Join me Wednesday, May 20th at 9am for my next Google+ Hangout on Building Your Marketing Funnel. In this episode you’ll learn how to start your funnel by building your email marketing list. If you’ve arrived here early, just tap the play button in the middle of the video and you’ll see the countdown to the start of the broadcast.

How to Get People to Sign Up for Your marketing funnel (email list)

If you run a blog, then having a mailing list is a very important part of your strategy and can go a long way towards helping turn your visitors into true fans – and better yet, customers. Think about it: if you ever want to sell an e-book, how much more likely is someone to be interested in that if they have previously given you their e-mail address in order to sign up to a mailing list?

Mailing lists are important then, but if you have simply dumped your sign-up form on the right hand side of your page with the hope that people will enter their names and e-mails in droves you’re likely to be disappointed. Instead, you need to follow these tips…

Build Trust Through Great Content

The first thing to ensure you are doing is updating your site regularly with great quality content. Your objective is to a) give your visitors a taster of the kind of content they’ll get if they sign up and b) get them to trust you and to respect what you have to say. Giving out an e-mail is quite a personal thing, so if your site seems spammy they won’t touch that form with a bargepole. Instead, show that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re respectful by letting your content speak for itself.

Talk About Your Mailing List

Many bloggers are a little shy to be asking for e-mails and so they avoid mentioning their list directly. This is a mistake though, as actually talking about your mailing list can do a great deal to get people aware of it and interested in it. Directly ask people to sign up, talk about your aspirations and explain the exciting content that will only be coming to your newsletters. Get people excited about your mailing list as though it were a product you were selling itself.

Show Snippets

A great strategy you can use to encourage more people to sign up to your list is to actually share snippets of content from your mailing lists. You can even use a mailing list to expand on content you’ve written on the site – to discuss an article in more detail for instance or to go into the second half. This way you can give people a taster and if it’s good, they’ll hopefully want more!

Important Tools for List Building

List building is an incredibly powerful tool for marketing your business and can also be used in a range of other ways to build trust, to collect data and to crowdsource ideas. Thus e-mail collection has increasingly come to the fore lately as more and more bloggers see it as a critical part of their strategy.

And this is great news for you, because it means there are now more tools than ever before to help you grow and manage your list! Read on to learn some of the best out there…

LeadPages

Landing pages are a great way to gather e-mails because they are designed in a manner that ensures everything leads to your ultimate goal. LeadPages is the most popular tool among many bloggers for quickly developing professional looking and effective landing pages, so give it a go!

WP Tactical Popup/ Sumo Me List Builder

Alternatively, you might just want a subtle box to pop up on your page to nudge your users to giving you their e-mail addresses. If you offer a free ebook or something this can be a very effective tool. WP Tactical Popup is a WordPress plugin that makes this feature very easy to add and that has great reviews from users. Sumo Me is another option for a popup ‘lightbox’ that has more features compared with WP Tactical Popup.

Mail Chimp

Mail Chimp is a tool for sending bulk e-mails to your mailing list. Once you’ve got all your e-mails, you need to actually do something with them!

The great thing about Mail Chimp is that it doesn’t just help you send your e-mails but also helps you to design them ensuring that they make the right impression and have the desired effect.

AWebber

AWebber doesn’t have the fancy design features of Mail Chimp but it’s another useful tool for sending out bulk e-mails that is packed with features. It also provides tools for managing your contacts and for creating attractive opt-in forms.

GetResponse

GetResponse is not only an email service provider, but also offers unlimited autoresonders. Autoresonders allow you to create a sequence of emails scheduled to be sent out. You put the autoresponders together, then let them work automatically.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is something that every webmaster and blogger should be using already but if you’re looking to build an email list then it can be even more powerful. That’s because you can use it to set up a ‘goal’ and then track how successful your site is in accomplishing said goal. This way you can perform tests on your site to see whether your changes really are increasing your sign-up rate or not.

Building E-Mail Lists: Why You Mustn’t Feel Shy

Despite everyone knowing just how important e-mail lists are for an effective digital marketing strategy and knowing just what a big difference they can make, there are still countless blogs out there that don’t have any kind of mailing list.

Why is that?

Partly it’s because it’s a lot of work and the idea of having to send out an e-mail every week or month can seem daunting. At the same time though, it’s also down to the fact that many people feel almost embarrassed to create a mailing list and are even very apologetic about it. What’s going on? Read on and let’s find out…

Why People Are Shy to Ask for E-mails

There are many reasons that people often shy away from mailing lists. For one, people often feel like this is personal information and that asking for it might be ‘over stepping’ the mark. At the same time, it’s easy to feel like a spammer when you send out e-mails to your members. Most of us are on the receiving end of a lot of e-mail spam and in 99% of cases… we hate it. So why would we want to be responsible for putting anyone else through that?

Why You Shouldn’t be Shy

In fact though, you really shouldn’t be shy to ask for e-mails and there are a number of reasons for this.

For starters, when you ask someone for their e-mail you’re getting permission from them. They’re under no obligation to give you their address and if they don’t want to… they won’t. No harm done! Remember that the vast majority of the really successful bloggers do ask for e-mails and this means that it’s largely expected of you. You won’t look unprofessional for not having one there… you may in fact look more professional.

You also won’t be spamming once you have the addresses. As long as you send great quality e-mails that contain real value and you don’t do it too often, then no-one is going to begrudge you finding your way to their inbox.

At the same time, you mustn’t feel shy because this is after all a business. If you feel shy to push yourself forward, then you aren’t going to get very far in the world of marketing and you’re going to undermine your potential success as a result. If you don’t take yourself seriously, how can you expect anyone else to?

Incentives You Can You to Encourage Sign Up for Your Lists

Building a mailing list is a very important and potentially highly effective way to increase your reach and possibly your sales from a website. By having a mailing list on your site, you can gain direct access to your very most loyal fans and this will then mean you can promote your products to them, keep them informed regarding updates to your site or even just remind them you exist and keep your brand awareness up.

But how do you go about getting people to sign up? One option is to use some form of incentive – and there are many options for doing this. For instance…

E-book

Giving away a free informational product is often a good way to get people to hand over their details. People love the idea of getting something for nothing and if you can make your e-book sound genuinely compelling then you will likely get a lot more subscribers. Remember: people will regularly spend hundreds of dollars on e-books and similar products so giving away an e-mail address is nothing really! You can get someone to write you a 10,000 word e-book relatively cheaply.

Discounts

Another common bonus that site owners offer for members of their mailing list is discounts off of their products. If you let them know that your newsletters are going to contain vouchers and codes that give them money off then you’ll again find that this encourages a lot more signups. As with free things, people love getting a bargain!

Information

Of course anyone who signs up for a mailing list will essentially be getting information but you can make your form more enticing by pointing out specific information that they will get. A common one is to get someone to sign up to ‘be informed when X happens’. This can be useful if you have something upcoming that you know people will want.

Membership

You can also combine a mailing list with a subscription to a service or access to a VIP area of your site. If you have an online service, then you can simply have this as an ‘opt-out’ or ‘opt-in’ option and that way gain even more from finding new members.

Access to You

Finally, why not point out that you will answer any questions sent in response to your newsletters? This is only really viable for small blogs and businesses to begin with but it’s a great option if you have knowledge or skills that others can benefit from!

Other Uses for Mailing Lists

Mostly it is assumed that list building will be used with marketing in mind. E-mail marketing is a highly effective way to reach people right in their inboxes and to market directly to an audience that have already shown an interest in your business. Really it’s the ‘perfect storm’ as far as marketing goes.

But that’s far from all a mailing list can be useful for. If all you’re doing is using your mailing list to sell things, then you’re also selling yourself short.

Here we will look at some of the other great things you can do with a mailing list.

Data

Getting e-mails is a great way to get data. While we’re tracking all sorts of information through Google Analytics and other tools a lot of the time, this often doesn’t really tell us anything regarding how engaged our audience is or how genuinely interested they are in what we’re selling.

But when someone signs up for a mailing list, it generally tells us that they must have a real interest in our content – enough to actually invite people into our site. This is a fantastic measure of engagement then and could be seen as a rough estimate of the number of ‘actual fans’ your site has. It’s great for testing the effectiveness of your content marketing too.

Better yet, if you make your email form a little more detailed then you can collect additional information at the same time – including things like gender, age and even income. This then gives you a much better idea as to your demographic and all this data can only be used to improve the effectiveness of your site and your marketing.

Crowdsourcing

The other great thing about mailing lists is that you can use them to encourage communication. Rather than just writing a ‘newsletter’ in a corporate fashion, you can instead make it personal and actually ask for responses. This then makes it a very useful tool for getting feedback from your members who can help you to come up with names for your products, ideas for your articles and a range of other things. If you’re wondering how to please your audience… wouldn’t it be great to just ask them?

Building Good Will

But most important of all, you can use a mailing list to give your users a ‘VIP’ experience, to share information with them and to build trust and good will that will serve you very well going forward.

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