“Everything must be made as simple as possible. But not simpler.”
~ Albert Einstein
The best way to build an email list is through setting up a simple “funnel.”
A funnel has five basic components:
- Landing page with free gift
- Email autoresponders (ARs)
- Traffic to your landing page
- Sales page
- YouTube video
Before I explain these further, please don’t be intimidated by anything “technical” about these components.
Yes, your funnel will require some initial writing, design, technical setup, and testing — but this can all be outsourced, and fantastic help is available. (We’ll get to that.)
If you’re a beginner, you can use your website as a “starter funnel” — and then graduate to creating additional funnels as you grow.
Always look at the bigger picture: a funnel helps you MEI (motivate, educate, & inspire) people 24/7. A funnel brings perfect fit customers onto your email list, and it automates the process of following up with them.
Your funnel is the primary mechanism for growing your email list.
Now let’s look at each component…
THE LANDING PAGE
At the heart of a funnel is the landing page. It’s where magic happens.
A landing page is a short, simple web page designed for ONE purpose only: to collect email addresses.
A landing page has only ONE call to action (CTA) — which is to enter your email address in exchange for a free gift. That’s it.
(Here’s an example landing page from a client of mine.*)
Also known as a “lander,” “squeeze page,” “opt-in page,” “lead generation page” or “email capture page” — a landing page is hyper-focused around collecting email addresses of your perfect fit customers. Please burn that into your brain.
There should be no other links, CTAs, or distractions (including social media links!) on your landing page.
Everything on the page — from the design to the layout to the copy — revolves around one purpose: to MEI people, so that they’ll voluntarily give you their email address in exchange for your free gift.
The landing page is almost more important than your main business website, because it’s where people show you their “intent.” If you’re offering a free gift, and they’re signing up to receive it, they’re qualifying themselves as a potential perfect fit customer.
Your landing page is a place where you can quickly collect someone’s contact info, so you can follow up with them later. People won’t stay there for long — they’ll get a quick sample of your writing style and what you offer, and they’ll “self-select” whether they’re interested or not.
If they sign up for your “free gift,” you know it will probably change their life for the better.
How to use the Anti-Marketing Manifesto in your landing page: put yourself — i.e., your personality, your values, your perspectives, your “voice,” and a pic of you — onto the page!
ENTICING FREE GIFT
What do I mean by “free gift”?
You must offer an irresistible “gift” or freebie that’s HIGHLY RELEVANT to your perfect fit customers.
It should also be related to your business, product, or service. Offer a freebie that will make people EXCITED to give you their email address!
Here are some ideas:
- a free report on a controversial topic related to your industry
- free sample of your product
- a contest or “chance to win” free product
- free online course
- free educational audio training that helps people solve a major pain point or create a specific outcome
- free consultation or strategy session that helps people gain clarity about a specific topic or challenge
- free 30-day trial
- free 30-day challenge that creates motivation and inspiration for your perfect fit customers
Your freebie should be something that not only grows your email list, but also enhances the quality of life of those who use it…even if they never end up buying from you.
This approach perfectly embodies the Anti-Marketing Manifesto: giving, rather than trying to “get” customers.
NOTE: “JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST” DOESN’T CUT IT!
Slapping the phrase, “Sign up for our newsletter” onto your main website does not count as an enticing free gift. Few people are looking for random email newsletters to subscribe to.
But people LOVE signing up for free stuff that’s tangible, actionable, and relevant to their interests.
People love receiving free gifts and free samples, especially ones that are rare, special, fun, or insightful. They’ll gladly sign up for a “chance” to win some free product that looks appealing to them, too!
EMAIL AUTORESPONDERS (AKA “EMAIL FOLLOWUPS”)
After someone signs up to your email list via your landing page, you can’t just let them sit there. You must follow up with them!
Email them a link to the “freebie” they requested…
And then go far beyond that by introducing yourself, why you started your business, what you offer, and how you can help them improve their life.
Instead of doing this manually (which is laborious and time-consuming), create a series of pre-written emails — AKA email autoresponders (ARs) — that will automatically be sent to all your new subscribers.
These emails don’t need to be canned, or copied out of a lame-@ss template.
They should be personalized with your unique voice and style.
Make them short, sweet, interesting… and highly relevant to your PFCs (perfect fit customers).
Note: We’re not in a “rush” to sell anything. However, we also don’t want to cause unnecessary delay in our sales process… by confusing the customer.
These initial emails should motivate, educate, and inspire (MEI) people on how your business is here to serve them!
If you set these emails up right, people will naturally want to make their first purchase with you ASAP.
The sooner a perfect fit customer places their first order with you, the sooner they can benefit…and the sooner they can place “repeat” orders and tell their friends and family about you.
EMAIL AUTORESPONDERS REMOVE FRICTION
Part of the job of email ARS is to make your sales process unfold smoothly…and to eliminate any “friction” that might cause a “90% sold” person from actually placing an order with you.
For example, you might put FAQs (frequently asked questions) into your email ARs, to address any common questions that a new visitor might have about your product.
Putting content into an email autoresponder series can help you avoid repeating yourself.
You may have written or talked about the same topics many times…but you have to remember, NEW people subscribing to your list have never heard you write or talk about those topics before. It’s all new to them. What seems basic and dull to you is exciting and fresh to them.
Therefore, you need a way to deliver your “redundant” content to new subscribers…in a way that feels uplifting and MEI’ing to them.
Some “experts” say you should segment your list and send different content to different people. But this is manipulative and complicated.
Keep it simple. Send everyone the same content. Gear it all to your PFCs.
If you use the MEI principle (motivate, educate, and inspire), then everybody can benefit from the same content.
How to use the Anti-Marketing Manifesto in your email autoresponders: write each email AS YOUR TRUE SELF! Put your unique personality, values, perspectives, “voice,” and occasionally a pic of yourself — into each email!
THE SYNERGISTIC EFFECT OF A LANDING PAGE + EMAIL AUTORESPONDERS
Landing pages, combined with simple email autoresponders, unlock the door to MEI’ing, serving people, and selling in your sleep.
These two components are ESSENTIAL for not only list-building, but for MEI’ing people on your list. Together, they speed up the process of a perfect fit customer discovering your business, and saying “yes” to your product or service.
But there’s another important piece to the system…and that’s traffic.
Nothing happens without visitors coming to your landing page.
“Traffic” means visitors to your landing page.
None of this wonderful “magic” can unfold if no one sees your landing page in the first place.
So your task is to figure out creative and effective ways to bring the right people to your landing page. Otherwise it will just sit there, collecting internet dust.
There are MANY ways to create traffic, but remember that all of them should revolve around using the MEI principle (motivate, educate, and inspire), first and foremost.
Don’t be spammy; don’t use “click bait” or cheesy headlines to lure people. Use the MEI principle.
Here are some ways to create traffic:
- Create a viral (controversial/funny/memorable) YouTube video that directs people back to your landing page
- Write a controversial blog posts on your own blog that directs people back to your landing page
- Do paid advertising (e.g., Google ads, YouTube ads, trade publication advertising) that drives people back to your landing page
- Write a controversial guest blog post for another high-traffic website or blog that’s complementary to your offerings
- Be interviewed, mentioned, or featured in-depth in someone’s email list, newsletter, podcast, or other high-profile platform that is complementary to your offerings
- Pay or sponsor successful companies or publications to mention you, plug you, or feature you in some way (be careful to only give money to companies that align with your values)
- Buy a mailing list and do a bulk postcard or catalogue mailing. (You can buy consumer lists of mailing addresses from places like InfoUSA.com). Make your postcards funny, controversial, or memorable — something that’s almost impossible to throw away.
No matter which traffic strategy you choose, always drive people back to your LANDING PAGE with free gift…NOT your main website (unless you’ve turned your website into a “starter” landing page!)
Many business owners struggle with building their list, because they’re directing people back to their main website — which isn’t optimized to collect email addresses. There’s too much going on; too many links, pages, and distractions…so the visitor doesn’t know what to do. They get confused and leave.
Direct all traffic back to your LANDING PAGE, which is designed specifically to collect email addresses!
Pick one traffic strategy that you enjoy, and master it before you move onto another one. Don’t flip flop between multiple strategies…because that will exhaust you.
My top clients have gotten great results from doing paid Google ads. Some have also used Facebook ads with great success.
How to use the Anti-Marketing Manifesto in your traffic: write all ads, guest blog posts, or other content AS YOUR TRUE SELF, in your own unique voice! Use the “MEI” principle (motivate, educate, inspire) in every ad.
THE SALES PAGE
Now that we’ve got a landing page with enticing free gift, email autoresponders set up, and traffic…the next step is to look at your sales page copy.
This is where you sell and make money.
You need at least one solid, well-written sales page for your business, to sell your main product or offering. If you don’t have a sales page, then you probably have a bare bones “product description” at the very least. This can be the building blocks of a sales page.
A sales page is a website dedicated to selling ONE specific product. It’s designed to MEI people, so that they will buy your product.
Similar to a landing page, the sales page has only ONE call to action…and that’s to buy the product.
(Here’s an example sales page from a client of mine: GetPalmettoPlus.com.*)
A sales page is not the same as a “store page” with multiple products, buy buttons, and descriptions.
A sales page can be long or short. Longer copy typically outperforms shorter copy, because it’s more detailed and answers more of the customer’s potential questions.
Longer copy lets you build a case for why your product is a “must-have.” Longer copy lets you engage readers with stories, research, facts, life-improving concepts, Q&A, testimonials, pics, FAQs, and more.
This may sound obvious, but a sales page should have a link to buy, or a buy button.
Your “buy” button should be strategically placed several times throughout the sales page, making it easy for people to place an order.
(You don’t want anyone scrolling or working hard to find your buy button.)
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY!
Some customers will read your entire sales page word for word, if it’s interesting. Others will skim, and buy. Some will read it, and NOT buy.
You’re here to serve perfect fit customers…that’s it. Nothing else matters.
If you’re new to sales pages, start with ONE. I recommend starting with a dedicated sales page for your most popular, bestselling, or most profitable product that you enjoy delivering the most…because you already have momentum on it.
Write the copy, perfect it, tweak it, edit it, and optimize it over time, until it’s working to perfection. (If you want to request my help with this, reach out to me.)
Once you’ve created a successful sales page for your top product…THEN feel free to create additional sales pages for your other products, as needed.
Effective sales pages help you sell your product online, 24/7 without you having to talk to a single soul!
If you’re selling high-priced offerings, you may need to throw in an additional email or phone call with the client before you close the deal.
How to use the Anti-Marketing Manifesto in your sales pages: you already know the answer! Write all sales copy in your true voice, while weaving in your perspectives, viewpoints, and values. Include your company back story, why you started your business, why you created the product or service, and why you’re f%#king stoked to help the person on the other end!
A YouTube video is the final piece that makes your funnel shine.
It’s what separates the “anonymous nobodies” from the REAL HUMAN BEINGS who motivate, educate, and inspire!
A video of you gives people a glimpse of your personality, energy, and style. This makes a huge difference, because people can actually see and hear you, feel your “vibe,” and know that you’re real.
Many business owners hide in the shadows and try to stay unseen… but that’s a recipe for failure, especially in our current “Age of Transparency”!
People love buying from real human beings…not faceless corporate entities.
You can make imperfect, unedited home videos and still make bank…OR you can spend extra time and money to make edited, polished videos. It’s your choice. Both are great for showing people who you are.
Messy, and even “poor quality” home videos can wrack up tons of sales — provided that the rest of your funnel kicks ass!
A YouTube video should be included on your sales page!
How to use the Anti-Marketing Manifesto in your YouTube videos: be your real self, and speak directly to your Perfect Fit Customer (PFC). Motivate, educate, and inspire (MEI) them with your best offer in 2-5 minutes.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Once you have the basic components of a funnel in place — landing page with free gift, email autoresponders, traffic, and sales page with YouTube video — you’ve got the building blocks for a strong online sales system.
Your funnel is the foundation for building your email list, MEI’ing people automatically, and selling on autopilot.
Your LIST is where the money is, and a solid funnel will help you continually grow your list.
Each part of the system is vital. Each piece needs to work seamlessly in order for all the other parts to work effectively. It’s a holistic thing that can nourish both your business and your new subscribers…if you take care to set up everything properly.
Remember — most, if not all of your traffic-generating activities should involve putting your landing page(s) in front of the right people. From there, they can subscribe to your free gift, give you their email list, and begin receiving your ongoing emails.
Good luck, and let me know if I can help you write or edit your funnel!
* Disclaimer: I receive royalties on any products mentioned.