It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.
If you’ve missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>
Everyone always wants to know how to grow a list, what works and what doesn’t, especially when they’re new to email marketing. This week I asked our experts what advice they would give in this situation.
Let’s say I’m a blogger with no products of my own.
What’s the fastest way you would recommend that I build my list?
Here are their replies.
Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of Organize Your Online Business says:
You certainly don’t need a product in order to build a list. But you do need several optin gifts, such as reports, audios, or videos. I find it best (and most effective) when I rotate these optin boxes, so that they are not always the same. That also helps me segment my list as it grows.
I use Robert Plank’s Action Optin for my optin box, since they can join the list and never leave the page they’re on. It just gives them the thank you message in the same space.
I change the offer every couple of weeks to keep it fresh.
It’s also a good idea to notify the list that you DO have, as well as your social media contacts when you publish a new blog post. You can do this via email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. This gives them the chance to see and comment on your blog post, as well as opt into your current offer.
I’ve also used the Covert Messenger Pro plugin that Nicole uses on her blog now and then. It’s a great way to draw attention to a new offer or event. And it’s easy to use and change!
Dr. Jeanette Cates works with online business owners who are ready to expand their Online Success. She provides training for new and intermediate marketers in her well-respected Online Success Incubator course.
Lain Ehmann of Business Love Potion says:
Create a product! No, seriously – people need a reason to sign up for your list. Discounts, special exclusives, a free download — these are all great “bait” to lure them into your list – where you’ll give them MORE goodies.
Even if you’re primarily an affiliate marketer, you should establish yourself as an authority, and one of the best ways of doing so is through creating your own product. Here are some ideas:
- Checklist (“10 things you need to know before you write your next poem”)
- Special report (“The five biggest mistakes in ferret ownership and how to avoid them”)
- Audio interviews
- Free five-part email class (“Five Days to Silkier Skin”)
Then offer this product as a gift when someone signs up for your email list. Voila, instant subscribers!
Lain knows how to enchant her readers. Check out her podcast here: Business Love Potion
Connie Ragen Green of Affiliate Marketing Secrets Explained says:
Bloggers are in the enviable position of writing regularly on their topic. In order to build a list quickly I would recommend writing reviews of products, courses, and services in your niche, and to add a relevant short report as a bonus to anyone who buys through your link. Continue to blog about the benefits of being on your list, and ask people to share your posts on social media. This will bring you some income, build your list, and massively increase your visibility in a short period of time as the buzz grows about what you have to offer your audience.
How Has Connie won so Many Affiliate Contests? Find out here -> Affiliate Marketing Secrets Explained
Susanne Myers of Daily Affiliate Tasks says:
There are a million and one ways to grow your list and a lot of them you can do from your blog. That being said, I get the best results from a very basic strategy … but you have to do it well and constantly test and tweak for best results. Here it is…
Have The Basics In Place and Then Tweak Them
The best way to grow your list from your blog is to have some sort of optin form on every page of your site, to offer a goodie or ethical bribe in exchange for your readers’ email addresses, to overcome any objections they may have for signing up and to ask your own readers to help you grow your list further.
Yes, this is pretty basic stuff, but are you doing all of it? Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.
1. Optin Form on Every Page
Go check on your blog and see if you have some sort of optin form on every single page. It’s pretty easy to do with WordPress. You can add it to the sidebar or tweak your blog template so it’s automatically added to the bottom of every post.
Next it’s time to tweak and test. Try a different placement for your optin form. Test different copy, color, layout … you name it. If you can think of something to change, it’s worth testing. If you are using Aweber it’s very easy to set up split tests directly in your Aweber account settings. No need to change your Blog files every time you test something new.
Keep testing and keep improving your optin rate to grow your list faster and faster.
2. Offer An Ethical Bribe
Again… it’s a pretty obvious one. Make sure you offer something to new subscribers. This could be a short report, an audio or video recording, a coupon code etc. If you have an offer in place now, take a look at it. Does it still work? (You can use PLR content to create this.)
Either way it’s time to do some testing. Come up with a few different goodies to give away and see which one works best. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Just mention a different one in each test version and then add links to all of them in your welcome email that goes out automatically. You can mention in there that you’re throwing in a few extra bonuses that you thought they might enjoy.
3. Overcome Objections
Another good idea is to overcome any objections your blog readers may have. A great way to do that is to write up a page with 10 good reasons why someone should sign up for your list. Link to that page from right below your autoresponder signup box.
Here’s an example of my page for my Affiliate Treasure Chest blog.
4. Ask For Referrals
Last but not least, let’s talk about my favorite strategy. It’s getting my existing subscribers to help me grow my list faster. Every few weeks I ask them (usually in a P.S.) to help me grow the list by referring others to it. I invite them to share my emails with colleagues and friends that may also be interested in the topic.
I LOVE my Susanne friend! Check out her Daily Affiliate Tasks here.
David Perdew of NAMS says:
Because MyNAMS.com is a membership site, we’ve focused on growing that members’ list organically and without undercutting any of our affiliates. That’s a tall order. It means slow growth until we have a system in place that protects our affiliates first.
For example, I won’t send traffic to an aWeber opt-in page first. If we do that, we’re just raiding the affiliates list.
So, we built a list opt-in box that adds prospects to a free membership first, THEN to the autoresponder list.
Now, we’re customizing our opt-in process to recognize whether visitors are logged in (if so, don’t show them the sign up box), and whether they’ve signed up for the product on that page already (if so, don’t show them the sign up box).
I’ve been really slow creating opt-in funnels because I wanted to respect the traffic source. But now that we’re set up with target specific, non-invasive opt-in technology that rewards our affiliates, every page of MyNAMS will have a popup box to harvest the maximize number of visitors.
That kind of list building is really good for our affiliates since they are tagged with lifetime database referrals. In other words, more passive commissions through better list building
Be sure to sign up for David’s free weekly webinars here: NAMS Training
Rachel Rofe of How To Get Every Book You Write Onto The First Page Of Kindle says:
To build your list, there a few things you could do.
First, you could do some kind of 30 day challenge based around whatever your niche is. So let’s say you’re in scrapbooking… maybe you can post a new scrapbook every day for 30 days.
If you’re in “learn to play piano”, you can have videos showing you learning to play the piano.
If you’re in internet marketing, post about what you are doing to earn money.
All of these should be done with affiliate links included. As you post more and more, people will get more enrolled in your journey and sign up just not to miss the updates.
When you’re done with your challenge, offer an opt-in with your main learnings from the past 30 days. People can sign up to get the report that explains your main takeaways, what you would’ve done differently, etc.
This would be highly valuable to people.
Another idea to build your list would be to blog with excellent content, like Steve Pavlina, and just offer a newsletter for people to get your updates. Steve didn’t have any of his own products for a LONG time and was still highly successful and one of the most trafficked blogs on the web.
Another idea would be to hold contests for your blog readers. If you can make your readership engaging (contests, particularly viral ones), people will keep coming back just for the inevitable community you build.
Rachel’s customers are getting results with her latest product: How To Get Every Book You Write Onto The First Page Of Kindle
Kelly McCausey of Solo Smarts Podcast says:
This is a tip for podcasters. During a podcasting webinar earlier this year, we were brainstorming ways to get the most out of your podcast content and we came up with the idea of building a list from your podcast listeners by transcribing the best interviews and making them available to list members for free.
I don’t transcribe the entire episode, just the guest interview alone. I don’t transcribe every interview, just those that strike me as being really meaty.
When I publish the podcast I add a note like this one: “Prefer to read rather than listen? Subscribe to my list and get a free interview transcript!”
I manage this by storing the transcripts in a protected folder and provide new subscribers with the password.
Since I started doing this I see little bursts of new optins (as few as ten, as much as twenty-five) on the weeks that I offer a new transcript.
Be sure to check out Kelly’s podcasting course. You can check that out here: Smart Podcasting Skills
Nicole Dean of .. here! .. says:
Lists, lists, lists. So much to say. So little time.
I have many thoughts on this topic. But first, let me share one thing that I’ve done.
The last few weeks, I decided to give some attention to my lists. And, it’s paying off very nicely.
If you’ve been around recently, you may have noticed some things changing. Well, most of that was to make it irresistible to sign up for my list. While I don’t think I’m at irresistible yet, I think it’s much more appealing.
Here’s what I’ve been up to.
Step One: Sexy-up the Bait.
First of all, you’ll notice that I made the “bait” sexier to sign up for my blog updates. When they sign up, they get not just updates, but THREE awesome reports. (Soon to be more.)
1. Where to Find Images for your Blog Posts.
2. 104 Blog Title Ideas (printable list)
3. List of the Tools that Power my Business
You could easily use PLR content to create these or just take your most popular blog posts and turn them into pdfs. Either way works.
Step Two: Sexy-up the Signup Forms.
Next, I made the signup boxes a bit more updated and current as you can see.
The new Side nav opt-in looks like this:
I added a new top opt-in box which looks like this:
And, we updated the opt-in at the bottom of the posts, too. (Although that little pokey out black thing still needs to be removed.)
I *wish* I had a tool to recommend to make these pretty boxes. I’ve tried several and they’ve all been buggy and disappointing, so I shall just keep them to myself. BUT – I just bought ANOTHER program, so I’m testing it and am hopeful that we have a winner. Keep your fingers crossed. If it works as well as they say it will, you’ll be hearing about it very soon.
Step Three: Sexy-up Your Testing.
Make sure you’re using different signup forms on your blog so that you can easily track your results in Aweber.
Even better would be if you used Aweber’s split testing feature that is built into their program to see which sign-up forms are getting the best results. I have used that in the past and it provides great feedback. But we haven’t done it yet with these. We will though.
Step Four: Sexy-up Your Traffic.
The fourth thing to do is to boost your traffic so you get lots of people on your blog. That will give you a true test to see if your new forms are getting more signups than your old ones.
There are several ways to get more traffic to your blog, fast. These are two of my favorites.
The first one may not be the most interesting way you’ve ever heard, but it flat out works.
Here’s a free report you can have to read more about it.
Note: The Workshop that’s mentioned in that document “Get to Know Your Blog Stats” – use coupon code “peeps25″ to save 25% on it if you decide to sign up.
The second method that I like to use is Guest Blogging.
If you’re new to my blog or are just getting to know me, I’ll let you in on a cool thing about me, I did 75 guest blog posts during a 15 week spell a few summers ago. It was AWESOME for my exposure.
I have a course that explains the methods to my madness and you can check that out here if you’d like: Guest Blogging on Steroids.
So Talk to Me.
What are your biggest questions about building your list on your blog?
What has worked well for you in the past?
Well, I’m going to get off this computer and enjoy the beautiful day outside.