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12 Steps Toward Building an Email List That Yields ROI

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When building an email list, your goal should go beyond simply getting subscribers. To start seeing ROI from these subscribers, you want to build a list of people who are likely to become paying customers. This should be the end goal and focus at hand, as all too often, marketers and brands are blinded by big subscriber numbers and not the actual ROI and results that come from them.

A few ideas on how to improve your email results include deleting old email addresses to increase your open rate, asking your subscribers to opt in twice with an activation link to ensure that they’re interested, and including shareable content that will amplify your reach. The key is making every email and every subscriber count.

These 12 entrepreneurs from YEC offer their best advice for building an email list that will actually yield a solid return on investment.

1. Create a Highly Targeted Opt-In Offer

Building an email list starts with people filling out an opt-in form on your landing page. Your goal isn’t to simply get lots of subscribers but to get people who are likely to become customers. To do this, make your initial offer highly relevant and something that makes them want more. If it’s a report or e-book, it should provide value but also pre-sell the product you’re marketing. – Shawn Porat, Scorely

 

2. Make Every Email Count

When your email list is small, it’s easy to neglect your subscribers’ individual needs. Treat each customer interaction as if it’s your only chance to impress them because it could very much be your last if your marketing emails underwhelm your audience. Therefore, you’ll want to carefully segment your list and challenge yourself to create unique and valuable email content worth consuming. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

 

3. Delete Old Email Addresses

I used to think more email addresses were essential to create a great email list. Recently, we trimmed down our email lists tremendously by deleting the email addresses of those who don’t open up our emails for a predetermined amount of times. Our open rate has soared as a result and our spam rate has plummeted; we have a much better score with ESPs too! Main takeaway: More isn’t always better. – Elliot Bohm, Cardcash.com

 

4. Ensure Your Subscribers Are “Double Opt-Ins”

Whenever you start building an email list, make sure you list only “double opt-ins.” This means that after they put in their initial details (e.g. email address and name), they need to click an activation link sent to them by your autoresponder. This extra security step will avoid building up erroneous email addresses and is one way to really increase your list quality. – Alex Miller, Upgraded Points

 

5. Make Your Offer Clear

Avoid generic e-books and white papers. In order to build a list, you need subscribers that will potentially convert into sales. A list of 2,000 subscribers that all have buyer-intent is much more valuable than a list of 100,000 subscribers that are likely never going to buy from you. Calls-to-action and your “bribe” must be crystal clear and include something of value that will attract prospects. – Jonathan Long, Sexy Smile Kit

 

6. Create Shareable Bite-Sized Content

Create shareable bite-sized chunks of content that are relevant to your audience. With only eight seconds to capture a reader’s attention, choose topics that are informative and directly useful. Engaging information and easy to find sharing buttons will prompt your audience to share among their circles, which quickly amplifies your initial effort, building a better list and generating ROI faster. – Peggy Shell, Creative Alignments

 

7. Focus on a Specific Industry

We build our email list based upon the industry because that is more appealing to the reader. We first send out emails to a small group of around 100 subscribers and then measure the response. If we get a good response, we send emails out to the rest of the subscribers. If we don’t get, we adjust our content until we get one. – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

 

8. Set Metrics to Measure

You won’t know your ROI if you don’t set some metrics about how many leads and sales you want to achieve from your email campaigns against the budget you have set and the resources you want to put toward it. Have a list of criteria to measure and the tools to measure so that you can shape how you approach finding people to put on your email list. – Zach Binder, Ranklab

 

9. Segment Your Lists

List segmentation. You want to know exactly where each of the emails in your mailing lists came from. You then want to create different email campaigns based on where each email came from and the type of customer that it belongs to. Sending generalized campaigns to your entire list is generally not the recommended way of doing email marketing anymore. You need to get specific. – Duran Inci, Optimum7

 

10. Get the Right Audience

The most important thing when building a list that converts is getting the right audience and targeting them. Know exactly who your ideal customer is and who is most likely to buy, then focus all your energy on building a list of those exact people. Often I see people build a list of “all entrepreneurs” when their target should be 2% of that – causing spam complaints and low ROE (return on email). – Jeremy Brandt, WeBuyHouses.com

 

11. Link “Giveaway” Ads to an Email Sign-Up

If a business pays for an ad, use that as an advantage to build an email list of the people who are interested in the company/products. Make sure that the landing page of the ad includes an email sign-up that is required before leaving the page. Use that email list to choose a “giveaway” winner and connect with customers moving forward. – Daisy Jing, Banish

 

12. Isolate Your Target Audience

Target audience matters. We had a giveaway with a company outside our field, which gave us many email addresses but few returning consumers. Buying random lists gets a lot of emails, but they might not be real or bring you people looking for your product. We focus on people who want our product and want to sign up with us. – Ashley Ferraro, Dona Jo, Inc.

 

I hope you enjoyed this recent expert round up. If you did, also be sure to check out one of our larger round ups on “how to start a successful blog” with tips for 82 different industry experts. If you’d like to create a similar post like this one, also be sure to check out my full expert round up guide, that is simple enough for anyone to follow and also shows live examples of how other sites are creating these same types of posts to explode their online reach and brand power.

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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Blogging

Blogging Is Not What You Are Doing But What You Are Being

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Phew!

Think this one through.

Blogging is what you are being. Not doing.

Blogging is not mindlessly doing stuff. Oh shoot. You realized something, didn’t you? Blogging is not building an email list. Email lists do not give you success. Nope. Clear, confident, detached bloggers who have fun building email lists and who trust in the blogging process grow big, responsive, profitable lists….over time. What does this mean?

“Over time” means you do not panic, flip out or bail on blogging, if you calmly build a list and have fun doing it, for a long time, and see the appearances of little or no growth. This is BEING a successful blogger; having fun, trusting, being patient, taking the simple, easy route, even if it feels uncomfortable after blogging and list building for a bit and seeing the illusion of scant results.

Most Bloggers Fail Because They Screw It Up

Most bloggers buy into a lie; doing specific things makes you successful. Nope. If this were the case, everybody who builds a list would be billionaires. Because they built a list, lists breed success, right? Nope. Even if you follow steps robotic-like, your energy, your emotions, your feelings, all make up your BEING. The 6 and 7 and 8 figure earners who happily take this journey are being the 6, 7 and 8 figure earners energetically, calm and confident, after having fun creating content and connecting, and seeing $4 in blogging profits after 6 months of being the person. Every other blogger panics after 1 day, 1 week or 1 month, stop being the millionaire success, do dumb stuff, begin being a broke person, and see struggle and failure until they decide to be the successful blogger again.

The Core Elements of Being a Success

Blog mainly:

  • for fun
  • taking the easy but uncomfortable path; do what feels natural to you, even when you slam into fear of wasting your time, fear of being criticized, fear of mental blocks, etc
  • with a complete trust in yourself
  • with a complete trust in the blogging process
  • with a complete trust in sound, proven advice from successful bloggers

Very few bloggers be these energies persistently. Very few bloggers happily earn a pretty penny over time. Few bloggers be success. Most bloggers try to do their way to success but since they act without giving any thought to their intent, their driver, their energy, almost all of these bloggers are being broke, poor, struggling and failing.

Blogging is not robotic. If blogging was robotic, every blogger who did specific things in a certain way would succeed. But this is not true. Blogging is energy. Top bloggers use all types of different approaches to reach the top. This indicates blogging is primarily energy, your energy coloring your actions and results.

Imagine if you feel like a failure. I advise you to write a guest post for me. You tell me you are lazy, have no ideas, cannot do it, need to take a few months off, etc. I offer you an opportunity to promote your success but since you are BEING a failure and feeling like a failure you are blind to the DOINGs (generous guest posting) of a successful blogger. See what I mean? Plus, if you seize the guest posting opportunity while feeling like a complete failure, either the post quality stinks or you write a masterpiece by the odd chance, that nobody reads. Nobody read it because you are feeling/being a failure, so, you see failure results.

100% of the time, blogging is energy. Being a success means blogging your fun, doing what feels easy and natural to you, trusting in self and the process, and feeling uncomfortable along the way.

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Blogging

Why Does Blogging Seem Hard?

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Aha!

The question of blogging questions.

Why does blogging seem hard?

Blogging in and of itself is not hard. Blogging is a concept. A blog is an inanimate object. It is neutral. It is not hard, tough or easy.

Human beings label their feelings with emotions. THIS is why blogging seems hard.

Why?

Doing the neutral activity of blogging feels scary, meaning you unearth and either resist or feel fears. Feeling the fears feels highly unpleasant. Especially if said fears feel deep, strong, and terrifying, depressing or anger-inducing.

But if you resist these deep fears, and refuse to feel them, and blog mainly from a dominant vibe of fear, you fully experience the feeling of blogging being super hard. Blogging is actually neutral but you refuse to feel deep fears that blogging has unearthed. You resisting fear leads to prolonged blogging failure, aka, not seeing much money and traffic, aka, blogging being really hard.

Real World Example

A few moments ago, I scanned one of my daily blogging income streams. I made a little less than I had been making for 1 of a billion reasons. 1 such reason may have been the internet crashing here last night. We experienced a few big, powerful thunderstorms.

Anyway, I noted the dollar amount being lower and felt fear arise in my body. Rather than resist the fear, I felt the anxiety, and my mind hurriedly racing ahead to next month’s paycheck, and then, after breathing deeply for a few moments and fully embracing the fear, I released it. I did not resist it. I felt it. The fear disappeared. I then blog from an abundant, relaxed, detached, generous energy, which helps me become more and more successful.

But the old me – and most bloggers – see a lesser dollar amount for daily earnings, feel an intense fear arise, panic, bury the fear versus feeling it, and run around like mad men and mad women with that DEEP FEAR DRIVING THEM, desperate and greedy, resisting the fear, being driven by fear, and of course, they do stupid stuff with a dominant fear energy guaranteeing their blogging failure. Then, these humans who refuse to face, embrace and feel fears, proclaim blogging to be hard. This is a lie. Blogging is neutral. But you refuse to face, embrace and release your fears, so blogging *feels* hard.

Solution

Feel fears when fears arise. Cry it out. Shout it out. Feel depressed or deflated.  Do not resist fear. Then, after feeling fears, you will feel good, detached, relaxed and trusting. Feeling these dominant abundant energies, you will create, connect, trust, persist and blog from a relaxed, chill energy. Blogging from this calm, trusting, generous energy makes blogging easier and easier and easier. Money flows in easy. Traffic flows in easy.

Blogging went from hard to easy because you faced fears, felt fears, and progressively blogged from an abundant, generous, calm, detached vibe.

Tip for Feeling Fear

Engage in some energy management ritual that expands your awareness. I do deep yin yoga and power walk daily. Prayer and/or meditation may help. Breathing deeply helps. Do anything that expands your awareness so you can observe and feel fear versus resisting this destructive energy.

Some humans bury fear with busy-ness and jobs they hate. Other people turn to drugs or alcohol to bury fears. All of these folks are unhappy and depressed because you cannot feel good, abundant, relaxed and successful with oodles of fear buried deep inside of you.

Be with your fears. Be gentle with yourself. The blogger who feels and releases fear soon learns blogging gets easier and easier.

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Blogging

Do You Need to Respond to ALL Comments?

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No.

One mistake holds back many bloggers who fail to scale. These folks obsess over responding to every single comment, every email, every message. Why? Pride. Obsession. Attachment to people. Fear of missing out on an opportunity. Fear of missing out on friendships.

Unfortunately, if you spend 14 hours daily responding to every single social request and chat and email and blog comment and message – even if it feels fun – you lose opportunities to scale through blog posts, guest posts, podcasts and doing interviews.

Please; if responding to virtually everything feels fun, do it. But 99% of bloggers BS themselves on this because they respond to EVERYONE from an energy of fear, pain, lack, resistance, force and hustle. Bad idea guys. Force negates. But, power attracts. Meaning if you are willing to use power, and love, and fun, to inject into your work, you quickly see: the cornerstone of massive scaling and persistent growth and freeing blogging success is writing, publishing and placing blog posts and guest posts.

Example

Today, how do I have most fun growing my business, reaching more people, helping more people, and leveraging my blogging presence? Do I achieve these feats by spending 3 hours responding individually to every retweet, Like, blog comment, and so on, and so on? Nope. I spend those 3 hours effectively and efficiently by writing and publishing 3-6 blog posts and guest posts. Blog posts and guest posts scale. Blog posts and guest posts help me reach hundreds to thousands of targeted folks through each blog post and guest post.

Blog posts and guest posts never seem to be written by people who complain about having no time to blog post, and, guest post. Meanwhile, a hefty chunk of these humans spend 1, 2 or 3 hours responding to every Like on Facebook, from a strained, forced energy, fearing they miss out on traffic and bonds, not having fun doing it. But the wise move would be spending 10 minutes responding to comments on Facebook and maybe a few Likes, then, devoting 2-3 hours to writing and publishing blog posts and guest posts.

Think Scale Not Small Time

WAY too many bloggers play small, giving most of their attention and energy to building 1 to 1 bonds. Making friends is important but meeting new friends is even more important.

One lesson I learned from millionaire bloggers: scaling through blog posts and guest posts is the quickest way to reach more people, make more money and increase your blog traffic. Building 1 to 1 bonds by engaging commentors plays a role in succeeding online, but the top bloggers on earth are not running around, spending endless hours responding to Likes on Facebook.

Titans scale.

Titans also build one to one bonds through engagement, but if you are not getting 1000 page views a day, something is wrong in the scaling department. Namely, you are playing it small, not thinking about scaling. Scale. Guest post. Post to your blog. Make this the focus of your day. Then, feel free to engage folks 1 to 1 in a limited time frame.

You need to let go responding to every single person all day long to genuinely scale, to reach an increasing number of folks and to do what matters most to your business.

People will buy your stuff without you engaging them. Guaranteed. Folks will find your blog, love your content and buy your course or eBooks. This is a simple, organic process that you muck up every time you believe you need to respond to and engage every single person who reaches out via all online channels.

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