14 Ways to Build a Profitable
Opt-in Email List

Whether you do it for your own company or a client, building a responsive email list is a key component to success online. Because the more people you send an e-zine or e-letter to, the better chance you have of generating more revenue. Today I’m going to talk about 14 ways you can build up a subscriber list.

Whatever techniques you employ, you should always ask yourself, “Will this attract the type of individual who is likely to purchase my product or service?” A small responsive list is more valuable than a massive list that ignores and eventually cancels their e-zine/e-letter subscription.

With that in mind, here are 14 techniques that will help you build a quality opt-in email list:

  1. Contact previous customers or clients. Tell them about your e-zine and the benefits they’ll experience. Consider giving them a special bonus for signing up.
  2. Submit your e-zine/e-letter to e-zine directories. Many directories allow you to submit your e-zine or e-letter to them for free. Here are few popular, free e-zine submission sites: go-ezines.com, ezinelisting.com, ezine-dir.com, list-city.com, bestezines.com, and ezinefinder.com.
  3. Ask your visitors to subscribe after they perform a transaction with you. For example, if someone buys something from you, on the “Thank You” page ask them if they’d like to sign up for your free e-zine. (Note: If you have two e-zines, after someone signs up for one, ask them if they’d like to sign up for the other one.)
  4. Archive your newsletter on your site. Having good content on your site will increase your search engine rankings, drawing more people to your site through organic searches. If you have a sign-up box on every page of your site, you can’t help but add some quality names to your list. Plus, this also gives potential sign-ups an opportunity to see the quality of articles they’ll receive when they become a subscriber.
  5. Encourage people to use your content in their e-zine. Add a note to your website, blog, or e-zine that if someone wishes to republish content from your e-zine, they’re welcome to do so. The only stipulation is they have to keep your name and the link to your e-zine sign-up page at the end the article.
  6. Set up a communal sign-up page. Partner with a publisher who offers an e-zine that complements yours, but does not compete directly. When someone signs up for your e-zine, give them a chance to sign up for the other publisher’s e-zines, and vice versa.
  7. Buy e-zine “solo” ads. This is a sales email that you pay another e-zine owner to send out to their file. It’s not part of their e-zine; it’s sent out completely separate.
  8. Buy e-zine classified ads. At the end of some e-zines, you’ll find classified-style ads. They’re usually about 4-5 lines long and are fairly inexpensive to purchase.
  9. Create an eBook with reprint rights. Create an eBook, pack it with good relevant information, and subtly include links to your e-zine sign-up page. Let people know they can resell it. Or, if they choose, they can give it away with a paid purchase. To encourage people to promote it, include sales copy for them to use on their site. (Note: Advise people that they are not allowed to give it away free. Because although you may receive more new subscribers, they may not be the type of people who are likely to buy anything from you anytime soon.)
  10. Start an affiliate program. Determine how much you’re willing to pay for a name, and then pay affiliates for each sign-up they add to your e-letter.
  11. Issue a press release. If you have something newsworthy to talk about, a press release can be a valuable marketing tool. They can help with SEO rankings and they tend to stay on the Internet for a while. PR Web and PR Newswire are two (pay) sites that will help distribute your press releases for you.
  12. Send people testimonials about their product. If you use and really like a related product or service, write a testimonial for it. Then send it to the business that sells it. Include a link to your sign-up page in your testimonial. If they use your testimonial on their site or in their e-zine, chances are you’ll receive a lot of free traffic.
  13. Get other e-zines to mention you. Think of ways to get others to mention you in their e-zines. Hold a contest. Do something newsworthy. Build up relationships with other publishers. Discuss new, innovative ways to promote each other’s e-zines.
  14. Network. Make friends with as many people as you can. Go to conferences and other networking events. Put your e-zine sign-up link on your business card and other literature you may be handing out.

If you’ve done any research yourself on expanding your subscriber list, you may have noticed I left off a list-building technique called “co-registration.” I omitted it because, personally, I’m not 100% sold on it.

Here’s how it works … After performing a transaction on someone else’s website, your potential subscriber is taken to a page that invites them to sign up for a number of e-zines. If they select your e-zine, you pay a set amount per sign-up (usually between 15 cents and $1 per name).

So why am I not big on it? The names that you receive using co-registration tend to be far less responsive than names you acquire yourself. Plus, many marketers have complained that to fulfill their order, co-registration companies have sent them fraudulent names.

That said, I’m confident the other 14 techniques will serve you well. Use as many as you can that make sense for you … and you’ll be well on your way to building the type of subscriber list that can bring you a solid revenue stream from your e-zine or e-letter.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: February 4, 2009

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