Promoting Your List

Ad Swapping

 

One way to build your list is by ad swapping. In its simplest terms, ad swapping means two marketers trade ads and cross promote each other to their respective email lists.

 

The greatest benefits to ad swapping are that there’s no charge for this type of cross promotion and you have the potential to reach many more people in your target audience.

 

However, not all lists are created equally so you need to do some research before entering into a cross promotion agreement.

 

As with any marketing plan, the purpose of ad swapping is to extend your reach to your target audience. You want to spread the word about your blog or business, and drive those potential subscribers to your squeeze page where they will sign up for your list.

 

In turn, as you build your relationship with your list, they will know, like and trust you enough to read your blog, purchase your products, or your recommended affiliate products.  Thus earning you money.

 

Even though this form of passive income is hugely dependent on your relationship with your list, it stands to reason that the larger your list, the larger the potential to earn big money.

 

One way to grow your list is to cross promote your business to a similar list with new names who might not have heard of you before.

 

There are no limitations as to who can participate in an ad swap. These are usually personal arrangements between two marketers and both new and experienced internet marketers can benefit from this type of arrangement.

 

However, you will most often find ad swaps are most successful when peers with equal levels of success join together in cross promotion; very rarely will you find a guru cross promoting someone who’s brand new.

 

 

*Being the Newbie in Ad Swapping

 

Let’s examine how this arrangement would work for a brand new online business owner. Imagine that you’ve been in business for about four months. You’ve got your website up and you’ve been promoting your business online  but you still only have about 20 friends and family members who have signed up for your list.

 

Even though you want to dream big and reach for the stars, don’t contact an online business guru who has been in business 7+ years and has a following of many thousands.

 

Sure, YOU would have everything to gain by this hotshot promoting your list to his many thousands of followers but what would this guru get in return from the swap?

 

If you only have 20 names on your list, that certainly doesn’t equate to his many thousands. Chances are high that your email offering the ad swap wouldn’t even get answered because the guru wouldn’t have heard of your before.

 

Instead, do some research about your competitors and also companies who offer complimentary services or products.

 

If you’re a work at home mom with a service-based business, join some work at home forums or chat rooms and find another mom with a service business. Use your social media connections to find partners and don’t forget to do some local research into area businesses.

 

For instance, if you bake organic dog treats, contacting local dog groomers and kennels about an ad swap would make sense. The groomers and kennels will likely have different names on their lists than you have and vice versa.

 

Sending an ad for your organic dog treats to the groomer’s customers makes sense because you’re trying to reach the same dog-loving audience. The same holds true when you send out the ad for the groomer. If done correctly and both businesses have lists of a similar size, both should see a rise in email sign ups.

 

Even more established and well-known business people can benefit from an ad swap. After all, your list can never be too big and marketing your list and business should always be a part of your ongoing marketing plan.

 

Both businesses might offer the same type of product or service but to different target niches.

 

If they like the other’s products and business model and think it will benefit their audience members, it makes sense that Marketer A would promote Marketer B’s list, especially if Marketer B has an affiliate program in place.

 

Adding Affiliate Income in Ad Swapping

 

Offering an affiliate link even just for email sign ups increases Marketer A’s chances of earning passive affiliate income for every name they pass along to Marketer B while Marketer B earns extra money and paying customers from Marketer A.

 

For example, the world of Private Label Rights content seems inundated with competition. But if one established owner writes content related to family and hobbies while another PLR site offers content about health, it makes sense to do an ad swap.

 

This way the family PLR site will be exposed to those who purchase the health content and vice versa. You never know when a blogger will want to write a blog series or eBook about family health and they can purchase the PLR content from both sources, all because they were introduced via an ad swap.

 

Smart business people will always ask, “What’s in it for me?” After all, they’re in business to make money so that will be the underlying question.  When you approach your potential ad swap partner, make sure you talk about the benefits THEY will receive from this agreement.

 

When Should You Ad Swap?

 

Deciding when to do your ad swap really depends on a few variables, namely your schedule and your partner’s schedule.

 

For instance, if either you or your partner is launching a new product, all your energy and focus will be on the launch, not on an ad swap which could easily get lost in the shuffle. Choose a slower time period when you both can put some thought into your ad copy and craft a solid promotional email to send to your list.

 

Research your market to determine a season or month when they are most receptive to new offers. Most people are extremely busy during the Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday season so new offers might get ignored.

 

But have you thought about what your target market is doing in January to fight the holiday blues? Maybe that would be a good time to do an ad swap, when your market wants something new and exciting to read.

 

If you’re timing your ad swap with a season or event, make sure your freebie that you’re giving away as a “thank you for signing up for my newsletter” gift is relevant to the season.

 

If you’re trying to reach moms of school-aged children and your ad swap is near the end of the school year, a special report about doing things with your kids during the summer would be extremely relevant and would entice those moms to sign up for your newsletter.

 

Do Your Ad Swap Research

 

Successful ad swaps are those where the ad swapping partners have done their research. Find out about your ad swap partner, how big is their list, who is their target market, how long have they been in business?

 

Just because an ad swap is free doesn’t mean it’s OK to waste your time, and if you send out an ad to someone’s list without doing your homework, then you might be reaching hundreds of thousands of names but your opt-in conversion rate for the ad will be very low.

 

In addition to researching complimentary businesses on your own, there are some websites that promise access to other people who want to participate in ad swaps.

 

These sites could be a good starting place for your own research but keep in mind that searching these lists will also take time. Some sites might even charge an access fee or membership fee, which might defeat the purpose of participating in a free ad swap.

 

As always, do your research, and enter into these membership sites with caution.

 

Solo Ads

 

An alternative to organizing an ad swap is to place a solo ad, or solo mailing.  This also utilizes email marketing but instead of two partners swapping ads for equal run time, the advertiser pays the list owner a fee for running a solo ad in their newsletter or other broadcast emails.

 

Solo Ad Benefits

 

The biggest benefit to a solo mailing is the fact that YOUR ad will be the ONLY one broadcast. You don’t have to fight with other ads or snazzy logos in a newsletter. Yours will be the only ad those readers see which puts your company into the spotlight.

 

The look and format of solo ads could be very different, depending on the list owners’ preferences. Some solo ads are simply a few lines of text with a link at the top of a standard email message. Or the solo ad could be an entire email message written just about you and sending the readers to your opt-in squeeze page. These are all questions worth asking the list owner because you want your ad portrayed in the best way possible.

 

Why choose a solo mailing? The reasons are the same as why you would choose an ad swap: you want to expand your reach to a new part of your target market who hasn’t heard of you before. You want to introduce yourself to this new segment of the market and entice them to sign up for your list.

 

Compared to ad swaps, solo ads are popular from an advertiser’s perspective because all that is expected is payment for running an ad. The advertiser doesn’t have to worry about whether his email list is similar in size or if the swap deal is equitable for the list owner, which is a common concern to new businesses that don’t have large lists.

 

From the list owner’s perspective, this is easy money. They’ve already done the work to build their list and they work diligently to continue building that relationship by writing regular emails anyway; the only difference now is someone is offering them payment.

 

For an advertiser, the number of prospects for solo mailings is significantly greater since you no longer have to provide anything more than payment. This is the chance for a small business to approach a guru or a larger list owner to gain access to their list with thousands of names.

 

Solo Ad Preparation

 

Be prepared however, to go through a vetting of sorts, where the list owner may want more information about you and your business. Even though you’re willing to pay good money for an ad, you need to remember that email marketing is all about trust and building relationships with your readers.

 

If a list owner doesn’t ask questions or check out their solo advertisers’ websites, then a questionable ad or website could slip through, and they in turn will hear complaints from their readers, questioning why they would bother to allow such advertising.

 

A savvy list owner will not take the risk of tarnishing their own reputation just for your solo ad.

 

Solo Ad Research

 

Internet research will be involved to find those list owners who allow solo advertising.

 

First, explore your contacts within your own niche. Search your favorite forums, mastermind groups, or ask on your social network platforms and create a list of names and contact numbers or emails.

 

Second, investigate those people you like to learn from; they might have solo mailing opportunities.

 

Be sure that your mentors are part of the niche you’re trying to reach. It’s always better to send out 500 very targeted emails to members of your niche than 5,000 emails to a random group who probably have no interest in joining your list.

 

Even if your mentors do not offer this option, this is an important networking opportunity so ask them if they’re aware of anyone in your niche you could contact.

 

Next, take this list and take a look at their website for more information about solo advertising opportunities. Look for pricing and a schedule or calendar of when solo ads run.

 

Sometimes this information is added to a media page on a website or they might have a physical media kit to send you. If you don’t find the information easily on their site, send an email or make a phone call.

 

Once you have a list of possible advertising spots, you need to ask questions about the payments and timing of the ads. If the price is significantly more than what you expected, you will need to analyze what exactly you get for that higher price.

 

For instance, will one high priced ezine run your ad multiple times as compared to a one time deal from a less expensive ezine? Is the price determined by the size of the list? How big is the list? Ask all your questions before making payment and submitting your copy.

 

Solo Ad Style

 

Your ad copy needs to be compelling, whether it’s to recruit new list subscribers or to sell a product. You have a very short amount of time to grab the readers’ attention, so keep your copy short and to the point. (This is especially true of those solo ads that run near the beginning or the middle of a standard length email.)

 

Avoid using all capital letters for every word (that indicates shouting) but you can certainly place emphasis on your name or other phrase you want to emphasize with bolding or capitalizing. Remember, most readers skim emails so grabbing their attention is important.

 

Always include a call to action in your solo ad. Don’t leave your readers guessing about what they should do next. Spell it out for them.  Tell them exactly what to do. For example, instead of saying, “visit our website” try, “subscribe to get your free report,” followed by the link to your site.

 

Ezine Directories

 

An ezine is basically an online magazine which is delivered straight to your computer’s inbox. Much like a printed magazine that is sent through snail mail, an ezine is published on a regular basis and provides multiple articles in each edition along with an ad or two for products and the writer’s speaking or teaching schedule.

 

An ezine directory is a website which organizes ezine titles into an easy-to-search format for those who are browsing for something new to read or for those who want to find a new way to advertise their own list. Generally the directory will include the name of the ezine and what topic the ezine covers. An added bonus is if they also include how many subscribers receive the ezine.

 

If you’re someone who is just looking for something new to read, the number of subscribers is a form of “social proof” showing that the information the ezine owner is writing is well-received by his or her audience. If you are looking for a way to promote your own list, then the number of subscribers is VERY important because it obviously shows how many people receive that ezine each month.

 

The beauty of ezine directories is they are available 24/7/365 so you can browse or submit your own listing at any time.

 

Using Ezine Directories to Increase Your List

 

As a list owner, there are two ways to effectively use ezine directories to increase your mailing list.

 

First, you can use these directories to find other ezines that might offer ad swaps or solo mailings. A large amount of research is done for you because the ezines are already organized and categorized into lists.

 

Second, you can add your own ezine newsletter to these directories to increase your subscriber base. Not only would you increase your numbers with people who are looking for the information you provide but you will get a nice back link to your website.

 

*Get Subscription Placement on Mom Blogger PLR exclusively as a Club-Content Member!

 

As with any website, each ezine directory site will have their own rules and Terms of Service so do read those carefully.

 

In general, it’s free to search the directory and to add your ezine. Some ezine directories might offer different “premium membership” benefits but you will have to evaluate those terms and decide for yourself if it is worth paying.

 

Searching Ezine Directories

 

Searching the directories is extremely simple. You will normally see a search box near the top of the page where you can enter your keywords or search terms. This will bring up a list of ezines that meet your criteria.

 

Remember, these search results are based on the number of ezines added only to this particular directory. You will of course, get a much larger number of search results if you type the same keywords into Google, but you will then have to visit each and every page to find a description of the ezine.

 

Ezine directories also have their ezine listings sorted into categories, which should be on the first page of their site.

 

If you know you want a list of parenting ezines, for example, simply browse for the parenting category and click. The results of your search will appear on a new page with the name and description of each ezine for easy browsing.

 

Each ezine title should be linked back to their opt-in page, which very often is the home page of their website.

 

Your Purpose with Ezines

 

Keep in mind that your main purpose in placing your ezine in a directory listing is to increase your subscriber base. So, make sure that when people click your title link to subscribe that the opt-in box is very easy to find!

 

Either place your opt-in box very close to the top of the web page or create a specific squeeze page that you submit to each ezine directory that only has the opt-in box and your free offer.

 

Near the bottom of the squeeze page you should certainly have a link to your main site but you don’t want to lose a potential subscriber because they couldn’t find a way to subscribe to your ezine.

 

List of Ezines

 

Here are some ezine directories for you to start your own research. As with anything on the internet, not all ezine directories are created equally.

 

These three listed below appeared to live up to their names, providing extensive lists of ezines and having easy search features.

 

The page rank is also a good indicator of how important Google sees each directory.

 

Also, if you add your own link to these directories, you’ll get back links from high ranking pages, which can help your own website in the search rankings. Use the free PR Checker to get this information.

 

  1. The Ezine Directory – lists 1,431 ezines; paid version offers access to advertising rates, subscriber numbers and ability to contact publishers by email; page rank 6.
  2. Go-Ezines – lists 2,073 ezines; no paid version but they do ask for a reciprocal link on your site before allowing your ezine submission; page rank 5.
  3. Best Ezines – lists 3,736 ezines; no paid version; page rank 5.

 

Article Directories

 

Article directories go hand-in-hand with the ezine directories and are a great way to get more subscribers.

 

On these article sites, writers submit articles, complete with author byline and a link leading back to your opt-in squeeze page, which can be used by other ezine writers in their newsletters.

 

The rule is that if you are using an article from one of these article sites, you must copy and paste everything and make no edits, including to the author byline.

 

There are three benefits to submitting to article sites:

 

  1. Your articles will show up in search results and also on the front page of the article directory.
  2. If a publisher uses your article, your opt-in link will be seen by many more readers who could all be potential subscribers.
  3. The more articles you write, the more of an expert you become and your name becomes more well-known.

 

If you write interesting articles that provide valuable information, ezine publishers will use your article in their newsletters. If you write a compelling byline that links to your email list, people will click your link and your list will grow.

 

When submitting your articles, it’s more important to go for quality over quantity. Submitting to the most popular article directories gives you a better chance of having your article published in someone’s ezine.

 

Guest Blogging with a Special Offer

 

Finding another blogger with possibly a larger audience than you currently have is a great way to showcase your expertise on your subject matter and to make those readers a special offer for signing up to your list.

 

Going back to your research, find those bloggers who have a large following on their blog and who also keep their blogs updated frequently. It makes much more sense to be featured on an active blog which attracts a large audience rather than posting on a less active blog with little traffic.

 

Also, before making contact with these bloggers, read their blogs and learn about what type of content these bloggers give to their audience.

 

A more focused blog about web design, for example, will likely stick to categories related to logo design, WordPress, Photoshop, or printed materials.

 

If you approach them with an article about how to write a special report, they may reject you immediately because your story idea doesn’t gel with their content goals.

 

Create a Squeeze Page Just for the Guest Post

 

Every guest blog article you submit should have an author’s byline at the end. This is simply a short biography about the author and usually includes a link to their website.

 

In fact, if the blog owner does not want to include a bio, then it’s not worth submitting the article because you won’t get the credit. But most successful blog owners are fully aware of the guest blogging opportunity and will gladly give you a link back to your site.

 

But you don’t need to just link to your home page. This is where you can get creative.

 

Keep your current squeeze page if it’s getting traffic and sign ups but consider creating a second squeeze page specifically for your guest blog article.

 

You can create a special offer just for these readers, maybe a report, audio or video on a different topic and use this new link in your author’s byline.

 

Now, when someone clicks on the link in your author’s byline, it will direct them to this new squeeze page with the special offer.

 

Of course, you will need to get creative with your text copy in this byline and make the special offer very clear so you grab the readers’ attention but this new link allows you to track how many of these readers followed through and signed up for your list.

 

Arranging a Blog Tour

 

A blog tour is simply a selection of guest blog posts that revolve around a central theme and are usually scheduled within close proximity to each other.

 

For example, you can guest blog on a different blog each week during the summer–each post about a different topic. That makes 15 different articles, posted on 15 different blogs, for thousands of viewers to see over the course of the summer.

 

Contacting blog owners regarding a blog tour is no different than contacting them for a random guest blog post but it’s smart to give them the central blog tour topic and title idea in the initial email.

 

Listing the calendar of events along with a link to each of the blog tour participants on your own site will sweeten the deal for the blog owners.

 

Popups

 

A popup is a script that can be installed on your website’s server that allows a window to literally “pop up” on top of your website, giving the reader a message.

 

In this case, that message will be a special offer or freebie you give your subscribers along with your opt-in box. Once the email address is captured they are free to continue visiting your site.

 

To be considerate and to show them that they have not left your site, you should set up a special page on your site that serves as a “Thanks for joining my list” page.

 

You can offer an additional upsell offer (another product or opportunity reserved especially for new subscribers) or they can simply continue navigating your site on their own without purchasing the upsell.

 

Of course, there is always a way to exit out of the popup without subscribing but you want your offer to be so exciting they wouldn’t think of passing it up.

 

Exit Popups

 

Most frequently you see popups appear when a reader first lands on the site but you can also schedule the popup to appear when the reader wants to exit the site.

 

Some website owners believe that placing your popup at the exit point converts better, because you aren’t bombarding your reader with too many things at once.

 

Rather than bombard your reader, consider letting them look around, find the information they need and then remind them upon exiting your site that you have one more offer for them.

 

Which scenario is best for you…pop up on arrival or exit?

 

That’s something that you will need to test on your own site and there are pros and cons to using popups.

 

Some list owners like the fact that their readers don’t have to search for the opt in box– it’s given to them right at eye level and grabs their attention because it appears on top of an otherwise busy page.

 

However, some argue that readers are annoyed by popups, will click the whole page closed, or will forget what they were looking for in the first place, making the visiting experience annoying rather than fulfilling.

 

When Can You Use Popups?

 

If you have a website and an email list all setup with an autoresponder then you can use a popup.

 

It’s worth mentioningthat the good popup scripts and software are not free. Some will offer a free trial for a certain number of days or they will offer a money-back guarantee, but you will need a small budget to implement this on your own site.

 

Depending on your technical skills, you might also need to outsource the installation of the popup. There’s nothing worse than “thinking” that you know what to do and then hitting a wrong button and crashing your site.

 

Hiring out the installation job will alleviate your stress considerably and is much less expensive than doing website repair work.

 

You can also purchase various WP plug ins, but be sure to ask for help before you start, to avoid any serious errors to your site.

 

As with anything, some email autoresponders will be easier to merge with a popup script than others. Get help if you need it!

 

Affiliates

 

Consider your affiliates your sales team. You produce a product, you recruit other people who have used and love your product to recommend it to others, and you pay the affiliates a small commission for each purchase that comes through their unique link.

 

Built in sales team without having to pay salaries or for healthcare benefits!

 

But how do affiliates help build your list? There are two ways to approach this idea:

 

  1. Pay your affiliate for each referral who signs up for your list
  2. Every person who buys your product should get put on your customer email list automatically

 

How To Set Up An Affiliate Program

 

First, you need to purchase a software or service that manages affiliate information, such as their name, tax ID number, and method of payment.

 

Many affiliates prefer getting paid via PayPal but if they prefer a check instead, you’ll need to have their address in the records, too. There’s too much information and record-keeping to do this manually, so don’t skimp on the software.

 

The software should also keep track of how many times a customer clicked through their unique affiliate link and their commission rate. There should also be a section where you can upload graphics of your product, sample emails or even reprint articles your affiliates can use to promote your product or list.

 

Promoting Your Affiliate Program & Building Your List

 

Once you have your affiliate management system set up, you can start promoting the opportunity to your readers or current customers.

 

Simply mention to them this new opportunity to earn money for recommending your business. As these affiliates sign up, you are collecting email addresses for your Affiliate List.

 

Now that you see some action with affiliates signing up to your program, export those names to your autoresponder. This is the easiest way to keep in contact with your affiliates regarding new products, promotions, or contests.

 

Monetary Compensation to Affiliates

 

To grow your prospect list, consider offering a monetary payment to your affiliates for every name that gets added.

 

Your affiliate will tell their own audience about your great newsletter, provide them with a unique link to click, and when these new readers sign up, they get the referral fee.

 

It’s up to you how much you want to pay for each referral but check your budget carefully. If you have a huge influx of new subscribers, you need to have the funds to pay these affiliates.

 

Each affiliate link is unique to that person for the purposes of tracking click throughs and purchases. Usually cookies are attached to each affiliate link, so when someone clicks through, if they make a purchase within the next 60 days for example, that same affiliate will get that sales credit.

 

Now that your affiliate sent you this prospect lead, you can turn this lead into a purchasing customer by providing valuable information in your newsletter, on your website and in your products.

 

Maintain Your Affiliate Relationships

 

Affiliates can also promote your products and when sales come in these names are added to your customer email list. Maintain this relationship with your customers by sending out regular emails or by offering discount coupons or other special offers.

 

If you’re still questioning why you would want to pay someone else to sell your products when you’re fully capable of selling the products yourself, think of the old adage, “many hands make light work.”

 

Anyone with an online business can set up an affiliate program and anyone who has an interest in promoting your products can sign up to be an affiliate. There is no charge to sign up.  The affiliates are only rewarded for the sales they make.

 

Some affiliates will be better than others at making sales. Many people sign up to these programs thinking it will be easy, they send out one email to their own list, and then forget about you when no sales are made.

 

Staying in contact with your affiliates through your Affiliate List and making them excited about your program will help to keep them active and growing your list.