The best thing you can do for your business is to start building an email list. Not the first time you’ve heard it, and certainly not the last.
Why is building an email list so important?
Because email is your direct connection to your audience; a place you can connect and engaged with your audience that’s a little more sacred than the monstrous social media landscape.
Email also provides you endless opportunities to deliver:
- Free, valuable and consistent content
- Surveys and feedback forms to get to know your audience better
- Interactive content, like videos and podcast episodes
- Courses or series that dive deeper on a topic you know your audience is interested in
- Step ladders that can help you introduce paid products and services to your audience
- And so much more!
How do you build an email list?
Ahhhh yes, of course; you likely already know why building an email list is important, but chances are, you’re here to figure out HOW to do it.
There are definitely a lot of moving pieces – both technical and tactical – and depending on your business model, your audience, your budget and the time you have to commit, there are many different combinations and options available.
It can be quite overwhelming, actually, which is why we created this complete guide: to share how we’ve built multiple five-figure email lists – each of them segmented and targeted to deliver exactly what our audience wants and needs – along with the platforms we use to make it happen.
Note: some of the links in this guide are affiliate links.
Let’s dive into the six step process!
Step 1: Choose an email provider
First step is to decide where you’ll collect the email addresses you want to capture.
There are free and paid services available for this, so if you’re just starting out and don’t have a lot of money to invest, then start out with the free option and you can always upgrade to a paid option with more benefits later.
Free email provider
MailChimp: Start building your email list for free
MailChimp allows you to collect email addresses, send broadcast emails to your subscribers, and create multiple lists to help segment your subscribers into different categories.
Paid email provider
ConvertKit: Get 1 month free – our Fire Nation special!
ConvertKit allows you to collect email addresses, send broadcast emails to your subscribers, create multiple lists to help segment your subscribers into different categories, allows you to build out automated funnels, and has a landing page builder with pre-made templates for your opt in pages.
Our email provider of choice
ClickFunnels: Start your 14-day free trial today!
ClickFunnels allows you to collect email addresses, send broadcast emails to your subscribers, create multiple lists to help segment your subscribers into different categories, allows you to build out automated funnels, has a landing page builder with pre-made templates for any page you can imagine (including order forms), integration with most merchants, an affiliate platform, and more!
Step 2: Choose a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform
Sometimes you’ll find a diamond in the rough: a platform that offers you multiple things on the same platform. Depending on your style and how your business is set up, this might be really important to you, or it might not make that much of a difference.
If you went with our email provider of choice, ClickFunnels, then you have many of the benefits of a CRM already built into the Pro plan.
However, there are still some things ClickFunnels doesn’t do in terms of providing a fully robust suite of tools for keeping track of your leads and customers, like a visual campaign builder, campaign and contact rules (if this, then that), and a built-in tagging system.
Of course, if you’re just starting out then these may not be things you necessarily need right now anyway.
Insightly: Get started for free!
ClickFunnels: See above :)
Our CRM of choice
Infusionsoft: A fully robust suite of tools and functions to help you keep track of and stay in touch with your prospects, leads and customers.
Step 3: Choose a landing page builder
Now that you have a place to collect your email addresses, and you have a CRM to build out separate email lists and manage your future leads and customers, it’s time to find a platform that will help you create your landing pages.
Is it possible to find a single platform that will take care of steps 1 – 3 for you?
ClickFunnels does offer the most robust all-in-one platform for steps 1 – 3, but as we pointed out in the last step, it’s not a fully robust CRM.
Free landing page builder
Instapage: Get started for free!
Paid landing page builder
LeadPages: Choose from dozens of templates or build your own landing page with LeadPages!
LeadPages also offers additional tools like LeadLinks, LeadBoxes and LeadDigits, which help you connect with your audience where they are.
Our landing page builder of choice
ClickFunnels: See above :)
Step 4: Establish your email list’s goal
If you’re just starting out, then your email list’s goal will likely be to introduce your audience to you, your business, and your content. This is what Russell Brunson refers to as “an indoctrination series”.
The idea is to start building a relationship with your subscribers and develop a know / like / trust factor.
This initial series is typically a string of anywhere between five and eight emails, sent one day apart, that tell a story: your story (and why your new subscriber should care).
Don’t just talk about yourself though; you want to talk about yourself in a way that reveals to your subscriber what’s in it for them.
If you want the best resource there is when it comes to building out email funnels and series like the indoctrination one, then Russell’s DotComSecrets book is for you.
Step 4: Create your email opt in offer
Once you know the goal of the email list you’re trying to build, it’s time to back in to what you’ll offer your potential leads in exchange for their email address.
This is sometimes called a “lead magnet”, and the goal is to create a piece of content that holds incredible value so your potential subscriber sees opting in as no-brainer.
When you get to advanced funnel building, your email opt in offer will be the first step on your value ladder, another concept Russell explains in detail in his DotComSecrets book, and that we review in our free course, Funnel On Fire: How to create a funnel that converts.
Your email opt in offer might be any number of things, including (but not limited to):
- An eBook
- A PDF download
- A Checklist
- A Guide
- A video series
- A free course
Again, the focus and topic of the content you’re delivering should be something you know your audience wants and needs.
You might discover what the focus and topic is by posting different ideas on:
- Social media
- Your blog
- In the online communities you’re a part (in your niche)
Listen to your audience – those who are reaching out to you via email, or on social media, and just ask: What’s the #1 thing standing between you and your biggest goals?
Whatever that struggle is, it’s your job to build your audience a bridge to overcome it, and your email opt in is a perfect place to start.
Here are some examples of the email opt in’s we’ve created for Fire Nation:
- 11 Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs
- Top 12 Internet Resources
- 7 Ways to Build Your Online Presence Now
- Top 10 Books Recommended by Today’s Top Entrepreneurs
You’ll notice several of the opt in giveaways I mention above are repurposed content, or a compilation of content we’re curating from our podcast and blog. Once you’ve started creating free, valuable and consistent content, this is a great way to go.
For super segmented email lists that are targeting a subset of your audience, you might offer something much for targeted. These types of opt in giveaways and funnels tend to be more advanced and should always be following the value ladder concept: the goal of the email list you’re building is to bring them into a funnel that will lead them to your highest level offering related to that topic.
- Free Podcast Course: A 15-day free course on how to create, grow and monetize your own podcast
This is a free course that introduces subscribers to Podcasters’ Paradise, the #1 podcasting community in the world with over 3000 members.
- Free Goals Course: How to set and accomplish your biggest goals
This is a free course that introduces subscribers to The Freedom Journal: Set and accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days. The Freedom Journal has sold over 19,000 copies to date.
Step 5: Setup your email opt in and thank you pages
Now that you have a goal and an opt in to offer your subscribers in exchange for their email address, you have all the information you need to create the actual opt in and thank you pages.
We use ClickFunnels to create all of our email opt in and thank you pages, in addition to our free course funnels.
To show you the exact process we go through to create our email opt in and thank you pages in ClickFunnels, we created this video where we walk through each step. Enjoy!
Russell also created DotComSecrets Labs, where he gives away a free book with 108 Proven Split Test Winners! This will be a great resource for you as you start to create your email opt in pages.
Step 6: Drive traffic to your email opt in offer