10 Ways to Grow Your Mailing List

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Wow, you are going to kill me, but I have to say it:

It doesn’t matter how good your website is, if people don’t come back often. Your website gets them interested; your ongoing relationship with them gets them to buy.

The real key to e-commerce is building a mailing list of people who are interested in the topics you write, speak and teach about. On a good day, you might get 10 percent of your website visitors to buy. But what about the other 90 percent? Are you just going to ignore them and their needs?

The internet is a distracting place and a visitor may only come to your website once. A mailing list member can be told about new articles, new offerings and new resources on your site each month, thereby increasing your traffic and your sales.

I’m not talking about creating huge lists of people who will remove themselves as soon as they get your freebie. What’s the point in that? I’m talking about a sustainable list of people who like the products and services you offer, who have an ongoing relationship with you, and are likely to purchase from you again and again.

I can think of 20 or 30 different things you can do to grow your mailing list. Let’s look at the 10 techniques I like to use.

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Article Syndication, Duplicate Content, and SEO

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A few weeks ago, we were discussing whether submitting your articles to article banks is seen as duplicate content, and whether the search engines would penalize your site and/or specific website pages based on this information.

According to Google’s webmaster site:

“Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to block the version on their sites with robots.txt. ”

So it seems that Google DOES see syndicated articles on article banks as duplicate content. While they may not penalize your own site for this, putting your article in the article banks probably won’t increase your SEO rankings either. In addition, the search engine may show, in their search results, your article on the article bank’s site instead of on your own site.

On the plus side, having your article show up in the search results often can lead prospective customers back to your site. I’m not abandoning my plans to syndicate my articles, but I will be creating two versions of the same article to avoid the duplicate content problem: a long one to put on my own site, and a short one to put on the article banks and on my blog. Taking the extra 15 minutes to shorten an article seems like a worthwile investment of my time.

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What’s New in Internet Marketing – Part 3: Email Marketing

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Of course, email marketing isn’t new; we’ve been doing it for over 10 years now. But according to some of the latest research into email marketing, over 70 percent of email marketers say the impact of it is increasing, not decreasing.

Anyone who uses email marketing techniques can tell you, getting through spam filters is part of the battle. While text-only emails received the poorest return-on-investment numbers, some ISPs are now blocking HTML emails and only allowing text emails to get through (notably BellSouth).

It’s a quandary: produce newsletters that will get through filters, or produce newsletters that get results? I wish I could tell you otherwise, but truly, there are no easy answers to this question. However, here are some tips that might help you to think differently about your campaigns:

  • Instead of a full newsletter or a long email, consider the “postcard” format for an email; email postcards received 75% higher click rates.
  • Higher ROI tweaks include testing your email campaign with an A/B split, altering your subject line, having a specific landing page for your campaign (instead of merely sending them to your normal home page); and re-sending the same email message two weeks after sending the first one (especially if your email software can send it to only those people who did not open the first email)
  • Consider putting your call to action in your subject line (register for the class, sign up for the discount coupon, call for a free quote)
  • While 65 percent of emails now come with suppressed images, a large majority of users will manually turn those images on. This means that you should include images in your email campaigns.
  • According to MarketingSherpa.com survey results, once-a-month mailings actually have less impact than shorter, weekly mailings.
  • Consider segmenting your email mailing campaigns between customers and prospects, tailoring the message to them based on whether they’ve purchased from you before or not.

See Part 1 of this article series here:


See Part 2 of this article series here:


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What’s New in Internet Marketing – Part 2: Local Search

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What’s New about How People Search

Nielsen//NetRatings reports that online search rose 39 percent between January 2005 and January 2006. The pace of online search use continues in the double-digits.

In addition (and amazingly, to me), people are using search engines to find sites that they already know about and sites that have familiar URLs, such as using search engines to find “google” or “ebay.” Instead of simply typing in the URL in the address bar (www.ebay.com) they’re going to Google and typing “ebay” in the search box. More and more, people are using search engines as the start page for all their online needs.

According to WebProNews, three out of five shoppers say that the internet is their primary source of information when evaluating products and services. The greater the household income, the more likely it is that a person will use the internet to compare products and services.

Nielsen/NetRatings also reports that Google typically getting 50 percent of all the searches performed; therefore, it is wise to start with Google when planning any of your search engine marketing techniques. For comparison purposes, Yahoo hovers around 23 percent of all searches performed, and MSN slides in third at 8 percent.

Notes and News about Local Search

One of the up-and-coming internet marketing techniques is “local search.” Think of local search as an online replacement for the Yellow Pages. People type in a search phrase to find local service providers, local retailers, and local restaurants.

For example, a typical user might go to Google and type in “painting contractor san diego,” and local contractors will show up at the top of the page. In addition to listing the contractors, local search also tells the user how many miles away they are, and provides a map to show the user where the contractor’s location is. The best part is, if the contractor has a website, local search will display that URL as well. Bingo!

Here are some tips for using local search as one of your marketing techniques:

  • Make sure that all the branch locations of your company are listed.
  • Make sure your website is in the search engine’s organic listings; most search engines won’t include you in their local search database unless you are in their main database.
  • Be patient; getting listed in local search can sometimes can 7-8 weeks.
  • Google’s local search: http://local.google.com/
  • Yahoo’s local search: http://local.yahoo.com/
See Part 1 of this article series here:

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What’s New in Internet Marketing 2007: SEO

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This article begins a multi-part series of what’s new in the world of internet marketing. My hope is that this information will help you with your marketing planning for the coming 12 months.

Notes and News about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

According to MarketingSherpa, people are still only spending 10 percent of their budget on SEO and 90 percent of their budget on paid search. In addition, over 70 percent of small business owners do their search engine optimization work in-house (they do it themselves versus hiring someone to do it for them); the same percentage conduct paid search (pay-per-click, etc.) in-house.

What does this mean? Small business owners need to learn what works and doesn’t work when it comes to SEO and paid search techniques. The cost of paid search continues to rise, so SEO may be a better place to spend your time and money.

Most searchers don’t scroll down beyond the first screen of search results they receive from Google, Yahoo or MSN Search. This means that if you are not in the top 10 search engine rankings (organic), you may need to do more SEO work to your website.

Here are some SEO tips:

  • It takes good copywriting, with only a few search terms per page. Choose three or four search terms you want to target for the next six months, and build them into the text of your website and your articles.
  • Well constructed sentences, with no spelling errors, wide use of bullet points, and short sentences seem to win the heart of search engines like Google.
  • Another good way to get high rankings is by issuing online press releases. Press releases get you exposure to the search engines.
  • Change the Title tag of your web pages; list benefits in the Title, not just the name of your company. The first 2 or 3 words pack the biggest punch.
  • Search for your competition and see what they’re doing regarding SEO in their website text; how do they rank in the organic search results?

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Internet Radio Audience Grows 50 Percent

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According to the article in MarketingVox, “Internet Radio Audience Grows 50 Percent,” over 12% of Americans have listened to Internet Radio in the past week. And for the “we love you because you buy stuff from us” category of 18-34 year olds, 16% have listened to Internet Radio in the past week.

Also in this article, they mention that these listeners are not necessarily simply listening to their favorite AM or FM radio station streamed over the internet. They’re listening to “authentic” internet-based radio shows.

This is good news for small business owners who want to either be a guest on an internet radio show, or host their own show. As these audience numbers creep upwards, internet radio becomes a viable marketing tool for small business owners marketing on a shoe-string budget.

Some of my favorites are:

Jim Blasingame

Entrepreneur Magazine’s Radio Show

The Coaching Show

While I sometimes listen “live,” I prefer to download the radio show to my MP3 player and listen to it while I’m walking or gardening. I actually had to buy another hard drive to store all the MP3 audio files I’ve collected, because I also download MP3s of teleclasses and interviews! It’s a great way to keep up with what’s going on in the small business world.

Do you listen to internet radio? What channels (websites) do you listen to the most? I’d love to add more to my list!

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