Since it’s been almost a year since I set up my last blog, it’s been a somewhat nostalgic experience looking at how the platform has changed since I started using it in 2006 with it’s 1.x incarnation.
Having played with a WP 2.7.1 install, it seems to chug along slower compared to it’s 2.5.1 predecessor, and hopefully this doesn’t signal a path down the bloatware route, even if it comes with lots of shiny bells and whistles, compared to before.
WordPress has become much easier to use now for the most part, with several functions accessible behind the browse-based point-and-click interface. In the past you had to FTP files down, edit them with a text editor and upload them, or use the clunky “theme editor” function and edit the text from there.
I started out in 1997 writing HTML on a text editor and created tables writing raw table, tr,td,/td,/tr, /table tags. I later progressed on to using WYSIWYG text editors and software like XSite Pro. These days I do almost everything exclusively with WordPress only or in tandem with other software like vBulletin forum software, Aweber email autoresponder software, Joomla or some of the new CMSes I’ve been working with recently.
HTML editors have gone to the scrapheap for me. That’s not to say that WordPress is the final word in creating new niche affiliate sites though.
Here is my wishlist:
Here are a couple of things that WordPress has done well:
Spam control: Akismet works hard to keep trackback spam, comment spam out of the woodwork. I use a couple more for good measure so very little spam is sitting in the moderation basket each day.
Tagging: Keywords and tags help readers find relevant content, especially with the millions of blogs floating in the blogosphere. They’re one step further towards relevant and have made older plugins like Tag Warrior float into lesser prominence.
Native embedding of video and other embed code: While you had to jump through hoops to place a YouTube video in a blog post, the process is a pretty seamless copy-and-paste job now.
Here are a couple of things that would help WordPress become (more…)
With more marketers who’ve traditionally relied on Pay Per Click, Social MEdia and Search Engine Optmization jumping on the listbuilding bandwagon, trying to start up a newsletter and get readers and visitors to opt-in to a mailing list, it’s a positive, yet at the same time negative trend for the industry.
The benefits of a list are easy to see, zero acquisition cost and the ability to build an ongoing relationship with your list members.
Treat them right and a healthy list will generate a comfortable income for you.
Conservative estimates put the value of a list at $1 per list member per month.
In simple terms, each member is worth $1 per month or $12 a year. Multiply that by the number of members in your list, with some list owners having lists of upwards of 100,000 members and you get the idea of the potential and lucrative possibility of having a great list.
The relationship building element is where a number of marketers can experience pitfalls however.
I recently joined a self-improvement giveaway with a few hundred products to be given away free.
So I opted in to a mailing list and was sent to the download page.
This is when the problems began…
To receive each product, I needed to opt-in to that particular author’s mailing list.
With the giveaway touting itself to give away more than a hundred “gifts”, this potentially meant having to opt in to more than 100 mailing lists, just to get a free MP3 recording or PDF report.
After the 2nd opt-in, I gave up. So much for that “giveaway”.
Here is why I think the opt-in failed:
Failure to follow the “Pay It Forward” concept: Have you eaten at a restaurant where you are asked to pay before the food arrives? It happens in fast food restaurants, but I think you will be taken aback at a 5 star restaurant which asks for your credit card before you’re even shown to your seat. Likewise, if you ask for an email even before you’ve shown your product, it’s the online equivalent of the restaurant example.
Overestimating Your Brand power: Depending on your preferences, you will likely follow a leader or role model in your market, it might be someone like Warren Buffett for stock investing, Donald Trump for real estate, or Gene Simmons if you’re looking to start a music business. If one of my role models had an offer, I’d probably give up my name and email address to get the report. If Joe Blow “guru” asked for it, the trust and credibility is nowhere near what I’d expect.
Misconception that Quantity Trumps Quality: Again, the unsophisticated will have the idea that “more is better”. Does getting more food at a buffet mean that you will have better quality food? Not really. Handmade Swiss watches are limited in quantity because there’s no way a human craftsman can compete with a machine punching out 100 watches per hour. Likewise, getting 200 reports will likely not be as beneficial as getting one quality product. If there’s 1 takeaway from list building, it’s always to deliver quality, quality and quality.
So what’s the solution, having deconstructed, destroyed and annhilated the giveaway campaign, what’s a good mechanism to build a list?
I’d suggest having a simple download page to give away your product. If you feel so include, you can include an opt-in box to provide updates and revisions to website visitors who’re interested.
Further, and this is the important step, include at the end of your report, an option to opt-in to your list. Chances are that someone who has made it to the end of your report and takes the effort to opt-in to your list, will be more qualified and more positive than someone who had been forced to opt-in to your list in order to get your report of unknown quality.
For more emailing and list building tips, take a look at “Permission Marketing” by Seth Godin.
For a quality autoresponder service, check out Aweber.
Also check out Friday Podcast with Aweber’s Education Marketing Manager Justin Premick “Email Marketing Tips“.
Email solutions provider Aweber has been adding a slew of new features to their autoresponder service, including email analytics and stats, and more recently, a widget-like chicklet to display the number of members on your list.
The question is: What effect does it have on your email list opt-in rates and is it significant?
Displaying your number of subscribers would make sense if you have achieved critical mass in your niche market. For a celebrity/entertainment Perez Hilton-type blog, I’d think at least 10,000 is a good number. For a specialized niche like Dog Training, a list size of 1,000 qualified customers (not leads! Or mere readers) might be the sweet spot.
I think displaying the raw number of subscribers is a good idea for mass consumer type blogs, because there’s a groupthink (or “sheep” mentality) that says “if 100,000 people are on the Britney Spears list, then it must be good to join in…”).
As an astute marketer, I’d think the power of (more…)
One of my friends mentioned that he’s built a list of 10,000 opt-in members into his mailing list within a period of 7 days…so what’s he supposed to do now, he asks.
I don’t think any responsible email marketer will give advice before finding out more information.
For example, how was the list built? Using PPC? Expired domain traffic? Co-reg traffic? Via opt-ins through Squidoo or HubPages? Via an article directory? As a result of a follow up/update list after buying a product (either an affiliate product or your own product).
Each of these channels comes with it’s own level of permission – and if you’re a permission-based marketer, you’ll realized that someone who’s just bought something from you has a higher level of loyalty and stickiness, compared to someone who’s just downloaded a free report off your site.
So back to the 10,000 mailing list – determine the source of list/lead generation is important. Are they emotionally invested in you? Have they spent money purchasing something you offer? Called into one of your teleseminars and stayed the full duration because they found the information compelling? Are they merely curious strangers? Or evangelists for your brand (also known as “raving fans”).
Once you’ve sorted that out, you need to figure out the demographics of your list too. What’s their (more…)
For most marketers out there, autoresponder services like Aweber are a blackbox…most people will have a vague notion that email autoresponders are accessed via your web browser, you get some HTML code and place an opt-in form on your website or blog, people submit their name and email address, it appears in the autoresponder database, and you send them email, and sales comes flooding in…simple right?
Oh and they help negotiate with ISPs to ensure your email is delivered, and rotate IPs on their email servers, so it doesn’t get tagged as a “bad” IP.
Actually there’s much more than that, and Aweber’s education marketing manager Justin Premick gave an insiders view of the inner workings of Aweber.
More importantly, we discussed:
The relationship marketing principles involved in maintaining a successful email marketing list
Companies which are already successfully using email in their marketing efforts
Resources to help you bring your email campaigns to the next level
Tips for affiliate marketers incorporating email into their existing PPC and SEO campaigns
And we also unearthed a tip which could help you massively increase your results from promoting CPA affiliate offers…