Finally, we come to growing your subscriber list online. There are several ways to do this, but all of them are dependent on getting people to your website in the first instance, ideally preconditioned to share their contact details with you.
This can only happen when you offer them something they want. For your benefit, this should be something that will attract the kind of people you want as customers. As we’ve seen already, email marketing costs you the same (very little), no matter how many subscribers you have, so adding non-buyers might not seem like a problem. After all, they might become buyers in the future or they might pass on your messages to someone else who could be a buyer.
So it’s not a major problem to have non buyers on your database but it’s important that all your messages are aimed at your customers (past, present or future), NOT at your total audience. As soon as you write your messages for a more general audience you’ll find they become diluted and less effective. Plus, feedback from non-buyers can be seriously misleading. Serve your customers, above all else.
You can start by targeting your opening offer – the one you’ll use to get people to subscribe in the first place – at the kinds of people you want to do business with.
This opening offer is often called an ethical bribe, and could be a new customer discount, a free service or information (yours or someone elses), or any other offer you can think of that will persuade people to sign up. If your ethical bribe can be delivered automatically, or at least very easily, so much the better, because the great advantage of building your list online is that it can be totally automated.
Simply add a sign up form to your website – easily created within Aweber or your chosen email provider – add some persuasive sales copy that “sells” your ethical bribe, then direct your likely customers to your site. That last is the tricky bit.
There are various ways of getting people to your website, of course. These include: paid advertising; “free” social media campaigns; search engine optimisation; creating a “hub” site with useful information that people will want to return to and share; networking, business cards, flyers and other “offline” methods; viral campaigns; and encouraging people to share your messages and “tell a friend”.
All this comes under website promotion, which we’ll cover later on, but first think about what kind of “audience” you want (yes, buyers but what kind of buyers?) and set about crafting your opening offer so you can attract them onto your database.