One of the first things you should do when you desire to use the internet to generate passive income is to start your mailing list. A mailing list is a collection of email addresses from people who have opted-in to receiving messages from you.
The advantage of having an email list is that you can email your subscribers any time. You can share valuable tips and information with them. You can also promote your own products or someone else’s an affiliate.
Not only that, but email marketing is more effective than social media marketing. You also don’t have to worry about the increasing cost of social media ads in order to be found. Instead, you just pay your monthly (or annual) fee and you get to continue your relationship with your subscribers for years to come.
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to sign up with a mailing list provider. Personally, I recommend GetResponse. (This service has a very intuitive interface, and is a reputable service provider)
Once you have your mailing list set up, you’ll want to focus on getting subscribers to join your mailing list. Here are a few ways you can do that…
Tip#1 : Use Facebook to Grow Your Mailing List
Every brand should have a Facebook Page. Even if you update it sporadically, you still want one. That’s because many people use Facebook’s search engine when they’re in need of a product or service. If you don’t have a page, you’ll miss out on a lot of profits.
Getting Started With Facebook
A : Create Your Facebook Header
The first thing visitors will see when coming to your Facebook page is your header. This is the place where you can place a large photo depicting your niche, business, or brand. You can also place a video in this area.
Your video will begin playing automatically with no sound, when someone browses your page. This is a great way to introduce new visitors to your brand and content. All your relevant business and website information should be in the video, including a link to subscribe to your mailing list.
B: Add Your Opt-In Form
This may seem simple, but many businesses fail to place a sign-up form on their page. When this happens, it leaves the visitor searching for it on their own trying to locate your newsletter.
It’s always best to give your visitors as few steps as possible, making the process easier for them. Facebook allows you to include a “call to action” button on your page. Select the “sign up” option and direct your fans to your latest landing page.
C: Host an Event
Events on Facebook are great because they allow people to keep with birthdays, parties, and graduations. They’re also very beneficial to businesses. Do you have a webinar coming up? A special celebration related to your niche. Create an event for it.
You can then choose to invite people like your subscribers or fans of your page. The event gives those invited the option to check whether they are coming, via an RSVP page.
If someone checks that they’re attending the event, it then goes onto their Facebook profile. When this happens, word of the event spreads to their friends, giving you the opportunity to reach an even larger audience while growing your list.
D: Consider Facebook Ads
Still not seeing your subscriber number as high as you want it to? Consider running an ad on Facebook. The website has targeting features that allow you to reach the right audience. When doing this, don’t forget link to a landing page that’s been optimized for both desktop and mobile users.
Facebook is one of the most trusted social media websites available, making it a great place to find new subscribers and connect with your fans.
Tip #2 : Add Your Content to YouTube
You may not know this, but YouTube is the third most popular search engine in the world. That means when many people want to learn something new or need help with a project, they’re likely to open the YouTube app on their phone or visit the website on their desktop.
The good news is that you can harness the power of YouTube to grow your mailing list even if you’re a video marketing newbie. Here’s what you should consider doing…
Getting started with YouTube
A: Start with Existing Content
If you’re dipping your toes into YouTube for the first time, try using some of your previous content. Take your most popular blog post and turn it into videos using PowerPoint. Narrate your slideshow in PowerPoint and record it as you do. Then you can upload your completed video to YouTube.
You can do the same thing with some of your longer content to populate your channel with lots of video content quickly. For example, you could grab an eBook you wrote and do a chapter-by-chapter series with each chapter being a separate video. When you’re done, create a playlist with the videos in the correct order so users can find all of your content at a glance.
B: Add a Link in the Description
When you’re uploading your videos to YouTube, make sure you link back to your website. You’ll want to mention your freebie so that users who liked your video can go to your blog and sign up for your mailing list.
If you already have an opt-in gift available, mention that in the video. For example, you could say, “For more golf secrets, you can go to my website and download my golfing cheat sheet today.” This lets your followers know where to find you and how to keep in touch with you.
C: Use Annotations
Adding annotations to your videos allows you to put a specific call to action at a chosen point in the content. Therefore, if you’re creating a video that expands on a previously published blog post, you can put the link to the post in the video as you talk about it.
You can also use this feature to link to your website in the video. For example, if you mention in your video that you have a checklist for new gardeners, you can add an annotation in that section of the video so your subscribers can click through to your website.
D: Don’t Forget Cards
The only downside of annotations is that they don’t work on mobile devices. So, if someone is viewing your video on a cell phone, none of your annotations show.
Fortunately, there’s a substitute you can use called YouTube Cards. These are small boxes in the right-hand corner of the video that will display even on mobile devices. You can put a small description in the white box, and when users click on it, it’ll expand with all the information.
Don’t forget to post regularly to YouTube. You want your channel to be freshly updated so your viewers will click through, watch your videos, and sign up for your mailing list.
Tip# 3 : Convert Your Website Visitors into Subscribers
When it comes to list building, most marketers add an opt-in form to their sidebar and assume they’ll get a flood of new subscribers. However, to really see a return, you need to put opt-in boxes in several key areas of your website.
Maximizing your Website Real-estate
A: Try a Floating Bar
Using a floating bar like one offered by Hello Bar keeps your opt-in form in front of your visitors. As the viewer scrolls through your website, the bar remains visible. Floating bars often have bright colors that direct attention to the text within.
B: Include It in Your Header
You may want to put an opt-in form within the header because it draws the visitor’s eyes when they land on the page. They don’t have to scroll or click to see a form that’s within the header. However, be careful with this technique. You want to make sure that the colors are different, so the offer doesn’t blend into your header.
C: Place It in Your Post
Put your sign-up form in the middle of your content. If your readers have stuck around long enough to read half of your blog post, then there’s a good chance they like what they’re seeing. Now is the perfect time to ask them to join your mailing list.
You can also add a sign-up form at the end of each blog post. You want to make it easy for your readers to opt-in without having to search for a way to keep in touch.
D: Add Popups
Popups are calls for action that are hard for anyone to ignore. You can use a lightbox popup to grab the viewer’s attention and get better engagement returns. A lightbox stands out because visitor’s focus on the offer as your site automatically dims the rest of the page behind it.
Depending on which popup service you use, you can configure it in different ways. You could set your popup to appear after a visitor has been on your website for a certain amount of time or after they’ve viewed a number of pages.
E: Make a Scroll Box
Using a scroll box is another way that you can convert visitors into subscribers. You can determine at what point on the site the scroll box is triggered to appear.
The box can be customized so that you present an offer along with the email opt-in or you can choose to have just the email opt-in. This can be useful for drawing attention to specific products or getting viewers to explore more of your content.
F: Don’t Forget Your Pages
Putting an opt-in box on your about page is an often-overlooked area to use for conversion. After you talk about who you are and what your business can do, invite viewers to learn more or to sign up for a gift by putting their email address in the form.
If you have a resource section or a tools page on your site, you should add a sign-up form there, too. Encourage viewers to join your mailing list in exchange for more tools and resources from you.
Tip #4 : Experiment with a Contest to Grow Your List
A fun and easy way to grow your list is by hosting a contest. People naturally want to participate in contests because they want the chance to win something. By offering a prize such as one of your products or services, you’ll end up growing your email list quickly.
Getting Started With Contest
A: Determine the Type of Contest
You can choose to hold any of several types of contests, just be sure the contest is relevant to your niche or product.
You could create a contest centered around photos. For a chance to win the prize, contestants would have to submit a photo on their social media and tag you. The photo should be related to your niche. For example, if you’re in the fitness niche, it could be a photo of the person wearing their workout gear or a photo of them in front of their exercise equipment.
If you’re in the pet niche, you could have participants take photos of their pets. If you’re in gardening, it could be a photo of their garden.
Another type of contest you could use to grow your list would be a caption contest. For this one, you’d supply the image and encourage entrants to create the best caption for the photo.
Video contests also work well for contests. You could have people create short videos of themselves talking about what it would mean to win or how it would improve their lives to get the prize.
B: Set Some Ground Rules
When you create the contest, you need to be clear on the rules at the start and instruct people who want to take part that opting-in to your mailing list is an important part of entering the contest.
You might be tempted to think that people who opt-in are just doing it for a chance to win something. That doesn’t mean these subscribers will opt out as soon as the contest is over.
Since you’re targeting people who want your products, you’re likely to retain many of your new subscribers. This is especially true if you give them good content in your messages and emails once the contest is over.
C: Pick a Platform
Hosting a contest can be tedious and time-consuming. There are hundreds of details to oversee. However, there is an alternative to doing it yourself that won’t drain all of your time or energy.
D: Use Quizzes to Get More Subscribers
If you want to increase the number of your subscribers, try creating a quiz for your website visitors. The key to getting people to sign up is to make their answers viewable only by opting-in.
While a quiz does build your list, that’s not all it can do. It can also give you valuable insight into your potential customers and help bring attention to your products as people share the link to their results.
Creating a quiz can be simple and fun. You can use a free or paid quiz service to set everything up. Then you could use the quiz for as many potential subscribers as you’d like.
E: Start by Asking Questions
To create a winning quiz, think about your potential subscribers. Tap into what it is they want to know or what issues they’re struggling with.
You can find this information by surveying the subscribers you already have. Ask them what they wish they knew how to do. Or what areas of their lives they seem to always get stuck in like finances, fitness, or relationships.
For example, you may find out that in the fitness community you serve, the number one area of struggle is finding products to help keep the weight off once it’s lost. Or it’s finding a way to exercise when they’re feeling frazzled.
F: Hook Your Visitors
Make catchy headlines or questions that hook readers into wanting to take the quiz. You’ll want the questions that you ask to tie into the answers in a way that will ultimately promote the products you’re offering.
The way to hook a visitor is to touch on something that sparks an emotion in the other person. Common areas that spark emotion are in categories like money, relationships, health, or knowledge.
G: Create a Positive Result
Use what you learn from the survey to make your quiz. As you’re creating it, remember that the answers should be ones that people will gladly share across their social media. If you shame subscribers or make them feel bad, they’re not going to want to share those answers.
After your visitors sign up for their quiz results, send them an email thanking them. Remind them of their results, invite them to share it on social media, and give them a small digital gift. This could be a 1-page cheat sheet, a checklist, or a printable planner.
H : Nurture Your Relationship
Once you get subscribers from the quiz, don’t bombard them with endless marketing messages. Instead, interact with your new subscribers, build the relationship, and show them that you genuinely want to serve their needs.
Tip #5: Try Gated Content to Promote Your Mailing List
A simple method for growing your mailing list is to create “gated content” on your website or blog. This is content that users have to login or register to fully access. You may have seen gated content on a newspaper website. You can typically read the first two or three paragraphs then you’re prompted to pay a subscription fee.
However, since you’re trying to grow your mailing list, you’d ask your visitors to sign up in order to read the full content. The advantage of doing this for subscribers is that they get free access while you get to expand your subscriber base.
Getting started with Gated Content
You may think that setting up gated content will be difficult. However, it’s surprisingly easy when you follow these tips:
A: Start with a Lead Tool
There are dozens of ways that you can lock your content. You can do it manually yourself but setting up all of the pages and having the content redirect can be a major time-suck. Not to mention it’s highly technical and a boring task.
B : Create Useful Content
When it comes to content gating, you need to make sure your content is valuable enough to prompt your visitors to sign up. Posts that share general advice that can be found on hundreds of other sites aren’t likely to do well with content gating.
Instead, you want to focus on creating content that’s incredibly detailed and useful. For example, don’t write a bland post on puppy training and stick it behind a gate. Your visitors aren’t likely to subscribe.
But if you turn that puppy training article into the ultimate week-by-week puppy training guide then your visitors will be eager to hand over their email address to you.
C: Have a Follow Up Series
Don’t just add new subscribers to your mailing list and forget about them. You need to have a follow up series that continues to nurture them. For example, using the dog-training guide above, you might want to create a weekly “check up” email that goes your subscribers. This could have a brief description of where their puppy is at developmentally as well as what to watch out for so their furry friend grows up healthy and happy.
Your follow up series doesn’t have to be hundreds of emails. Even 5-10 for a nurture series is a good start. Later on, you can add more emails to your campaign as you find the time and inspiration.
D: Set Up A Landing Page
When it comes to growing your email list, you need a dedicated landing page. You can direct visitors to your website, but they can easily become distracted and forget to sign up for your mailing list or leave the page before they’ve browsed enough to become subscribers.
You can overcome this problem by having a landing page. With a landing page, you only have the option for a visitor to sign up for your mailing list or leave your website entirely. Usually, this landing page has an offer attached to it.
If you’ve never created a landing page, then here are a few tips you’ll want to follow…
E: Keep It Short
A landing page doesn’t need 5,000 words of copy. A few paragraphs at the most are all you need. Your visitors won’t be reading every word. They’ll skim the content, looking for what they need. If they think you have it, they’ll subscribe.
Since many visitors’ scan, it can be helpful to have a paragraph or two about your offer. Then create a set of bullet points that briefly describe what your opt-in gift will do for them. For example, you might have these bullet points on a printable planner:
- Get Organized So Your Days Flow Smoothly
- Stop Forgetting Important Events & Celebrations
- Explore Your Goals and Create an Action Plan
- Create Time for the Things You Truly Want to Do
These bullet points are focused on the visitor. They show that you care about solving their problems.
F : Add an Image
Since your visitors will only glance at your page for a few seconds, you need to convince them to take action immediately. One simple way to do this is to add an image of your product.
Every digital product needs an image to showcase what visitors are signing up for. If you aren’t sure how to create a photo of your product, try using a mockup creator like eCover Authority or Box Shot King. Both sites have plenty of graphics and tools to create professional looking images.
G: Create a Call-to-Action
When you add your sign-up form to your landing page, don’t use the generic “submit” button. That doesn’t capture attention or make visitors want to sign up right away. Instead, use a strong call-to-action for your button. Here are a few suggestions to help:
- Download Now
- Get Instant Access
- Sign Up for Free
- Register Now
- Get Started Today
Keep in mind that you can continue to tweak your landing page as you learn more about what works in your niche and what your community wants to receive from you.
Tip #6 Create an Email Challenge for Your Subscribers
Email challenges are a great way to grow your mailing list because they invite your audience to take action, which makes them want to work with you again and again.
If you aren’t familiar with email challenges, they work like this: You run a blog on weight loss, so you decide to host a 7-day keto diet challenge. Visitors would sign up for your challenge on your website. Then each day, they’d get an email from you for seven days.
Start Your First Challenge
Think running an email challenge sounds like fun? Here’s how to create one yourself…
A: Get Clear on What Your Community Wants
Think about what it is that your audience hopes to achieve. When you know what they’re looking for, it makes it easier for you to structure the challenge for subscribers to find success if they follow through.
Have a take-away lesson for the subscribers. For example, those who take the 7-day keto challenge will have developed better eating habits. Your audience needs to see what it is they gained by taking the challenge.
B: Set the Duration
The length of your challenge can vary. It can be anywhere from a week to a month long. When you’re deciding, try to think about how long it can take your visitors to experience the results they want.
For example, a home organization challenge might help participants declutter so much that they only need a 2-week time span. However, a challenge that’s more in-depth, such as writing a novel, might require 30 days or more. It all depends on what you and your participants can comfortably achieve.
C : Acknowledge Milestones
You’ll also want to have goal points for the subscribers. These are lessons or information the subscriber should gain with every email that helps them to continue moving forward both during the challenge and after.
You may want to celebrate when your subscribers hit a certain milestone. This celebration can be small—a simple “congrats” email with a funny gif of your favorite TV character dancing is simple yet effective for keeping your community on track.
D: Decide on Your Format
The challenge you create can be all text if you want. However, don’t be afraid to mix and match different formats, depending on what you know about your community.
If your community responds well to videos, you may want to have each day’s lesson be in the form of a video. Link to the videos in your emails so your subscribers can click to watch them.
E: Create Assignments
When you create a challenge, be sure to include homework sections. These can be simple printable worksheets, checklists, or worksheets. Remember, your community is eager to implement what you’re sharing so give them the tools to do just that.
If you have a WordPress website, you can upload each day’s assignments in the media library. Then link to the assignment in your email. Your subscribers can download these resources from you and get work when they’re ready.
F: Share the Next Step
When subscribers get involved with an email challenge, they’re more likely to go on to purchase your other products. At the end of your series, do one more follow up email. Thank them for participating in the challenge then give them the option to make another purchase. This could be a planner, eCourse, or book.
If you don’t have your own product for sale yet, suggest a resource as an affiliate. For example, if you ran a challenge about keto dieting, link to your favorite keto cookbook and encourage your community to buy it.
Keep in mind when you market your email challenge, it boosts your traffic. You’ll see your monthly visitor stats go up for the time of the challenge because not only will your subscribers want to see what all the fuss is about, so will others who find the challenge on social media.
No Matter Which Strategy You Use ……Build It Slowly
If you’re new to the concept of generating passive income using the internet, you may feel slightly overwhelmed. However, don’t focus on all of the different tips above. Instead, choose one method for growing your list and work on it every day.
When you’re done implementing that advice, choose the next section to focus on. By doing this, you’ll fight overwhelm and stay on track with your list building efforts.