If you’re serious about growing your business, building a healthy email list should be one of your top priorities. When it comes down to it, your list is one of the only online assets that you have 100% control over. Having a solid social media presence is absolutely essential (here’s why), but you’ll always be at the mercy of new and changing algorithms (think Facebook’s Edgerank). And achieving high search engine rankings is great too, but again, you’re at the mercy of changing algorithms and updates.

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Once the prospect is in the proverbial funnel, you've peaked their awareness. That's the first stage of the funnel. However, getting a prospect aware of you is no simple feat. Depending upon how they've arrived to your website (organically or through a paid ad), those customers might view your funnel differently and your opt-in rates will vary significantly. 

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Customer reviews are the "social proof" that encourages people to join in on something. It's one thing for you to tell people to sign up for a campaign, but it's another thing for your happiest customers to say it too. Publish your best reviews from communities like Yelp right to your website. This adds genuine value to your landing pages when people are on the fence about submitting their contact information. 

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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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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In a recent conversation I had with Perry Belcher, co-founder of Native Commerce Media, he told me that you also need to train your prospects to click on links. For example, you could have them click on a link of what interests them or link them to a blog post or eventually to a product or service that you're selling, but you need to train them to build a habit of clicking on those links from the very beginning.

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He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.

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.

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Pop-up forms provide visitors with a quick, convenient way to share contact information and subscribe to your list while they’re browsing your site, making them a powerful tool for audience growth. They’re easy to add to your site, and they’re proven to work—our research shows that Mailchimp users have seen their list growth rate increase by an average of 50.8% after adding a pop-up form to their site.

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Visitors to your website might overlook the call to sign up that you have at the top of every page, but it’s harder to ignore a lightbox or pop-up. Scroll boxes pop up on visitors’ screens after they’ve scrolled down a certain length of the page. The box encourages them to sign up for your email list. They can be effective for encouraging a user who’s already shown interest in your content (by staying on the page long enough to scroll) to sign up for your email list.

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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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Now, here’s where we do the math. You want to figure out if your funnel is going to be profitable, you need to understand what is “normal.” And I put normal in quotes because for every industry it’s a little bit different. And eventually ,you’re going to have benchmarks for yourself. You’re going to know what your normal is and then you can compare yourself against yourself. But when you’re just getting started, you might not have any stats. So I’m going to give them to you. So in the first box, I’m going to tell you that it’s pretty normal to have somewhere between a 20% to 30% optin rate.

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You might be doing all the right things to generate leads -- landing pages, gated content, contests, and more. The problem might be that the design or copy itself isn't driving the engagement you need. A/B test (also known as "split test") different aspects of your list-building campaigns with different versions of the same content. This includes the call-to-action text, the color of the gated offer, the time of day you're posting to social media, and even where on your website these signup forms are placed. Sometimes a small change can drive hundreds more conversions.

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Now, here’s where we do the math. You want to figure out if your funnel is going to be profitable, you need to understand what is “normal.” And I put normal in quotes because for every industry it’s a little bit different. And eventually ,you’re going to have benchmarks for yourself. You’re going to know what your normal is and then you can compare yourself against yourself. But when you’re just getting started, you might not have any stats. So I’m going to give them to you. So in the first box, I’m going to tell you that it’s pretty normal to have somewhere between a 20% to 30% optin rate.

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People like more choices, so consider creating subscription levels that let people sign up to receive content that’s relevant to them. For example, if you sell widgets and tax advice, provide three options on your opt-in form that allow users to sign up to receive info about widgets, info about tax advice or both. Further customize by allowing them to designate how frequently they’d like to hear from you — weekly, monthly or only when something really special is going on. People may be more likely to sign up for your email list if they have some control over the content they’ll receive.

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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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Because we were optimistic today. So you need to try to figure out how to get your cost per click down. Okay. So maybe it’s with content, maybe with social strategy, maybe with better ad targeting. But let’s say you can get it down to thirty cents a click, right? So thirty cents, it’s twenty cents less. That doesn’t seem like that much. But guess what happens now it’s only costing you $1,500 to get those 5,000 views on that page.

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But what I want to say to you, number one is this: manage your expectations. It is the best thing you can do for yourself and your clients. Manage your expectations, do the math and figure out if your funnel is really working or not. Because oftentimes your funnel is working. It’s the ad costs that aren’t. And if your funnel isn’t working, then you fix that and then try again. Thanks so much. Appreciate you guys. Talk soon.

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The truth? People are smart. They're not simply going to buy anything from anyone unless they feel there's an immense amount of value to be had there. Thus, your funnel needs to built that value and bake it in through a variety of means. But most importantly, you have to create a strong bond with your prospect, and that happens by being relatable, honest and transparent in your email warming sequence.
If you're wondering what a sales funnel is, simply imagine a real-world funnel. At the top of that funnel, some substance is poured in, which filters down towards one finite destination. In sales, something similar occurs. At the top, lots of visitors arrive who may enter your funnel. However, unlike the real-world funnel, not all who enter the sales funnel will reemerge out from the other end. 

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Pop-up forms provide visitors with a quick, convenient way to share contact information and subscribe to your list while they’re browsing your site, making them a powerful tool for audience growth. They’re easy to add to your site, and they’re proven to work—our research shows that Mailchimp users have seen their list growth rate increase by an average of 50.8% after adding a pop-up form to their site.

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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.

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Why? Because we looked at the percentages and we know that those percentages are correct. So the funnel does work. You just aren’t making money because why? Because the cost per click for advertising is too high. So you have one of two choices. You can either try to get the cost per click down on the ad or you can try to raise the conversion rate somewhere on your funnel. But based on the math that we just did, this is a very, very high converting funnel based on the benchmarks, right?

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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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Your blog provides a great way to build a personal relationship with customers and prospects — and to gather their email addresses. Consistently end blogs with a call to action that encourages readers to sign up for your email messages. Require blog visitors to provide an email list in order to leave comments, and set it up so that they have to actively opt out if they don’t want their email address included on your mailing list.

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Now, the first page in the funnel is going to be the squeeze page. That’s going to be the page where you give away something for free. So in that first box, just write “FREE” and then the box right next to it, put one box to the right. That’s going to be the offer. That’s the thing that you sell after they opt-in right? You give them something for free and then you’re like, ah, awesome. Okay, here is a $27 course. So in that second box, write $27. Now a lot of people who work with me, or if you know Russell and you’re in the funnel world, you know that when you get somebody to say yes to something like a workshop or a course for $27, you’re leaving money on the table.

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