List Building Without Traffic
All list-building strategies can be split into 2 categories:
a) strategies that rely on your web traffic
b) strategies you don’t need traffic for
In the first category, the math is simple. You only need 2 numbers:
your monthly traffic and your conversion rate.
If your website gets 15,000 visits a month, and you convert 3% of all visitors into email subscribers, you’ll be adding 450 new subscribers to your list every month.
To grow faster, you can either grow your traffic or optimize your conversion rate (better both).
Strategies in this category are predictable and reliable. They are not fast, but in the long-term, that’s what gives you a consistent and reliable influx of new email subscribers.
List-building strategies in the second category don’t rely on your web traffic. They are more creative and fun (at least for me), but a bit less predictable and definitely less known.
These strategies leverage existing communities that have your target customers, whether those are other people’s blogs, email lists, Facebook groups, or social media platforms.
Here are just a few examples of how you can grow your email list without relying on your own traffic:
- Use SQZin.com to add your own call-to-action overlay to viral content, and then share those pages on Twitter, mentioning the author and other people from the post in the tweets, so they retweet their links with your call to action.
- Guest blog (include a content upgrade in your guest post)
- Republish (“syndicate”) your existing content on huge publications (of course, with a content upgrade). The larger the publication, the greater their content needs. Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Entrepreneur.com and many others will accept previously published content (sometimes you need to change ~20% of the post)
- Host a viral giveaway specific to your niche. Partner with a few brands that reach a larger audience you want to reach, make sure they all have complimentary (non-competing) offers and orchestrate a giveaway campaign where everyone promotes the campaign and shares the leads (I’m going to try this one soon)
- Pick one of these platforms and become the best at it: Quora, SlideShare, Facebook Groups, Pinterest. Each of these platforms offers a huge opportunity for driving people to your email opt-ins (freebies), as long as you provide value first, and learn how to work the system.On Quora, it’s choosing questions with the right ratio of followers to answers, and then writing, writing, writing.
On SlideShare, it’s creating outstanding visual content that’s also search-optimized, and landing on the SlideShare curated homepage.
In Facebook groups, it’s writing story-driven posts that add a ton of value to group members, linking your Facebook profile to your Facebook page, and optimizing that page for email conversions.
On Pinterest, it’s joining the right group boards and automating pinning.
These strategies end up driving traffic to your website with the email opt-ins, so you still need strategies from category A to make sure those opt-ins are optimized to convert as high as possible.