I created this list of over 2,000 prospective customers…
…entirely with mobile ads that WOULD HAVE BEEN really cheap IF I had paid for them at all, which I didn’t. I built this list without spending a dime on ads and now I’ll show you exactly how I did it.
1) Figure out what kind of list you want to build (determined by what you want to sell) and get a website and a domain name. This post is really targeted at internet marketers who want to get into mobile, not total newbies. But to avoid a lot of questions, you do need your own site to do this. If you have a site and have WordPress installed, skip to step 3 now.
For hosting, I recommend GoDaddy because it’s easy to manage a lot of domain names and hosting accounts with their platform. I get the deluxe hosting package because it allows you to install many websites all for the same fee. I use WordPress so the number of sites isn’t truly unlimited, it’s limited by the database instances, but that number (25) is still a lot of websites for a low price.
2) The next step is to set up WordPress on your domain. I consider WordPress to be the gold standard for blogging platforms. In fact, I use it to create all my sites regardless of what kind of site it is. It’s really just a full featured content management system. If you use GoDaddy for hosting, installing WordPress is dead simple.
3) Next you’ll need an auto-responder to handle your email list. There are many of these but the one I use is Aweber. Aweber has all the features that I need and it’s relatively cheap to use. You’ll need to create an account and set up a list within Aweber.
4) Now create a “freebie” to give away in exchange for users signing up for your list. This step isn’t entirely necessary, but I strongly recommend it. You’ll get much higher click through rates on your ads and registrations to your list if you give people something in exchange for their information. This doesn’t have to be elaborate, I just created a 3 page report on another campaign I ran and gave that away. I think the entire process took about 2 hours, which included writing the report, inserting screenshots, exporting it to a PDF file and uploading it to the website. You can get a copy of the exact report that I used by signing up for my newsletter below:
Complete the form at the top right of this page to sign up for my list and get my “freebie”.
5) These next two steps are where all the magic happens. You need to make sure that your landing page on your website is set up to work on mobile phones. Smart phones are usually no problem but anything less than an iPhone or Android device can have trouble displaying standard web pages. The traffic we’re going to be creating in the next step will be from mobile devices, including lots of feature phones, so this is a MUST.
You need to make your landing page XHTML compatible and integrate your Aweber email collection form. If you’re technical you could do this yourself by patching together other WordPress plugins and integrating Aweber. Or you could hire someone else to do it on Elance or Freelancer. Or you could do it the super easy way like I did and use my Mobile List Builder plugin. Here’s how it works:
This plugin currently only works with Aweber. But if you’re using Aweber and want to make mobile-optimized squeeze pages the easy way, you can buy this plugin and make your life easy for the price of a dinner at Chili’s.
6) Now you have a mobile squeeze page that adds users to your email list and sends them to a page where they can download your freebie. All you need now is to start pouring some traffic on that squeeze page. This is of course where Google comes in handy.
In order to get all this traffic for free, I found an ad that offered $100 in free advertising on AdWords. I signed up for a new account and did NOT fund it with my credit card. If you set up a new account but don’t fund it, it will only spend the $100 in credit and then stop until you do fund it. I have recently seen ads for $75 in free AdWords credit and $100 free if you add $100 of your own money. I can’t control Google’s offers, but the one I got was for $100. Even with $75 you could build a substantial list.
After you set up your account with the free credit, now you need to create a Google Mobile campaign to buy the mobile clicks. Mobile traffic is usually much cheaper than normal web traffic, which is why you can build such a big list with so little credit on AdWords. Here’s a quick video tutorial on setting this up:
7) The last step is just to monitor the account until you’ve spent your whole credit on Google. Watch carefully at first and make sure you’re getting conversions when you first set everything up. If you paid close attention to the settings I recommended in the Google Mobile video tutorial, you shouldn’t spend much without getting conversions. And once you do they should come in very cheap. This is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. It took me about 9 months to spend my $100 in credit and collect all my leads, although the vast majority of them came in the last month or two. The lazy man’s secret to getting this traffic super cheap is to be very patient. You can get more traffic faster by increasing your bids or increasing the size of the keyword set prematurely but it’s most effective to set it up right and run it basically on autopilot. It’s like managing your stock portfolio, if you look at it too often you’ll be tempted to make too many ineffective changes. Look at it once a week and watch the emails you get from Aweber that notify you of sign ups and keep a loose cost per sign up tally in your head. That’s really all there is to it!
It pays to start with just one or two very targeted ad groups with just a few keywords each. This keeps your relevancy to those keywords and your quality score high.
Bonus Step – Sell something to your list! The whole point of having a list is to make money from it. I recommend signing up with one or more of the mobile CPA networks and pushing their products in addition to your own products or more standard web products like those on Clickbank. Remember, once you have someone on your email list you can sell them whatever you want. Many people have computers in addition to their phones but many don’t as well. This is particularly true outside the U.S. So mix mobile offers in with web offers. Sending broadcast emails to your list as you build it helps you get a read on the quality of the list you’re building as well. If people are unsubscribing rapidly, not opening your emails or not buying anything, you may want to revisit your keyword set and make sure you’re driving the right traffic to your landing page.