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Celebrity Branding Online: How to Build Your Email List

You’ve heard me say that building a strong email list is a critical part of growing your business. A well-crafted email marketing strategy leads to new clients, higher client retention, and ultimately higher profitability. But without a strong email list, none of this is possible.

So… how do you build your list? In the early days of email marketing, purchased email lists were often the solution. You may be familiar with this concept—but basically, it involves purchasing hundreds (or thousands) of email addresses to use in your marketing campaign. This strategy may have been effective in the past, but it’s a bad idea today for a number of reasons. First and foremost, sending unsolicited email (SPAM) hurts your brand. It’s not professional, and your recipients aren’t going to appreciate it. It’s also a good way to get your email address "blacklisted" as a spammer.

Bottom line – stay away from purchased lists!

It’s far more profitable, more professional, more ethical, and more effective to build your own email list. And you can do this relatively easily using your website and your social media presence. There are two basic steps – first, driving targeted traffic to your site, and then capturing their contact information so that you can add them to your list. We’ll talk in detail about each step below:

Step One: Drive Targeted Traffic to Your Site

Social media. Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest are all great ways to drive traffic to your website. You can do this in a variety of ways – by posting links to your blog entries, by sharing information about your products and services, by offering special deals and promotions, etc. And social media traffic also has the benefit of being highly targeted, since your audience on social media is already interested in you and your company. (Otherwise they wouldn’t be following you!)

Blogging. A blog can be a tremendous tool for increasing website traffic. For one thing, your blog entries can be publicized via social media and other channels. In addition, they will often serve to increase your visibility on Google and other search engines. Consistently writing blog entries that provide value to your audience is a great way to bring in more traffic!

Articles. Article writing works in a similar way as blogging. By syndicating your articles across a variety of online sites and directories, you dramatically increase the exposure of your brand and your website. And as long as the articles are well written and provide value to your readers, you can count on a number of them "clicking through" to your website in order to learn more about your business.

Video. As sites like YouTube and Vimeo grow in popularity and videos become easier to create and distribute, business owners are finding video to be an effective source of website traffic. The premise is simple – create a video that focuses on the unique benefits of your product or service and distribute it via social media and other sites. When a viewer sees it and wants to learn more, he or she will visit your website. Simple and effective—but don’t cut corners when it comes to creating these videos, as an "amateurish" or low quality video doesn’t position you in the right light. Remember, you’re becoming a CelebrityExpert®… and everything you do must reflect that brand!

Offline promotion. In addition to driving online traffic to your site, you can spread the word in the "real" world too. One great way to do this is by plugging your website while speaking or networking. Make sure your site is listed on your business card or other promotional materials. And don’t just ask your audience to visit – give them a compelling reason to do so!

Step Two:  Capture Email Addresses

Use attractive, easy to use forms on every page of your website. Now that you’ve got traffic to your site, the next step is to capture their contact information. Priority number one is making sure that each page of your site features and attractive and user-friendly contact form. If your forms are ugly, hard to find, or difficult to use… they aren’t going to be used. Make it easy for your audience!

Offer freebies. These days, most internet users are hesitant to give out their email address. We all have plenty of email in our lives—the last thing we want is more messages to monitor. To overcome this natural reluctance, sweeten the deal! Offer a free special report, white paper, or e-book to your visitors. This strategy is a win-win—it provides your visitors with great value, and it gives you the opportunity to tell them more about your business and how you can help, while capturing their email address at the same time.

Capitalize on "lukewarm" interest. Some of the traffic to your website will be "hot"—ready to make a purchase or sign up for your services immediately. Some of the traffic will not be interested at all. But a sizeable percentage of it will be "lukewarm" or semi-interested. They may not be ready to make a purchase… but they would like to learn more. These lukewarm leads will often convert into clients down the road—but if you don’t capture their information, chances are they will be gone for good. So make sure that your lead capture forms appeal to these people. Phrases like "learn more now" or "get the details" are a good way to capture their interest (and their email!) without requiring them to make a commitment.

One last word on this process—don’t be afraid to make adjustments! Keep tweaking your site and your strategy until you find an approach that generates results. Sometimes, a bit of trial and error is all it takes.

A healthy, growing email list is vital to the success of your business. Email marketing is highly effective, but only if you’ve got a list of prospects to market to! These tips will help you build your list, your CelebrityExpert® brand, and your business. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

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