Blog Challenge Day 15: "How are you building your email list?"
Your "List"Your list technically includes ALL your lists of fans and followers... those who follow you via email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and any other of the exploding number of social networks. (Social networks are like the Tribbles from Star Trek, but that's an issue for another time.) For the sake of this article, in answering Natalie's Blog Challenge Question for today, we're going to focus on your email list.
How I'm Building My Email ListI started building an email list as soon as I set up my coaching business.
I have opt-in boxes on every page of my site (over there on the right --> Yes, as a matter of fact, if you like what I do here, I'd love for you to sign up!), on Facebook, and on landing pages.
I direct people to my list and encourage them to sign up.
I have an opt-in offer, otherwise known as the freebie you get for signing up, which I'm always looking to improve. (Don't worry whether you should wait for the next improvement... one of the benefits of being on my list is always getting my new opt-in bonuses before anyone else!)
I occasionally hold contests and almost always do this during launches.
Most of all, I aim to deliver valuable content that benefits you with tangible results. My goal is to get the creative entrepreneurs I'm trying to connect with (yup, I'm talking to you!) clambering to gain access to the content and special offers I only share with my engaged community of peeps. (By all means if I'm not succeeding, hop on over to the What Do You Need? page or email me and let me know what I can do better!)
Publishing My Email NewsletterI use AWeber for my newsletters and campaigns.
I'll admit at first I wasn't on a consistent schedule for sending my newsletters though and had a teeny tiny list (Yes, we all start from zero.), but I've improved a great deal on both fronts. I have a larger list and I've implemented an editorial calendar.
I email my list twice a month and for special occasions.
I'm a graphic designer and one of the things I like to play with is creating graphics of inspirational quotes. I use them around my office. I send clients relevant ones that support their current goals and/or struggles. And I post them online for others to share and use for their own personal inspiration.
I recently added them to my newsletter routine - I send an Inspirational Newsletter on the 1st of every month with one of these quote graphics and my well wishes for the month ahead.
My regular issue then goes out on the 13th of the month with all its juicy goodness... usually accompanied by a link to a rather epic blog post.
Are You Making Business Harder Than It Has to Be?Do you have an email list?
Do you send a newsletter?
If you're like most artisans and creatives, you probably don't. You may not have given it much thought. You may not want to "bother" people. (You're not. Remember --> It takes an average of 7 "touches" with that amazingly innovative business of yours for someone to be comfortable enough to buy from you. This will assist you in getting them.)
But this is one of the most common mistakes creative entrepreneurs make - not building an email list.
You often hear it said that "the money is in the list." Well, they lied. It's not.
You see, like most other things that lead to money, your list requires action. Your list is a collection of action-takers who have signed up and said, "Yes, I like what you do and I want to hear more from you!" That's golden! But now the ball is in your court.
That precious list of email addresses is the most valuable asset you have in your business... IF you understand why and use it properly.
You need to understand that the value in your list is not the list itself, but the people on the list and the relationship you have with them.
And you need to make sure you use it in the best way. (key word being use... action word) So grab your smelly tennis shoes and the racquet gathering dust in the back of your closet, steal the ball back from your dog and get ready to channel your inner Serena Williams, because it's time for you to rock this email marketing thing and serve up some major value.
That's what it's all about... realizing that those human beings are the value and building your relationship with them by sharing valuable information that improves their life, business, relationships, or whatever your business is supposed to help them do.
(If you haven't initiated this process, we need to talk and get you squared away. This is an absolutely non-negotiable necessity for your soon-to-be-wildly-successful empire!)
Want Some Proof?
1. Email was the #1 source of traffic at 58.8% - a full 40.9% more than from any other source!
2. Email was, even more importantly, the #1 source of traffic that converted into sales at 67.7% - 44.1% more than any other source!
Still Holding Out? Well, Here's Some IncentiveFor all of you stubborn hold-outs (Yes, I did just call you stubborn. You'll thank me later.), I'm going to share some powerful insight to give you some incentive.
1) Getting prospective customers to make a small commitment (like saying yes to subscribing to your list) increases the likelihood of getting them to say yes to larger commitments (like buying something from you). Yeses lead to more yeses.
2) The easiest (and least expensive) kind of business to get is repeat business. The second easiest (and least expensive) kind of business to get is referral business.
Your list helps with both of those. It costs 6 - 7 times less to sell to a current customer than to acquire a new one AND they're 40% more likely to buy from you again.
Also, people are more likely to buy from you if they're referred to you by someone they know.
Ongoing correspondence with your customers is the best way to increase word-of-mouth referrals. It keeps you in touch with your community, keeping you top-of-mind when they need what you offer... and when people they know need what you offer.
So do you see how, by not having and nurturing an email list, you're actually making business harder than it has to be? Good. Then read on for some tips.
Some Do's and Don'ts
- DO use your list to engage and further your relationship with those following your work.
- DO make absolutely sure the peeps on your list know it's a 2-WAY communication mechanism and that they can respond (and that you enjoy when they do!).
- DO email your list on a regular basis - one that's appropriate for your business.
- DO provide value when you email your tribe.
- DO make being part of your community a VIP Experience. (You know... subscriber-only sales and offers, early bird pricing, that kind of thing.)
- DO let those on your list always be the first to get the deets on the unique goodies you offer.
- DON'T make your list all about the numbers (how many followers you have or how much money you can get out of them).
- DON'T look at your list as as a "push my agenda" one-way street.
- DON'T overstay your welcome by emailing your list too often.
- DON'T use your list solely for marketing your stuff.
- DON'T let your list linger uncared for.
- DON'T treat those on your list the same as you treat every other Joe Schmo who happens on by. (They're special!)
- NEVER share your list with others.
- NEVER spam your list.
- NEVER abuse the privilege of being welcomed into their inbox.
InspirationYou're probably on a number of email lists and have an ever-expanding inbox full of samples for your perusal. Stop being intimidated by the sheer enormity of it, and use it to your advantage. Evaluate them to guide your process as you create your own.
- Which ones do you like best?
- What exactly is it you like?
- What don't you like?
- What makes you want to open someone's email?
- What makes you want to direct it straight to the trash?
You can make a lot of your decisions about format, design, content, frequency and services by looking at the ones you receive.
Your Turn...Do you have a list and send a newsletter?
If not, what are you going to do about it?
Tell me in the comments below... and then get to work on it!
That's my challenge to you :)
I'm writing this post as part of Natalie Sisson's 30 Day Blog Challenge during which I'll follow the path she's laying with inspiration and challenges for daily blog posts. I hope you'll enjoy coming along on this journey and share your own in the comments every day. If you'd like to participate in the challenge on your own blog, just click one of the links here and you'll be taken to the page with all the details.