When I ask other online entrepreneurs about the one strategy they could never do without, their answer is nearly always email marketing. There is a reason successful Internet business owners say, “The gold is in the list.” But many beginning online entrepreneurs put off starting a list thinking it’s too expensive or hard. Not starting a list right away means leaving money on the table. Here are actionable tips that you can start using today.
How to Get Subscribers
One of the best and most effective ways to encourage people to give you their name and email is to provide them with a valuable free offer. The goal is to give them something they feel will make their lives better or help them reach their goals. For example, here at WAHS, one of the things I give away is a list of companies that frequently hire. People who sign up and get the list can start applying to work-at-home jobs right away.
What should your free offer be?
This can be hard to determine. Not only do you need to figure out what to offer, but also, you need to decide how to deliver the information.
Here are some tips to help you create your freebie:
- What does your market want or need? Make a list. For example, many in my market want a work-at-home job.
- Choose one topic from your market needs list and determine how you can solve it. For example, I can solve the need for WAH jobs by providing a list of legitimate jobs.
- Decide on a medium to deliver your solution that works best for you and your market. Some of your options include a report, video, ecourse, blueprint, checklist, consult, etc.
For example, I know that many people coming to WAHS want a work-at-home job, but they have trouble finding legitimate companies. So I made a list of companies that frequently hire. In this case, a PDF with a link to the companies was the best delivery option. A cake decorator might offer a piping tutorial video. A virtual assistant might offer report on how businesses can save money by outsourcing. A life coach might offer a free assessment.
Setting Up the Email System
Because this involves a little tech work, many people get nervous about setting up an email system. In reality, if you can upload files and copy/paste, you can set up your email system. Here are the steps:
- Upload your free offer to your website server, DropBox, Google Drive or whatever online storage you plan to use. If you use a service like DropBox or Google Drive, make sure you set your file so that it can be shared.
- Decide what email service you want to use. I use Aweber and have been happy with it since 2005.
- Once you sign up, create your email list for the free offer. This starts by naming the list, using the default or creating a custom confirmation email (for double opt-in), and writing a welcome email that includes the link to your free offer.
- Create your sign up form. Most services offer templates.
- Get the code for your sign up form. Once your form is made, the service will give you a code. Copy the code, and paste it in the text or HTML option on your website (if you paste under “Visual” or “WYSIWYG,” the code will appear on your site, not the sign up box). If you’re a WordPress user, you can paste the code into a widget sidebar box. If you’re pasting into a page or post, be sure the “text” tab is open.
- Save and you’re done. You should test your form to make sure it works, as well as going through the confirmation and checking the link in your email.
The beauty of email is that you can stay in touch with your subscribers so you can build trust and rapport. These people have raised their hands to say they’re interested in what you’ve got, which means they’re open to knowing more. The trick is to email them in a way that they find value in what you’re sending. If you send ad after ad, they’ll unsubscribe.
What to email your list
Consider adding additional follow up emails to your initial email with the freebie using the autoresponder option. For example, you might send a follow up a day after they get your freebie to make sure they got it and ask if they have questions about it. Here at WAHS, I send several emails that help subscribers learn the basics of working at home, as well as tips to finding what they need on the website.
However, you’re not limited to the autoresponder series you create. You can also send out an email at any time (called an email blast or broadcast). WAHS sends out at least 2 of these a week with WAH jobs, tips and more. Here are a few other things you can send out:
- Your latest blog post. In Aweber, you can have the system automatically email your new blog posts when they go live or at a specified time. For example, you can send a list of all the week’s posts on Saturday a noon.
- Tips or how-to’s to help your market. These emails show off your expertise and can provide value to readers.
- Industry news. This shows you’re an expert to be trusted.
- Sales or discounts exclusive to subscribers. My subscribers get WAHS courses at nearly 50% off simply for being a valued subscriber.While you don’t want to sell all the time, you can send an offer occasionally. In fact, the email offer is where many bloggers and other online entrepreneurs really make their money.
- Give updates or behind the scenes view of what’s going on in your business.
- Answer common questions found in groups and forums of your target market. Again, addressing the needs of your readers gives them value and builds their trust in you.
- Do a reader survey or poll. This gives you feedback on what readers want.
- Highlight a case study on one of your clients by sharing the results they had from working with you. This builds your credibility.
- Interview someone in your industry. WAHS does this every Wednesday (success profile) and Friday (expert tips). It takes some of the work off you, while building your network of influencers.
- Review tools, apps or software that will save your readers time and/or money. Again, many people will want to use what you use to achieve your results. You can even use an affiliate link as long as you disclose your affiliate relationship to your readers.
The ultimate goal with email marketing is to provide value to your readers, as well as establish trust and rapport. The more your readers like and trust you, the more open they’ll be to buying your products or services.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes "Supporting Contributor" posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.