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Why You NEED to Collect Email Addresses and Start a List
Everyone wants more visitors to their website, facebook page, youtube channel, or affiliate offer… right?
Customers are the lifeblood of any business whether that be online or offline, so how do you attract more of them?
Better still how do you get more customers for FREE?
Even better yet, how do target ‘warm’ visitors that are more likely buy, rather than ‘cold’ first time visitors?
The biggest rookie mistake made by new businesses
If you’re just starting out with any sort of business there’s one thing I can guarantee you’re probably NOT doing.
I know because nearly everyone does it. I’ve even done it myself and lived to regret it.
In a moment I’m going to tell you what that mistake is, but first lets set the scene by talking about the basics of customer acquisition.
One of the fundamental rules of business is that…
“IT TAKES MORE MONEY TO ACQUIRE A NEW CUSTOMER THAN IT DOES TO SERVICE AN EXISTING ONE”.
I other words, it’s going to cost you far more money in advertising to sell to one new customer, than it would cost to sell to someone who already knows you.
“BUT“… I hear you say, “I don’t have any customers, I’m only just starting”.
That’s true, but the start of any business is where you do the ground work for success.
If you want to accelerate your business growth then you need to set the game up to win right from the start.
And this is where we get to…
The biggest rookie mistake made by businesses both online and off.
And that mistake is…
NOT COLLECTING EMAIL ADDRESSES RIGHT FROM THE START!
So why is this so important?
1) Cost effective
Think about it… If the only way you make a sale is by spending money on advertising, then EVERY sale is going to cost you money.
But… if you have an email list, you can send emails again and again to your potential customers for FREE for LIFE!
Let that sink in…
This means that you could market different products to the same customer for LIFE, without paying a penny!
Depending on what you sell, the lifetime value of ONE customer could be worth thousands of dollars.
2) Customers willing to buy
Let me ask you a question.
If someone ‘cold calls’ you, are you likely to buy from them?
However, if you know that person or you’ve bought from them before, are you more likely to buy?
The same is true for advertising or internet marketing.
When you have an email list, you can build some sort of relationship with your customers and potential customers.
Because they ‘know’ you, they are more willing to buy, especially if they’ve already purchased from you in the past.
3) Build trust
This follows on nicely from the previous point and is a great way to ‘warm’ your potential customers up and turn them into paying customers.
Don’t just send them sales emails all the time, it’s a huge turn off.
Instead send out email campaigns that give value to your potential customers.
You could send them helpful tips, educate them, or even send free stuff.
If they have just purchased a product from you then send an email with information on how to make the best use of it, or if it’s a physical product send tips on how to care for it. Could you tell them about a related product that might be of interest, or maybe an upgrade?
The idea is that you want to show that you are interested in them and not just yourself. Give value to people and it will come back to you in spades.
4) Automation and time saving
The great thing about email is that you can automate a lot of processes.
For example, lets say that someone signs up to your email list from a form on your website.
You can then use an auto-responder (more on this later) to immediately send them a thank you email and welcome them.
You can then have your auto-reponder set up in such a way that it sends out an email to them at regular intervals without you having to do any work.
Of course you would have to set it up at the start and write all the emails, but after that everything works on auto-pilot without you lifting a finger.
5) Better customer targeting
The better you can target your emails to the right person, the greater your chance of a sale.
I’ve just talked about the value of automation and time saving but you can also use it to make your emails more targeted.
Let say for example that you send an email out to your list regarding a new product.
Of course not everyone is going to open the email, and out of those that do, not everyone is going to click the link in your email and buy the product.
But lets suppose that 30% of people on your list open the email, and out of those 10% click the link to the product, but don’t buy.
With many email auto-responders they will allow you to segment your list. So for example you could segment the 30% who opened the email. Then you could further segment it to those who clicked the link but didn’t buy.
Armed with this information you could then send out specific emails to these different segments depending on their level of interest.
For the ones who opened the email but didn’t click the link, maybe they had some interest in the product but it wasn’t quite what they were looking for. You might then re-target them with an offer for a similar product.
As for the ones who did click the link but didn’t buy the product, maybe they thought it was too expensive. So you could re-target those people with a special discount offer.
Not only will better targeting improve your sales, it will also improve your email deliver-ability.
The right way and the wrong way to build an email list
Before you rush off and start an email list there are a few things you need to know, because there’s a right way and a wrong way to build a list.
If you do it wrong, at best you’ll annoy people and at worst you could end up facing legal action. So it’s important to start on the right footing.
The wrong way to start an email list
Never ever buy an email list
There are lots of companies and individuals out there who are selling email lists and you may be tempted to buy one. However, in a word…
There are several reason for this…
1) Usually you have no idea where the emails came from and they may have been obtained illegally.
2) They may be years old and no longer active and this will reduce your email open rates.
3) They may not be interested in your particular niche offerings and this will also reduce your open rates.
4) You don’t have the email owners permission to contact them.
5) If you try and upload your list to an email service provider they may block your list or even block your account.
6) You may be breaking the law
There are laws against sending spam. These vary from state to state and country and country to country, so it’s important to make sure you’re on the right side of the law.
For example, in Canada it’s illegal to send ANY kind of spam to ANYBODY. So just don’t do it.
If you’re not sure where the person lives who you are targeting, and you’re not sure what the law is then you could find yourself in a whole lot of trouble.
As a general rule, if you don’t know the person you’re send email to, and you don’t have their permission, then just don’t send it.
Secondly, if you are using an email service to deliver your emails you could find your account getting shut down if you spam people.
This is for three reasons…
- People might complain to your email service provider.
- Sending spam lowers your open rates, so your email provider might investigate to find out why.
- If you’re sending from your own domain name email address this can damage your domain reputation in the eyes of google.
As well as anti spam laws there are also data protection laws you have to comply with.
In some places these are very strict, so you need to be careful otherwise you could find yourself facing a very large fine.
For example people in the UK & EU are covered by GDPR regulations. These regulations may very well apply to you if you target, collect, or process data from citizens of those countries, even if you yourself don’t live in those countries.
Let people know on the sign up form if you intended to email them again and tell them what to expect if they do. It’s often good to get them to tick a box saying that they agree to receive future emails.
If you are not sure if you need to comply with GDPR there is a simple online quiz that you can take here
The right way to start an email list
Capture your own emails
Rather than get email addresses from someone else it’s always best to capture your own email addresses.
This is because if you use an email service provider and try to upload your list, they will more than likely ask you various questions about where you obtained the list. If you can’t show how the list came about then they are unlikely to let you use their service.
In order to capture emails you generally need to have some sort of webpage with a form where people give you their email address along with possibly a few other details such as their name.
In general, the fewer details you ask for, the more likely people are to respond. Once you start asking for too much personal information people will back off.
For most purposes their first name and email address is enough, unless it’s for something like a physical product where you might need a shipping address and payment details.
As far as GDPR goes, the law says that you can only collect the MINIMUM amount of data for your purposes. So you can’t ask for lots of info just because you think you might find it useful at a later date.
Use a lead magnet
Of course, in most cases people aren’t just going to hand over their email address for no good reason. You’re going to have to give something in return.
Usually this is done with something called a ‘lead magnet’… and no it’s not pronounced ‘lead’ as the heavy metal… it’s ‘lead’ as in ‘dog lead’.
A lead magnet is an offer that you give to people in return for their email address. So you might give away a free ebook, a tip sheet, a link or download to a video, or even perhaps put them into a draw to win a free product. A lead magnet could be anything really that you think will act as a incentive to get people to sign up to your list.
Use an auto-responder
An auto-responder is an email service such as Aweber, and it’s exactly what you would imagine it to be.
When someone signs up to your list, your auto-responder sends them an email automatically instead of you having to do it manually.
Usually your auto-response email is a thank you and welcome message, but it can be other things too.
It’s could include a link to the free lead magnet that you promised to send them, or if they made a purchase it could include a receipt or perhaps details about their order.
Another possibility is that your auto-reponse email is something called a double-opt in. You have no doubt come across this yourself when signing up for something.
Double opt in or single opt in?
With a double opt in, what happens is that when someone signs up to your list, your auto-responder sends them an email with a link that they have to click to confirm that they really want to join the list. If they don’t click the link in the email then they don’t get added to the list.
With a single opt in they only have to agree once to give their email address and they don’t need to do anything else to be added to your list.
There are pro and cons to both of these options.
With a double opt in you are likely to get to less people confirming the link in the email and therefore less people added to your list.
However, on the flip side, although you have less people on the list, the ones that you do have are much more likely to be engaged and interested in what you have to offer.
This means that when you send other emails in the future, they are more likely to open them and this increases something called your ‘Open rate‘.
You open rate is important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, if your open rate is too low, your email auto-responder service might block your account.
Secondly, low open rates will also cause your emails to have poor deliver-ability and instead of landing in the inbox they will go to the junk folder.
Choosing an email auto-repsonder service
There are quite a number of email auto-responder services to choose from these days and most of them have similar features.
All of the decent ones have a monthly subscription fee and if you are just starting out this might be an expense that you’d rather do without.
The good news is that most of them have now gone over to what they call a “freemium” service.
This means that you can get a basic email auto-responder service for free.
Of course, as you might expect there are some limitations on these accounts, but for a budding entrepreneur they are perfectly fine to use.
The one I use is Aweber. They’ve have been around for quite a long time and are regarded as one of the best.
They are quite choosy about what kind of content they will allow you to send, so depending on what you want to promote they might not allow it. The reason for this is that many email services such as Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook don’t like certain types of things being promoted, so they will send your emails to spam or even block them.
This action then damages Aweber’s reputation and the big email services then start sanctioning more of Aweber’s emails, even the harmless ones.
The good news is that if you are doing everything right and not upsetting them, then emails sent via Aweber are more likely to get delivered.
Aweber also offer a basic account of up to 500 subscribers for free. It’s only after you manage to get more than 500 subscribers to join your list that you have to start paying.
500 subscribers might not sound like a lot but a least it will get you up and running without breaking the bank.
Websites, Landing pages, and Sales funnels
Of course, if you want people to sign up to an email list you’re also going to need either a website, a landing page, or a sales funnel where you can display your email sign-up form.
Again, if you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend any money then I highly recommend a new company called “Groove“.
They not only offer free website hosting and templates, but also a whole lot more.
This is another freemium service and you get access to pretty much everything they have to offer, which is A LOT!
If you want to know more about Groove and sign up for a FREE account then please read this other article…