It’s easier to go where the online traffic already is than to generate the traffic for your website from scratch.
The problem is that when you are using third-party services for their popularity and their online traffic, you are risking losing everything.
I am talking about the fact that companies fail from time to time and when it happens they don’t give away their customers’ emails.
But how will you reach for example your Skillshare followers once Skillshare decides one day that their business is no longer profitable and sends you the e-mail that it’s about close the doors in the next month?
The answer is simple. You won’t. There’s no way to get the contact information of your students and followers unless they give it to you willingly.
Of course, asking people on Udemy or Skillshare to give you their emails would look strange, and you would probably be kicked off if you try to do so. Those platforms want to keep their customers, they won’t be happy if you lure them away.
As an insurance for such unfortunate events, you should start building your very own online audience.
Yes, at the very beginning it’s quite hard. Nobody knows you; you have no social proof. Why would anyone give you her email?
But once you have some social proof, hundreds of followers on social networks and learning platforms, you should start promoting yourself.
I don’t expect Facebook or YouTube to go out of the business anytime soon, but still, you need to adhere to their policy. With your blog, you are totally free, provided you abide the law.
Let’s look at how to create your mailing list from scratch. How to build your pool of potential customers you can tap into when the disaster comes, and your favorite learning platform or social network just disappears overnight.
Email address is a valuable asset, especially the real one. If you’re after the real email addresses, don’t expect people to give them away easily. We all hate spam. It’s time-consuming to get through all of these annoying emails with offers to finally get to important messages we want to read.
To obtain the real email address, you need to provide something in return. Something valuable, something people will be happy to trade their email for.
Make a PDF handbook or a free course. Making something for free doesn’t mean it can be bad. Don’t create it with the idea in mind that it will be available for free. Take your best work and make it free. You need to obtain the trust of your potential customers, and it’s impossible if you give them some crap.
Remember, you have only one chance to make a good impression. Don’t spoil it by a worthless offer. People will immediately recognize that you just want to rip them off.
Sit down and put together at least 10 pages about the topic that belongs to your niche. For me, this was no brainer as I specialize in online business. I’ve created a short handbook and called it 7 Rules For Success Of Online Instructors. If you’re interested, you can download it for free (not really, for your email address :-)) from this link: https://gumroad.com/l/sps-handbook/ncwf5wa
This is a 10-page long PDF I have created in Canva.com, which is a great online tool. It’s available for free, and it will help you make a great looking marketing material.
I tried to put in the best I had at a time of creating this handbook. It’s also full of links to other resources and yes, even to my classes published on Skillshare, but it contains helpful information for the total beginners who have absolutely no clue where to start with online business.
Take this handbook as an inspiration if you have no idea how your free product should look like.
I offer this handbook for free. Click on the link above. You don’t have to subscribe to my list, but take a look at the lead capture page. What I do there serves two purposes:
- I am giving my subscribers something valuable. I believe the information in this handbook is worth $10, probably even more if it helps them launch their profitable business. I say it. I say that this $10 handbook is for free for them.
- I am not giving it away immediately, though, and I explain why.
Some people don’t treat this as a fair trade. They won’t give you their real email easily. They know that sometimes, all you have to do is to type some nonsense with the @ in the middle to pass the simple test for a valid e-mail address and they are given the link to the freebie immediately.
But you need to obtain a real email address because you want to send a welcome email.
What good is this welcome email delivered (or rather not delivered) to some fake email address?
To make sure people will give you their real email, make it clear on the lead capture page that their copy of your handbook will be delivered to their inbox.
This way they know, that when they click the GET THE HANDBOOK button, they won’t be redirected to the handbook itself. I will give them a nice “Thank you” page with another offer and tell them they should check their inbox to get my handbook.
Another reason for sending your free product to your new subscriber by email beside avoiding false subscriptions is the opportunity to send a friendly welcome email.
Yes, you could just post the link to your PDF and be done with it, but I believe you should take the most out of this opportunity to make a good impression.
A new subscriber is waiting for your free product, he will open your email to get the link where he can download your PDF, so it’s almost guaranteed he will read your email.
Your welcome email can inform your new subscriber about other products, but you should add some sweet deal in it.
You don’t want to type this welcome email manually every time somebody subscribes to your mailing list. You can set this all up, so it works automatically even while you’re sleeping or working on something else.
I will tell you soon about an excellent and free online service you can use for this. You will be able to configure the autoresponder, so the subscriber will receive your email almost instantly once he clicks on the subscribe button. But first I want to walk you through the whole process.
You should prepare this welcome email in advance and have it ready as a template for anyone who will fill out the form on your lead capture page.
You can expose your new subscribers to your blog in this simple process. Instead of adding the link to the actual PDF to the email, post the link that will lead them to your website. There on a dedicated page, they will finally find the link to the actual PDF. This way they will also be introduced to your blog and to whatever content you have there.
Follow up emails
Once you send a welcome email, you want to nurture a relationship with your potential customers. They will need some time to trust you as an authority. Only then they might be willing to buy your products.
One of the ways to make this trust building process possible without much effort on your side is to use autoresponders. They will allow you to prepare a bunch of emails in advance and you can even setup when those should be sent.
It works like this:
Your potential customer visits your lead capture page and gets interested in your free product so that he will subscribe to your mailing list. Immediately you will send him a welcome message we talked about in the previous section. In this message, he will receive the link to your free product.
It is good to ask him if he got the product and if he had time to look at it and most importantly if he wants some further information. You ask him, what is his problem, because, in the end, you want to offer products that solve problems. Only those kinds of products are successful.
Give your subscriber some free advice regarding the topic or the niche you are working in.
Give him another free advice and use some fear techniques like describing what happens if he’s not following your advice.
Send another email with the last free information and say that you will make an offer (your paid product) in the future email.
Send the link to your product page where you describe how your product will help to solve his problem. Show some testimonials of happy customers.
All of this can be done with mailing services among which I can recommend MailerLite I use because it’s available for free until you reach 1.000 subscribers.