When it comes to making money online there are few things that matter more than building your list.
I asked a major marketer, and New York Times bestselling author, what he would do differently if he were starting over today.
His immediate answer was “I would focus on building my list sooner.”
While there are many ways to build a list, nothing compares to giving away high value content that helps people solve a problem.
The good news is this – if you have five or more articles on a given topic you have what you need to succeed with this method right now.
Some are calling this a “content squeeze”. I call it common sense.
Here is the idea in a nutshell. I’ll give you the step-by-step, with some explanation, and then illustrate how it works here on my own blog.
One note before the steps – it took less than an hour to set up what I’m teaching below. Believe me, you can do this!
Step 1 – Gather five articles on a topic.
It does not need to be five articles, but five articles work well. No less than three however.
What these articles are going to do is to be the meat of your short-course. And that is what this is – a short, free course on how to do something based on a few articles you have written (or will write) about a specific topic.
One key is to organize the articles in logical order, which is step 2.
Step 2 – Make a list of those articles in a logical order.
The reason a logical order matters is that you are positioning this as a short course. That’s the right thing to do, especially if the articles build on each other.
The key here is that the articles take the reader through a progression of some sort.
That progression can look like a great many things, including …
- Understanding key terms in a specific industry.
- Going from raw beginner to understanding what to do to succeed.
- Being able to take the first step toward accomplishment.
- Getting unstuck when it comes to a specific problem.
- Saving time when doing a particular task.
The key is progression.
Step 3 – Write a short article introducing the topic of the articles.
This article is the epitome of “useful but incomplete.” You want the reader to be able to understand how to do a thing but leaving them wanting more.
Content marketing really has three goals.
- To help the reader. If you don’t want to help readers then this is not for you.
- To establish that you are knowledgeable. Not the ultimate guru of the universe – just that you know what you are doing.
- To help the reader take the next step. That’s the marketing part. The next step might be to buy something, to opt in for more information or to like you on Facebook. In any case, the reader takes an action you recommend.
So make your short article helpful (as I hope this one is) but incomplete enough that your reader needs to take an action to learn more.
The beauty of content marketing is this – the only people who take action are the ones who want and need your help.
- You are not forcing anything on anyone.
- You are not begging people to spend money.
You are freely helping and saying “if you like this you might also like this other thing I have” and letting people make their own choices.
A beautiful thing indeed!
Step 4 – Publish that short article on your blog.
Publish or perish – it’s really that simple. So why not publish something that helps you and helps others?
So, publish your shiny new article on your blog so the good stuff can happen!
Step 5 (the magic move) Put a button at the bottom of that short article offering people a free short-course on the topic.
If you have done steps 1 – 4 you have done what most bloggers do anyway.
- Have multiple articles on a given topic.
- Have articles that build on each other.
- Post an article to a blog.
Where we fail (and I include myself) is in not offering people who read our articles a way to get more, right now, if they want to do that.
So here’s the magic move – put a button under your short article offering people more information.
But rather than just linking to a landing page with articles, or a category page, you show a popup window that builds your list.
An example is below for your convenience.
Why would you do this? That is step 6.
Step 6 Make money from this idea.
You may be thinking “sounds good Charlie but what’s in it for me?” Valid question, and one that deserves an answer.
The first answer is this – you really do need a list of your own and your list can never be too big. So offer people a chance to get on your list as often as you can.
Here are five other ways you can profit from building your list in this way.
- Start a conversation about the topic. In your follow up emails ask them what they need right now. Ask them why they wanted more information. Ask them how you can help them. This can all be 100% automated when you know how.
- Sell things. Yep, you can offer products to people who join this list, and make friends too, if you do it right. Don’t blast a million messages a day and don’t always be pitching. But do recommend products you believe in and make special offers.
- Uncover their needs. This goes a step beyond asking as mentioned in point 1. This is taking a real survey or running a poll on your blog. Both easy to do and wonderfully eye opening. Zig Ziglar was right when he said You can get everything you need by helping other people get what they need. But you can’t do that by guessing.
- Offer a webinar. Some will be a little afraid of this idea, but webinars are nothing more than a conversation. Start that conversation on Skype or Google + and let people attend and ask questions. You will make friends and make sales too.
- Place an ad on the page. This is the easiest, and most overlooked, method of all. You don’t need to shout or use some provocative image or some auto-start video that runs forever. Remember, this is an interested and intelligent visitor. Treat them with respect but do display a banner or other image to let them know what to do next, if they want to take another step.
Remember, the people who subscribe want to know more, so they are expressing an interest by taking action.
There you have it. This idea works wonderfully well because it leverages your content by simply repurposing what you already have, or can easily create.
If you have questions or want to know more, use the comments below.