We need to build a larger audience, in order to scale our business.
One of the problems micro and single person businesses face, is that their potential audience is much larger than they’re allowing.
Typically, we promote our posts and some curated content via Twitter and Facebook, maybe other social channels, and we grow a few followers.
But actively scaling our audience is a different process. It’s not happenstance, it’s strategic work and deigned to build two outcomes.
Those two outcomes are the two different lists we’re building.
Not two lists in one system, to totally different lists on two totally different platforms.
Both are vital to the growth and scale of a business. Both also require similar strategy to grow them. But it’s how they grow and what we get from each list that’s so different.
We’re building two lists
The two lists we’re building, are an email list and a remarketing list.
We used to just grow our email list. Then remarketing and social adverts meant that we started to build a remarketing list.
Now, we need to actively grow our remarketing list, because how we send traffic to our site, differs from how we have sent traffic in the past.
Email lists and remarketing lists are both fantastic for launches, promotions and product sales.
Email lead database list
Our email list is categorically important to our business. It’s OUR data, we can use it how we need. At absolute worst, we can download a CSV file and email people manually.
Email lists are fantastic for building trust and automating a campaign.
If someone signs up, we can talk to them. Follow them through a process and talk to them about how we can help.
We’re in control of how our emails are sent, where they’re sent and how often people will see us.
I can see names, phone numbers, addresses, how often they’ve bought and more.
Your email list is imperative to the growth of your business.
However, it’s also hard to build an email list because of the barrier to entry. People need to have trust in you, before they hand over their email address.
Sure, you’ll offer them a lead magnet, but is everyone going to sign up right away?
Here’s what’s interesting about people taking action. Signing up, buying or whatever. Even if they’re 90% ready to take that action. They still won’t. That final 10% is a barrier that they need time to get over.
That 10% does NOT mean they’ll never sign up or never buy. It just means they’re not going to do it right now.
So if they saw your sign up box, or offer a few more times, would they sign up? Probably.
This is why your email list is so important. It’s a list of people who trust you and want to hear from you. But it’s only able to grow when people want to sign up. People who need some more persuasion need another tactic.
Remarketing, very basically is when someone visits your website from Google, or social link or advert, or they got there some other way. We tag their browser and know that they visited our site.
We then show adverts to those users on websites and social sites, promoting another piece of our content.
What we’re doing is being top of mind for those customers. If they’ve visited our site, we can advertise something to them that we know they’ve shown interest in.
We’re told it takes 6 – 8 interactions to generate a sales lead (https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2015/04/takes-6-8-touches-generate-viable-sales-lead-heres-why-gp.html) and remarketing can be some of those interactions.
Rather than advertise to a wide audience, we advertise to people that we know have visited the site.
We have a remarketing “list” because we build a list of people who have visited our site. However, we don’t get to see the data or export the names. The list is ours and specific to our settings, but we can’t manually view each person that goes through it.
The reason remarketing is important, is because it’s a much lower barrier to entry, someone just clicking a link and visiting a website. Rather than asking for a name and email address, we’re just asking them to look.
We can position further content in front of them, draw them back to the site and potentially get them to sign up at a later time.
This is the solution to people who are 90% ready to buy or sign up. That final 10% that needs more time and trust, can be dealt with via remarketing.
Would you honestly read that?
So if we’re producing content and writing blog posts, we need to make sure it does everything it can to increase the trust and authority people see in us.
Here’s the hardest question you’ll have to answer with creating content.
Would you honestly read that?
Does the title make you want to click? What about the image? Does the summary mean you understand what you’d get?
More important that would YOU read that, of course, is would your audience read that?
In truth, there is no secret formula to creating content that people want to click on and read. There are a few areas we know we can focus on, but compelling titles and adverts are tough to get right all the time.
You’ll need to test your headlines and titles. Mix different images and see what gets higher click rates or lower costs per click.
Some easy areas to look at, are subject, results and language.
Is the subject something that your customers actually want to read? If you’re a website designer, do they want to read about responsive website design? Or, do they want to read about attracting more traffic to their website by not ignoring 50% of their market (the mobile readers).
Is it clear what someone would get if they read your content? Or are you just promoting a buzzword? Really think hard about what someone can gain if they clicked on that link.
Finally, does the language resonate with your audience? You might know what SEM and landing page column break point are, but will your audience? Use terms and language that they use and recognise.
Would you really share that?
Now when they’re on the post or content, ask yourself if you would really share that?
First, have you made it easy for people to share? Don’t spam them with hundreds of share buttons and widgets, but make it easy for people to click and share your content.
Second, would someone want to share that with their audience? Do their colleagues and friends want to read that? Or does the reader gain something from sharing your content?
People share content that they wish they’d written themselves. If it’s funny, informative or gives a mind-blowing secret away. Sharing your posts and pages is a demonstration of excitement from you.
Which also means you might have to ask for shares. Don’t be afraid to talk to your readers and ask them to help you out.
Ask yourself when you read your post, would my audience really share that?
Provide free webinars to an audience
When we talk about tactics to grow your lists, both email and remarketing, we need 3 things.
1. Advert copy
2. Content that attracts people to your site
3. A CTA (call to action)
Webinars create PERFECT opportunities for all 3.
If you create a webinar for your audience, use paid traffic to drive traffic back to a webinar sign up page.
You could give a real live date, a cut-off point and say you’re only doing it once. Talk about how it’s totally genuine content, not pre-recorded or a webinar pitch.
Drive people to that sign up page. When people sign up, they’re added to your email list.
People who DON’T sign up, are perfect candidates for remarketing.
Create remarketing advert copy to ask them to come back and complete their sign up.
You could even get smarter and pay cold traffic to come to blog posts on the same subject as your webinar. Again, ask people to sign up to a webinar at the end of the post, but use the blog posts for cold traffic.
Remarket the webinar to people who have already viewed the blog post. We’ve shown them we know what you’re talking about, we’re not hiding any content or expecting anything in return.
But if they’re interested in a subject, it stands to reason that they’d be interested in a webinar, deep diving that same topic.
Make sure the webinar is recorded and you save the video file somewhere.
Once people are signed up, follow up with an email campaign moving them onto another product. Send some emails talking about the free handouts or key points from the webinar.
Offer them the recording on another landing page. Then start to position your products to people.
Promote recorded webinar to paid traffic
Now that we’ve done a live webinar, make sure you’ve got the recording and upload it to somewhere like Vimeo or YouTube.
What we can now do is run, what’s called an “evergreen campaign”. This means we can create a campaign, including landing pages, emails, redirects and upsells, but it runs constantly in the background.
Here’s an overview of how it works.
We run paid traffic campaigns to direct traffic to a landing page. The page has a sign up for a webinar and some free handouts.
Some businesses like to run campaigns in blocks. Meaning they say the webinar is live or opens in an hour or in 30 minutes.
They might have 4 webinars running a day, all recorded, but they’re blocked off in time blocks. Or, even more complex, every new sign up is told the webinar doesn’t start for another 30 minutes and they have to wait.
Personally, I prefer to be totally transparent and let people know the webinar is a recording and they get access as soon as they sign up.
I understand why businesses have exclusivity and scarcity with their webinars. It means people don’t see them as something they can just sign up to whenever they want. But personally, it’s more important for me to be authentic and give away information that’s useful, rather than get more people to sign up.
After they’ve signed up, you can send them the exact same email campaigns you sent to your live webinar attendees.
As long as the automation chain isn’t broken, you can continue to just drive traffic to a webinar landing page and watch as the email list is followed up with.
This is also a perfect opportunity for remarketing. People who are driven to the page are great candidates to be drawn back to the same landing page.
Cut webinar up into 4-6 videos and post on YouTube
Once you’ve been running a webinar for a few months, it makes a perfect case for creating a video series.
If you’ve followed a template similar to our explorer blog post formula in chapter 5, you’ll have your content already in neat little sections.
Split the introduction, promise, myth etc. into the first video. Then cut each learning point into another video. If you have 5 learning points on your webinar, you’ll have 6 videos (including the introduction).
This makes great YouTube video content. It’s easily consumable as a series and you can send people to each video via and email sequence.
Make sure to include links and good descriptions in the description box, making sure you’re ranking for YouTube search terms.
Finally, if the video series proves popular (even if you get just a handful of people saying they liked it), it’s probably a good candidate for a mini course that you can charge for.
Promote a talk at a University and offer a free seminar
Saying you’ve spoken at a college or University on a subject is an instant authority boost.
But the reality, is that most University’s and college’s don’t ask local business people to talk for no reason.
Here’s how you can talk at a University and tell people you have, without the luck of being asked to.
Universities and colleges have LOADS of speaking places. As in literal auditoriums and rooms for people to talk at.
Call up a local institution and ask to use one of their facilities to talk at. Some might charge, but others might offer the room for a very low rate if you play the entrepreneur card.
Say you’re not charging for the event, it’s purely to gain experience with your talk and there won’t be hundreds of people there. Say that students are more than welcome to attend to, should they want to.
Once you’ve got a booking, promote your event (you’ll need about 6 weeks lead time) to your list and audience. Email round current contacts and networks and ask them to join you there to talk about a subject.
Say it’s free, there’ll be refreshments* and it’s absolutely not a pitch. You just want to share what you know about subject for 20 minutes and you want the experience.
Once you’ve given the talk, facilitate a bit of networking and thank everyone for coming.
It doesn’t have to be that many people at all. 10 people is enough to talk in front of and it’s a great way to get a University down as somewhere you’ve spoken at. In future, it’ll be easier to get speaking gigs as you’ve done a talk at a University.
Bonus points: Record the talk, even just on your smartphone and turn that into more video content.
*My most popular attended event was on a Friday evening in late November. I emailed 50 local website, graphic and digital businesses and asked them if they wanted to network and listen to a quick talk, not a pitch, so I could get some experience. My hook? Free beer. That was it. I talked to the pub an said I’m getting around 30 people (who had responded) in this evening. I asked for some pitchers of beer and the pub discounted them as they knew 30 people turning up would be worth it.
Generate lead lists with Speedlancer and email them (not bulk) about drinks to meet them via networking
Speedlancer.com offers a range of freelancing services at very affordable prices. One of our favourite methods is to use their lead generation service.
They’ll generate a list of names and contact information from a source of your choosing. Now these leads are NOT suitable for mass emailing. But they are PERFECT for the networking and speaking type events we mentioned above.
I sent the below to start my networking with people I’d never met before.
We haven’t met properly, but I run Devon Digital Design.
I basically just wanted to reach out and invite you to drinks on 28th October in Exeter (on me).
I haven’t arranged a location yet, but I’m really keen to meet some of the other website, digital and marketing businesses in Devon.
I’m a massive believer that Devon has some great digital creative talent out there and I want to have a pint with them (:
No marketing, no sales pitches, nothing cringe like that. Just a drink (did I mention I’m buying?) and a chat with a few digital nerds.
Let me know if you’re in (:
Good to meet you.
I sent these, rather my VA sent these emails, one by one to the list of leads that Speedlancer got for me. It was way more successful that I thought it would be. I got to meet some cool people and started to see I could grow audiences from anywhere.
Grow your email list with lead magnets on your blog posts
In order to continually and passively grow your email list, you need to be converting visitors into email subscribers.
The easiest and most effective way to do this, is by offering lead magnets on your blog posts.
Most websites already offer optin forms with lead magnets on their website. They’re usually light boxes or sitebars that offer a lead magnet across the whole website.
While useful, they often don’t convert as highly as they can, due to how people use the website and what they’re currently browsing.
As we’ve talked about already, a lead magnet is a specific chunk of value that seems worth handing over an email address in exchange.
The key to continual email list growth, is offering lead magnets after and during blog content. Free, useful content that people can read and consume. Followed by an awesome, specific super helpful piece that they can get in exchange for an email address.
In an ideal world, we’d have a specific lead magnet for every single blog post. But in reality that’s probably not going to happen.
So instead, we want to focus on “content silos”.
The 10×10 that we created in Chapter 5 went over creating 9 different blog posts/pieces of content and a lead magnet.
We know that posts and content within each broad topic are connected. That’s our content silo. A series of posts within a subject.
We support that content silo underneath with a lead magnet from within the same subject. Completing our content silo.
Lead magnets connected to a blog post topic have a higher conversion rate. This is because of congruency ($10 word alert), which means there is a clear link between what someone is reading now and what they could read.
Similar to a sequel book, or a 2 part newspaper article. If your customer is reading blog content about SEO and Google rankings, a lead magnet on keyword research and long-tail keywords will do better, than a lead magnet on Facebook posting.
The trap people fall into, is creating one lead magnet and offering it to every visitor. A 5 step guide to increasing e-commerce purchases might be a great resource. But if they’re interested in mobile email marketing, it’s probably not going to convert as well.
Keep your lead magnets specific to the content people are reading. If this means scaling back your content creation, then so be it.
There are a few routes to creating lead magnet and blog post congruency.
Some businesses will choose one silo and create the lead magnet. Then populate the whole silo with blog posts. This gives them 9 or so posts and a lead magnet.
Others will create one new post and a new lead magnet for the first 10 topics. Then go back and fill up each silo per week.
There isn’t a right or a wrong way. But it might be wise to start creating content that you think will get you the most traction.
Offer content upgrades on blog posts
Content upgrades are similar to lead magnets. They’re almost always PDFs or worksheets. Templates, cheat sheets and reference lists make good content upgrades.
What differentiates them from lead magnets is that they barrier to entry, or accessing them, is much lower.
Sometimes it’s just a share button. I.e. Click here to tweet and share this post and you’ll get access to our cheat sheet.
Or sometimes there are no barriers at all. It’s just a PDF via a link in the text.
Content upgrades need to be seen in the light of adding huge value to a piece. Don’t always believe that content you create, needs to be protected.
When people first started blogging, the concept of “giving away all your ideas and secrets” seemed insane. A similar thing is happening to lead magnets, now people believe they have to protect any kind of download.
If there are a few exercises, like brainstorming or listing ideas, these make fantastic content upgrades.
Content upgrades are usually offered DURING the blog post. Inside the actual copy, almost as part of the text.
In my opinion the best example of a content upgrade inside a blog post is WP Elevation’s Definitive Guide To Winning WordPress Clients.
The main lead magnet at the moment, is a course. However the content upgrades, included in the post, provide enormous value to the reader.
As you can see, they’re worksheets and brainstorm sheets designed to help readers get clarity. They aren’t huge exercises or long eBooks. They’re designed to help someone get a result while reading the post.
Write long form epic killer blog posts with a strong lead magnet related to that post at the end
More and more, businesses are creating a flagship blog post and targeting all their traffic efforts towards that post.
A long form, epic, killer blog post is like a self-contained funnel.
It starts with a sales letter style introduction, ramping up and explaining the problems and barriers that the reader faces.
Rather than then actually sell the solution. The solution is provided for free in the blog post. A how-to guide goes through the points and explains how the reader can solve a solution.
At the end, a very specific lead magnet is positioned to the reader. Rather than our content silo lead magnets, which are just related to the topic, our new long form blog post lead magnet, is specific to jus that post.
Your thinking for a lead magnet, delivered in this way needs to be slightly different.
The process of creating an optin form and sending the new subscriber an email with the lead magnet is exactly the same.
However, to create the lead magnet, you need to think very specifically “how can someone who is reading this, get the results I talk about in the blog post FASTER and with more AUTOMATION?”
How can a reader take your blog post and do something about it TODAY? Rather than just reading the blog post and trying to implement it themselves. What would help the reader and assist them in executing the steps in the blog post?
The type of lead magnet can be exactly the same as other lead magnets. Cheat sheets, checklists, worksheets etc. But all the steps need to be related to the original blog post.
Use a phrase like “if you’re serious about [blog topic], you need to download our resource/cheat sheet etc.”
An example of a blog post with a specific lead magnet, would be Sell Your Service’s Content Funnel Post.
It talks through an entire content funnel creation process. And at the end offers a handbook to teach people how to run through the exercise with customers.
We need a larger audience in order to scale our business. The more people we get in front of, the larger our reach becomes.
Have you tried any of these? Is there something here you want to try? Let me know in the comments below.