If you’re not using email in your business… You are leaving LOTS of potential profit on the table!
What's so special about email?
To me, the answer is obvious… 2.5 billion people use email, that’s nearly a third of the world’s population. 85% of US retailers consider email marketing one of the most effective customer acquisition tactics.
So it works. But to take advantage of email marketing for your business, you have to have a list of subscribers and customers to communicate with.
In this comprehensive and easy to understand article, Aaron Orendorff shows the most effective way to build a list using 11 sign-up strategies.
Read the article and use the strategies detailed by Aaron to build a responsive list of subscribers and customers that you can market your products and services to… again and again.
Next to Buy Now, what is the most profitable click your business can target?
As Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute explains:
While larger enterprises are fighting silo battles, politics, and tearing each other apart focusing on (sometimes) meaningless metrics, small players with patience and passion are building audiences and winning.
Once you build an audience (of email subscribers), anything is possible.
The truth is that building an engaged and sizable email list is hands-down the most long-term, profit-generating investment you can make.
In fact, a McKinsey study reveals that email is a whopping 40 times more powerful at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. On top of that, the average email-based order’s dollar value is 17% higher than social media channels.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is … getting your visitors to sign up is a struggle – one that many online marketers never overcome.
That’s why I’m going to share 11 proven strategies you can start today to build your email list like crazy.
Eleven strategies might sound like a lot to implement, but Buffer’s success in doubling its email sign-ups in 30 days required at least eight strategies.
Because these strategies work best together, this post is lengthy. Don’t be intimidated. There are tons of actionable content and real-world examples all along the way.
Here’s what’s covered:
1. Carrot content
Most of this checklist focuses on the details: What types of forms, where to use them, and how to optimize each one. But all the forms in the world won’t do you a bit of good if your content isn’t compelling.
That’s where “carrot content” comes in.
Carrot content – also known as lead magnets or bribe-to-subscribe offers – provide immediate value to your subscriber. This free content could be how-to guides, reports, webinars, white papers, e-courses, or even discounts and coupons. The goal of your opt-in content is to improve your subscriber’s life by solving a problem.
In other words, focus on the payoff for your subscriber.
Of course, testing the click-worthiness of your content is the only way to find out if your carrot is enticing. That’s why using Google Analytics’ goals to set up easy-to-understand funnels is a necessity.
Another fantastic tool that goes one step beyond Google Analytic’s on-site data is Cyfe, an all-in-one analytics dashboard that measures everything from marketing efforts to web analytics to offsite sales and more. When it comes to building your email list, Cyfe can help in two ways:
It identifies the highest converting traffic sources for each piece of content.
It also tracks conversions over time to learn about their continued engagement and if they buy.
Notice how the second button completes the “I-want-to” phrase with “end my scheduling hassles.” It identifies a problem and offers a specific, desire-based solution.
4. Two-step opt-ins
Single opt-ins are easy to find. Here’s one directly from the Content Marketing Institute:
The two-step or double opt-in, however, is a decisively craftier creature.
Just like the name implies, a double opt-in requires a user to take two actions to subscribe. For example, instead of asking for the email address first, a double opt-in starts with a single click. Take Smart Insights’ email marketing strategy template sign-up, for instance. Here’s what its sidebar CTA looks like:
If you’d like to see a few live examples, Clay Collins of LeadPages recently did three experiments with two-step opt-ins that increased his sign-up rate by almost 60%.
Remember that there can be hazards associated with going from a single opt-in method to using double opt-ins. Most notably, adding steps can discourage some people from completing the CTA.
However, the key benefit of double opt-ins is that they create far more qualified and engaged subscribers. As GetResponse estimates, as many as 90% of single opt-in subscribers provide false names and emails. Moreover, the average click-through rate for emails sent to double opt-in subscribers is twice that of their single opt-in counterparts.
5. Entry pop-ups
The entry pop-up is exactly what it sounds like: A pop-up form is activated when a visitor first enters your site. Often these forms block the view of the majority of the screen, forcing engagement.
Just remember, visitors will do one of the following:
Comply and supply information
Close the pop-up and ignore the CTA
Get annoyed and leave
The first lesson here is about timeliness. App Sumo demonstrates the “sweet spot” for email gathering based on time on page:
To increase your chances of capturing an email using a pop-up, aim to wait five seconds beforethe pop-up is shown.
The second lesson, best said by Mauro D’Andrea of Blog Growth, is about page views. It’s obvious: If a person reads more pages on your blog, she is more likely to subscribe. Don’t be afraid to show the same pop-up to the same visitor when she sticks around.
6. Exit pop-ups
The exit pop-up is the exact opposite of the entry pop-up. These opt-ins automatically generate when your visitor’s mouse moves toward the “back” or “close” buttons.
Exit pop-ups are last-ditch efforts to engage a potential subscriber and prevent a good lead lost. The Internet is teeming with Billy Mays memes that personify the exit pop-up:
This example from ConversionXL is perfect. My interest in conversion optimization was targeted as soon as I moved the mouse to leave. Even better, ConversionXL also employed the “painful” button copy if I declined: “No, I prefer to suck at optimization.”
Pop-ups – both entry and exit – can be awkward and sometimes annoying. But they work.CrazyEgg compiled data from four sites and found staggering results:
Nikki McGonigal’s pop-up drove 1,375% more sign-ups than her sidebar alternative.
Darren Rowse’s light-box earned 400 new subscribers a day.
Ask-Leo.com increased its email conversions by 1,000%.
Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen saw sign-ups 10 times greater than the pre-pop-up, opt-in rate.
When creating exit pop-ups, be honest and conversational in your copy. Level with your visitor and admit that the exit pop-up is exactly that … an exit pop-up. Here are some good categorical examples:
Social triggers: “Going so soon? Here’s why 1,500 visitors stick around each day.”
Specific added value: “Before you leave, grab the [free carrot offer].”
Damage control: “Didn’t find what you need? Let us help …”
Negative option: “Yes, I want help” or “No, I’ll take my chances”
That last example brings us to our next sign-up strategy: Your “painful” button.
7. ‘Painful’ buttons
Now that we’ve covered pop-ups, let’s take a look at what I like to call “painful” button copy. This concept can be implemented for both entry and exit pop-ups.
The key is to create an opt-out button (basically a close-the-pop-up button) that hurts.
Why would you purposefully create painful buttons?
Joanna Weibe explains, “When a visitor is presented with an opt-in form, it’s so often the case that said opt-in form has just one button, and that button is there to be clicked if you choose to opt in. If you choose not to opt in, you do not have to click a button to state your preference; you simply X out, click out, or otherwise ignore the opt-in button.
“Most of our opt-ins are active and opt-outs are passive.”
A painful button eliminates the passivity of opting out by giving the viewer a clear choice.
Here’s a fabulous example from her Copy Hackers site:
Unlike pop-up forms, end-of-post forms uniquely cater to your actual readers.
Why? Because by the time visitors have consumed your content in its entirety, they’re invested. Moreover, they should be looking for more.
That’s why, in addition to suggesting social shares, using an end-of-post opt-in to gather email information strikes while the lead is hot. Here’s a general one that can be used at the end of almost any post.
On my own site, I love using end-of-post opt-ins especially for series.
For example, a few months ago I put together a string of posts based on Eugene Schwartz’sBreakthrough Advertising. At the end of the first post, I included a summary of the upcomingThe 3 Unbreakable Laws of Breakthrough Copywriting and this simple opt-in:
In addition to opt-ins at the end of posts, you’ll often see “for further reading” options. While not explicitly about building your list, this is another great way to keep your leads hot. Think of these as your safety CTA. Creating your own links to similar or popular content is great, but an even better solution is using data to automate your end-of-post next step.
9. In-line forms
In-line opt-ins are the simplest of all opt-in forms. They’re the impulse buy of opt-ins.
Because of this, in-line opt-in forms work best within blog articles or other long-form content of at least 1,000 words as part of the natural flow of the text itself.
They integrate within the page so once you’ve provided value on the page, the in-line opt-in functions as a means to “act now.”
Think of in-line forms like a conversational aside, “Oh, by the way, if you like what you’re reading now … then you’ll love the other stuff we do. And to get our ‘other stuff,’ just sign up here.”
The benefit of in-line opt-ins is that they provide your users with a chance to respond to your content on the spot. As long as you’re providing value, they’ll act.
10. Sidebar forms
Sidebar forms are ubiquitous. Often, this form is built into web templates themselves so they’re incredibly easy to implement. Just be sure that your sidebar form collects data and doesn’t distract from more useful forms.
There are basically two kinds of sidebar forms:
Anchored sidebar forms are static – they stay in place:
Ask good questions. Instead of simply leaving the “message” field blank, spur the response by crafting engaging questions that relate directly to the kind of product or service you offer.
However, if less is more when it comes to getting sign-ups, how are you supposed to gather information on your subscribers to help with segmentation, especially if you’re in the B2B space?
One solution is to partner with a lead-generation database. Unomy, for example, enables you to not only research your prospect’s parent companies using the individual email address provided, it also allows you to research related companies and their competitors:
It’s like Joe Pulizzi says, “Once you build an audience (of email subscribers), anything is possible.”
Follow the 11 sign-up strategies in this guide.
Test them out for yourself.
And start building today.
Want to learn more about how building a subscriber base can build a business too? Get a copy of Joe Pulizzi’s latest book, Content Inc., which was released in September 2015.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute
Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).
If you are the owner of an online business, the most essential thing to consider is your list building system. That is, you require a newsletter, which visitors to your website can sign up to, by entering their email address and name.
Then, your autoresponder, like AWeber, can send regular emails out to these people, featuring helpful information. The key is getting people to sign up in the 1st instance, so you can grow your list, maintain and develop relationships, and alert your customers to good deals time after time.
List Building System: Highlight the Value
Firstly, you should place a monetary value on the details you provide. Do not just invent any price to trick your customers.
Rather, you want to ensure that you accurately emphasize the value of your information, so your audience will appreciate what they stand to gain.
If you can differentiate your newsletter from the competition, your site visitors will understand that, by subscribing to your list, they will receive exclusive information.
Read email newsletters belonging to other people and assess their approach. Make a note of the newsletters that catch your eye, and the ones that seem very forgettable. Copy what works and use it, however tweak it so it becomes your own original list building system.
List Building System: Engage From the Outset
You want to make sure that your website visitors are fully aware of the advantages of them subscribing to your list. Highlight what they will receive straight after signing up, and tell them that you will send them frequent updates.
This will make them more motivated to opt in. Do not simply promise to send them a PDF guide when they subscribe, which they can read without ever hearing from you again.
A good list building system will offer subscribers an unmissable e course over several days, and outline how the details being offered will fulfill a need or solve a problem of theirs.
List Building System: Make Them Curious
Once you have experienced some success in an area of your business, you should incorporate this into your list building system. Tell your visitors that they can experience identical success.
If you say you earned X amount of money following a process that only required a small investment, your visitors will become hooked and want to learn more. Stipulate a deadline, so they have to subscribe by a particular date, to encourage them to act sooner.
Alternatively, your list building system could feature an attractive offer, that is restricted to the 1st 10 subscribers.
Lastly, you could create multiple opt in pages geared towards a specific group of people, like the online marketing novice, or the online business owner who has a regular job.
Once you identify micro niches, you can position yourself in those niches to capture targeted subscribers. The majority of people set up a list building system, without locating a specific market.
This is how you can differentiate yourself from the pack and convince people to subscribe. Offer your visitors something particularly relevant to their needs, and you will succeed in having a very effective list building system.
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Are you one of the man people interested in learning how to build an email list? Because you are on my blog today, I believe it is safe to say that you are!
A sizeable email list is useful for many things. Not only does it help you get your message across to tons of people quickly and conveniently, but a large email list can also be very profitable.
Let's be honest, most of you are probably here today because you are interested in making some money online. Before I ramble on and take any more of your time, let's take a look at how to build an email list.
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Learning How to Build an Email List?: Do it the RIGHT Way
A consumer's contact information is very valuable. This information, such as physical address or email addresses, allows businesses to promote their product/service to interested parties. This targeted audience makes for a much easier sell. Which brings me to a vital point when discussing how to build an email list.
When accumulating email addresses for your business, it is important that you are targeting people that are interested in what you have to offer. Trying to sell something to someone that is not interested is obnoxious and spammy.
I mention this because tons of internet marketers offer to sell you email addresses. This is only effective if this list consists of people interested in the niche of product/service you are offering.
If you'd like to learn how to build an email list effectively, you need to attract potential consumers directly to you. But how do you do so?
How to Build an Email List by Blogging
As I mentioned before, an effective email list is built by attracting people to you. Generally this is done by offering something in return. In most cases, this offering is as simple as some information regarding your niche. Blogging is definitely one of the most effective ways to execute attraction marketing.
Let's say you are a network marketer that is trying to recruit new members for his/her downline. By blogging about home business opportunities, network marketing, and your specific MLM company, you can attract like minded people to help you build a business.
Once these interested people read your blog post or watch an associated video, this is when you give them the option to share their contact information.
How to Build an Email List Using Capture Pages
If you're going to learn how to build an email list by blogging, you're going to need some calls to action and capture pages. As I mentioned before, creating web content is an effective strategy.
This allows interested people to find your website by using popular search engines. Every time you post something, you should expect that it will receive traffic.
Therefore, you need to create capture pages. In a nutshell, this is just a contact form that says something along the lines of, share your email address if you'd like to learn more. By learning to blog effectively, you'd be surprised how large a list you can build quickly.
If you continue to learn more about blogging, you'd be surprised at how quickly you can learn how to build an email list.
Did you like this post and did you get value from it? If so I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment below or like or share it on Facebook!
Learn how to grow your email list in less than 4 hours with step-by-step, expert guidance in six short and simple lessons.