The first step to understanding how to structure your perfect opt-in (more commonly referred to as a lead magnet) is to determine why you're building a list in the first place. Many businesses start by creating a newsletter sign up on their website, and unfortunately, newsletters went out of style years ago. (If you're still sending Email Newsletters, read this first! The best strategy to grow your revenue online in 2019 is to build your list with a very targeted and specific lead magnet.
But how do you determine what the precise lead magnet will be? Ask yourself this question first: Who is your ideal customer? It’s critical to become crystal clear about your ideal consumer, and having only one list means that you don’t have a way to differentiate between who is who on your list. The biggest mistake businesses make in this initial stage of targeting is that they don’t zero in on the hyper-specific details of their ideal client or customer. When you offer a lead magnet, you can control your targeting and segment your list into meaningful categories.
First things first. Before you can even figure out what type of opt-in or lead magnet you’re offering, you’ll need to be crystal clear about WHO you sell to. This will help you determine the ideal client or customer that you want on your email list, because you don’t want just anyone, and you definitely don’t want as many people as possible. WHY? because Ideal customer’s recognize the need your product or service fulfills for them…they trust your expertise and they will come back to you again and again for help in solving their problem.
When thinking about the broad scope of why you’re building an email list in the first place, consider what you are going to offer in the context of how it will help you move this ideal target client or customer closer to buying your product or service. Essentially the lead magnet is a smaller piece of what you plan to sell to them. For example, if you are selling marriage counseling services, your lead magnet might be “enter your email address and we’ll send you 10 text messages to instantly start a conversation with your significant other”. That is a very targeted way to get someone to opt into your email list, and it’s also a great way to prep them for an email nurturing sequence.
Whatever your nîche may be, it’s important to really think about WHO you’re selling to first in order to determine the lead magnet that will attract the perfect customers for you.
Nurturing and Segmentation
Understanding and thoughtful planning of the sequence of events that happen once someone gives you their email address in exchange for your lead magnet is critical. Some people call this the “funnel” or nurturing sequence. If set up properly, it’s the process by which the person moves through their customer journey inside your sales funnel and eventually emerges as a customer instead of a prospect. With digital marketing, the strategy is put in place as soon as a person provides their email address. Another term for the structure of this process is email automation.
In the past, businesses used to just send an email to deliver the guide, freebie, or whatever it was that was requested. That is no longer the best strategy. Instead, smart business owners use the first email as a way to connect and establish a relationship with their new prospect.
It may sound counter-intuitive to not want “everybody” on your email list, but the tighter the list the better. In other words, the way most businesses think is, the more people on my list the more potential customers I have to sell to, but that’s just not how it works with online marketing in 2019. People are savvy buyers, they do research online before they buy, and they know what they’re looking for, so unless you have established a rapport with your list, they will simply ignore your emails.
The biggest secret to generating revenue with email is to have an engaged list. Once you do, you can evaluate important digital metrics such as how people found you, what content is effective and working, how your ads and content offers affect your bottom line, and which of your online campaigns are converting the best.
Lets go back to your offer to see what kinds of people could potentially end up on your list.
There 4 kinds of leads that will opt-in to your offer …
1. Freebie Seeker
3. Proof Seeker
4. Raving Fan/Evangelist
1. Freebie Seeker – no matter what you offer, she just wants the free download. She will probably never spend a dime on what you have to offer, she’s just looking for the next free download. That is not your ideal customer.
2. Researcher – She’s following your channels and she likes what you have to say, but she’s still not sure if you have the right product to solve her problem. What happens after she downloads her lead magnet is very important. The follow up sequence (or funnel) is critical for this type of lead in order to move her forward on her buyer’s journey.
3. Proof is in the Pudding – this person needs proof in order for her to open her wallet and buy from you. This is something easy to do once you have a page built specifically for testimonials or case studies, depending on what type of business you have. I will also go into more detail about this step in another video.
4. Raving Fan/Evangelist – she’s the perfect lead…she’s a big fan of you and your business. These leads are a critical part of your list b/c they will tell her friends and followers about you and what you have to offer.
For my email automation, I use and highly recommend ConvertKit. It's a platform that is easy and intuitive to use, and integrates well with just about any other platform.
The 4 types of leads mentioned above will always make up the majority of your list. Understanding the funnel means that you need to treat each one of these types of leads differently with a different follow up sequence. I know it sounds like a lot to set up 4 different followup sequences, but if you do, it will make your online marketing so much easier as you move ahead.
Asking people to opt-in to your email newsletter worked well in 2010, but these days bloggers and small business owners need a more advanced strategy.
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So many businesses, both large and small are still sending out email newsletters, and by the way…that is not the same thing as using email automation to grow your revenue, in fact sending newsletters will very rarely, if ever, provide any return on investment for your business. Let me show you the difference.
First things first. We’ve all got way too much email in our inbox right…
It feels like every time you unsubscribe from something, you get 10 more emails in return. Email Marketing Automation is everywhere.
I’ve even changed my email addresses just to get rid of all the noise.
So think about the typical email newsletter…a company shares once a month, or maybe even once a week. Maybe they’ve moved into a new location, or maybe they’re welcoming a new employee. If you make a living as a blogger, you might be sharing an excerpt of your blog posts and then linking to the last 4 or 6 blogs that you wrote.
So now, think about how you feel when you’re busy opening emails and you receive a business newsletter and it’s filled with all kinds of links and different things going on…maybe one thing catches your eye, but the reality is, you’re way too busy to click through on every single link in there, because there are just too many choices and you really don’t have time.
Maybe you’ll come back later, but the data shows that’s not likely. What data? Marketing data from all over the world that is aggregated and published by literally every important marketing company that exists (HubSpot, Salesforce, SEMRush, you get the picture). Anyway…if you do send these kinds of newsletters you’re not going to like this data very much but it’s the truth; most people don’t care about what’s new in your business this week.
What people care about is how you can solve their problem, if they happen to have a problem that you have a solution for.
So how does all this translate into setting up automated campaigns that actually generate revenue for your business?
The key is to set up your email marketing automation using JUST ONE nurturing sequence at a time which corresponds to your audiences exact place in the sales funnel.
Wait, what? What does that mean and how do I know this?
Because so much automated intelligence exists that allows thousands of marketers every day to analyze their data…and it’s all black and white. In other words, nobody has go “guess” anymore.
In the past, a business would market their brand by placing an ad in a magazine or on billboard, and back then, they never had an accurate way to measure how effective their ad was. So all these dollars were spent on traditional marketing, but how did they know what really worked or what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure? They didn’t. If they were smart in 1995, they set up different phone numbers so they could track where people saw their ad based on whether they actually called their business, but that’s old news because now we can accurately track email clicks on both websites and within email marketing campaigns, and that’s how we know that email newsletters are just not effective.
So instead of sending another newsletter, here are the steps you can take TODAY to start turning things around:
Write down the exact problem that your audience has.
Write down the exact solution that you provide, that solves their problem.
Apply your solution to the sales funnel; now if this sounds a little confusing, lets look at a real live example.
In the world of digital marketing, being able to pinpoint a prospective customer's place in the sales cycle and associate it with an appropriate nurturing sequence is called Journey Mapping. You’ll first figure out whether your audience is in the awareness stage, the consideration stage, or the decision stage of the sales funnel. These are 3 markedly different phases of decision making, and will affect your email nurturing sequence depending on what phase they are in.
So how do you know what phase they’re in? Digitally, this is done by segmenting or grouping your website visitors into categories based on the measurable actions they take on your website. For example, you gain some perspective on your audience by paying close attention to what blogs they’re reading on your website. Which of your posts gets the most traffic? To accomplish this in a very early stage (if you are used to sending email newsletters and you’re looking to transition to automating your emails for the purpose of generating revenue) then you’ll need to begin by sending an email for the sole purpose of grouping your audience into different categories.
A segmentation campaign is as simple as sending an email that provides two different options…so say your business or blog is about sustainability, ultimately, you’re selling a digital course that teaches people how to build a bin for composting, so your blog topics are likely all related to gardening and composting.
If you already have subscribers on your email list and it’s just one list, you’ll start by sending an email that offers only two different options: either click here to read about learning the importance of composting for sustainability, or click here for a cost comparison of buying different types of compost bins compared to building your own out of leftover household materials. That differentiation now clearly separates your audience into beginners versus advanced. You’ll know based on who clicked which link where they are in their personal journey. So then ultimately if your goal is to sell that digital course on how to build your own composting bin, then you know how to properly nurture people based on where they are in their educational journey…in other word’s their “buyer’s journey”. Then you can take measures to properly group people when they first sign up for your list. You can do this in a few different ways:
Add a choice to your opt-in form so instead of asking only for their email address, you’ll add an additional question that will give you the answer to what you’ll eventually send them…so it might say “what type of gardener are you” (so they choose: I’m a beginner or I’m advanced).
This can also be accomplished by taking a quick survey on your Facebook page or even emailing your current list and saying that you want to provide content that is relevant so you’re taking a quick survey to see what your readers are most interested in. Then as they click, you’ll again go back and analyze your data to find out more about your audience.
As you can see, talking to your audience about precisely what they’re interested in is a much better way to nurture them through the different stages of their buyer’s journey and toward making a purchase from you.
Email Marketing Automation Platforms
I started off using MailChimp in 2006, just like most small businesses do, because of cost constraints. Now that I have a much better understanding and appreciate efficiency, I would highly recommend ConvertKit; it is the way to go because it's simple and intuitive to use, and it makes segmenting your audience super easy. ConvertKit also has visual automations and a very easy tagging system.
Have an enterprise sized business? The most robust platform for Marketing Automation + Website Builder all in one for Small to Medium Sized Businesses who have revenue between $250,000 and $5 Million in annual revenue is: HubSpot (Click for a 30-Day Free Trial)