This post is the second in a series of posts entitled, “Digital Marketing Strategy For Startups, Small Businesses, and Entrepreneurs“.

In part 1 we discussed mastering two sources for traffic: 1 organic “free” source and 1 paid source.

In part 2 here, we're going to discuss what to actually do with the traffic once you have it … you're going to start building your listS!

There's MORE Than 1 List!

You've likely heard the saying, “The money is in the list.”

99% of the time, the “list” people are referring to is an email list. And, this post is primarily about email lists, however…

I'm going to let you in on a little secret … there are more list types than just email.

Of course, there's physical address lists for things like direct mail and phone lists so you can call your leads and customers.

But, there are also audience lists. (sometimes called retargeting or remarketing lists)

Audience lists are built within advertising platforms, ie. Facebook's Ad Manager and Google Adwords. (if you haven't read part 1, do that now … in particular, the section on paid traffic, pixels, and audiences)

Individuals are added to your audience lists when they perform a particular action, such as, visit your site, view specific pages, purchase a product or service, watch a video, among other reasons.

You're then able to place ads in front of individuals on your audience lists, which keeps them in your funnel and aware of your business.

My point is, before you read the rest of this post, which mainly concerns email lists, I want you to realize and understand there are other list types out there because it's going to open a whole world of opportunity for you.

Also, in part 4 we're going to go into more detail on advertising to (or retargeting) these audience lists.

Let's Talk About Your Email List

Having a list of email addresses is important.

It's an asset.

It grants you the power to reach out and communicate with your audience.

It's permission based marketing.

This means people have given you permission to contact them.

They've asked you to send them emails.

You're not “annoying” people with ads as they browse Facebook or the web, trying to get them to buy your stuff.

They want to hear from you.

At least, this is the goal. Of course, you can treat a list poorly, burn bridges, harass people, etc., but, you're not going to do that because you're a good person and a responsible business owner!

You can change its medium.

You can do more with a list of email addresses than just send emails to it…

You can upload it into advertising platforms like Facebook and Google Adwords to create audience lists.

Yes! Let's say you have a list of 10,000 email addresses, you can upload that list straight into Facebook and they'll automatically pair those email addresses with the associated profiles, giving you the power to target people on your email list! (insanely powerful!)

You control it.

Unlike the “audience lists” I mentioned above that technically belong to whatever advertising platform you built them on – ie. Facebook Ads Manager or Google Adwords … an email list is yours.

You can move it from one marketing automation tool to the next.

You can manually send emails.

You can upload it into the audience list tools to build custom audiences.

You can do a lot with an email list.

Having a QUALITY email list is one of the keys to success in digital marketing.

Quality? Yes, although it should go without saying … the size of the list isn't as important as who's actually on it.

If you have a list of 100,000 people, but they all live in India or Pakistan and you're trying to get them to visit your ecommerce store that only ships products in the US … those 100,000 people aren't worth a dime.

Whereas, if you have 10,000 raving fans on your list and every time you send an email with an offer, a good percent jumps on it (~5%) … you're golden. Unstoppable!

Ok, So How Do You Grow An Email List?

Side note: There are businesses and individuals that will sell you lists of email addresses. Depending on where you live, this is illegal and at the very least, unethical. Remember the permission based marketing remarks above? Yeah, you're definitely violating that relationship if you buy a random list from someone.

There are many different strategies, tactics, tricks, hacks, etc. for growing your email list … but, they all follow one core principle: Give an individual something of value in exchange for their contact information.

In the digital marketing world, the “something” you give to an individual is called a “Lead Magnet”.

A few example Lead Magnets are:

  • Coupons/Discounts
  • Checklists
  • eBooks
  • Contest/Raffle Entry
  • Free Trial
  • Course Access
  • Webinars
  • Flowcharts/Frameworks
  • Mind Maps

You've likely seen most of these offered in one form or another as you've browsed the Internet.

It's a pretty simple concept, but it works across all niches and markets.

If you want more information on Lead Magnets, please click here to read a complementary article.

Growing Your Email List With Traffic You DON'T Control

As long as you have a website with something of value on it and you do a little bit of promotion through your organic “free” traffic source … people will eventually visit it.

Sometimes, you can control what page they're going to land on. If you've grown your Facebook page audience and you post a link to a blog post … you're pre-framing that traffic and controlling where they land.

In other instances, you won't have any control over what page someone visits. Like, if someone finds your site through a Google search … you can't control what page they're going to land on. They're going to land wherever they're going to land!

My point is, people are going to find your stuff in some of the most random of ways and you need to be prepared to capture their contact information.

The best way to grow your email list with traffic you don't control is with opt-in forms.

Grow Your Email List With Opt-in Forms

There are many types and triggers for opt-in forms; however, for the sake of an example – an opt-in form is a form that pops-up when an individual lands on a website that asks for their contact information in exchange for a Lead Magnet.

Opt-in forms provide the benefit of being able to placed anywhere on your site; ie. if a visitor lands on a random blog post, you can present an opt-in form.

For example:

Most people have a love/hate relationship with opt-in forms.

As a visitor to a website, they can be incredibly annoying … especially when they keep popping over what you're trying to read.

But, as the site owner, we know those pop-up opt-in forms tend to work. So, we keep showing them.

This creates an interesting dichotomy, but that's beyond the scope of this particular article.

The point is, they work and you should use them to capture traffic you don't control.

For more information on opt-in forms and tools to use, click here.

Growing Your Email List With Traffic You DO Control

There are many instances when you control where your audience lands, ie. you're paying for it, you send a link in an email, you post a link on your social media profile, etc.

In this section, I'm mainly referring to the traffic you're paying for.

If you're paying for people to visit your site, you better have a plan!

I've seen far too many small business owners sending paid traffic to their homepage to “raise awareness” … which, if you read the Intro post, you know isn't specific or measurable and therefore, wasted effort.

When you're spending money on traffic, think of it like fishing.

You're fishing in Facebook's/Google's lake for your ideal prospects. What bait (Lead Magnet) are you going to use to draw them in? How are you going to catch them so you can place them in your lake (ie. your email list)?

#1 Goal, Grow Your Email List

Make the #1 goal of your paid advertising campaigns growing your email list!

* Side note: There are other reasons why you will pay for traffic. For example, when we discuss retargeting in part 4 you will pay to attract those that are already on your list; however, for all intents and purposes, your #1 goal for paid traffic is to grow that email list!

One of the best ways to grow your email list with paid traffic is to send people directly to a landing page, sometimes called a squeeze page because it “squeezes” the contact information out of the individual.

Simply put, it's one page with one objective/goal, offer a Lead Magnet in exchange for contact info. That's it.

Here's an example:

And another:

Simple enough, right?

It's not complicated.

Create an ad that says, “Want this super awesome [Lead Magnet]? Click here!”, which takes them to a squeeze page asking for name, email, etc. so you can send [Lead Magnet] right over.

The individual opts-in (joins your email list) and now they're on your email list!

Don't forget, make sure you're tracking conversions and using pixels PROPERLY when sending paid traffic to your squeeze pages! (read part 1 if you haven't already!)

Note: These squeeze pages are typically the first step in a Micro Sales Funnel (part 6)

In Closing…

You need to grow your listS!

You need to grow your audience lists within the advertising platforms (ie. Facebook and Google Adwords) by using conversion tracking and pixels.

And, more importantly, you need to grow your email list because you own it.

The best way to grow your email list is by offering a Lead Magnet in exchange for contact information. The best way to offer your Lead Magnets depends upon where the traffic is coming from:

  • For organic “free” traffic, use different types of opt-in forms
  • For paid traffic, use squeeze pages

Remember, this is not meant to be overly complicated. It's a simple process that you can see examples of everywhere.

It's just a matter of doing it and growing your various listS!

Click here to continue to Part 3: How To Use Marketing Automation To Generate Sales