Email marketing is one of the most overlooked parts of blogging. Bloggers will typically work on building their RSS Feed, Facebook, Twitter, Instgram and other social media platforms but completely ignore their email list. Heck, most blogs probably don’t even have an email list at all. And yet, this is the biggest factor that separates the little guys from all of the big money names like Pat Flynn, John Chow, Andy Jenkins, John Reese, Frank Kern and others. If you truly want to claim your part of the big bucks that are available in this industry, you absolutely need an email list.
Your Email List is Your Foundation
Many bloggers think that their blog and social media channels are the foundations of their business. Nothing can be further from the truth. You can think of your email list just like the foundation of a building and the blog and social media are being supported by it.
When you have built a large list, you have a foundation that is so strong that not even the mighty Google Panda can topple it. The main purpose of my blog is to capture the leads that visit it. This is why my new readers see a big light box hover sign up box the first time they visit. This is how I built my foundation.
Email Marketing Is Where The Big Money Is Made
Although email marketing seems like an old school technique when compared to the new methods involving social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it still makes the most money.
Don’t let all the so-called social media experts fool you. Email is still the most responsive method for getting your offers in front of readers. I know that if an offer does well with a blog post, it will be at least three times more effective if I sent out an email about it. As a matter of fact, most of the social media gurus use email marketing to sell you their latest social media course!
Your Email List Can Leverage Other Sites
The best thing about email marketing is its versatility. I have used the email list from my blog to build the audiences for my Facebook and YouTube channels as well as other offers that I may be promoting.
You Should Start Your List From Day One
The biggest mistake that most marketers make is not building a list from the first day that their content goes live. The majority of visitors will never return to a blog once they have visited for whatever reason. Not collecting their information equals who knows how many lost opportunities there were to provide value to that person.
You Must Choose The Right Email Provider
Choosing the right email marketing solution is probably more important than choosing your blogging software. When you switch blogging platforms from BlogSpot to WordPress, in most cases you can move all of your content with no issues.
However, if you decide to switch your email provider, you may lose up to 80% of your subscribers. This is because your new provider will require all of them to opt-in again. Because of the Canspam Rules that apply to email marketing, everyone will be required to re opt-in.
Being Cheap Can Actually Cost You Money
This is the biggest mistake I see new bloggers make all of the time. They try to save a buck by using some bootleg method of collecting names with the intent of upgrading to Aweber in the future “after they’ve made some money”. What they don’t realize is that they may lose up to 80% of their hard work when they switch because their subscribers don’t want to re opt-in.
The big guys treat their blogs like a business, because it is. And real businesses have expenses. Hosting your email list is an expense, but if it is done right, you should more than recoup the measly $19.00 per month that it cost to use Aweber. Just think, how much did you spend on junk food last month? You could have made some money and it would have been healthier for you.
If your blog doesn’t have an email marketing list yet, stop reading now and get started today! Everyday you delay, dollars are flying out of your window.
Step 1 – Always Offer a Free Incentive
The absolute easiest way to get readers to subscribe to your mailing list is to offer them something of value in exchange for their email address. In my case, I offer various free reports on my blog and videos on my YouTube page. This content didn’t cost me anything other than my time to produce it but it’s perceived value is very high to readers of my blog. It’s something they want and they’re willing to give me their email address for it.
When it comes capturing leads, you should always remember that your readers are thinking “what’s in it for me?” When you offer something that has an immediate benefit to them, your sign up ratio will increase significantly. If all you are offering is a newsletter sign up box, you will get very few people to opt in.
Step 2 – Use Multiple Ways to Capture Leads
Most new bloggers make the mistake of just having a newsletter signup box and nothing else. Just like running multiple ads on your blog can increase your chances of conversion so can offering multiple opportunities to opt-in. I offer a combination of several different opportunities throughout my blog to increase my chances of conversion.
If you want to maximize your ROI, then you need to take every opportunity to offer your free materials to your readers. Just having a single newsletter sign-up box won’t cut it anymore. Here are the methods that I use to bring in hundreds of leads per day.
The Newsletter Signup Box
This is the standard opt-in box that most people are familiar with seeing. I place it in a highly visible spot and above the fold so readers don’t have to scroll to find it.
The box should clearly explain what you’re offering and how to get it. It should be placed at the most visible part of your blog because this will greatly influence its performance.
The Lightbox Hover
The lightbox hover is a feature of Aweber, my recommended email marketing service provider. The lightbox is a big sign-up box that fades away after a preset amount of time. Because it’s very intrusive in nature, I only show this to first time visitors using a cookie that never expires. Repeat visitors don’t see this unless they have cleared their cookies. This has proven to be my number one method of getting new leads. Adding the sign-up box is pretty straight forward. You’ll need an account with Aweber in order to use it.
Why Do I Use So Many Lead Captures?
At this point, you’re probably wondering why I use so many lead capture methods. The answer is simple. Getting people to opt-in is like advertising. You need to put your message in front of them several times through different channels. Just because a reader doesn’t sign up through your main opt-in box doesn’t mean that they won’t sign up later because of a thank you email. If all you’re using is a single newsletter sign up box, you’re probably missing the majority of your potential subscribers.
More than two thirds of my income comes from my back end systems. At the heart of this is my email list. That’s why I try to do everything possible to get readers to sign up for my email list. Remember, the money is in the list! Be sure to read the last post in this series here.
The Auto Responder
The auto responder is responsible for sending out automatic replies to people who subscribe to your email list. The biggest mistake that most bloggers make is not using any type of auto responder. Instead, they only use their list to send out blog updates or additional “subscriber only” content. If this is what you’re currently doing, STOP IT NOW! The auto responder is how all the big names in the business make their money.
Setting Up The Auto Responder
When a reader subscribes to my list, they are sent to a series of nine emails over the course of nine weeks. These emails are designed to accomplish three things.
- Build a relationship with my subscriber.
2. Promote my blog and brand.
3. Recommend products and services to my audience that help to solve their problems.
Setting up an auto responder is actually pretty easy, although writing the contents for it are a little bit harder. If you’re using Aweber, all you have to do is click “follow up” in the message tabs. This allows you to create a follow up message that will be sent to your subscribers at a later date. Using Aweber, you can set up an unlimited amount of auto responder messages.
My first auto responder message usually goes out the instant that someone signs up for my list. The second follow-up email goes out one day after the first and the rest of the messages are spaced out over the course of nine weeks until there are no more follow-ups left. If you want to see this process in action, you can use the form below to sign up for my blog by entering your name and email.
Creating An Auto Responder Funnel
For lack of a better description, an auto responder sales funnel is where you start at the top by giving your subscriber valuable free content and then funneling them from your low-priced products to your top-tier products. If it is done right, the average subscriber can be worth thousands over the course of your relationship with them. I run my auto responder as a series of progressive steps designed to build trust and authority and not as a platform to sell products. Here’s a copy of the first email subscribers receive when they sign up for my blog:
I want to thank you for taking the time to subscribe to my blog on real estate investing. I started this blog to help people who were beginners to figure out how to buy rental property. When I got started over ten years ago, I had to learn everything through trial and error because no one was willing to share their knowledge with me. This is why I refer to myself as the Crash Test Dummy of Real Estate.
How I Got Started
I am often asked about how I got into real estate. I got started around 2005 when my wife and I were state employees and we were looking for a little extra income. Along comes Hurricane Katrina, and I got an opportunity to become a licensed general contractor. During this time, I bought my first piece of property, a run-down 4-plex in a terrible neighborhood. When I say that it should have been condemned, I’m not joking!
I think I made every mistake in the book from overpaying for repairs to learning how to properly secure a vacant property (they stole everything that wasn’t bolted down) to dealing with the people in the community.
After I sold this property, I started building new homes in cookie cutter neighborhoods and got a position as the Property Manager for a 2 million square foot portfolio of state-owned office buildings. Talk about taking a giant leap. After leaving the public sector I started buying more property for myself including several office buildings and now I am actively adding apartments and self storage properties to to my growing portfolio.
Let’s Get Started
You shouldn’t have to make the same mistakes I made, I applaud you for taking the first step toward getting your education. Now that you are here, I want you to jump in the deep end with both feet and let’s get to work. Take a look at this article to give you some ideas of how you can use real estate to build a passive income.
Expect to get some more emails from me in the next few days as I share more information with you to help you get started.
To Your Success,
Further emails in my series carry the same type of tone and are designed to push my subscribers through my sales funnel so when they come out on the other end, they’ve found a solution to their problem and I’ve been rewarded for helping them to solve it. The auto responder sales funnel should be the backbone of a blog’s back end sales system and can be responsible for the majority of it’s income over time. The best thing about this system is that it is fully automated and offers true passive income.
In my opinion, you should set up a series of five to ten emails to send to all of your new subscribers. Keep in mind the three goals of building your relationship, promoting your brand and recommending products and/or services that help your readers solve a problem. Ideally, the recommended products and/or services should offer you an affiliate commission but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, recommending a product that you don’t make any money off of can build more trust from your audience.
In order to make the maximum amount from your auto responder sales funnel, you have be constantly testing your message. Little changes to your email copy can make a big difference. I try to review all of my auto responder emails once a month to see if there’s anything that needs to be tweaked. The nice thing is many of your subscribers will respond to your messages over time and will give you tips to help you improve your message and conversions.
If you already have your email list set up with Aweber but haven’t taken the time to create auto responder messages for your list yet, then you have your homework for the next few days. If you haven’t started your mailing list yet, I recommend that you give Aweber a try and create one right now. The longer you wait, the more income you could be missing out on. Remember, the money is in the list.
PS – Don’t forget to use the form below to sign up for my blog and I’ll keep you up to date on techniques that I find useful for building streams of passive income.