Those of you who have been on my list for awhile know that I believe the money is in your list. No matter what social media platform catches your eye, your email marketing list is the primary asset that no one can take from you. With this asset, you don’t have to worry about algorithm updates or Panda slaps or any of the bazillion other daily rule changes that occur in social media or SEO.
Bottom line, you need to build a list of email subscribers if you ever want to make any kind of consistent money in your online business. Building an email list is very simple. You sign up for a service such as ConvertKit and create what’s called a sign-up or opt-in form. This form contains HTML code that you can place on any page of your website.
A visitor comes to that web page and sees you offering some type of free gift in exchange for an email address. The visitor enters her name and email address, and after clicking the submit button, the visitor is sent to another page where she collects that free gift. Congratulations! You just added a subscriber to your email marketing system.
In my business, I have followed the one-time sage advice that service-based business owners needed to give away valuable content and information to develop a trusting relationship with prospects so that those prospects would be convinced over time to buy. The great pitfall that you encounter when you do this is that you groom a perfect list of freebie seekers and train them not to buy from you.
I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten an irate email from someone on my list who tells me what a horrible person I am because I tried to sell her something. Mind you, at that time I sent out a sales email maybe once per quarter. That person would then proceed to unsubscribe to my list after berating me a bit more for good measure.
Depending upon my mood on any given day, I might respond to the email from the irate subscriber with something along the lines of the fact that my parents forgot to give me my trust fund, so I was forced to make a living by starting a business and charging for what I do. Guilty as charged — I do play a great Sarcasm Queen.
However, my favorite freebie seekers were the ones who had just subscribed to my list at a time when I had planned a series of sales emails. Those sales emails were the first ones that they received from me, and I was told in no uncertain that I was a really bad marketer and showed poor form because I dared send them a sales email.
To those, I would respond by asking them how many emails they received from brick and mortar businesses that contained only useful information and made no attempt to sell them anything. Most of the responses to that email conversation went along the lines of, “See! You just confirmed to me what a horrible person you are! All you are doing is proving me right.” As an aside, I’ve honestly never received an email like that from a brick-and-mortar biz.
The secret to successful email marketing (and my hard lesson to learn) is to not build a list of freebie seekers but to focus instead on building a list of buyers. A list of buyers is responsive. Building a buyer’s list can be as simple as offering a special deal on one of your products before the subscriber is taken to the download page for your free giveaway. If they purchase the special deal, they get on your buyer’s list.
Whenever you have a new version of your products or have something new for sale, you can offer that to your buyer’s list. Once you build this list, you will realize that these subscribers will be more responsive than your freebie seekers. Generally, freebie seekers are subscribed to hundreds or of lists but there are few businesses from which they have purchased something.
Because this person who is now on your buyer’s list has paid you money, you know a few things about them. You know that they have a credit card, they’re comfortable with using it on the Internet, and they trust you enough to pay you money once. That means they might pay money again if you can deliver on your promises and your next offer aligns with what they need. You’ll also discover that people who actually pay you money will be nicer to you and will have fewer complaints about how you run your business.
A few years ago I decided to try emailing my list three times a week. Essentially what I did was to break up the content of my email newsletter and send it out over 3 short emails during a week rather than one long one. You would have thought I’d committed a heinous crime from the amount of negative feedback I received (and a large number of unsubscribes) stemming from that decision.
After two months of incessant caterwauling from many on my list, I let myself be browbeaten back to one email per week. By retreating as I did, I rewarded all the freebie-seekers on my list and assured them that they would continue to be coddled with copious amounts of free information until they were ready to buy if that time ever came.
In the last two weeks, I have found myself being exposed to different marketers who are emailing their list daily (Connie Ragen Green, Ryan Lee, Marc Mawhinney, Jason Leister, Rebecca Parson). Some I’ve been following for awhile, while others are brand new to me.
Here’s what they have said about cultivating a list of buyers: when they send out emails several times a week, or even daily, the freebie seekers yelled and complained, but people who have paid them money actually thanked them for keeping them up-to-date and continued to buy from them.
I think it’s time to put on my big-girl panties and give this a go again. I apologize in advance if this is going to offend you and forces you to unsubscribe from my list. I wish you well, but I have a responsive email list to build.
If you want to build your own responsive email list, you don’t want to miss this.
Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.
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