When we start to build a list, we think of followers or fans, but all of these potential clients are elsewhere on YouTube, or Instagram or Facebook. We can't wait for the fans to swell up in number.
Instead, you need to move quickly. Even if you have just four-five fans, you need to get them over to YOUR list, your website. How can you go about that task effectively? And how do you then get them to the very next stage, which is to buy something?
List building isn't complex, but without these fundamentals in place, it's can be a massively wasted exercise. Find out how to avoid the pitfalls that a lot of people drop into and never seem to recover.
2- Why you need to drive clients from Point A to Point B (if you ever want them on your list).
If you were advertising your product or service, what would be the goal of your ad?
It's not a very complicated goal, is it?
You'd want the person who clicked on the ad to show up and either sign up to a list or buy something. When it comes to content marketing, however, the rules seem to change. Or do they?
What if you paid no attention to those rules and decided to operate as though every view was truly costing you money and time? How would your strategy be different?
Let's take Instagram for instance
Let's say you decided to go for something like Instagram, because it doesn't need as much time as writing an article or creating a video. You start your channel and you get one follower. In time two more show up.
Maybe ten days later, you're solidly on double figures. What should you do at this stage? The answer would have been different back in the year 2000.
When the internet was brand new, it was more like an encyclopaedia than a market place
The initial concept of the Internet was merely to communicate and inform. Somehow, two decades later, the same idea of “information” seems to pervade.
You're likely to find hundreds of content creators who still rely inform, in the hope that someday their list will grow, and then they'll be in a position to sell.
However, the time to move people over to your list is today—and possibly four days from today
When you're on another channel, whether YouTube, Medium, Instagram or any other group, you already know they're calling the shots.
Which means they make their own rules, have their own algorithm parties, but most of all, you have no way to communicate with your followers. You may post something on a medium and despite the value of the information, their algorithm may bury the information. Hence, no one sees it.
The only way—and it is the only way—is to get people to your side of the fence on a constant basis
You may not have a website. You may have just a web page. Well, get them there. You may not even have a web page, but just a form. It's imperative that you get the followers to that page and get them on an e-mail list.
What's important is that you do this activity on a recurring basis
One of my friends has an Instagram following of 1.5 million or more (these numbers change all the time). His posts are mostly “feel good” phrases. However, every four or five posts, he gets the followers he has to move across to get a free copy of his magazine. The reality is that people are following you for a reason.
I take street photos, for example
And people find it intimidating to take pictures of others. They would like nothing better than to learn how to approach a stranger and take a really warm, intimate picture.
If you were following the Instagram feed and found there was a way to take pictures of strangers, would you follow that link? It's more than likely you would.
And even if 90% of your followers or viewers ignore your offering, it's still worth chipping away at 10% of the time.
Yes, it's work to create content
But you don't need to create endless amounts of content. You can see which topics really get people's attention. And you can make a video, or PDF that explains topics like “how to approach strangers”, “how to get invited to insider tours”, “how to shoot in almost complete darkness”, and so on.
At first, it would be a lot of work to create a bunch of content. Work on one project a week if you can, and create small pieces of content that are seen to be valuable. Then it's time to get that teaser to show up somewhere in your article, Facebook, Instagram feed, YouTube etc. And that's what draws the viewer to your site.
It's not a one time thing.
Once again, this isn't some magic trick.
It's management of your time and resources. If you don't have a calendar and don't stick to it, the chances of people moving from A to B are bleak to none.
Followers don't automatically move from one place to the other. They don't wander across to websites and forms. They don't sign up unless you have something worth their time.
You have to do the ground work and no “push button” course is going to help you get there. Hence, you have the second batch of things that you have to do. And there's little choice. At this stage, you will need to:
1- Work out how often you're going to have some goodies.
2- The topics you're going to cover
3- Have a form with an e-mail list. A website is best, but work with what you have.
3- Why you need to sell something to those clients (or risk losing them forever).
This third part isn't hard, or even more difficult than the other two. If anything, it's remarkably similar to the second one, except for the part that you are asking your follower or subscriber to buy something.
Which isn't to say that they haven't already bought into what you have to offer. One of the primary reasons why someone would get follow you, and then get on your list, is because they found your work to be different in some way.
Given a chance, they would buy something from you.
And more importantly, you need to sell something to them because as the title says, you risk losing them forever. Let's take a few examples at this point, that involve both services and products.
Let's say a subscriber is really interested in origami, and you're perceived to be the origami expert. Once they've begun their journey, they want to learn more. They're already on your subscriber list, and get some sort of newsletter or notifications from you from time to time.
However, the subscriber knows that all the YouTube videos in the world aren't quite as good as a step by step dedicated system. They're not buying a how-to, but they're buying your experience, your workflow. They're eager to move their skills up several notches.
At this point in time, if you don't get them to buy something from you, they aren't likely to put their money under a blanket. The client simply moves on to someone who will sell them a system.
When you're dealing with products, it's not much different.
Let's say you have a store and sell tyres, or coffee, or bread. Your clients somehow need to be told explicitly to buy a product. Their world is already busy and when you send out an e-mail or notification about an offer, they pay attention.
If you've been on the Psychotactics list long enough you're likely to have noticed two kinds of e-mails.
The first type of e-mail contains the article and there are some info-products and courses mentioned at the bottom. Those mentions get a small percentage of clickthroughs. People do buy, but in very small numbers because their focus is very much on the contents of the article.
Which isn't to suggest that the mention of the info-products and courses are a waste. They perform the crucial role of branding because people see a product or service for weeks and months before they decide to buy. Most clients buy when you send a sales-only e-mail.
Which is to say, if you're selling coffee, you stop talking about the coffee and tell them why they should buy a special coffee, in the next three days. Or if you're into the shoe business, why you're getting those exquisite red shoes that everyone's been lusting over.
When you tell, you're telling. When you sell, you're selling. In short, you have these combinations of e-mails or notifications that play specific roles.
However, getting the client to buy starts a relationship going
When we first sold The Brain Audit, it was a measly 20 page book. We didn't know any better, so we continued to sell on a regular basis. However, in time we wrote a second version. Guess who bought the second version? New clients as well as existing clients.
The same applied to a series like Website components. We released the first series back in 2013, then Version 2.0 seven years later. Once again, who buys the product? Both existing and new clients step up to buy because they know that there's value in the relationship or they wouldn't be around in the first place.
A buying sequence is a lot like dinner
You could go right to the mains, but usually you and I don't. We dawdle over the appetiser, the wine, and the soup before heading to the big meal. And then when we're done, we have coffee and dessert.
Hence when we sell a client a product like the “Outlining” series, they are likely to come back for even more. They do the headlines course, buy the storytelling series, do the Article Writing Course and possibly the First Fifty Words course as well.
All of this buying is not one-sided. The client continues to buy because they're getting good value from you. And this value applies to shoes, coffee as much as it does to any services or training.
If you don't get the client to buy, you're gifting this entire sequence to someone else. Maybe it's your immediate competitor, or someone you don't even know. However, it's certainly not you.
All of that list building exercise; the moving of the client from A to B; all of that is likely to be pointless if you don't get the subscriber to buy.
Which isn't to say EVERY subscriber will buy
Most of your audience isn't likely to buy anything. They're likely to open up e-mails infrequently. Don't let that bother you very much. We've had subscribers on our list for 7-8 years or longer. They chose not to buy anything for that duration.
When the moment presents itself, they open their e-mail. If the offer is tempting enough, they buy. Our job is to do the best we can to keep the entire cycle going so that the list builds systematically and steadily.
All that stuff you hear about people getting 10,000 downloads isn't necessarily untrue
It's possible that it happened to one person and that person alone. Tens of thousands of people may have been so enamoured by the thought of achieving the same, that they bought into the idea. However, there's no big idea at all.
All it really is, is a bunch of steps done over and over and over again. If you like you can go buy yet another course on list building but it's just a waste of money.
To be, or not to be. That is the question.
If you want to be, then go through the steps of this series and make a step by step plan. Make sure it's going well into the future, even though the future changes all the time. If you want to be, you have work to do.