I recently received this great question from Patrick, a member of our community who runs a business offering professional picture and mirror hanging.
Do you have any suggestions for getting people to sign up to your list? What kind of thing is compelling enough to offer? I’m offering free tips at the moment, but it doesn’t seem to be getting much interest at all.
If you’ve been baffled by how to get more people onto your email list, this one’s for you.
1. Who is the one person you want to sign up?
Yes, I know you want hundreds – even thousands! – of people giving you their email address, but ironically, the most effective way to achieve that result is to focus on just one human being. Your ideal client. The one you’d love to work with. The one who’d be excited to see your name in their inbox.
Let’s say Patrick’s ideal client is called Vanessa; she’s a 45-year old academic who’s two weeks away from moving into her new home in Lewes. She’s thoroughly stressed out by the move and one of her concerns is that her art collection, part of her inheritance from her beloved grandmother, will take a battering. She’s keen to get her new home ship-shape as soon as possible so she can focus on settling into her new university lectureship and inviting her colleagues over for cups of tea.
Who’s your one person? Go into this kind of detail – and more.
2. What does that one person want?
You want to grow your email list.
This one person isn’t the slightest bit interested in your “email list”. In fact, the key to inspiring people to sign up to your email list is to stop thinking about your email list.
Your ideal client isn’t walking around thinking, “Gosh, I’d love to join another email list. That would really make my day.”
They are thinking about their challenges, needs, desires and yearnings. They’re thinking about themselves.
So, what could you offer – for free – that would help them a little bit towards resolving their challenges and attaining their desires?
Vanessa might well want tips on how to hang her pictures and mirrors. Let’s imagine her spotting this on Patrick’s website:
FREE GUIDE: Top 10 tips for hanging your precious artwork and mirrors
The specificity makes the content feel valuable and actionable. Can you picture Vanessa entering her name and email? Can you see her receiving the download on her iPad, opening up the PDF and skimming the tips? (And realising it’d be far more sensible to hire Patrick to take care of the hanging for her…!)
If you’re not sure what free content might appeal to your community, here are some examples of what I currently offer, in addition to these weekly blogs. (Feel free to scoop up any you don’t already have.)
All this content is free, high quality and specific in that it meets a particular pain-point or desire-point in one of my ideal clients. When you create free guides and trainings, they’re easily shareable on social media. (Please feel free to do so if you think your friends and colleagues will benefit from any of these.)
What kind of free content does your one person want?
3. What are they giving you permission to do?
So, let’s say Vanessa gives Patrick her name and email so he can send her the free guide. Has he got her permission to do anything further? Was there any reference to how frequently, if at all, he’d show up in her inbox after this point?
For content marketing to work, it’s about building relationships over time, so ideally Patrick would make it clear he’d be back in Vanessa’s inbox every week or two, sharing other useful information.
Think laterally for this; in Patrick’s case, perhaps he regularly shares case studies of furniture placement in beautiful grand homes, or shares tips on various aspects of the moving or renovation process.
How regularly will you stay in touch with your person, after they’ve signed up to your list? What valuable content will you continue to share with them?
4. Is it clear how they sign up?
Often, sign-up forms are hidden away on a sidebar. Instead, make it super-easy for your person to leave their name and email.
For example, on this site, you’ll see a sign-up form prominent at the top and bottom of every page, plus it’s there at the foot of each blog post.
Where can you place your sign-up form?
(And if you’re not sure how to set up an email list in the first place, here’s a free step-by-step guide for you).
So, to grow your email list, as with all things marketing, the key is to consider the experience from your ideal client’s perspective. Give them what they want, be generous, and once they’ve come to know you and trust you, your paid-for service will be their next logical step.
Over to you
Do you have an email list? How do you grow it? What action step will you take now to ramp up your list-building efforts? Leave a comment below, let us know.
There’s a whole module in the Turn Your Passion to Profit course dedicated to how to build your email list. This popular 10-week online marketing training course is due to start again in September; click here to get front of the queue.
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Corrina Gordon-Barnes 2014
Want to inspire people to sign up to your email list? Stop thinking about your email list – @CorrinaGB