In this first part of this series, we talked about how to start an email list and create an email opt-on.
Next, I want to give you three effective strategies to grow your list, but before you embark on these strategies, you will want your opt-in boxes and links everywhere. Here’s where you might consider adding them …
- Blog sidebar
- Blog header
- End of blog post
- Link in online storefront description (second paragraph as to not interrupt SEO)
- Facebook tab (get instructions from your email manager)
- Facebook call to action
- Instagram profile
- Share in anticipation of upcoming sale (“Sign up for an email exclusive!”)
- Send link with sales order receipt
- Use Hello Bar or similar “pop-up” apps
Here are three effective strategies to help you grow your email list.
- Pair up with the Competition.
- Scratch and Itch.
- Be Consistent.
1. Pair Up with the Competition
I have always preferred niche collaboration over competition. It’s a waste of energy to rival another business, so my feeling is, let’s work together and help each other out!
In the past, the best way to partner up with someone else in your niche was to guest post. The strategy was: I write a high-quality post for your site, and in exchange, you introduce me to your audience. If the guest poster’s article was good and the host’s audience was large, it was a win-win for everybody.
However, guest-posting is an old-school technique that’s become much less effective. It’s not the best use of your time unless you get a spot on one of the major sites in your industry. People rarely click through these days—in order to increase our productivity, we’ve learned to stop falling down that rabbit hole.
Before I move on to what does work, let me give you a tip on how to determine whether or not guest-posting is a good idea:
1. Go to Ubersuggest and enter the URL of your website to see how your site ranks. (Ubersuggest is free, but you may need to create a login)
2. Next, use Ubersuggest to search your main keywords. Scroll down to the content ideas section to see who your competition is for those keywords.
4. If you were going to offer guest posts, you would offer them to the sites who are the most popular for the keywords you want to rank for.
5. Be sure to give readers a reason to click back to your site.
Most sites will allow you to leave a link in your bio (at the end of the post), but you need more than that to get readers to click through. You either need to leave an offer somewhere within the article (such as, “click here to download my full report on the subject”) or use your website as an example in the post.
I had shared a guest post about membership site alternatives as part of course content offered by one of my colleagues in the web development industry and used my site SuperiorHiking.com as an example of a leaky paywall. It went on to become the most commented-on lesson and then the subject of a very popular podcast episode and still earns me many click-throughs today.
Host an online conference for your industry or ideal customers.
I’ve taken part in many conferences and summits like this, and you may even consider creating one yourself. Industry experts are gathered and interviewed (it involves about a one hour investment of time on everyone but the organizer’s part). Each speaker shares the conference with their list which, in turn, introduces that list to all of the other speakers at the event.
There’s also the potential to earn money by selling tickets and offering an affiliate program to all speakers involved (this helps them get a kick-back, giving them more incentive to share).
Create a gift guide
The potential for this hit me back in 2011 when one of my clients emailed her list a promotion … for other creative businesses! She sent a gift list full of all the other handmade artists she was buying that year, thereby introducing new makers to her audience. If you collaborated with a few complimentary products in the industry and agreed to share their products with your list in exchange for them sharing yours with theirs, there’s no limit to how many people you could reach!
Teach what you know
If you make a product or provide a service, don’t forget the teaching side of the business as well! A how-to book might take one person several months to create, but how fun would a niche book with a different technique from all their favourite sellers be to organize and create? Everyone would write a segment, and the person who puts it all together gets special credits and props from all contributors.
Scratch an Itch
In this strategy, you want to dismantle your ideal customer’s main problem or pain point with an actionable, easy-to-implement solution. And then give it away for free. This can be as simple as a one-page cheat sheet (a summary or informational guide to your product) or as involved as an e-book, but it’s got to be good.
If you’re selling something that doesn’t involve a whole lot of information (fashion jewelry, for example), an enticing discount on the customer’s first sale works well too. I like a 20% off your first order deal (with sign-up to email) or a $50 off a more valuable product (something that’s $200 or more).
When sellers hear “discount” or “coupon,” they think LOSS! But, that’s just not the case. Small businesses know that finding new customers is much more expensive than keeping them satisfied (through repeat business).
So if the offer cuts into your profits on that first sale a little bit, chalk it up as marketing expenses well-invested and ensure that customers will want to come back for more!
In either case, let’s be crystal clear. The offer you create is guaranteed to cost you in either time or money because you need to give potential customers a very good reason to pick you out of millions of online sellers. It’ll be worth the initial investment.
- A discount or coupon
- An informational guide your customer can use
- A list of resources, such as a “Little Black Book for Online Businesses”
- A combination of reports and popular blog articles
- A printable quote (for photographers, artists, and graphic designers)
- A desktop wallpaper
- A free tutorial or pattern
- A style guide
- An extremely useful newsletter on curated industry updates
When you stop checking views and start taking consistent action, your business will consistently attract new customers in kind.