If you’re a writer or blogger, you need to build an email list.
Email marketing may not boast the glamor of social media, but it’s arguably the best marketing strategy bloggers and writers can use to get the attention of people, build their trust, and compel them to action.
Now, when it comes to building your email list, there’s one important piece you need to have: an irresistible incentive.
You see, people—including ourselves—don't want to give their email address to just anyone. This is why you need to provide visitors to your blog a compelling reason to sign up for your email list. And the best way to do this is to offer them an irresistible incentive: a resource that’s exclusively available to people who opt-in to your email newsletter.
Your incentive will need to be free and add value to your audience. And it can take the form of many things, such as the following:
- Email series
- Audio book
- And more!
But before you provide just any incentive for visitors to your site, you need to take a moment to think through what will not only provide value for your visitors, but something that will also help you fulfill your objectives as a writer and blogger. Here are five steps to help you create an irresistible email lead magnet.
1. Start with Your Author Brand
When building your email list, you don't want just anyone signing up. You want to build an email list of people who will be interested in you as a writer, blogger, and author.
To build this type of email list, make sure that what you create and offer fits well with your author brand or is directly connected to the book you’re writing. This way, when you send your email list new blog posts or announce your new book or digital product, your email list will actually respond to what you’re sending.
Think about it.
If you offer a lead magnet not associated with your brand as an author, you will build an email list of people uninterested in your opinion about a different topic.
For example, if you want to establish yourself as an expert in a particular field (say, church leadership, writing, or consulting), you’ll need to create a lead magnet associated with the topic of your author brand.
So, this means you shouldn't offer “100 Gluten-free Recipes” to people who opt-in to your email list when you’re trying to establish yourself as a small business consultant. (This is an extreme example, but I think you get the point.)
As a writer, author, and blogger, maintain a consistent messaging.
2. Make a Specific Promise
Now, when it comes to creating your email lead magnet, you should create a free resource that makes a specific promise. This promise can be:
- A solution to a problem your readers are facing.
- An answer to a question your readers are asking.
- Something your readers want.
For fiction writers, this is more nuanced. You can offer free content from your book (this is also true for non-fiction writers), bonus material based on your characters and the setting of your book, or an exclusive story for your email subscribers.
This leads me to my next point.
3. Make a Compelling Offer
With your specific promise in hand, it’s imperative for you to compel visitors to your website to opt-in to your email newsletter. To do this, you need to quickly and specifically let them know the benefit they will receive if they sign up for your email newsletter.
Here are some examples for you to consider:
- “Get a free chapter of my book” (Jared Polak)
- “Start building your audience today” (Jeff Goins)
- “How to sell anything to anyone” (Ray Edwards)
Notice that these examples avoid just asking people to sign up for an email newsletter to receive updates. This can work for some people, but if you don't have an email lead magnet ready to share, then aim to provide a specific benefit people will receive by subscribing to your email newsletter, such as, “Get the latest copywriting tips delivered to your inbox.”
4. Provide a Simple Solution
For your email lead magnet, you can provide a simple solution.
You can provide a checklist (like we do at Lucid Books), a short audio or video file, or a short eBook. Providing a free book works great for fiction writers, but a long eBook may not be the best solution for non-fiction. You want to provide a resource for people they can easily read, listen to, or watch, and quickly implement.
Also, look at what content you’ve already created and see how you can repurpose it into something else. Here are some ideas:
- Adapt one blog post into a checklist.
- Adapt several blog posts into an eBook.
- Use a blog post for audio or video content.
These are just a few examples of low-hanging fruit you can pick and use for your email opt-in.
5. Share Your Email Lead Magnet Multiple Times
To create awareness of your email lead magnet, share it more than one time. You have to create consistent awareness. You see, some people will op-in the first time they see the offer, whereas it may take several impressions before someone else decides to opt in.
To help capture the attention of your visitors, here are some key locations where you can share your lead magnet:
- Include an email pop-up to collect addresses.
- Include an email opt-in after blog posts.
- Include an email opt-in on your about page.
- Include an email opt-in on your homepage above the fold.
These four tactics are a great place to start when it comes to building your email list. But here’s a list of several more ideas to help you build your email list.
Making this Work for You
If you haven't started building an email list, read this article first and then start working on creating a lead magnet. Building an engaged email list is the best thing you can do to market you and your work in the long run.
There are strategies you can use to quickly build an audience and your email list. But often building an audience takes time, so prepare yourself to spend a couple of years growing your platform.
In all honesty, it takes a lot of time, consistency, and strategy to build an engaged email list. So, don't feel discouraged if you think your email list is small or you’re just getting started. Set yourself a goal and start working toward it today.