“The money is in the list” – is a common expression passed on within the internet marketing industry. True enough, an email list is the most fundamental asset for any online business, and it is essential in its success.
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Email marketing campaigns are essential elements of any marketing strategy. Creating and maintaining an email list provides many benefits. For instance, it lets you communicate and build relationships with prospects, gather important data which helps to differentiate the buyers from prospects, and ultimately boosts marketing conversion rates and ROI (return on investment).
Having an email list also lets you send targeted and tailored communications to a specific audience, you are able to break down your buying audience into different segments such as products of interest, price points, age, gender, and location, among others. With direct communication, it allows you to do instant promotions for your products or other affiliate products and get instant purchases.
When creating an email list, the rule of thumb is to go for quality, not quantity. The success of your email list does not rely on the sheer size of your email list. Rather, it relies on two things. First is the compatibility of your email list to your targeted niche. Your email list must include people from your target market.
Second is the relationship of trust that you are able to build with the people on your list. Managing an email list does not end with receiving their contact information and sending them announcements. Managing an email list also entails building and strengthening a relationship with your contacts. At the end of the day, it is always better to have 1,000 contacts of potential buyers than 100,000 contacts of mostly random people online. Remember that your objective is to gain sales, and hence your email list will need to contain the right target audience.
Getting Started With Your Email List
One of the easiest, fastest, and most common ways to build an email list is to give away something for free in exchange of their information. Now the free offer needs to be something of value, again, this will depend on your knowledge of your target audience and what they need.
Try and ask yourself these questions when creating a free product: What does your audience need to understand, be aware of or want to know, in order to give up their information in return for your free offer? Uncover what that important aspect is and offer it as your free giveaway. Most online free giveaways come in the form of a report, ebook or video.
(Example of a landing page collecting emails with a free report)
This giveaway should also give them a glimpse of your expertise, and a sneak peek of what you have in store for them in your blog. As such, your freebie has to be related and relevant to your blog’s niche topic. In order to highlight your expert voice, you should avoid reusing other people’s content.
While your primary objective behind giving something away is to get them to sign up for your mailing list, this is also a good opportunity for you to develop a relationship with audience and establish your expertise on the subject.
This is also a good way for you to build trust with your audience from the beginning, which means you should think about giving away some of your best information. A lot of bloggers are quite hesitant to give away their valuable information for free, especially knowing that they may be able to sell this information at a profit.
Again, recall that the objective behind a mailing list is to gain a following that would come back to your blog regularly. If you execute this correctly, you will make money in the long run. No matter what you are giving away, it must be valuable enough for your audience to get hooked with what you have to say and continue asking
“What else you got?”
Now a good strategy in deciding what to give away is to make it relevant to what you will be selling later on. For example, let’s say you would like to sell a wedding weight loss book entitled “Losing 10 Pounds 10 Days Before Your Wedding.” A free giveaway to get people to sign up for your mailing list could be a video called “5 Foods To Avoid When Dieting Before Your Wedding.” Since your giveaway and product is related, it is now easy to pitch your book through a series of emails.
This is what many online gurus call the boomerang tactic.
Setting Up Your Landing Page
The strategy behind your landing page will ultimately determine your conversion rate of how many visitors become subscribers. There are five things that you need to consider in designing and building a good converting landing page.
First is to create engaging headlines. You landing page should have short and sweet headlines that will immediately resonate with your audience. It should be simple, concise, and straight to the point. It should also speak to your audience, and echoes their needs and problems. Writing headlines is a daunting task for some. If this is the case for you, consider hiring a copywriter to help you craft engaging headlines.
Second is to include a short video. People nowadays are more likely to watch a video than to read a page full of text. In fact, video converts higher than a text-based landing page.
I recommend therefore that you have a mix of both, with bulk of your landing page content concentrated on the video. For instance, your short video should talk about what you are giving away, what it contains and how it can help your audience. Always end with a call to action, because sometimes people need clear directions as to what you want them to do. In this case, directly ask them to provide their contact details.
Third is to inform them of what they will be getting in exchange of their email addresses. More than the giveaway, you should be able to explain what they can expect by subscribing to your blog. What kinds of emails will you be sending them? How often will you be sending them emails? People hate being spammed, so make sure that you have set the right expectations with them up front before asking them to sign up for your mailing list.
Fourth is to use social proof. People online tend to be very wary when it comes to signing up for free products, because they worry that they might be scammed. As a blogger, you will have to take a conscious effort of ensuring them that they are not being scammed. One way to ease their doubt is by providing some social proof on your landing page. Have testimonials from your clients and colleagues, and allow visitors to leave comments as well. People resonate better upon hearing feedback from other people.
Fifth is to avoid making your landing page look like an ad. Whenever possible, make the necessary changes to prevent your landing page from looking like a squeeze page. Unfortunately, many people immediately click away from squeeze pages because they don’t want to deal with potential spam and up sells.
You can easily outsource your landing page design to a graphic designer; however if your budget is limited you can go onto a site called LeadPages.net and choose from a ton of great looking pre-made landing page templates. LeadPages.net is great place to find professional looking landing pages with very high conversion rates all pre-designed and easy to set up and use.
Create your landing page to look like just another page on your website or blog. If you are consistent with the overall look and tone across all your marketing platforms, you will build trust and credibility.
Keep your landing page clean and free from spelling and grammatical errors, and keep your layout clutter-free. Often times, clutter screams spam for most people. Consider your landing page’s design as your packaging. The look and feel of your landing page will help strengthen your credibility. How you set up your landing page ultimately affects the willingness of your audience to give away their email addresses.
Setting Up An Auto-Responder
An auto-responder will make your life easier as more and more people sign up for your mailing list. An auto-responder is a program that allows you to nurture leads through automated campaigns. Instead of replying and thanking each person who signs up with your mailing list one email at a time, an auto-responder can send a welcome email on your behalf automatically.
There are various benefits to having an auto-responder as it helps improve customer service, establish loyalty to your customers, and create a relationship with your audience efficiently. Implementing an auto-responder can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy you already have in place.
What Can You Do With An Autoresponder?
With an autoresponder, you set up your email sequences in advance, and they’re automatically delivered at predetermined times.
Other things you can do with an autoresponder to build your relationship with your readers and boost your marketing efforts include:
• Set up a welcome sequence for new subscribers
• Put together an email course and trickle the content out over several weeks
• Send out surveys and other interactive content (this is a great way to conduct market research!)
• Publish a weekly newsletter
• Send out teasers about new blog posts and drive traffic back to your website
• Solicit questions from your readers and answer them in future blog posts
• Launch your own product or a new website
• Sell affiliate products
• Segment your audience
• Identify your buyers from your prospects
• Use an after-sale email sequence to educate your customers about their new purchase
• Send out automated thank-you notes, birthday greetings, and holiday wishes
Remember, every time you send your readers a piece of useful content, you deepen the relationship and build their trust. And then, when you send an offer for a great product or service that you know they’ll love, your readers are primed to buy from you.
A good feature of an auto-responder is that it can automatically segment people on your list. You can divide people onto different lists to receive different emails based on which emails they open and what specific topics they are interested in.
You can structure your segmentation strategy based on: who opened your email, whether they downloaded the offer, the length of time they spent on the email, what they downloaded. Once you have a better idea of what your audience is looking for, you can make your offers and products customized to fit their needs.
This content was originally published here.