I must admit, even though I know it is wrong I have not put a lot of effort into building my email list up until recently.
Why? Well, I convinced myself that it was a little old school. That it wouldn't be something my readers would be interested in. But I was wrong.
You see, most traffic comes from outside sources. Sources including Social Media and as a result, we have absolutely no control over it.
Algorithms are constantly changing and it is becoming much harder to reach your audience. As a result so many business owners and bloggers are realising that the best way to reach their audience is to contact them directly through an email list.
It's very unlikely that the Social Media giants like Facebook and Twitter are going anywhere anytime soon but when it is not guaranteed that your content is reaching those that want to read it. Realistically, considering 80% of small businesses use Facebook to promote their services, how much longevity is there if these businesses vote with their feet. And what happens if it does go? Well... a whole chunk of your audience potentially goes with it.
This is why it is important for you to take a step back and start building your email list TODAY!
How To Build Your Email List From The Ground Up
Create Your Own Website or Blog
I know there is the temptation to think that, like a mailing list, websites are old hat. This couldn't be further from the truth. For most people, when they find content from someone they enjoy watching on, let's say YouTube. They check for a website so they can find out a little more about them.
Once they are on your website, you then have the opportunity to draw them in even further. How? By letting them get to know you better. Giving companies for information about yourself so they can decide if you would be a good fit to work with. Showing people that you are serious about what you do.
This doesn't mean that you have to set up a big, elaborate website. You can start with a landing page and an about me page and that should be enough.
Also, by embedding content for your podcast or video channel, you are creating more links to your website which in turn helps with your SEO and driving more people to your website.
TOP TIP: Make sure you are hosting your content on your own site. Whether you are creating video content, music, a podcast or a blog, bring your audience to you. By doing this you will drive traffic to your blog and there will be a higher conversion rate.
Tempt Readers In By Using Lead Magnets/Opt-Ins
I will cover this in a little more depth in a later post. Basically, you need to give people a reason to join your mailing list. If your content is absolutely amazing and informative then a lot of people will be happy to sign up just to be notified of new posts. The others will need a little something extra.
This is where lead magnets or opt-ins come into play. All you need to do is give something to your readers in exchange for their email address. This something could be a helpful checklist, results to a quiz that you have designed, an email course or swipesheet, etc
Already Have A Blog?
If you already have a blog, check out which posts are your most popular and create an opt-in for that particular topic. Remember to keep it simple though. Your readers want you to solve one of their problems, they don't need to be inundated with loads of other information too. Stick to the 'Keep It Simple' method and you can't go far wrong.
Just Starting Out?
Just starting out and putting content together? No problem! The best advice I can give you is Quora is your best friend! Browse questions related to your niche for ideas on both blog posts and lead magnet ideas.
When all else fails, and you can't figure out how to approach it or have too many ideas, all you need to do is ask your friends and family for advice. Even better, get on social media and ask your current and potential customers!
TOP TIP: Use your blog posts to help you decide what kind of lead magnet you create, then promote within the content of that post. Your readers are already interested in that particular topic. By giving them something that will expand on the topic they are reading about, they are much more likely to sign up.
Use SEO To Increase Traffic To Your Site
You could be writing the best content in the world and have the most amazing incentives for people to join your mailing list but without letting people know who you are, they won't find it.
You need to be shouting from the rooftops and letting everyone know who you are and what you can do for them. The best way to do this...
Search Engine Optimisation!
When you have a question that you need answering, how often do you just type it into Google and find the information you need? That is exactly what your audience in waiting is doing so you need to do what you can to get yourself ranking.
Basically, you need to let the search engines know how useful your content is and you can do this by following these steps:
Keywords are super important because they tell the search engines what your post is all about. Take this post, for example, it is all about building your email list so it makes sense that my keyword phrase would be... Yep, you guessed it! 'Building your email list'.
Ideally, you want to go for a phrase that contains 3-4 words and is specific to what your post is about.
If you are writing a post about Instagram engagement you can use the keyword 'Instagram engagement'. However, if your post is aimed at beginners then 'Instagram engagement for beginners' narrows it down even further and allows the search engines to categorise it better.
Correct Keyword Placement
Once you have your keyword phrase, you need to know what to do with it. There are certain places that you need to put your keyword, these are:
- In your post URL
- At the beginning of your post title
- Also, in at least one of your subheadings
- Add it to your content - make sure it is used in your opening paragraph and then scattered throughout the rest of your content
- Place it your meta description
- In your image title and alt text
TOP TIP: Use an online program like Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush to find the best keyword phrase to use. You want something that has a high search rate but low competition for it to be most effective.
If you think this bit is going to be easy, think again!
So you've written some amazing content, developed a lead magnet that everyone wants and you've SEO'd the shit out of your post. What next?
Well, this is where you need to focus on gaining even more traffic to your website and increasing those email subscribers even further.
To do this, you need to make yourself as visible as possible. The internet is a huge place and trying to get noticed is like going to a Halloween party in 2017 dressed as Harley Quinn... everyone's doing it! You need to somehow find a way of standing out amongst everyone else so what can you do?
- Social Media is all about being social so get active and interact with your potential audience
- Find bloggers or other websites in your niche and leave thoughtful comments to entice their readers to come and check you out
- Start a podcast or a YouTube channel
- Find relevant bloggers to collaborate or work with
- Pitch yourself to be interviewed by a relevant podcaster or YouTuber
- Pitch yourself as a guest blogger or contributing writer
TOP TIP: Pinterest is a search engine too and can really help with growing your traffic if used correctly so design vertical pins for your posts that are pinnable and share to Pinterest. Have Rich Pins enabled and make sure you use your keywords in the Alt text so it helps gain exposure on the platform.
I cannot express enough if you only take one thing away from this post... This is the most important!
It is also the one that I used to struggle with the most.
Ultimately, you want to build a relationship with your readers/customers. You want to connect with them. What better way of doing that than to show up, week after week and deliver awesome content!
If you can't commit to posting every day (who can, unless they have a team behind them?) then don't stress. Just pick a day and post once a week. Not sure you can commit to once a week, well how about every other week? It's up to you, you just need to be able to plan ahead and stick to it.
TOP TIP: To keep yourself on track, create yourself an editorial calendar or content planner. You can do this however you prefer, personally, I like to use a combination of Trello and Asana as it allows me to track individual tasks.
And that's it!
So there you have it.
Now, what are you waiting for? Go put these tips into practice and start building your empire NOW!
Haley is an online entrepreneur specialising in branding and digital media marketing. She has spent the past 7 years working with local businesses and organisations and helping them increase awareness of their brand and ultimately, increase sales. Haley set up The Boss Babe Empire to encourage others to follow their dreams. With the help of a supportive, knowledgable community, her aim is to offer inspiration, motivation, guidance and support to other female entrepreneurs.