Email Acquisition Case Study for Blog Email List Building
Building up and establishing your blog or website as a credible info hub that gets visitors on repeat is a marathon rather than a sprint. Getting everything optimised for conversions, rolling out quality content and installing the latest plugin to make your site look fantastic is a round the clock enterprise, especially when you are starting out and doing all of this on your lonesome. And often at the start you will have to be content with just website views as opposed to solid and repeat conversions.
This is the time where you want to minimise work that you do on repeat. Getting stuff done while you are in the head space is one of my number one priorities as there is nothing more demotivating than having to go back over work you have already done correcting what you have done wrong.
So, how about we look at a way to test you hard work out as soon as you get started so you start getting immediate feedback on what content is hot and what’s not.
And why not give your email list a really solid boost at the same time?
How great would it be if as soon as you put your first posts on your blog you could instantly get them in your mailing list and test out the new content on an already growing list of subscribers?
What about being able to get those subscribers involved in a competition to start sharing all of your blog posts on their social networks within the first few weeks?
Well that’s exactly what I did with this site, and what’s great is that you can do it with yours too.
In this case study we are going to look at how I used an email marketing acquisition strategy to boost traffic to this blog from the day I made the first post. And how it took only three weeks to grow the email subscribers’ list from 0 to nearly 2,000.
By following the email marketing tips in this post you will be able to do the same with your blog, and what’s more you can do it with a pretty small outlay, but one that will bring back conversions and much valuable insight in the months to follow.
- Some Statistics to Whet Your Appetite
- My step by step guide on what you need to set up on your site
- How to set up several lead magnets
- How to set up the right infrastructure for email marketing acquisition
- The right kind of email marketing content
- How to use an email data feed
- My Three Week Progress Report
Some Statistics to Whet Your Appetite
Before we dive right in, let’s take a look at a few stats that were from my mailing list. Here are some list stats from the first few days of starting:
And here is a section of an uploaded list from one day at the start of this campaign after following the email marketing methods that I am about to outline in this case study:
As you can see that’s quite a considerable increase in subscriber numbers for a brand new site and for such a short timeframe.
So get your notebooks ready and brace yourself, there is a lot of valuable information about to come your way!
My Step by Step Guide on What You Need to Set Up on Your Site
#1 Set Up a Website
First of all, before you begin, you will need to have a website. There are many ways and more than enough providers to do this and I will recommend some of the best providers in my Affexpro.com/blog/ resource page.
How I got started was I set up a hosting account and then using the One Click Install App set up a WordPress site and the entire process took about 5 minutes. Once that was up and running I then chose a free wordpress layout and as if by magic my site was ready, and all in the time it took to drink a cup of tea!
#2 Install Some Plugins to Optimise Your Site
At first glance, once you have complete the first step, your site will look pretty bare. It will have a header and a sidebar but there will be lots of empty space that you will need to fill in order to make it look like a functioning site. This is called on site optimisation and don’t worry if you are a newbie, i am going to show you how quick and easy it is to get your site up and looking ready for conversions!
So here are some of the must have plugins that I use to get my site up and running quick –
- Genesis eNew Extended Opt In From Plugin — Looks neat in the sidebar, can be modified easily although it will need some basic coding knowledge, can be optimised with my email marketing automation software provider of choice weber.
- Mailmunch Opt In Form — If coding is not your bag, you can do a pretty good job with the sidebar opt in form with Mailmunch. However i prefer to use it for the pop over opt in form and the in content opt in forms. It also integrates really easily with nearly all of the major email service providers.
- Twitter or Facebook Widget — Either/or really, no particular which, so long as it looks good with the rest of your site’s design. While a social plugin will bring you a moderate number of extra sign ups, it’s a cool way of populating your site’s sidebar quickly.
- Info Boxes Shortcode Widget — For making sections of your content posts standout. This can help draw attention to inbound and outbound linking, or sign up forms.
- Rating Widget — Starting to build up those post ratings right from the off will not only populate your site but it will also help with your SEO.
In terms of what your site will look like this will provide a pretty good foundation for what is to come.
Now this is where the real meat of your site will begin.…
- Logo — Logo design has never really been my thing so if you’re not handy with photoshop, take a look at some logos from around the web to get a feel for what you like and then head over to Fiverr and get a professional designer to put something together.
- Content — The crown jewel of your site, no matter how good it looks or how well it functions, if the content isn’t of the highest order no one will be engaged enough to come back to your site or recommend it to anyone else. Start working on your content as soon as possible.
#3 How to Set Up Several Lead Magnets
One lead magnet is never enough right? Especially so when you are getting started and you are not entirely sure what your blog’s visitors are going to be interested in. This is where setting up multiple lead magnets will try and cater for as many of your user’s interests as possible and allow you to determine which of your lead magnet ideas is the best.
So here are a few sure fire lead magnet suggestions for getting opt ins:
- Free Tutorial Giveway — Every body loves something for free, so try to tap in to what it is that your potential sign ups will really need. We need this lead magnet to be kickass and over the top value. For instance, I first set up a Guitar Lesson blog so my first free giveaway was Two Free Half Hour Video Lessons, available when you opt in. For this site the first opt in was Free Affiliate Marketing Tutorials with a clear opt in form in the sidebar and some catchy and thought provoking content explaining why it was beneficial for the user to sign up with their email.
- eBook Giveaway — Now more freebies, and an ebook is one of the best lead magnets for visitors that enjoy reading your content. It doesn’t have to be your life’s work, something bitesize is preferable, but it has to be something that provides real value to your user experience. Again try to tap in to what your users are missing out on, something that will fill the gap.
- Another Free Giveaway — Like the ebook, you need something of value that can be put to use instantly by your site’s users. In my case, as much of my blog is concerned with email marketing, I opted to giveaway series of Free Email Autoresponders.
It’s entirely up to you how you set these up and position them, but what I did was put the Tutorials up date and the free ebook offer in the sidebar, and then the free ebook in the exit pop up for tempting users into signing up just before they leave for the first time. Also, my in content opt in was for the Email Autoresponder giveaway plus another Tutorials opt in form sign up to appear at the end of each post.
For More Info on Lead Magnet Examples and How to Set Up a Kick Ass Free Giveaway Check Out My Article : Tips On How to Grow Your Email List From 5 Of The Best Bloggers On The Web
All of these can be set up really easily with the plugins I mentioned above and all you will need to do for the ebook giveaways is attach the ebook or whatever else you opt to giveaway in the first of your autoresponder series in weber.
#4 Write Some Amazing Content
The only way for your site to get repeat visits and to rank well is for it to contain some truly outstanding and valuable content. This point must be stressed over and over again. If your content strategy doesn’t centre around amazing copy no one will be interested in what you have to offer, let alone want to purchase any products from you.
The content will provide the back bone of your email follow up series that will be sent out to your mailing list — so if you content isn’t up to scratch there will be no sign ups, no engagement, no conversions and no sales!
How to Set Up the Right Infrastructure for Email Marketing Acquisition
At this point your site should now resemble a working blog. You will have the layout, some cool site graphics, a logo, plugins at the ready and already populated it with some out of this world fantastic content and, of course, some opt in forms!
Now we need to take a look at the sending infrastructure for our email marketing methods of choice.
For this you will need the following –
- VPS Server plus Interspire — We are going to be sending out a lot of emails, so we need a good, reliable VPS correctly configured by a professional for email sending and then Interspire installed with PMTA and rotating IPs. There’s a lot of talk about what to do here, but this is my sending set up of choice because it can be fully automated and is really user friendly — all you need to do is get it set up and it’s ready to go!
- Landing Page with Opt In Form — For the leads that we will be acquiring through this email marketing acquisition strategy we will also need a cool landing page with an opt in form. Again here you will need to offer something that is highly beneficial for the potential sign up but doesn’t have to be a free giveaway.
- Email Autoresponder Series — These are going to be uploaded into your VPS server with Interspire and will be set up to send on automatic. Together with your landing page, your email autoresponders need to be clever and designed for high open rates and click throughs. Luckily I have provided you with a series of autoresponders as my free giveaway — all you need to do is opt in to the yellow form to get your hands on them.
- Email Marketing Software — aWeber — This will be the software that we actually use for the mailing list. As i mentioned above it is easy to integrate with your site’s plugins and with your first content posts and giveaways you will already be able to organise a follow up series of 4 or 5 emails to send at 5 day intervals for which to start bringing repeat visitors to your site.
For a more detailed explanation of how to set up an email sending infrastructure for email acquisition, including a step by step guide check out my post How to Build an Email List for a Huge Online Income
How to use an email data feed
Now the hard stuff is taken care of we need to work on the gold! We need to source out the best email data that has opted in for third party offers to begin marketing with our autoresponder series, opt in landing page and VPS.
For this I always use an email data feed. An email data feed is a source of fresh email data that is updated from a data aggregator on a daily basis. Now there are good and bad data providers and I make a recommendation of what to look out for here in my article on How to Build an Email List for Huge Online Income.
I also go into more details on what a Data Feed actually is — so for more info on this please check out my article Instant Way to Increase Website Views and Conversions That’s Overlooked by Almost Everyone
And that’s not all — I recommend by own data feed providers in my resources page right here.
For this particular cased study I used the Affexpro Data Feed, to highlight the quality of the data coming in and also to test it out on a tech blog to ascertain it’s effectiveness as a source for a quality email list building.
To find out more about the Affexpro Data Feed and What It Can Do For Your Email List building Follow This Link
For other great data providers please check out the list on my resources page, I will also be providing reviews of their data in the coming blog posts, so stay tuned!
In a nutshell, the best data feed providers will be able to inject the data straight into your VPS so that it comes as a direct feed to your email sending application. That way this entire process will run on automatic in the background, leaving you to focus on writing outstanding site content, adding to your email follow up series and organising the products that you intend to promote or sell through your site.
While I was getting this Blog up and running I had a full automation process for my follow up series of emails running. Each day a direct feed of data went into my VPS and thanks to Interspire and it’s automation tools, my series of email autoresponders went out and began working the data.
Setting Up Your Emails and Lists for Working the Data Feed
For this email acquisition method to work effectively it is essential that you set up Interspire correctly. For this you will need to create 4 contact lists:
1 — A Master Upload List
2 — An Opens List
3 — A Clicks List
4 — An Inactive List
Now, using the Autoresponders, Advanced Triggers Addon and the Re-Engagement Tool we can organise an entire series of emails to run on automatic to start separating our openers and clickers from the data feed. And what’s so great is that with this method the whole process will trigger automatically as soon as the direct feed of data comes into the system each day!
Here is how I set up my email autoresponder series –
Email #1 — Master Upload List and Introduction Mailer
When you have setup a Master Upload List create an autoresponder with the first email in the series (Introduction).
The moment that your data is injected into the server it will go into this list and the First Email (called Introduction) will send right away.
Thanks to the advanced triggers addon available with Interspire, the users among your data in that first upload that open this first email will be removed from the master upload list and put into a second list that you will created — the Opens List.
Email #2 Follow Up
You will now need to set up a series of autoresponders to go out on the Opens List. So as the openers arrive from the Master Upload List they will now receive the next email in the series — the Follow Up. It is best to set this email to send out 24 or 48 hours after they opened the first email.
Email #3 Thank You
The third email (called Thank You) will now send another email to the openers in the Opens List. As with the previous email this should be set to send at least 24 hours after so 48 hours after the user joined this list. This email will be the first in the sequence to contain a link. The link should direct to your landing page which should be hosted on a separate domain from you main business, preferably with an opt in form.
As there is a link in the third email in the sequence, we have a second trigger set up which will move all of the clicks to the Clicks List. Here there is an autoresponder set up that will send 24 hours after the user has joined list. We can either introduce the users to an offer, to something free such as an ebook or to a webinar, video tutorial, etc. I would recommend here that you talk about whatever offer you want to promote, but save the actually link to the offer for the next email….
This will contain a link to your promotional offer. And if you have followed all of the previous steps correctly this will send only to the users that have clicked on the link in the third email.
You will now start to see your list numbers growing so you can add more offers to the clicks list and also play around more with the opens list. Good email marketing tips include blending up your email marketing campaign with some promo emails in between and sending links to free information that’s highly beneficial for the user. A webinar, for instance, is a great way to increase opens and clicks and also manage your ration of content and offer emails. Use a ratio of 3:1 i.e. 3 relationship emails vs 1 promo email so that your list will remain eager for you mails whilst ensuring that you pro-long the IP reputation on the sending server.
The ReEngagement List is built around a ReEngagement campaign that will remove the users from your opens and clicks lists that haven’t opened an email for 10 days.
This is your churn list and functions for two reasons
- 1 — to prevent you from repeatedly emailing users who showed an interest at first but are no longer interested and so have stopped opening your campaigns, and
- 2 — it gives you the opportunity to set up another offer mailer to try and re-activate them before they go fully inactive. This can be a very handy email marketing retention strategy as it can generate a lot of conversions from a churn list if you catch the users with a great re-engagement campaign just before they are lost for good. You can also use this list for reactivation campaigns further down the line when you have extra income ideas.
Depending on the size of your VPS you may need to also to set up an Inactive List. This is set up by way of a trigger to remove users from the master upload list that never opened the first mail. This is purely a technical function to prevent the server from filling up with inactive data and slowing down. Delete the contacts on this list every few weeks.
Don’t Forget — If You’re Stuck For Ideas On What To Put In Your Autoresponder Emails of If You Need Inspiration for Crafting the Best Subject Lines for Email Marketing Download My Free Series Of Autoresponder Emails Now!
My Three Week Progress Report
So after the detailed explanation on how to set up your email marketing method for seriously boosting your site traffic let me show you how my stats panned out for that initial starting 2/3 weeks.
Day 10 of Email Sending
Here are my aweber upload stats on the third day of exporting clicks from my VPS. At this point the campaigns in Interspire had been running already for 10 days, giving sufficient time for my Email Autoresponder Series to run and build up some good numbers in my Opens and Clicks Lists. This is my third upload into aweber.
Day 15 of Sending
And here are my aweber stats two weeks after the start of the campaign:
Not a bad increase in the size of my email list considering that it’s a brand new site and that the list was started from scratch, and especially when you take a look at the open rates on my Follow Up Series of Emails in aweber:
Google Analytics Audience Overview
And here is the overview of visitors for this first 2/3 week period from Google Analytics. Small numbers, but remember that the site isn’t ranking yet and I only began optimising for SEO in the third week.
and only English speakers. These numbers can easily be pushed up increasing the send sizes to 100k, by using additional data feeds and subscribers lists. The next stage for this particular project is to just that so Watch this space as I will be updating the stats for this Email Marketing Acquisition Campaign in the coming weeks! And will start showing the income stats to go along with it!!
Don’t forget if you like what you have read here, if you have any other email strategies that you have seen good results from or if you would like any advice or just to say hi, leave a comment below!
For more articles like this please head over to AffexPro.com/blog/