Can You Have Too Many Goals?

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning in circles with too many goals? Are most of them conflicting? Most likely you have too many goals - too many things you are trying to accomplish at the same time. I htink this is very common among small business owners - we all want to do everything and do it now! The good news is, you’re not the only one who feels that way. It's very common, and you can solve the problem.

Here are some things you can do if you’re overwhelmed with goals.

Look for overlaps.

Sometimes there is a natural and logical relationship between goals. Suppose you want to get healthier and to have more leisure time. Making time out for active leisure like tennis or running will accomplish both goals at once.

Sometimes two goals seem to be in direct opposition to each other, like wanting to grow your business and having more time at home. In this case, write out both goals and next to each of them write out why you want to do each of them. You might find that what you really want (need) is to work less hours. In this case, your real goal might be to hire an additional team member. Or, you might discover that you can satisfy your desire for more time at home with some long weekends. Get to the root of the goal, and the rest will work itself out.

Make the time.

We tell ourselves there are "only so many hours in a day," and that we're "too busy" to take on anything else right now. Your time is precisely that – yours.  When you're running a small business, it often feels like the business is running you - I get that. Start small by blocking out an hour or two each week to work exclusively on the tasks needed to achieve your goals. It's amazing what progress you can make when you set aside small amounts of time to check things off your list!

Bottom line: We find the time for the things that matter.

If you feel overwhelmed, you may be trying to achieve too much at once. Step back and look at your goals. If you're doing too much, it's time to reprioritize.

Lauren Mackler

Be flexible.

It’s a good thing to put a timeline together and have definite dates and time-sensitive goals. But remember that life happens, and often it even gets in the way. There is an ancient Greek saying that goes: “If you want to make the gods laugh, tell them your plans.” Having milestones and plotting points along the timeline is good, but don’t hold yourself to it so rigidly that you cannot adapt to the occasional curveball. Don't abandon the whole plan when you hit a snag - regroup and pick up where you left off.

Find What Matters Most.

If it feels to you like you have too many goals or if the ones you do have are fighting each other, then find the true importance of each one. That will help you determine what’s most important to you right now. From there, narrow down your list to no more than five goals to work on. The rest can wait. Then work on one goal at a time. By concentrating on the ones that mean the most to you right now, you’ll put those goals into perspective, until they don’t seem like so much anymore.

To your success!

Laura

A Small Business Owners Guide to Setting Meaningful Goals  

You’ve spent time and energy growing your business. When it comes to work, you cross one finish line after another. Sure, you get a daily sense of accomplishment, but you can also hit “the arrival fallacy” - where you enter into a state of sadness after reaching a goal. This state can bring you to a halt.   So, what’s the solution?   Luckily, you can avoid this state and feel the motivation to keep going! The secret is in continuous goals that get you excited about your business and bring meaning to your life.    

Effective goals help you focus on what’s important - your desired result/achievement.   Consider this: When you have goals you are achieving. When you have no goals you are merely operating.

What do you want to achieve in the future?

Most small business owners think about goals only in terms of the numbers: more sales, more customers, more money. That's okay if numbers are what motivate you. But what if you want a more fulfilling and rewarding business life? How do you set meaningful goals - the kind that makes you want to jump out of bed each morning?   Try these strategies:  

  1. Think about what’s important to you. Go beyond business: what work/life balance do you want to have?
  2. Consider: family, community life, service, spirituality, fitness
  3. How can you shape your business so that it supports your work/life balance desires? What’s your objective? For your best results, the objective should be inspirational, ambitious, and qualitative. It should describe an outcome that you look forward to with excitement.
  4. Think about your business plan. How can your business best support the lifestyle you want?  
  5. Consider both your immediate and long-term goals.
  6. Use measurable benchmarks (“key results”) to track progress towards each goal. Key results are measurable and quantitative. The key results are the specific, measurable part of the goal-setting - the steps that make things achievable. What key results will you need to hit in order to achieve your inspirational objectives?
  7. Set 3-4 measurable results based on growth, performance, revenue, or engagement. How can you bring that into your daily, weekly and monthly routine/activities? What tasks need to be done on the micro scale?
  8. Make quarterly and annual time deadlines for your key results.  

Ask yourself: what is the one thing you can focus on that will have the biggest impact on your business and on your life? Make a plan to maintain this focus in all aspects of your planning.

Check in with your goals in a timely manner  

Embrace the Process

Setting goals doesn’t have to feel like a chore! Let yourself dream. Imagine your best, most satisfying life. What do you do each day? What would your perfect day be like? What are you feeling? Who are you with? These are your inspirational goals.   Then, determine specific actions you can take that will lead you to these goals.   Lastly, follow your plan and enjoy the results!

Do You Have A Growth Mindset?

Do you have dreams and goals that you haven’t achieved? Are you frustrated and overwhelmed? If so, you’re not alone. Sometimes, it feels like there are a select few people who reach great heights – and then there’s the rest of us.

What separates the people who realize their aspirations from those who always seem to struggle? The difference is that successful people are in control of their thoughts, beliefs, and the way they view the world.

They have mastered the key mindsets essential to success. No one is born with this success-oriented attitude. You can achieve it by uncovering the way you think, mastering new skills and techniques, and taking control of your outlook.

Before you start setting goals for your business, it's important to make sure that you have the right mindset to successfully achieve those goals!

What Is a “Mindset” and How Can It Help?

A mindset is a set of related beliefs that shape how you see the world and function in it. For example, if you have a positive mindset, you focus on the good things and stay optimistic, rather than dwelling on the negative.

Mindset is important because it influences how you act. Your behaviors are based on what you think and believe. We all operate from a certain mindset, even if we’re not aware of it. Mastering these patterns of thought is a matter of choice.

An important thing to remember about mindsets is that they’re learned. You’re not born thinking a certain way, you pick it up from others and from your experiences in the world. This is great news. It means that anyone can purposely transform their mindset.

The Benefits of Having the Right Mindset

Making a mindset shift can have a huge impact on your personal and professional life. Benefits include:

What is a Growth Mindset?

A Growth Mindset is the foundation for all change. Without it, you’ll have difficulty adopting other positive mindsets. If you have a growth mindset, you tend to believe that your talents, intelligence, and skills can be developed through a combination of hard work, effective practice, and guidance from others.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

Here are 5 ways to build your own growth mindset:

  1. Determine where you are now and where you want to be. Be honest with yourself about your current state of business. Write it down - let your imagination and desires take flight to visualize where you want your business to be.
  2. Be a daily learner. Find people you want to emulate and follow them on social media, subscribe to newsletters and blog posts from people you want to be like. Identify the skills you need to develop in order to achieve your goals and make a commitment to learn that skill.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone. This is hard - very hard - especially when you're already busy doing what you do every day. However, real growth only comes when you find the courage to step out of that comfort zone and do things differently.
  4. Start using time blocks. Growth is an ongoing process and requires regular planning, review, and adaptation. Find an hour or two a week in your schedule where you can be alone and quiet to work on the tasks that will lead to growth for your business.
  5. Persevere. Growth doesn't happen overnight; it takes patience and continued diligence to stay on track. You will probably have bad days or even bad weeks - we all do. Don't spend too much time beating yourself up if you get off track - go back to where you left off and start again!

Mindset = Success

Do you set goals and then wonder why you didn't achieve them? Maybe you have the wrong mindset. Having the right mindset is the first step to finding the success you desire!

Collaborate for New Customers

Here’s an easy way to double your income: Put yourself in front of twice as many people who are interested in what you have to offer. Of course that is easier said than done. Getting traffic and exposure is one of the hardest things to accomplish as the internet grows and expands. Sure, you could throw a lot of money at the problem and accomplish it with well placed ads, but that’s not a viable option for most of small business owners.

One of my favorite low-cost marketing strategies is to find other small businesses who work in the same niche as I do and form collaborative partnerships.

A great way to get in front of a new audience interested in what you have to say is to find someone else who’s doing something similar to what you’re doing. In other words, find other small businesses in your niche, or closely related niches and start to collaborate. For example, let's say that you are a massage therapist and have your own spa. You may want to partner up with someone who does health coaching. Your customers are interested in their health and take advantage of the healing benefits of massage. Her clients are also interested in improving their health and are interested in new or different strategies for achieving wellness. Cross-promote each others events and offers, tap into each others mailing list. Co-host an event. Do you see how this could work?

Start small.

Start by opening conversations with the other small businesses who work with the same target audience that you do to brainstorm ideas about how you can work together. A great place to start is to offer to share something of theirs with your readers first. If the business sells a product, ask if you can interview them, or see if they have a special coupon you can share with your readers. By making the first offer of collaboration, you are putting yourself out as someone who wants to collaborate and is willing to give of your time and resources.

Make sure they will reciprocate.

Next, ask if they would be interested in sharing you with their own audience. This is always your end goal! While it is nice to promote other businesses and shows that you are a good community partner, you are also trying to grow your own business and should receive as much as you get. Depending on your business model, there are several different ways to accomplish this. If you have a paid product, or offer an introductory service of some kind, sharing your information with their audience should be a no-brainer. You can also offer to create unique content for the other person’s audience. If they aren't willing to reciprocate by sharing your business with their audience, don't be afraid to move on and research other possible strategic partners.

Keep it simple.

No matter what you decide to do, make it as easy as possible and do whatever you have to do to get your fellow small business owner to email his or her list for you. Using our example from earlier... a health coach could provide a downloadable article or ebook with simple tips for improving your health; the massage therapist could offer a coupon or special service upgrade for the health coach audience. Mentions on social media and blog posts are great, but your ultimate goal should always be to get them to email for you. When they do, your next goal is to get these people on your own list and to turn them into paying customers.

5 Places Your Brand Identity Should be Consistent

Your brand identity is the image your company portrays to the world at large, to your customers and prospects. When people look at your online presence, they should know what you do and that you bring value to the market. When you meet someone at a networking event, your business card should have the same colors and font as the brochure you hand them with the card. When someone walks in your front door, they should know instantly that they are in the right place.

A strong brand identity isn't just for big companies. Small businesses need it as well if they plan to grow and compete in an ever changing business environment. Your brand identity should be appealing to your target market and should be consistent in every printed piece you produce, across every online platform, and in every other way that you interact with the world.

Creating a Brand Standard for your business is easy and inexpensive. If you don't already have one, get one. Then share it with anyone and everyone who works on your company marketing to make sure that they are consistently working within the standards that you have set for your company.

Consistency is important because it brings name recognition. If people see your logo and/or your brand colors online, they will recognize your snail mail brochure when it arrives, and vice versa. When people recognize your identity, your name is always brought to mind, which is helpful when they receive your email or see your social media posts.

Let’s take a look at the five most important places to create consistency in your brand identity:

Your Website

Very often your company website is the first interaction a potential client will have with your business. Make it a good one because people will likely make a 10-second decision whether or not to explore further than your home page. Needless to say, your identity should be strongly represented on that home page so your potential clients will explore further or contact you.

On your website, your brand colors, fonts, logo, and images are vitally important and should reflect your brand identity. If your message is serious and you handle tough problems, using whimsical fonts and cutesy graphics doesn’t meld with the serious issues your company handles. The opposite is also true; if your identity and mission are more light-hearted, using deep, dark colors and traditional fonts might turn people away after they make a quick judgment call.

Your Social Media Platforms

Not everyone in your target audience will use the same social media platform and those reasons vary widely, so it is important for you to post across multiple platforms to reach more of your audience. However, if your name, colors, and logo are different on all these platforms, when someone jumps from Facebook to Twitter, they may not think yours is the same company because the profiles look different. Or if they receive a piece of mail that looks different than the social media profile, they may also be suspicious. Consistency brings recognition and also helps to build trust between you and your clients.

All Company Communications

Letterhead, envelopes, invoices, business cards, and other printed marketing pieces should all have the same colors, fonts, and logo as your website and your social media platforms. Just one more way to show your professionalism and attention to detail - your clients will certainly notice.

Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is still one of the best ways to keep in touch with clients and to keep your company name in their memory. The key is to be relevant with your messages and offer valuable and engaging content. On top of these, create a template (or templates) that incorporates your brand colors, fonts, and logo. Don’t miss a chance to build that trust between you and your audience.

Your Office / Retail Environment

If you have a retail store or a an office where customers come to you, carry your brand identity throughout the spaces that customers interact in. Think about wall color, having your logo as a piece of wall art, the color of upholstery on the furniture, rugs, etc. to carry your brand identity into every aspect of your customer relationships.

Take a little time to look at these five areas in your business and make note of how and where you can improve your brand consistency. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money to get your brand into shape. Incorporate changes slowly if you need to, such as updating your business cards and other printed materials the next time you need to order. As long as you are working toward the end goal of a strong, consistent brand you ARE taking your business to the next level.

To your success ~

Laura

What Exactly Is A Brand?


Marketing folks talk a lot about Branding - a lot. You may have a general understanding of how branding fits into an overall marketing program, but perhaps you've wondered what that means exactly. Some people think branding is like positioning, but it is different. The main difference is that positioning is a fluid concept. In other words, you can position yourself at different times in different markets as different things. Branding is more set in stone- it's a hard-core recognition factor.

Let's use Nike as an example: their branding is very clear - you can see that swoosh and instantly know that it's Nike because it's always the exact same shape and presented in the same way. Where you see a Nike message is the positioning: they will use their brand to position the company to different audiences - men, women, athletes, youth, etc.

Branding is more about the following of rules because if you don't follow those rules, things don't look the same and people won't remember you. When you put out your marketing pieces, you want to create a similar look and feel so that people remember you. And you want that similar look and feel on every thing you put out. If your logo is red and round, you don't want it to be pink and oval because someone distorted it to make it fit. Don't laugh - I've seen it happen!

The good thing is that you get to make the rules…colors the same, style of lettering the same, logo etc. And there is some flexibility as long as you follow the rules. You can't go too far out of bounds, but you can change some things within the frame of what others can still recognize.

"The way a company brands itself is everything - it will ultimately decide whether a business survives."

Sir Richard Branson

Branding in your marketing has to make you feel something.

Your brand should evoke some type of feeling to your audience. Do you want them to feel happy? Confident? Curious? Empowered?

Branding is just like the old coat of arms that families used to have connected with their name. It would instill respect, fear, and wealth - whatever. Likewise, a country's flag gets people to feel a certain way about their country. Think about what message you want to portray. What do you want recipients of your promotion to think about you? What do you want it to say? That you are a fun, easy going company? That you are a serious professional? That your business is all about children? What image of your company do you want to put out there? That is your brand. When people see you continually as one thing, they begin to expect the same from you and they get used to you. It matters: a technology company can't have an old style font in their logo - you might not think they were very far advanced.

Branding is a marketing technique that has the potential to elevate your business to the top. It involves helping your customers to form a recognizable association with you.
Link your business with a design, logo, slogan, and/or color and observe the positive results.

Brands create a feeling of familiarity.

If customers have seen your logo, insignia, or company name, they are more likely to continue to select your product or service. Also, they are more apt to suggest them to others. Referrals through word of mouth can be an extremely powerful form of advertising. The more often they see your branding - through your social media, website, email marketing, printed materials, apparel, etc. - the stronger that feeling of familiarity becomes.

A brand helps possible customers remember your business.

People may know little about your philosophy or reputation. However, if they can recognize your brand, the chances are greater that they will do business with you. Branding creates memory in the mind of the public.

When the public remembers your brand and familiarizes themselves and others with it, they will come back. Customers are more likely to remain devoted to your business and are apt to buy further products or services from you based on the brand of the initial product with which they had success.

Good branding pays off.

People are willing to pay more for products or services that they highly regard. This means that customers are likely to pass up cheaper prices with competitors if your brand has made a positive impression on them. If clients believe in your product, they will pay for it, AND they will tell their friends and colleagues about you!

When you have distinguished your business through branding, your marketing efforts will bring increased return on investment - more leads, more conversations, more sales. Developing your brand takes time and effort, but it is critical to your long term success. Don't let your competitors outpace you because their branding is on point and yours is not!

Need some help? Visit my website at www.nextlevelad.com for additional tips, tools, and resources to take your brand to the next level!

To your success ~

Laura

You Have To Know Where You're At Right Now To Figure Out Where You're Going

Are you ready to take your business to the next level and watch some explosive growth unfold over the coming months? Great! Before you start to plan what you want to do to make that happen, it’s important to stop and look at where you’re at right now.

Business planning for future success is all about data. You can work most efficiently and spend your time and money most effectively if you know exactly where you are starting from. By recording data, you can start to see what’s working, what isn’t, and what trends are starting to play out. And it all starts with recording where you’re at right now.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you want to record. First though, you should decide how you want to record this information.  You can write it down by hand in a notebook, open up a Word document to do it digitally, or use a spreadsheet. I prefer a spreadsheet because I have the option to have it calculate fun additional information like weekly and monthly averages and even map it all out in graphics to help me get a clearer picture.

How Much Traffic Are You Getting?

To grow you need to expand your reach. That means getting more traffic, but also engaging the people that come to your social media profiles and website by encouraging them to click around and read more. On your social media, you want to keep track of the reach and engagement of your posts, and the analytics of who your followers are. On your website, look at total visitors, unique visitors, bounce rate, and of course where the the traffic is coming from.

The Money Is In Your List

Your next goal is always to get these people on your list. Here you want to track total number of subscribers, conversion rates for each of your opt-in forms and pages, open rates for your emails, and also unsubscribes. As you start to collect and review this data regularly, you’ll get a much better picture of your subscribers.

Who is Buying?

Subscribers are great, customers are better. Start by keeping track of how many total customers you have and how many purchases per day, week, and month. Other good numbers to look at are total lifetime value of your average customer, repeat purchases, and refund rates.

What Do Your Financials Say?

Last but not least, look at your bottom line. This is your typical accounting data. You want to keep track of your income as well as your expenses. With those two sets of numbers, you can easily calculate your overall profit. I find it helpful to look at profit for the month, but track income on a daily basis.

Yes, you can look at most of this data in various different places like Google Analytics, your CRM, and your autoresponder service for example, but it’s important to have it all in one place. This makes it much easier to connect the dots and see the relationships between the different sets of numbers.

What Does All of This Have To Do With Marketing?

The best Marketing Plans are data driven. When you know WHO your customers are - their level of engagement with your business through your social media and website, their buying habits, and the profitability of the products or services that you sell, it is much easier to define the strategies and tactics you will use to replicate your ideal customer into new prospects and customers. You will know what content will most appeal to them, when the best time to communicate with them is, how to reach them cost effectively, and so much more.

Now that you have your initial data collection set up, make it a habit to update the numbers regularly so you can see what’s working, what isn’t, and how much you’re growing as you move through the coming months and years. Let the data drive your marketing decisions, adjust your plan accordingly, and watch your business grow!

To your success ~

Laura

Why Planning Is The Secret To Success For The Coming Year

Do you set aside time regularly to plan what you want to do in your business? If it’s not something you currently do, I strongly encourage you to embrace it for the remainder of this year as well as the one coming up. Setting aside time at the end of the year, to plan out what I want to do and more importantly what growth I want to achieve in the coming year has been crucial to my own success. Once I have a clear picture of what I want to accomplish in my business, it's time to put those goals into a marketing plan that will guide the strategies and tactics that I will use to achieve my goals.

Sounds great, right? It is - but it is also hard. Most of the small business owners I meet don't have either a business plan or a marketing plan, even though they know that they should. Here are a few of the reasons I have heard over the years:

• "I don't have time to focus on my marketing."
• "I'm not sure what to do to get in front of my ideal clients."
• "I'm overwhelmed and struggle to be consistent."
• "I don't know where to start."

All of these marketing challenges can be fixed by creating a plan.

Why Planning Is So Important

Let’s start off by taking a look at why planning is “the secret” to success. There are a few different factors that come into play here. The first is efficiency. When you go in with a clear plan, you can focus on what’s most important. Instead of spending time trying to figure out what you should be working on, what pieces of the puzzle are missing from your sales program, or what you need to do to break through to the next income level, you know exactly what needs to come next.

With a clear goal in mind and a plan for the year, it becomes easy to walk backwards to create effective and efficient daily to-do lists. Work on what needs to get done each day and you will reach your goals.

Get Outside The Box

Next, setting a big goal for yourself helps you think outside the box. If you don’t believe me, try it. Decide on a big income goal for the coming month. Write it down. Keep it in front of you. Then get to work and start to notice what happens next. You start to think of things that didn’t occur to you before. You come up with creative ways to get more traffic. You decide to run a fun promo that adds dollars to your bank account. The same happens when an important deadline comes up unexpectedly. Think back on that time in college when finals rolled around, or the last time your in-laws told you they would stop by later in the day. You got very creative about studying and cleaning respectively.

Planning Is The Key To Business Growth

To put it very simply: A marketing plan is the bridge between where you're at now and where you want to be. Planning and setting goals is important because it helps you grow faster. That means you end up with more time and money for yourself and your loved ones while spending less time slaving away at your desk and wondering what to do next.

Help Is Available

Need some help? Visit the Next Level U Resource Library and download my Marketing Plan Template. Don't want to tackle it alone? Call me at 316-223-1921 or email me ([email protected]) to start a conversation about how I can help you through the process of creating a simple strategy, effective tactics for how your business will accommodate growth, and a set of action steps to get it done. I'll walk you through the whole thing.

To your success ~

Laura

Choosing an Email Service Provider: You’re Asking the Wrong Question

Here’s the question that’s on everyone’s mind when they start thinking about mailing lists: “Which service should I use?”

You’ve probably wondered yourself, and maybe even spent a few hours (or days, or weeks) researching your options.

Stop!

This is not the question you should be asking (yet). And it’s exactly why so many entrepreneurs get stuck in the planning stage of list building. Making the wrong decision on your ESP can leave you with a service that doesn't meet your needs, wasting both time and money. To find the provider that is right for your business, you need to do a little homework.

The First Step In List Building

Before you need to think about tools, you must ask yourself this:

“How can I best serve my market?”

It doesn't matter what type of business you have. Your customers and prospects have a need that only you can fulfill. And when you discover what that need is, you’ll have two valuable pieces of information:

  1. What incentive will be a true no-brainer for your ideal client to opt-in to your list?
  2. How can you use your mailing list to provide the best value for those who join your list? 

Don’t over-think these questions, though. Your opt-in incentive can be as simple as a resource guide or a short how-to video that answers a common question. You don’t have to go overboard with dozens of downloads and a 100-page eBook. Rather than providing value, these massive downloads are more likely to overwhelm your reader than encourage them to learn more.

And when it comes to providing value to your list members, keep three things in mind:

  1. Regular communication is a must (consider an autoresponder series if you’re not good with scheduling email updates)
  2. Marketing is second to information—too much selling will cause your opt-out rates to soar.
  3. It’s your responsibility as a thought leader in your market to distill and provide the information, tools and products your audience needs.

What is your list-building goal?

How will you be using your list? Will you:

The answers to these questions will help you determine not only the right tool for your list-building needs, but will also determine the path for your ongoing mailing list content, promotions, and growth.

There are many choices in Email Service Providers. Do your homework (above) and then do your research to make sure that the ESP you choose will make it both easy and affordable to reach your goals.

To your success!

Laura

P.S. I personally use and recommend Constant Contact for both email and social media management. Click here for a free trial.

Why Is the Money in the List?

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…

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