While everyone else is chasing “likes” and “comments” online, you (the smart business owner you are) can invest your time and energy into something far more valuable: building your email list.
But business owners often dismiss the idea of growing an email list as painfully boring or outdated. They’re wrong.
Time-tested marketing principles haven’t changed one iota (I don’t care how much your industry has changed). Growing a mailing list is one principle you need to apply if you want your business to last.
Why You Need to Build Your Email Marketing List Now
When you have a qualified, engaged, and responsive list of people interested in what you have to say, you never have to chase down new clients.
Mailing to a list builds trust. It positions you as a leader in your industry and the obvious choice when someone needs products or services like yours.
Let’s face it; social media is starting to look like one big popularity contest.
With email marketing, you focus on serving a select group of people (the ones who are more likely to want what you have to offer) instead of chasing followers who’ll never buy.
An Email List Gives You Priceless Feedback
How your audience responds to your emails shows you their needs, interests, and what makes them tick.
You can track open and click-through rates, showing you what subject lines, topics, and calls to action resonate with your audience.
The data you get from writing directly to your readers can influence the decisions you make in your business.
When you know your audience, you’re always one step ahead of them. You consistently wow them with every “Aha!” moment they experience through your valuable and actionable content.
How to Start Building Your Mailing List (Even if You’ve Never Taken a Single Digital Marketing Course)
Here are five steps to building your email list, regardless of your marketing experience:
- Know Your Audience
- Make it Easy to Sign Up to Your List
- Give Them a Reason (“Free on Free”)
- Create and Deliver High-Quality Content…Every Single Time
- Strike a Balance Between Emails That Serve and Emails That Sell
The purpose of emailing your clients is not to sell.
It’s not to talk about how great your brand, products, or services are.
The sole purpose of reaching out to your audience is to strengthen relationships.
1. Know Your Audience
What problems does your audience need to solve? What skills and expertise do you have that can help them?
You’ll be more successful when you tap into the needs, interests, and burning desires of your audience.
Think about your readers. Where do they live? What industry are they in? What’s their job title?
You won’t figure everything out right away. But the more you engage with your audience, the more you’ll learn, and the more effective your email list building will be.
2. Make it Easy to Sign Up to Your List
Email marketing platforms like Flowdesk make it easy to create gorgeous sign-up forms to build your list.
You can link users to your sign-up forms from social media posts, blog articles, paid ads, and other shared content.
While your competitors are sending users to their website homepages, where they’re left to figure out what to do next, you can send your audience to a single page dedicated to building your list.
3. Give Them a Reason (“Free on Free”)
Don’t expect people to want to hear from you if you don’t offer them something valuable upfront.
Renowned copywriter and online marketer Bob Bly recommends using a “free on free” offer. This consists of offering free content (your emails or newsletter) in addition to a free bonus that’s valuable enough to compel users to sign up for your mailing list.
This bonus is commonly referred to as a lead magnet or bait piece. Some good examples of lead magnets include:
- A resource that helps your ideal clients, such as a cheatsheet, blueprint, or guide
- A “mini-course” or training offered as videos, audio recordings, written content, or a combination of all three
- A free no-obligation consultation where they can receive actionable information
- Self-assessment worksheets or templates
- The “free on free” strategy can dramatically increase the number of people who sign up to be on your mailing list.
4. Create and Deliver High-Quality Content…Every Single Time
This can be the biggest hurdle for business owners and marketers. But if you’re already in business, then you already know what questions keep coming up for your clients.
That’s the first place to find ideas for your email campaigns.
What are common goals your readers want to achieve? Do they want more higher-paying clients? Maybe they need help hiring staff or implementing new tools.
Find common themes. For example, a business coach can create an email schedule that alternates between marketing, branding, website design, and other relevant topics.
5. Strike a Balance Between Emails That Serve and Emails That Sell
Too many promotional emails can cause people to ignore, delete, or (worst of all) unsubscribe from your list.
But not promoting your business enough can cause you to lose out on profits and get in the way of your business growth. Striking a balance is key.
Start with a 50/50 ratio: Fifty percent of your emails should consist of information that helps your audience, and fifty percent of your emails can promote your business.
Think Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” principle.
You need to test, measure, and adjust. Over time, you’ll get to know what your audience wants, and you’ll settle into a sweet spot that gives you amazing results with every email you send.
Be Inspired, But Be Original
I already warned you about the dangers of following the herd when running your business.
Your services might be similar to others on the market. But you are uniquely you!
Let your emails reflect your personality, vision, core values, and mission.
Create your own content—information that’s authentic and showcases the value you bring to the table.
I’ve collected over 5,000 emails from business coaches and online marketers since 2016. Guess what. Most of them are the same ol’ song and dance.
Too many business owners repackage the same information and put a different colored bow on the package. Don’t fall into this trap.
Emails are the most personal form of communicating with clients outside of an in-person conversation. So let your personality and unique insights shine.
If you really want to make an impact, don’t follow the herd and copy others. Be different, and create content that makes a difference.
A single email can have a powerful impact on someone’s business and life. And making an impact is what you do best.
When you grow a mailing list of people who want and need what you have to offer, you realize your gifts and share them with the world.
Your readers will thank you.