How to Build a List Basics: List Building Week
At the core of it, building a list is simple.
You give something of value in return for an email address.
But that’s only scratching the surface really.
The trick is figuring out what your readers value, delivering that, and then keeping them coming back time and again, and ultimately purchasing your products and services, or those you recommend.
If you want to know how to not only build a list, but keep your subscribers there, this post is for you.
Make Sure Your Basics Are Covered
Before we get into the ninja how to build a list tactics, let’s quickly review the basics just to be sure you’ve got them down.
- Use an email marketing service like AWeber for this, not your own. This can help increase the chances of your email actually getting delivered. And don’t use Feedburner. I know it’s free, but don’t use it.
- Give to get. In order for someone to give you their email address, you have to give them something in return. That something can take just about any form – an ebook, video course, e-course, etc. Another term for this is lead magnet.
- Always use a double opt-in. AWeber pretty much forces you to do this, but if you don’t want to be marked as spam, ensure that everyone that signs up verifies that they want what you’ve got.
- Create a custom “please check your email page.” This is another valuable touch point for your customer, and gives you another chance for them to get to know you and vice versa.
- Create a custom final confirmation page. This is where your new email subscriber will go once they are fully signed up for your list. Create a custom page for this. As with #4, it’s yet another chance for branding and messaging.
- Hit em from all sides. Use a plugin like the MaxBlogPress Subscriber Magnet for a multi-point strategy. Ana uses it, I use it; it works. I’ve found that this works even better than pop-ups in many niches.
So with that said, let’s get to the goodies!
Why only have a single site promoting your lead magnet when you can use many?
In addition to putting your email opt-in on your main site, create a squeeze page on another domain (perhaps one named the same as your lead magnet) and drive traffic there.
You can point to this site on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social media profiles you have set up.
If you’re into niche marketing, you could also link to this landing page as part of your author signature when doing article marketing.
Most sites allow two links in the author block, so make one of those the landing page. That way you can get SEO link building juice to two sites and not just one.
What’s Your Email Address Worth?
Knowing what will really convert is part art but mostly science.
Don’t just create a single ebook, create several. Then, using the web form feature of your email marketing program, create several opt-in forms and see which one gets the most conversions.
How to deliver two different products to one list? Why not just give people both. With some wordsmithing I’m sure you can pull it off.
Or you can get even more scientific with it.
Create a short survey on your site and find out what people are really looking for. There is no better way to find out what people want than to just ask. Once you know that, deliver it.
Never, Ever, Leave Them Hanging
Once some one is on your email list, don’t leave them hanging. There are many ways to structure an auto-responder sequence, but what I’ve found the most success with, across niches, is:
- 7 days of emails, back to back
- 30 days of emails, spaced 3 days apart
The longest sequence I have set up for one of my niche sites has a 7-day follow-up based on the ebook I provide, and then 3 months of emails spaced 3 days apart.
I’ve had some people unsubscribe and tell me they’ve gotten too many emails from me.
I’ve emailed people once a week and gotten the same reaction.
But one person out of hundreds does not a trend make, so take the unsubscribe feedback in context.
Regardless of how many emails you’re going to send, let your subscribers know in the very first email they get what they can expect. If they know what’s coming, they’re more likely to stay with you.
And Don’t Sell In Your Emails
The adage, “people like buying, but they hate being sold to” is psychology 101.
We want to feel in control of our actions, especially when it comes to laying out our hard earned cash.
So don’t sell in your emails.
Instead, provide valuable content, and have a few links in there to your sales page. The point of the email isn’t to sell, it’s to get that next action – a click of a link that takes them to your sales page.
Headline Crafting – Not Just For Blog Posts
Getting people to open your emails might be even slightly easier than getting people to click on your blog post links, but to give the email a fighting chance, write a compelling subject line.
No need to speak further on that.
James wrote a great guest post titled, “How To Write Titles With Teeth.” Start there and apply the lessons to your email subject lines.
Always Remember Who You’re Talking With
Don’t worry about getting huge numbers of people on your email list.
Numbers are meaningless if no one takes action when you ask.
Instead, focus on providing an overwhelming amount of value to your email subscribers.
When in doubt, give them first dibs.
I make certain offers on my website, and will many times tell my email subscribers about it first, giving them a head start. Doing things like that let’s them know they are special to me. And they are! I thank everyone for coming to my site, reading the posts, and leaving comments.
But if you are one of my subscribers, that means that you care about me too, which in turn increases my care for you.
No I didn’t just turn into a hippie – I really mean that.
Never forget that you are talking with people.
Real people with real problems looking for real help and solutions.
Yes “the money is in the list,” but don’t view your email list as money. The better you can connect and help them, the more likely they will be to take action when you ask, and become life-long customers.
What Do You Think?
What do you think of these tips and tactics? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
I’ll see you there.