Want to make money?
The key to many successful online entrepreneurs is to generate a huge email marketing list.
It’s not that hard, and it’s one of the best things you can do for your blog-based business.
An email marketing list gives you:
• A captive audience who knows and likes you
• A way to develop business relationships
• A way to start joint marketing ventures
• And more…
But how you do start getting the names in that list? One strategy is to see how charities do it. Charities generate billions of dollars each year, and they need a donor list just like you need an email marketing list.
National Public Radio (NPR) stations are experts at getting a list.
Even if you haven’t listened to public radio, you may be familiar with their pledge drives. Twice a year (though it feels like more some years), they hold a pledge drive where every member of the NPR family goes out and asks people for donations.
It’s not as different as selling goods through an email list as you might think. Many times a station will offer some sort of gift in exchange for your donation, but beyond the money they’re really after your name. They know that once they have your contact information, they can reach out to you again and likely get more.
The trick is to figure out how they get people to turn over their information and convert it to cash again and again.
As email marketers, we can all stand to learn a lot from NPR about developing an email list. Here’s where to begin.
1. Know what your audience wants
I would assume that you eventually want to get money from your list. In order to get that, you have to give your audience something they want. That means you must know what your audience tastes are.
Market research helps stations to know what is popular in their region, and they leverage that information to great effect. Make more money by knowing your audience. Build and expand your list by using market research and giving them something they might like.
The pitch that NPR has is that their money goes to pay for programming. No donors, no programming. No programming, no station.
People must love what NPR stations offer to give their money over twice a year. They find value in the station. Similarly, you have to be able to give something of value to your subscribers for their information. This can be a free report, like the a free ebook, exclusive offers, or anything that your audience would find valuable.
Incidentally, this also ties into my professional secrets video series. This video gives away my best tactics for learning about any audience, anywhere.
2. Generate a free or nearly-free product to entice them.
One tactic that stations use is to give away items in exchange for certain amounts of donations. NPR listeners get items with their local station logo or special NPR merchandise that can’t be found anywhere else.
You’ll need to find a similar product. At the very least, they will need to get a regular informative message, like a newsletter, regularly. Better still is a free and useful information product.
3. Tell them up front what they will be getting
Make sure that those who sign up to your email list know exactly what they will receive for their efforts. Let them know that with their email address, you will be sending the 2 emails a month and your freebie so that they can expect it. Remember, people love to be told what will happen.
If you’ve heard NPR pledge drives, you know they do this loud and often. You also need to make sure that your signup offer is very visible on the page. Some people even have a popup when people arrive to advertise their free e-book.
4. Provide many outlets to sign up
NPR provides many ways for people to donate and give their information over. You can wait for the pledge drive, of course, but you can also go to the website and pledge there anytime. You can even donate an old car or boat and have them sell it off for pledge money.
Similarly, you should have multiple ways for people to get onto your list. Lead generation pages, links in your posts, a free gift in exchange for email, anything. Figuring out how to opt into your list should be very obvious. This will help you rapidly build your email list.
5. Deliver What You Promise
NPR delivers exactly what they say that they will deliver. They’ve developed a reputation for walking the walk and talking the talk. If that trust wasn’t there, no one would donate.
The people on your list also trust you to deliver value. Yes, it’s true they want people to sign up to your campaign to generate that money-making list. However, if you want those customers to retain any value afterward, you have to give what you promised.
Developing an email list isn’t as hard as it seems. The list is about authenticity, trust, and delivering value as promised. We can take some great lessons from NPR.
They’ve been running their business off a list for decades.
Are you already using similar techniques to build your email list? What strategies have you developed to entice people for their email addresses? Please share your stories and questions in the comments below.