The fortune is in the follow up

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Chris Loch of whatisyoursecret.com spoke at the Provo Labs Academy recently.

Chris’s main point is that a very important part of internet marketing is capturing email addresses from customers so that you can follow up with them with useful information and offers. He kept saying, “the fortune is in the followup.”

He is an excellent internet marketer who combines traditional marketing with internet marketing in some very novel ways. For example, some of his work has involved using direct mail (postcards) sent to targeted recipients to bring them to a very unique web site that plays an audio file and encourages people to sign up for a series of e-mails that lead them to purchasing a service that they need. Check out his web site and some of the projects that he has done for clients.

Many of his landing pages have only one purpose–to capture an email address from a prospect. One example is www.specialagentqa.com. He likes using auto-playing audio. He has discovered that adding navigational links to these pages actually decreases the conversion rate, so he doesn’t put any other links on the page. The only thing a web visitor can do on these pages is sign up by entering their email address for free information, or exit the site.

When it comes to email marketing, one of the challenges is getting the emails that you send to prospects and customers to actually get to their inbox. Since ISPs and email providers are trying to block spam, many legitimate email messages get blocked by the spam filters for various reasons.

There are blacklists and whitelists that email marketers need to understand.

Some companies instruct their email subscribers to add them to their “whitelist” so that emails from them will make it through. Here is a real estate company that teaches users of AOL, Earthlink, Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, NetZero and various anti-spam products how to add them to their email whitelist.

Chris said he uses E-filtrate to make sure his legitimate email campaigns won’t create a false positive in spam filters (based on the copy) and get blocked.

One member of the Academy who has done a lot of email marketing has found that many emails get blocked because the domain name and IP address of the sender don’t match in the email header. He does custom php coding for companies to make sure that the domain name and IP address do match. (I’m not totally certain that I’ve captured this correctly. I welcome readers who can clarify the point the Academy member was trying to make.)

Chris showed us audiogenerator.com and instantvideogenerator.com which are sites that enable you to easily add audio or video to your web site with the goal of increasing your conversion rates.

Chris told us that he typically increased the email capture rates by 40% by adding audio to the landing page, and even more when he uses video.

He told us that one way to get people to sign up for your email offer is to use an “ethical bribe,” meaning, give them something valueable and free if they will give you their email address. One example he shared was by offering an email series called “9 steps to weight loss” which people can get for free when they give you their email address. You can find this on 9stepstoweightloss.com

Chris says teleseminars work great for high-ticket items. For example, if you want people to attend an expensive real world seminar, you may want to offer a free teleseminar to generate leads for the actual event. On the teleseminar you can have interviews with the speakers who are going to be giving the actual seminar.

Chris mentioned that Virtual Seminar Week recently had 49 speakers who gave presentations. Each speaker emailed their own lists and told them about the Virtual Seminar Week, which had educational content about dozens of important topics. Pooling lists in this way and combining forces to present a great online educational value is a win-win for the conference organizers and for the individual speakers. The individual speakers who sign up the most subscribers get the majority of the revenue from their own efforts.

(I recently subscribed to eComXpo, so that I can listed to the 175 presentations that have been given by ecommerce experts and internet marketers. I think this model of bringing together experts and selling subscriptions to the archives is an excellent one.)

Chris’s wife runs jenmagazine.com, a fashion and culture site for LDS teens and young adult women. The site traffic and email list is growing fast. By adding a “tell a friend” feature to the site the list started growing 40% faster.

Chris says marketers should try to participate in trade shows and events where you get the entire database of attendees if you are an exhibitor or sponsor. At one major trade show, every exhibitor got the entire database of attendees, but only about 5-10% of the companies even used the list afterwards. He again emphasized that the fortune is in the followup, and that emailing or mailing the trade show attendees after the trade show is over is a gold mine, but many companies overlook that. They come away with whatever sales they made at the show, but don’t do anything afterwards. Chris mentioned one popular entrepreneur speaker who will not agree to speak at a conference unless she gets access to all of the attendees.

Chris says there are many companies who compile mailing lists, and that virtually any type of list can be used in your marketing campaigns. I think traditional direct marketers and list brokers are far more sophisticated in their targeting than internet marketers, partly because there is far more public data available (every US address, credit card data connected to people and households, subscribers to thousands of magazines, etc) to offline marketers than to online marketers. And since it is so much more expensive to use direct mail, marketers have to use more careful selections.

One of his clients offered a space pen with insignias for each branch of the U.S. Military and then mailed an offer to every retired officer. They were able to rent a list of all retired military officers, which branch they served in, and how long they served for.

One publicly traded company that offers an unbelievable rich database of US consumers and businesses is InfoUSA.

You can select any custom list from over 200 million U.S. consumers. The web site lets you design your list before purchasing it. Try the InfoUSA list selection tool right now if you have never done this before.

I also like Melissadata.com, which offers all kinds of data for marketers.

Other sites Chris mentioned:

1shoppingcart.com: he loves this shopping cart, which integrates auto responder and email list management capabilities with its ecommerce transaction services. In other words, you don’t need an ecommerce site plus an email management system like aweber.com or getresponse.com. It all comes with 1shoppingcart.com.

tellafriendking.com: one of my BYU student marketing teams used a trial recently and found that this is effective in generating word of mouth referrals.

Like Chris Loch, I believe strongly in creating an in-house opt-in email database of customers and prospective customers. At MyFamily.com, we were able to build an inhouse database containing millions of names. It was extremely valuable. At 10x Marketing, we once had a client ask us to build them a 1-million name house email list in 90 days, before the launch of their new book title. We contacted some co-registration networks (where you pay a small amount of money for each person who registers for your newsletter). We rolled out our opt-in and double opt-in email signup forms across the co-registration network, and within a few weeks we were collecting 10-15,000 email addresses per day. I was amazed. We would have reached the 1 million name goal, but at a cost of about $0.30 per name, the client decided not to keep spending.

We ended up with about 350,000 or so names. When they launched their book title and many other products, they were able to easily recover the cost of building the list, and as far as I know, they are still monetizing the list to this day.

Remember, these were legitimate opt-in and double opt-in offers that attracted opportunity seekers who were interested in their products.

A question for my readers: what is the best email list building strategy that you have tried or seen? Please share….

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2 Responses

  1. I struggle with finding email lists that specifically target my niche in the small general niche of fly fishing. I’m focused on the “Long Tail” but it seems the numbers don’t add up–unless I can find a relevant list.

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