Over the past few weeks, I have been running a series of Linkedin Lives to help businesses and business owners grow their businesses and market themselves more effectively.
Back in April, I was joined by Claire Shelley to discuss the importance of having a mailing list and how you can use social media to grow your list and, in turn, how that list can help you create more of an impact on social media. I share our top tips and takeaways from the live in this blog.
Firstly, email marketing is a critical part of your funnel and acts as the bridge between social media and people working with you. If you work in the professional services industry or are a coach or course creator, people are unlikely to buy from you straight away, so you need to build a relationship with them.
Even those who visit your website probably won’t buy straight away, so having something they can sign up for is low risk for them and allows you to personalise your message and get your news straight into their inbox. According to Mailchimp for email, global open rates average 18%, and that doesn’t account for the number of people who will be reminded of your existence by seeing your name in front of them.
Sometimes people will say email is old hat, but most of us have our inbox open all the time. You can also see exactly who is engaging and clicking through – something you can’t do on social media.
It’s also an excellent opportunity to create longer-form content that you can repurpose for social media, which is a brilliant time-saver and a perfect way to reinforce your message.
It can also be a great way of reminding people that there is something they want to do, buy, see or action, and if it’s right there in front of them, it’s easy for them to search for.
It can also feel so much more personal. Those people have chosen to be on your list. This is a privilege in itself, and it’s a great way to build relationships.
Choose your email marketing software. There are a lot of good options out there. Mailchimp is the market leader, but Flo Desk, Active Campaign and Mailerlite are good options. Some people do send out emails from their primary email address, but this isn’t GDPR compliant; you can’t personalise or track the emails, and people can’t easily opt out!! Not a great user experience for you or them.
Email marketing software can also act as a CRM, and the opportunities to automate messages, create segments and set up nurture sequences for your products and services are worth its weight in gold.
Create a lead magnet: Personally, I’m not a fan of the terminology, but it is essentially something your audience value which you give away for free (or for a small fee) that your audience can download or use in return for an email address.
This could be a short mini training, a cheat sheet, a free template, a how-to guide or even a quiz. It needs to be valuable to your audience and answers their pain points.
There are also what I call shorter-term lead magnets – things like surveys, competitions, challenges or one-off webinars which entices people to sign up to secure something within a specific time frame.
Setup a nurture or onboarding sequence: Once people sign up, you will need to welcome them to your community and let them know a little bit more about you. You have a slightly longer series of emails, which builds that trust over time, so you’re not actually selling to people, but you’re helping them get to know you and explain a bit more about what they do.
Rather than just them just getting a lead magnet or signing up to a newsletter and then not hearing from you for six weeks and them thinking, I never signed up for that. Who is this person?
There isn’t a right or wrong answer here, but it is good to try and stay top of mind here. It’s all down to personal preference. Both Claire & I prefer shorter weekly emails. It helps you to stay top of mind without bombarding people, particularly if you are time poor or just starting out.
The other day, I had a client say that she didn’t want to feel like she was bombarding people. I asked her if she had a negative view of people who appeared in her inbox regularly she said – no. This just shows that this is often our stuff, and people notice far less than we do!!
If you are launching a new product or service, you may feel like you are talking about it and sharing it all the time!! There are a few ways to overcome this: segmenting or tagging your list so people who have already bought don’t get the same message again (a huge bugbear for me). Alternatively, you can let people know that this is a short term campaign or strategy, and it will be business as usual soon.
Remember. People choose to receive your emails, open them, and read them, and they also have a choice to unsubscribe.
Many people spend time creating a lead magnet, stick it on their website and expect people to sign up, but this takes work!! Luckily there are lots of ways to grow your list. But organically, it can take time, so you need to be realistic about it and consistent.
But, here are just some of the ways you can grow it.
On your website: You need to have a clear link to the lead magnet on your website, and it should be clearly located. Claire and I would advise erring on the side of caution when using pop-ups as they aren’t great for the user experience and don’t tend to perform as well on social media.
Your social media profile: Create a link or a pinned post to signpost people on your social media profiles and make it a feature in your bios to act as a call to action and flag it to people straight away.
Pinned posts on Twitter and Facebook work well for this. Twitter and Linkedin also have a newsletter feature that you can include use to invite people on the platform to sign up for your emails or newsletter. This highlights how vital list building can be.
It’s also important to remember that social media accounts do get shut down, and algorithms can change, so having a database of potential customers who have opted in, means the information is yours.
Utilising your network: If you are a regular networker or a member of your local business association or chamber, they may have resources and newsletters available that you can use to promote your list or a free lead magnet.
Lead Magnet Giveaways: I’ve participated in a group promotion before. You can pay to have your lead magnet in a central portal where people can download this and other valuable resources. But make sure the person running the promotion is super-aligned with your audience and objectives to ensure you end up with the right people on your list.
Sharing snippets from your lead magnet or email: Promoting the content of your lead magnet is great for repurposing but can also entice people to sign up to find out more. Behind the scenes, stories are great for this, especially as you can ask people if they want to opt-in. Creating both a conversation with them and making sure they can opt-in. This works particularly well on Instagram, with very few clickable links.
Social Media Ads: Ads can work extremely well for list building as you are not asking people to part with their hard-earned cash straight away but are offering them something they want and need. (yet). This is a great addition to your organic social media, and if you choose to promote your most successful lead magnet, you will already have an idea of how this could work for you.
In the simplest terms, ads allow you to build an audience based on your ideal clients and existing learnings, enabling you to reach a broader audience who share similar traits with your existing and ideal clients.
As your mailing list grows, you can also use that list to improve your ads by creating an audience similar to those who have visited your landing page and building a lookalike audience so Facebook can target people who look similar to those already on your mailing list. Essentially, people who are more likely to be interested in your products and services. This makes it easy to start scaling and can make list building a lot quicker and easier.
There are also ways you can build Facebook audiences from the other platforms you use, but we will save that for another day. Also, if you work in the professional services space, it’s a misconception that your clients will just be using Linkedin. They will be on other platforms, but their habits and behaviour may differ.
Short term list builders: What I call short term list builders are when you essentially offer a higher value product for a shorter period to entice people to turn up. This could be in the form of a competition, survey or free masterclass and is usually geared towards a new service or product launch and some specific information you might need.
Personally, I am a big fan of surveys as it enables you to identify what your clients might want and need and also how they feel about particular products and services.
To summarise our discussion:
If you are looking to Kickstart your email marketing or actually start it, just pop me an email and we can chat about how I can help to find out how I can help. Alternatively, if you have a social media or marketing strategy and want to integrate email marketing, you can check out my short mini-course here.
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