Trade, commerce, commercial activity designed to promote market and sell goods or products and services with the intent on making a profit; earning money from activities in a given marketplace.

List-Based Money-Making Methods

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.

Subscription motivation

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.

Creative monetization

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 contentSelling 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 information

Selling certain types of informationSubscribers 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.

Avoiding Spam in Your Ad Campaigns

A fine and distinct line

At one time or another we have all seen statements pertaining to spam which are admonishing in nature but designed to make us aware of the negative effects spamming can have on our promotional and marketing efforts. Such statements often appear in the form of short, two-to-three word directives like, “Don’t Spam,” “Avoid Spamming” and “Advertise, Do Not Spam,” along with other similar cautionary phrases. What is often left unsaid is what spam is and the various ways in which it is defined and interpreted; so in this article we will try to provide some clarification.

First and foremost it is necessary to point out that there is a fine line between advertising and spam, but unfortunately many business owners do not understand the things that distinguish one from the other, although understanding these distinctions is very important in the sense that a smart and well planned Web marketing campaign can help to attract new customers and keep existing customers loyal, spam will likely alienate potential customers as well as an existing customer base. Such alienation can be extremely damaging to profit margins for many business owners. So let’s begin by taking a look at three examples in which basic Web marketing activities – banner ads, email campaigns and message board posts – can quickly cross the line from smart advertising to spam and how it can occur in each instance.

Banner ads

Banner ads are some of the most popular ad placement strategies that can accompany a Web marketing plan. They usually appear at the top of websites, spanning the width of a standard website – which is how they originally earned the name ‘banner ads’ – but in today’s marketing environment banner ads can actually refer to ads of various different sizes and shapes (instead of the standard 468×60 and the larger leaderboard 728×90 versions) that appear in an array of different locations on websites throughout the Web. In many cases a business owner (merchant) might purchase advertising space on certain websites but the banner ad may also be placed as part of an exchange or an affiliate marketing campaign.

Exchanges of banner ads occur when one business owner (say merchant A) posts a banner ad on his own website in exchange for his banner ad being placed on the website of another business owner (say merchant B). These agreements may be made individually between business owners with complimentary businesses or as part of exchanges facilitated by a third party (an affiliate of one or the other). In the case of affiliate marketing it is often the case that an affiliate will post advertisements for a given merchant on his/her affiliate site in exchange for compensation when the banner ad produces a desired effect such as, traffic to the business site or product purchases. The terms of these agreements are determined and agreed to beforehand and are generally based on a scale of pay per impression, per click or per sale/lead.

Now that you have a better idea of what banner ads are it is just as important to understand how they can be overused and, as a result of such overuse, be interpreted as spam. For example, judiciously placing your banner ad on a few websites which are likely to attract an audience similar to your target audience is smart marketing; whereas placing your banner ad on any website that will display the ad regardless of the target audience can be construed as spam. Be assured that Internet users who think your banner ads are everywhere they turn regardless of the content they are pursuing will not likely take your business seriously, in which case they certainly will not purchase products or services promoted under that business name as a result of such pervasive distribution of banner ads.

eMail marketing campaigns

Email marketing campaigns can also be very useful tools in the industry of Web marketing as these campaigns may involve sending periodic eNewsletters filled with information as well as advertisements and short, informative email courses or discounts on product and service offerings. Loyal customers who opt into a marketer’s email list will likely not view these emails as spam and may purchase additional products and services from the marketer or merchant as a result of this marketing strategy.



Additionally, potential customers who have specifically requested more information on certain products and services will also find this type of marketing useful. However, email recipients who did not request information are likely to view such emails as spam. Similarly, harvesting email addresses in a deceptive manner and using these addresses to send out mass emails will most likely be always considered as spam. In fact sending unwanted commercial email to recipients who did not agree to receiving emails from the sender are considered one of the reasons for enactment of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, more of which are highlighted in the excerpt below.

The CAN-SPAM Act was implemented in the United States on January 1st of 2004 as a means of protecting the privacy of consumers. CAN-SPAM is short for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act. The act prevents the use of misleading “to” and “from” headers in emails. The law requires marketers to include their physical address in the email as well as an “opt-out” link in every email designed to give consumers the ability to reach the marketer and tell them they no longer want to receive information from them after which the email sender must remove this email address from their data base within 10 business days. Any email that contains sexual content must be clearly labeled and identified before the recipient opens it. Marketers have to get permission from the consumer in order to sell their email address.

Excerpt taken from Web Connections website. More about the legal aspect of spam can be obtained from, www.cauce.org.

Message boards

Message boards provide an excellent opportunity for business owners to obtain some free advertising where it will be noticed by members of a particular target audience; and if the products and services you or other business owners offer appeal to a specific niche, it is worthwhile to join message boards and online forums related to your industry of choice. Here you will find a large population of Internet users who may have an interest in your products.

 

You might consider including a link to your marketing website in your signature or posting the link when it is applicable to the conversation. However, care should be taken to closely review the message board guidelines so you can avoid doing anything inappropriate while employing a technique which many consider to be smart marketing. Conversely, replying to every message with a link to your website when it is not relevant to the conversation is likely to be construed as spam by other members. Once they begin to view your posts as spam, they are not likely to visit your website via the links you post.