6 Simple, Effective Ways to Grow Your Email List (That You Can Set Up in 10 Minutes or Less)
By Liz Willits March 30, 2016
Learn 6 ways to grow your email list and convert website visitors into leads in this guest blog post by our integration partner, Leadpages.
The following is a guest blog post written by Kat Von Rohr, a Senior Campaign Owner at Leadpages, a landing page platform that helps businesses grow by collecting more leads and driving more sales. Kat designs and manages all new promotional campaigns for Leadpages while still finding time to help people conquer their marketing challenges through writing blog posts and strategizing with customers in person. You can follow her on Twitter at @katvonrohr.
If you’re reading this, you already know how important your email list is.
After all, you’ve been in business a while. You know you’re supposed to build an audience of excited fans who can’t wait to buy your next product or service.
You’re well aware that you should spend more hours, days, months … maybe even years painstakingly building up your list so you can reach those thrilled would-be customers as soon as you hit send.
But frankly, you just don’t have that kind of time to devote to building your list. Right?
The good news: You don’t have to spend weeks or even hours setting up the tools that will grow your list. No matter what you’re doing in your business (even if you’re running the whole show yourself), you can take some practical steps right now to start growing your list in the next ten minutes.
Today, I’ll show you six simple yet effective ways to do just that.
#1. No website? Fix that fast. (Yes, in the next 10 minutes)
For the past two years, I’ve been a copywriter for one of the fastest growing startups in Minnesota, Leadpages. Since 2013, we’ve gone from zero to over 40,000 customers.
Among other things, Leadpages creates landing page templates that allow our 40,000 customers to grow their email lists and sell their products and services online.
I’ve watched Leadpages members grow their lists in almost every industry imaginable using a simple landing page as their temporary (or sometimes not-so-temporary) website.
If you’re starting at square one, you can use a landing page like this to start growing your email list in minutes—even before you have a permanent website to drive traffic to.
What You Need: A single webpage with a powerful headline and call-to-action button that gives away a high-value piece of content or “lead magnet” in exchange for your subscriber’s email address. Plus, a traffic source like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
For example, let’s say you’re a fitness trainer looking for new clients. You might create a landing page like this one below to grow your list of potential clients.
Estimated time: I created the page you see above in five minutes using Leadpages. The time it takes you will depend on the tools you use to build landing pages—you have options ranging from simple software to WordPress to a traditional design and development process.
Pro tip: Once you post your page, share it in as many places as possible. For example, tweet your page, post the link in your Twitter description, share it on Facebook, add it to your LinkedIn page, add it to your blog or online bio, add it to your email signature, etc.
#2. Ask subscribers to join your list the second they reach your site
You’ve heard of “A.B.C.”— always be closing? Well, if you have a website, you should be “A.B.B.”— always be building (your list).
That starts from the moment a new web visitor clicks on your website for the first time.
You can do this by turning your homepage into a Welcome Gate page that immediately asks new visitors to join your list. Or you can place a call-to-action button or subscription link on your homepage. Ideally, you should add this button or link above the fold so your new visitors don’t have to scroll down to see it.
For best results, try linking your call-to-action button to a pop-up lead capture form as non-profit marketing expert John Haydon has done below.
What you need: Your home page, a call-to-action button or link and a pop-up lead capture form.
Estimated time: You can set up a lead capture pop-up form like this Leadbox in less than five minutes using Leadpages. Then, it should take another five minutes to add the link to your home page.
#3. Capture leads within your content
The last thing you want is for a potential customer to come to your site, fall in love with your blog or podcast content and then leave and never come back.
That’s why you need a mechanism in place to capture these leads and turn your blog readers into email subscribers and potential customers.
That ideal mechanism is known as a content upgrade.
A content upgrade is a special kind of lead magnet. Think of it as a bonus piece of content built to complement an individual blog post, video or podcast episode. Visitors can take in the original content with no strings attached, then opt in with their email address to get the content upgrade.
Over the last two years, content upgrades have become the new industry standard for blogging and lead generation.
Top bloggers like Noah Kagan, Neil Patel, Mariah Coz, and Brian Dean all use content upgrades to grow their lists in their blog posts. So do top companies like Buffer and Shopify – and you can too.
For example, Femtrepreneur founder Mariah Coz recently wrote a blog post about how she built her business on relationships. As a content upgrade, she used a Leadbox to give away her “Friendship and Relationship Building Map,” as you see below.
In the same way, you can start using content upgrades to grow your email list from every new blog post, video or podcast episode you create.
What You Need: A blog or other form of regularly published content, a second related piece of content to use as an upgrade and a pop-up lead capture form.
Here are some content upgrade ideas to get you started:
- PDFs of your blog posts
- Transcripts of your videos or podcasts
- Mindmaps or process maps to explain the post topic
- Quickstart guides that help readers implement the content
- Infographics that explain the post topic
- Resource guides or lists to help readers take action on the content
- Videos to give step-by-step actions for your content
- Additional content (for example, “100 Ways to Grow Your List” as opposed to the six
already in this post)
Estimated time: Once your content upgrade is created, you can create a Leadbox like this inside Leadpages in five minutes (and that includes a personalized button!). Then it takes another two to three minutes to drop the link into your post to give this content upgrade away.
#4. Take your lead gen offline
Who says you can only grow your email list online?
With the right mechanisms in place, you can take your lead generation offline and grow your list from absolutely anywhere – even when your customers are nowhere near their computers.
How is that done? One way is through text messaging.
Over the last year, Leadpages members have been using our SMS text messaging tool, Leaddigits, to grow their lists from countless places in the offline world.
Here’s how it works: Once you set up a Leaddigit (or a similar text messaging tool), you ask potential leads to text a certain word or phrase to your short-code phone number. Once they shoot you a text, your potential subscriber immediately gets a text back that says: “Thanks for the text! Respond with your email to join my list.”
What happens when you use text messaging to grow your list?
When someone responds with their email address, their email will immediately be added to your email list, webinar list or both. You can also instantly send them a free piece of content as a thank you for joining your list.
Here are some ideas for where to use text messaging to grow your list:
- When you’re speaking at conferences. You can ask the audience to text a certain word (such as your name) to your short code to get the slides from your presentation.
- In your sales videos and commercials. You can add a visual or audible call-to-action to join your list in sales videos and commercials. For example: “Text (your product name) to 33444 to get a 10% discount with your purchase.”
- In your podcasts. At any given moment, your podcast listeners may be listening on their iPhones. You can use that to ask people to join your list. “Text (this podcast name) to 33444 to get the show notes from this podcast episode.”
- In your online courses, training sessions, yoga classes or other events. You can use text messaging to ask your current students to join your list. “Text (my name) to 33444 to be the first to hear about my next class.
- On your signs, flyers, billboards, benches or storefronts. If you’re a real estate agent, attorney, dentist or have a brick and mortar business, you can add a quick call to action to any sign, billboard, bench or storefront to join your list.
What you need: A text messaging lead generation tool like Leaddigits and a way to publicize the call to action to join your list.
Estimated time: You can set up a Leaddigit like this in under 5 minutes.
#5. Grow your list via your strategic partners
Don’t have a list yet, but have great relationships with other business owners in your industry? Then you can use those strategic partnerships to start generating leads.
It’s as simple as asking your strategic partner to reach out to their existing email list to introduce you and what you have to offer.
The best way to start this process is to produce a valuable piece of content that your strategic partners will want to share with their audiences. Ideally, you should ask your partner’s subscribers to join your list to receive this valuable content.
If you’re stumped on what content to create, I recommend offering to produce a webinar specifically for your partner’s audience. This webinar can be as simple as showing up to an online event and answering the attendees’ questions.
A Q&A webinar is perfect because it doesn’t take a lot of time to produce. You can create a short webinar page like this one below in a few minutes.
Hosting this type of webinar forces you to create content on a schedule, without procrastinating. It also gives you a chance to talk with your ideal customers about what problems they’re facing in your industry. This can be invaluable consumer research for your business.
What you need: At least one strategic partner, a valuable piece of content to share with their audience (such as a webinar or free course) and a mechanism to allow your partner’s subscribers to join your list, like a webinar page.
Estimated time: It depends on what content you’re creating. A Q&A webinar with a very brief webinar page can be set up in less than 10 minutes.
#6. Don’t let leads leave your site without asking them to join your list
If a potential customer makes it through your website without opting in to your list anywhere, you need a backup plan to catch them before they go.
For that, I recommend adding either an exit pop-up or a timed pop-up window to only the most popular pages on your website — usually your homepage or blog homepage.
There are two ways to add pop-ups to your site without annoying regular visitors:
- Add an exit pop-up (such as a Leadbox) to your site. This will show up only when someone actually moves their mouse to leave the page.
- Add a timed Leadbox or other pop-up to your most important pages. Ideally, you should only show this timed pop-ups at the best time to turn your web visitors into potential customers.
You can find out what this “best time” is by using Google Analytics to determine the exact number of minutes that your average visitor is staying on your site, and then schedule your timed Leadbox to appear at that time.
Here’s how to do it:
- Go into Google Analytics.
- Look at the average time visitors spend on each page where you’d want to post a timed pop-up.
- Set your timed pop-up to appear at that exact time.
A simple call to subscribe may not be enough to get visitors on their way out to join, but you’re likely to find some takers if you offer a valuable piece of content.
What you need: A website or blog, a timed or exit pop-up (such as a Leadbox), Google Analytics (if you’re using my timing strategy above) and a valuable piece of content to offer on the form.
Estimated time: You can create a timed or exit Leadbox in less than five minutes. Then spend another five minutes checking Google Analytics (if desired) and dropping the pop-up code on your site.
What are you using to grow your list?
I’ve used Leadpages for the examples in this post, but you can use any web page, any landing page, pop-up boxes or other list-building software to get started.
The important thing is to get started. Take 10 minutes right now, and create some mechanism to start growing your list.
If you’re unsure which to try, I’d recommend adding a content upgrade to your most popular blog post or piece of content first.
Before you go, I’d love to hear from you. What mechanisms do you already have set up to grow your list? Have you already tested all six ideas above? Or do you have plans to start? Let me know in the comments – then get started growing your list right now.
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