Oh, the quest to build your email list (from scratch)…
Back when I launched my blog I remember having 4 people on my email list (my boyfriend was one of them) and thinking, how on Earth am I going to grow this list to 1,000 subscribers? Let alone 10,000, 100,000 and 1,000,000…?
It’s going to be impossible!
Now, in the spirit of complete transparency. I have a confession to make.
I didn’t take list building seriously until late 2015 when I was getting ready to launch my first online course, Zilch To Social.
It hurt my sales and my pride. A lot.
Luckily, I course-corrected and over the past year, we’ve systematized the way we approach list building.
Adding 1,500 – 2,000 new subscribers to our email list every single month on autopilot and without using ads has been an awesome start (we plan to double those figures in the next couple of months).
It sounds totally weird to share that fun fact because only a couple months ago adding even just 100 new subscribers for free and without doing any kind of kahuna promotion felt like a marketing fairytale dream.
All this to say, if you’re trying to build your email list from scratch, there. is. hope.
I promise that building your email list gets way easier once you pick up momentum… So how do you pick up momentum?
By approaching list building as a business system rather than a one-off strategy.
See, around here we’re all about teaching you to invest in building business systems that yield results consistently rather than one-time ploys that wither and cost you more time, energy and effort in the long haul.
Your job is to follow the steps AND stick to the plan (even when it feels like your list growth is moving a turtle-speed).
Ready? Let’s do this thang.
HOW TO BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST
STEP 1: CREATE A FABULOUS (AND HIGHLY-CONVERTING) WEBSITE OR BLOG
Create content yo! It’s the name of the game because you get to give people an excuse to visit your site and learn from you.
The internet is a busy place (sure you’ve noticed) and your prospects are getting bombarded left and right with sales pitches.
So if you are trying to build your list on autopilot, creating content gives you the ability to not only stand out from the crowd but really build a relationship with your prospects and prep them for the sale.
Here are some ideas to start putting out consistent content on a regular basis…
Start A Blog (#duh)
Blogging is one of the easiest ways to start delivering value to your audience (and bribe them to visit your site more frequently and hope on your email list).
Not to mention, it can help your web visitors share your content so you can get discovered by even more like-minded folks.
Launch a Podcast
They’re all the rage right now and it’s no surprise!
Podcasts can get you an insane amount of exposure + help accelerate the relationship-building process because all of a sudden your subscribers realize that you’re an actual person
Funny how that works, right?
Launch a Video Show.
Whether it be a live show on Facebook or Periscope or a pre-recorded show like I have over on YouTube (#KimTV), video is hot and it can accelerate that know, like and trust factor WAY faster, not to mention it can give you insane exposure.
PROTIP: Whether you choose to launch a blog, a Podcast, a Video Show or a combination of all three, always publish (or embed) that content on your website so you can bring people back to your hub and get them to sign up for your email list.
STEP 2: CREATE OPT-IN INCENTIVES (AKA LEAD MAGNETS) TO BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST.
Ah, lead magnets! The holy grail of list building (especially if you are trying to build your list quickly and effectively).
We’re going to be dedicating an entire episode just to lead magnets next week (#tease #staytuned) but for now know that lead magnets are a must in order to build your email list from scratch and ultimately, have it grow on autopilot.
So where do you get started with creating highly-converting (and profitable) lead magnets?
Use the steps below to research, validate and create lead magnets that actually entice the right audience to download your lead magnet.s
1. What are your ideal client’s pain points? What are they struggling with?
You can reference the questions you get asked the most for hints on what people really need help with.
2. If you have an existing blog, check out which blog topics are really popular and start creating lead magnets around those topics.
If you’re starting from scratch (meaning you don’t have an audience yet), use tools like BuzzSumo and Quora to search keywords and browse through questions related to your niche or industry so you can get a feel for what people are sharing in your industry via social media and what popular questions they are asking.
3. Talk to your existing clients / future prospects and run a few lead magnet ideas by them.
Getting your lead magnets validated is insanely important. Especially when you’re just getting started and you don’t really know your audience very well.
Remember, we want to make sure that you’re attracting the right audience so that you can build your list with quality prospects (that want to buy what you are selling).
Now that have a lead magnet idea, it’s time to develop your lead magnet and start promoting it!
Here are some key locations on your blog or website where you should place your lead magnet opt-in opportunities.
- Have an opt-in form above the fold like Kris Carr.
- Use Popups / Exit Pops Like BirchBox.
- Include Your Lead Magnet In A Widget / Sidebar Ad Like Me.
- Create Ads Or Widgets You Can Display In Your Content Like Neil Patel.
- Create Stylish Scroll Mats Like Lewis Howes.
PRO TIP: Create opt-in incentives related to your blog posts and promote them inside your content. These kinds of lead magnets tend to convert way higher since your readers are already accessing your blog posts because they are interested in that specific topic.
STEP 3: USE SEO TO DRIVE ORGANIC TRAFFIC TO YOUR SITE.
Okay, so now that you have your blog content + your fabulous lead magnet, it’s time to optimize it for discovery (SEO, yo!).
Remember, more eyeballs on your content = more opportunities to capture leads and build your email list.
So without getting too technical, here is how SEO works.
You’ve heard about THE Google, by now right? (Right?!). Platforms like Google and Pinterest (yes, Pinterest is also a search engine) rank their content based on how relevant or useful it is.
Then, they pair that content with the keywords people are using to search for content.
So it’s your job to help point Google and Pinterest in the right direction.
You do this by optimizing your content pieces (aka your blog posts) with keywords or keyword phrases.
And because your goal is to have your blog posts rank at the top of Google and Pinterest when visitors search for your topic, you want to go about this in a strategic way.
Here’s how to do it.
Step #1: Use Keywords.
If your blog post (or content piece) talks all about how to remodel your kitchen on a budget, your keyword might be ”remodel kitchen” or ”remodel kitchen on a budget”.
To determine which keyword to use, simply head over to the Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush and start adding your keywords.
These sites will give you tons of data on which keywords are getting the most search volumes (meaning people are searching for them frequently) and how many people are currently using those keywords to rank on the search engines (competition level).
Step #2: Once you have your keyword, you want to add it to the following areas of your blog post.
- Your Headline
- Your Subheadline
- A Few Times In the Body of Your Content
- Images and Media Alt text
- Post Title
- Post Meta Description
If you won a WordPress site, this is way easier because you can use the SEO Yoast plugin to guide you through each step.
PRO TIP: Share your blog post on Pinterest and use keywords there too. Add them to your blog posts’ title (you can enable this via rich pins), on the image, your pin’s description, and your general boards.
STEP 4: USE SMART TRAFFIC TACTICS
Now that you have an awesome content, a dope lead magnet, and some serious SEO juice, it’s time to supercharge your list building efforts with some free traffic.
Now, here’s a disclaimer.
This part is WORK.
Especially if you are just getting started and you want to build your email list QUICKLY… but it is oh, so worth it!
Remember, you want to get as many eyeballs to your content and your lead magnets as possible so you can entice them to sign up for your email list.
That means we have to get pretty serious about getting some exposure and driving traffic.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Create a no-pitch webinar and reach out to influencers who’s audiences may benefit from it
- Pitch yourself to be interviewed in relevant Podcast
- Pitch yourself as a guest blogger
- Supercharge your social profiles
- Start a podcast or a YouTube channel
- Hustle on Pinterest and join popular boards in your niche
- Get active on Facebook & LinkedIn groups
PRO TIP: Create an exposure plan and outline every strategy you are going to be using to get more traffic and exposure.
STEP 5: CREATE CONSISTENT CONTENT (WITH INCENTIVES).
The tortoise always wins the race.
Remember that when you start to build your email list. #superimportant
Why? Because the fancy, ninja strategies we’re all hyped about will only be responsible for a small percentage of your success.
What really gets you results is showing up, week after week like the professional that you are to serve your people in BIG ways.
So how exactly do you stay consistent and why does it matter when you are trying to build your email list?
I wrote about my own struggles with consistency here & how I approach consistency in my business but when it comes to list building it’s all about planning your content out in advance and doing so strategically.
So there you have it. 5 steps to build your email list from scratch.
Don’t forget to download your list building check list below and leave me a comment below with your biggest takeaway from this blog post.
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