One question people often ask me is, “How do you build a successful and profitable email list?”
My answer is, “It depends. It depends on many factors.”
There are universal elements to building a successful and profitable email list. These components can be applied to building any community offline or online.
The first mistake is people often lump building a list, and earning money all into one step. When actually, there are three separate steps to building a profitable list. Now, each step can quickly occur after someone joins your list. But there are 3 distinct steps to building a profitable email list.
Back in 2013, Facebook released a pdf that demonstrated how to use a Facebook page to promote a business. Now, Facebook has changed dramatically since 2013, but what has not changed is how you build an audience today. The same principles apply today as in 2013.
It doesn’t matter the channel you build your audience; these steps still apply.
So, let’s look at the components of building an online audience and apply it to email.
These three steps are the same steps I implement with every email list I build.
3 Steps to Build a Profitable Email List
The first stage of building a profitable email list is to build. Also, this is the very first stage that Facebook shared in the 2013 report on building audiences with a Facebook page.
Simply put, build your page and then build your audience.
Here is how I apply this stage to email.
The first question to answer is “Can we consistently get people to subscribe to the email list?”
To generate a consistent number of subscribers each day, we need a few things.
Lead magnet – We need something of value to offer in exchange for the person’s name and email address.
Landing page– This is a page where we send traffic that promotes the lead magnet in exchange for the person’s first name and email address.
Download page– The download page is where subscribers download the lead magnet.
Welcome email– The purpose of the welcome email is two-fold, it provides the link to download the lead magnet, and it sets expectations for the new subscriber.
Once we have these components in place, next, we need a consistent traffic source. Essentially, we need to let our ideal customers know about the lead magnet by sending them to the landing page.
Now whether your email list has 10 people or 30,000 subscribers, one of my favorite traffic sources is Facebook ads. Facebook ads are like a bubble gum machine. You put your money in, and then you get a prize. With Facebook ads, you pay for the ads, and each day you get subscribers. It’s wonderful, knowing how to use Facebook ads as a list building partner.
There are a lot of different ways to generate traffic, but Facebook ads provide one of the most consistent sources of traffic today.
Once we prove that we can get a consistent number of subscribers each day, the next phase is to engage the subscribers.
The second stage of building a profitable email list is to engage. With a Facebook page, engage means how many people are liking, sharing, and commenting on the page. How much engagement does each post receive?
With an email list, engage means what percentage of subscribers are opening, clicking, replying, and forwarding the email. Also, it’s the percentage of people who are unsubscribing from the email list each time you send an email.
I track each email in a spreadsheet. This way, I can track my ongoing average open rate, the average click-through rate, etc. Also, I can track the engagement for each email sent. Plus, I can tell if a subject line resonates with the list or not. Tracking the emails in a spreadsheet allows me to discover trends versus just looking at the numbers inside the email platform.
By tracking each email, I know that most of my clients are getting average email open rates between 30%-40%, with the highest being 48%. Many of the email providers suggest a 20% open rate is an ideal goal.
One of the best ways to engage your email list is to send relevant content on the same day and time each week. Showing up consistently in the inbox is one of the best strategies for engaging your email list.
Once we have an engaged list, now it’s time to move to the third stage of building an audience.
3. Conversion/Amplify Results
The third stage of building a profitable email list is where I slightly differ from the 2013 Facebook Page audience building document. The third phase Facebook suggested was to amplify the results. Amplify your results with their Facebook ad platform. Amplifying the results allows you to build your business faster. It’s increasing the daily Facebook ad budgets. It is targeting more cold interest to build your email list faster. I agree that we should use Facebook ads to amplify our results.
But there is one step, I want to do before I amplify results and start really scaling a campaign. This stage is conversion. Conversion is cultivating prospects into customers. Sometimes this stage can take time to develop. It doesn’t always happen immediately.
Here are a few things that you are going to need for the conversion stage.
- An offer that resonates with your audience- this can be your offer or a joint venture/affiliate offer.
- A Salespage/Webinar promoting the offer
- A way for the subscribers to pay
- Fulfillment and delivering the product to the customer
For me, I want to prove that I have an offer that subscribers will purchase. Once I have proven the conversion phase, then I will amplify the results with Facebook ads and build the list faster.
Once we understand how much money a customer is worth, we can literally start predicting the growth of the business. We can predict how much it costs to acquire a subscriber, what percentage of subscribers become customers, and how much a customer is worth.
Once we understand these numbers, we can start systematically scaling the email list and the number of customers.
Building an engaged, profitable email list is not easy. Each audience and list present different challenges. But when building your email list, follow these same three principles build, engage, and amplify.
Finally, the most important thing is to develop trust with your audience. Trust comes from providing valuable content, advocating for your audience, delivering on your promises, and only promoting offers that are beneficial to your list.
Are you building your email list?
Today, when it comes to building your audience one of the most profitable marketing channels is email.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing yields a 4,300% return on investment for businesses in the United States.
ExactTarget reports for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $44.25.
One of the most profitable ways to build your audience is to increase the size of your email list.