So, you’re convinced … you want to build an email list that engages your readers, builds a relationship, and persuades your audience to take the actions you want?
How do you do that, exactly?
Here’s a quick tutorial with the essential steps:
1. Choose a robust email provider
The first step in building an email list is to choose a solid, reliable vendor to handle your list for you.
It may seem like something you can do yourself, but a third-party vendor will manage relationships with email service providers (making it less likely that your email will wind up in a spam filter), help you comply with all of the anti-spam laws, and give you essential tools that let you measure your email effectiveness.
There are a number of good vendors out there. Look for a solid reputation, a proven track record, and the ability to create multiple autoresponders with an unlimited number of messages (see below).
2. Build rapport with a strong autoresponder
An autoresponder is just sequence of messages that you set up in advance. Every subscriber, from the first to the millionth, will get the same sequence of messages.
Autoresponders are terrific because they allow you to leverage your very best content and keep delivering it time after time. They’re great for building trust and rapport with your audience, and for delivering a ton of value to readers.
You’ll want to keep your autoresponder as “evergreen” as you can, so you don’t have to go back and update it. So don’t include references to current politics, the latest pop culture sensation, or fads.
It’s a great idea to build your autoresponder first (at least the first few messages) so you can start delivering great value with your very first subscribers.
3. Start capturing names
The Generate child theme was designed to put lead generation first, with an opt-in box that’s front-and-center.
Why? Because it’s a proven spot for dramatically increasing sign-ups for your list.
You’ll probably give your readers other opportunities to sign up for your list too, and that’s great. We recommend a landing page set up to walk readers through all the reasons to sign up for your great content. You can learn more about how to do that here:
4. Start producing some great blog content
How do you get traffic so you can start collecting those opt-ins?
By producing excellent content that benefits readers, attracts natural links, and invites social sharing.
By pairing great blog or website content with a great email autoresponder, you build a framework of content marketing that creates a powerful relationship with your readers.
With that working for you, it’s time for #5:
5. Make a call to action with regular broadcasts
You’ll want to start making what copywriters call an “offer” relatively soon.
This isn’t a hard pitch, it’s simply letting your readers know that you have something to offer and you’d like them to take action.
You might ask them to write a letter to an elected representative, to make a change in their parenting style, to try a new hairstyle.
Or, yes, you might ask readers to purchase a product or service.
Asking your readers to do something is called a “call to action” by marketers, and it’s a cornerstone of persuasive content.
A broadcast, by the way, is an email that goes out to all of your subscribers at the same time, no matter where they are in your autoresponder sequence. Because offers and calls to action are often time-sensitive, they tend to be well suited to broadcasts.
The structure for a good offer
If you’re not a “natural salesman,” it can be a little intimidating to make an offer.
But the basic structure is simple.
- Tell the reader what you have to offer — what you want them to do, buy, subscribe to, etc.
- Tell the reader what’s in it for them. What benefits do they gain by taking this action?
- Tell the reader what to do next. Click an “Add to Cart” button, visit a page to contact an elected official, swing by the store to pick up supplies. Be specific about what they should do next.
Copywriting and persuasion are an art you can spend a lifetime mastering, but this simple structure will get you well on your way! If this is a topic that interests you, you may want to swing over to http://www.Copyblogger.com for lots more copywriting and persuasion advice.