Buy Exposure to Other People’s Audiences

In addition to your free efforts to build your list, you have paid options. Buying exposure to your opt in offers is a great way to build your list, but it’s certainly not guaranteed.

You definitely have the guarantee of exposure when you pay for the ad space, because the seller will have to show your ad to a certain number of people. But that doesn’t mean they’ll act on it.

You want to watch your budget carefully and never assume you’ll make back your money right off the bat. Plan for both success and failure so that if you don’t get any opt ins or any loyal buyers from your subscribers, you won’t be fretting about being out your ad money.

Solo Ads

Solo ads are one shot advertisements that get your message in front of targeted individuals for a set fee or a performance-based fee, such as pay per click, pay per opening of the email, or pay per action, like an opt in – depending on the arrangement you set up with the person emailing out for you.

You have the opportunity to buy space in other marketers’ newsletters where they regularly contact their list and your solo ad goes in on a scheduled day and time.

Some mix the ad in jus like it’s a regular part of the newsletter. Others use a special “Sponsored by” section, which alerts the user to the fact that it’s a paid advertisement they’re seeing.

Cross promotion is one way to do solo ads if the other marketer would like to do a simple exchange email instead of a paid one-way email. It’s up to you if you want to expose your list to this other marketer.

You can either offer specific things, such as advice and tips with a link to a particular download page – or you can whip up a good solo ad and then link back to your blog or website and hope the end user takes the action you want him or her to take.

When you’re trying to build a list, it’s much better to drive that traffic to a freebie offer that entices them to sign up for your list, rather than to a sales page or general page on your site.

Where do you find solo ad offers? There are directories and you can also use search engines and word of mouth to find a solo ad opportunity. It’s not impossible to get the chance to email someone’s list if you simply ask for it, too.

Some newsletter owners want you to provide everything in terms of content for the ad. Others will want to write it themselves so that their newsletter tone, style and voice stays uniform throughout.

Blog Space

Blogs are a great place to buy ad space on in order to expose your opt in offer to prospective subscribers. The first thing you want to do is make sure the blogs you investigate for ad buys are active and flourishing with an audience that comments and takes action.

You don’t want to advertise on a stale blog where content might be going up, but the audience isn’t feeling a connection to the blogger or the messages. There are plenty of good blogs to choose from.

Sometimes, you’ll notice that a competitor of yours has blog space for sale. Other times, you may have to go out and look for the right place to do your promotions. There are directories of blogs that have ad space for sale.

Where is the space usually set for on a blog where ads are running? There are a variety of places, and sizes of ads that you can run. Each blogger is different in how they do things.

The top of the sidebar is a prime advertising hot spot. Usually, the blogger will divide the space up into small squares, allowing each ad buyer to own a button-sized block.

The lower you get in the ad space, the cheaper that block becomes. The top spaces are the most obvious and most expensive of the blog ad buys you can do.

If you see a blog that you know you want to advertise on, but the spots are all filled, contact the blogger and ask when a new spot in his or her sponsored ad area will open up.

They may have a waiting list. As a buyer, you can also book the ad space several months out in some cases if you want to – but some bloggers won’t allow you to do that.

Plus, you want to see if the blog ad is even going to pan out for you before you start pouring money into it for months at a time. The sidebar area isn’t the only ad space you can purchase, either.

Under the header of a blog, but before the content, there is often space enough for a full sized banner ad. This space can either be placed on the blog’s home page, on individual blog posts, or both. Find out ahead of time where your block will be showing.

Some bloggers will have strict guidelines about the ads being placed on their site. Here are a few examples of things you might have to abide by aside from the size restrictions:

* Color palettes so the ad matches the site (or complements it)

* Animation restrictions (some bloggers want static only ads and others give you the choice)

* Topics (some might force the ad to be relevant to the blog topic, others might not)

* Ratings (G, PG, R, etc.)

Make sure you carefully look at the blog rules and see what others who are already advertising there are doing. Which ad catches your eye and why? Emulate the things you see working.

Another type of ad on a blog is a paid review. This is when the blogger writes up a review about your product in return for a fee. Some bloggers will write all positive reviews, and some will give an unbiased real review, including information that may not be so flattering.

What should you place in the ad? Since your goal is to build your list, advertise your freebie in the ad. The word FREE stands out, so come up with an ecover or text that’s clearly visible in whatever space you have to work with.

Forum Ads

Forums that are bustling with an active member base can be wonderful places for you to find new subscribers to your list. And many allow you to purchase ad space, too.

There are different types of ads. Let’s use the site as an example. Here, not only can you purchase a rotating banner ad for 24 hours, but there are ad spots in different sections of the site, too, such as the Warrior Special Offers area.

Some forums will also have things where you can buy ad space that gets blasted out to the members in their email or private message box, depending upon their communication preferences and settings.

You obviously want to choose a forum where your target audience would reside. If you’re promoting your opt in freebie, then it should be highly targeted so that you maximize the use of your funds.

Is the forum active? Does the audience post there regularly? You want a well-trafficked site with plenty of potential to help you grow your list. Check out the threads to see how long it’s been since anyone posted in them.

When you’re taking a peek, look to see what kinds of posts are being placed there, too. Is it all spammy ads being placed in there? You want a well-moderated forum that keeps spam and forum abusers out.

Study the rules of the advertising areas. On the Warrior Forum, for example, there are rules for both the banner ads and the Warrior Special Offers that you can pay to run.

If you break the rules in a forum, chances are your ad will be disabled because someone will report it – and you’ll be out the money you spent on listing it because it’s your fault for not reading the rules.

Send your ad viewers to the opt in offer freebie on your squeeze page. You want to get the name and email address above any instant sales. That way you can cater to them over time and get the most return on your investment.

Study the ROI to see if it’s worth repeating the ad block again in the future. If not, move on and try another forum or blog or ad opportunity. You can also test and tweak your ad blocks to see what elements perform best.

Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites usually start off as a participant-based platform. Then they launch some sort of advertising opportunity and the member base complains, but the advertising works anyway, so it grows.

You can check with a myriad of social networking platforms and see if they offer advertising opportunities. Two that are solid buys are Facebook and Twitter ads that you can pay for to reach an audience.

Facebook ad buys are very popular. You can create a fan page for your business and then once inside the fan page, click on Build Audience and Ads Manager. Inside here, you can click on Create Ad to get started.

The system will first ask you what results you want. You can choose clicks to your website, conversions, post engagements, likes, installation of apps, offer claims and more.

Then you’ll enter your web URL. Send them to a squeeze page where the only option for them to take action is to sign up to your list. If you send them to a blog, they’ll end up with other actions to distract them.

You’ll choose which image(s) you want to use in your ad. You will choose which Fan Page you want the ad to represent, if you have multiple pages on this social network.

You’ll add a headline and some limited text about the ad and then choose a button (or choose not to have one). After setting up your ad, you’ll get to pick your audience.

Do you want viewers from a certain country? Age demographic? Gender? With specific interests? This is where you pick all of those details. You’ll then set a budget and let the ad go live.

Twitter paid promotions are another option for you. You have different options here. For example, you can use a Promoted Tweet. This is when you pay for a Tweet to be exposed to a wider audience than your regular followers.

One element you want to include in promoted Tweets is the request for people to “Please RT” for you. That means they will ReTweet (share) your Tweet with others, only you won’t have to pay for those shares!

You can also use a Promoted Account ad. Some people choose this option because they want the follower to start following all of their Tweets in the future. But you can also use the Promoted Tweets to send them straight to your opt in freebie, so either one will work – and testing should prove valuable.

You can target your audience who will see the ad based on gender, language, geography and more. You can target keywords and interests. Set your budget and bidding specifics and watch your ad help you build a list of interested subscribers!

You always want to invest time into free list building efforts, and if you can’t get the results you want, put money into paid list building opportunities. But never get mired in either one to the point that it destroys your bank account or your momentum for success.

Text Links Versus Image Ads 

Most visitors pass through one of two types of links.  Text links are when you string together a word, phrase or sentence that’s hyperlinked to another domain.  Image ads are things like banners, button, and pictures – graphical images that are hyperlinked with a URL.

Both types of links have their benefits and drawbacks.  Which type you use will be based on your site and your traffic – and you should ideally test both types to see which performs best with your particular demographic.  

In general, text ads tend to pull a lot more clicks than image ads, because people have become “banner blind.”  That means people have learned to ignore banners, because they know they’re ads. 

Text ads are a part of every website, so they’re harder to ignore.  This is one reason why AdSense is so successful.  Of course, some sites could benefit from a few image ads.  If your site is primarily text, you might be able to make it look more appealing through the use of a few graphical banners. 

Choose attractive banners with a clear call-to-action, such as banners that clearly state, “Click here for ____!”  New Internet users may not realize they can click graphics, so it’s important for banners to have this kind of call-to-action. 

Just be careful not to overdo the ads on your site.  Two or three graphics per page is plenty.  If you put more than this, you risk your site looking like a banner farm, and visitors may leave before they even have time to read any of your content.

Text links are generally more effective than banners.  They can be blended in with your content and can look more like recommendations than ads.  For some reason, people prefer to buy through recommendations rather than blatant ads, so text links can help you get a higher click-through ratio than you might get with banner ads.

Coding a text link is very simple.  To create a text link on your site, you need to use the “a href” code.  A simple text link code might look something like this:

Here’s where the text you want hyperlinked will go.

Coding a banner link is only slightly more complex.  You still use the “a href” code, but you also have to use the “img src” code along with it.  It should look something like this:

So the first URL in that piece of code is the URL where you want your traffic to go. The second one is the URL where the image is being hosted on your server. This will make the image show up and when the user hovers his or her mouse over it, they’ll see that it’s clickable.

Make sure you test your links to be sure they’re going to the right place.  If you accidentally link to the wrong place, you could end up losing a lot of money in commissions or sales, so it’s very important to make sure your links are in working order.

Triggering a Flood of Testimonials 

Testimonials are an important part of any sales letter.  Testimonials are types of social proof, which may help buyers trust a product more.  Although some people have become suspicious of testimonials, they can still be extremely important in convincing other people to buy.

But getting testimonials can be difficult.  In general, people are lazy.  They don’t usually provide feedback unless it’s negative, or unless you ask for it. 

You shouldn’t offer money as an incentive for people to offer testimonials, because then they become “paid testimonials.”  People tend to distrust testimonials that people are paid for, because some people are perfectly willing to lie about a product if they’re paid to do it.

Instead, you should offer some small token of your appreciation, just as a “thank you” to those who take the time to write a testimonial for you.  It might be a free report, a link from your site to theirs within the testimonial box, or a coupon for 10% off their next order with you. 

As long as you’re not offering cash, most people won’t feel you’re being dishonest to get your testimonials. It’s not that they don’t really want to offer one if they like the product, it’s just that they don’t think about it.  Those that do think about it will often put it off “until later” and then forget about it.

So make sure you ask your customers for their testimonials.  You could ask them on your “thank you” page.  You could ask them again on the last page of your product, or at the end of each audio or video file. 

You could ask them in a follow-up email.  “Hi, I just wanted to find out how you’re enjoying XYZ Product.  Is it working out for you?  If you haven’t done so already, I’d really appreciate it if you could send me your thoughts on the product – I may even use it as a testimonial with a link back to your website!  It’ll only take five minutes of your time, and I’ll send you a free bonus report as my thanks for taking the time to do this for me.”

Be sure to ask people if you can include their real name in the testimonial, or if you should use their initials.  Some people don’t want to have their real name anywhere on the Internet, and try to be very secretive about using it. 

For some types of products, they may not even want their name associated with it.  For example, many men might not want their name used on the sales letter for a “male enhancement” product!

Also, ask for a picture, if appropriate. 

Some people have a tendency to trust testimonials more if they include a picture, because it seems more like a real person wrote the testimonial.  Although some dishonest marketers might just steal photos to use for testimonials, the average person probably wouldn’t think about that. 

And the people who would are probably natural skeptics and are less likely to buy your product anyway. Audio and video testimonials are a great enhancement to your sales copy if you can convince your customers to call in an audio testimonial or email you the video file, but this is harder to obtain since many won’t be versed in more advanced technology.