Since I’ve been a W.F (Warrior Forum) member, I’ve seen countless threads where a person who has already spent a great deal of time and money building an email list, asks the questions… “How can I get my emails opened?” “Why is my email list unresponsive?” “How do I provide value?” “How can I build trust?” “How can I make more sales to my list?” And although I’m not attempting to answer all these questions in this article, I do want to address something that I feel a lot of people overlook from the beginning of their email marketing campaigns. Let me ask you this: How many high quality reports have you downloaded in exchange for your email address? I’m talking “high quality” here. How many free reports have you actually read all the way through? How many have you read past the first 5 – 10 pages? How many have you implemented? Taken action with? And most Importantly… How many of those marketers do you end up buying from? How many of their emails do you open? Do you remember them? If so, do you remember them for the right reasons? So the question is… Is it smart to spend your precious time and money driving traffic to a report most people are not going to read, or take action with? Judging by all the reports I’ve downloaded over the years, Most free reports given away on squeeze pages are rubbish. If your subscriber doesn’t read, or take action with the information you give to them, they’d be very hard pressed to place any significance on whatever you send thereafter. Most likely they’ll forget you, unsubscribe, or delegate your emails to the spam folder (which is what I do) We can justify people not taking action with our information because most people don’t take action. But I would argue that we as marketers are partly responsible for delivering our content in such a way that eliminates the sticking points most people may face when looking to take action with our content in the first place. We MUST address this in all of our products, whether it’s a paid product or a free report. Both are important regardless. People in the MMO (make money online) market have an “average” email open rate of 10%. Fact is. It’s just foolish to expect to build a relationship with someone who hasn’t got a memorable first impression of you. Makes sense, right? You may be thinking right now, This is basic stuff. And it is. All the more reason to ignore it though, isn’t it? Big mistake. So… How much of a high quality report are you giving away on your squeeze page? Will it stand apart from the dozens of free reports your subscriber has downloaded over the past couple of days? Will it solve their problem? Will they take action with it? Have you provided the motivation inside the report for them to put it to use? Will it be memorable? Will you be memorable as the author? Will the links inside the report be clicked? Will your report establish you as an expert? And so on… First Point Of Contact: Since this is your first point of contact with your new subscriber, wouldn’t it make sense for that report to be of the highest quality? I was in the WSO section earlier today and opted in for a free video that was supposed to show me how to generate an extra 500 – 1000 leads a day. I watched the video – and it was bloody awful. Misleading actually. What did I do? I unsubscribed immediately. That’s how important the first point of contact is with your new subscriber. Remember, first impressions are very important. This may seem like a lot of work to create such a high quality report. But it’s easy. Nobody said your report has to take you weeks to create in order for it to be valuable. Nobody said your report has to be 50 – 100 pages long either. A 15 – 20 page, short, to the point report that solves “one” specific problem, is all you need. Most of the reports people don’t take action with are the long ones anyway. If you want your subscriber to take action with your report, you should make it short (not always applicable) It should address “one” specific problem. It must be read in one sitting – and it must address the “reasons” they need to take action with it. Get this right, and I guarantee you’ll generate higher value subscribers that becomes easier to build relationships with. Which in turn will lead to more sales. Low quality report = low quality subscriber Average quality report = average quality subscriber High quality report = highest quality subscriber you can get from a free report It just makes sense. By no means does this mean you can sit back and generate cash on demand from your list. That’s just the free report we’re talking about. Don’t get me started on squeeze pages and why I ditched the run of the mill “single page” squeeze page everyone else is using. Fact is. People are insulated to all nonsense. They’re seeing the same sales pages, advertisements and squeeze pages everywhere they look, and they’re skeptical. Most people only opt in on a “one page” squeeze page for the report. They have no interest in the email messages that follow. And why would they? We’re all on many lists. (the quality of your traffic and the uniqueness of your offer obviously plays a part here too though) You could spend the next year building an email list with a 10% open rate and very few sales, or you can get it right from the very beginning. You MUST set the expectations beforehand. You either do that before they opt-in by giving away quality information on the actual squeeze page itself, or when they read your report. Any time after that and you run the risk of losing them forever. What a waste of your time and money. There’s still a lot of work to do after the opt-in and free report, but everything gets that much more difficult if you ignore the “first impression” Just a thought.