AskPat 106 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What’s up, everybody? This is Pat Flynn, and welcome to Episode 106 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. Really appreciate it. We have another great question from Jeff today. However, before I get to that, I want to mention something awesome that happened last week.
Last week my team and I, we released the beta version of the Smart Podcast Player. We kept it to 250 beta lessons so we could work with that small group, improve it, add new features to it before we release it to the wild again later. Sold out in less than 24 hours. So, I'm just so thankful for you. If you're one of the customers who purchased the Smart Podcast Player, you rock. Thank you so much. If you're looking forward to the next version of it, you can actually subscribe to get notified at SmartPodcastPlayer.com. So do that right now if you are a podcaster and you are interested in that. You can see it in action right now on that site, or on AskPat.com as well.
Now, lets get to today's question from Jeff.
Jeff: Hi Pat, this is Dr. Jeff Ludwick from Wells Tribe Nation. I'm starting a blog and a podcast and maybe a vlogging site. My question is this: how do I build a list of names of followers? Should I have people sign up for an email? Or maybe purchase an ebook to collect those names? Or should I just have people sign up through something like Feedburner to get my post? Thanks Pat for all you do. Looking forward to taking my site to the next level.
Pat Flynn: Jeff, thank you so much for the question. You know, it's very interesting when it comes to RSS subscriptions, RSS email subscriptions, to email lists subscriptions, or anything that involves getting our audience to subscribe to our content and get stuff later. It can be a very confusing thing. Both as content producers, and especially if it's confusing for us as content producers and those of us giving the calls to action, it's definitely going to be confusing to our audience. Of course, whenever we confuse our audience, nothing gets done.
So, you have a lot of options. There's a lot of ways to go about it and at least you're getting subscriptions. No matter what you do, you're collecting email addresses or you’re getting people to subscribe to get that content later. That's one of the best ways to get traffic back to your site for later—is to make sure that people have a way to get the content that you're coming out with later. That's good. What's bad is the confusion. But what is also bad is people don't realize the exact power of having an email list. I think when it comes down to it you should grow your email list.
You asked, Jeff, for collecting names. Well, when you get subscribers, whether through email, or through regular RSS and people are reading through their readers, you don't get to collect those names. You don't understand exactly who is on the other end. You can't email those people directly and ask for feedback. They're simply getting your content later. Which is good, but not as good as having an email list. You can use that email list to do that as well. As Amy Porterfield from AmyPorterfield.com says, “The energy of your business is directly tied to the strength of your email list.” Then she goes on to talk about how Facebook is one of the most powerful ways to build your email list. She is one of the top experts in the field of Facebook, but the point is, your email list is incredibly important and I agree.
For a number of reasons, one, you're able to contact your audience directly. Two, you're able to drive more traffic to your site if you were to mention some of the posts and it seems more personal than one of those pre-templated RSS feed emails. If somebody were to subscribe on Feedburner or Feedblitz for example. You only have so much control on what it exactly looks like on the other end. As opposed to an email, which comes directly from you. Even though it might be automated, it is more personal and it's something that is typically going to be read in a completely different way than something that's automatically sent to you from something like an RSS aggregator or something like that.
So, email list is important for that reason, it can also drive traffic to your site like I said, which will get more people onto your site and more people share it. Which gets more people onto your email list. It just becomes this big perpetual thing, but beyond that, and the reason I think it's most important is because you can take that email list with you anywhere. Meaning, you're collecting those names, you're collecting those emails. If your site were to shut down, you'd still have that email list to use and bring to whatever new site that you wanted to create.
You know, when my site went down in 2013 for an entire week and a half, I lost about $1,200 in potential sales as a result of some server issues that I was having and bad customer service. I still had my email list and I was able to keep in contact with everybody. I was able to keep everybody notified of what was going on, but guess what? My RSS feed wasn't working because my site wasn't working.
So I was able to contact people directly with my email list, Jeff. There are different ways to go about integrating RSS with your email list. You can send out broadcasts automatically that share either the latest post or the latest five posts. I think best practice at this point in time is to use your email list to give them unique content. I'll talk about strategies to grow that email list in just a second. You mentioned one of them, which is to use an ebook, but I'll tell you more about that in a second.
Best practice, and this is something I've been experimenting with lately is to, after every X number of posts, have a few of them in the bag. Send an email message to your email list and just mention some of the posts that you've previously written. Maybe some of the more hot topic ones if you're creating content fairly regularly, just so you're not overwhelming your audience. It's been working out really well for me. A lot of the times not everybody checks their RSS readers, or not everybody knows that you've created new content. If you send out sort of a summary with some quick information about recent posts that you've had every once in a while, it goes a really long way. It is helpful for people. You are adding value to people's lives by summarizing a lot of the latest posts you've written and either reminding people about certain posts that they perhaps need to take action on that they said they were going to but haven't yet. Or, reminding them about posts that you've written that they haven't seen yet so they can go and click on those links in your email and then come over to your page.
Again, you get to control this whole experience. Which is the best part about using these email lists. I use AWeber currently to create those email lists so, if you go to AWeber.com/askpat. That's my affiliate link. You can check that out there. You can also go to StartAnEmailList.com that will take you to a page on SmartPassiveIncome.com, which is my walk through tutorial. Totally free. It’s just on a blog post on how to get started with building an email list. So again that's StartAnEmailList.com.
Another thing to think about really quickly is RSS in general. It's kind of old school now. In a technical world people still use it. A lot of people in the space that I'm in subscribe to blogs with RSS, but a lot of times, if you go down the street and say, “Hey guys do you know what an RSS feed is?” Like if you just ask a random person. More than likely they're not going to understand what that means. So that means your audience, if they're not very technical, they're not going to understand the benefit of that, or even how to do it.
There's a lot of interesting readers and a lot of interesting ways to consume content today that are way beyond RSS. Now, if you were to ask a random person, “Do you know what an email list is?” Or “Do you know what signing up to get emails means?” Then I think more than likely people are going to understand what that means. So they're going to understand the process of doing that.
Now the trick is, how do you get people to subscribe to your lists? If you go to SmartPassiveIncome.com, I have a lot of information about email marketing and how to grow your list. You mentioned, Jeff, a book. Now you mentioned selling the book to grow your list. That's one thing you could do. If you have products of your own that you sell, everybody that you sell to should absolutely go into an email list. You want to get ninja about it. They should go into a separate email list. One for each particular product. So you understand who it is exactly that purchased that product. You can perhaps create an autoresponder email, which is another nice thing about creating an email list. You can't create autoresponder or automatic sequences after people subscribe using RSS, but you can with email.
For example, if someone purchases one of your products on day one, on day seven you can have it automatically send them an email saying, “How was your experience with product X? Here are some complimentary products, for example, that you can have that will make that experience even better. Or if you're having trouble, here are some links to help you get through and troubleshoot.” You don't even have to upsell or resell them anything after or down the road. Maybe you come out with a second version of that product. Then you'd have an email list already of those people who got that specific product. It's just so much easier to market that way if you were to segment your lists. There's a previous AskPat episode about segmenting your lists. I believe that was AskPat episode 78. So go ahead and check out that episode at AskPat.com.
Now, an ebook is great. Any sort of product that you sell, yes, you want to collect your customer's email address and put them into an email list and then you can later ping them down the road when it comes to any new blog posts that you come out with, any new content or products. You can also give away things for free as incentives for people to subscribe to a list too. These are called lead magnets because you're collecting leads and creating magnets that sort of attract people into your lists. So you kind of get them into a page which could be a page on your site, maybe it's just an option form on your sidebar or a landing page on your side. Perhaps it's some sort of squeeze page, which just simply has one purpose which is to get people on that list and you can give away something as incentive. “Hey if you subscribe to this email list, I'll give you my free copy of this.” Maybe it's a first chapter in your book. Perhaps it's a quick resource guide.
So you don't even need to spend much time to put this together. I did an interview with Clay Collins on AskPat. Not AskPat, but it was Smart Passive Income. I think it was actually number 78 as well of Smart Passive Income. So episode 78 of Smart Passive Income was with Clay Collins I believe, and in that episode he talks about how his company, Lead Pages—which I'm an advisor for there—is keeping track of everything that people are doing with their software anonymously to understand what's working and what's not. One of the things that is working to increase the number of conversions from people who land on your site to go into your email list, one thing that's helping that are these quick short resource pages. Just one or two paged PDF file with lists of things that are helpful for your audience. So, if you're in the health niche, for example, you might create one that says, “The top ten super foods that you need to have in your refrigerator right now. Download this PDF, enter your name and email to get access to it.”
As simple as that. It just needs to be a really quick PDF. The reason those are working better than the very long ebooks and the more time consuming things is because of just that: it takes so much time to read these long things. These long ebooks that people give aways. A lot of times people won't subscribe because they're going to think, “Wow, just another thing that I have to spend time reading.” Whereas, it's like if it's a one or two page PDF or a free report or something like that, people are more likely to download and consume that.
So if it provides value, it can just provide so much help for you and your business and growing your email list too. So that's a quick tip for you, Jeff, and for everybody out there. Quick resource page as a lead magnet and you can use a tool like Lead Pages to automatically deliver that for you if you go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/leadpages, that's my affiliate link for that. Or you could do it manually. You could have it so that the first follow up email after people subscribe to your email list has a link, a Dropbox link for example, or some other direct link for that particular thing that you're giving away. Or it could be a link to a hidden page on your site that has a download link. Either way you could do it. So you don't have to get Lead Pages, but there are ways to deliver free resources like that using these email list providers like AWeber, which you can't do again on RSS.
So I hope that answers your question Jeff. Best of luck to you. Sounds like you've got a lot of things going on and a lot of plans for the future. Just want to give you one quick tip in regards to all that you want to do. Make sure you take one step at a time. Don't spread yourself too thin at first in terms of being on all sorts of different platforms. Yes, I'm on all the different platforms, but I didn't get on all of them at the same time. Be everywhere, but don't start everywhere.
Cool. Thanks Jeff. An AskPat t-shirt is going to be headed your way. Thank you for all of you who are listening. As always, if you have a question that you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You could get an AskPat t-shirt just like Jeff does. As always, I'm going to end with a quote here. Today's quote is from myself. This quote is, “Don't forget to prioritize or else everything gets worked on and nothing gets done.”
Cheers. Thanks so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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