It’s about your email list.
Once I learned that, I began to see marketing in a completely different way. It made me realize that marketing (anything) online is still about one-to-one relationships.
One-to-one relationships—at scale.
Engaging your subscribers with messages that truly resonate with them actually isn’t that hard. When you empathize with your target customer, the same way you do with any other individual you have a relationship with, everything gets easier. The harder part, of course, is finding and attracting those subscribers in the first place.
Some tactics you’ll hear about might help you get a quick spike in subscribers, only to see them disappear next month.
Today, I want to share 3 strategies I’ve used for years to grow my email list and audience consistently, month after month. I don’t have the largest list out there. But I attract readers who are highly engaged in what I have to say (high open-rates) and I continuously work to attract more who are just like them to come join me.
Here’s how I do that…
Once I focused my efforts on growing my email list, the first thing I established (and suggest you do too) is one evergreen “lead magnet”.
My favorite form of this is an email course, that educates your audience on the topic you (or your company) is most known for, and is most relevant to what you sell. In my case, here on casjam.com, that is my Productize Crash Course.
Your evergreen lead magnet serves two important purposes:
You can update and improve your evergreen lead magnet over time (I update mine from time to time with tweaks to sequences, subject lines, follow up messages, and so on).
I recommend that you focus on only one evergreen lead magnet. You can (and should) establish many other entry-points onto your email list, as I’ll describe below.
But this is your primary point of attraction. The thing you’re promoting on your homepage, alongside every blog post, mention it when you’re a guest on podcasts and so on. It’s also the most optimized path that a person will take from casual visitor to subscriber to paying customer.
As I said, you should establish multiple entry-points to your email list, beyond just your primary lead magnet. This is where Content Upgrades come in.
I wrote two in-depth articles over on the Audience Ops blog all about content upgrades:
The idea behind content upgrades is to turn individual blog articles into email opt-in opportunities by offering a piece of bonus content to go along with the topic of a particular article.
As you can imagine, these convert extremely well because they are so relevant to the intent of the person who is reading the article. For example, if you arrived on this article because you happen to be seeking ideas for growing your email list, I’d bet you’d be interested in a roadmap of things you can do to accelerate your list growth.
Well here you go:
See what I did there? 😉
NOTE: Creating a piece of bonus content for your article means putting in more time and effort. And you can’t put just anything into that bonus content. It has to be genuinely useful and actionable for your reader in order to justify asking for their email address.
Setting up content upgrades used to be a total pain. I used to set them up manually each time, adding custom code for the popup form, then hooking it up to my email marketing tool (Drip), setting up an autoresponse email to the subscriber, tagging them accordingly etc.
At Audience Ops, we’ve built a WordPress plugin, aptly named Content Upgrades, and it makes the entire process way easier. With a simple shortcode, you can quickly insert an email opt-in in a post, send the bonus content to the user, and pass their info onto your email marketing tool of choice.
The last piece of the puzzle is to consistently and continuously seek new channels of exposure to your people. Here on casjam.com, I seek exposure to freelancers and entrepreneurs.
I’m thoroughly aware of all of the tactics out there that can bring exposure in the form of one-time spikes, like having a post go viral on a popular site like Hacker News, or getting mentioned by a high profile influencer. I have benefited from these things a few times, and it’s a pleasant surprise when it happens. But there’s not much I can do make these things happen.
That’s why I’m much more interested in more repeatable, scalable methods for getting in front of an audience. Things I can have direct control over.
Here are the things I have done repeatedly over the years in an effort to bring sustainable channels of traffic to my site and subscribers into my email list:
So that’s what I’ve been doing to grow my email list these past few years. We’ve adapted some of these strategies in what we do for clients over at Audience Ops, and we’re continuously testing new ways to drive traffic from the right channels.