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Whether you have ten email subscribers or ten thousand, you will not step up from any plateau you’ve been stuck at until you grasp the importance of capturing and retaining subscribers. You need to start building your subscriber list now, even if you don’t yet have an offer to present.If you habitually neglect your list, or haven’t even started building it yet, you are most likely making one of these common mistakes:
- You think that it’s not yet time to build your list because you don’t have a product to push
- You think you’re not important enough to attract a lot of subscribers
- You’re just plain afraid to start.
What you need to know about others with large lists is that they aren’t better than you, or more important than you or more charismatic than you. They’ve just actively taken the same list building steps you can start taking today.
I can’t emphasize this enough: The time to start building your list is now — not a week before you want to launch a package or program. Not “after” you’ve become famous or visible. In fact, that won’t happen until you start paying serious attention to building your list of email subscribers.
An email list isn’t a list full of people you bug; it’s a list full of people who are your fans. It’s a list full of people who believe in you; who look to you for answers and solutions; and repeat buyers who are already 50% or more committed to buying products, books or package deals you put out. It’s a list full of people who support you, like you and are happy to tell others about you and your wonderful solutions.
They are your single biggest business asset and sales tool.
Step 1: Build Your Community
The most common mistake people make when list building is in thinking it’s all about selling.
It is not. Let me stress that again. Successful list building is not at all about selling. You may present offers, but what you are presenting all the time are solutions. You are providing friendship, support, encouragement, mentoring — and selling is only a small part of that.
It’s all about the connection.
Here’s how it typically works. Your ideal reader searches for a solution to a problem. They come across a post by you, a resource you’ve put out or sees your Facebook ad.
They sign up to get your solution… and in very rare cases, they might sign up to stay in touch, if you’ve wowed them with your importance to their life.
If you haven’t yet created a list, they might find a post by you that helps them but if you don’t have some way and incentive for them to sign up, they will quickly forget you and will probably not find you again.
Not providing a sign-up opportunity with every appearance on the internet is the number one (and most easily remedied) mistake people make that prevents them from growing their lists.
Make sure that every place your ideal visitor encounters you, you provide a reason to join your list and a way to do so.
Most of the time, a visitor will find you because of:
- An inspirational image quote you provided
- A tip you’ve shared in a Facebook group or on Twitter
- A post you’ve shared (written by someone else)
- An informational post you wrote
- The joke or cartoon you shared
- The story on your website in your About section
- Stumbling across you by accident
If that’s all there is, readers may share your image quote or bookmark the cool article you wrote — but then they will QUICKLY FORGET YOU.
You’ve shared a great introduction, now you need to build that relationship by giving visitors a good reason to continue to turn to you for:
- Tools and Resources
- Comfort and encouragement
Here’s the real reason people follow other people: It’s all about trust. Building a successful, active email list is about connecting and helping (not selling). And, above all, delivering. Delivering on promises, delivering on help.
You don’t just need to be the person to know, but also the person who knows who ELSE your ideal subscriber should know. So don’t just think in terms of making connections with those you want to serve. Connect and keep the conversation going with influencers and people YOU want to know, as well.
Step 2: Take Care of Basic ‘Set and Forget’ Strategies
Mistake number two involves going all out on one or two list building strategies… before taking care of the absolute, ground zero basics of list building.
Have you created, set up or installed all of the following? If not (if there’s even one of these basics that you’ve missed), go do them right now.
- A professional autoresponder subscription
- Your landing page and opt-in box
- Your website popup opt-in
- Your sign up incentive
- A basic email series for those who sign up
- Your Facebook page signup tab
- Your Twitter pinned post
- Your digital signature
- Your author bio/resource box
A Professional Autoresponder Subscription
All three of these autoresponder services are excellent (ConvertKit is my favorite)… but MailChimp allows you to start out with a free account until you reach 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
Other services like LeadPages or Infusionsoft include autoresponders, but be sure to create your main list within a separate autoresponder subscription that has professional features such as templates and web forms you can customize.
Your autoresponder service should also have the ability to:
- Export or import lists
- Split lists into segments
- Provide you with pricing options as your list grows
Your Landing Page and Opt-In Box
Many people make the mistake of putting their web form for sign ups on their Home Page or in the sidebar of their WordPress site. Sure, it’s good to have a sign up in your side bar for those who drop in by accident — but for everyone else, make sure you have a separate, dedicated, focused landing page. (If you must use your Home page as your landing page, make sure it looks and behaves like a landing page!)
Your Website Popup Opt-In
Many people effectively display sign up forms on landing pages with a popup that offers an immediate, irresistible incentive, like this one on Coach Glue’s List Building Through Webinars page:
(This is a perfect example of how to get an immediate sign up BEFORE someone even visits the page they want to access!)
Your Sign Up Incentive
In the Coach Glue screenshot above, notice that the sign up incentive is a really powerful one — 17 free forms that all coaches need.
Notice how easy Coach Glue makes it to get those free forms. All you have to do is provide your email address and click the “Get My New Client Kit Now” button.
A Basic Email Series for Those Who Sign Up
You can write these email messages in Notepad or Word. All you need is six or seven short emails. Your autoresponder will take care of:
- A thank you email for signing up, telling them how to get their download, how to contact you and how often they can expect to hear from you
- An email set to be sent two or three days later, asking if they’ve had time to download their gift and reminding them how to contact you if they are having any problems or want to ask a question
- Five emails containing helpful things that might interest them, such as:
- Short survey (no more than five questions)
- Link to your post or another person’s post they might find helpful
- News they’ll find highly relevant or important
- Personal story
- Another free resource
- Your next offer (paid or free)
While all of these emails should be highly interesting in themselves, make sure they also contain a call to action: a suggestion that they take an action such as “download your tip sheet” or “read the full article”.
Space them about a week apart, give or take a day or two. You neither want to bombard them with emails or let them forget you. Try to make the intervals as natural as possible. (Think of what you would find the most helpful.)
It might seem a little intimidating at first to create a full series to upload and writing regularly, but do things one step (or email) at a time. By the time you’ve uploaded your first email series, you’ll automatically start looking for things you can share with your subscribers — things they’ll find interesting, helpful and cool.
Your Facebook Page Sign Up Tab
There’s no excuse not to create this — Facebook will keep prompting you to do so, if you haven’t already. All you need to do is enter the link to your best landing page (the one with your most compelling incentive).
For example, when you click on the link in Desiree Wolfe’s Facebook Page, it doesn’t take you to her home page. Instead, it takes you to a dedicated landing page with a sign up incentive and box:
Your Facebook page sign up tab doesn’t have to say just “Sign Up”. You can kick it up a notch by giving it a specific message such as “Learn More” or “Get Your Guide”.
Your Twitter Pinned Post
This is another neglected yet incredibly simple list building essential. All you need to do is click on the three little dots under your favorite post to get a drop down menu, then select “Pin to your profile page”.
The next time someone clicks on your Twitter profile, the first thing they will see is your pinned tweet sending them to your sign up incentive. (Writing coach Shelley Hitz is one of the few coaches who fully takes advantage of this strategy.)
Creating a pinned post is so easy to do!
Your Digital Signature
Here’s another often neglected basic: adding a sign up link, call to action or other social connection links in your signature.
This would be the signature you put in your email autoresponder, as well as the signatures you set up for private forums. (If you want to put links in the latter, be sure to check each forum’s individual guidelines first.)
Follow these email signature tips:
- Don’t throw everything plus the kitchen sink into your email signature. Think about the specific action you want them to take next and be selective.
- Include an image or graphic: your head shot or logo will help brand your business as your subscribers get used to seeing it every time.
- Don’t make your email signature sound like a business corporation. Keep it personal. Speak to your ideal subscriber’s biggest need.
Here’s a particularly effective signature from Fit Small Business’ selection of 25 signature examples:
Check out the article and decide for yourself which signature examples speak to you and which don’t.
Your Author Bio/Resource Box
The final basic item in this list is your author bio/resource box. Even though these are rarely used nowadays, you should have one ready with a link to your ideal landing page, for when you write guest posts or upload an article to an article directory.
Here’s a perfect example from affiliate marketing expert, Rosalind Gardner:
If you are trying to brand yourself, a profile head shot photo is a sensible image choice but in this case Rosalind Gardner wants to generate interest in her book, so she includes a 3D image of her book (which increases her credibility).
When you write your own resource box, try to keep it to three sentences, speak to your ideal subscriber and finish with a call to action.
One final essential: get used to using images and color to make your content stand out and stick in people’s minds.
Should you use images in your email marketing? There’s no one definitive answer, but generally, yes. People always have the option of receiving their messages in Text Only and a recent impromptu survey revealed that more people think that Text Only messages mean that the sender is lazy or doesn’t care rather than thinking the sender is being considerate about bandwidth.
People typically receive email messages nowadays with images disabled, and they have to make a choice to view the images, like this:
So including images in HTML emails isn’t even an issue any more.
Images are eye-catchers. You can use free sites like Canva to create the occasional image quote to put in your emails. If you are emailing about your books, include images of your books. Put your book image in your Facebook and Twitter cover photos. (Be sure to use Twitter daily if you have written a book. That’s the best place to promote it.)
Step 3: Perfect Your Pitch
What is a Landing Page (aka squeeze page)?
It’s simply a page that is focused on inspiring the visitor to take a single, specific action such as:
- Sign up for your email list
- Sign up for a free webinar
- Get a free resource such as a report, cheat sheet or template
- Subscribe to your newsletter
- Watch your latest tutorial or video on a specific topic
A strong landing page doesn’t contain anything except your message and your call to action (plus any supporting images or videos, of course). “Landing” is such a passive word, it is misleading. Landing pages are actually all about impact and action.
It does NOT contain more than one link, tabs or anchor text taking people to other pages.
The following is the best way to make sure you have a strong landing page:
- Include a powerful headline
- Identify their problem
- Promise a solution
- Tell visitors what to do to get item (take the quiz, download the book, grab your cheat sheet)
- Put the call to action in a highly noticeable form or button
Here is business strategist Miki Strong’s landing page:
The only clickable link on it is her “Take the Business Archetype Quiz” button. In spite of the fact she showcases notable places where she has appeared, none of these are clickable (they are there for social proof only).
She identifies the problem (Lost in a crowd?) and hints she can provide a solution (Create Distinction).
In this case, her landing page does lead to her Home page but it is a true landing page in that it focuses on capturing the attention of her ideal subscriber and on getting that ideal subscriber to take the action she specified — taking the quiz.
The real secret? She promises a solution RIGHT NOW. (Take the quiz and get an instant answer as to what business archetype you are.)
Also, if you can reference the process that can get them from A to Z, so much the better.
- Be specific
- Promise SIMPLICITY and an INSTANT RESULT — how it will make their lives better NOW
Another secret to powerful landing pages: Make them easy to find. If people Google your name, your landing page should be one of the first results to come up.
You achieve this by using the right domain name, either using your own name (if you are planning to do what Miki Strong does and use your home page as your landing page) or use a domain name that contains your landing page’s promise and topic.
Finally, do make sure that whatever gift or incentive you are offering is top quality, relevant, valuable and the most irresistible gift you can offer (even if it’s only a tip sheet).
It’s all about creating the right incentive for the right person at the right time!
Designing Your Perfect, Powerful Landing Page
So how do you create a gorgeous, professionally designed landing page?
You can either hire a web designer and if you do, make sure it is one that understands marketing, not just design or you can subscribe to LeadPages.
LeadPages is drag-and-drop simple, provides an easy-to-use dashboard and hundreds of beautifully designed, powerful templates. They have everything from simple landing pages to video sales pages that can be instantly customized.
Step 4: Daily List Building Activities
Another simple action you can take and a commitment you can make right now is to realize that growing your list should be your DAILY priority.
List building is not something you do once (though there are certain tasks you only need to do once, like creating a Pinned Tweet with a call to action in it). List building is a PROCESS… a daily process.
Get into the habit of asking “What will I do to grow my list today?”
Make a list of actions you could take:
- Writing a new broadcast email (one not connected to a series)
- Writing a new email series
- Writing an email mini course for your subscribers
- Creating and sharing a landing page for your new mini course
- Posting a Facebook Live video
- Changing your Pinned Tweet
- Updating your profile photo in all your platforms
- Writing an article
- Creating a survey
Whether it’s a five-minute action or it takes up a full afternoon, do something every day to actively nurture, feed and grow your list and keep in touch with your fans.
Build time for doing this into your daily schedule! Even if you write only three priorities per day in your To Do list, make one of them involve feeding and nurturing your people.
Follow influencers and share their posts. Take their surveys and answer their questions. Take time to nurture them too, so they will get to know you and be receptive when you finally decide to ask one to do an interview with you or be your Joint Venture partner.
Get into the habit of looking for news and resources for your people, training your radar to always have an ear on their needs, complaints, problems and wishes.
Share yourself. Put yourself out there in ways that will resonate with them. Remember, if you feel too “safe”, chances are you’re not really connecting — you’re putting on a front, a fake image. Instead you need to be real and be wherever they are.
Give your subscribers, customers and clients shout outs. Blog about their achievements or congratulate them on social media. Ask questions they would find important and would want you to provide answers or solutions for.http://virtually-done.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=3363&action=edit
Don’t forget to use the insights and analytics on your social sites to see which posts gain the most action and then boost those posts or monetize them.
Step 5: Revamp Your Affiliate Program
Another online business owners often make is not creating an affiliate program and not celebrating affiliates. Even if you have no interest in running a huge affiliate program, you can still sell your products on networks like ClickBank and JVZoo that manage affiliates for you.
Affiliates will come to your site looking for resources they can use. That gives you the perfect chance to wow them and make them really want to work with you and share news about your products and programs.
Don’t ignore affiliates. Create powerful resources. Hold contests. Build a relationship with your affiliates. Reward affiliates and give well-deserved shout outs.
Step 6: JV Partnerships
JV partnerships provide a powerful way to instantly make use of an established partner’s list to grow your own. But here’s the thing no one usually tells you — when it comes to landing influential JV partners, list size DOES matter.
You probably shouldn’t even think of asking a top influencer for a partnership if your list consists of less than 5,000 subscribers. However, there are workarounds to this so you can get to that stage.
Start by asking people one step ahead of you with a similar list to partner with you or provide your chosen expert with the EXACT gift or product she needs for her subscribers.
One of the most effective ways to do this is through Giveaways. Sometimes your favorite influencer will actually ask for people who want to participate in a Giveaway, wanting you to donate a gift. This is your chance to jump in with your best (and most relevant) product. Check the terms of the Giveaway — whether or not the hostess wants to charge you a fee to participate and if she will let you ask people to sign up in order to get your gift.
Find out the deadline for delivery of the gift and deliver it on time.
Afterwards, thank your hostess for allowing you to participate in the Giveaway.
If you have a strongly professional presence (a nicely-designed website, LeadPages landing pages, etc.) consider creating a Giveaway yourself. Note that you will need to be highly organized and keep good records of who promised what, when it was delivered, contact information, special requests and so forth.
Down the road, plan to contact your successful Giveaway contributors and invite them to guest in a Summit, where each one presents a webinar, podcast or video on a specific aspect of the Summit’s main topic. This gives both you and your participants many opportunities to expand your reach (and sell recordings).
Step 7: Finding Your Perfect List Building Mix
Our last step is all about finding your perfect list building mix of strategies. You need to use more than one strategy and choose the right strategies at the right time for list growth.
You need to take care of two areas:
- The Essentials
- Daily list building activities
- Your “Set and Forget” basics such as landing pages
- A knock-off-their-socks HIGH VALUE gift that is NEEDED NOW
- Mix and Match Strategies
- YouTube videos (with links to sign up)
- SlideShare presentations (with links to sign up)
- Guest Interviews (blog, podcast, webinar)
- Gifts for Influencers
- Facebook Groups
Whatever mix you choose, remember to actively do at least one thing to grow your list daily while using tactics that feel the most natural and fun for you. After all, if you don’t enjoy nurturing the relationship with your subscribers and helping them succeed, they’re not going to enjoy hanging out with you. You need to take actions and use strategies that make you feel empowered and fulfilled.
You need to nurture and feed your list EVERY DAY.
What you’ve read in this post can save you months of wasted time and help you tackle list building one step at a time. Yes, it’s probably going to feel more like a chore at first, as you invest in time in these new habits. It will be a while before your mix really catches on, but do take active steps every day to build and nurture your list and you will be surprised at the growth you do see.
There is nothing like seeing new subscribers sign up in response to your efforts to encourage and inspire you even more. So start today.
You can do it… and your people are waiting! 🙂
What are some of the ways that you add subscribers to your list? What email marketing provider do you use and why? Be sure to share your comments below.
Hi and welcome to Virtually Done. I’m Leslie and it’s a pleasure to meet you! If you are an online entrepreneur or small business owner struggling to find enough time in your day to concentrate on the tasks you are passionate about, I can help you!
If you would like to learn more, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you!