You have an email system, you’ve put up a form or two…..so what now? How do you build your email list?!
There are a whole lot of articles out there telling you how build your list. But, it’s worth taking a moment to think about what kind of list you’re trying to build. I don’t want just any emails. I want subscribers who want and need the information I’m sharing, who are looking for the content I’m creating and will be thrilled to discover my products! So I don’t just want an email list, I need a relationship management tool.
My email list needs to attract my ideal reader, build a relationship founded on providing serious value and develop a conversation. And that strategy requires more than a handful of templates and a link to my latest blog post! Let’s dive into the 10 steps to build an engaged, excited email list!
How hard are you making your subscribers work to get on your list? Like water, people follow the path of least resistance so it is vital that your opt in is front and center! You can include your sign up form in your:
- Side bar
- Above your header (like Hello Bar)
- Scroll box
- Pop up
- Bottom of your posts
- Embedded in your posts
- Above the fold of your home page
- Social media
High Value Lead Magnet
Lead magnets are a foundational strategy for building your email list. At its most basic, you are offering your audience something of value in exchange for signing up on your email list. It is smart to offer a range of opt ins and content upgrades that are relevant to your audience. At the same time, I’d recommend having one or two exceptionally high value lead magnets that you offer on your homepage and promote across your channels that focus on the things you like to talk about most. What do you want to be known for?
Not sure if your lead magnet is offering enough value? If it’s not converting at 2% or higher, it shouldn’t be on your homepage.
Leverage Existing Content
That high value opt in? It may be the foundation of your list building, but it shouldn’t be the only access point. Think of your email list like a relationship interstate – you’re going to build a number of on ramps to make it as accessible as possible for your readers! But since we believe in blogging smarter, not harder, leverage your existing content instead of trying to brainstorm all new material for your content upgrades and lead magnets!
- Put a series of blog posts on one topic together as an ebook
- Make a simple PDF outlining the key information in a blog post
- Plan a challenge in your Facebook group or on your page to encourage your readers as they implement tips you’ve given them in your most popular content
You have these awesome lead magnets, now let’s get them in the hands of the readers who want & need them! People are drowning in information, so how do you highlight what you have to offer?
Landing pages. You’ve seen these everywhere. I use them for both my lead magnets and my affiliates. It’s a way of focusing your readers’ attention. When you give them a single call to action, you can get specific and targeted with the benefits and urgency.
Landing pages can be built on WordPress, Squarespace or with external services like Instapages, Leadpages or Thrive Landing Pages. My favorite option for my wordpress sites are these gorgeous templates from BluChic.
Tip: Build excitement with your button. If your button says something like “subscribe” or “sign up” then it time to re-evaluate your perspective! Every step of the process should be focused on the benefit to your reader – like “download to end the time management struggle!”
Lead Magnet Promotion
You’ve created an awesome lead magnet that fits perfectly with your audience’s wants and needs. There are opt ins in all the smart places on your blog. But, now what?
Now it’s time to promote that opt in! How else are new audience members going to discover your awesome work? Let’s take a look at the promotion strategies that should be part of your plan.
The basics first – your opt in should be embedded in a strongly SEO’d blog post with the keywords your audience is using to ask the question your lead magnet answers.
Creating a Twitter card means that your opt in displays with a prominent image – which helps to stand out from the crowd. I use Social Warfare to easily square away my Open Graph Tags and Twitter Cards.
How much time and effort to allocate to Pinterest is a question for another post, but at the very least, you should be sharing your blog posts and opt in landing pages on Pinterest with attractive images and relevant key words.
Groups are a key way to promote your opt-in on Facebook – but there is more available real estate! Consider your cover & profile photos, profile descriptions and anywhere else that Facebook lets you customize text or include a link.
On your Facebook page, your call to action button paired with a cover photo appealing to your lead magnet’s topic pull visitors in right away.
One of my favorite strategies for promoting lead magnets is to do a series of guest posts for websites with an overlapping audience on a topic related to my lead magnet. This is one more way that the right reader can find you when you offer value!
When you have a lead magnet that is performing well with a consistent conversion rate, it’s a good candidate for paid promotion. Facebooks and Pinterest’s promoted pins are both excellent options for targeted advertising.
Facebook Group Promotion
Sharing your opt in with relevant Facebook groups is an incredibly way to get in front of your ideal reader – but use this promotion strategy carefully. It doesn’t mean to spam every group you’re a member of with your links. It doesn’t mean to comment on every slightly related question with your link. Participate in share threads where it is appropriate and show up for your audience as a resource in whatever groups they are in.
Reina Pomeroy is the master of what she calls “social glue” – all of those connections and relationships that turn your social media & industry visibility into fans who market you because they love what you do! Why is social glue so powerful? Because a recommendation from someone you’ve worked with or who knows about your work is a more powerful statement than your own advertising. It’s why testimonials are all over TV commercials & infomercials & sales pages.
Are you using the power of social proof to fuel your email list growth? If not, take a minute to reach out to your readers and ask – how has this information helped you?
Broaden Your Network
To grow your list you need to put fresh eyes on your content. Broadening your network drives that growth in a natural, organic way. Set aside time in your week to concentrate on connecting with other influencers, bloggers, brands and voices that speak to your audience or complementary audiences.
Here’s the secret to networking productively: make it about what you can do for them. How can you share their latest offer with your network? Do they have a program or content that would resonate with your community? Are they looking for podcast guests, guest posts, to be interviewed or do joint videos to a new audience?
Set a goal to connect with 1-5 people a week directly who have a complementary topic or audience that connects with your lead magnets.
As your audience and network grow, you’ll find cheerleaders. These are the people who share your content, comment in your group or consistently engage on your social media. You might find them among your readers or in your mastermind group.
Invite them to be a part of your story. Tell them you need their help to share your lead magnet. Recruit them to be part of your team! When I launch a new Facebook group, I also find some cheerleaders.. I might thank them with Starbucks gift cards, credit towards my programs or services if they already use them or reciprocate if they are another business owner. They take the pressure off me to drive natural conversation. It takes a village to grow a blog – fill yours with people who cheer you on!
Make Email A Priority
This might sound silly after all the previous advice, but it needs to be said. Your email is important content. It deserves the same planning, edits and care that your blog posts and social media content receive. Intentional email strategy shows! A growing list means engaged readers who stick around in addition to new subscribers.
Without a bit of planning, if you’re rushing to dash off an email today because you always send on Thursdays, then your message is likely a little muddy. With some care, your email can be one more personal layer in a cohesive message that is supported by your blog content and social media posts. When I’m planning out my emails, I know what want/need I’m addressing, the call to action I’ll make and what action I want my email to inspire in my reader.