This is not another article on listbuilding or why it is important to have a list.
And not on "how to" either - for this I recommend the free ebook and great audio interview package of MLM Expert James Grandstaff "Downline Secrets" .
My articles are about the pros and cons to various forms of lists.
1.) Your very own opt-in-list. This is the best option for several reasons:
People would subscribe to you personally.
They would read your newsletter or ezine
and pay special attention to your offers.
This could be the most responsive list you can mail to, because from the beginning there is a personal relationship between you and your readers who would sooner or later become returning customers.
Your own list needs permanent care to keep the readers happy, even if you run out of new ideas, suffer from a writers block, or get ill.
Even worse are other dangers: Bulk mailing and sudden raise of traffic to your domain might cause problems with your provider.
You could overlook a small legal issue or someone else could send unsolicited email in your name - and once you get accused of spamming this could be the end to a mayor part of your business. In this accusation, the prove is reversed: you must proof your innocence, and even if you can; - nobody can force your mail- or internet provider accept you again.
These risks are less, when you use an auto responder service. There are even some good free ones around, but I do not know, if you can build multiple lists or huge lists for free with those.
2.) A better option for beginners are List Builders.
But take care that you do not join just any list from an anonymous advertisement. Unfortunately I have to start with some serious cons here.
My favorate annoying issue: Hidden costs in "free" services.
In almost all the traditional List Builders you are tempted, even indirectly forced to upgrade and pay hefty fees for that.
(More then for renting a Safelist Provider, where you could occasionally even adopt a big existing safelist, or in special offers build 3 to 5 own safelists; and more then you would pay for an autoresponder.)
You are tempted by the promise of residual income after you pay first.
Now, if you wanted a job - would you pay your boss so you may work for him and get payed later? - This is ridiculous, but exactly what most list builders expect you to do. With the difference, that it is most uncertain if so many of your referrals upgrade that you even earn the fees back.
I personally do not understand, why anybody would wish to upgrade in an old huge List Builder, but people do still.
"Pay to mail the whole list" sounds good, sure. And it sometimes makes sense to upgrade and start mailing right away. (Only when the list is NEW, so that you do not have to compete with hundreds of other pros.)
But there is still is this temptation - and there is this sententence in your members area: "commisions: If you were a pro member, you could have earned commissions now, because your referral upgraded."
(But as it is ((*grin, nana nana nana)) your commission, including the monthly commissions through this member, are forfeited, they go to the nearest pro in your upline and most to the admin!) - indirect force to upgrade, just in case....
For me that would be a reason not to join this list in the first place.
Referring to build your list is work. In a list builder work not only for yourself, but for the your upline and the admin as well, because your downline will automatically be their downline as well.
It is normal, that a free member must work more, while others pay to work less - But how do you judge this common procedure that, when occasionally someone You referred upgrades, and the admin does not pay You commissions it would pay to a pro member? - while the next pro, who did nothing exept catching you for this list, or even only your sponsor, gets his smaller part of the commission. - This is nothing but deceitful in my opinion.
You might shrug your shoulders, and think it just is like that (look at the exception I just found and joined in Neila's Crazy Giveaways)
You might also think at least this listbuilder is large and renowned, so your chance to find refs is bigger, and if need be you would even consider to pay the high upgrade fee.
Even some of the top marketers use these lists, which is good for keeping in touch with the latest news.
But what happens, when the list builder is large and well-known? No, that is not an indicator for quality, not at all for the quality of the emails you might get.
It will be a lot of emails, more then you can or want to read. It can be a nuisance also, specially when most is trash - so you would probably delete them unread, cause actually you did not want to receive much anyways, but send.
Now imagine, you refer this list, because you can be quite sure that new members will sign up under you in this well known, much referred list builder:
You might get a reasonably big downline, but would they know you?
Would they read your advertisements regularly?
Probably not, because they would not know your mail between all the others, and do the same. At least I did before I left that special list - delete all mails unread.
And if you upgraded to mail thousands of free members every day... you would safely reach thousands of mailboxes instead of hundred - not readers!
So forget about the old big lists with the (in my eyes undeserved) good names and totally anonymous members. - Unless perhaps you sign up under your favourite guru - but even then.... You'd better read his newsletter and look for other list builders.
What should you look for?
NEW Lists, where you are among the first to join at the top.
Lists you can join free and use free until you see if it was the correct decision.
Take special care about two things:
Do you get too many emails from your upline and from upgraded members?
Or is the list so well structured that this not possible?
(Example: A matrix structure, where you 'only' are allowed to mail 7 or 9 levels deep. Result: you cannot get much more then twenty emails a week, perhaps 50, when pros are allowed to mail more often and more persons, and that is not too much to read them at least occasionally.)
The second is: What commissions do you get for your referral work?
When there is nothing at all, you probably even lose upgraded members from your downline, it is just not worth while. Viral listbuilding can only work, when everyone diligently looks for new members - and it will get harder and harder to find really active members, when there is no incentment for referring.
It is not even helpful when the admin offers gifts for joining - many might join just to grab those, and then just forget the list.
When you join a free list builder, or join a list builder as free member, you must work hard to refer and build your list in this service. When you do, it will be similar to and almost as good as building your own list, just much safer acoording to spam accusations, you do not use your own email account either, and do not really need your own website.
It will take much time and effort. So it should not be spoiled by too much upline mail - because your downline will be theirs as well and receive the same amount.
And your affords (because that refers to those of your downline as well) must be fairly rewarded. Never pay too much attention to the promise of building residual income through listbuilding - there is a slight possibility, like a gambler's lucky streak. You can hope for it, when the list is good, but not count on it and by no means pay for it.
It is said the money is in the list - and that is true, it comes from the opportunity to offer your projects, affiliate sales and such, to many readers - not from the list building itself .
The third possibility are Safelists
Sign up, confirm your email adresses (usually the ask for two different ones)
and start mailing. - Safe, quick, easy, cheap or free.
Everyone mails to each other, so you get enourmous masses of emails. But mostly you get credits for reading, so the other members must at least open your mails - then it is up to you to make them want to read also.
You can reduce the amount of mails you get by upgrading. In safelists that is usually quite cheap and gives you real advantages like personalisation, html and so on. (But very often Urls automatically appear as clickable links, if not you can leave and find where they do.)
If you are on the lookout you can find small lists or new ones who offer free pros at least. - I will as soon as possible put up all the lists that offer free platinums even.
The size of a safelist does not really matter. When it is too large you must take care that there are crditlinks to be clicked, so you get at least hits to your site.
The smaller it is, the higher the probability that the other members will really read your emails.
A great feature in a series of new safelists is that you can send under your own name. - and I am very astonished, how few people take advantage of this. (article to this subject soon to come - I will mail it to my safelists first - just to make my article sites seen - and to find referrals for these lists in the others).