Email list building is one of the pillars that hold up a successful business, especially for those of us doing business almost entirely online.
We want a great list. Bigger the better, but high quality too. I view my list as a community of people I'm in relationship with. Serving and engaging with them is high in my set of priorities. Adding new people to the community is always on my mind and the primary way I make that happen is by offering them something free.
My free gift can be as small and simple as a set of printable worksheets or as complex as a series of specialty webinars with special guests. My focus is always on being useful. If the gift isn't applicable or inspirational, there's not much point in it, right?
My Community List Is Growing In Four Ways.
The Primary Offer.
Start with what I think of as my ‘primary offer'. This will usually be featured on the top of my right hand sidebar. I'll also have a landing page for it that I can drive traffic to directly. I aim this offer into a ‘wide appeal' range, looking to woo in as much of my market as possible.
Promotion Specific Lead Generation Offers.
Have other optin offers going at times, related to the product I'm focused on promoting. These have a tight focus with a goal of making an impact and call to action.
I'm totally ok if it doesn't appeal to everyone. It just has to gel with the right people. Most often it's a Webinar, but sometimes it's a prepared audio/transcript set with worksheets. I set up landing pages for these and mention them in relevant content – or drive traffic to them with Facebook ads, or through affiliate partnership.
I will provide a helpful perk that matches my podcast or blog content perfectly, all a reader/listener has to do is subscribe to get instant access. Over time, you can have a lot of these working for you. I don't try to create one for every item of content, but keep my eye open for creative opportunities.
Because I have lively affiliates promoting offers, it's not at all unusual for me to gain a customer who has not already been on my own mailing list. It's a great benefit of running the affiliate program.
More Offers = More Opportunity To Accurately Communicate
If you've only ever focused on one offer at a time, start creating other targeted offers like I've described. You'll love the added community growth and discover it's easier to make relevant offers when you know a specific topic appealed to them in the first place.
But Wait, Are People Actually Burned Out On Free Offers?
This topic came up for me recently and I asked a curious question on social media.
“If you came across a free gift offer on the web that grabbed your attention, you were interested in the topic/resource and you did NOT sign up to get it, what contributed to your ‘no' decision?”
Answers flew in and one of the top reasons given for passing up on an offer was ‘time'.
This is super valuable input for all of us. We can offer something for free – but we can't provide the ‘free time' required to take advantage of it.
Another reason given for saying no to an offer: Being asked for too much information. Getting more data from a new subscriber increases the value – or does it? Several friends admitted to faking phone numbers to get to the free gift on the other side.
This won't surprise anyone. A huge reason for letting an offer go by is fear of getting ‘spammed'. Of course, it isn't technically spam – but many feel the free gift isn't worth the onslaught of marketing emails to follow.
I don't run into these offers much, but several mentioned being turned off by being asked for a credit card to claim a free gift – or being asked to pay for shipping. (Eeks, why?!)
Knowing This, We Can Do Smart Things:
#1: Less is More.
Offers like access to a ‘Resource Library' or ‘Giant/Complete/Exhaustive Guide to Everything' are not going to appeal as much as it once did back in the early 2000s.
Tighten up your writing. If you can teach them what you've promised in three pages – don't fill 30.
#2: Describe The Resource Accurately.
If it's only going to take 12 minutes to watch the tutorial, tell them and highlight what exactly they're going to gain in that time.
#3: Resist Asking For TMI.
All we really need to be able to deliver a gift and kickstart a relationship is an email. Having a first name is great for personalizing emails. Beyond that, additional requests reduce the number of new subscribers. I personally believe a more valuable offer is worthy of extra information – but make sure your market agrees!
#4: Have A New Subscriber “Warm Up” Sequence.
When someone says yet to a free offer, have a plan to follow up with auto-responses that create an engaged relationship with them. Don't hammer them with broadcasts while they're in this warm up phase. Let them get to know you and become used to your rhythm of communication.
Truth Is ONLY SOME People Are Burned Out
The longer a person has been in the online marketing space, the more they're ‘onto' the strategies and yes, they get burned out.. Don't let their jaded experience overly influence what you do going forward. There are new people venturing into our markets every single day and they're wide eyed and hungry for what you have to offer.
Don't let the idea that ‘everyone is burned out' creep into your thoughts. It will poison your motivation and shut down your flow!
Personally, I subscribe to very few email lists. I consider the email relationship a sign of extreme interest, so unless I feel it – I don't do it. When someone does make a compelling offer, I gladly give them my information. I'm either in or I'm not.
I assume the same of my Community. I treat every new subscriber as someone extremely interested in what I have to offer and pursue the relationship accordingly.
I invite you to take the same attitude.
Build those relationships and make those offers! (Love People + Make Money!)
Free List Building Training
I've got a free training, the Keep Your List Growing Webinar, that digs deep into having multiple optin offers. If you want to see examples and get ideas, register for free here.