No other marketing channel is as effective as email marketing is in engaging and converting customers. Nearly 74% of marketers consider email at the core of their marketing strategy, while 53% plan to increase their email marketing budgets over the next 12 months, according to a recently published study by Salesforce.
In the US alone, spending on email marketing is on a steady rise, projected to reach $3.07 billion in 2019 from $2.07 billion in 2014, growing on average $0.2 billion each year, according to Statista.
Moreover, almost 91% of consumers in the US check their email at least once a day, and nearly 70% of mobile purchase decisions are now influenced by email marketing.
Clearly, your primary areas of focus as a marketer should include email marketing.
Here's an effective strategy to do that.
1. Create a well-researched and highly targeted 'lead magnet'
If you're still offering "Get Free Email Updates" on your website to attract subscribers to your list, you're not going to find much success. You need to offer something with immediate value to get people on your email list.
That is why a highly targeted and well-researched "lead magnet" creates a win-win scenario (there's something in it for subscribers and for you), and it helps you attract more relevant subscribers.
For service-based companies, digital information products such as e-books, email courses, case studies, templates, checklists, and strategy blueprints can be attractive lead magnets.
In the case of e-commerce and SaaS businesses, discount coupons, service trials, and limited access versions can be effective ways to attract subscribers.
The free writing kit offered by MarketingProfs is a good example of an enticing lead magnet:
Characteristics of an Effective Lead Magnet
To create an effective lead magnet, you need to ensure a couple of things...
Your Offer Should Be Closely Aligned With Your Business Goals
The purpose of your lead magnet is to attract potential customers, not just subscribers, to your email list so that you can build a relationship with them and convert them into buyers. For that, your lead magnet needs to give subscribers a taste of your premium services and products.
For example, if you're running a Web design company, you can offer a downloadable design checklist that your potential can use to evaluate their existing design.
It Should Offer a Solution to a Very Specific Problem
The secret to creating a powerful lead magnet, and attracting highly relevant subscribers, is to focus on just one core problem of your target audience.
For example, look how this freebie (or lead magnet) by GuestBlogging.com makes a very specific promise.
A focused and narrow lead magnet will help you attract exactly the kind of subscribers you're looking for.
How to Research Ideas for Your Lead Magnet
Here are a few places where you can find ideas for your lead magnet:
- Ahrefs Content Explorer: Search the Ahrefs Content Explorer using relevant keywords, and it'll show you a list of the most frequently shared content on that topic.
That list will give you a fair idea of the kind of content your audience is interested in. You can then come up with ideas for your lead magnet.
- Competitor analysis: A simple way to find proven ideas for your email list lead magnet is to analyze your closest competitors and their lead magnets. Find loopholes in their offer, and create an even better one for your audience.
- Amazon Kindle and Udemy: You can find thousands of e-books and video courses on the Amazon Kindle store and Udemy. Keep an eye on popular topics and create something similar.
- Quora, LinkedIn, Reddit, and industry forums: Just look for relevant discussions and keep an eye on the questions people are frequently asking.
- Your audience: If you already have an audience, the best way to find ideas is to ask them what they need. You'll be surprised by the insights this small activity generates.
2. Use a landing page and product widget
To get subscribers on your list, you need to create a clutter-free and conversion focused landing page that features your freebie. Use headings and bullet points to clearly explain the value your subscribers are getting. This landing page is a good example:
Another approach I've found more product-focused and versatile (and often more effective) is a product-widget landing page.
I use Selz, a digital product selling platform, for creating landing page product widgets, but you can also use tools like Easy Digital Downloads (a WordPress e-commerce plugin) and Sellfy to achieve similar results.
With Selz, you can include image or HD video previews of your lead magnet and link it with your email marketing tool to collect email addresses (see image, below). The process makes your freebie look more valuable and helps you achieve your goal of building your list.
You can learn more about designing a conversion-optimized landing page in this detailed article on MarketingProfs.
3. Keep your audience engaged with an auto-responder series
Leaving your subscribers unattended in their early days as subscribers is one of the biggest and most common mistakes that marketers make. Nearly 74% of customers and subscribers expect a brand to get in touch with them immediately after they sign up, according to a research by GetResponse.
To engage your subscribers from the very first day, create an email autoresponder series that educates your subscribers about the benefits of your paid product.
Here's a sample email sequence:
- Welcome Email: Congratulate your subscriber on joining your list, and tell them you're there to help.
- Customer Education Email 1: Share some solid advice about common industry problems and how your product resolves them.
- Customer Education Email 2: Continuing with the previous sequence, share more tips and actionable advice.
- Customer Education Email 3: Share more tips and advice, and make a soft pitch at the end of this email.
- The Offer: Make a direct offer to your subscribers and pitch your product with a special subscriber discount (time-sensitive).
- The Warning Email: Create urgency and highlight what your subscriber is missing out on.
- The Final Call: Offer a final discount before closing the sequence.
Depending on your business, you can increase the number of emails for each type of message.
4. Promote your lead magnet with Facebook ads
With all other pieces of the puzzle in place, you now need to drive traffic to your landing page. Although there are various free and organic ways to drive traffic, they might take time (especially if you don't yet have an audience).
So the more effective option for immediate results is to go for paid advertising channels, such as Google AdWords and Facebook ads.
A recent survey by Selz finds that although Google AdWords is still the most widely used ad network among digital marketers, Facebook ads are quickly catching up:
Studies suggest that nearly 72% of all online adults visit Facebook at least once a month. So there's a good chance that your target customers will engage with your ads.
(Here's a guide for setting up conversion-optimized Facebook ads, if you want to learn more about this topic.)
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Building an email list is one of the best ways to develop a highly engaged community of potential and loyal customers who are ready to listen to your message and take action. Your challenge is to attract potential customers, not just subscribers, to your list. Which is why I strongly advocate using well-researched and targeted lead magnets for list building. The better your lead magnet, the more targeted and like-minded your subscribers will be.