You know, I figured that it was about dang time I wrote a blog post dedicated to the whole list building thing. I’m always babbling about how important growing your e-mail list is if you want to have a profitable online business and I’ve shared strategies for list building in my webinars (like this one), but I haven’t actually laid it all out in a blog post!
So buckle your bedazzled seatbelt, because we’re heading into … the list building zone.
(Sorry, I’m off to an extra corny start apparently!) Ehem. But first things first … why the heck do you even NEED an e-mail list? Well ... here's why:
- Your e-mails are the ONE direct connection that you have control over with your audience. The rules and algorithms for social media platforms are always changing, right? You could put all of your eggs into the Facebook basket and then Facebook could kick the bucket tomorrow. (Not likely, but still!)
- Your audience is way more likely to see your e-mail than your social media post. You probably already know how distracting that social media can be when it comes to all of the endless notifications, plus many platforms choose which posts are the most “important” for you to see. But your email? It will be patiently sitting in the inbox, just waiting to be opened!
- They’re personal. Even if you’re writing to a list of 15,000 people, you can (and should) make it feel as though you’re talking to just ONE person. E-mails are a wonderful opportunity to connect with your audience and build a relationship with them, which is where the whole trust thing starts to develop. (And having a relationship + trust is rather essential for most people before they want to purchase from you!)
- More opportunity to be awesome and sell. Because of the reasons listed above, sending value-filled e-mails can be great for making sales. They give you the opportunity to be extra helpful, extra personal and extra awesome!
So … take it from someone who ignored growing her own e-mail list for 2 years but has now turned her blog into a full-time business over the course of the last year; you need to focus on building your e-mail list.
I would not have been able to make enough income to go full-time without it.
Alright, so I think we’ve established that you really need one, yeah? (Please be nodding yes!) Perfect. So now let’s get into the whole e-mail list growing part!
Are you ready to get down to business? Without further ado, here are the 7 strategies I use to get around 3,000 new e-mail subscribers each month:
1. Build a strong foundation first.
Everything I’m going to list below would not have been (and continue to be) nearly as effective if I had ignored building a strong foundation first. Your foundation is all about prepping your website for getting the RIGHT kind of traffic, and then actually getting more traffic. After all, if you’re not getting enough traffic to your site, then you’re not gonna have very many people there to sign up for your list. Are ya with me?
To build your strong foundation FIRST, check out these 2 posts (in order):
Okay. Have you built a strong foundation yet? Because I'm a total broken record when it comes to having a strong foundation in place first. So ... you have one, yes? Exceeeellent!
2. Have content upgrades, and lots of’em.
Ah yes, content upgrades. Those delightful little pieces of bonus content that you offer within a blog post in exchange for someone’s e-mail address! I don’t mean offering just one or two, I mean offering as many as humanly possible to go with your blog posts (even if it’s just something simple like a checklist or a PDF version of your blog post.) Focus on creating as many as you can, baby! The more the merrier.
I've got tons of content upgrades throughout my website (we're talking all over, baby!), and my stock photos content upgrade alone has gotten me over 1,200 subscribers in the last few months ...
Oh! And don’t forget to make your content upgrade directly related to the purpose of your blog post! Your content upgrade should make sense by enhancing the blog post, not just be some random thing that you stick in for the sake of having a content upgrade.
Oh! (Just one more thing.) If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of content upgrades that you need to make, simply start with your most popular blog posts first. Go to Google Analytics to see what your top 5 most popular blog posts are and then create stellar goodies for those. Totally doable, right? Right!
3. Include obvious and accessible opt-ins all over.
If you look at my website, you’ll notice that it’s chalk full of opt-ins with strong call to actions! Like ... everywhere. Why, even the main homepage header itself is a juicy opt-in! And guess what? Pretty much every other link and button leads to even MORE opt-ins. It's like ... a path of never-ending opt-ins.
Now brace yourself because this may come as a shock but ... people don't want to look for your opt-ins. You need to make them both obvious and abundant, baby! (Preferably with strong, personality-filled call to actions.) Every place on your site should include at least 2 - 3 obvious places where people can opt-in for something juicy.
I go over exactly how I optimize my site for list building in this workshop that I did with Jenna Soard, so be sure to check it out if you want more ideas for your own site! it's nearly TWO HOURS of free training, and Jenna even gives some suh-weet tech trainings on how to DIY.
(yes, that face I'm making is very special. :P)
4. Use a landing page (aka "welcome mat.")
Yo ... this one worked really well for me! I created a well branded landing page for my value-filled freebie and set it as my homepage (so that it was the first thing that people saw upon arriving to my site.) For example ...
This particular landing page converted at almost 70%, which means that 70% of the people who came to my site opted onto my e-mail list! I mean ... woah.
A few things to note about that landing page (aka welcome mat):
- It's well branded with my brand's specific colors and fonts.
- It has a high quality, well branded photo that grabs people's attention
- It only gives people 2 options; continue onto my website or grab the free goody bag. (So no other links or buttons to distract people!)
- It tells people the benefits of opting in; they'll feel confident, have fun and make moo-lah! (All of which are nice things to have and feel, right?)
- It has a strong call to action (aka "CTA"): "Grab your free webinar goodies!" Enticing, eh? I mean ... who doesn't want free goodies?!
5. Do webinars and joint venture webinars.
I used to be against doing webinars (aka live workshops) for a long time. I was terrified at the idea of broadcasting live, pee-your-pants scared of trying to sell anything, dumbfounded by the tech and nervous that no one would bother showing up. Gahhhh!
But I kept hearing about how amazing they were for a bazillion things (like list building), so I got over my excuses and did one. And oh baby, have they grown my list like a mint plant on steroids! (Mint plants grow really fast, incase you were wondering.) :P The proof is in the pudding (chocolate flavored, of course):
Not only are webinars great for growing your online business much faster, they're also really freak'in super duper fun! :D If you want help getting started with webinars, I've got a free crash course for creative entrepreneurs which you're welcome to enroll in below.
Doing any sort of webinar will help you with your list building (yes, even if you're starting from zero!) Remember, we all start from zero. However, doing JV webinars will grow your list even faster because you will be getting in front of an entirely new audience. Two people promoting to two separate email lists and audiences = more new subscribers for you.
6. Promote your awesome free stuff more than your awesome paid stuff.
Do you have some nifty paid stuff that you offer? Cool! But you know what's even better than promoting your paid stuff? Promoting your free stuff. Because as awesome as your paid content might be, most people aren't going to want to jump the gun and buy from you right away. (As nice as that would be!)
Why? Because people need to develop a relationship with you first. They need to like you, trust you and know that you can provide them with actual value. :::starts getting all riled up::: There's a lot of fluff and filler in this world and sleazy people who just want to take your money! :::pounds desk passionately::: Ehem.
For example, I created a free course called the Strong Brand Mini Course and I even created a colorful "sales" page for it (even though it's free!) You can bet your brightly colored buttons that I promote the shiz out of this free mini course by sending people to the course landing page. (See what I did there?) ;-)
This particular freebie got me over 1,200 new e-mail subscribers in the first month. SO my dear friend, I implore you: promote your awesome free stuff more than your paid stuff.
7. Do an epic giveaway!
Want yet another way to grow your list even faster? Why, of course you do! (Sorry, I can be a bit presumptuous sometimes.) Assuming that you do, then doing an epic giveaway is a great way to build your list.
Better yet, invite other people in your industry (who have the same audience) to partner up and do the giveaway with you! A couple months ago I teamed up with several creative women to give away a bunch of goodies and we got over 1,200 new subscribers during that 2 week period. For example ...
Plus, giveaways are just plain fun. (Now I suddenly have the strong urge to go throw colorful confetti all over the place! ... Which ... I'm sure would be really fun to clean up later. Doh!)
So if your list growth is feeling rather stagnant (like mine was for 2 years!) then you should definitely give these 7 strategies a try. (While of course making sure that you do step number ONE first!) Yes, I sound like a broken record when it comes to building a strong foundation. #sorrynotsorry #whoinventedhashtagsanyway #whyamiusingthemhere #ineedhelp
What's your favorite list building strategy? Did I miss one of your favorites?
And now ... it's time to get a work-out in even though I'd much rather binge watch Mad Men while eating mint chip ice cream (just being honest.)