How to build and engage an email list?
You’re on the right track! Most people just ask about how to build a list, not how to send emails that the subscribers like so they click links, buy your stuff, etc. You need to approach it from both angles, or else you’ll just build a big list of people who don’t know, like, care about, or trust you.
As digital marketers, we all want to grow an email list while also getting as much profit as we can from our subscribers. A smaller but well-engaged list is much better than a bigger inactive list. Customer engagement/list engagement comes on its own if you build a list that consists of subscribers who are actually interested in your product/service, and then regularly stay in correspondence by giving value and forming a personal connection.
Let’s discuss more.
Being an affiliate marketer for a long time, I consider email lists an essential bedrock component of any online operation. It’s worth mentioning here list building comes with a lot of initial hurdles. For beginners, it can be pretty daunting.
After coping with those struggles, I have found a way to reduce my headaches with the List Warrior(LW) method for list building. LW teaches the basics of list building and suggests one particularly effective way of doing that. The bonuses it offers, like autoresponder training, help to engage the subscribers of your email list.
That said, LW is mostly focused on building a sub count, and only slightly on engagement. For engagement, I would actually recommend the early sections of DotCom Secrets by Russel Brunson. I’ve reviewed that book on my site as well, and strongly recommend it to any email marketer.
Anyways, here are a few list building tips for you:
#1 Double Opt-In: Get every subscriber on the list through DOUBLE opt-in. This means that not only do the subscribers put their information into a form and click submit, but they also aren’t a confirmed member unless they click a link in a confirmation email. Most email services put serious limits on what you can send to someone if they aren’t double-opted in, mainly due to GDPR requirements. Make sure to set up a reminder through a redirect page or submission message, something like “Thanks! Please check your email now to confirm!”
#2 Make multiple awesome sign up forms: Sign up forms always work for building email lists. It is a proven strategy to get subscribers. However, the earliest steps of list building are the most important. If you have different contexts, different offers, different welcome series for subscribers who came to you through different means, you should really use a different sign up form for each. Takes a little more work, but the congruency helps reduce the bounce rate on those landing pages.
#3 On a similar note, have a specific CTA (Call To Action) for each landing page. It shocks me that people still don’t get that you have to tell people to subscribe if you want them to subscribe, and you have to give a reason. The most classis reason is when offering a free gift, such as an eBook: “Tell Me Where to Send Your Free Book” works like a charm. Clearly ask, and tie in the submission of the form with the desire of the thing you’re offering. Never make the button text something neutral like “Sign Me Up” It’s weird and doesn’t create excitement.
#4 Create a popup (technically it’s called a lightbox in this case) for each web page of your website as a smaller version of your landing page’s sign-up form. Trigger this to show up when a person seems to be mousing over to the close button or back button. If you don’t like lightboxes, design them so that they only appear the first time a visitor reaches your domain, so they don’t annoy them afterward. The point is to show it at least once to re-grab some traffic that was about to leave.
As for list marketing, engagement, whatever you want to call it, that’s a much bigger topic. I’ll just give you one essential point: email regularly.
I’ve seen two models that work with email marketing, where everything else hasn’t:
1: Email every day. New content, value-heavy, but not too long. That’s right, every single day. Many people feel nervous about messaging people once a day. The reality is that if your emails are coming from a place of giving value and caring about these people, about sharing a mission or a passion (which they should be), once per day is no problem. I could go into how that all works, but it’s an enormous topic. Feel free to comment if you want more on that.
2: Emailing once per week in a newsletter format. Warning, for this to work, you need to be in the content business. For instance, if you run a website like College Humor, that site gets videos, articles, and images posted all the time. Since daily updates would be impractical, it makes sense to have a big weekly update newsletter covering the most popular recent content produced in the week.
If you want an example of how this is done, check out Girls Chase. Sign up for their email offer. You’ll get an email once per week that has a very specific format, but their business does very well, so I assume that’s the best way to do it. Really, the easy and simple choice is to just do a format where you comfortably email your audience once per day. But this is another option.
Short version: unless you’re a celebrity, don’t think you can get by emailing your audience less than once a week, and even that only makes sense in certain situations. Email frequently, and give value all the time. Be like a friend who sends something funny or interesting every day to help their buddy get through the workday. That kind of relationship is what helps your audience know, like, and trust you.
Most email lists I am subscribed to now email me once a day. I don’t open every email, but I open a good number of them that draw my attention, and seeing their names in my inbox all the time makes a difference. The frequency gave me more chances to understand what they’re all about and grow to like them.
How do you come up with stuff to send every day? Well, it helps to think of it like seasons of a TV show. Take a single topic and create a series of emails that tie together in a sequence. People do this all the time when launching a new product, releasing a 5-10-email series that markets this new thing. Once that’s up, they move on to emails about something else, anything that ties into what the subscribers care about. So really, all you need is 3-5 good ideas for sequences and you can come up with all your emails for a month.
I don’t want to get too specific with any examples, since I could be thinking of a totally different niche than yours, which could make things confusing. But hopefully, you’re seeing where I’m coming from.
By the way, you don’t need to get TOO literal with the concept of sequences. I’ve seen people make that mistake, where I sign up for an email list and the first email feels like I opened to a random page in a book. Remember to still make each email understandable to someone who just signed up. Continuity should be implied and explained as needed. And always, always have a welcome sequence autoresponder. Use this to tell your story and establish expectations in the audience.
money on it. If I were to suggest a specific method for list building, so that you keep the subscribers engaged, then I would suggest LW plus DotCom Secrets. If you’re really itching to spend money and want something crazy thorough, try Email Income Experts.
At the basic level, engagement comes from frequent outreach while serving valuable content. If you just keep that single concept in mind, and keep growing your list, you’ll do fine.
I know this is a lot, so please feel free to reply to me if you have any questions.