E-mail Marketing (4)
Now that you have a clear idea of what incentives you can offer for your list, the next step is to come up with incentives that will position your list for success. There are two ways to do this. As I’ve mentioned in step #3, you can just go through the list of incentives and pick which ones work the best with your particular traffic source.
The alternative is to simply do what your competitors are doing. Pay attention to their incentives. Reverse engineer your competitors’ incentives. Start with the industry standard incentive type by signing up to your competitors’ mailing lists. Get a copy of their incentives. Study their materials very closely. Try to figure out their strong points and their weak points. Come up with something better by offering the same stro0ng points while at the same time avoiding any of the weak spots.
Let’s face it. Regardless of how tight and awesome your competitors’ incentives may be, there’s always room for improvement. Figure out these areas and create something better. Remember, there are two ways to play this. You can actually come up with something objectively better or you can produce something that is perceived as something better. Whatever the case may be, it has to be better.
How Do You Produce A Better Incentive?
This is the question that’s begging to be asked. Now that we’re clear that we have to come up with an incentive that either blows the competition out of the water or is perceived to be better, how exactly do we go about doing that? Here are some ideas.
First, you can offer an incentive that is complete. In other words, when you study your competitors’ incentives, they might be holding back on certain pieces of information. They might be offering really basic information. If you came up with an incentive that is fully complete, you will stand head and shoulders from your competitors. Word might even get around that the incentive that you deliver truly solves the problem that your target customers have in a very thorough way.
Another approach you could take is to offer simply longer content. For example, if your biggest competitor is offering a free booklet that lists out 10 solutions to potential list members’ problems, offer a booklet that offers 20, 30 or even 50 solutions. The key here is to come up with an incentive that, on its face, is so vastly superior that people can’t help but sign up for it. Don’t just go with doubling your competitor. Blow them out of the water by a magnitude of 5:1 or 10:1. If the industry standard is to offer 10 solutions, come up 50 or even 100 solutions. Like it or not, people tend to equate longer products with higher value products. Of course, you and I know that this is not necessarily the case but there is that mental bias.
Alternatively, you can offer an incentive that is more engaging to people. For example, the industry standard in your niche might involve really complicated or jargon-filled materials for all sorts of products. When you read through this, it seems like you have to be some sort of brain surgeon or rocket scientist to make heads or tails of these materials.
What if you were to come up with an incentive that is written in plain eighth grade English and actually engages people on an emotional level? Your incentive will blow everybody else away because your stuff is more accessible and easier to process. What use is a seemingly “complete” incentive when it’s written in Ancient Greek? Do you see where I’m coming from? Focus on engagement. Understand that the people who will be downloading your incentives are flesh-and-blood human beings with real problems. Start there.
Finally, you can offer basically the same industry standard incentive as your competitors but you packaged it better. When people read the same information but it’s formatted in a nice PDF with lots of helpful pictures and everything is written in a well-spaced well-formatted way, don’t be surprised if people walk away with the impression that you have a better incentive. It turns out that you’re offering the exact same information. The only thing that’s different is that you formatted it in a way that is more accessible, easier to process and most importantly, easier to act upon.
Reverse Engineer Your Competitors’ Squeeze Pages
Now that you have reverse engineered your competitors’ incentives, the next step is to design a better page to give away that incentive. Again, your notes on your competitors will come in handy here. You need to come up with squeeze pages that would blow everybody else out of the water. How do you do this? Well, you can come up with better design. Maybe everybody is using the same standard design. You can start there but come up with different elements to get visitors to engage with your page better.
You should also study how your competitors’ squeeze pages focus, present and position their incentive. Are they missing something? Do they forget to highlight certain things? Maybe they’re just assuming that people who land on the squeeze page would automatically want the incentive. Come up with a squeeze page that shines the spotlight more clearly and more efficiently on your incentive.
Finally, you can reverse engineer your competitors’ squeeze pages in such a way that the value proposition this page brings to the table is clearer. You have to remember that people are always asking “what’s in it for me”. You have to answer that question loud and clear. The value proposition that you bring to the table must be compelling enough for people to want to leave their email address.
Make Sure To Do This
Based on my many years of list marketing, I can tell you that the vast majority of list marketers automatically assume that when people sign up for their list, they would actually welcome the updates. This is why most list marketers fail. You cannot assume this. Like I said earlier, there’s a certain percentage of your visitors that are going to be list squatters. If you’re not careful, this percentage can keep growing until they form the majority of your list.
You have to make sure to emphasize the value of the updates on your list. You have to do this right before they sign up by including such text in the squeeze page. You also have to do this on the confirmation page that they get. You should tell them that they’re getting the booklet, template, book, or whatever incentive you’re offering but they’re also going to be getting very useful updates.
You may want to invest some time highlighting the value these updates will bring to the lives of your list members. If you fail to do this, you run the risk of building a list full of squatters. Worse yet, people might be surprised that you’re sending updates and might consider your emails spam. You probably don’t need me to tell you why that’s bad news.
Do yourself a big favor and emphasize the value of the updates of your list because this is the only reason why you’re giving out incentives in the first place. By getting all caught up in the incentive you’re giving away, you end up sabotaging the success of your list. Make sure to keep your priorities straight. Otherwise, your list marketing business might go belly up sooner or later.
Create a Two-Step List Recruitment Setup
A lot of list marketers are under the impression that the more people that join their list, the better. I’m telling you, the whole idea of “the more the merrier” doesn’t work in list marketing. In many cases, you’d make a lot more money having less people on your list than having a bloated list of squatters or uninterested people.
You have to make sure that only people who are truly interested in the value of your updates get on and stay on your list. One very powerful way to do this is to create a two-step list recruitment setup. A lot of list marketers set up their lead capture pages in such a way that when you load a page, you only need to enter your email address and your name and click the submit button. That’s all you need to do. Automatically, you’ll get a confirmation and you are on their list. The confirmation page usually has a download link to their incentive that you signed up for.
This is going to be a problem because this can attract curiosity seekers. This can attract people who are not really all that interested but are just curious as to the incentive that they would get. In other words, you risk attracting all the wrong eyeballs. You have to set up your list in such a way where the prospect has to click a button to get to the form.
This added step filters out curiosity seekers. Your form gets in front of the eyeballs of people who are more motivated. They have to read an ad or text that spells out the opportunity and benefit or your list. They then click through to get to the squeeze page form. In other words, you qualify them before you sign them up to your list. Either way, if you do this right, your form should talk about the benefits of the mailing list. This two-step process can go a long way in eliminating curiosity seekers and ensuring that people who sign up for your list are more likely to read your updates.
Modern Email Marketing
Modern email marketing uses a two-step email recruitment process. When people click through to the email form, they’re essentially asking to opt in after they have become aware of the incentives. In other words, they already know what’s in it for them. They are looking to establish a relationship with you. They want to give you permission to continue talking to them. Using this two-step process is less intimidating and they also are given the impression that they’re calling the shots. It’s their choice whether to click through to the form or not.
Another great benefit of modern email marketing’s two-step email signup process is that this enables you to offer different incentives at different parts of your blog page. When people load your content, they see different ads for different lists. When they read the ad, they learn about the value that the list would deliver and then they click through to join that list.
You get a lot of control over your mailing list because you can qualify people based on their interest. Different people with different needs would sign up to different lists. This segmented email marketing approach can lead to higher conversion rates. Instead of just dumping everybody who’s interested in a wide range of problems related to your niche on one general mailing list, you end up with highly filtered list speaking to different problems. You can then offer laser targeted solutions to each of this list and walk away with better conversions.