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How To Build An Email List Using Social Media

social sellingAre you struggling to convert social media followers into sales? Do you put a lot of effort into your social selling strategy but see little results?

In my experience, I see a lot of people do social media well but don’t have an active plan to convert those followers into actual leads. For this, you need to build a sales funnel and the most crucial aspect of this funnel is your email list. If you think email marketing is dead, you are dead wrong.

I constantly talk about how I love LinkedIn because it’s 4 times more effective for lead generation than Twitter or Facebook. That number is dwarfed by email marketing’s ability to generate an ROI of 4,300%.


Email marketing has an ROI of 4300% (Source: Direct Marketing Association)

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If you think that number isn’t realistic for most businesses, think again. As Chris Brogan says, email marketing isn’t dead, bad email marketing is dead. One qualified email subscriber is worth more than 1000 Facebook fans that may or may not see your posts. The real question is, how do you merge your social selling and email marketing strategy so they work together?


 “Email marketing isn’t dead. Bad email marketing is dead.” ~ Chris Brogan

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Choose The Right Offer For Your Audience

There are many things you can do to build an email list but the key is finding an irresistible offer that people would be willing to give up there name and email address for. Based on your content marketing strategy you will have to determine the right one for you. Here are some of the options to choose from that have been proven successful.

  • eBook: Obviously writing a book is no small task but you don’t have to write 150-200 pages to be able to call it an eBook. That said, the credibility you will gain from becoming an author is unmatched when promoting yourself.
  • Free Report: This is shorter than an eBook, typically no longer than 10 pages in a PDF document. It’s usually used to educate people in-depth on one specific issue that is affecting them.
  • Webinars: Giving a live training session that appeals directly to your target market is a brilliant way of getting email subscribers but that’s not even the best part. Webinars give new people an opportunity to hear you without interruptions for an entire hour. You’ll build a much stronger connection with subscribers as they get witness your expertise in action and getting to know you better at the same time.
  • Teleseminars: If you have more to say than show, teleseminars can be a perfectly fine substitute for webinars. Make sure you have a local dial-in number that makes it easy for international participants or an option to listen online.
  • Video Training: If you feel comfortable on video, providing a short series of training videos is one of the best ways to provide high value for new email subscribers. You don’t have to go crazy with production value or spend an unreasonable amount of time, simply creating a few videos that educate your target market on a topic that’s important to them can be all you need to entice them to your email list.
  • Checklists: I’ve had great success offering checklists to email subscribers since it gives them a tangible list of things to do that will immediately improve their business.
  • Templates & Other Downloadable Content: Perhaps you have a template in Excel that will help shipping companies speed up their operations or a fill-in-the-blank PowerPoint presentation for realtors. These offers tend to be very successful due to the immediate value they provide.

Providing High Value Content Is The Key

The only way you’ll get anybody’s email into your list is by providing something of high value to your target market for free. Just because something is free, doesn’t mean it can’t (or shouldn’t) be of high value. Every successful email list started by giving something away that was in some way exclusive to subscribers.

If there isn’t a valuable reason to do it, why would anyone sign up for any email list? Having a basic “Subscribe to my newsletter” is no longer enough and results in very low conversion rates to getting new email subscribers.


“66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message.” (Source: Direct Marketing Association).

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High Value vs. Low Value

The biggest problem with failed email marketing campaigns is not providing enough incentive to join. If a potential subscriber does not see immediate value, they aren’t going to give you their email. Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s going to be enticing to people.

Here are a few good and bad examples:

Bad example:

  • “Free Report: What Your Real Estate Business Needs To Succeed ”

Good example:

  • “47 Strategies For Real Estate Investors To Survive The Recession”

Bad example:

  • “Get More Traffic With Our Free Report”

Good example:

  • How I Increased My Traffic By 3072% & How You Can Too In 90 Days”

Bad example:

  • “How To Get Rich In The Stock Market”

Good example:

  • “25 Proven Investment Strategies Every Beginner Investor Needs To Know”

You’ll notice that each of the good examples made a claim that does the following things:

  1. Provides high value
  2. Specific and immediately tangible benefits
  3. Builds a sense of urgency (Why should they take action NOW?)

SIDE NOTE: Don’t use a great title for your email offering and then spoil it by pitching your products and services throughout your content. Believe me when I say that you stand to gain far more credibility through quality education than through constantly pitching your services.


“The more integrity your content quality maintains, the more credibility you gain.”

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What To Do When The Plan Fails

If you’ve followed the directions above and incorporated them into your existing social selling and digital marketing strategy and you’re still not getting results, I have bad news. It’s not your email subscribers, it’s you.

Anytime a business fails with building their email list, it comes down to a few reasons:

  • The value of your offering was not high enough to entice people
  • Your audience is too small and you chose not to run ads
  • You aren’t displaying your offering or opt-in form clearly enough on your website
  • Your website did not provide you enough credibility to convince people that your offer would deliver on its promise

“91% of consumers check their email daily.” (Source: ExactTarget)

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Leveraging New Offers With Old Subscribers

As time goes by, you will likely change or add new offering to entice email subscribers to your list. When this happens, there is a little trick you can use to maximize your leverage with old subscribers that have already signed up.

Right after you setup an opt-in form and auto responder sequence for your new offering, send an email to your existing email subscribers and use Pay With A Tweet to have them make a post on social media in exchange for downloading the new offer.

Click here for a tutorial on how to use the Pay With A Tweet tool from Hubspotsocial selling

PRO TIP: Make sure you craft the Pay With A Tweet message to show a link to your opt-in page so new subscribers get put into your list successfully.

Social Selling + Email Marketing = $$$

Social selling and email marketing don’t just go together, they are one in the same if you want to generate long-term success online. Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of social networks like Facebook and Twitter by depending solely on your fans and followers. An email list is something you own and that you have 100% control over. Don’t undervalue the power that has.

What are some of your favorite social selling or email marketing tips? Did we miss anything in this article that should have been mentioned? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss it.