Buying websites can feel like a lot of work. You’ve been here before. You have multiple tabs open, pages and pages of spreadsheets and an almost endless list of questions.

When you first began buying websites you felt like you had everything under control. However, now that you’ve gotten deeper into the process, your confidence has slowly been withered away. This is a familiar point that a lot of us find ourselves in. So, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re trying to find the perfect website to invest in. After all, there are so many choices, an essentially infinite amount of niches and new offers springing up every single day. The website buying process can be intense and even draining, especially if you’re not an expert. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce this feeling of overwhelm and maybe even give you a fresh perspective to continue your search.

At the very least this will give you a better idea of what to look for. Instead of being seduced by new offers, you’ll be able to find the gems that stand apart from the rest. We’ll do our best to help expose an element of research that usually goes overlooked.

Unlocking A Website’s Hidden Value

Every website that’s for sale on the marketplace has some sort of value, that’s why you’re buying a website! For some people this might mean a way for them to channel their passion, or a way to make enough money to quit their day job. It might even mean a way to make some quick cash to pay rent for the next couple of months.

Whatever the reason, some websites will hold more value than others. Even though our value spectrums and priorities are different, one thing remains the same: the process for growing a business online. Because of this, there are going to be some factors that make a website exponentially more valuable than the next one.

The internet is so fast, money can be made and business can be done in virtually any area you can think of. No matter the niche the website is in.

The Hidden Element

Sure, a website can have tens or even hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors, but this means nothing if those visitors aren’t engaged with the site. It’s better to have a small engaged audience than a large unresponsive one. The need to build a small tribe around your offering and business grows by the day.

It shouldn’t be huge numbers you seek, but instead engaged fans. We won’t go into the power of engagement and fan building here, just know that it’s crucial to your success.

If you’re looking to build a business, it’s important to recognize the power of email marketing over other forms of marketing. What’s more effective: selling to a random group of users who either could or couldn’t care about your offering, or speaking to a group of people who have given you permission to talk to them?

I’d choose the latter every time.

When you’re browsing the listings, make sure you look for websites that are including their email list with the sale of the website. That way, when you buy a website you automatically have a group of customers (or even fans).

Not All Email Lists Are Created Equal

It might be tempting to buy a website that has the largest email list, but this might not always be the smartest move. This goes back to our earlier point: just because a email list is large doesn’t mean the group is responsive. An unresponsive list is almost as bad as not having an email list to begin with.

Sure, you can attempt to resurrect a dead email list, but it’s probably not worth your time. In that case, it would be easier to simply build an email list from scratch.

When you’re priming your website list based upon having an email list, you’ll want to refine that list down even further if you can. If the stats of the email list aren’t listed on the auction page see if you can request that information from the site owner.

Some important figures are the open rate, unsubscribe rate and the frequency of new subscribers. Before you disqualify a potential website due to its low email open rate, make sure you check the industry standard open rates. Some niches simply have higher or lower email open rates than others. Websites in the online business and marketing niches usually have a lower open rate, as users are used to getting marketed to, so emails are opened less frequently.

Once you’ve found a website or two that have a thriving email list, and satisfy all your other website requirements, you’re just about as good as gold.

Understanding False Value Triggers

It’s easy to get pulled in by websites that seem too good to be true. The same goes for when you’re targeting listings that include an email list. Sometimes, websites will buy email lists and market to them until the list is essentially dead. I’m not saying this to scare you, but simply to keep your wits about you when making a business investment.

Do your research and trust your gut when making a purchase decision. There’s always the option of trying to hop on Skype with the website owner before you buy. Usually, you’ll be able to tell if buying the website is a good idea or not based upon that interaction.

Isn’t Buying An Email List Bad For Business?

Some people equate buying a website with an email list the same as buying an email list outright. However, the two are very different beasts. When you purchase a website with an active email list you’re essentially buying a audience. You’ve assumed the responsibility of serving these people and improving their lives.

Essentially, you’ve been granted permission to enhance these readers’ lives. By taking over the reigns of the website, your goal is to bring as much value to the table as possible. If you have the right intentions, your newly acquired email list is probably happy to be hearing from you.

On the other hand, buying an email list is an old internet marketing tactic that screams 1999. Basically, no one does it anymore.

It doesn’t work.

When you buy an email list you’re essentially sending spam email to thousands of inboxes. Besides, damaging your reputation, you could even get banned from your email service provider.

Buying a website with a subscriber base isn’t the same as buying a sourced email list.

You’ve Got An Email List: Now What?

You have a website with active email subscribers, congratulations. You’re already head of most people when they start a new online venture. Now, you need to nurture this relationship and continue to grow your influence. The main ways to do this are to always send value-laden emails and employ several list building strategies.

1. Write Emails That Get Opened

It might be tempting to try to sell your products and services to your email list right away. However, I’d advise against this. Since you’re a new voice in these readers’ inboxes, you’ll want to spend some time deepening this relationship.

You can do this by providing value in every single email you send. Answer your readers’ questions. Create free guides. Respond to their comments. Address their needs in any way you can.

Although it may seem like a lot of work in the beginning, it will be worth it. You’re building customers and readers for life, not simply, a one-off exchange.

2. Use List Building Strategies

As you’re building engagement with your current list, you’ll want to ensure you’re maximizing your ability to grow your subscriber base. The main ways to do this are to:

  1. Increase the prominence of your website opt-ins
  2. Optimize your copy to directly target your ideal readers
  3. Showcase benefits of your offering
  4. Use incentives (if necessary)

It used to be enough to simply add a “Subscribe Here!” button to your sidebar, but those days are long gone. If you can create an incentive that targets a unique problem your users are facing and offer that in exchange for their email address, you’ll see a big increase in your number of subscribers.

At the end of the day, it’s not all about numbers, it’s about engagement. Why not have the best of both worlds? It’s possible to have a large, engaged list. It’ll just require some more work on your part. You can do it by serving your current subscribers day in and day out, while attracting new visitors to your website who love what you’re offering.

Remember, by targeting websites with active email lists you’ll be able to not only narrow your search, but give yourself a head start in growing your newfound business.

Photo credit.