When you’re trying to grow your email list to launch a new product, grow your brand reach, or increase sales, that’s when marketers throw their many “quick fix” list building ideas at you. Something you should know about Beckmann Collaborative and how we offer consulting work is that we support any magical “overnight success” expectations. It happens sometimes, but the reality is that it takes a lot of work and testing to get there.
This is the second part of a 3-part series about email list building strategies. You can read the first post about designing a powerful sign-up or opt-in form here. In this series, I’m providing the best practices rather than the specific tools because if you know what you need from a software tool, then you don’t need me to tell you which one to choose.
This post looks at the types of content tools and tactics you can use to attract more people to your website and interest them enough to get that wonderful qualified opt-in. Why do I say “qualified opt-in”? Frankly, you shouldn’t waste your time trying to sell your product or service to everyone. Not everyone needs what you are selling, so approach selling being clear about who your ideal customer is and the language they use.
1. Relevant Offer & Clarity of Language
What’s in it for me? Why should I sign up for your newsletter or download your special checklist? You know who your ideal customer is, so make sure that what you are offering is something of interest to him or her. Step into her shoes and ask yourself if this offer is valuable. It’s easier said than done, so read the techniques from the customer research post to wrap your mind around who that person is and what they want.
To take this a step further, I recommend you to consider the clarity in your language and the vision or transformation of an outcome for the ideal customer. There’s a big difference between these two descriptions:
a. “Get the Marketing Plan Template”
b. “Apply this marketing plan to your business and start using the strategies today.”
2. Competitor Research
What tools are your competitors using to gain opt-ins? Some will use bonus giveaways while others use whitepapers, videos, or special reports. Putting yourself in the mindset of that ideal customer again, which of those methodologies are most appealing to you? And what is it about that offering that you like? The more specific you can be the better, so opt-in to your competitor’s email lists to get some insights. You can figure out which tools use and narrow the scope of both your offering and any software needed for it to work.
3. Publish Awesome Content with Extra Materials
Imagine your last blog post – the one you thought was great because people were commenting on it and sharing it with friends on social media. What made it so awesome? First, pinpoint your magic sauce for blog or article content, and then think about how you can take it to the next level. If you had included bonus material, what would make the most sense or be most-useful to your reader? The right (qualified) people will fill out a form with their email address to get that content. And if it’s high-quality content, then they have an increased possibility of wanting your product or service.
Here are a few ideas…
4. Leverage Social Media
The hardest part of getting people opted-in is telling the world you have a website in the first place. In this world of content chaos and 24-hour information cycles where people feel inundated, it is very hard to cut through the clutter. However, it is likely that you’ve been working on your social media presence and you may have an audience reading your posts on a regular basis. Leverage that little bit of power and direct people to your website.
This can be as simple as writing the first few lines of your blog/resource as the post, then cutting it off with “Read More” and linking to the blog / sign-up page itself. I also like the very meta approach of writing about what you just wrote about. For example, I like to publish blog posts and then write an article on LinkedIn about how I wrote that blog post and my lessons learned. Then I link back to the original post. It’s transparent, insightful, and fun to read. The best part is that the approach resonates with my ideal customers.
*Use social media as a listening tool too*
5. Spread the Love
If you’re a great writer who really enjoys the process of writing and publishing, then this next idea may be difficult for you. Guest posts and recurring guest bloggers are a very easy way to take work off of your plate and attract new people to your website. Find someone who is offering a complimentary service or product and talk to him or her about their ideal customer. If you see that there is a crossover between your goals, then you may have just developed the smartest marketing tool yet – a partnership. When another person is willing to promote your blog/website to their followers on social media and email, then you get to reach a whole new audience. And if you are already publishing awesome content and offering ways to opt-in, then this is a no-brainer.
The other approach is to simply re-share or re-post on third-party platforms. I eluded to this idea with the LinkedIn articles, but you can also share your content on multiple platforms. Some are called social bookmarking sites and a few popular spots include Stumbleupon, Digg, Tumblr, Suggy, Reddit, and Folkd. If you would rather republish your content, then consider using Medium, SteemIt, or Huffington Post. And there’s a pretty good article from the folks at OnPage called Republishing, a Practical Guide.