BONUS – I’ve just recorded a 10 minute companion podcast recording to go with this article. The podcast will only be sent to people that subscribe to the mailing list (it comes 24 hours after you subscribe), it will not be released on this blog. You can sign-up at the end of this article.
If you know anything about online marketing you know that an email list is probably the most important ingredient for success. Your email list is your list of prospects, people that are interested in what you offer, and some of them will hopefully one day become your customers.
The email list is a powerful marketing tool because it’s targeted. The process of signing up subscribers to the list should qualify your members as relevant prospects. What you offer therefore is very important because it impacts on the type of people that will subscribe to your list and how many will subscribe.
There is no magic formula for what you should offer for subscribing to a list and as with all marketing you should test to find out what works best. One of the most common methods, especially early on in the email marketing days, is the newsletter format. Periodically, usually once or twice a month, you send out an interesting newsletter to your subscribers. The content could be a single article or a collection of relevant news, articles and resources.
In the more recent history of email marketing the free report or e-course giveaway has been a common enticement to get visitors to sign-up to a list. This format is part of the early stage of what is called an online marketing funnel – a systematized process of collecting suspects, turning them into prospects, then customers then repeat customers. The report or e-course serves to give away some free information, valuable information, that demonstrates your skills and expertise as a teaser of what your full products or services offer, which are upsold to the email list automatically using autoresponders after the e-course or report has been delivered.
Another method to build a list is offering summaries of the content you already produce or other people produce, providing website links to the full articles. In this case the email list serves as a reminder to bring people back to the website so they don’t have to check in everyday. This method is often used by website owners that generate income from advertising. The email list brings readers back to the site to read the articles, increasing page impressions and hopefully click through rates and revenues.
Having an email list can also be a pseudo bookmarking tool. You may not offer any regular content for your list and simply call it a members list stating that you will send out announcements to the list whenever you launch something new, write a good article or come across something that readers would also like to read. This method allows readers to keep in touch without the list owner having to commit to producing anything on a regular basis. It’s simply a notification list when something of interest comes up that allows members to keep tabs on you and your website without checking in everyday.
If you are reading this article from the Entrepreneur’s Journey website you will no doubt see the big fat subscribe box at the top of the site and yes, you guessed it, I’m building a list. This is the first time I have attempted to build an email list on the topic of Internet business as all my previous lists have been related to my other businesses. I figured that most of my readers are interested in online marketing hence the process of building an email list would be a very interesting case study.
The Entrepreneur’s Journey email list is going to be my master list for all things related to this blog and my online business activities. As you can see at the moment I have positioned the list as a method for subscribers to keep up to date with the articles I write on this blog. I will be sending out a notification to the list immediately after I post one of my large instructional or commentary articles. I will not be sending notification to the list for every post made to this blog, only for the big articles I write (if you read my blog often enough you will know what I mean by the *big* articles), not the news pieces or small articles.
However list members will enjoy a lot more than just links to my articles. It will be a launch list, so subscribers will be the first to know exactly what I am up to regarding the launch of my online business projects, they will receive my information products first (I’ll be distributing my free whitepaper e-book to the list in the near future) and will also be the first to know about my e-courses or special articles and websites that I produce. Basically it will be the master list for anyone interested in the content I produce teaching and discussing online marketing and Internet business.
I’m going to be as transparent as I can be regarding this case study. Since you will likely be a participant if you join my list, as well as an observer if you follow this case study, it will allow you to gain a unique insight into the list building process from both sides of the fence.
As I stated above, at the moment the list is pitched as a means to keep track of my big blog articles. This will be a test to see how many subscribers can be attracted with this angle. I will also test nearly every method I mentioned at the start of this article to attract new subscribers. The focus will always be aimed at attracting people wanting education and information on Internet business and online marketing but I will test out different sign-up methods.
My e-book whitepaper on Internet business is almost finished. Once it is ready I will use it as a free giveaway for people that subscribe to the list. The same thing will happen with a free e-course I will probably have ready early next year. I’ll also have limited offers on special podcast audio recordings, article packages and other free content. I’ll place sign-up boxes on other websites, and some will focus only on getting sign-ups using techniques like the namesqueeze and micro sites (landing pages only).
It will be an ongoing process that I hope will help me to establish an email list of at least 1000 targeted prospects within 12 months, maybe more if things go well. I’ll report back the milestones to this blog from time to time but for the moment if you want to get in on the action there is only one thing you need to do – subscribe!
And learn how to build a better blog.