“The money is in the list.” If you have not heard this phrase yet then you need to take notice of it now. Growing an email list should be one of the first things you should do once you have a few posts on your blog or website and are gaining some traffic. This is because it is truly the only thing you own. You may have 1000s of followers on your social media sites but those followers belong to the social media sites. If Instagram should simply stop or go out of fashion and it has happened, remember MySpace ? then all your followers are gone forever.
In this post I am going to show you how to create and grow your email list and how you should use that list to grow your business
Your first job is to choose an autoresponder. There are many different ones on the market and the choice is yours. They pretty much all do the same thing. If you need some help then read my post on the best Autoresponders by clicking here.
Your next step is to set up your first email campaign. Now this may seem like a hard task but you have to think about the process of email marketing campaigns.
Above you will see the process that a visitor takes in getting on your email list. Now you may think that starting with the opt in form should be the first job, but you don’t want someone signing up and getting nothing back from you.
So think about the offer you have to get them to sign up. The most simple one is to receive your blog posts first. There may be a course you offer or access to some free resources you have. I will go over some ideas with you later in the post.
You need to set up the series of emails the visitor will receive once signing up. Let’s take the simple one of receiving your blog posts first. In your auto responder you will need to set up the campaign name. An easy one for this will be blog posts, but you can call it what you like as it’s for your reference. The next step will be to set up who the email is from. This should be your website name and it’s associated email address.
You will also have the option to have a double opt in. This means that they have to go to their email which will be automatically sent by your autoresponder to confirm they really want to sign up. This is recommended so you don’t get bots signing up. However I hate having to do this double opt in when I sign up to someone’s mailing list and sometimes I forget to do it. So I do break the recommendation and don’t have the double opt in applied. However the choice is yours.
Once they have signed up and double opted in they should receive their first email which you will have set up and designed. If all they have signed up for is to get new posts then the email should be a thank you email with a reminder of what they will be getting. I also send out a second email 3 days after the first which reminds them of who I am and asking them to contact me if they need any help or have suggestions for new posts they would like to see.
Remember that an email marketing campaign of any sort should be about building relationships and trust with your readers. From there on in they will be getting an email from me every time I create a new post. This is set up automatically to go out at a certain time of the day when a new post is created. You set this up by using your RSS feed. In every autoresponder you will get this option. It will ask you what your RSS feed URL is.
Finding Your RSS Feed
I could get complicated with you here and show you how to find it but it is generally your website URL followed by /feed. So mine is:
https://buildingwebsitesfordummies.com/feed Simple. Once set up it will go out to your list automatically. You can choose to send manually or automatically. If you want to customise the post with an intro then go manually but this seems like an extra job to me. I have a built in Intro to mine and I set it to go out in the early morning. I do this because once I have published a post I make changes to images and put in links and set a featured image etc. and I don’t want it to go out immediately after publishing because it may not be perfect.
This may be unique to people from Wealthy Affiliate who publish their posts from site content. I can do a lot from that platform but I prefer to make some changes in my WordPress back office. You can set it to go out immediately if you publish straight from your WordPress back office.
If you have a freebie offered remember that your first emails should reflect this and give them the offer they signed up for. You may want to have up to 10 emails set up to be sent on a regular basis. You can use triggers like 3 days after first email then 3 days after second email. Or you might want them sent out every day. You can get as creative as you like but it is always dependent on what they signed up for.
Once you have your emails set up ready to send then you need to create your opt in form. This can be made and designed in your autoresponder. They usually come in a box form of some kind. You can collect their name and email or just their email. There is a school of thought that suggests that just their email is enough. It gives people one less thing to do to sign up and they are giving less private information away. I do collect names as I like to personalise my emails but you do get a lot of x’s or just a dot! Ouch ! So I’ll leave that decision up to you !
Don’t be a salesperson with your opt in form, keep it subtle and passive.
Do not over promise, what they will get. “You would be mad not to sign up for my email course that will increase your sales x3” This will not wash and sounds totally salesy and spammy. “You can sign up to receive my email course to help you increase you sales here” is so much better.
Tell them what to expect. Taking the above example further “you can sign up to receive my 6 day email course to help you increase your sales here” The person signing up will be expecting an email every day for the next 6 days.
Try not to use the word “Subscribe” in our subconscious we associate this with a payment and something that is long term. Think of other words that are similar “join” “sign up”
Try not to use newsletters as your offer. It is very old hat and not much of a crowd pleaser. People, your competitors are offering some fabulous resources to people and you need to compete for those precious emails.
It is wise to say under your sign up form that you respect their privacy and will not use their email in any other way.
Make sure to add a thank you page which appears after they have signed up. This might direct them to confirm subscription if you have double opt in or it could contain a password to enter a private page on your website where you host the freebie you are offering. Always make sure this page tells the reader what to expect or where to go next.
Where Do You Place The Opt In?
You have lots of options and you can use a combination of several.
Above the scroll ( this is just the space the reader sees before they need to scroll down ) you could use it in the first part of your post if appropriate or at the top of the page. I use Hello bar at the top of my page, though not to collect email addresses. ( Thinking about changing it though ) Hello bar is free to use though it does have upgrades and you can design any bar you like and link it to your auto responder or wherever you like. It’s very easy to use and install.
As a specific call to action at the end of your post or even in your post at the appropriate time.
Timed Pop ups. I have tried all manner of these and in different ways. Popping up when reader hits page, sliding in from bottom right, when people have scrolled, after a certain period of time. I’m still working on it if I’m honest. Pop ups are very debatable but they do work. Always make sure it is easy to click away. Don’t make that x too hard to find….so irritating and definitely switches me off from reading.
In your side bar as a widget.
Ideas For What Will Get People To Sign Up
I have signed up for all sorts of freebies. Simple ones with just a list of resources, blog posts, email courses, video courses, free images ( read my post on best Stock Photo Websites for this one ) in fact I am amazed at how much people will give away just to get you on their email list. I have definitely done some courses that have had so much work put into them, I definitely would have sold it, if it were mine.
The niche you are in will dictate what you can use as your freebie. It would be no good me offering easy vegan recipes as an option offer or giveaway. I would definitely confuse people with that one! Think about your readers or your ideal reader avatar, what problem could you solve for them? What freebie would they find interesting? What will keep them engaged with you and your brand?
I do think that it is best to offer a freebie that includes contact with them over a period of time, like a course. If I was offering Vegan Recipes I could send them one a week for 10 weeks. This will keep me involved in their lives for at least 10 weeks.
If you offer a one off freebie make sure you also make them aware they will be getting your new posts first too. This will also keep them involved with you and your brand.
I cannot give you a definitive list of what you can offer your readers because you know them better than me. I know my readers have blogs and websites in a wide variety of niches and I can’t tell you what your readers want. What I can give you is a list of types of freebies. The creative bit is up to you.
Read Your blog posts first
List of resources
Access to expert knowledge ( something you could write a blog about but is too good to just give away )
Access to a collection of something ( maybe something they could find if they put in time and effort but you’ve done it for them )
Access to your income reports
Email coaching course
Video and workbook courses
Access to a series of podcasts
Remember that you have to start somewhere and if you are brand new to email marketing then take the first steps by choosing your autoresponder and setting up your RSS feed and putting a basic option on your site. You will get sign ups even from just this. Then start to think about your freebies or giveaways and creating them. As for your opt ins and freebies you will just have to test them out and see what works for your audience. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa.
Once you have them on your list, treat them well. They should always get your new blog posts and if you post often enough this should be enough. If you are only posting once a month then a weekly email to them will be required. This list is precious and is the building blocks of your business moving forward.
Good luck with your email marketing and don’t forget to sign up to get access to my blogs and freebies. If you have any questions or need some help you can leave me a comment below or you can use the contact me form to the right of the page.