and more people to subscribe to you as well as browse your site. Lastly, you can use your list to earn money by making them your partners. Your list will be the bloodline of your growth and success.