OK, so forgive me if I sound a little simplistic here, but I am greatly confused and in a quandary as to how to properly proceed.
In order to attract people to your website, they obviously need to know about it. How to do that? Email. Of course. But if they don’t already know about your website, they will by definition not have signed up for it, either online or in any other venue. And you would therefore have to make what in a former life might be known as a “cold call”, and send out an unsolicited mailing.
But enter the Cann laws. And the fairly draconian Boy Scout admonitions of MailChimp et al, who will bust you and delete your account if they receive too many spam abuse complaints.
How to take the first step? How to build a mailing list without an a priori mailing list?
Friends, family, social media, google ads, throw flyers off the balcony… (or just leave them at the local…)
Very open ended question…
Reciprocal links to and from other sites. Social media.
Thank you @SteveB, @bitbumpy, @keithnteri for the feedback and the hot tips.
Great content that search engines love, social media links that are liked and go viral, and repeat. No get rich quick solutions…
Mail Chimp and such services have tough standards because they are for OPT-IN lists. Something to think about… would you want to get an email from every person who launches a new website? Just provide some unique and/or meaningful content each and every day.
Apologies in advance for my rather verbose response but this is not a simple answer.
Every website owner faces the same struggle. I wish I could give you a quick answer with a painless solution but unfortunately, there is no quick and easy way. My strategy focuses on creating good content, good SEO and creating a buzz around a company’s products or services on social media. I also design my websites with a sales funnel and a clear Call-To-Action (CTA).
The various components are:
The website itself
The website should be the hub of any online marketing strategy. It is where the magic happens, i.e. The conversion of a lead or prospect to customer so all the other components should direct visitors to it. Great SEO will ensure that your site is found when Internet users search for your products or services but the design of a website has a massive impact on the conversion rate. Unless your site’s design incorporates a sales funnel and a clear CTA, visitor will simply look at your site and bounce off the site without converting. In your case, your CTA would be for visitors to give you their email address. Users are hugely reluctant to do this because of the amount of spam out there. So you need to provide them with an incentive to do so. What will you give them in exchange for their email address? Some ideas are: a free consultation, a PDF with a solution to a typical problem, or even a discount on any future purchases. If you provide enough “perceived value” to the visitor in return for their email address, they’ll share it with you and once they do that, you can start a drip email marketing campaign.
SEO | Company blog | Facebook business page | Twitter Profile | LinkedIn Page | Email signatures | Forum Signatures etc
All the other components of your strategy, whether it be a blog, or social media profile should focus on driving traffic to the website landing page ( NOT a typical page of your website) optimised for obtaining email addresses. This page should have no other focus except for convincing visitors to provide their email address. It is important that you explain to them:
- Exactly what you will be sending them if they give their email.
- How often you will be emailing them
- Assure them that you will never sell or share their email with anyone else.
- That they will be able to easily opt out at any point in the future if they decide to.
With these pointers and a double opt-in approach such as Mailchimp offers, you will never find yourself on the wrong side of spam regulations.
Building a good quality email list requires a lot of time and effort but, done correctly, is hugely rewarding as the people who sign up have already shown an interest in what you are selling. That means that list bounces, unsubscribes and abuse reports will be at a minimum and your list will be rated as a high quality list by Mailchimp and other email campaign providers.
I have condensed a pretty complex topic into a few paragraphs but it should give you a good foundation in starting to build your own list.
Good luck with the process!
Thank you SO much for that totally exhaustive explanation. I very much appreciate the trouble you have taken and your good advice.
And thanks also to all the others who have offered feedback.
My burning question now is: what on earth is a sales funnel?
You are most welcome, @Butternut.
A sales funnel is (simplistically) a layout design that “funnels” visitors into a browsing flow that culminates at the point where they almost have no alternative but to click the Call-To-Action. So typically, the top of the sales funnel (which often but not always corresponds to the top of the page) would entice them into scrolling down towards the CTA which is often a button at the bottom of the page where they can subscribe to your newsletter (lead generation) or click through to your store (click through page). If you look at any of the big brands’ signup pages you would see really good examples of sales funnels. A sales funnel is not only implemented on a page basis but also on a site wide basis. So your home or landing page would typically guide the visitor to the next logical point in the sales funnel, whether its a button to click at the bottom of the same page or a link to another page with more detailed product information.
I hope this makes sense, I’m typing one-handed!
One of the best ways to learn is to click on “ads” on major sites and pay close attention to the way the site handle’s your visit. They will suck you in… suck you in closer… then nail you for the payoff. The ideal is when the visitor actually finds value and benefit from the “sell” (in your case information in the way of discovering a new website with pertinent info) and the “seller” benefits from gaining a “customer.”
You have to also be careful. Too much gimmick and trickery drives me away every time, even with those items with which I have genuine interest.