Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Michael Akinlaby who is a content strategist and SEO consultant at RankRain
Over the past few years, the term “growth hacking” has become the new favorite phrase in the internet marketing space.
Local businesses talk about growth hacking their stores.
Bloggers talk about growth hacking their readership.
Startups talk about growth hacking their usage.
I realize that no one is talking about growth hacking their email list.
Most marketers are starting to forget this old powerful phrase:
“The money is in the list.”
In fact, Google Trends showed that interest in the new phrase has quickly surpassed interest in the old phrase.
Is it that marketers are starting to forget how powerful an email list can be?
No, I’m not trying to say that “growth hacking” is the new fad.
Growth hacking has been in existent for a very long time. It’s just that marketers don’t call it “growth hacking” until Sean Ellis coined the phrase and Andrew Chen popularized it. And that was just 2010.
An earlier, perfect example of growth hacking is Hotmail. That was 1996 – 1997, of course. That’s 13 years before the strategy finally has a name.
I like growth hacking. I breathe it.
When you build an email list, you automatically become a knowledgeable internet marketer.
You can sell to an email list over and over again – that’s the power.
But when you combine email list building with growth hacking, you not only become a talented marketer – you become the KING of your niche.
Let’s talk about combining these two powerful internet marketing strategies together.
How can your growth hack your email list?
How To Build A Valuable Email List In Less Time
Over the past years, I’ve read a lot (probably hundreds) of case studies, showing how some smart people built their big email list.
You’ve probably read most of those list building tutorials out there. They leave you with more questions than answers after you read them.
I stopped reading list building tutorials because they really don’t get into the main thing you have to do to grow a valuable email list.
For example, some tutorials will tell you to put a subscription box on your blog sidebar to grow your email list.
Maybe you’ve done that, then you expect some 1,000 email addresses as claimed by the tutorial within 24 hours, but nothing happened.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
That page is an HubSpot blog post on how to build an email list.
If you take some of the advice from that post, you may work for more than six months, yet you still don’t have a big email list.
To build a massive email list, you need to start from somewhere right?
You don’t begin from the top when you want to achieve something BIG. You start from the lowest point and then build your way up. The same thing applies to list building.
One of the best ways to build a big email list is to growth hack it.
How do you growth hack it?
There are four amazing ways you can do that.
#1: Ask All Your Friends And Family To Join Your Email List
Bryan Harris is the KING when it comes to list building.
Bryan always recommends that anyone who’s trying to build a solid email list should start from their current network. That’s what he did when he was starting out.
In fact, he didn’t have a website when he started building his email list. (Sounds crazy?).
Those two Facebook posts generated 49 comments.
Bryan sent private messages to those 49 people and received 25 responses.
He developed a relationship with them and knew what they want.
He created a product they’ll like to buy.
He Facebook messaged those 25 people who responded to his emails, and 19 people bought his product for $29 each.
Bryan made $551 just from 19 customers?
No business name.
He sold his products all through Facebook.
But Bryan didn’t stop there.
He collected another 575 email addresses through a Facebook group.
Note: He built his email list just by private messaging potential customers and asking people in the group to DM (direct message) him.
He launched another product and introduced it to his email list of 575 people.
Do you know what happened?
21 people bought his product at $397 each. Bryan generated a total revenue of $8,337 from that launch alone.
Who say you need a big email list before you can start making money?
You only need a few highly-targeted people to join your email list, and that begins with people you already know.
You can reach out to your current network of friends and ask them to join your email list, and even refer more of their buddies.
You can reach out to anyone who posts a question on a Facebook group and tell them you have a nice and lovely product that will help them solve their problem.
Here’s a perfect example:
Facebook is just the right place when it comes to leveraging your current network to grow your email list.
If you can grow an engaged list of 500 people through your Facebook friends and groups you’re part of, you can be sure of comfortably making at least $2,000 from that list.
I have a friend of mine who runs a driving school in Brooklyn. About 90% of his business comes from his current network, and Facebook is a big part of this.
#2: Create Keyword-Targeted Landing Pages
If you browse the web a lot as I do, I’m sure you’ve come across a lot of landing pages.
Some landing pages are made to sell.
Some are made to promote social media profiles like a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Some are made to collect emails.
I like the last one.
I like the last one because it can still help me easily achieve the first two which are selling and promoting my social media profiles.
For example, if I collect your email, I can still ask you to follow me on Facebook and buy my product. There’s a high chance that you’ll do that.
But when you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, there’s a high chance that I’ve lost you as a customer.
Those social platforms are noisy places. You may not get to see any of my future updates. But you’ll surely see my update in your email (unless you don’t check it).
I like when landing pages are made to do one thing: collect emails.
How can you growth hack your email list from a mere landing page?
The answer is simple:
Rank for a high-traffic keyword and collect emails from that post by making it a landing page.
It’s called keyword-focused landing page.
I’ve found that this approach works a lot.
What you want to do here is find a keyword that gets decent traffic from search engines.
Create a blog post around that keyword.
Do all you can to make sure that post lands on the first page (or #1) of Google search result for the target keyword.
Then collect emails from that post.
Some businesses use this strategy to build a massive email list, and their businesses are now worth tens of million dollars.
For example, Copyblogger has keyword-focused landing pages that rank on Google’s first pages for “internet marketing,” “content marketing” and “copywriting.”
These keywords receive average monthly searches of 40,500, 74,000, and 110,000 respectively.
Let’s use copywriting in our example. This is a keyword that receives 110,000 average monthly searches according to Google Keyword Planner
Now, let’s see how this Copyblogger’s copywriting page looks like:
As you can see in the above screenshot, this page is made to achieve only one goal, which is getting more people to sign up for Copyblogger’s free copywriting course.
Through pages like this, the Copyblogger team has been able to build hundreds of thousands of emails over the past years.
They actively build links to their keyword-focused landing pages to make sure they rank high on Google.
So imagine you can make a landing page on a keyword that receives thousands of searches per month, and you get your page to rank on the first page of search engines, it means you’ll keep getting emails for many years to come as long as your landing page continues to rank high.
This list building growth hacking approach reduces your customer acquisition cost to almost zero.
#3: Lock Content To Increase Your Email Subscribers
Chances are your website is currently receiving some traffic from social media or search engines.
How can you leverage those platforms to growth hack your email list without annoying your current readers?
There’s a simple tactic I’ve used to build my email list on my niche sites.
What is it?
Well, I simply lock some part of my content.
If your content is really interesting or educative, a visitor to your website would want to see that locked part of your content. Trust me, they’ll be very curious to see it.
One tool I often use for this purpose is Opt-in Content Locker For WordPress (WordPress only).
It doesn’t matter if your blog currently receives little traffic, you can build an email list that’s even more than those with a high-traffic website.
#4: Offer Content Upgrades To Boost Your Email List
Content upgrades are less pushy than content locks, but they’re as effective too.
Unlike traditional “site-wide” lead magnets, content upgrades are unique to the specific content that people are already reading or listening to on your site.
Chances are if people are satisfied with the content on your web page, they will also be interested in an upgrade of that content.
For example, Pat Flynn saw a 500% increase in opt-ins when he started offering content upgrades on his website.
Brian Dean boosted his opt-ins by over 785% when he started offering content upgrades.
Here’s a screenshot of what he did:
You might say that both Pat Flynn and Brian Dean have huge readership base.
The good news is that you don’t need to have a huge readership before you apply this technique.
For example, let’s assume that your website receives 100 visitors per day. You could be converting at least 10% of that when you use content upgrades. That would bring 300 new email subscribers for a month. I think that number is still amazing for a small blog.
So you have zero excuses why you shouldn’t be building your email list.
With this four effective growth hacking techniques, you can start building your email list starting from today.
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