Email marketing and building your list is one of those important, but not urgent tasks you know you should be doing in your business. Very often though, you don’t ever seem to get around to doing it.
In today’s episode, we’ll be talking about why email marketing and growing your list needs to be the number one thing you do in 2016.
We look at why it is really that people put off growing their list, five ways to grow your list and some of the things you want to think about along the way.
Make sure you download the How to Build Your Email List Cheat Sheet which breaks down everything I cover in this podcast. I’ve also included a bunch of dos and don’ts so you can avoid some of the mistakes I made when I first started growing my list.
Wherever you’re at right now, set yourself a target for your list building efforts and really work your list moving forward. It’s true what they say – the money is in the list.
Read the Transcript
This is episode number two and we’re going to be talking about email marketing and growing your list.
When it comes down to growing your list, it’s one of those things most people put off, yet it’s one of the biggest assets your business can ever have. There are a lot of fear and misconceptions about email marketing, so I thought this was a great thing for us to do today.
What you’ll learn
In today’s episode we’ll look at:
- Why growing your list is the number one thing you need to be doing in 2016.
- How people are using email marketing right now.
- Some top list building tactics.
Before I jump into this episode I want to take a moment to thank everyone that gave me support over the last few weeks as I launched this podcast. (Check out Introduction to The Get Real About Business Podcast.)
I spent a lot of time last year on YouTube and creating video tips there. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot, but that with my ongoing commitment to my Virtual Academy where I’ve got an ongoing schedule of new videos and courses there, it’s been quite a strain.
This show and returning to podcasting after a couple of years away from it, means I can work at a bit more of a manageable pace. I’ll still be sharing the occasional video on my YouTube channel, so do still follow me there. A regular podcast means I can keep up with things and offer you great content on a regular basis.
I was a bit worried about making the switch, but I’ve had so much positive feedback from the first episode, I’m glad I did that.
Why people resist email marketing
A lot of people have a fear around growing their list, particularly if they run a service based business. So that’s people like practitioners, consultants, coaches or creative people like. The problem is that they went into business because they like helping people. They’re very good at what they do, but they worry about bugging people.
They think that if they keep emailing their list, people are going to get frustrated with them and unsubscribe. I’m going to come on to unsubscribing later, but what this is really about is either a fear of rejection or that they don’t see the value in having a list in the first place.
Most things we put off or procrastinate about are fear based. Fear of failure, like, if I try email marketing, what if I can’t do it and I get stuck? What if it turns out too time consuming or expensive?
Or fear of success. What if I do this and then I get inundated with work. Will I be able to keep up with things? Will I have more work than I cope with? Will it affect my home life and relationships?
Or perhaps fear of rejection. What if when people read my emails they think my writing isn’t very good or they think I’m too salesy. What if they think it doesn’t come across very professional?
These are all reasons, or should I say excuses, that we make for ourselves about getting started.
After talking with a lot of people, it seems the biggest one is that they worry about coming across too pushy. They think about the amount of emails they get inundated with. They find that stressful. Here’s the thing: Your prospects and your customers are not you. They don’t necessarily share your feelings about emails or being overloaded. Even if they did, when you think about it, not every email that comes into your inbox is an irritation.
You’ve probably subscribed to a whole bunch of email lists over the years. Some of these emails you delete straight away, some go straight through to your spam folder and you never look at them, and there’s some that when you think about it, you don’t mind at all.
There are some that even if you don’t get chance to read them, you probably never delete. That’s because those emails are tend to be very relevant to you and what you care about. You probably also care about the person that sent it.
For example, I’m a big fan of Robin Sharma. I’ve read his books and been on a number of his programmes. I’m always pleased to see his emails come through. I don’t always read them because I don’t always have time. Usually, what I do is put them on a folder on my computer with the intention to go back and read them later.
The point is not everyone of your emails are an unwanted interruption. It’s all down to who’s doing it, what kind of content they’re sending you, if it’s relevant and if you feel that they care about you.
It’s only those people that you never signed up to receive their emails or who pester you with constant sales messages for things you don’t want that tend to tick you off.
So you can boil that down to who it is and what they’re doing.
I mentioned receiving emails from people or companies you never signed up to. This is spam. No one wants that. And this is where a lot of small businesses make a mistake. They often buy a list off a data company on the internet and start blasting away at this completely cold set of people who may or may not be a prospect. Didn’t their parents ever tell them about stranger danger? They are the stranger here and the danger their readers will worry about is being sold to.
No one wants to be sold to. We all want to know about things that are relevant to us and of interest, but until we know the person emailing us, we’re not open to finding out if their content is relevant.
So your goal with email marketing is to build a list where people have consented to receiving your emails, the content is relevant to them and you give them value, not just a constant hard sell.
One of my clients asked me recently, why can’t I just use Facebook or other social platforms to continue to connect with people. That works great as a keep-in-touch strategy and she’s enjoying a high engagement there.
Well yes, you can do that, but what you’ve got to understand is that when you build your list, what you’re doing is gaining your prospects ear. Only a tiny proportion of your audience on Facebook, or any other platform for that matter, are actually going to see your content. If it’s Facebook, only a small fraction of your content appears on your fans feeds, and with all platforms, everything moves so fast, it’s likely that most of your content will be missed anyway.
So if you’re relying on your ideal prospects noticing you on social media, don’t. When you send an email, they’re far more likely to notice you. If they don’t want to spend the time reading your email, they won’t. That’s okay too, because even if they delete your message without reading it, they’ll still see your name in their inbox and they’ll be reminded that you’re there.
The other thing to remember is that what you do matters. Providing your building a targeted list with people who could benefit from what you do, you’re actually being of service by staying connected.
Email marketing helps you keep in touch
Speaking of staying connected. How many times do you meet someone that you really like and get along with, and then one way or another, you lose track of each other? It happens all the time.
Take networking for instance. You go to some networking event, meet someone who could be your ideal client and would really benefit from what you do, but they’re just not ready to buy. Or it’s too soon to ask. Maybe you go to the networking group regularly, but next time you go, they’re not there. Unless you’ve got a solid keep-in-touch strategy, you’ll lose track of them.
That’s what building and serving your list does for you. It means you can stay in touch with people. It means you can show you care about what they do and it means you can help more people.
Email marketing gives you high reach, great flexibility, it’s low risk because you don’t need to put a wad of money behind it. It gives you massive control and it’s a low barrier to entry since it’s easy to learn and there are so many useful and affordable tools available to help you do it.
For all these reasons, including sheer scalability, growing your list should be your number one priority for your business this year. Done consistently and done right, it will pay you back no end.
It’s probably useful for us to think about what mean by building your list. Your list consists of people who know you and like you enough to want to hear what you’ve got to say. This includes hearing about offers and services you’re providing. In essence, they’ve given you permission to market your services to them.
If this seems like a strange thing, check out Permission Marketing by Seth Godin (affiliate link). It will really change the way you think about marketing.
There’s a number of ways people are using email marketing right now. As I said before, email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with your list. Newsletters are still popular, although not valuable enough to your prospects in and of themselves, to get them to sign up to your list.
That’s why most people are using what I call an ethical bribe to get people to subscribe to this list. This is often an e-book, a video, a tips sheet or some other kind of freebie.
Serving your list with newsletters
Consistency is the most important thing with newsletters. There’s a coach I follow called Barb Wade. She actually works with women, but I like what she does anyway. Every couple of weeks I get her newsletter through. It’s very regular and I look forward to reading it. Even though I probably only read around 1 in 5 of them.
Other newsletters I end up receiving seem to run for one or two episodes then dry up. Then perhaps eight, nine months later they start up again. It gives you the impression that the company or person is a bit flaky. They’re not reliable. Key to building trust in any relationship is acting in a consistent way.
As with anything you do in your business, you have to think about what’s the purpose. Newsletters work really well for relationship building. If you fail to build a relationship with your subscribers, your offers will feel pushy and your content distant.
Another way you might use email marketing is to deliver what I consider value pieces. This is content like a blog post, article, or podcast. Service providers who wish to position themselves as experts benefit from this best of all.
It’s all very well posting your content on your website or perhaps iTunes, but relying on organic search results is not enough. You have to drive people to your content. After all, you’ve gone to that hard work creating your content, don’t you think you should make sure as many people see it as possible?
Content marketing like this is a great way of leveraging your list. Kim Garst does this well, every time she writes a post, she emails her list and tells them about it. Then on the occasion she sends a purely sales focused email, you’re happy to receive it because she’s given a lot of value to you.
And you can moneytise your content anyway, so every email you send out is a chance of gaining new sales as well as establish yourself as the go-to person for what you do.
May businesses rely on making offers in their email. The key is to know how to do that. The idea is you urge people to get something they really want. A good offer should never feel salesy or pushy. Instead, it should feel helpful. So when you promote an offer on via email, do it as though you were writing to a best friend who you think would really benefit from something.
Five top list building tactics
Okay, hopefully you’re with me and you agree, growing your list is a smart thing to do, and you now know some of the ways you can gain from doing so. How do you go about building your list?
The first thing you’re going to need is some kind of offer, freebie or incentive to get people to join your list. I’m going to talk about that in another episode, so we won’t spend any time here today. Let’s assume it’s some kind of tips sheet or a list of recommended resources. They work pretty well.
1. Using Social Media
The easiest thing you can do is to promote that across social media. Post Planner and Socialoomph for options around scheduling social shares about your ethical bribe. With tools like that, you can set them to share and re-share on a regular basis, so you don’t have to keep scheduling it. You probably want to set up a bunch of different social shares for the same offer for some variety, and you definitely want to switch them out from time to time, because people stop noticing content they see too regularly.
2. Using Paid Traffic
If you want to give the whole thing a boost, you might try paid traffic. Google Adwords and Facebook Ads are great options. It might seem funny to you to pay for subscribers, but what you’re doing is getting people into your funnel. It will lead to sales in the long run.
If you’ve got lots of connections in your field who have large email lists and they’re willing to promote something of yours, then getting affiliates is a good option. You can give them incentive to do so by offering a reward if it leads to a sale or agreeing to promote something of theirs in return.
3. Public Speaking
Speaking is an excellent way of growing your list. It does tend to take quite a bit of work up front, as you have to put together a good presentation, but once you’ve done that, you can go on tour up and down the country, speaking at different events with the same speech. Every time you do it you’ll get that little bit better. Just make sure you remember to invite your audience to join your list and have a handy clipboard available so they can sign up and provide their details.
Finding places to speak it is not hard. Networking groups are always looking for speakers, you can also join your local toastmasters group or try charities and other local organisations.
4. Running Your Own Event
If you know a company with a big list and in a complementary field to you, see if they’re interested in setting up an event with you.
They could run the event at their offices so the audience will come to them and it will raise their profile, you provide the talk for them. All they need to is invite their list to come to the event. You get them to opt-in with some kind of registration form, and that also opts them into your mailing list.
It’s a really great strategy because both parties gain.
5. Guest Blogging
And finally, one last idea for growing your list today is guest blogging. This is great because you don’t need to have a blog of your own or lots of traffic to your website. Just go and find a popular blogging site that gets lots of readers and submit an article there. Within that article make sure you link back to your ethical bribe or give the readers a reason to join your list.
Providing your content fits with the overall style and content the blog puts out, they’ll likely be more than happy to receive your submission. Just make sure you read their editorial guidelines if you want a good chance of your article ever seeing light of day.
So there’s loads of ways to grow your list and it doesn’t need to be expensive.
One thing to remember about your list is that size doesn’t matter. I know you’ve been told that before about different things, but when it comes to your list, it’s definitely true.
Yes, it is good to have a large subscriber base as your reach will be much further, but what matters most is engagement. After all, that’s what email marketing is all about. It should sit firmly as one of your major keep-in-touch strategies. You should use it to nurture your customers and prospects. It’s also an integral part of driving sales.
Alright, I know I’ve thrown a lot at you today so what I’ve done is put together a cheat sheet for you that breaks down what we’ve been talking today. It’s got a list of dos and don’ts for building your list. It’s also got tips for getting some of the strategies to work that we talked about today, such as guest blogging, speaking and running your own events. This is all laid out for you on a cheat sheet which you can download from getrealaboutbusiness.com/2. That’s the number 2, not the word. That will take you to the show notes page for this episode.
If you want to find out more about email marketing, also check out my e-book called List Building Secrets. You’ll find the link to that on the show notes page as well.
Coming up next in episode three we’ll be looking at how to create killer copy for your emails and what you can do to make sure they get opened. Do make sure you come back and check it out.
If you’ve liked this episode then do me a favour and leave a review. Also, feel free to leave a comment or ask questions on the show notes page. So do get involved. I love it when you do that.
Also, remember to pick up my List Building Secrets e-book. I’ve got a bunch of great strategies in there so you’re really going to want to pick up a copy.
That’s it from me. Good luck with growing your list and let me know how you get along. Have a great week. I’ve been Clive Maloney. I’ll see you on the next episode.
Links mentioned in this episode:
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