Time and time again people cry the sky is falling…and that email is dead. But email has stood the test of time and continues to be the killer app online.
The most recent “scare” was how Gmail priority inboxes would kill email. Nope. Didn’t happen.
We’ve been told numerous times how social media will replace email. Nope. Hasn’t happened. In fact, one of the best uses of social media is to bring people to your freebies (such as your blog) and then get them on your email list.
What if they charge for email sometime in the future? Oh the horror!
So what if they do? That would simply mean you’d check your email lists to see who doesn’t open or clickthrough the emails to remove them from the list over a period of time. You’d only send emails to those who take action on them.
We are seeing more and more businesses move to offline mailings to customers in addition to email, but email is still the primary relationship builder and customer generator online.
So the question becomes…how do you grow your list in 2010 and beyond?
Below at 8 tools I’ve seen help my clients and/or I to grow a list faster…
1. Checklist/Cheat Sheet
I used to recommend ebooks as a good gift for subscription, but people don’t get through them anymore. They’re reading less than ever before it appears. And the number one problem you’ll find in a majority of markets is overwhelm. There is so much free content out there they can’t keep up with it.
So today I recommend your freebie go the opposite direction. Create a SHORT cheatsheet/checklist of just 1 to 4 pages in total length. If you absolutely need to, you could go as long as about 10 pages, but that is really pushing it.
Tell people what to do in this quick guide with no more than about a paragraph for each topic. Refer readers back to your other free materials, blog posts, email lists, and one paid product.
If you do an excellent job, they will keep it, refer to the other materials you recommend, and potentially buy your paid course…along with passing this freebie on to others.
2. Training Video
This is similar to the above and can go along with it. Video is hot. Instead of a written report, give them a video that outlines the basic steps quickly…and points to other videos or a video course for deeper information on the major points.
A lot of people would prefer and use the cheatsheet/checklist instead, but this could be added as another element…and you could even share the video without an email registration and have them register to get the cheatsheet.
3. OptinPop Blog Popover
Most everyone I know says they dislike popovers, yet in every split test I’ve done they’ve dramatically increased email sign-ups….sometimes by as much as 10 times the response of not using one.
You can install a popover easily on your blog by using a free plugin such as http://bigsellingoptins.com
I own the paid version of the software and it allows you to rotate popup boxes for better conversion rates and test different approaches. Plus it gives you a code to install on the thank you page so subscribers don’t receive the popup in the future.
4. Slide In Ad
Do you find a popover too in-your-face and want another solution that isn’t quite as aggressive but still generates subscribers for your blog or website (this can be used on any kind of site)?
Then you want to try a slide in ad. You can find out more about these here: http://www.beatspopups.com (disclaimer: I own this site).
5. Squeeze Page
If you’ve been building a list, then you likely already know about this method. But I still have to mention it as this is the primary list builder for any paid traffic I generate.
Paid traffic is NEVER sent to my blog. Blogs are great for delivering content, pulling in social media visitors, and ranking on the search engines, but they don’t convert as well as direct response pages. So all paid traffic is sent to a squeeze page such as http://www.theterrydean.com. The only goal there is to get the subscription. One page + one goal = best response.
This is another subscription strategy that generates much higher than normal subscriptions to your list.
A good example of this can be seen at The PerfectBizFinder Entrepreneurial Strengths survey (aff link).
You’ll receive your custom Entrepreneurial results after filling in the survey automatically. This format produces a much higher conversion rate on the site than just a normal “here’s your freebie” type of gift.
7. Membership Site
Let’s say your main offer is a membership site. You could create a “free version” of your membership site which people subscribe to get a portion of the benefits.
You see this with software sites all the time. There is a paid version and there is a free version you can register for…and begin receiving emails intent on upgrading you into the paid portion of the site.
You could even integrate this free version into your WordPress site and protect some of your posts to subscribers only.
Hold a free webinar. In this webinar dedicate a portion of the time to teaching the subject and make an offer for your product or service.
Have people sign up for your list WHEN they register for the webinar. Then you could even offer the webinar to JV partner’s lists…building your subscriber list for each new registration.
This serves multiple purposes…you build your relationship deeper on the webinar than just email alone while growing your email list AND making sales.
Which Strategy Should You Use?
Which strategy above should you use…the one that’s right for you. I know that sounds like I’m ignoring the question, but the reality is you want to find something that fits your market, your passion, and your offer. It’s unlikely you’ll use all the tools above, so take time now to put ONE of them in place for the upcoming week. Take one strategy or tip out of this article and use it to double or triple your email list.