Building your own email list of subscribers, customers, and fans is one of the most important things any online business can possibly do. If you are not building an email list then you are not fully utilizing the power of your own business and that's not very smart. (Some people might even call you an idiot like Derek Halpern from Social Triggers...) I remember when I first started online a few years ago I was confused on how to build a list and I wanted to show you exactly how to build and email list from scratch for your own website or blog.
Things You Need To Know Before You Get Started
So some of you guys and gals might be thinking that you should jumpstart your email list by purchasing an email list but I would not recommend this practice since I actually bought one of them when I got started and realized it was actually illegal to email people who have not opted-in to receive your emails due to the Can-Spam Act here in the USA. Be sure to check your specific country's laws before you get started but by and large most countries and anybody really will not allow you to send emails to people who have not opted-in to receive your emails if you are going to be sending a large volume of emails. That's where step 1 comes into play which is an email marketing service which basically allows you to send emails out on your behalf to hundreds of thousands of people for a low monthly fee.
Step 1: Choose The Right Email Marketing Service
I used to hate it back in college when I would ask the teacher a question and he/she would respond with the answer "Well, it depends...." and then proceed to go into a lengthy explanation that would not answer my question. When it comes to email marketing services one might ask or research "What is the best email marketing company" and I hate to be that guy but "it depends" on what you want to do and how you want to communicate with your subscribers. If you are small business and just want to send a weekly newsletter then your solution is much different from another entrepreneur who runs an e-commerce site who wants to send order confirmation emails to customers and then send them promotional emails for similar products. Another thing you have to keep in mind is that your email marketing needs may change over time as your business changes. For instance I have used GetResponse for years but now I need more features so I may have to migrate to another provider since my business have evolved from just blogging to now creating products. (new products coming soon!!!)
Step 2: Come Up With An Offer to Giveaway
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Most people are shocked when they hear that statistic. In fact it is very true if you think about your own web browsing habits and how many times you have been on some site and then never returned to the site. You probably can't even remember the website's name or url. To get people to come back to your site you have to offer some sort of value. In order for most people to join your list you will have to have some type of unique offer that you can give away to your website visitors in exchange for their email addresses. It can sometimes be called an "ethical" bribe because you are bribing the visitor to give you their email address in exchange for your free report. Now your ethical bribe can be an ebook, case study, how to guide, video series, email series, or any other downloadable file. It could be as simple as using Print Friendly
Print Friendly is a cool little site where you can turn a webpage into a pdf document but why should you care? Well it's perfect if you want to turn a blog post into a downloadable PDF for a content upgrade for your post. Also you can create a PDF checklist for a post and make that a content upgrade or maybe you have a more generic ebook that fits your audience's needs.
Step 3: Add multiple signup forms to your website
I remember the good old days of email marketing forms where you could just add a sign up form to the sidebar on your website and tons of people would sign up. Those days are long gone! These days your forms have to look flawless and you have to have a great lead magnet! Most web users today will not even look at your opt-in form if it's in the sidebar of your site. Marketers have had to become creative and come up with more ways to build their email lists thus many other forms of list signups have been created. There are now in-post sign up forms, after post forms, ribbon forms, popups, slide in forms, and content upgrades. Now you need to use a tool like Thrive Themes or Optin Monster to actually do this technically and functionally speaking but it's becoming the norm online so don't get left behind.
A good strategy would be to have a couple different lead magnets depending on what blog posts your visitors come to on your site. Hubspot is especially great at doing this on their marketing blog but they have teams of people creating content so just stick to the basic things that your audience would want when you are just starting out.
Step 4: Automating Your Follow Up Email Series
The whole point of using email marketing is that most of it is automated meaning that you don't have to do anything once it is set up and your list builds itself on autopilot. A typical email campaign after a user signs up might look something like this
- Day 0: When User Signs Up - Send Welcome Email & Introduce Yourself
- Day 1: Free Gift to Email Subscriber
- Day 2: Provide Value or Free Gift
- Day 4: Teach Subscriber More Information
- Day 7: Build Interest For Offer
- Day 8: Pitch Your Own Offer
This type of follow up campaign is possible with almost any email marketing service but you want to keep the emails personal to each subscriber. You must also remember that your subscribers will not trust you when they initially subscribe so you will want to build trust and authority before you try to sell them anything.
Obviously this is just a beginning look at the process this is more than most premium courses would tell you about how to build your own email list. It's a slow process but it's the best way to build a quality list that is engaged in your content. I would never advise you or anyone else to use "blackhat" tactics because they don't work and they will just end up hurting your website in the long run.
Over to You - what have you seen in your own email marketing efforts? I would like to hear from you in the comments below.