List Building: Branding & Giving People a Reason to Sign-Up

Image for email branding and marketing.Building your email list is a vital part of growing a thriving business online. Your list is the number one key thing you should focus on to grow your business– period.

It doesn’t matter which business or niche you’re in specifically, every business can benefit from having a list. This is something you should start building from your very first day as an online marketer.

For one thing, having a list is Google proof… and every-other-site–proof as well. It doesn’t matter if Google goes poof tomorrow, or the same thing happens to Facebook and Twitter. You will still have your list – something you own.

You are going to use proven traffic sources, such as Google and social media sites, as ways to drive traffic to your list. Your list is your top goal and it’s what’s going to help you earn a great deal of money in your business.

Having a list allows you to build deep relationships with your prospects. They’ll get to know you over time. If they know, like, and trust you, you’ll get more sales. Building a list and interacting with your list members can be a lot of fun… and also extremely lucrative.

Having an Email List Gives You Leverage

Having a list also gives you leverage. If you have a very responsive list, you really have it made online. Notice I didn’t say the “biggest” list – I said the most responsive. That’s because your goal isn’t to have the biggest list.

Having a responsive, high-converting list is all about building real relationships with your target audience. A highly responsive list will outperform a larger list every time. There are many marketers out there who use some underhanded techniques to build their lists and hardly interact with them in the “churn and burn” style… but that’s not what you’re going to do. You’re going to build a real business with a super responsive list other marketers will envy. This will give you a huge leg up on the competition.

How List Building Helps Your Branding

You’re going to brand yourself as a go-to expert in your niche. You are striving to become known as having a particular specialty and area of expertise in your niche.

All the activities you do to build your list will help when it comes to branding. You’ll drive traffic from social media and search sites and leverage the traffic of others, and so on. Great branding equals a great list.

Getting Started with Your List

There are some things you should think about as you start to build your list. I promise that list building is not as difficult as many people make it out to be. In fact, it’s quite a simple process. Where many people fall short is in not following through with the steps and not focusing on it every day.

List building can happen quickly, depending on the method you use. But your list will certainly grow over time and you shouldn’t give up even if it looks difficult at first.

You Need an Autoresponder to Help Build Your List

One of the first things you need to do is choose an autoresponder company. AWeber and GetResponse are both very popular choices. There are other options, even cheaper, but beware of the cheaper ones, as they come with drawbacks, such as not allowing you to market using affiliate links.

Go ahead and look at the pricing and options available for each of those and sign up for whichever one suits you best. You can even get a free trial, but this is a vital step no matter what. Sign up and get started.

Both of those autoresponder companies are fairly simple to use. However, if you’re brand-new to list building, then it can look a bit intimidating. Spend some time with the relevant site’s help documents and contact their help desk if you’re having any trouble at all – I don’t suspect that you will.

After you look at their help documents, go ahead and create your first list. This is the list you will have people sign up for with their email addresses. This list should be named after your brand. Although, you can very quickly create additional lists and segment them or join them together at a later date. For now, just create one.

Then, go ahead and create your first opt in form. At this point, you should have your blog or website up and running. Experiment with getting your opt in form (your autoresponder company will give you the script or code after you create it) on your blog. If you’re using a WordPress blog, there are plug-ins that can help you and are available for free from the plug-in directory. There are also a number of paid tools that often have additional functionality.

Right now, it’s all about playing around with the more technical aspects of list building. You might have some ups and downs as you figure this process out if you’ve never done it before. Know that you can always turn to YouTube videos if you do need help and need to see someone performing actions in person.

Don’t worry about “breaking” anything at this point, since you haven’t actually put anyone onto your email list yet, and before you do, you’ll be able to test using your own email address in order to make sure that you have the mechanics right.

Give People a Reason to Sign-up to Your List

You really want people to sign up for your list once you do have all the pieces ready to go. But they aren’t going to sign up just because you ask them to do so. That’s why I highly recommend you create a free gift to give them.

When people see a great free gift available that they otherwise would have paid for, they will readily hand over their email address. That’s why you should spend some time figuring out what the people of your niche really need and want. You can definitely deliver something that will be very exciting for them and will decrease resistance to getting people to sign up to your list.

Really, it’s not that difficult. You can simply write a report that is really exciting to your prospects – the report only needs to be between 2,000 and 5,000 words or so. Of course, you don’t have to write it from scratch if you’re short on time because there are plenty of other options available.

For example, many marketers go to sites like EzineArticles.com, where you can freely use the articles that are present. Find ones that are relevant to your niche. You have to keep the resource box intact, but otherwise you are free to combine articles and gather them up to put in your downloadable report.

You can also take a paid product that you used to offer for sale and offer it now for free. This is a great way to dust off previous products of yours that already have a built in value and reputation, if you’ve been in the product creation game in the past.

Additionally, you can hire someone to write or create a report for you. There are plenty of writers out there who specialize in product creation and will know what it takes to create a great free offer for you.

But really, it does not take that long to create a free report and you can really be done with that part of things today. Hopefully, you’ve done enough research in your niche that you know exactly what these people need and want… make them salivate over the thought of getting their hands on your free report. Make sure you’re giving them something of great value. In fact, providing value should be your focus for everything you do online. This will help you build your list and it’s definitely worth it.

Create a Squeeze Page to Capture Email Addresses

A squeeze page is the page you’ll send traffic to. Its only purpose is to get people to sign up for your list. This should be a clean, sparse page that doesn’t have any distractions. It typically includes a headline, some bullet points, a call to action, and an optin form.

Take a look at the squeeze pages of some of your favorite marketers to get an idea for what you might want to use. There’s no “right” answer, as long as you adhere to the tips I provided above. These are very simple pages designed to be really enticing to your audience and get them to sign up for your list. Really talk up your free offer and make them crave it.

There are great themes and plug-ins for WordPress that can easily help you create a squeeze page, by the way. Don’t stress about it for now– just create a page you think is nice and then you can test conversions and tweak it over time.

Your squeeze page will not look like a typical blog post page, at least not usually. But you should also include an opt-in form in the sidebar of your blog so that it shows up on every page, in addition to your squeeze page. The more visible your freebie offer and your opt-in form are, the more likely people are to sign up. They might see it a few times before they finally go for it.

Additionally, you can experiment with different exit pop-up plug-ins. That way, after people read an article or start to click away from your page, they will see your freebie offer. This can increase the sign-up conversions since it interrupts the flow. There’s certainly a right and a wrong (annoying) way to do this, so you may want to wait until you’re comfortable with testing different strategies.

You can also choose to put an opt-in form beneath each of your blog posts. Remember that it’s all about visibility and getting as many people to sign up as possible. Often, having an opt-in form with a freebie offer is more appealing than having ads all over your blog. It builds value for people from the start. Not to mention, building your list builds relationships and helps to establish your brand.

Build your brand, build your email list, and give people a reason to sign up! That’s a winning formula right there. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned marketer, this is what you need.

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