Newsflash business owners: Email is not dead!
If you’re a business owner who creates content for social media, podcasts or YouTube, and you’re finding it difficult to capture your audience then this post is for you.
In this post I share my one list building strategy that helped me build an email list of loyal followers by using easy-to-share page links.
You might wonder, why should you worry about building your list at all when you’ve got all these followers?
Sad Fact: Having 10,000 followers doesn’t equal $10,000 in your bank account. No sirree.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Money is in the list”?
It sounds cliché but it’s true.
I’ve got numbers to prove it to you.
Have a look at these exciting stats about email:
- 81% of US online shoppers are more likely to make additional purchases, either online or in a store, as a result of emails based on previous shopping behaviors and preferences. – “Harris Interactive”
- 70% of consumers find email to be their #1 preferred channel for receiving commercial messages – CG Selections “Nationaal Email Onderzoek” (2017)
- 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a direct result of an email marketing message – Direct Marketing Association (2013)
Source: Email is Not Dead
Now that I have your attention…
- How do you build an email list when you publish videos and audio as content?
- How do you build a list of prospects through podcasting?
- And is there an easy way for podcast listeners and YouTube watchers to download your juicy ‘lead magnets’?
(If I’ve lost you at Lead Magnets and you need to learn more about what lead magnets are… Read this post on Lead Magnets and Autoresponders)
My Email List Building Strategy
Let me give you a bit of background around my experience with list building.
I’ve been a podcaster for over three years. Over this time, my podcast has been growing exponentially by word of mouth. But I struggled to capture details about my listeners. I really wanted to know who they were and why they were listening to my podcast.
So, I decided to test various CTA’s (Call To Actions). I used CTA’s to test the type of content my audience was drawn to. (If you’re curious, my podcast is in the ESL niche – English As a Second Language niche)
I’ve tested every possible Call To Action with my listeners. Be it checklists, ebooks, free video lessons or a compilation of episodes.
I was barely getting one or two sign ups a month!
The reason being was that it was too difficult for my podcast audience to remember my long URL’s (URL’s aka page links for non techies reading).
It was also hard for them to type those long URL’s into their phones while listening to the podcast. And as you can imagine, people rarely look down at their phones to read episode descriptions while listening to the podcast… so they rarely click on any hyperlinks inside the description.
Just imagine what your audience is doing when they’re listening to your podcast: your listeners are busy driving, walking or jogging!
And your YouTube video watchers have multiple tabs opened in their browsers.
Let’s face it. People are easily distracted nowadays.
So how do you get your podcast listeners to move to action while listening to the podcast?
Enter Pretty Links WP plugin (for Your List Building Strategy).
Fun fact: My list exploded after I installed Pretty Links.
It only took me two years to finally install Pretty Links. (I blame it on my long battle with procrastinitis.)
I had been hearing about the Pretty Links plugin for a long time from all these online ‘gurus’ I followed.
And now I’m a big fan.
It is a WordPress plugin so it won’t work on other platforms such as SquareSpace for example. (However, there is a workaround for this so keep reading!)
What is Pretty Links plugin anyway?
It’s a link cloaking and link tracking tool for affiliate links. And a link redirect tool! (And the reason I love it)
It was developed to mask those long, ugly affiliate links. To make them look pretty, hence the name!
I use Pretty Links for my landing pages (not so much for affiliate links). (Landing pages are where my lead magnets live.)
Here’s an example URL of a landing page for one of my successful lead magnets. My listeners had found this downloadable simply irresistible.
Original Landing Page URL
The Pretty Link URL is
Looking back, I could’ve come up with an even prettier name.
I introduced my lead magnet back in episode number 220.
My new pretty link could’ve been:
This is so much easier to remember than the long version:
I now get 30-50 subscribers a month.
Because my CTA’s are shareable and easy to remember!
TIP: Make sure you mention your pretty links in every episode or video you run, so that it sticks with your loyal followers.
Link Tracking as Part of Your List Building Strategy
I also track my pretty links. I track how many clicks each link receives. I can see how many Unique and Overall clicks I get to my landing pages.
Here’s an example of the stats I see in the back-end:
(Highlighted in yellow are Number of Unique Clicks.)
Based on this information I’m able to tweak my Landing pages so they convert even better.
(If you want to learn more about conversions, read this post about various conversion metrics to follow for ecommerce and small business owners.)
TIP: Do you appear as a guest on other people’s podcasts? If you have an opportunity to share a “gift” with their audience, I’d recommend you create a landing page for the gift using the pretty link plugin and then share your new pretty link with the audience. You’ll be able to track how many people land on the page then compare to how many downloaded it.
Disadvantages of using Pretty Links plugin
If you offer multiple lead magnets, you might end up with 50 or more pretty links. Which is OK. But what happens if you wanted to move your website to another platform? All those pretty links you shared with your audience would become unusable. The other platforms will not have the Pretty Links plugin. Just something to bear in mind when playing with pretty links plugin. (You might need to keep a record of all those links 🙂 Pretty Links plugin allows you to export your links, too.)
What are the alternatives to Pretty Links for Non-Wordpress platforms?
For platforms such as SquareSpace, Shopify or Wix there is a workaround you could do and still end up with pretty-looking links. Remember, you’d still want to track your links!
Why? So you know they’re working aka people are clicking on them.
You can also use Google Analytics but you’d get inundated with data. I’d rather use something simpler which gives me a quick snapshot of ‘clicks’.
Enter bitly.com to the rescue.
Bitly is an online tool used for shortening long URLs so they’re easily shared. It can also be used to mask long affiliate links and landing pages. And it has a link tracking feature – which is a bonus!
The process is a tad bit longer than setting up Pretty Links and may require a smidgen of technical know-how.
But don’t despair, below I share steps on how to track links on SquareSpace – I found the following examples at Link Tracking Blog.
Step 1 – Create an account with bitly.com
Step 2 – Have a landing page for your lead magnet. In my case it would be the long URL, www.englishmadesimple.net/how-to-simplify-a-conversation/
Step 3 – Log into your SquareSpace account: Settings > Website > Advanced > URL Mappings
Step 4 – Go to URL mapping to create a redirect to the external domain, ie your new bitly link in the following format:
URL mapping: /convo
Short Bitly version: http://bit.ly/2UgURL5 802 (an example URL only)
So now, whenever someone visits www.englishmadesimple.net/convo they will be redirected to the bitly link.
And the bitly link will then automatically direct the viewer to your long URL landing page.
Sources: Link Tracking Blog and Squarespace URL Mapping
Why go through all this?
Remember, we use Bitly to track site visits and measure conversion rates. It is the best way to know how your lead magnets are performing. And it has improved since its launch in 2008, it now comes with a nice dashboard.
Step 5 – Login to Bitly.com to track your clicks performance.
I recommend you do this for all of your long URL’s that you need to share, be it affiliate links or landing pages.
SIDE NOTE: Beware of Affiliate Link Policies with Email Service Providers
The majority of email providers flag links such as bitly as spam. The reason being is that every man and their dog can create a bitly link, even the spammers who love to spam people can create bitly links. There’s no control, hence the high spam risk.
The other URL shortening links you SHOULDN’T be using in your email communications are: tinyurl.com, bitly.com and goo.gl.
If directing people to your site, it’s safe to use your own website’s URL address when sharing links with your subscribers.
Best to check your ESP’s policy on Affiliate Link use in emails.
OVER TO YOU
Now that you have all the steps necessary for easy link sharing, what happens after someone visits your landing page with a lead magnet, AND enters their name and email?
At Bumper Leads, we have a specific process we follow for delivery of lead magnets. I wrote a blog post on this and Autoresponders, what they are and how you can use them in your business. If you’re interested, you can read it here)
Don’t be like me and wait two years to start building your email list the smart way.
If you’re only getting a couple of sign ups a month organically, then whatever you’re doing as a list building strategy needs tweaking. You’re always welcome to get in touch with us if you need help figuring out the right strategy for list building.
I’m curious, if you’re a podcaster, how do you currently build your database of potential customers (I don’t mean social media followers, I mean email subscribers)?
eCommerce Strategist at Bumper Leads
Milena loves helping small business owners grow their business through smart systems and automations.
Milena lives in Adelaide, Australia with her Chileno husband and her best friend Netflix. She suffers from mild email OCD, ie hates small font and cluttered newsletters. Milena is on a mission to make online business a less confusing place for a business owner.
She loves anything podcasting, eCommerce and is honoured to be supporting clients all over the world with her coaching.
You can follow Milena on Twitter (@MilenaTheGreat)