Here’s the question that’s on everyone’s mind when they start thinking about list building:
“Which service should I use?”
You’ve probably wondered yourself, and maybe even spent a few hours (or days, or weeks) researching your options.
This is not the question you should be asking (yet). And it’s exactly why so many entrepreneurs get stuck in the planning stage of list building.
The First Step In List Building
Before you need to think about tools, you must ask yourself this:
“How can I best serve my market?”
Whether you’re audience business owners, new moms, bloggers, or craft junkies, they have a need that only you can fulfill. And when you discover what that need is, you’ll have two valuable pieces of information:
- What incentive will be a true no-brainer for your ideal client to opt-in to your list?
- How can you use your mailing list to provide the best value for those who join your list?
Don’t over-think these questions, though. Your opt-in incentive can be as simple as a resource guide or a short how-to video that answers a common question. You don’t have to go overboard with dozens of downloads and a 100-page eBook. Rather than providing value, these massive downloads are more likely to overwhelm your reader than encourage her to learn more.
And when it comes to providing value to your list members, keep three things in mind:
- Regular communication is a must (consider an autoresponder series if you’re not good with scheduling email updates)
- Marketing is second to information—too much selling will cause your opt-out rates to soar.
- It’s your responsibility as a thought leader in your market to distill and provide the information, tools and products your audience needs.
“What is my list building goal?”
How will you be using your list? Will you:
- Send a weekly or monthly newsletter?
- Create an autoresponder series that delivers content on a pre-determined schedule?
- Use affiliate links as an income generator?
- Promote your own services and products?
The answers to these questions will help you determine not only the right tool for your list building needs, but will also determine the path for your ongoing mailing list content, promotions, and growth.
How to get started list building
Now that you’ve identified why you’re starting your list, making sure you use the right email service provider is essential.
For beginners, the most common go-to’s are Mailchimp and Mailerlite.
I have lots of opinions about both of these, and I’m going to keep it simple here and tell you not to bother.
You should choose to make a monthly investment in your list and sign up with ConvertKit from the start. Convertkit was started by bloggers, for bloggers. There are some incredible list building platforms out there, but Convertkit really understands and meets the needs of their audience… which is to say, you.
Getting started is a breeze. You create a sign up form, edit the back end for the incentive download, and then enroll them into a sequence. Convertkit integrates with pretty much any service you need it to, or you can connect it through Zapier.
Your sequences can be as grandiose or simple as you care for them to be. And you can customise each sequence for each opt-in you create. Once the reader finishes the sequence, you can use the automation feature to move them into a different sequence, tag, or experience.
And of course, if you just want to send a one-off email, broadcasts are perfect for that.
I am a recent convert to Convertkit because I was having problems with my previous list building service sending my emails straight to spam boxes, even after being directed by subscribers not to. If they can’t keep my emails in inboxes when its free, why would I pay for it when my list grew?
I really believe that now you’ve discovered what service you want to provide through your email list, there are really only two big investments to make if you want to grow your business. The first one is Tailwind. And the other is Convertkit.