Want to know how to build an email list fast? I’m going to attempt to make this article different than most posts about how to build an email list fast. I’m not going to tell you obvious things.
Please note that this part of my FREE How to Sell doTERRA Online Training. If you haven’t already, click here to see the complete training.
I’m going to try to tell you tips that you haven’t heard before about how to build an email list fast. I’m going to try to be more specific because I’m tired of reading articles that are vague and fluffy. I want the meaty details and I assume you do too.
You all know Facebook barely shows your posts to anyone, Pinterest is always changing their algorithm, SEO is hard and can change at any minute and the list goes on and on.
An email list is different. You own your email list and you decide who you send emails to. It’s the closest thing to being in your readers home.
What Information Should You Get?
Don’t get any more information than their email address and maybe first name on the signup form. Why? Obviously, you need their email address.
For a long time I was trying to keep it simple and get just their email address but then I read that if you want to keep emails out of their spam folder, then putting their first name in the email is a good way to do that.
I tried that for a while but felt like my signups went down because people didn’t want to give me so much personal information or maybe it felt like too much work to put in two fields. So I’ve switched back to just an email address. You are welcome to decide what information to get, but remember that less is more.
You definitely don’t need their last name or anything else like that. Personally, I wouldn’t sign up for a mailing list that asked for a bunch of information but I’ll give my first name on desktop but that seems too hard on mobile.
I have about 20 different mailing lists/segments/tags – whatever you call them in your email marketing program. I have multiple blogs and some blogs have multiple subjects so I have a mailing list for each major subject and/or type of reader.
Not all of you have this but by looking at the reasons people have unsubscribed from my mailing lists in the past, the #1 reason was that they weren’t receiving relevant information. If they signed up for my Paleo recipes mailing list, they don’t want to know about anything but Paleo recipes.
They don’t want to know about Vegan recipes or my latest vacation. Some people want all that though so I have one main mailing list that’s the best of every subject.
Autoresponders/Automations/Drip Series Are the BEST!
As you can imagine, 20 email lists could be a lot to keep up with if I was sending an email every few days or weekly by hand to each email list. But how I make it manageable are automations (this is what they are called in ConvertKit so this is what I’m going to call them).
The assumption I make with an autoresponder is that the person who signed up for that mailing list signed up because they read one or two posts and liked them. They didn’t read my entire blog.
They don’t know everything about me, my blog or the subject of that mailing list. Plus, I want to breathe new life into my old posts constantly.
So I start out each email automation with my best content for that subject and/or an introduction to me and my blog. As I write more posts about that subject, instead of sending out a mass mailing to everyone on the list, I just make a new automation at the end of the list.
This way every person on my email list is introduced to the subject in the order I want them to be on an individual basis and I can set it up all ahead of time so after all the work of setting up the emails, I can go on vacation knowing that every person is getting an email once a week and I don’t have to worry about it on vacation.
Plus, people who sign up now will see my old content without me having to churn out new content all the time. That would get insanely exhausting.
I spend WAY more time than most bloggers I know promoting my old content than putting out new content. It’s way easier and to millions of people in the world, it’s new content to them!
Provide Several Options for People to Sign Up
I’ve tried lots of different options of locations. You need more than one location but some locations perform better than others.
Don’t bother with a HelloBar or other such bar at the top. Why? I used one for quite a while but hated how it took up tons of real estate at the top of my blog on mobile and looked tacky.
I was willing to forgive all this because I was getting lots of email signups. But then I really got looking at the stats and I was actually only getting about a .2% conversion rate on the bar. I get between .5% and 4% on my other methods so I decided it really wasn’t worth all the negatives.
I think it’s important to have several places where people can sign up. I’ve found that each location gets .5% to 4% and the percent of each individual location didn’t go down very much when I added more options.
So where do I put my signup form? I’ll list them in order of performance for you:
- Header – my theme has it built into the header to put a ConvertKit email list signup right in the header. This is my best-performing spot by far. I highly recommend this spot. In fact, after discovering this spot I pretty much stopped doing all the other locations I mention below to reduce clutter and leave more room for ads.
- Homepage/eBook – this is a signup form right on my homepage with a link for them to subscribe and get my free eBook.
- Right in the blog post. I copy and paste into every blog post a text blurb that says if they like this post then they can get more posts like it by subscribing to my email list. All my stats went way up when I started doing this. I used to have a fancy, pretty automatic box all formatted pretty at the bottom of every post, but I actually get a way higher response rate with this method – and it’s low-tech (so it doesn’t slow down load times) and easy to add to every post.
- Exit Intent from OptinMonster – This is cool technology that follows their mouse and if they go to click at the top of your screen to try to leave, they will get a pop-up. This is good because you know they are done reading and you’re not interrupting them. It has limitations though. It doesn’t work on mobile and it doesn’t work if they click the back button on their mouse or swipe their mouse to go back.
- Delayed Pop-Up from Optin Monster – See how I said delayed? A huge pet peeve of mine is when right after I get to a blog they want me to sign up for a mailing list. How am I supposed to know if I want to sign up for their mailing list? I have no idea what their site is all about. So, wait a bit. I play around with different times to find a delay time that works well for me. Right now I have it set for a 90-second delay. That way all the people that don’t stick around very long and aren’t likely to sign up don’t even see an annoying pop-up (it’s annoying to them because they aren’t that impressed with your site). I figure if they stick around that long, they may be interested in what I have to say.
Don’t Send Too Many Emails
The #2 reason people unsubscribe from my mailing lists is too many emails. Since I have several mailing lists, I figured it was a good opportunity to do some testing to find out the best frequency of emails.
By an overwhelming majority, the mailing lists that were focused on a certain subject and only sent once a week had WAY less unsubscribes than my main mailing list that was sent every 3 days and had 10 different subjects.
So what’s my solution? I sent an email telling people about all my different mailing lists and I changed the email frequency on my main mailing list to weekly. The difference was dramatically less unsubscribes.
Focus Your Emails
I also make each email about one subject. I have the main subject in the title, a nice image to draw them in and the first few sentences or paragraphs of my blog article and then a link to the blog article.
They are quick and to the point. If they are interested, they will click. If they aren’t, they will delete it. But it isn’t overwhelming.
Overwhelming is bad. If I get overwhelmed, I skip over the emails or unsubscribe from the mailing list. Everyone is so busy and they don’t have time to read long emails from you.
Your Email Mailing List Provider Matters
I have used three different email providers over the last six years I have been blogging and I’m pretty sure I’m going to stick with ConvertKit for a long time, but I have never used or heard of a bad email marketing provider.
They are all pretty good; which one you pick depends on which features you are looking for. You may not need all the features of ConvertKit right off the bat.
This is a good provider to start with because it is free for up to 1,000 subscribers and their free plan includes all the features, such as autoresponders, sophisticated webforms, reporting and full support options – which is just insanely awesome.
They have a good explanation here of how their email automation works. Best of all, their pricing is the best I have seen in the industry.
I’m super in love with ConvertKit because it’s so easy to use. I have tons of forms, campaigns and tags. I can do cool things like when someone first signs up for my email list, I can ask them to choose one of six options that best describes them and when they click the link, it automatically signs them up for an automation/drip sequence and tags them and unsubscribes them from the sequence they were on.
And then, later on, say they click a link to sign up for doTERRA but don’t actually sign up, I can start them on another sequence that’s a bit more aggressive since I know they are interested but not quite ready to sign up.
And I can create segments, which are filters, so I can say things like I want to know people who signed up before this date, clicked the enroll link, are in this sequence and have read this blog post.
Then I can send an email just to those people. It’s a very cool, fun and easy to use program. I’ve tried several other email marketing programs and looked into a lot more complex programs, but ConvertKit is the best, hands down.
Avoid Spammy Titles In Your Emails
One sure-fire way to end up in people’s spam folders is to use spammy words. Words like free, buy, order, earn $, income, money, etc. will get your emails sent straight to spam. Here is an article with a long list of spammy words to avoid.
You should also not have too many images or links in your emails, because then the spam filters will easily be able to tell it’s from a company and they will think you are spamming. Think about it – do you often send images and several links in emails to family and friends?
Clean Up Your Email Mail List Often
The negative part of an email mail list is that it costs money. So in order to make it the most cost-effective possible, I go through and anyone who hasn’t opened an email in the last six months is outta there. (OK. It’s a little more complicated than that. . .)
I don’t want to pay for people who aren’t opening my emails. What a waste of money. But before you delete all those subscribers, send out a “last chance” email to all the people who haven’t opened your emails in the last six months.
I tell people it’s their last chance and ask them why they haven’t opened the emails. Lots of people email me back and say they are just busy but they want to stay on my mailing list and they will open their emails when they have time. Cleaning up your mailing list also improves your stats and improved stats decrease your chance of going to the junk folder.
Your Mailing List Should Pay for Itself
Remember how I said I have over 20 email lists? For most of them, the main intent is to drive traffic to my blog. But that doesn’t necessarily pay for itself in a way that’s easy to measure.
So I have a few email lists whose main purposes are to get sales. But when the people sign up for the mailing list, they don’t really know this. I try to mostly provide value, like say 4 out of 5 emails provide value but then that 5th email really tries to sell them something.
If you’re constantly trying to sell to your list, people will leave in droves. Instead, give them lots of information for free and provide unique content they can’t get anywhere else. Either that or I try to drive them to blog posts that have affiliate links in them.
How About You?
I would love to know what you have done to build your email list fast and what has worked and what hasn’t worked for you. Please comment below and let me know!
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