You may be thinking to yourself, “Connor, why the heck would I want to build my email list? Isn’t email dead!?” To that, I would say, with a twinkle in my eye, “Nah.”
Why? Because of the data:
- 99% of email users check their inbox every day, and some check 20 times a day.
- 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months.
- 81% of B2B marketers say their most frequently used form of content marketing is email newsletters.
And consider your own daily habits as well.
Now, cold emailing is more like the old school practice of buying a list for ten cents an email, taking that list — or your LinkedIn connections list, for example — and sending them random crap without giving them the option to hear from you.
If that’s what you’re thinking, then I agree with you. It’s much less effective in today’s marketing environment. How many cold emails have you deleted this week alone? “Hello (name), hope you and your loved ones are amazing . . . Can we meet for 15 minutes this week?“
But here’s the deal. As a business owner, salesperson, or marketer, you need to leverage email more, and you want a warm list of your people: your prospects, your clients, your tribe! Those who are familiar with you and have opted to receive valuable information from you.
There are several different ways to build a list on a minimal budget, and I’m happy to share what I’ve seen have a high impact with minimal pain on your pocket.
Do you have a large social media following? Either way, read this NOW!
Yeah, cool. It’s great to have 10,000 or 50,000 or even 100,000 followers on your LinkedIn profile. But here’s what you’re not thinking about, my friends. LinkedIn owns those people. LinkedIn owns the data, the contacts, and your account. For any reason, at any time — and without any warning — all of it could disappear.
What you want is a stronger list that you own. You get it by converting your social media followers into in-house email contacts. Ask any multimillion or billion-dollar entrepreneur, and they will tell you, the bigger their in-house email list — and the more consistent their contact — the more business they bring in the door. Every year companies spend millions to acquire other companies, and a lot of times, it’s because they have customer, or potential customer, contacts primed for marketing.
So, how do you bootstrap your way to a better list and eventually earn a bigger marketing budget?
My first, and favorite, way to build our in-house list is what’s called a value video or “fixed training.” What do I mean by that? Don’t automatically go with a webinar. Webinars still work, but there’s a lot of webinar exhaustion happening lately. What people really like is training on an interesting topic. People like to learn how to do X, Y, and Z, as they relate to your expertise. “Five Steps for Solving Bing, Bang, and Boom.” We recently did a Neuromarketing training with a SME partner on “How To Grow Your Business With the Science of Persuasion.”
A couple of years ago, we launched a training called “The Missing Links to LinkedIn Success.” It was a fixed training we recorded once, but we put it into a simple, three-step funnel, set up a landing page, and marketed the heck out of it! We still use the same funnel to this day. Instead of asking people to dedicate a specific time to consuming your content — the way most webinars run — they simply provide their name and email address for immediate access to the training. They don’t have to go through a webinar or wait for a special date and time, they immediately get access. Easy peasy!
Now, how can you make use of this? I had a meeting with a gentleman yesterday — a business owner. His business was putting out a bunch of content, and it was being shared for months on his LinkedIn profile, but none of it led anywhere.
A fixed training or value video is a really great way to maximize your content efforts. Provide it as a CTA for your content, ads, media efforts — you name it!
What the heck is a collaboration funnel? The B2B Mentors podcast I host is a perfect example. One way I could leverage B2B Mentors is to approach prospects and ideal client personas on LinkedIn and say, “Hey, we’re looking for great subject matter experts who want to contribute to our platform. Would you be interested in participating?” And you don’t need to launch a podcast to do this; it could be a guest blog, a short video interview series, or some other form of co-created content.
When I reach out to potential guests, partners, and industry influencers, the first step I always take in these scenarios is a pre-interview call. This is an introductory call with guests to make sure our conversation flows — and we have subject matter to home in on — but it also helps build an organic relationship with your prospects.
Every time a potential guest schedules a pre-interview call on my Calendly link, their contact info automatically syncs with our in-house email list. Best believe that compounds over time, and when we provide follow up nurturing to those list contacts, they turn into incredibly strong leads down the line.
What I love about the collaboration funnel approach, besides its cost-effective implementation, is the interview content you’re producing is another great way to funnel people to opportunities for opting into your email list from your site, social media, or other resources. Again, you name it!
It’s a beautiful combo, from an easy way to build new relationships without being “salesy” to building your list of prospects for continuous marketing and creating infinite amounts of quality content you can leverage for all your key channels.
Co-marketing funnels are different from collaboration funnels in a few ways. They’re a more ingrained method of building your list, and they don’t cost much on top of the martech you may already be using. Many other influencers and non-competitive partners in your industry already have your potential prospects in their audience.
I recommend reaching out to these folks and offering a co-marketed training — similar to the fixed trainings I discussed earlier with one big difference: You create, brand, and market these recorded assets in sync with your strategic partners. Working together, it’s easy to come up with a 20–60-minute training that covers both your areas of expertise, blends them in a way that makes sense, and ends by introducing attendees to both of your service offerings.
There’s major value for both of your organizations because you will promote and market this to your audience, and they will do the same. So, you’re each introducing previously unfamiliar prospects to the other in a way that’s beneficial to all parties involved. With our single fixed training on Neuromarketing, which was also a co-marketing webinar with our partners at SalesBrain, we’ve added over 170 quality email addresses to our list. Those are contacts we didn’t have before, and we can continue to use the asset we created to grow our list size.
Many companies go out and pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for the quality prospects we’ve been able to organically add to our lists with these simple steps. If you don’t have a big budget yet, there are many incredible bootstrap methods you can leverage in the meantime.
Where will you start? Take action right way, and iterate as you progress.
To your success!