If you haven’t yet started building an email list (but know you need to), this article is for you. You may have heard that a strong email list is one of the most valuable assets you can have, but when you’re starting from scratch, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This is partly because many business owners have a hard time envisioning the long-term payoff for the hard work they need to do now.

Just like issuing a dare, offering a challenge motivates people to step up and do things they might not do otherwise; like pour a bucket of ice water over their head. The challenge can include some sort of giveaway or reward for showing up logging in or commenting on posts for a certain number of days or some other type of challenge, but should certainly require an email address to enter.

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The effort you put into building your email list is one of the best investments you can make online. Having access to the inboxes of targeted prospects means you can continue to build and nurture relationships over time, and become a trusted source of valuable industry knowledge. Then, when it’s time for your prospects to buy, you’ll be the first one who comes to mind.

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For example, when a customer finds you organically through a Google search for example, that means you have some element of authority. When you have authority, prospects are more likely to enter into your funnel because they know that if they found you relevantly, that whatever it is that you're providing must be of a great value. That's just the nature of SEO and organic search. 

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Offline events like trade shows are highly anticipated growth opportunities for professionals in your industry. Demo your latest product at an appropriate conference and collect signups in-person. Once you're back at the office, import these signups into your contact database. Be sure to send these contacts a welcome email that confirms their opt-in to your list. (See #8 in this blog post for tips on sending welcome emails.)

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My recommendation is if you want to get started with copy that you first look up a bunch of long-form sales letters in all different kinds of industries. So pick some from real estate, from making money online, from health and from various topics and once you get those sales letters, your job is to rewrite the sales letter. So put it in something simple like a Google Doc.

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Of course, if you're going the paid ad route, you could also use Facebook and Google re-targeting to keep that awareness and interest level high. For example, if you've ever noticed after leaving a particular website, that you begin to see their ad everywhere, there's a particular reason for that. Especially if they've already entered your sales funnel, this is a very powerful way to get them to act.
Secondly, when you’re starting out with copywriting, you don’t have to start from scratch. I recommend that you start to gather a bunch of swipe files. So you look up things like in your junk mail when the mail comes. Grab the headlines. Grab the things that catch your eye and catch your attention. The same thing goes for ads on Facebook or sales letters other funnels that you’re in.

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For example, when a customer finds you organically through a Google search for example, that means you have some element of authority. When you have authority, prospects are more likely to enter into your funnel because they know that if they found you relevantly, that whatever it is that you're providing must be of a great value. That's just the nature of SEO and organic search. 

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So let’s say I go and look up one of my sales letters in the health niche and it’s like how to lose 20 pounds in 30 days. I take that headline, I take out the parts about it that our health-related and I try to rewrite it for real estate. And this can create some fun play-on-words and help you think about ways to say things that you might not have said in the first place.

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Let’s say you get 5,000 people to see your squeeze page, to see your free offer. Okay? 5,000 people. If we’re going with a 30 percent opt in rate, okay? Because it’s between 20 and 30, let’s just be optimistic. Thirty percent of people opt in. How many people are actually going to get to that second box? 1,500, right? So 1,500 people are actually going to see your offer for that $27 product. Now we said one to five percent will buy.

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Secondly, when you’re starting out with copywriting, you don’t have to start from scratch. I recommend that you start to gather a bunch of swipe files. So you look up things like in your junk mail when the mail comes. Grab the headlines. Grab the things that catch your eye and catch your attention. The same thing goes for ads on Facebook or sales letters other funnels that you’re in.

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In marketing automation, Ryan Deiss, co-founder of Digital Marketer, often describes the sales funnel as a multi-step, multi-modality process that moves prospective browsers into buyers. It's multi-stepped because lots must occur between the time that a prospect is aware enough to enter your funnel, to the time when they take action and successfully complete a purchase. 
The next step is to present potential customers with the opportunity to buy a product or procure your service. "When constructing your main front-end products and associated upsell offers, you should be engineering them with the additional mindset of . . . how will this help create more desire for the next [backend] offer [you're] going to present them with," explains Todd Brown of MarketingFunnelAutomation.com.

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Offer a reward for customers who buy something from you and show that they checked in at your business on Foursquare using their mobile device. When they do this, they’re telling everyone in their network that they’ve done business with you. Each month, reward the person who gave you the greatest exposure by offering a discount, and asking for their email address.

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