The Key to Growing Your Business? Kickstarting Your Email List.
The year 2020 has left an imprint on our hearts in more ways than one, raising stress levels and anxiety for businesses and entrepreneurs around the world. As physical doors shut, leaders have been faced with challenging decisions and are learning how to adapt to this “new normal.” And while it’s not easy, it’s been necessary to make pivots along the way.
But let’s shift gears a bit to something more positive. This year, more than 3.2 million aspiring business owners started a business — that’s 500,000 more businesses started than last year.
Despite what you might think, this can still be a good time to embark on an entrepreneurial journey. You might be saying, “OK, Amy, this sounds great, but where the heck do I start?” Well, the first step towards growing your business is building and nurturing a strong email list. This will help create a foundation for your business so you can start generating revenue rapidly and consistently while building life-long customers.
So, take a deep breath and know you’re in good hands. Below, I’ll guide you through what to do to get started as an entrepreneur and exactly how to do it.
Creating weekly original content
Nothing creates raving fans like delivering consistent content. Send out original and entertaining content to your subscribers at least once a week. I repeat ... once a week.
Whether it's a blog post, a freshly dropped podcast episode or your latest video, consistently sharing content helps you to more deeply connect with and support your audience — not to mention, builds their trust. Think about what your audience could be struggling with right now and what kind of questions they routinely ask. This is the key to creating content and teachings that will pique their interest and strengthen their desire to come back for more.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when creating content. First, don’t switch from platform to platform. Stick with what works best for you and your audience. Second, stack the value. This should be some of your best content. Don’t hold back. And third, acknowledge their pain and desires. In order to become a "go-to" solution, you must let your audience know you understand them and are there to help.
And just how do you get started creating content? A solid way to create multiple weeks of content in a short timeframe is through batching. Kick-off your batching process with a 20-minute braindump. Think about all of the questions your audience has been asking. Check your calendar to see if there's something timely, such as a holiday or special event, that you could talk about. Another hack for batching is to think about the questions your audience should be asking you, but they just don’t know yet. Each batching session should allow you to create four weeks of content in one sitting and will make your life a whole lot easier.
Once you've created your weekly content, email your subscribers each week with a link to the new content on your site. This will begin a consistent stream of traffic going to your site for a solid SEO boost. When you’re consistently delivering high-quality content to your subscribers, you’re instantly upping your “Know, Like and Trust” factor, a vital part of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Create an irresistible lead magnet
A lead magnet is a free valuable resource. The goal is to make the lead magnet so irresistible that your audience should be chomping at the bit to give you their email address. This is where growing your email list becomes fun! Once your audience signs up on your opt-in page, they will be sent a link to your lead magnet. This is also your first (and strongest) chance to start nurturing your new relationship with your latest subscriber.
To create an irresistible lead magnet, think about what your audience wants and needs from you. Essentially, it’s the answer to the big question: "How did they do that?" Never be afraid to give away the answer for free. The most effective lead magnets for your business align with the service or product you’re selling and help your audience understand WHY they need what you have to offer.
There are several different types of lead magnets that will be of use to your customers. They include a cheat sheet, a checklist, a guide, video or audio training, a challenge, a quiz or a free mini-course.
If you’re just starting out, a PDF option (cheat sheet, checklist or worksheet) is your best bet. They are easy and quick to create. If you’re ready for something more in-depth, challenge yourself to create a guide, challenge or quiz to get your audience into action.
The bread and butter of your lead magnet is to send your audience to an opt-in (otherwise known as a “Thank You”) page. This begins the journey of collecting names and emails inside your platform. The two main points of your opt-in page are the offer and the registration. The offer is where you clearly define the pain point and solution of your lead magnet. The registration focuses on the information you are going to collect from your audience in exchange for your lead magnet. Keep it simple and only ask for a first name and email.
Start sharing your content and lead magnet via social media
When you’re just starting out, social media is an excellent way to interact with your audience and learn more about your community. We are in a very special time where connecting is easier than ever, but here’s the secret sauce … you must show up intentionally and with authenticity. Posting on social media makes you top of mind and helps you as the go-to expert for your audience.
Choose three platforms you are going to post on a weekly basis. Hint: Show up where your audience spends most of their time. And yes, this does take a little research, but it’s so worth it.
What should you be posting? This is where all the content you create comes in handy. You can post about your lead magnet, insights, tips and tricks your audience will find useful. And don’t forget to be human. Invite your community in by sharing some personal stories and behind-the-scenes moments. Your community wants to get to know you just as much as they want to learn from you.
You will want to create both direct and indirect posts. Direct posts are 100% focused on driving traffic to your opt-in page and should be used sparingly. It’s straightforward and obvious you’re promoting your freebie because it leads your audience to your opt-in page.
Indirect posts are a little more subtle and are very well received from my experience. You can start with a story, tip, or insight and then you can either promote your lead magnet or just use these posts to nurture your audience. This is considered indirect because you’re asking your audience to engage with your content first, and then encouraging an opt-in with a link to your lead magnet.Related: 27 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website
Once you have shared on your social platforms, it’s time to start engaging. Pop into your Facebook community, but don’t promote yourself, just provide value. If you’re consistent and genuine, your audience will notice. This gives you the chance to hear from your audience. Ask questions in your social posts and jump into the comment section. And above all, listen more than you talk.
Pop the champagne, my entrepreneurial friend, because you’re on your way to building a lasting and successful business. Cheering you on always!