How to Increase Subscribers to Your Email List

In the past, one of the things we were a bit slow to take on was building up an email list. And even when we did, we were even slower  to send out anything to that list. Not good really considering that we were consistently told by those in the business that your top priority should be list building. But over time we finally caught on and realized the true potential in having a list of people who are really interested in what you have to say.

Let’s put it this way, if you have a list of 5000 people and you send out just one promotion to that list that will give you $50 commission per sale and only 100 people on that list buy it, you will make $5000….nice! And you don’t need to spam your list to do it. You can give your subscribers really good quality information and still make some money along the way, especially if you promote things that you have actually used and recommend.

However, the main problem  is getting people to sign up to your list in the first place.  So how do you do it without harassing them? I know that I’m not a fan of pop-ups. If I go to a blog with a pop-up I will just close the pop-up and get on to reading their website.  However, lots of people have  great success with pop-ups and say that it can increase the sign-up rate dramatically. So we actually purchased a couple of WordPress plugins that do just that. Unfortunately neither of them worked with this theme correctly – apparantly it is something to do with the font settings or such but probably just as well because as I’ve already mentioned, we aren’t fans of pop-ups.

So what we were looking for was a way to increase our sign-up rate without using pop-ups if possible.  And this is how we came upon the Maxblog Subscribers Magnet Plugin. We wanted a way of getting our sign up form in front of our readers faces without being overly intrusive and from what I can tell so far, this plugin is going to do the job. (Bear in mind this plugin does allow pop-ups – we’ve just chosen not to use them.)

I purchased the plugin today as it is currently on sale at 30%off and have uploaded it to this blog. I am a bit of a fan of the Maxblog team – they make some awesome plugins with my favorite being the Maxblog Ninja Affiliate plugin. So I had no doubt, even before buying it that this one would be any different. And once again the Maxblog team have not let me down as this plugin is pretty amazing and I am really excited about it which is why I am writing this blog post to let you know all know about it.

Now I have no idea at this stage if this plugin will increase the sign up rate to this blog as I have only just installed it but I am pretty confident that it will. It’s obvious that the more opportunities you provide to your readers to sign up, the more sign-ups you will get. I will update this post over the next few days as it is too early to tell yet…most of our readers are already in bed by now so we won’t see much action until the morning.

In the meantime I can let you know just how powerful this plugin actually is by taking you through some of the features.

1. First of all, the Subscribers Magnet plugin allows you to add your sign up form just about anywhere on your blog including:

  • Within the post – If you notice at the bottom of this post you will see a sign up form in place. This is now displayed at the bottom of every blog post on our blog. You can also display it at the top if you prefer and it can be aligned left, right or centred.
  • In the footer – This one I am not really fussed on so I haven’t activated it but I know that others have had success with this style of sign-up form. It basically adds one of those footer strip pop-ups that appear at the very bottom of your blog.
  • In the sidebar – this is one of the most obvious places to put a sign up form. This works via the widgets section of your blog and it’s super easy to customize.
  • As a checkbox next to the comment form – you can see this one in action at the bottom of this blog post when you leave a comment. There is a little checkbox just above the text box that when checked signs your reader up to your newsletter.
  • After the reader has left a comment – this one you can also see in action on this blog but only if you leave a comment. What will happen is that you once you submit your comment you will see your comment awaiting moderation and in that comment field you will see a sign-up box. Pretty neat…I like this one.
  • As a pop-up – as we’ve mentioned, this is not one we choose to have on our blog. Maybe one day we will test it but for the moment we are going to stick with no pop-ups. This plugin allows the pop-in to be delayed on opening to whatever amount of time you want giving the reader the chance to read the content on your blog before the pop-up appears.

2. This plugin works with all the major autoresponders including aWeber, GetResponse, 1ShoppingCart etc.

3. It will automatically auto-fill your readers name and email address in the sign-up form fields if they have previously left a comment in the past. So in other words, if they don’t sign up the first time, the next time they visit your blog their name and email will be auto-filled into the Name and Email fields of your sign-up form. This will make them more likely to subscribe as  they won’t have to enter any details and will only have to hit that subscribe button.

4. Silent Subscription – Basically it allows you to automatically sign-up any visitor that has left a comment on your blog. So they will automatically be added to your email list although if you have a double opt-in list they will still need to confirm. Not one I would use personally, I believe visitors should have the option to subscribe or not.

5. Automatic Email – This is a slight variation to the one above and is the one I prefer. You can send out an email automatically when a reader leaves a comment on your blog for the first time. In that email you can put whatever you like – just a thank you is nice or you can promote a product,  or you can suggest that they sign up to your email list.

6. Ability to remove the “Powered by Subscribers Magnet” text from the bottom of the sign-up form. I thought I would add this one here as a lot of people would probably not want that wording on their sign-up form. If, however, you decide to leave it, you can add your affliate link to it and make money from any sales that are referred to Maxblog.

7. This plugin also provides the ability to make your opt-in forms as fancy as you like. There are plenty of options including different font sizes, colors, width, height etc and the ability to add an image. There is also an html option so I can only assume that if you have an opt-in form already available in html that you can just transfer it over to the html form in this plugin and load it up.

Overall this is a fantastic little plugin and well worth the money in our opinion. If you are interested in it check out the video on their sales page – if that doesn’t convince you then nothing will.

And don’t forget that the sale for Maxblog Subscribers Magnet plugin is only on for four days so don’t think about it for too long  as a 30% saving is a great offer.

UPDATE: We’ve had the plugin in place for a few days now and have noticed around a 30% increase in subscribers. However, we often get periods like this anyway where suddenly our subscriber sign-ups will increase although I have to admit so far it has been consistent for the past three days. I will provide another update in a week or so to see if it continues.

Amazon WordPress Plugins – Our Review of WP Zon Builder

Just recently we were lucky enough to be given a copy of an Amazon WordPress plugin to review. To be honest, we had never heard of this plugin so when the owner asked us to review it, we really weren’t expecting too much. After all, we have used the ReviewAzon plugin for quite some time on a few of our blogs and are very happy with it. We didn’t think anything could match it….that is until we actually tried WP Zon Builder.

This is one feature packed plugin and at this point we think it just nudges out ReviewAzon as our top Amazon plugin….not by much mind you, but just enough that we can say that we prefer WP Zon Builder over ReviewAzon. And I actually don’t like saying that because ReviewAzon is such a great plugin and you won’t regret buying it but for us the WP Zon Builder has a few extra features that have won us over.

As anyone who has read this blog knows, we make a nice income from promoting Amazon products and we are always on the lookout for anything to make our lives easier. And although we don’t really use these types of plugins in a big way, we still like them because they allow us to add reviews that automatically include all of that extra data from Amazon like images, prices, specifications, weights, measurements and so on. This means we don’t have to manually add this data ourselves.

You can use these types of plugins in one of two ways:

1. Adding products using the content from Amazon without making changes – This involves adding Amazon products to your blog without you making any changes to the content that comes over from Amazon. You can literally spend an hour or so using this plugin to add thousands of Amazon products to your blog and take the rest of the year off as the content is drip fed  to your site. I’ll show you how this works a little later in this article.

2. Adding products using the content from Amazon BUT you make changes – What this means is that you use this plugin to bring over the content from Amazon but you make changes to that content and replace it with your own product review. This plugin allows you to do that so the content isn’t just a duplication of what is on the Amazon product page.

We use both options but we definitely prefer the second option. If you can add your own review then you will be streets ahead of the rest of others using these types of plugins.

How Does the WP Zon Amazon Plugin Work?

You can add Amazon products in one of two ways with this plugin:

1. The first method involves creating a new post

You pretty much create a new post as you would any other post on your blog and add the product details there. I actually like this method because it gives me a little more control over what is in the post. What I do with this method is simply click on Posts –> Add New and under the text box is a section that I can enter an Amazon ASIN (each product on Amazon has an ASIN number) and then I click Insert. This automatically places a piece of code in my text box which displays an image of the product, a title of the product with a link to Amazon using my affiliate link, the average rating and the total number of reviews. This is what it would look like:

Then once I add my own unique content my post will look like this:

2. The second method involves adding posts en-masse.

With this method you can add hundreds, if not thousands, of posts in less than half an hour. Not my sort of style personally but great for those wanting quick, massive amounts of content added to a site.You can even stagger those posts so that they go up randomly for any period of time you set. You can even back-date them so that they are posted with dates in the past.

You can also use this method, as we do, for finding products based on a specific criteria that you set. This is one of the features we really love about WP Zon Builder. The filtering system is excellent and allows you to narrow down the search based on category, keyword, maximum and minimum price, average rating and the number of customer reviews. You can also sort those results by Featured Items, Bestselling, Relevance, Price, Newest Items and items On Sale.

This is a view of the Find Products page in the WordPress dashboard.

From this page you select your products and add them to a Queue. Once you’ve added 1 or more items you then click on the Post Products link from the dashboard menu and select the dates you want those posts to go up on. You can let them all go up straight away or select from and to dates so that they go up randomly during that period. There’s also a check box that you can select which prevents duplicate products from being posted.

This is what the posts look like if you select this method. If you notice it has brought all of the details over from Amazon. I haven’t changed a thing. However, the beauty of this is that I can change it if I like. I just go in and edit the post and add or change what I like.

Notice also that it has also automatically brought over the consumer reviews from Amazon and added them as comments. I really like that feature. You have the option of turning that off if you like or if you decide to keep the customer reviews you can change the settings so that you can select how many comments are displayed and only show comments that have a minimum rating. You can also sort those reviews by rating, most helpful, and submission date.

There are so many features that this post could go forever so I am just going to summarize the main ones below:

  • You can automatically use Amazon tags as your post tags or alternatively create post tags from the Amazon product title or use neither if you like and just create your own.
  • There is an option for creating ‘pretty’ links so that your links to Amazon look like regular links and not long affiliate type links.
  • The plugin links with the All in One SEO Pack plugin so that it will automatically set your All-In-One SEO Pack post titles, meta keywords, and meta descriptions for any Amazon product posts. Y0u can turn this option on or off.
  • An update button within each post so that you can update the product details that have come over from Amazon at any time. The creator of this plugin tells me that he will be adding an automatic update feature in a future release of this plugin.
  • You can make the links to Amazon nofollow if you like.
  • This plugin will work with any theme. We use the Flexsqueeze theme for most of our sites but this will work on anything according to the creator of this plugin.
  • This works with any Amazon country affiliate program.
  • It includes widgets so you can add products to your sidebars.
  • Click Reporting which provides stats on which products are getting clicks through to Amazon.
  • You can use more than one Amazon Associate ID and if you need to you can easily change the Associate ID for the entire site.
  • It integrates with other plugins like phpOStock, phpBay, Auction2Post, and other plugins that display Overstock.com and eBay products. We haven’t tried this function as yet so we can’t advise on how it works.
  • You can search for and add Youtube video reviews from within the post itself.

This is a great plugin and we highly recommend it whether you want to add mass product posts or individual unique product reviews.

For more info click here – WP Zon Builder


Top 7 Affiliate Products We Actually Use and Recommend

Being in the internet marketing game we are always on the lookout for products to make our lives easier. This can include ebooks, themes, software programs, membership sites or WordPress plugins. With this in mind, I decided to write up a post on the products we actually use and recommend.

1. Ninja Affiliate

I love this plugin! What it does is add affiliate links automatically to keywords in your posts. You simply add your keywords and affiliate links in the backend on your WordPress dashboard and Ninja Affiliate will automatically add affiliate links to those keywords wherever they appear on your blog – for both old and new posts. So you don’t have to spend hours adding affiliate links to every blog post you write. Just add once in the dashboard and they are automatically added to both old and new posts.

You also have the option for nofollow links, and to choose how many links you want in each post. It also provides statistics so you can see how many times the links have been clicked on for each keyword. If you take a look at the links in this post, most of them apart from the internal links have been added automatically by Ninja Affiliate. I don’t have to add them every time I create a post. This saves me a heap of time.

It can also cloaks the links so that they don’t appear as long affiliate urls but instead they look like internal links.

Highly recommended!

Click to read our full review – Maxblog Ninja Affiliate Review

2. OIO Publisher

If you want to make money from advertising on your blog then this is definitely the plugin to go with. It makes the whole process sooo much easier. The initial set up is all you will need to do and once done everything is handled for you. You simply have to approve the ads with a few clicks and the ads go up automatically on your site. This is a bargain for the price as it will save you a heap of time doing it all manually.

Click to read our full review – OIO Publisher Review

3. Affiliate Organizer

We have used the Affiliate Organizer for years now. It is the one program I use on a daily basis. What this program does is store all of your user names and passwords. But that’s not all it does, it has a calender function to include upcoming events and tasks; a category to store websites including DNS settings, ftp settings, passwords etc; a section to add affiliate merchant details, a category where you can details for forums that you have signed up with and even a section to keep track of tasks you’ve outsourced. I really couldn’t live without it.

Click to read our full review – Affiliate Organizer Review

4. Flexsqueeze Theme

This would have to be my favorite theme at the moment. I know everyone raves over the Thesis theme but I much prefer the Flexsqueeze theme. It is so much easier to use and is perfect for the type of product review sites we use. It allows you to create a full page review without the sidebar displaying. So there are no distractions for the reader to click away. They stay focused on the review and click on the links in the review. The developer of this theme made it so easy to change colors, the blog width, the header and footer and pretty much anything else in the theme from fonts through to the background color so you can make the theme look completely unique with just a few clicks of your mouse.

Read More…FlexSqueeze Theme

5. aWeber

aWeber is a must have for anyone wanting to develop a email list. We have been using aWeber for a number of years now and have had no issues. Their pricing goes up with the more subscribers you get up to the maximum of $130 a month if you have 10,000 subscribers or more…but then if you have that many subscribers you should be able to easily make the money each month to cover the fee. If you can’t then you are in the wrong business.

You can create unlimited email lists, send email newsletters using their templates or your own, create autoresponders and more.

Read More…AWeber

6. The Best Spinner

I’ve never been a fan of spinning articles only because the spinners I have used in the past have been pretty pathetic in terms of creating a readable article. This one is different. It’s not called The Best Spinner for nothing – this is really a quality product and produces really well spun articles. It probably takes about half an hour to spin a 400 word article but from that one article you can get up to 100 other articles. This one is definitely a winner with me.

Read More…The Best Spinner

7. ReviewAZON

This is a great plugin for anyone wanting to promote Amazon products. We use it to a limited extent in that we only use it on blogs we aren’t currently working it. It is just a way for us to quickly get content on our blogs so that they stay active. For our reviews written from scratch we don’t use this plugin. Even so, if you want to get content up fast then it really is an excellent program. What ReviewAzon does is allow you to create product pages in minutes using the content from Amazon. You can literally create a blog full of content in just a few hours.

So there you have it, 7 products that we use regularly that we would recommend to others. What are your thoughts?

Read More… ReviewAzon

How to Write Product Reviews That Convert

Since our recent blog post detailing our November income from Amazon, we have had a number of requests from people asking us to provide more detail on what we did to actually achieve that amount of money.  So I started to write up a blog post for it last week but it turned into a bit of an epic….I am at over 3000 words so far and I haven’t even scratched the surface.

So we’ve come to the conclusion that it really needs to be put into an ebook. However, we realise that many of you would rather not wait around while we do that and would prefer to get into it and start making money with Amazon as soon as possible. So we have put together this blog post to tell you how we structure our reviews for maximum conversions to help you achieve the same success.

Value First…Money Second

Now many of you who are regulars to this blog will know that I do tend to go on about providing value to your readers. With product reviews it is even more important. If you want to convert your visitors into sales you need to provide as much information as possible to help them make an informed decision as to whether the product you are promoting is the right one for them.

People want to be told what to buy and most don’t want to do the research themselves so they love it when they see a page of content that concisely puts together everything they need to know about that product.

So here are the steps we use for creating quality product reviews that convert. Bear in mind, that at this point we assume you already have a product in mind for review.

Step 1: List the features of the product

The first thing we do with any product we review is to list the features and functions of the product. So say for instance we are going to review the iPod Touch (my favorite toy at the moment) – these would be at least some of the features/functions:

  • on/off button
  • sound control button
  • earphones
  • colors available
  • technical specifications
  • password protection
  • battery life
  • apps store
  • watching videos
  • using the internet
  • touch screen control
  • using email
  • itunes
  • listening to music
  • clock/alarm function
  • settings
  • Google maps
  • calendar function
  • contacts function
  • notes function
  • photos

Try to be as detailed as possible when you are writing up the list, even if it seems trivial. Remember that when buying online, a person can’t physically hold the product so detail is important.

Step 2: Add Content

Now take each of the features/functions in your list, create a heading for each and write a paragraph or two about it. This is where your research comes into play. Remember that you don’t need to own the product to write a good review (although it helps) but you really need to research, research, research. This means scouring the net to see what other people have to say about each of those features. The best place for this is Amazon and in particular the reviews left by real people who actually use the product.

It can also mean contacting the manufacturer for more detailed information.

At this point, you may be thinking that this is all going to take time and just seems a little like hard work….BUT, just remember that you only have to write the review once and it could potentially make you money for years to come.

When writing this sort of content you don’t want to just rehash the features and benefits that can be found on any website. You really want to get into as much detail as possible.

The trick with writing these reviews is not to write it like you are trying to sell something. To start with we wrote a lot of reviews like this and they were really not that effective. Instead we find the best way is to write the review as if  you were telling a friend about the product.

Step 3: Add Your Introduction

The goal here is to get your readers to read your entire review and the introduction is critical to that success. You could start your review off by saying “Today I am going to review the iPod Touch…but that’s kind of boring. Instead try using a real life story.

For instance I might write something like: ” When Wanda and I were in the US attending a conference, we happened upon the Apple Store in New York. If you’ve ever been there you’ll know what an experience that is, but we happened to be there the day after the iPhone was released to the world, actually we were on a hop on hop off tourist bus and when the guide pointed out the iPod store – we hopped off.”

I would then go on to say how great I thought the iPhone was but since I didn’t want to buy into a phone plan I waited and eventually ended up buying an iPod Touch instead. That would then lead me straight into the review.

You’d have to agree that it sounds a little more interesting than simply saying “Today we are going to review the iPod Touch”.

Step 4: Add Your Affiliate Links

The final step is to add affiliate links. This simply means finding about three or four spots in your review to add a link. We generally add the first link in the second or third paragraph of our content. So for our iPod Touch review we might add an Amazon link when the phrase ‘iPod Touch’ first appears in the second paragraph.

The second link may appear somewhere around the middle and the third right at the end of the review. This final link would be part of a sentence that tells the reader where they can purchase the product. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  1. Provide a list of merchants who sell the product so that the reader can do their own price comparison. Note that you wouldn’t actually add the prices here as they can change and you would be forever updating the page – just list the merchant names and a link to each.
  2. Provide one link to one merchant – we always use Amazon as they generally have the best prices.

Although we do use both options, we tend to go with the second option more often as Amazon convert extremely well for us.

Some final tips…

  • Although you want to be completely honest with your review, you don’t want to focus too heavily on the negatives….after all, your goal is to make sales. To avoid this, try and choose products that get excellent ratings so you don’t have to worry about the negatives.
  • Don’t ever make things up. In other words, don’t say the product is good when it clearly isn’t. Your goal is to get your readers to trust your opinion. And don’t say you have the product if you don’t. Your readers will pick up on this sort of thing and you will lose their trust.

And finally…

One thing to remember is that a majority of the reviews on the net are of poor quality and lack the detail that most people look for in a good review. Just try and add as much value as you can to your reviews and you will be streets ahead of the rest of them.