“Oh yeah – I need to get a website.”
I hear it all the time.
But the thing is that you don’t just “get” a website. A website is not even your first step.
The surprising first step to doing business online is signing up with an email service provider.
Yes, you heard it right.
Email. I will say it again: EMAIL – that is your first step.
Why You Don’t Start With a Website
If you are not familiar with doing business on the web – it is really logical to think that you should start with your website.
You think that as soon as it is live the visitors will come.
But the truth is that they don’t.
It takes a long time to build traffic.
And even when they start to trickle in – most of your website visitors will not engage on your site the way that you want them to.
It will be discouraging.
UNLESS (now I sound like the Lorax) – you have a system in place to capture the people that are really interested in what you have to offer.
Now I’m not talking about kidnapping here 😉 – I am talking about collecting people’s email addresses as well as their permission so that you can further communicate with them by email.
How To Collect Email Addresses
Sign Up With An Email Service Provider
The first step to collecting email addresses is to sign up with an email service provider – you don’t want to use your personal email account or your business email account to send bulk emails.
That is wrong on many levels.
You need to use an email service that is designed especially for communicating with a list.
These are two good and affordable options:
Both of the above services use tags to help you organize your subscribers, which is a huge feature. And at this time, ActiveCampaign offers a free limited trial and Convertkit offers a 30 day money back guarantee.
However, if you must start with a free option both
offer a no cost level. The disadvantage is that both of these are list based systems – which makes it harder to segment your subscribers as your subscriber base grows.
Create a Sign Up Form
The next thing to do is create a sign up form.
You can save this as a shortcut on your smartphone.
Or you can have people sign up on an actual paper list and then enter their emails into your email service later. Just be sure to keep the piece of paper as proof that they gave you their permission.
When you meet people who want to get emails from you – you can sign them up right on the spot.
And then, once you “get” your website – you can put sign up forms in the posts, sidebars, and other locations.
You can also, link your form up to your social media accounts so people can sign up there too.
There are tons of possibilities.
How NOT to Collect Email Addresses
Whatever you do – do not automatically assume that people want to get email from you.
If people give you their business card, do not add them to your list without their permission.
Do not buy email lists.
Your goal is to get targeted people that want you to send them information – so sending unsolicited email will backfire (and it is in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003).
What To Do With Those Email Addresses
Collecting email addresses is just the beginning.
Once you have them – you should start communicating with your prospects regularly.
The thing is that not all of your subscribers are interested in the same things.
By segmenting your subscribers into different groups – you can start sending each group emails with information that they want – not just general stuff.
When you send targeted information – people are more likely to open your emails – and buy your products or services.
Real business happens in email – not on a website.
Put Your Consumer Hat On
Think about how you make a decision to buy something online.
You might first check out someone’s website to learn a little bit about them and what they do.
If you like what you see, you probably sign up for their newsletter or their free offer.
Then, if that impresses you – you might actually make a purchase.
As an entrepreneur, you need to understand that your own customers will follow that same pattern.
Get Your Email House In Order
So, if your email house is not in order – set aside some time to take the following steps:
- Evaluate and choose an email service provider
- Import your existing contacts (if you have explicit permission to do so)
- Organize your contacts into segments that make sense for your business
- Create a form (or multiple forms) to collect new sign ups and automatically segment them based on interests.
- Post your form to your social media accounts and anywhere else that makes sense.
- Create a shortcut to one of your forms on your phone.
- And finally – if you don’t already have one – go “get” that website.
Need Help With Your Email Marketing?
How can I help you take your email marketing to the next level? Let me know – Click here to schedule a free get acquainted call.
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