I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times already, but the key to your business success is building an subscriber email list.
BUT, not just any old list of emails. This should be a list of your ideal prospects, who have given you permission to contact them, and who are (ideally) actively reading and responding to your emails.
Ah, now it’s just gotten a little more complicated.
Despite all the noise and hoopla around other marketing platforms (podcasts! Instagram! Facebook ads!), having the ability to send an email out to your targeted list of ideal prospects is still hands down the best way to make sales.
That’s why it’s still a key foundational piece to growing a successful business.
However, there IS bad news—it’s getting more and more difficult to both build that email list AND keep your ideal prospects engaged on it. Lists are burning out and dying at a really high rate.
Luckily, there is good news, too—there’s actually big opportunity in that bad news … IF you’re willing to put in the effort.
So, let’s go through my five steps to building a responsive subscriber list.
Step 1. Be willing to show up and build the relationship BEFORE you get the email.
Old and busted: Ask for your ideal prospects’ email, so you can start to build a relationship with them.
New hotness: Build trust BEFORE you get the email address.
Think about your own email habits. You don’t just give your email away to anyone, do you? When you do, it’s likely because you REALLY want the free gift, and/or you have been following the expert for a while, and you resonate with his or her teachings. If that’s the case, you probably genuinely want to see the emails he or she sends out.
The days of easily building an email list are over. People have burned one too many times. They’ve gotten on too many marketers’ lists who bombarded them with sales emails while providing very little content or reason to pay attention, and they’re checking out.
But this is also where the opportunity comes in. Use social media platforms to show your expertise and your generosity. Use your blog to showcase your content and depth of knowledge.
Let people see and interact with the real you.
The more transparent you are on your blog and social networking platforms, the more your ideal prospects will resonate with you (and want to get on your email list).
Chances are, if they like what they see, they’ll decide to opt in to your list. And, when they do, they also likely won’t be so quick to either jump off or tune out as someone who comes in cold.
(As a bonus, you can use your social media to still stay in touch with folks who DO jump off your list. Yes, being on your subscriber list is ideal, but even if they’re just following you on Facebook or Instagram, it’s better than having them check out completely.)
Step 2. Give your subscribers what THEY want (not what YOU want).
Look, we all know why you’re building an email list. Because you want to sell stuff.
And, there’s nothing wrong with that.
But just because you want to sell stuff doesn’t mean your subscribers want to be sold to.
Think back to what I just said about why they got on your list in the first place. They didn’t get on your list because they wanted their inbox filled with emails from you trying to sell them something.
However, IF you make it worth their while, they may be willing to give you a chance.
And the way to start that process is by building their trust—so they can trust that you aren’t going to violate why they joined your email list in the first place, and that you will make it worth their while to read your emails.
One great way to do this is with the very first email you send them, which is so important, it deserves to be its own step.
Step 3. Create a kick-butt welcome email.
The very first email you send them should set the tone of what they can expect from you.
It’s fine if it’s long. You’re setting intentions and creating a container.
Welcome them to your community. Let them know what they can expect. Give them access to more resources and content (hint: this is a great place to let them know about your blog or podcast).
You may also want to consider following this initial email up with a short ecourse. For instance, when folks join my list, I send them a free five-day copywriting ecourse. (If you want to see this example, you can join my list by scrolling to the bottom of this post.)
In addition, make sure you showcase your personality and tone. You want people to immediately get a sense of who you are so they can decide if they want to stick around to learn from you. Giving them a sense of your personality is a great way to do that.
Step 4. Use content to connect.
As I’ve talked about in other posts, creating content as part of your regular marketing duties is super important.
But not just any content.
Content that connects with your ideal prospect.
So, what does that mean, exactly? It means you’re creating content your ideal clients WANT, and even more specifically, that they want from YOU.
Look, there is tons and tons of information out there. The Internet is littered with content. So, why on earth would your ideal prospects pick you to provide it to them?
That’s what you want to reflect on.
What do you bring to the table, that special spark, that your ideal prospects are craving?
It’s likely something to do with your specific perspective on a topic. Maybe it has to do with your story, or how you explain things, or your sense of humor. Or maybe it’s a combination of things.
Whatever it is, make sure it’s there in your content. THAT is what will help your ideal prospects connect with you.
Step 5. Don’t be afraid to sell periodically.
As much as I love giving content, if you don’t occasionally make an offer, you end up training your subscribers not to expect an offer from you.
And that’s bad.
Here’s the thing: If you’ve done your job properly and provided solid, good content in a manner your ideal subscribers want, then they’re more than happy to sit through a sales pitch once in a while.
They get that you’re in a business and need to make some money, and it’s not going to offend them.
BUT, if you never make an offer, they will gradually “forget” that, so when you finally do ask for the sale, they won’t respond.
So, occasional offers are a good thing. (I recommend a two-thirds content to one-third offer ratio.)