List building is all about gaining and maintaining customers. When visitors see your website for the first time, they can take various actions:
- Read your content (e.g. blog articles, free training and resources, or information about your business, products and services)
- Purchase a product or service
- Engage on social networks (share your content, become a follower, etc.)
- Click on various links (advertisements, sales pages, banner ads, etc.)
- Subscribe to your list (i.e. give you their email address in exchange for a free gift, a newsletter, exclusive discounts, information, etc.)
The last action on this list is the MOST POWERFUL of all. Building a list online is vital because people who come across your business for the first time may not be ready to buy at that exact moment. They may simply want information. Or, you may not have the exact product or service they are looking for. However, some of those visitors will become your future customers (should you take the right steps!). You may need to build trust first with those potential customers, or you may just need to catch them at the right time in the future.
Capturing the email addresses of your visitors is the first step for lead generation online. It will allow you to build a list of potential customers, those who are prepared to trust you and your brand, and to market your products and services to them over time.
3 Simple Steps to List Building and Email Marketing
Step 1. Capture email addresses on your website or blog
To capture email addresses on your website, many autoresponder services offer a user-friendly functionality to design your own opt-in forms, which can then be installed on your website. We recommend aweber, however there are many other services to choose from. Those automated services will let you organise your subscribers into lists, as well as create and deliver your entire email marketing campaigns.
Before your visitors feel compelled to give you their email address, you must convince them and tell them exactly what they are getting for signing up. Even if the sole purpose is to keep them up-to-date with new products or offers in the future, they still need to know, so that they can determine if they want your emails or not.
However, in an era of instant gratification, most of us don’t want things in the future… we want something NOW! So it always helps to offer something in return for their email address, to be delivered instantly. Offer them a special discount or a free gift in exchange for their email address. This can be as simple as an online voucher, a discount code, free training, a video or a special report. Often, this free gift will be your visitors’ main reason for signing up.
Step 2. Set up your email campaigns
It’s important to build a strong email campaign, preferably automated, that regularly delivers valuable messages. Autoresponder systems (such as aweber) will deliver your email series on the schedule you nominate. This means that you can set up your website capture forms, create your list, load your emails, and let the automated system do the work for you! Over time, you can easily create email campaigns that run over months and even years, so that every new subscriber gets ALL the value you’ve been promoting from the beginning, and be catered for over a long period of time… automatically!
Talk about sustainability and leverage! Very spunky indeed!
Rule #1: Your emails must always add value! While you may include promotions in your emails, your sales pitches are best left for the sales pages on your website. In your emails, consistently provide useful information, interesting articles, inspiring or entertaining stories, valuable offers, etc.
Step 3. Bring back traffic to your site
While you will be using email marketing to build trust and provide value, there are many ways to encourage your subscribers to come back to your website and take action beyond just reading your emails.
If your website offers a lot of relevant content and includes a blog, your email marketing campaigns are likely to be more successful. This is because you’ll always have fresh content to promote in your emails, or through your email blog newsletter. By providing teasers and inviting your subscribers to ‘read more’ on your website or blog, you’ll be able to get repeat visitors to your website. Once on your website again, you can continue the sales process by promoting your offers and redirecting your readers to other pages. Using your free content to get back traffic is always more effective than sales pitches on email… but once they’re back on your site, you can emphasise everything else you have to offer and make sales.
Email marketing will allow you to:
- promote your products, services and special offers
- keep your visitors coming back to your website (links to website pages or blog posts)
- build trust and loyalty from your customers (give valuable information)
- be perceived as an expert in your field, and get your brand recognised
- promote your social media profiles and encourage further engagement (including ‘share this’ social media buttons)
Email marketing is a great tool to ‘keep in touch’ and to be in front of your customers at the right time, when they are ready to buy. Out of sight, out of mind. Make sure that your visitors remember you, that they know your value, your products, your services, your brand and your business. When they decide they want to take on something you offer, you’ll only be an email away, and right at the top of their mind.
When it comes to using effective and inexpensive online marketing strategies, email marketing is definitely spunky!