October 17, 2007
In a sense, RSS feeds are a great method of getting your readers to opt-in, but they aren’t enough alone. Your small business blog also needs a way to get readers to supply their e-mail addresses so that you can create even larger marketing efforts. E-mail lists allow you to send prospects documents and audio or video files, as well as custom messages for any number of different segments of your list. Perhaps most important, these lists allow you to create messages in advance and have autoresponders set up so that much of your marketing is automated.
The best way to build up your email list is to supply new readers with a free information product that is relevant to your business. Many blogs have used this tactic to astounding success, and there is no reason you cannot do the same. Our Information Product series will cover these in greater detail, but some of the information products you can create to give away are e-books, newsletters, podcasts, video tutorials, case studies, white papers and more. There are great benefits to each, not only to how you market your products and services, but also for the prospect. The more valuable the information you are giving away is, the more trust you will build in the recipient and the faster your information product will spread to new prospects.
Before building your e-mail list, you should have a plan in place detailing how you will go about marketing it. If you are giving away an information product, you may want to have an autoresponder set up that automatically sends the information to new opt-ins. It’s usually a good idea to use this first contact to detail how some of your products or services related to the information product can help the new prospect and use links to invite them to specific pages on your blog. You may also want to create a progressive e-mail campaign and notify prospects to be on the lookout for upcoming messages. Be sure to include value in EVERY message you send your users. The Internet is hyper-competitive and having the reputation as a spammer is a quick way to destroy any goodwill you have gained.
There are endless ways to get readers to opt-in to your e-mail list. The main things to keep in mind when deciding how to build your e-mail list are to make sure your give away item is relevant to your business and possibly helps sell your products or services, your item provides enough benefit to your prospects that it builds trust and word-of-mouth attention, you have a plan in place so that the opt-in is only the beginning of an ongoing conversation, and that each subsequent message provides nearly as much benefit as the original message did.
If you follow these four main ideas from the start, you will soon build a healthy e-mail list that combined with your RSS readership, gives you permission to market to all of your clients at any time. Through continued delivery of benefit, these tactics alone can build a massive following of passionate readers willing to not only try your products and services, but tell others to do so, as well. Promoting and building your e-mail list should be a high priority and be prominently placed on your small business blog. Give value to your list, be creative with your messages and you will see a major increase in sales you never thought possible with so little effort.
* Our first e-book, “Building A Better Business Blog”, will be released at the end of October. To be the first to receive this valuable guide, opt-in to our e-mail list here. We plan on releasing a new e-book at least every 3 months, so be sure to collect them all.
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