About as often as I hear from bloggers who have no email subscriber list at all, I hear from bloggers who have the remnants of a partially set up and hacked together email list.
Both situations need attention, your email subscriber list is one of the most valuable digital assets you can build.
If your readers aren't getting a fabulous experience when they sign up for your email list, today we're going to tackle 5 common list building mistakes that you can (and should) fix today. Plus, if you haven't started building your email subscriber list yet, you'll know what to avoid!
#1 Looking Like Everyone Else
Every email service provider (Mailchimp, Aweber, Mad Mimi, etc.) has pre-formatted emails they send out when someone subscribes to your list. These are emails like the “confirm your subscription” email and the “thanks for signing up” email which are obviously critical to the whole process but yours shouldn't look like everyone else's.
Take 5 minutes to updated the pre-formatted emails with your logo and brand colors so that the branding experience is consistent from your blog right through to your emails.
#2 Not Staying in Touch with Your List
The whole point of an email list is to maintain a connection with your readers so that you can build a deeper connection with them over time. That relationship creates the amazing community of supporters that you want surrounding your brand.
Without regular content, without regular emails, your list isn't doing what it could to build relationships and isn't that the whole point?
If you haven't been emailing your list consistently, slide this task on up to the very top of your priority list and take a hard look at your calendar to find other, less critical tasks you can nix to free up time.
#3 Not Using a Premium Email Service Provider
There are a few ways that you can collect emails and send out blog updates with very little effort. One of those is the Jetpack subscription plugin and Google's Feedburner is another example.
While these services are enticing because of their apparent ease, they don't allow the control you need to truly make the most of your email list.
Choose an email service provider that is designed for marketing (which is what you're doing!) and it will allow you to send emails that aren't just blog post updates, design the look and feel of your emails to reinforce your branding, offer optin incentives to encourage sign ups and more.
And speaking of email optin incentives…
#4 Not Offering an Email Optin Incentive
Most everyone needs a nudge in the right direction from time to time and that's exactly what your email optin incentive (a.k.a, lead magnet, optin offer, welcome gift, etc.) does. It helps to move a visitor into a subscriber by enticing them to sign up for your list with a valuable offer that is helpful to them.
Creating an optin offer takes a bit of extra effort – and that's why it's something people often put off when they set up their list building system. But the problem becomes when this task is put off indefinitely.
I find that when working with people around their optin offers, they often think it's a lot more work than it actually is. Sure, there are ways of making your offer complicated but for your first optin incentive go super simple so you can actually get it done and available.
Try creating a one page pdf, a checklist, a cheat sheet, something you can rock out in a couple hours and get it up on your site and into the hands of your readers.
Done is better than perfect. And if you don't like it, you can make something fancier for version 2.0.
(Check out these resources and templates to create a pdf ebook quick.)
#5 Not Tracking Your Sign Up Rate
One of my absolute favourite parts of working with design clients is the discovery phase of the project. It's where I get to do a swan dive into their stats, traffic, email marketing and more to see what's working, what's not and how we can design a site around their goals.
What shows up time and time again is a lack of measurement. It's hard to plan a strategy when we don't know what's working. Without measurement, you're just guessing.
With your email list, one of the most important things to measure is your sign up rate, or your “conversion rate.” This number tells you what percentage of people who arrive on your site “convert” into email subscribers.
I know this concept sounds a bit complicated but it's a game changer. When you know how well your list building system is working, you can make changes to it, and measure the effectiveness of the changes. Once again, without measurement, you'd just be guessing!
For detailed instructions on how to measure conversion rates you can steal my google analytics dashboard.