With more and more people seeking riches in Internet marketing, those who are successful always end up building an email list on auto-pilot. Automated list building has been around ever since the Internet first started being used for selling products and services. It is not going anywhere soon, either.

It’s a cliche but it’s true. The money is in the list. The whole reason for building a list is to sell to people, then sell some more to them, then keep selling. With a list, you have a private stage to talk to your customers. You can’t beat that for an environment to develop a strong bond with both prospects and repeat customers.

But there are conditions and skills for making a successful and profitable list. They have remained fixed over the years. They all center on the concept of opt-in, which means visitors give you permission to sell to them by voluntarily providing you with their name and email address. The only real change has been some recent refinements in the automated list builder concept and that’s about all.

Seven of the critical things you need to know about list-building are given below.

1. Get a good autoresponder. There are several ways to go, but the only real viable system is to use a traditional autoresponder company like Aweber or Get Response. These are the biggest, but there are some other good ones out there if you look. They simplify the process of generating code and installing opt-in forms on your website. That way you don’t need to be a geek to get your automated list builder system up and running.

You could use an autoresponder that you install on your own hosting service, but this is real major geek territory. Even then you will get spammed to death and probably hacked. Your messages will often get thrown into the recipient’s email junk file.

The big autoresponder companies keep on top of this with major email providers and they give you good guidelines to ensure your messages get through. There really is no choice but to go with a big reliable company.

2. Make your landing page impressive. This means looking good and having interesting things on it. It also means being easy to use. If you have a cruddy looking site with no attention-grabbing content that is hard to navigate, no one will want any kind of relationship with you. The whole concept of permission marketing is based on ease and enticement, so be simple, but dress to impress and give spice to entice.

3. Provide good service and products. The reasons are standard, as old as the hills and they always work. If people like the stuff you sell and the way you sell it, they will keep coming back for more. And they will spread the word to other people.

4. Put up a good opt-in form. Here you need to use modern automated list builder concepts without falling off into spamming practices. Good automated list building means being creative and entertaining in placing the opt-in form on your site.

You don’t want an annoying spam-like approach with intrusive pop-ups making promises to a visitor that on one keeps. He or she will get irritated and go away, or they will opt-out as soon as they perceive they were duped.

You want your opt-in form to appear like an extension of the content on your site. You will usually provide a valuable freebie in exchange for the visitor’s name and email, but skilled marketers also provide a seamless or fun manner of presenting the offer. The concept of enticement is the driving force behind all successful automated list building methods.

5. Be authentic. This is simply a matter of style. Talk to visitors on your site and the members on your list like you talk to your friends. Keep in mind that some people are not a good fit for you, so decide on who you want to attract and act accordingly. Forget about the others. It is unlikely they will be valuable members even if they opt-in. People respond best to authenticity. Unless you are good at faking this (and you like that kind of life), it is far, far better to be authentic.

6. Overdeliver on providing high-quality free content during follow-up emails. When a person opts-in, you should have around 6 prescheduled emails already loaded into your autoresponder. You may or may not want to offer products in this initial series. Until you get familiar with different systems, the best bet is to provide some kind of course for free. You can always make extra email broadcasts during that time with product offers.

Determine what your customers want to know, make a small multi-part mini-course and give it to them. If they opted into your list to get a free report and they also get an unannounced mini-course about something they value, they will be more likely to keep opening your emails and spreading the word.

7. Keep your list clean and private. You want to keep a good reputation; otherwise people will opt out of your list. Never sell the list or provide the information on it to others without your members’ permission. Make sure they know that this is your policy, too. Trust may not always keep a member from opting out, but lack of trust will guarantee that he or she will drop you like a hot iron.

There are other skills you need to know for running an automated list builder and profiting from your email list, but if you get these down, you will already see great results in a short amount of time.

Michael Stuart Kelly is an Internet marketer who has worked in music, entertainment, motion pictures, translation, international finance, writing, and some offbeat activities. For more great stuff on list building, see his site Automated List Builder – Info on Chris Freville’s Automated List Builder.
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