Now that you have a better understanding of how important email marketing is and the return your business can see using email marketing, let’s dive into actually getting more people on your mailing list.
I will break this into three tiers, feel free to skip to the tier that is best if you already have a good amount of people on your email list.
Please do not jump on the 10,000 tier if you are just starting out, it will just make things harder for you. You should start from the bottom and work your way up.
0 to 100 contacts
Getting your first 100 contacts can be hard, but if you follow the instructions below the experience will be fun and you will complete your goal much faster. Some people do this in 24 hours.
So, what do you need to do?
Create a list of people that you know. You do not need an email marketing service account or any fancy software. You can use pen and paper or just a Google Spreadsheet. Here you can find a template to get you started.
You do not have to create any content yet, we will get there.
You can add your relatives (your mom, your aunt, your brother), close friends that you hang out with or Facebook friends.
You can also add your business contacts (check your Gmail Contacts), Twitter followers that you have interacted with or even LinkedIn contacts.
This list should contain at least 200 people, you will see why in a moment.
Once the list is ready the next step is to create an email where you tell your contacts that you are starting a newsletter and ask them if they want to be part of it. Here’s how it can look:
I am starting a newsletter called “Photo Tips for Parents” where I share practical tips about how to create fabulous photos of your kids to make beautiful memories.
When the email is ready, send it to your list of contacts manually. No fancy software is needed now. Your goal is to get the first 100 contacts of your audience so that when you start creating content you have someone to read it.
There will be people who do not read your email or who will not reply, do not be sad if that happens they are not important. The people who want to hear from you are the ones who deserve your attention.
This is the reason why I suggested you have at least 200 people on your initial list because not everyone will reply and you need to get to your 100 contacts goal.
But we are not done just yet! One important piece to keep your contacts engaged once you get them is to send them excellent content.
What is the best way to make sure that you send them the content they want to consume?
You simply ask them.
The easiest way to do this would be to reply when they confirm they want your newsletter and ask them what they are struggling with and how you can help them get past that struggle. You can say something like this:
Hey, I really want to offer you the best content that you can get with this newsletter. Can you tell me what you are struggling with most when you take photos of your kids?
I would love to offer you more advice on topics like that.
And people will reply with comments like: “I am not that good at editing,” “My photos are always too light or too dark“ or “I have a camera, but I am not sure if it’s good enough.”
Feedback from your contacts is so precious because they will tell you exactly what they want to hear from you. You will not have to worry about what your writing subject should be, but just put the work in to deliver the content that your audience wants to consume.
Alternatively, you can send them a survey and start using an email marketing software, like Elevatr, to communicate, but this is not a requirement. You can do this by just replying to their comments.
100 to 1,000 contacts
Once you get your first 100 contacts you need to celebrate, because you’ve achieved a pretty good milestone.
Now it’s time to delight your contacts with some amazing content.
You don’t have to start a daily/weekly publishing schedule, but I would recommend sending them an email series (like this one) which rewards them for choosing to be on your newsletter list.
If you have the bandwidth you can also start to publish some content (articles/videos/podcast episodes), but I would recommend to with a more relaxed schedule and be consistent.
You will not achieve success if you start publishing every day or weekly and then you stop doing it after a month or two.
I would recommend starting with posting every other week or weekly if you can stick with it.
You need to have at least five pieces of content ready. One to post right now and four to schedule in the future. With this content, you will be consistent, and when you can’t create content, you will have a backup.
Let’s get back to growing your audience to 1,000 contacts.
It would be best to avoid publishing every day or guest posting just yet.
A good way to get a lot of people on your list is through giveaways.
People love contests and creating a giveaway will help you connect better with your existing audience as well as getting more new people onboard.
Running a giveaway is not something that is easy to do and to have success with it, you will need to plan it thoroughly.
I will give you some guidelines to follow, and I will be sure to come back and offer you a more in-depth look at giveaways in a future lesson.
You will have to pick the right prizes for your audience that will be both interesting enough to participate, but also be relevant to your niche.
If you offer an iPad as the prize, you will get a lot of people to participate that are not necessarily relevant for your audience. Once you start to send them content they will unsubscribe.
If you give away something relevant you will attract the right people.
You can give away about anything: software, subscriptions, physical products, books, as long as they are relevant for your business.
For example, continuing with the “Photo Tips for Parents” newsletter, you can give away a camera, a subscription to editing software like Photoshop & LightRoom, some books or photography gear, and the options are endless.
You will have to create the actual giveaway using software like KingSumo (WordPress plugin, one-time payment) or RaffleCopter (monthly subscription).
Once you set the prizes and create the giveaway, it’s time to promote it.
To do this, you can:
- Email your existing contacts.
- Outreach to people that have more exposure than you to help share the giveaway (for example guest interviewees to podcasts in the photography niche could help spread the word)
- Ask your friends and peers to share it.
- Outreach to those that have participated in roundup posts or linked to sites that are relevant to the prizes you offer.
If you put the effort into promoting your giveaway, you can get to 1,000 contacts on your email list by the time the giveaway is finished.
1,000 to 10,000 and above contacts
To get to 10000 contacts and above you will need to do two things: continue doing giveaways and start guest posting. Once you have a product to sell you can also do advertising.
In addition to these strategies, you can also do webinars.
Now let’s dive into each of them.
1. Guest Posting
What helped me get past the 1,000 contacts mark was guest posting, which is still powerful today.
You need to be strategic about it if you want to have success.
First, you need to make sure that you can write great content to be able to post on blogs that can offer you decent exposure. You have to show this in the articles that are already written on your blog.
You will have to find blogs that accept guest posts and that have an audience which is similar to yours or that you want to become your audience.
To be successful with your guest post and get more people back to your site and on your email list I would recommend following these simple rules:
- Create a basic guide on your topic that resonates with your audience.
- For your guest post create a more advanced guide on the same subject so that you can link back to the core guide in the content of the guest post, ideally towards the beginning of it.
- Create a bio that is relevant to the topic you are writing about.
- In the bio make sure that you also link to some bonus content that you can offer to people who come to your site.
- Create a special landing page for visitors that come from your guest post. Have this page personalized for the blog where you guest posted and give people the option to signup for your email list to get the bonus content.
Webinars are a good way of expanding your reach, especially if you have good speaking skills and can engage your audience through video. I can’t, for example.
And the strategy to have success with webinars is to create a sales no-pitch presentation that you can present to other people’s audiences.
Consider this similar to guest posts. You find someone with a larger audience, pitch the presentation and hold the webinar.
People on your webinar partner will signup for the webinar and will be added to your mailing list.
They will get excellent content, you will get new contacts, and the owner of the audience will have more content to share. It’s a win-win-win situation.
Advertising is something that you can tap into once you have a product to sell. If you are not selling yet, then it can be a waste of money, because you cannot measure your return on investment.
Some of the channels that you can use for this are Facebook, Instagram, Reddit or Google AdWords.
Ideally, you should choose the channel where your audience hangs out, Because that is where you can get the most return on investment.
One lucrative channel that you can look at is Facebook advertising where you can setup campaigns to get more people reading your content and retarget those that haven’t subscribed to get on your mailing list. Here’s how:
- Target people that are similar to your audience (age, sex, and location).
- Create ads for your most popular content to get even more people reading it.
- Have incentives on your blog for people to subscribe to your email list.
- Setup a new campaign which targets people that visited your site (via the Facebook tracking pixel) and send them to a landing page to signup for your newsletter.
This kind of setup might be a bit complicated for some who are just getting started with Facebook advertising, but I will be happy to expand on it in a future lesson.
Today we looked at how to get from 0 to 10,000 contacts and above by:
- Using your existing network of contacts and friends.
- Creating giveaways.
- Writing and publishing guest posts.
- Partnering with other people and creating webinars.
- Using advertising and Facebook ads in particular.
Next, I am going to send you more advanced email marketing tips. Stay tuned!
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