One of things I like most about having a business online is the ease with which I can experiment with new things. I see the internet like a sandbox and I want to get in and play around and see what I can make. I think it’s helpful to maintain a sense of excitement about technology and innovation. As we learn more about how people access information online we’ve got to respond accordingly in order to stay relevant and it helps to be curious and unafraid of change.
I started While She Naps 11 years ago, in May of 2005, and for the first eight years I didn’t have an email list. When I would do craft shows or have my work in galleries customers would say, “Add me to your mailing list,” and I would sorta nod and take their information, but the truth was I didn’t have a mailing list. I didn’t think I needed one. I had a blog! Wasn’t that enough?
By 2013 marketing gurus were making it very clear that email was vital so I committed to figuring it out how to have a mailing list and guess what? It’s been totally worth it. My weekly email newsletter is one of the best things I create and I would say without a doubt that my email list is my business’s most valuable asset.
Once you have an email list you want to grow it. About a year ago I noticed marketing gurus were preaching the power of the popup as the most effective way to do that. I was suspect at first. Then one day I was reading a blog and a popup slid in asking if I’d like to sign up for the email list. Despite having visited this blog many times, I’d never noticed that there was an email list. I signed up right away and then thought, “Hey! That was nifty.” The popup was HelloBar and I decided to try it. Sure enough, I tripled the number of signups I was getting each day.
Why are popups effective? They force visitors to make a decision. Yes or no. In or out. It’s important to make people choose.
Now, here we are in June of 2016 and everyone is talking about lead magnets and content upgrades – essentially bribes you offer visitors in exchange for their email addresses. I’ve never had one of these. I’ve grown my list to 9,700 without one. My theory has been if my weekly newsletter is interesting and helpful that should be enough – no bribes necessary.
Then, on my run on Friday morning I listened to episode 35 of the CreativeLive Podcast with Tim Paige, the Senior Conversion Educator at LeadPages. Tim’s job is to help people understand how to use LeadPages, a specialized software that allows online publishers to send out lead magnets and content upgrades, among other things. Hearing him talk convinced me to give LeadPages a try.
I got home, showered, and wrote a lead magnet and signed up.
So here’s what I’m going to do with LeadPages.
- Create an exit intent popup. When you’re about the leave the page, a popup will appear asking if you’d like to get my Top 5 Resources for Growing a Creative Business Online (that’s the lead magnet). If you enter your email address you’ll get it (and I’ll give it to all my current subscribers this Wednesday in my newsletter). Once you’ve seen the popup once, you won’t see it again for a while.
- Offer content upgrades on my most popular posts. Consistently my most popular posts are free patterns. Over the next few weeks I’ll format each free pattern as a PDF and put a button on those posts asking if you’d like to get the patterns as a PDF. When you click the button a box will pop up asking for your email address. Enter it and you’ll get that pattern emailed to you.
Tim made a really interesting point about incrementally building to “yes.” When visitors click the button indicating that they want the pattern as a PDF, that’s the first commitment and it’s a tiny one. When they’re asked to input their email address, that’s the next level of commitment, but you’re building a pattern of “yes” behavior. So interesting!
LeadPages isn’t cheap and learning to use it isn’t easy (at least not for me!), but here’s what I’ve noticed about myself when I get new software that gives me new capabilities – all of a sudden new ideas open up. It’s like getting a new super power. Now that I can easily offer extra goodies, ideas for extra goodies come to me.
This week I’m watching all the LeadPages tutorials and working on configuring everything. I’ll make note of my average daily subscriber numbers and see how they change (or don’t) once my LeadPages are up. Let’s get some sand between our toes and see how this whole thing works.