What is Your Return?

If you’re in business, you undoubtedly know what the term ROI means, right?

Return on Investment

That means how much money did you make in comparison with how much you spent?

What does that have to do with List Building? A lot, actually. List building, just as any other facet of good marketing includes an ROI component.

For instance, what are your expenditures for list building?

How much do you spend for your autoresponder service?

How much do you spend for co-registration?

How much do you spend for advertising?

All of these expenses have to be added together so that you can actually see what your monthly list building expenses are.

So, let’s say you spend $19.95 a month for your autoresponder. Some are less, but we’ll just use this number for an example.

And let’s say that co-registration costs you $97 a month, right?

Plus, there’s advertising your squeeze page, aside from the co-reg service, which may include pay-per-click, ezine advertising, and any other method that you pay to use. Each of these is a monthly expense. Let’s just say that you have a $100 a month budget for advertising. OK.

That’s $216.95.

Now, let’s talk about the products you’re selling. How much is your income from each sale? It can be your own product or someone else’s. How much will you earn every time there’s a sale?

Let’s say you’re selling a $97 product ad making a $47 commission each time. How many units would you have to sell to get your money back? It comes down to 4.61, so let’s say 5. You’d have to make 5 sales just to break even. Can you do that? Will that product make 5 sales for you each and every month?

But you still haven’t made any money, right? You’re just paying the bills.

To make any money, you have to sell 6 units. If you can do that, your ROI has just become 21%. Not bad. The bank won’t pay you that much if you sock it away and don’t look at it. So, if you have a product that works, you’ll probably do OK.

This won’t be true in the beginning because it takes a little time for your list to grow and for people to get to know you. If they trust you and like you, they’ll buy from you, and you’ll only sell them valuable stuff, so that’s a good exchange. But think of them as “future” investments.

The people on your list may not buy immediately. In fact, some will never buy at all. But those few that do buy may buy more in the future, and new people keep coming in and some of them buy. Eventually your income is rolling. That’s probably when you should sit down and evaluate your ROI.

If you’re not happy with the outcome, something needs changing. Find cheaper services or a product that’s easier to sell or that make more money per sale. Just make changes one thing at a time. Otherwise, you won’t know which one made the difference.

The Secret to Gaining a HUGE List, One Step at a Time

Blogging and pinging, press releases, writing articles, doing Podcasts, or using AdWords. Choose one. None of them are the magic bullet. All of them can make you a million dollars–individually. You can get good at any one of those things and drive all the traffic you want for the rest of your life. (At least as long as it’s a viable traffic source. )

Meaning, you don’t have to be good in all of them. You need to start by being good in one of them. What we’re talking about are traffic streams. If you’re just building your first list, you may be falling into the same problem with traffic that people fall into when they think about multiple streams of income. They try to have 25 streams of income all at once, when none of them produce anything.

First and foremost, you need to build a list. So, if you’re going to do press releases, do a press release every day and link it to your list-building page. Press releases are just a way of getting a message out in front of people. AdWords are great, too, though. People make a lot of money with AdWords. But, test AdWords slowly, and see what gets you the most list members, first. If you want to take the time to figure that out, go for it.

Step one is to pick one topic to use AdWords for. Once you know what your topic is and have a squeeze page up to build your list, then if you want to drive traffic with AdWords, drive traffic with AdWords. Read Perry Marshall’s book, The Definitive Guide to AdWords, first. Don’t waste a bunch of money.

Or, you can use articles to drive traffic to your squeeze page, and get even more subscribers for your list. You can just yank components from your old newsletters to do that. As you do this, and as you start studying blogging and pinging and everything else, what’s going to happen? You’re going to start getting ranked in the search engines and indexed.

You don’t even need to think. It’s going to be a copy, a quick read of it to make sure it makes sense and is still applicable, and then paste. You could develop a whole new traffic source based on all the content you’ve already done, and it can all lead to your list-building page.

Blogging is going to do two things for you. Number one, it’s going to build your list because you’re going to have an opt-in box on your blog. Number two, you’re going to have links, which are your affiliate links.

Number three, you could include AdSense there or something like that and besides building your list, you could instantaneously–literally over night–you could have a brand new income stream.

Here’s the thing, right now, you don’t need to be worried about all that stuff. You need to be worried about getting one good squeeze page that converts well and adds new members to your list, every day. As you learn about traffic, then drive a hundred different types of traffic to your list-building page in as many ways as you can, so that you can make some money.

You don’t need to be worried about creating 5,000 squeeze pages for different uses. You don’t need to be worried about creating 5,000 different offers for different things. You need one good offer that you can drive lots of traffic to, so that you can build a tremendous list. Plus, you won’t have to do the work over and over again.

If you study one form of traffic at a time and as you master each of them, things get really cool. What ends up happening is you drive a whole bucket load of traffic to your list-building page, people think you’re the best, and you make a bunch of money in the process. How cool is that?

Three Primary Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting a Membership Site

If you’re planning to start a membership site, there are a few things you should consider before you do all the work. Preparation is half the battle, and deciding some important questions first may mean the difference between success and failure.

First, is your idea a good one? Just because you thought that people would enjoy a membership site on penguin clothes, doesn’t mean they will. You have to do some research. Go to places like SEOBook.com and use their keyword discovery tools to see if anyone is searching for penguin clothes.

Check out Google Trends, which you can also access from SEOBook’s results page, and see if the idea is waxing or waning or if there’s any interest at all. There’s no sense setting up a membership site on penguin clothes if no one will ever join. If you don’t see at least 300+ searches per day, you probably have a narrow market.

Next, what type of membership site should you build? Will it have forever content that continues to grow over time, or will you have a finite situation whereby members come and join to see what you have and are introduced to a type of “course,” where the membership content is finite? Sites with either model exist. You have to decide which one is right for you. If your niche is content narrow, meaning you can plan only so much content before you run out, then the finite option is probably best for you.

Third, you must decide how you will deliver your content. There is membership site software out there that will organize and present your content in a certain way. Or, you can decide to deliver content via a password-protected blog or via email. Which type of content delivery will fit best with the type of content that you plan to deliver?

Each of these questions are important because they will determine the shape of your membership and your site. When you research to find that the idea is a good one, when you decide on an appropriate level of content and a delivery system beforehand, your site is much more likely to become a success. So, take some time beforehand, iron out the details, and when you have a plan, go for it! Nothing means success better than good preparation.

How Long Can You Keep Up the Membership Momentum?

When deciding on the kind of membership site you want to have, one of the biggest decisions you should make before doing anything else is whether or not to limit the membership period. By that I mean, how long the membership should last? Should it be an open-ended model or should it be limited by time? Whether you realize it or not, this decision will spell the difference between success or failure for your site.

What are the pros and cons?

First, having an open ended membership site means that you’ll need to provide content for members forever, or until you run out of information. In an ever-changing niche, like information marketing, you may never hit the limit, whereas if your niche is dog grooming, there’s probably only a certain amount you can teach. So often, your niche will determine whether your membership site should be limited or not.

Second, what about your time? Will it continue to be profitable for you to spend time creating content for your membership site? For example, if you do well in your industry, you might take on coaching clients that will pay you $100 or more per hour for counseling. If you have only a few members in your membership site, it may take you four hours to create the content you need each month. If you have only 10 members, paying $20 a month, the numbers don’t add up. You’re losing money creating content when you could be spending the time with a coaching client.

Third, consider whether a limited site will provide sufficient information. If your niche is continuing to grow and change, such as social marketing. Will you be able to provide enough information or will your information quickly go out of date? In the social marketing arena, new sites and opportunities for networking open every day. If you’re not on the cutting edge, you’re yesterday’s news.

Fourth, decide how much money you want to make with your venture. Can you make it evergreen so that the information will always be valid so that you continue to earn money from your site forever, with just a bit of promotion now and then? Or, can you continue to dump members into the site, and offer higher and higher levels of membership, so that your revenue stream continues to grow over time?

Fifth, will you want to sell your membership site in the future? Either model will allow you to sell your site, of course, but if you have a passive mode of income that never stops, would it be wise to sell and have that income end? Or, if you have a limited amount of information in your site, could you sell it for a price high enough to make your work worthwhile?

There are many decisions that should be made before you decide on how your site will be constructed. Perhaps the biggest thing to consider is whether or not you have a list. Without your own sizable list, it becomes very hard to maintain members in the membership site. But after you have the list, the next important consideration is whether or not the site will be finite in information or open-ended. Making a wise decision in this area could mean the difference between success and long-term frustration.

3 Reasons for Creating a Membership Site That You May Not Have Considered

People often hear the words “membership site,” and are instantly interested. Why not? Membership sites mean recurring income, and if you set a site up right, all that money comes to you without further effort. But some membership sites are constantly updated, and the thought of needing to come up with constant content can make some people balk at the thought of creating a membership site of his or her own at all.

Let’s look at some things you may not have considered:

  1. Membership Income Can Be Passive.

If you don’t want to be constantly tied to membership site content creation, you can limit the length of memberships. You tell people that they get a 12-month membership, for which you’ve created 12 months of content. You just load it up and then, you let the site crank. You can add members continually and because you did the work once, you can gather income from that over and over again with no additional work.

  1. Membership Sites Make You an Authority

When you create a membership site, and fill it with great content, it makes you an expert and gives you authority in your niche. When enough people think you’re an expert in your niche, then you’re set. People will trust you and come to you for advice. Then, when you have new products to promote, they won’t be shy to buy them.

  1. Membership Sites Help to Build Your List

If you’re most interested in list building, then a free membership site may be your best bet. That way, you can get tons of customers looking for information in the front end and later, sell them products inside the member area. Or, you can offer higher levels of the membership site, so that people will have to pay you to get them. That way, you can be building your list and making money at the same time.

Membership sites take some work to set up, but the good thing about them is that when the work is done, you don’t have to do it again and you’ll continue to benefit from it over time. Keeping yourself happy while creating a following of happy customers is another perk of having a membership site, and they’re great for building your list. Any way you look at membership sites, they totally rock.

Killer Offers to Boost Response

What’s a killer offer?

It’s something that people can’t resist. Something that they’re so absorbed in already that they can’t wait to click the button and take you up on whatever it is you’re offering. It’s your income.

So, how do you make that kind of offer?

Look at the body of your messages. Are they interesting? Do you give out any kind of information? Are you helping the people on your list?

If not, you should be. You should be solving some kind of problem that most of the people in your niche have at one time or another. Let’s look at ADD, for instance, which is something else I’m involved in. People with ADD have a hard time getting things organized sometimes. What if I solved their problem by telling them how I solved my own? What if a piece of software that I use is really, really great, and it solved my organizational problems, so I tell them a story about me, and then, I tell them how I solved the problem, right?

So, then what’s your offer? That piece of software, right? I mean, if that software works for me and the people on my list liked my story enough to read through it, don’t you think they would want that software, too? Nothing is better than viral advertising, when one person tells another person about something. If the people on my ADD list trust me, they’re going to want that software, too. I’m telling them how to solve their problem, and offering a tool to do it with. That’s a good offer.

Or, what if you’re on my list, and I send you information about submitting articles to send traffic and links to your site and how it’s a great way of getting free traffic. And what if I did it so well, that you were really hot to start writing and submitting articles. If I offered you a product that did this automatically for you, would you be interested in it? You probably would.

That’s the key. Get your audience excited about solving some problem, and then provide the means to do it. It’s pretty simple, actually. If you want a responsive audience, that’s what needs to happen. People won’t stay on your list if they don’t get something from doing that. If you send out a broadcast message and at the end of it, you’re pitching a seminar or a product, you still need to tell them a good story that shows them how a problem was solved.

Make one up!

I mean, don’t use false data or facts about important things, but how important is it that you didn’t have an Uncle Fred? Details like that are just storytelling. What needs to be true are the facts about what you want to sell. You must have tried whatever the product is and it has to work well. Don’t give false stats or testimonials. Be completely honest and above board in everything you do, but a bit of good old-fashioned storytelling really draws people into your messages.

This is it, how it works: If you give people a solution to a problem they’re having and provide a product that furthers that solution, you’ll make as much money as you want to make and more.