While the average citizen may not be able to explain the definition of an “autoresponder,” why it’s important to be “above the fold,” or how the money’s in the list, let’s not fool ourselves, everyone and their mother instinctively knows why you want them to “enter their name and email in the box below.” And it’s not because you’re feeling charitable.

No Spam Source: flickr.com/photos/socialmediamarketinglinkedmedia

Email marketing has become quite commonplace, and it’s often done in a very amateur fashion. End result – more prospective readers tuning your emails out when they hit your inbox (if not just unsubscribing right off the bat). No opens, no reads, no sales…end of story.

Today I want to talk about a clever positioning strategy for turning this internet marketing woe upside down.

Problem #1: Your Optin is an Obstacle

Many variables, from boring subject lines to poorly targeted lists, contribute to unopened emails. But the number one problem marketers face is that the optin is an obstacle.

Think about that for a moment. A prospect knows they want your free report (or whatever you’re offering). Of that there is no question. But they hesitate for a moment before signing up. Why? Because they are trading permission to be nagged in order to get it.

They don’t want to be nagged. And in the end, whether they allow it depends on the value of your not-so-free offer and whether they think you’ll abuse the privelige.

Changing Paradigms: Make Your Optin the Bait

Want to change this perspective? How about making the optin the bait instead?

Don’t offer something in exchange for being on the list. Make being on your list your free offer. Can you see how this changes things? Instead of putting up with your emails, people actively look for them, perhaps even digging through the spam folder to find them if they don’t show up.

Now that’s a strategy for making your voice heard.

Creating Emails People Crave

So how do you create an email list that sells on its own merit?

First off, figure out what your audience wants more than anything else. Don’t make a half-effort by giving them something else they might want – go straight for the jugular.

Then ask them to optin so you can send them a 10-step course (the number of steps is irrelevant), a “report” broken up into a series, or a newsletter that teaches them what they want to know.

The idea is to format your valuable giveaway in such a manner that it is given in increments, step by step, so it becomes your autoresponder sequence.

Can you see how wonderfully that works?

Monetizing Your List When Your List is the Prize

Now, you’re likely resisting this idea because, after all, if you solve their number one problem or confront their greatest fear for free, what use will they have for you after that?

Good question. And unfortunately, it’s not one I can answer for you.

But this is what makes you an entrepreneur – your creativity and ambition. Expand or branch out. Or keep giving away free knowledge and linking related products for affiliate commissions where needed.

Don’t flatter yourself: everything you say will not automatically stick in your reader’s brain and change their life forever, no matter how valuable the info. This is why authors often repackage the same info in different books over and over again. It’s a model you can learn from.

Most of all, challenge yourself! The more you learn about something, the more you’ll have to say on the subject, and as you grow, you’ll have plenty to offer your rabidly-addicted audience.