Part #2: Growing your Email List

Have you heard the statement, “Always be list building”?

Email list, that is.

If you refer back to part 1 of this epic blog post, you’ll remember that one of the three ways to grow your sales is to increase the number of customers who buy from you.

Obviously before you can hope to get more customers, you need people to actually visit your website.

The Productpreneur's Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing

But what happens if (like most first time visitors to your website) they don’t buy? Then what?

Only 2% of sales are made on the first contact. 3% on the second, 5% on the third, 10% on the fourth, while 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact.

What astounds me even more than these figures is that almost half of sales people – 48% – never bother to follow up with a potential customer!


How much money are we all leaving on the table then, I wonder? Particularly if we are not capturing our website visitor’s contact details?

Now, before I get into any how-to’s or examples, I want you to wrap your head around something:

Just because someone did not buy on their first visit to your website does not necessarily mean you are too expensive.

The reason I say this is because the vast majority of email subscription incentives that I see for product-based businesses is a discount coupon.

Tell me – what sort of customer will you be attracting by starting with a discount?

Is there not some other desirable feature of your product that your customers find different, better, or more valuable than your competitors?

Don’t wait for your potential customers to figure that out all by themselves – try and incorporate that into your draw-card rather than always opting for a discount.

Because if you start with a discount, in my mind all this achieves is to straight-out de-value your brand. It also tends to attract the bargain hunters who are comparing price rather than value.

Of course there are always good uses for discounts or free shipping coupons, for example end-of-season clearances. But as a way to ATTRACT quality customers to your website? I think you can come up with something better.

(If your ideal customers truly are motivated by a monetary offer try and frame it as a value-add rather than a discount. This will portray a more high-quality brand image, whereas a %-off portrays your brand as a lower-end ‘discount’ image.)

How do you grow a lucrative email list with the RIGHT punters on it?

Now, as the saying goes, ‘it’s not about the size, it’s how you use it’ – the number one goal for growing your email list is to get YOUR ideal customers on it. NOT to get as many people – any people – on it!

And the only way to get the RIGHT people onto your email list is to become a Pro at knowing what your customers need and want. That way you can make them a much more powerful and attractive opt-in offer that is more likely to result in your visitors signing up to your list.

Need a list-building recipe? Follow my three step list-building strategy:

1. Create a signature freebie / opt-in offer >> (I call this a ‘Customers Magnet’ – it’s something you give away for free in exchange for people giving you their name and email list).

Your Signature Freebie should be your most powerful or most popular offer, and it should be very specific to your core product offering.

Try and make it about the one thing that comes up the most when you’re talking about your business. (For example, Birdsnest’s personalised style-guide. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to go over to Birdsnest’s website and sign up for their style guide and see what happens.)

Your Signature Freebie offer can change, but not rapidly (maybe once a quarter, perhaps if your business goes through different seasons). Just remember that it should always relate to the core focus of your business at that point in time.

How do you decide what your Signature Freebie should be?

>> Have a think about what your customer needs to understand, be aware of or believe, in order to want or need your product. Take the Birdsnest personalised style-guide example – they want their customers to understand and appreciate the value of having a stylist create outfits to suit different body types, personalities and purposes.

>> Where do your customers need to be along their purchase decision-making journey in order to want to buy your product? Try to make your freebie be like a stepping-stone to getting them to a purchase decision. (Click here for tips on how to work out your customers’ purchase decision-making journey.)

2. Create secondary freebies >> – these do not need to be as elaborate as the signature freebie or take as long to create.

My #1 top tip to creating secondary freebies is to use your content calendar to dictate them.

What do I mean by that? Well, what are you blogging about each week or month? What questions are people asking you on social media? What problems are customers calling your customer service line about?

(Writing the occasional mega-blog post about these topics is not just an excellent way to attract your ideal customers to your website, it’s also really great for SEO too!)

So then you create a special offer or gift with purchase, or draw attention to a product or bundle that relates to the topic of your blog post. In order to get this special offer, they have to enter their name and email address (I would use a click-based pop-up opt-in form for this, such as SumoMe. Once they’ve clicked ‘enter’ your website should re-direct them to the shop page where they can buy your special offer).

Or, your secondary freebie offer might be a free valuable downloadable, such as a PDF cheat sheet or guide that is related to one product or category of products that might not be your core product.

Ultimately, you need to recognise that some of your customers are interested in some topics and not others – by having a secondary freebie offer available on each of your mega blog post topics, or main/repeating social media content topics, is an effective way of re-engaging your audience, attracting quality traffic to your website, and capturing all of your potential customers who may just be at different points along their customer journey.

As I said above, I would advise using a pop-up box to capture their name and email address. (Not auto-pop-up though – be polite and ask them to click to download or access the freebie and then the pop-up appears.)

3. Promotional freebies >> this is something that you’d do ahead of a big promotion (ie a new product launch).

The idea with this strategy is to grow your email list with people who will be genuinely interested in the new product you’re about to launch. (Hence – growing a quality email list!)In order to make each new product launch as successful as possible, you want as many new people on your list before that launch promotion begins.

That way you’ll get people who need or want your new product joining your email list, and hopefully they’ll be the ones who are most likely to want to buy your new product RIGHT NOW!

Where do you place the opt-in form for people to sign up to get your free gift?

Obviously you want to put your opt-in form in places that get the most traffic and you want to make it as easy as possible for people to sign-up to your email list.

Try and use the following four positions:

1. The feature box – this is a big form at top of your home page (such as at the top of the page on my own website).

Usually the feature box should feature your signature freebie.

If your website design does not allow you to put a feature box at the top of your home page, then the alternative is pop-up box. (Yes I know pop-ups are a bit annoying but they are incredibly effective. To make it more polite, set it to pop-up after a minute rather than immediately upon visiting the website.)

But for your signature freebie, the feature box is preferable. It’s always right there, smack bang on your website, so if people are visiting your website often (to read your blog or to view latest products or whatever), then they see it every single time.

Remember the stats I recited at the start of this blog post about how many times people need to see something before they act?

2. The top of the side-bar. This goes on all your content pages and/or blog posts (not your home page where you’ve got your feature box).

For example, check out Simple Green Smoothies:Opt-in form at the top of the side-bar

Your signature freebie would also go in this position (because they’re no longer seeing your feature box at the top.

(Note you can still have a click-based pop-up box scattered through your blog posts for people to sign up to get a secondary freebie.)

NOTE: yes, this means someone might sign up to your email list more than once. This is OK – it’s a way of segmenting your email list based on interest or behaviour and this allows you to send more effective marketing emails based on the specific subject matter of the freebie they just signed up for. Just make sure your email list provider is able to keep them on separate lists or tag them according to their behaviour.

3. Bottom of the About Us page. Your Signature Freebie should most definitely be promoted at the bottom of your About Us page. The About Us page is the most highly visited page of pretty much all eCommerce websites (which makes sense in the somewhat-anonymous realm of online shopping – people often want to know who they’re buying from before they make a purchase).

Embed an opt-in form here if you can, or place an image promoting your freebie that people click on to activate a pop-up opt-in form, which is what Happy Tummies do:

Happy Tummies' bottom of article opt-in

4. Bonus: the pop-up opt-in form. As I mentioned above, pop-ups might feel annoying or irritating, but they are incredibly effective. Many of my clients like to use SumoMe’s pop-up app, which can be set-up in a more friendly and polite way – for example, to show when someone has been on your page for a minute (indicating they’ve had a bit of a look around and are interested).

With your pop-up form – try to avoid promoting a ‘Newsletter’! Here’s a couple of great ones that grab attention, communicate specific value, and create interest and desire.

Great example of a pop-up opt-in form for a product-based Signature freebie (or Customer Magnet) - otherwise known as a lead magnet,.Another great example of a pop-up opt-in for a product-based signature freebie or customer magnet (otherwise known as a lead magnet).

Now, list building would not be possible if you didn’t also drive traffic (visitors) to your website and to your email opt-in forms, right?

When it comes to driving traffic to your freebies – consistency is absolutely key!

You don’t need to over-complicate things by creating new opt-in offers all the time – keep it simple wherever possible.

BUT you do absolutely need to be consistently driving traffic to your website and getting as many eyeballs on your stuff as possible!

Now I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail about each of these traffic strategies, but here are several that all product-based business should consider when selling online:

  1. Drive social media traffic to signature freebie and any new blog posts with secondary freebies. Use different images each time you post about it. Remember people need to see something 3-4 times on Facebook (or whatever your core platform is – which will be where your audience hangout) before they’re likely to click on it.
  2. Do not be afraid to use paid ads (social media and Google ads) to grow your email list. In fact, when it comes to social media ads, I would suggest you should use these to grow your email list first (rather than using Facebook ads to ask for the sale).
  3. Guest blogging
  4. Give-aways
  5. Online events (webinars, virtual parties, virtual product demonstrations).

Having a QUALITY email list is absolutely key to making money and growing sales online.

Remember, one of the 3 ways to increase sales online is to get more customers, and to get more customers you need to be able to promote to your ideal customers on an on-going basis.

By visiting your website they’ve already shown you they’re interested in your stuff, but if they don’t buy on the first time (and as we know, on average only 2% of people buy on the first touch with your brand), then you need to have the capacity to follow-up with them. That’s where capturing their email address comes in.

Are you a Productpreneur who uses email marketing to drive sales through your website? Grab my free email campaign worksheet today.

As always, the success of any marketing technology or application will come down to your content strategy. The greatest email marketing application in the world will never make up for a terrible subject line or no follow-up.

I invite you to download my free email worksheet, which includes an email campaign template you can use to create your next email campaign.

No longer do you need to worry about what to put into your email campaign or how to follow up with your audience!

And if you’re a little stuck on how to implement this stuff into your own business – keep an eye out next week where I’ll be diving into my three step formula for setting up an automated sales system in your product-based business to skyrocket your online sales growth!