Giveaways – Now and Then

As I’ve mentioned before I tried building a list using Giveaways back in 2010. At the time I was advised to use PLR products or ones that had Master Resell Rights, and not to pay to upgrade until I had about 50 people on my list.

This year I’m trying again and I’ve turned the above advice on its head.

I’ve written my own book to offer as a giveaway and I’ve started to pay for one or two upgrades. This means I can list more than one product and can also set up ads and special offers.

So, has it made a difference?

In 2010 I tried Giveaways for nearly two months, taking part in five events. This year I’ve been involved in nine Giveaways in just over three weeks. Five of them are still running and there are more starting in the next few weeks. (There’s definitely more being run than two years ago, which we can take as a testament to their effectiveness in list building.)

Below you can see part of a screenshot from my Aweber account where this year’s giveaway list is in blue, just above my 2010 list.

Equal subscriber results

Since I’ve equalled the results I had two years ago in less than half the time it seems this year’s tactics are the ones to go with.

If you’re involved in or thinking of taking part in Giveaways I hope this little insight has been useful.


An Unexpected Problem Solved

Having mentioned the anti spam plugin Spam Free WordPress in an earlier post I have had to change it.

Earlier today I suddenly discovered that on each of my post pages the box for leaving a reply to the post was at the top right of the page instead of below the post. Even worse the incorrectly located box was overlaid by the image of my ebook. The whole thing looked a mess.

Initially I had no idea what was going on and almost slipped into the panic that most non-techy blog owners would be likely to fall into. However there is an alternative, better approach.

First you have to deduce what could have caused the problem. You do that by identifying if anything about the blog has changed recently. The only change I had recently made was to upgrade each of the three plugins on the blog. By deactivating each one in turn I found the problem disappeared when the anti spam plugin was deactivated.

To double check that the upgrade was the problem I then deleted and reloaded the plugin. The problem persisted.

You often have to use some logical detective work like this when there is a problem.

One of the great things about WordPress is the depth of resources there are for it. Most plugins have alternatives and considering how important it is to stop spam comments that’s just as well.

A quick look through the alternatives and the old plugin was replaced with Spam Destroyer. Hopefully it will prove a good choice and perform without a glitch. If it doesn’t I’ll let you know.

The List Building Process

Offering a free product is an accepted way to build a list. Your prospects get a free ebook, report, membership or video in exchange for their contact details. Since this is the main way I’m currently trying to build my list I thought I’d show you the process I’ve set up.

You can see the process starts with driving traffic to a squeeze page. Currently I’m using Giveaway events to drive most of the traffic.

The squeeze page is based around an opt-in form where people can enter their name and email address. They will receive access to the free book once they have confirmed their opt-in.

Once they have entered these details they are sent to a stop page. Essentially this just tells the prospect to look for a confirmation email in their inbox.

The confirmation email reminds them of my offer and informs them that I also intend to send them helpful, informative emails after they have downloaded the free ebook. There is a link in the confirmation email that enables them to confirm they really do want receive the ebook and join my list.

It is possible they will decide not to confirm and join my list, but that also means they will not receive the link to the free ebook. Since this is what attracted their attention in the first place hopefully only a few prospects will not confirm.

Having joined my list they then receive an email with a link to the ebook download page. Now they are on my list they will also receive further emails from me via an autoresponder.

That’s the basic process. Of course there is room for improvement. For example, I could offer more than one ebook or include another offer on the download page. However that’s for later. For now I’m just sticking to basics and building my list.

A Quick Round Up

A quick round up of the progress made in the last 7 days. I now have 8 people on my list, including one not yet confirmed. There was also one person who unsubscribed as soon as they downloaded the free ebook.

This week I improved the webinar notes as per my target and I’ve also done some blog commenting to start building links to this site.

So, slowly but surely progressing. Unfortunately upcoming commitments mean I’ll have less time available next week so there’ll be a short pause but hopefully the break means I’ll come back and start making some real progress.

Steps I Took Before My First Post

Before I even wrote my first post for this blog there were several decisions and choices to be made. If you’ve not started your own blog yet or wonder what plugins to use I’m hoping this may be of some help.

The first decision was to use a self hosted WordPress site. WordPress because it’s easy to use and has lots of features that can be added; self hosted because it gives me more control and reliability. If you’re building a site on your own domain it cannot be taken away from you without warning.

The next decision was which theme to use. Ones I have used in the past now look a bit cluttered to me or are not what I wanted.

I had two criteria for the theme. Firstly I wanted to get momentum and didn’t want to spend a lot of time deciding on the theme when I could have been working on content or traffic generation. Secondly I was looking for a ‘clean’ theme. I took an hour to chose the Origin theme.

However I wanted to make some changes to the basic layout (for example the size of the header image) and did not find making the changes intuitive. In fact I almost went back to an old theme I had used before, but persevered and have kept it.

The basic message here is don’t waste a lot of time on the theme. Get on and remember you can always change it later.

Next I decided which plugins to use. This was based on my own blogging experience and recommendations some internet marketers had made on their own blogs.

I decided on the following basic plugins: The All in One SEO Pack to help make my content more Search Engine friendly; BackupBuddy to backup my blog related files and content so if any thing should happen to the site I will be able to restore it, and Spam Free WordPress which blocks spam comments.

That was all. I plan to revisit plugins at a later date and add others, especially when the blog is getting more visitors. Again notice I was wanting to get on, not spend a lot of time on this.

One last thing I did to set up the blog was to go into the Settings Menu and change the permalinks setting. The default is not very helpful as it produces page URLs that include just a jumble of letters and numbers. To make the page url more descriptive and seo friendly select the ‘post name’ format instead. If you’re reading this post on its own page you’ll see that the URL above gives you an idea about the page’s content.

At this point I was ready to start writing. Before I wrote my first post I put together something for the About page. If you’re not known online you need to start building recognition and trust and this is just a small but important step in that direction. Again I didn’t want to spend too long on this and was aware that I could rewrite and update it later.

Finally I wrote my first blog post. In fact take a look in the comments for that post and you’ll see I overlooked giving it a Category such was my focus on getting things started quickly.

Since then apart from adding post Categories I’ve only made two further changes, both related to the blog actually getting visitors. One was to set up a Gravitar so I would have my image beside any post comment replies, and the other was to add a means of tracking visitors, but that’s a topic for another post.

I hope this was helpful. If you’ve set up a blog let me know how you did it differently, and let me know if you think focussing on getting started quickly was the right way to go.

My progress so far

I’m happy to say I achieved my targets from last week. In fact you could say I went a bit mad on the first. I’ve actually joined ten Giveaway Events as a contributor in an attempt to start building my list.

The first has just finished and I now have a list of two! It would be three but the third person has not confirmed they want to be on my list. This is just a consequence of Aweber’s insistence on using double opt-ins and it’s something you have to accept. Not everyone who signs up is going to confirm.

I’m not expecting great results from the start. In fact I’m treating the first few events as an opportunity to gather information: which contributors do well in these events, the type of product that seems popular, and so on.

I’ve also reached my second target which was to have a first draft of a WSO sales page. I did this by looking around the WSO forum for offers similar to mine and looking at the structure of the sales copy. My draft needs more work, but that’s why I’ve started at this time. I like to leave the copy a while then go back to it with fresh eyes; so the sales copy is a task I’ll be returning to again.

When setting this weeks targets I realised I have fallen behind in the training I should be doing. Recently I’ve been on some webinars where the info was coming too fast for me to take good notes so target 1 is to take better notes from the webinar recordings.

My second target is to promote the remaining nine Giveaway Events I’m in with the aim of getting more than two new subscribers per event!

Maybe not the most exciting of targets but training and list building are essential if you want to make money online.

As before I’ll post my progress (and the number on my list!) next week.


Giving Giveaways Another Go

Giveaway events are where internet marketers allow prospects to download a product as a free gift (usually an ebook, a membership or software) in exchange for their contact details via an opt-in form.

The gifts are pooled together on one event site and every product contributor then recommends the Giveaway Event to their own mailing lists. Done correctly this results in lots of visitors going to the event site and lots of people joining lists.

Before you join an Event as a gift contributor you should have prepared four things.

  1. A gift to give away.
  2. A squeeze page where your prospects can opt-in.
  3. A download page where they can get your gift.
  4. At least one or two messages set up in an autoresponder for your prospects to receive once they have opted in.

I tried this back in 2010 but ran into the Catch-22 problem of not having a list or knowing other potential contributors to promote to. The gift listings in these Events can run to over ten pages and most Giveaway Events will place your gift in the earlier pages the more promotion you do.

Consequently this can be a slow-start method of list building. If you don’t already have a list and therefore no one to promote to your gift ends up in the later pages that are not always visited.

It can be a little frustrating but you have to remember that everyone started with a list of zero.

Remember, starting small will give you small results, but try to concentrate on growing daily and focus on the bigger picture. You’ll get there faster by following good advice and leveraging what you have.

If you’re interested in Giveaway Events you can find a list of upcoming events here.

If you have any comments or experience of Giveaways I’d love to hear from you.


So, My First Ever Blog Post Under My Own Name

Back in 2010 I had four blogs that I was posting on weekly under various pen names. They weren’t successful. I believe the content was good, but I just couldn’t get traffic to them.

I was in Chris Freville’s mastermind group at the time and every couple of months we’d meet up and report our progress to our peers. Many round the table that day may remember how my feedback ended up being almost a table thumping, frustrated rant at my lack of success.

So why am I starting blogging again? Because I believe that in this business you only fail when you give up, and the potential rewards are too good for me to consider stopping just yet.

Why should you be interested in reading my blog? Because despite my limited success with blogging I have had some success with ebooks. Now I believe I’m closer to finding a way to make good money online than ever before.

Why? Because I have a product that’s nearly finished after (too many ) months of development and because I am now a member of Alex Jeffrey’s Inner Circle. Alex has a knack of keeping things simple and encourages you to be accountable.

So, in the spirit of accountability, I intend to start documenting my progress on this blog. You may find it useful to see what I intend to do and whether I achieve it. My targets for this week are:

1. Participate in a Giveaway Event to start building a list.
2. Complete a first draft of a WSO sales copy.

I’ll post my progress next week and I’ll also tell you about the progress I’ve made prior to this post. I’m hoping it’ll help you think about what you should be doing and help you achieve your goals as well.

Please post your comments. I’d love to hear from people who are in a situation similar to mine and wanting to build an online business. Let’s take action.



After a number of years online I finally decided I really have got something useful to say. Building an online business is not much different from building a physical business. The cost of entry may be lower, but it still takes hard work and perseverance. In fact many of the things it takes are shown in the blocks above. I know, it’s not a great graphic, but just like those drawings the blocks don’t have to be perfect to get the job done. If you’d like some insights into building a business online take a look aroung the blog and you’ll find opinions, resources and information that will help you with your online business building journey. I hope you find them useful.