Why You Should Use Social Media to Build Your Opt-In Email Lists
By now, everyone knows that social media is a key component to any marketing campaign. At least if you’ve been reading these newsletters you do. But aside from the obvious benefits of outreach and awareness, there is something else you can be doing with your social networking campaign that can supercharge all of your efforts: build an opt-in email list.
I know from my own experience that social media marketing has enabled me to increase my email list by thousands, with those on the list continuously receiving my newsletters that carry my advice, tips and message.
My newsletter helps my social media contacts remember me and what I do, not because I am actively selling and promoting myself. Like my social media strategy, I use these pieces to add value to the lives of the people on my list. My formula is simple – if some of you like what you read, when you have the need and the resources and are considering using a PR firm, you might consider my company. And that’s it. What’s more, I know it works, because I’ve used this formula to build a thriving 21-year-old business that has grown in double-digit percentages every year for the last four years, even in the face of a recession and tough economic times.
Adding value for my clients is the real reward I have enjoyed by combining my email and social media marketing efforts. So how can you do this? Let me share a few actions that we find are successful.
Join Targeted Groups and Post Valuable Content. Within your social networks, wisely choose groups to participate in that are active and include your audience. You should post good content that adds value to the members to demonstrate your professional expertise and drive people to your Web site. Take care to make your headlines short and interesting. Making the headline a question is an effective attention getter, or use words that contain phrases like “tips for” or “strategies for.” Be sure to post a paragraph-long teaser in the discussion body, telling people what helpful information you have to share and include a link to your Web site where they can read it in full. Close with a question for the reader or a statement soliciting feedback. When readers comment, your post will remain at the top where more people can see it.
- Make Sure Your Web Site is “Opt-in” Friendly. Make sure your opt-in form is prominent throughout your Web site, with a message telling visitors that when they sign up for your list, they will receive helpful information as opposed to junk mail. You can also include incentives to help encourage people to opt in. E-books work nicely.
- Invite Everyone—But Don’t Pester! Every time you get a friend request or a new follower, send a message introducing yourself and include an invitation (with the link to your site’s opt-in form) to sign up for the helpful information you send to your list of people. If the new connection does not immediately respond, don’t message them again with a repeat of your invitation. If they weren’t persuaded through the initial invitation, you’ll have plenty of chances to win them over as they continue to see the wealth of information you have to share.
- Be Direct—But Not Too Often. If you have a helpful and valuable incentive to offer, occasionally post updates inviting your friends and followers to go get it! Keep in mind you are treading a thin line with this type of post, so make sure they are infrequent and are mixed in with many posts that are completely non-promotional in nature. You don’t want to be considered “that guy” who’s just there to promote to people.
- Be Consistent in Your Social Networking! The key to making points 1 – 4 above really work is to stay active in your networks and groups. If you are only an occasional visitor, you might as well “stay home.” In order to reap the rewards of these strategies, post often and wisely, and pay attention to your group members.
That’s how it all fits together. Social Media is not the next big “thing.” It’s now part of the foundation of a good marketing campaign, as intractable as advertising and public relations.