You know the feeling when you receive an email from one of your faves in your inbox? Not those people who constantly pitch, pitch, pitch and sell, sell, sell (if that’s you, don’t worry – I’ve been there, too).
But stop for a second to remember that feeling when you get an email from a blogger who really makes an effort to build a relationship with you. The blogger who sends you information that really answers your questions. Well, did you know you can be that informative blogging, and at the same time, make money and build your mailing list?
It’s no secret your mailing list has the potential to bring your business profit. Everyone says it: the money’s in the list.
So I am sharing our sleaze-free strategy to grow a targeted mailing list that can actually make you money at the same time.
For this strategy, I am going to talk about creating a free, information-packed email course for your mailing list. It takes extra time to create the free email course, but the time definitely pays off in the end.
This article assumes you know the basics of setting up your mailing list. If you want more guidance when it comes to setting up your mailing list, click here.
This post contains affiliate links to keep our blog up and running!
To learn more about affiliate links, click here.
Step 1: Target your audience.
The more targeted your email list is, the better you can target your sales. Which means, yes, you’ll be able to create products specifically answering their problems. So, yes, you’ll be able to make more money from that targeted mailing list.
One mistake I made when I first started blogging (on my personal lifestyle blog) was creating opt-ins for a variety of audiences interested in different things (travel, blogging, social media). And I kept them all on one list.
This prompted those who signed up for my email list for its travel content to click unsubscribe when I sent out blogging-related updates. And I didn’t even feel comfortable sending out travel updates knowing that a majority of my audience was interested in blogging tips.
So: TARGET. YOUR. AUDIENCE!
If you do create opt-ins for different audiences, separate your email lists. So, all the people who gave their email address to you for a travel freebie can go in one list where you send travel-related updates. And others who signed up for your weight loss freebies can hang out in one list where you send weight loss and fitness related updates.
Protip: I have used Mailchimp, Mailerlite, and Convertkit and seriously find that Convertkit is the best platform when it comes to targeting your audience. You can tag your readers based on links they click, or freebies they subscribe to.
Step 2: Ask your audience for feedback.
Don’t be afraid to ask your audience for feedback about your freebie as you design it. Tell them what it’s about, and ask what they struggle with. Their replies will practically create that freebie for you!
This will do at least two things:
- get your audience excited, and build up hype for your email course
- give you tons of amazing ideas on what to include and expand upon
I asked my audience for feedback and not only did they let me know what they wanted me to really focus on in the course, but they also gave me ideas for future posts and products.
Don’t have a mailing list?
Well, you can do a number of things:
- Poll your audience using Insta stories.
- Send out a poll on Twitter.
- Poll members of a Facebook group.
While this may not be your audience specifically, polling large groups of people helps you identify if there is a need/want for your email freebie idea.
Step 3: Create an information-packed email freebie for your list.
Now that you know your audience, and what they’re struggling with, create a freebie for them.
Start by coming up with an idea based on their problems and your expertise.
An email course is an automated series of emails with daily lessons that solves your readers’ problems. After you decide on what your email course will be about, start planning.
Once you finish writing your email course, create your course using an Automation feature.
Mailerlite is perfect for anyone who’s just beginning to set up their business or email list.
- Mailerlite is free for your first 1,000 subscribers.
- They offer all features (including email automation and landing pages) with the free plan.
- Mailerlite features an interface that is easy-to-use.
- Once you do reach 1,000 subscribers, Mailerlite is affordable to maintain (higher plans start at $10/month).
Using Mailerlite’s Automation feature, you can create a new workflow for your irresistible email course that will draw crowds.
Even though Mailerlite is a great platform for you to get started…eventually, I recommend upgrading your email service to Convertkit.
Convertkit makes email automation totally easy, and we seriously facepalmed when we signed up. We wished we had signed up sooner.
Want to see for yourself? Click here to get a free, 14-day Convertkit trial.
Step 4: Create a landing page for your email course.
Next, create a landing page for your email course. I used Mailerlite’s Forms feature to create my landing page.
On the first page:
- include who the course is designed for
- let them sign up
On the thank you page:
- explain more about the value they just received
- offer your upgrade
We don’t have a huge mailing list, so we didn’t make a majority of our income from this.
But this could be a great way to grow your business and make sales without having to manually pitch over and over again.
Need help designing a landing page and thank you page? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote.
Step 4: Offer an opt-in upgrade after sign-up.
Once you complete your email course, offer an upgrade. Your upgrade should be related to your email freebie (the reason why they signed up), but solve a different problem.
- an ebook related to content similar to the opt-in
- $1 trial to a product or service you offer
- an audit (e.g. blog, Pinterest, branding, budget, etc.)
- an offer to receive all lessons now instead of day-by-day
What’s the difference between a freebie, and an upgrade?
Well design your freebie based on what your audience totally needs. Then, offer an upgrade that maybe addresses their need, but tells them how they can really take their current self a step further.
It’s important that when you offer the upgrade, you tell them the transformation they will go through thanks to their purchase.
If you need somewhere to host your upgrade and conduct the transaction, use Sendowl. Sendowl offers Paypal and Swipe integration, as well as the possibility of accepting affiliates for your products.
After payment, Sendowl automatically sends either your digital product or an automated email.
Their lowest plan starts at $10/month, and you get a 30-day free trial to start.
You can also remind your new subscribers about the upgrade at the end of your course. They’ve had several days of your sweet sweet expertise in their inbox, so some of them will be excited to pay for the upgrade at the end!
Make Money and Build Your Mailing List
Just remember: everything you offer should be in some way related.
You know your audience and their problems, so you create a multiple-day email course that totally walks them through one of their problems. After they sign up for your email course (that solves their problems), offer a problem-solving product or upgrade.
See, you know they are more likely to purchase the upgrade because your email course (or whatever free email freebie you offer) answers a problem they have. And so does the upgrade.
The key is to answer your audience’s problems at every step of the way.
When you strive to solve problems at every step of the way, you build your authority and increase the likelihood of making that sale.
The best conversation happens in the comments! What are ways you build your mailing list? What do you offer to your readers?