In my first year as a “real marketer” I sent over 500 emails.
It was my first job after graduating from Arizona State University and I got the job title of “Direct Response Marketing Specialist”. Which was a fancy way of saying I managed email deploys.
As part of my duties, I had to forecast the return on investment of EVERY email campaign BEFORE we even deployed it. This way, we could decide if it was worth sending or not.
Almost every time we performed our forecast, we found there was a positive ROI.
Just eight years later, in 2016, email was found to be the most effective online marketing tactic by leading marketing reports.
In fact, for each dollar spent, email has an average ROI of $38 or more! Pretty impressive, huh?
So, when people say “there is power in your email list”… believe them.
Today I’m going to give you a step-by-step plan to building a powerful email list filled with your ideal customer’s email addresses. Hell yes!
STEP 1. OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR EMAIL CONVERSIONS
Here are the essentials you need to have on your website for email list building.
Website Optimization Hack 1: Feature Opt-In
You definitely need to have an Opt-In on the Homepage. When someone visits this page, you want to make sure they have an opportunity to subscribe so they can stay in the loop. Make it stupid simple for every visitor to sign up to be a part of your list.
The best practice is to have it at the top of your website in the feature box header.
Having your opt-in on every page will make it even simpler for visitors, because they don’t have to go back to the home page to sign up. Remember, people like convenience.
Website Optimization Hack 2: Add Opt-Ins To Your Blog Posts
Another essential for your website is opt-ins on your blog posts. People come to your blog to learn and be entertained. This makes it the perfect place for those who’d like to continue learning from you and get to know you more. Don’t let them miss out on this opportunity! These opt-ins can be embedded within your blog post as content upgrades…more info on that further in the blog post.
Your followers will need to be reminded at least 7 times to opt-in to your email list. Reminding them this many times is going to make you feel like a broken record but, don’t worry, your followers won’t feel this way. Another great place to promote your email is at the bottom of your blog post, before the comment section.
High traffic pages? Yes, please! Those forms on your pages with the highest traffic – what a perfect way to capture those email addresses!
So, how do you find this information? On your Google Analytics page. It’s simple.
- Go to your Google Analytics account.
- Select a Date Range of 6 Months or 12 Months (if your blog or website has been running this long)
- Next, click on the “Behavior” Tab on the left hand side of your screen.
- Then, click on “Site Content”.
- After the “Site Content” Section expands, click on “All Pages”
- Now the data you see populating into the main section of Google Analytics will feature your highest traffic pages. Bam! There you have it! Easy peasy, right?
Before you add an opt-in to this page, make sure you have a super fab offer that people need to opt-in for. Remember, it’s all about adding value…value…and more value! Give them a reason to say YES!
Other things to note: If you’re in dream-up or start-up phase, you may not have a website yet. Don’t you worry! You can use tools like Leadpages or Clickfunnels to get your email list growing. If you’re wondering how this is done, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll walk you through it.
STEP 2. DETERMINE YOUR CONTENT
You’ve got to keep two things in mind at all times when creating content.
What are those two things?
Your customer and your products & services.
There are so many people vying for your customer’s attention. You’ve got to create content that provides value to their life in some way. It needs to educate, inspire, or entertain. Put yourself in your client’s shoes.
Let’s create a visual tool that will help you through this process. Take a moment and draw three circles like above. Label one circle “My Ideal Customer”. Label the second “My Products & Services”, and label the third circle “Me”. In the middle, where all of the circles overlap, we’ll call it “My Content Sweet Spot”.
Next to the “My Ideal Customer” circle, start listing off questions you think they may ask. What do they want to know? What are their frustrations? What makes them laugh? What would help make their life easier and more enjoyable?
Now, next to the “My Products & Services” circle, start listing off things your customer needs to be educated on in regards to your product/service. For example, if you were an interior designer you may write out:
- Bathroom Design Trends
- Kitchen Design Trends
- 2017 Color Trends
As an interior designer, topics like this directly correlate with your design services. Make sense?
After you’ve jotted down a few content ideas for your customer + products/services, it’s time to list out your “Me” content. Think about:
- Things that you LOVE. For example, if you are obsessed with “salsa” and your friends/family buy it for you when they see a new one with cool flavors or branding… put this on your “Me” list!
- Consider things that you do daily for your job that you could incorporate into your content. For example, if you are currently renovating the bathroom at your own house… put this on your “Me” list!
Remember: Your customer has problems and you are here to deliver solutions. So ask yourself – “What do I need to teach my customer in order for them to see that?”:
They have a problem or a need.
I have a solution.
Keep things personal. Tell stories. YOU are what differentiates your brand from the other brands they could choose from. There is no other YOU.
Psssttt…. Did you see my free Content Marketing 101 training video yet? In the training, I show you how to quickly research content using three tools: Quora, Pinterest and BuzzSumo.
STEP 3: CREATE CONTENT UPGRADES TO GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST
Content upgrades are commonly referred to as “opt-in incentives” or “freebies” as well. These freebies entice people to share their email address with you and add incredible value to the customer experience.
Now that you know the content you need to create, it’s time to create content upgrades and add them to your website. This benefits YOU and YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER. They are getting great content that provides extra value and you are getting their email address is exchange so it’s a win-win!
There are a lot of content pieces you could use as opt-in incentives.
For example, you could offer access to a private Facebook group, ebooks, worksheets, checklists, podcasts, step-by-step tutorials… There are so many possibilities!
Get creative and think of ways to get more value into your customer’s hands.
Here is a list of even more fantastic ideas for opt-in incentives.
Also feel free to peruse my blog posts that include opt-in incentives as inspiration:
- 8 Proven Ways To Increase Engagement On Your Social Media
- 4 Pinterest Updates That Will Quickly Increase Your Following
- How To Rock On Social Media In An Hour A Day
- 9 Things You Need To Do To Every Email Before You Hit Send
Here’s an example of a Leadbox in action on my website:
STEP 4: DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE
Once you have opt-in forms, content, and content upgrades on your website it’s time to drive TRAFFIC!
The goal here is to drive TRAFFIC to your content and get them to CONVERT on one of your forms (or LeadBoxes).
Here are some of the best ways to drive traffic to your website:
- Organic Search (i.e. Google, Yahoo, Bing)
- Social Media
- Facebook Ads
- Referral Traffic (i.e. other people linking to your content)
- PR (Get on news outlets and other people’s podcasts, Facebook Lives and blogs.)
STEP 5: BE CONSISTENT
I cannot stress this enough! Consistency really is key to your success.
If you don’t show up, people will forget about you.
Overwhelmed with all of the content you need to create? Try batching, scheduling and repurposing your content.
I recently wrote an article about repurposing your content, that you can access here.
STEP 6: SEND EMAILS PEOPLE LOVE GETTING IN THEIR INBOX EACH WEEK
People get SO many emails and SO many junk emails. Don’t be the person that sends junk mail.
Remember to add value, offer solutions to their problems and frustrations, entertain and inspire. Share personal stories that may resonate.
If you connect and relate to your customers, they will keep coming back for more!
Let’s quickly recap ways you can grow your email list from when starting from nada.
- Optimize your website for email conversions. Make sure to have opt-ins in prime places such as the homepage, blog posts, and high traffic pages.
- Determine your content. Create content with your customer in mind and your products/services. Ask yourself what you need to teach your customer in order for them to see that they have a problem or a need and you have the solution.
- Create content upgrades to grow your email list. This is the “freebie” you are going to offer that adds even more value so you can collect their email address.
- Drive traffic to your site through social media, Facebook Ads, SEO and PR opportunities.
- Be consistent. Consistency is pretty much the key to success in anything in life and growing an email list is definitely one of these times.
- Send emails that are of value to your customer and keep the sales pitch to a minimum. Always add value to each and every email you send out knowing if they don’t purchase immediately, they will in the future as long as you continue to show up and give give give!