The secret to success is in your list
image credit: Photo Mojo
There was a question in the forum about Email Campaign Results and Kevin of Hunting Life brought up a great point – “the hard part [of a successful campaign] is building a quality list of subscribers”.
Coming from the catalog world, I realize that the power of any successful company is their ability to build a strong list of quality customers. The power to build a list of customers who have opted into your products and services with their purchases or approval for you to contact them can make a business successful for a long time.
Building a strong subscriber base for your hunting company begins with the quality of your products and services. In order for Web users to subscribe to your email campaigns you’re going to have to gain their trust. You’re going to have to show them that you will provide valuable content within emails, whether it’s access to new information and products, exclusive promotional offers, or unique articles that relate to your business.
There are things you can do on and off your own Website that will gain the trust of your visitors and get them to sign up for your email campaign.
Let’s take a look…
On Your Own Website
In order to build a strong subscriber base of valuable subscribers you’ll need to convert the people visiting your site. Those visitors who are coming to your site likely heard about your business via offline referral, searching a keyword phrase related to what your business does, or they followed a link from another Website (online referral of sorts).
These visitors are highly valuable as they’ve already shown an interest in what your business provides and they’ve taken the first step by visiting your site. It’s important to convert these visitors to subscribers so you can market your products and services to them via your email campaigns.
Let’s take a look at a few specific things you can do on your Website to convert visitors…
Put your sign-up in multiple places
Depending on how your Website is setup, there are many places you should be putting your email sign-up.
Here are just a few:
1| Header, right side or left side of your home page
I have seen email sign-up areas in multiple places on the home page and I’m sure all work depending on how sites test the conversion of getting subscribers. I like having the email sign-up near the top right of the home page, but I am in favor of trying it out in various places to see what works best. And what works best can change over time as well. I’ve seen it work on the left side very effectively as well. So continue testing.
For an example of the power of testing your email sign-up here is a speech by Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek on how he tests various things to convert first-time visitors to long-time subscribers.
How to Build a Successful Blog [Random Findings 8:00]
2| Main pages (other than the Home page) on your site
Most Websites today have at least a few pages other than the home page such as a products/services page, a photo gallery, a blog, a contact page, possible a store, maybe product reviews, and other areas hunting businesses feel are important enough to highlight in the top navigation menu on the site.
You can take advantage of these pages by using their specific content to show a benefit to subscribe to your email campaigns. One of my favorite email campaigns is Field and Stream because they always include great headlines for awesome photos in their gallery. Field and Stream has an awesome gallery of hunting photos and they always use these photos in their emails.
You can do the same for your hunting business with your own photo gallery and you can put the call to action email campaign subscription sign-up in your photo gallery and near each photo by saying something like:
“To get updates on the latest photos in this gallery subscribe today”.
This is a powerful benefit for your visitors who are looking for amazing hunting photos. If you can show that there is a specific benefit, people will sign up because they see the value in subscribing to your email campaigns. And the best part is these people are likely to be satisfied when you actually send them updates with your email campaign that includes photos. And once that trust is there you can promote your other services and because you have the trust of the subscriber, they are likely to convert over to buyers.
Use specific calls to action on each of your site’s pages as ways to share the benefits on your site with your visitors on a deeper level via email subscription. If you have a forum, tell your users that if they subscribe you’ll share with them the hottest topics in the forum each day. If you have a page that offers your various outfitting packages, tell your visitors that if they subscribe to your email campaigns they’ll receive updates on the latest hunts you offer as well as limited time discount offers or something along those lines.
There is a lot of opportunity with specific calls to action for getting people to subscribe to your emails on your pages.
3| Blog posts
If you have a blog for your hunting business (and I suggest you do) and you have done some keyword research and you’re targeting topics that will likely attract the attention of potential customers via search, you will get some new visitors to your blog posts and your goal is to convert these people to subscribers.
One way to do this is to include a call to action at the end of your blog posts. New readers who read an entire post on your blog are likely interested in hearing more from you. After all, they made it through an entire post. This is not an easy thing for writers as Web users tend to have little patience.
Since some readers make it through an entire post, why not offer them the chance to subscribe to your email campaigns by including a benefit call to action like this:
“For the latest blog posts subscribe via email”
Don’t let your quality visitors get away without getting them to subscribe to your email campaigns.
Testing Calls to Action
As Tim Ferriss mentioned in his speech, testing is very important for getting strong conversion on your site. And this is not only true for getting new visitors to subscribe to your email campaigns, it’s important for getting new and long-time subscribers to convert as paying customers as well.
Try changing your language with your calls to action.
If the current language at the end of your blog post isn’t working:
“Sign up for blog posts via email”
Try changing it up to something new:
“Get the latest blog posts and other benefits with our email updates”
There are lots of things to test with calls to action and it takes testing to find what’s best for your specific business.
Communicate the Benefits
Earlier I touched on the importance of communicating the specific benefits readers will get from each of your site’s pages if they subscribe to your email updates (ex: photo gallery).
Here is an example of how one company, Conversion Rate Experts, shares the benefits of their email campaign with their visitors in order to convert them to subscribers.
Lots of companies do a great job of communicating the specific benefits visitors will receive if they subscribe to an email campaign.
Make sure you share the benefits of your email program with your readers and visitors and get them to convert to subscribers.
Then you’ll be able to deliver on your promises (providing them what they actually signed up for) as well as providing relevant product and service offerings.
Visit Other Websites
You’re going to get some traffic to your Website if you’re doing things like paid advertising, sharing links with other hunting Websites, paying for listing in directories, listing your business in free directories, etc, but in order to grow your own audience you’re going to have to spend some time off your site looking for other Websites that share your target audience.
There is a lot of opportunity to grow you’re the audience on your site and the size of your email list by spending time off your own Website.
Let’s take a look at a few…
One of the things I enjoy doing is writing guest posts on other blogs. Here are a few examples:
Guest posting is a great way to introduce you and your business to someone else’s audience. And it doesn’t only benefit you it benefits the blog you’re guest posting on because you’re providing the blog owner with quality content for their site as well as providing quality content for their readers to view and discuss.
Look for other blogs and Websites that share a similar audience to the one you’re targeting for your hunting business and offer to do a guest post. Site owners and bloggers usually welcome content providers with open arms.
Here is a great how-to on guest posting from Problogger:
Another thing you can do to get the attention of someone else’s audience and convert them to email subscribers is to participate in interviews.
Make yourself available to be interviewed on the topics you’re the expert in – what your business provides.
Ask other site owners if they would be willing to interview you via email, phone, or video for use on their site as a way to share your expertise with their audience.
Also ask other site owners with large audiences that you would like to target if you could interview them and then allow the interviewee to share the interview on their site with their audience.
By exposing you and your business to other audiences, you’re expanding the reach of your marketing message and showing your potential customers the benefits of your business.
These are just a couple of ways you can participate off your own Website that will bring traffic to your site in ways that will likely convert people to your email list with proper calls to action. You can also do things like participate in forums, blog commenting, etc.
The possibilities are endless and only know the limit of your own creative thinking.
Always Leave a Call to Action
Now, with all of this offsite activity it’s important to remember to include calls to action so the other audiences know what they’re supposed to do now that they’re aware you and your business exist.
Make sure when you participate in discussions on other sites that you provide ways for new readers, listeners, and viewers of how they can contact you and subscribe to updates from you.
When doing guest posts, leave your Website and email subscription link so people can quickly sign-up.
When doing interviews do the same or if it’s video/audio, tell the users the address of your site and where to look for your email sign up and what they can expect when they subscribe.
The work you do off your site can go to waste without quality calls to action.
Make sure you’re converting your new audience to subscribers so you can share your quality products and services with them via your next email campaign.
Maintaining the Trust
Once you get new subscribers on your email list it’s important to deliver on the promises that you mentioned that got them to subscribe.
With email, it’s easy for people to unsubscribe to your campaigns or worse, put your emails in their spam filter.
Make sure that your emails include the content you promised like the specific benefits you may mention like:
“Subscribe for email updates that include the latest additions to the photo gallery”
Make sure everything in your emails is beneficial and valuable for your readers.
Bonus – Break Rules!
I am a fan of breaking so-called ‘rules’ or standards on the Web.
Just because I may think that the top right is the best place for your email sign-up on your home page doesn’t mean that it’s the absolute best place to put yours. Try new things that nobody else has tried. Sometimes the best way to get the attention of visitors is to catch them off guard with things that are non-standard.
I like putting the email subscription call to action at the end of my blog posts, but maybe for you it works best at the beginning.
Don’t be afraid to try new things and set your own rules with your Website. See how your visitors respond and adapt to what they’re telling you with their actions.
The beautiful thing about the Web is that it allows you to adapt quickly to the needs of your audience.
Converting visitors to email subscribers on your site is important for building long-term relationships that lead to strong sales conversions for your business on the Web.
Try a few things on your own Website like:
1| Putting your email sign-up in multiple spots
2| Testing calls to action
3| Communicating specific benefits
You’re likely to see an increase in the number of visitors you convert to subscribers on your site.
Also do some participation off your site to extend your marketing reach to other audiences.
Try things like:
1| Guest posting
3| Blog commenting
Make sure to always leave strong calls to action so that your new listening audience has a way to subscribe to your email campaigns.
As your email list grows, make sure you’re following through on your promises by providing valuable content in your emails. Make sure that everything in your emails is valuable for those receiving them. It’s easy for people to unsubscribe or to put your business in the spam filter so make sure you give them a reason to open the email and click through to your Website and ultimately purchase your products and services.
The strength of your business on the Web directly relates to the quality of your subscriber base. Grow your email list with quality subscribers and you’ll see stronger sales conversions for your business.
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