Building up your e-mail list is an important step in perfecting your online business strategy. When people subscribe to you, it means that you have effectively given them something of value, otherwise, what’s the point in subscribing at all?
But building up your e-mail list is only the first half of the pie, so to speak. The other half is making that list stick.
I don’t mean purposely catering to various subscriber interests, no matter how remote they may be to your marketing objective, just so you can keep them around.
I am talking about a subscriber list that you can genuinely connect with, and adopting ways to foster that connection so ultimately, both YOU and your SUBSCRIBER benefit from your relationship.
Hanging onto What’s Real
What do I mean by this?
We have our list. Great! What’s the next step? Most of you would answer, “Do everything in our power to keep all of them there!” Well, that’s partly true, but we should qualify this statement by bearing in mind the all-important truth that it’s impossible to please everyone who subscribed to us. The worst thing that we could possibly do – try to please everybody. This kind of mentality is already pre-destined to fail right from the start.
What makes us so unique is our diversity, and it is precisely this diversity that makes some people interested in what you have to offer, and some…well… not.
Consequently, some might subscribe and change their minds along the way, but hey, this shouldn’t be an obstacle. When you are finally able to narrow down that list of yours to the number of subscribers who actually do care about whatever it is that you have to say, then you can work with what you’ve got with ease.
Trust me, this kind of trust and genuine connection is what you want when you’re promoting something, or just simply putting an idea out there in the open for them to read.
Remember, it’s your list, and if they don’t like what you have to say, then by all means, let them unsubscribe!
The Big Three
Now, the question comes to fore, “How do you create a responsive list?” When the time comes to promote something you care about, you’d want your list to be responsive to your cues, because it is only when you’ve got their attention and trust, will they start responding.
There are three ways to create a responsive list, and these are:
1. Your Personality
2. Value and Usefulness
But before going into the details, I’d like to emphasize a point, and that is: never forget that your list is real. No matter how small or big it is, whether you have only one subscriber or a thousand subscribers, never forget that you’re dealing with real people who have real issues.
It is only when you are able to embrace this fact will you appreciate the concepts of sincerity, honesty and empathy: qualities that matter to every subscriber. You’d want them to be able to think about you and say "He cares. He really, truly cares. I should care too.” When they get to this point, they’ll be interested in whatever it is that you have to say.
Think about your typical subscriber - what his or her interests would be, what kind of lifestyle he or she'd have, etc.
Knowing who your typical subscriber is, will help you deal with them on a more intimate level that makes them feel like you understand who they are and what they need.
You see, subscribers respond more when they see you as a friend instead of some virtual being that sends them mail every now and then. When they start warming up to you, they’re more likely to listen to what you have to say. Isn’t that what friends do with each other – listen?
Be conversational with your list, as if you’re e-mailing a friend. One thing that you could do is to draw things from your life and include them in your messages, just to concretize the idea of being “YOU”.
The more real you are with your list, the higher your chances of holding their interest and making them engage.
Another important aspect in relation to this is to live what you preach. By living what you’re preaching, your subscribers are able to associate you and your message or product. Again it is the personal approach which keeps people reading your material and drawing new subscribers.
2. Value and Usefulness
Another way to create a responsive list is to ensure your emails are both valuable and useful. This means providing something of substance, but delivered in a useful manner that engages your reader to keep on reading until the end.
If you provide value without usefulness, chances are people won’t remember you in the long run. Some might even think that you’re lecturing them, and they might find that insulting.
Online marketing is all about being remembered, and how that’s going to work for you and for the products that you’re going to eventually sell or endorse.
In reality, many potential followers are looking and ready for change. You need to be able to give them something that would make them go "Oh really? That’s an extremely valuable and useful thing to know". When an idea is delivered in such a way, it sticks.
3. The Clicking Habit
Next is to develop in your subscribers the habit of clicking on something. Every email you send should have some sort of call to action and be designed in a way that get them to click on something. Don’t send the content directly to your list; make them click on a link that gets them to where you want them to be.
The usual mistake some people make is that they send a message that’s made up of pure information, with nothing for the subscribers to click on. This is just passive participation on their part, and you don’t want that. You can’t be remembered that way.
You want active participants. The simple act of clicking on that link you provided leads readers from passive to active participants in your venture., That is exactly what you want. The when they get the next email they will be ready to click again.
Also, you want them to get used to the fact that eventually, you’ll be promoting valuable services or/and products to them. Early on, drop the idea of selling or endorsing stuff - You're still in the trust-building phase.
All For One And One For All
The last point about creating a responsive list that I want to emphasize is about building a sense of community, of a tribe.
You want create a sense of belonging in your list. Everybody just wants to be part of something: something that would make them feel important and needed. That’s basic psychology. We all just want to belong. When you’re able to harness this need in people, they feel like they’re going to lose something big if they unsubscribe. That’s the kind of feeling that you want to create.
The Art of Building Interaction
There are a lot of different ways to do this. You could, for instance, invite them over to your site or wherever it is that you want them to go. I don’t mean that figuratively. I mean literally invite them over! This makes them feel like you care enough about them to actually make such a request.
Another is to ask them to comment (if it's available on your site). The message conveyed is that you value them enough to want to hear what they have to say. Another way to do this is to ask them to reply to your email. This also conveys the same message, but once they do reply, make sure to reply personally as well. This creates the connection between you and your subscriber that you want when the time comes to promote something you care about.
Or you can end your post or email with a question. You could ask them, “What do you think?” or “What’s your take on this?”. This makes them feel valued and at the same time encourages them to leave a comment to be heard.
Another thing that you can also do is promise something in exchange for a comment or social sharing. Let’s assume you've just finished writing a free eBook about something that people are really interested in. By ending your post with , “Wanna download this eBook? Like and it will be delivered to your inbox" you make take action irresistible.
All these foster interaction and engagement. The key to doing all of these is commitment and consistency. The more little steps you get someone to make, the more likely they are to follow through on the big things. Likewise, the more committed they are to your list, the more responsive it becomes.
Sending Live Broadcasts VS. Autoresponder Series
As an online business coach, I often get asked what is better, sending out a live broadcast to subscribers or setting up an evergreen follow up messages that automatically sent out after a certain number of days?
Before I answer this question lets review each option.
Option A: Sending Live Broadcasts: A broadcast is an instant email message. You can send it out to your subscriber list immediately or you can set a date and time that you want the email to be sent. The main disadvantage is that once it has been sent out to the people on your list anyone who might subscribe after that broadcast will not see it.
Option B: Auto-responder series: An auto-responder is a follow-up email that you schedule to go out after a certain number of days from the day a subscriber first opt into your email campaign.
So for instance, if you schedule a follow up email to go out on day seven then every new subscriber who signs up to your list will receive that email seven days later. Everyone from then on will receive the same series.
So which one is better?
My first choice is always an auto-responder. The advantages are obvious: The process is completely hands off and on autopilot. Each subscriber will eventually receive all of your messages regardless of when they join.
However, that does not mean you can not send live broadcasts from time to time. That way, you can include current events in your messages (such as a product launch) and by doing so, give your subscribers a “live” feeling to the work you do.
The Blog Broadcast Option
Another option that is available to you is the automatic broadcast option which allows you to automatically send your subscribers an email each and every time you've posted a new article. I only recommend to use this option if you maintain an active blog.
If that is not the case, the better thing to do whenever you publish a new article is to manually email your list announcing that a new post is open for viewing, with a link to that post that they're going to have to click in order to see it. This way, you build up their curiosity, and that action of clicking on your link proves that you've played with their imagination enough to make them want to know what you've written.
Whichever option you decide to choose, the important thing is that you provide value to your list with each and every email.
First, choose an email sending strategy. Decide which types of email you’ll send to your email list, in what frequency, and in what order. You can always change it as you go, but it will give you some structure to work with.
Second, write your first message to your list using the follow-up feature. Here's how to do it in Aweber:
Note that creating a message in your email service provider platform is very similar to writing it in your own email program. There are some additional options, such as templates and click tracking, but for now, simply write your message. You can always get back to this option later.
Your next step is to create an attractive opt-in offer and publish it on your site. Keep the good work!
Tal Gur is a location independent entrepreneur, author, and impact investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has set the stage for his new mission: elevating society to its abundance potential.