My answer is, find someone who’s already reaching your target market in droves, and use THEM to build your list! How? With these three easy steps:
STEP 1: Determine exactly who your ideal client or customer is.
The more descriptive you can be here, the better. For example, don’t just think “men”. Think “men ages 18-40 who like sports and working out”. Don’t just think “small business owners”. Think “women owners of professional service businesses that do less than $1 million a year”.
Can you take on clients or customers who fall outside of this description? Of course! But you need to know who you’re going after.
Example: About six years ago, I spent a romantic summer week on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. My beau was wonderful in letting me decide most of the activities we’d do each day. But there was one thing he definitely wanted to do at least once – go bluefishing!
Now I’m not sure if you could have guessed this, but I’m not really into fishing. ; )
But hey, I’ll try anything once, so off we went to the docks. Now, I figured we could go on any boat with any captain and do this. But no … we went with “Captain Dan the Bluefish Man” (who smelled like his specialty). Dan took us on his special boat to this special place off the island where the bluefish were, and we even used special bait that the bluefish liked. And we had great success – they just kept biting!
I realized that if you know exactly what you’re going after, you’re much more likely to get it. The same goes for reaching your target market.
STEP 2: Find other people, companies, or websites that are ALREADY reaching your target market en masse.
Sit down with a cup of coffee this weekend and do some online research regarding your target market. What sites are they already visiting? What newsletters or magazines do they already read? For example, if your target market is stay-at-home moms, find the most popular sites they visit. Find the most popular e-zines they read.
Come up with a list of your top five websites and top five ezines that are already reaching your ideal client or customer.
STEP 3: Contact these websites and ezines and see if they will:
REVIEW your book, products, services, or ezine for their readers. If so, send them a review copy and follow up a week or two later. Request that when they run the review they mention your e-zine and direct people to your website to sign up.
Accept guest ARTICLES. If so, then submit one of your best, with a short bio that links people back to your website to sign up for your ezine.
SWAP ads or recommendations for each other’s websites, products, or services. If you have an ezine that reaches the same target market they want to reach, this is a great win-win.
Do a CO-REGISTRATION deal. If you already have a good amount of e-zine subscribers and website traffic, they may be open to adding your e-zine to their ezine signup form if you do the same on your part. (Ideally folks should just check a box to subscribe to the additional e-zine automatically.)
Run a recommendation or ad in exchange for a COMMISSION on resulting sales. For example, you give them the ad to run, tagged with a link that lets you know if any sales come from it. (This is easy for you to do if you have an online affiliate program.*)
Accept PAID advertising. Banner ads, text ads, and other paid placements obviously cost you money, but if it’s your only option and you really want to reach these folks, go for it. But be sure to track your results so you can see if it’s working. (You’ll need a link tracking program to do this.*)
And these are just a FEW ideas to get you started!
Remember, your #1 goal is to get people back to your site to sign up for your e-zine or other email list, because THAT is how you guarantee the chance to market to them repeatedly!
© 2003-2010 Ali International
Self-made entrepreneur and Inc. 500-ranked CEO Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow profitable businesses that make a positive impact. Get her FREE weekly articles and advice at www.AliBrown.com