Step by step guild to build your list from zero
- Establish yourself as a trusted expert. People search online for information and will look to you, as a subject matter expert, to provide it to them. Every week (or whatever schedule works) provides an opportunity to build on this, while reinforcing your brand.
- Build a relationship with the people on your list. It’s common knowledge that people like to buy from people they like. By using ezines to connect with readers in their homes, you can develop a relationship of familiarity and trust. Be sure to share a little about yourself or your company in every issue, whether it is an anecdote, event, or employee spotlight.
- Keep in touch with prospects and clients. Consideration should be given to eventually developing two ezines: one for prospects and one for clients, as each require different information. This is a great way to notify your readers of weekly specials or upcoming product launches, offer new articles or customer stories, and provide links (or urls) to updated FAQs, blogs and splash pages.
- Drive traffic to your website or blog. As noted in #3, remember to call attention to new blog posts or other changes to your website with links directly to those pages. Remind readers of your online newsletter archives. Promote special sales (maybe with discount coupon codes only for subscribers) with a link to the sales page. Use links to turn your ezines and newsletters into ‘silent salespersons’– driving traffic to your website and building your lists around the clock.
- Build content on your website. Make a habit to adding your ezines and newsletters to your website in an archive area. This serves a several important purposes:
- Visitors can read an issue or two to determine if your ezine will be of interest to them, which could help to increase sign-ups and potential sales.
- If you optimize your article placements, you will not only make your website ‘meatier’, but you’ll also bring new traffic from the search engines.
- Get feedback from your readers. Make it easy for you to stay in touch with prospects and customers and vice versa. Ask them to take action and comment on your articles and offers. Conduct polls and surveys. Start a ‘Letters to the Editor’ column in your ezine. Feedback allows you to fine tune your messages, target your marketing, and expand your product line. It’s also great for relationship building!
- Develop an information product. If you deliver your newsletter once a week and include two articles, at the end of a year you’ll have 104 well-researched articles in your portfolio! Pick the best-of-the-best and turn them into a bonus ebook for opting-in to your list, submit to download sites to build your list, or sell in PDF-format!
- Grow your mailing list. Let your ezine subscribers work for you. Be sure to remind your readers that it’s okay to forward your newsletter to anyone they’d like. In addition, it’s important to include sign-up instructions for those who received your ezine from viral marketing methods. A simple line titled, ‘Get Your Own Copy of XXXXXX’, with a link to your squeeze or opt-in page is all it takes!
- Gather demographic data. By offering surveys, feedback forms, and niche reports, you’ll be able to get valuable information about your prospects and customers. Learn what makes your readers tick, how to better serve them, and how to give them what they want. Make sure they become repeat customers!
- Save money! All of the above benefits of publishing an ezine are free or almost free. The small cost of a top-rated ezine publishing system is nothing compared to the cost of brochures, business cards, advertising, direct mail, pay-per-click or other means of promotion. Not only that, but someone has to manage that production! Because your newsletter is delivered online, you can grow your list to be as large as you want without worrying about the expense. Bottom line − it’s proven that email marketing is the most cost-effective marketing solution for companies just like yours!
Email marketing can be profitable for any business, no matter what kind of product or service you offer. It is significantly cheaper than other advertising methods and, if done right, helps build loyalty and trust with customers. As a result, you generate more sales and more profits!
The foundation for successful email marketing is a targeted, permission-based email list. Marketers call contact lists their ‘goldmine’ because it can generate much of their sales revenue. If you’ve built up a list of opt-in subscribers that are qualified and interested in what you have to offer, then you’ve completed the first step and are on your way. Now it’s time to ‘mine’ for gold!
Below you’ll find several list-building and retention ideas that will help you get the best results from all your email marketing activities:
- Provide useful, relevant content. Your visitors will not give you their email addresses just because they can subscribe to your newsletter free of charge. You have to provide unique and valuable information that will be of interest or use to them.
- Add a subscription form to every page on your website. Make sure it stands out so it is easy to find. If it doesn’t look cluttered, you may want to include more than one on some pages. For instance, if your opt-in form always appears in the top-left corner of your site, you may want to add one at the end of your most popular articles.
- Add subscription forms to your social media pages. Make sure that you don’t waste this valuable source of revenue opportunities. Integrate your sign-up forms with Facebook and more!
- Provide samples of your newsletters and Ezines. This lets potential subscribers review your materials before they sign up to determine if it’s something they’d be interested in.
- Archive past newsletters and articles. An online library of past newsletters and articles is both appealing and useful to visitors and builds your credibility as an authority. In addition, if your articles are written with good SEO techniques in mind, they can increase traffic to your website through enhanced search engine positioning.
- Give gifts subscribers can actually use. Offer an opt-in bonus for joining your subscriber list! Write an ebook or provide a PDF business report, or even hire a programmer to create downloadable or web-based software. But don’t limit yourself to offering gifts to opt-ins. Give them out when your readers fill out a survey, provide a testimonial, success story, or a great product idea. Let them know when they can expect the next gift offer. Everyone likes to get something for free! And if you pass out ‘goodies’ throughout the year, your subscribers will feel truly appreciated − and that’s good for business!
- Ask your subscribers to pass it on. Word of mouth is a powerful viral technique that works great with email marketing. If your subscribers find your content interesting, amusing or informative, they’ll probably share it with their friends. This can be a great source of new customers, so make sure to remind them to ‘pass it on’.
- Let others reprint your newsletter as long as the content is not modified. If you’re happy to share your content with the universe, then why not! Many webmasters and newsletter publishers are actively looking for high-quality content and, if they reprint your newsletter, you’ll get new subscribers, and more traffic and links pointing to your site.
- Include a ‘Sign Up’ button in your newsletter. If you’re using plain text instead of HTML, be sure to provide a text link to your subscription page. You may feel that this is not required because the subscriber is already on your list, but remember that readers will forward your newsletters to others, or reprint them online. Make it easy for them to subscribe!
- Add a squeeze page. A squeeze page has one goal − to acquire opt-ins and build your list. Think of it as a mini-sales letter to go along with your subscription or opt-in gift. It should feature a strong headline and a couple of powerful benefits that should make subscribers salivate to sign up! Once created, use a service such as WordTracker to find hundreds of targeted keywords, and promote your offer using pay-per-click advertising from Google, MSN and Yahoo. Now that should make a splash!
- Include testimonials on your squeeze page. This is crucial. Put one or two strong testimonials from satisfied customers on your squeeze page. This can be in any format, but you may find that multimedia (audio or video) is more ‘believable’ and inspires more people to action. To further enhance believability, get permission to use actual customer names, locations and/or urls (Don’t use ‘Bob K, FL’). Add a note inviting others to participate. After all, it’s free publicity!
- Blog religiously. Blogging is a great way to communicate with prospects and potential customers, and creates a nice synergy with your email marketing. Be sure to include your newsletter sign-up form on each page of your blog. You can start a free blog at Blogger or WordPress.
- Post on other blogs. Post thoughtful comments and information on similar blogs with a link to your squeeze or opt-in pages. Also comment on others’ blogs through trackbacks. In most cases, your comments will be posted on their blogs with a link back to your site. This is an easy way to generate new traffic and subscribers, and get your brand out there!