Susan was an cosmetologist who had recently opened her own salon. She’d heard the expression “the money is in the list” several times but she wasn’t sure what it meant. What exactly was a list and why was there money in it?
Fortunately, Susan had a marketing coach (me) who answered her question. I explained to her that this expression refers to a “mailing list”. A mailing list is a list of people who have shared their email address with the informed consent that they will receive messages from you.
A mailing list can be quite profitable, which is why you may have also heard the expression that “the money is in the list”. But exactly how lucrative is having an email list?
According to Constant Contact, businesses typically see $42 in profit for every $1 spent on emails. This means that a mailing list is one of the most profitable business assets that you can develop.
Why Does Email Marketing Work?
Email marketing is effective because an email address is similar to having an ID. It’s necessary to do almost everything online. From joining social media sites, leaving reviews, or even browsing Pinterest, an email address is required.
Many people have more than one email account. Often, people have email addresses for work, personal, and other projects.
Email marketing works because almost everyone has an email address, and they check it daily. Some people even check their email multiple times as a day as their device dings and sends a notification that there’s a new message.
Isn’t Social Media Just As Good?
You may hear some marketers and business coaches tell you that email marketing is dead. They will encourage you to be on social media.
The problem with this approach is that you don’t own the contact information for your followers on social media. This means that if you ever have your account cancelled for some reason beyond your control, you have no way to get in touch with your followers. You’re stuck rebuilding your audience all over again.
But with a mailing list, you have contact information for your subscribers. Even if you get kicked off a social media account or your website goes down, you still have a way to make sales and continue to bring in additional income.
One email address is more valuable than 50 likes on your Facebook page.
To get a mailing list, you need to sign up for a list service. This list service will store the names and email addresses of your subscribers. There are many good services out there. For the money, I recommend (and I personally use) Constant Contact because it is so much more than just email - it is also a complete marketing dashboard, where you can manage your social media and even your website! Click here for a free 60 day trial.
Can You Add Your Friends, Family, and Contacts to Your Email List?
Once you have an account and set up your list, you’ll need to get subscribers. You might think this is as simple as looking up email addresses online and adding them manually. You might even think you can take the email addresses of contacts in your address book and add them to mailing list.
However, the idea behind an email list is that subscribers are on there with informed consent, meaning they entered their email address in a form on your website or blog. This means you cannot simply import your address book to jumpstart your new mailing list.
It’s also important to note that many countries have specific spam laws you must follow. If you don’t follow these regulations, you could be fined. If you live within the US, familiarize yourself with the CAN-SPAM Act.
How Do You Get Subscribers on Your List?
In the early days of the internet, you could put a form on your website or blog and ask visitors to subscribe for updates. But thanks to the creation of spam messages, many people don’t like to share their email address anymore. This means you need to find a way to get people on your mailing list by offering them something valuable in return.
Some websites offer exclusive discounts. Others offer free content such as an eBook, report, or video course. The important thing when offering a free gift is to make it relevant to your website.
For example, Stacy teaches art classes. For her opt-in gift, she could offer a report on pet care. But the problem is these subscribers who are looking for pet care tips aren’t looking for art classes.
You want to make sure that your free gift matches what you plan to offer later on. If you want to sell low carb cookbooks, then a short 3-day low carb meal plan is a great free gift. It’s relevant and it’s likely to attract the kind of visitors who will go on to buy your cookbooks.
What Is an Opt-In Page?
The best way to get visitors to share their email address is to have a dedicated opt-in page. This is sometimes called a “lead magnet page”. But don’t let the name confuse you—it’s still a free gift you’re offering subscribers.
Ideally, your opt-in page will be short with just a paragraph or two describing your free gift, a screenshot of the gift, and a place for visitors to enter their email address.
Remember that this page should not have your normal navigation area. In fact, the only option for visitors should be to sign up or click away. This distraction-free approach makes it more likely that you’ll get subscribers on your list.
What Makes for a Good Opt-In Gift?
A good opt-in gift is one that helps your visitors reach their goals and encourages them to explore your offers. For example, if you’re a money coach that specializes in helping entrepreneurs get their finances in order, then you’ll want to offer a worksheet to overcoming money blocks. The worksheet could then reference your low-cost webinar on the topic of healing money blocks.
When you have a good opt-in gift, it naturally leads your subscribers onto your next offer. This offer can be a free or paid resource, depending on what works best for your audience. Some people may need to consume multiple free resources from you before they’re willing to make a purchase.
Your opt-in gift will work best if it’s something short and easy to consume. Consider offering one of these gifts to your visitors…
- A worksheet
- A checklist
- A planner page
- A list of tips or hacks
Most of these gifts are easy to make and don’t require a lot of time to create. In fact, your worksheet could be as simple as 3-5 questions. Use a template from a site like Canva and you have your opt-in gift created in minutes!
How Do You Turn Subscribers into Customers?
Now you have an opt-in page with an amazing gift. You have a mailing list service and you’re starting to see a tiny trickle of new subscribers. You’d like to turn them into paying customer as soon as possible. But you’re not sure how to do that.
Start by helping them get to know you. Remember that people buy from people who they Know, Like, and Trust. A newsletter is a great way to nurture the relationship with those who have opted in for your freebie. In each newsletter, include some helpful information, show a little bit of your personality, and introduce your other product or service offerings.
Your email service will include insights and analytics that will help you to understand who your most engaged subscribers are and what your most popular products are. You can use this information to develop special offerings for those people and move them even further into your sales funnel. As you become a more advanced user, you can create ongoing campaigns using an auto responder segmented by where, when and how a prospect signs up for your list.
I firmly believe that the most important way to earn money, practically on demand, is to build a healthy email list full of hungry prospects. Make it your goal to fill your list so that you can market your products and services repeatedly to your audience in a more direct way. Your business WILL go to the next level!
To your success!
Laura Olson-Oxley is an entrepreneur, coach, speaker, marketing and business consultant, and sales professional. She has over 25 years experience working with small businesses in a variety of industries, focusing on strategic business growth through effective marketing and advertising. Also a strategist, numbers nut, project manager, and life-long learner, Laura looks at the big picture to analyze and recommend the most effective tools to take businesses to the Next Level.
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