How Service Businesses Can Build Email Lists & Why They Should

Every business owner has heard that they should build an email list.

And if you’re an ecommerce or product based company, then the reason why you should bother is obvious…

By sending special offers and new product launches to the people on your list, you can make sales.

But if you’re a serviced business the advantages are less clear…

And building an email list isn’t free, it costs money to generate the traffic and takes time to produce the necessary content.

So it’s not surprising that the vast majority of service businesses (most of which don’t offer anything digital) haven’t bothered.

Now, most of these businesses aren’t going to take someone from a cold lead all the way through to a client solely through email.

Especially if you offer anything high end or B2B, you’re going to need to put in some face-to-face time, or at least some time over the phone with your prospects before they sign the contract.

But you can use email to get those prospects on the phone or get them to request an initial consultation.

It’s not that difficult to do and it doesn’t take very long to see results.

And we all know that the #1 constraint for most service businesses is the number of qualified leads they can generate.

So forget signing up new clients via email, it’s too impersonal and it’s just not going to happen…

Instead think of email marketing as a very efficient way to generate a large number of qualified leads.

So now that we understand why service businesses should be building an email list…

The question is how?

Of course you can buy a whole bunch of email addresses but I’d strongly advise against this.

There are many reasons (including poor quality!) but the most important is that the process of actually building the email list is critical to its success.

I’ll explain a bit more about this in a minute, but for now let’s get into the strategy.

I also know that no one has time to build a complex 17 step system to capture emails…

So this is the simplest way to build a useful email list.

To start with you need to give people a reason, to give you their email address.

And it needs to be a very good reason.

I don’t like giving away my email address, and I won’t do so unless I have to…

Because I know that every time I do, I’m creating a fuller inbox.

Your prospects are exactly the same.

They do not want to give you their email address and will only do so if they’re going to receive something very valuable in return.

This very valuable thing should nearly always be free – that way you’ll capture as many email addresses as possible.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking that because it’s free, it doesn’t need to be very valuable.

That’s not true.

If your prospects are giving you their email address, they are giving you something very valuable…

And if you don’t do the same in return, they’ll feel cheated.

In the digital marketing industry this very valuable thing is called a…

Lead magnet

So what lead magnet should you give away in exchange for contact information?

The easiest way to answer that is to think about what your prospects really want, or really want to know.

Do they want to know how to do something?

Then produce a guide (a simple pdf will do) or record a video explaining how to do that thing.

Do they want to do something faster or more efficiently?

Then produce a cheat sheet or list of tools that you use to help accomplish that task.

I think you get the idea.

Here’s some examples of lead magnets you could use:

• Report/Guide
• Cheat Sheet/Handout
• Toolkit/Resource List
• Video Training
• Quiz/Survey
• Assessment/Test

The medium doesn’t matter here.

Whether its text, video, audio, infographic, etc. it doesn’t matter.

Your lead magnet just needs to be really valuable and it needs to be something that people actually want.

And when you tick both of those boxes, you’ll see two things…

1) A lot of people will volunteer their email address in exchange for your lead magnet
2) You’ll position your company as an authority in the industry

Point 2 is especially important and will really help you convert those prospects into leads later down the line.

That’s why I wouldn’t advocate buying email addresses.

If your prospects had a positive experience with your lead magnet, they’ll be much more receptive to your emails…

And much more likely to agree to a phone call or request an initial consultation.

So you’ve created your lead magnet, and it’s very valuable…

(FREE DOWNLOAD: 5 Part Facebook Ad Template

This template includes some of the best performing ads we’ve created for our clients in multiple industries and if you’re looking to promote your business on Facebook you’ll find it very useful.

Click here to download the free template now: 5 Part Facebook Ad Template.)

5 Part Facebook Ad Template

What’s next?

Before we talk about advertising that lead magnet, you need to build a landing page.

And the landing page needs to focus on that lead magnet and nothing else.

Creating a specific landing page will take more time and effort but it’ll be worth it.

If you don’t know how to code (or if you do and you want to save yourself time) then you should use a landing page template.

There are a handful of companies that provide these and they’re very affordable.

If you have a WordPress website, then I would recommend Optimizepress

Otherwise I would use Leadpages

Both are very simple to use and they have loads of support documentation so I’m not going to go into detail on how to set that up here.

You want to keep your landing page as simple as possible.

The job of the landing page is to convince your visitors to give you their contact information in exchange for your lead magnet…

And that’s it.

Do not try and sell your services here. That will come later.

A perfect example to model from is this landing page from Digital Marketer, who are offering a free Facebook Ad Template: http://www.digitalmarketer.com/lp/fb-ad-templates/

You might also find it useful to take a look at this blog post I wrote:
5 Hacks to Boost Website Conversions

Email service provider

And remember to set up your email service provider…

Trust me, it’s an easy thing to forget.

Both Optimizepress and Leadpages easily integrate with any of the major email service providers.

We use Mailchimp but there’s a load of companies that offer similar services.

You should also set up an autoresponder to deliver your lead magnet immediately via email.

It’s very easy to do and it will get your prospects in the habit of actually opening the emails you send them.

Again Mailchimp or any of its competitors have support documentation that’ll show you how to set that up.

Ok so you now have your lead magnet, and you have your landing page set up…

The final step is to send people to your landing page.

You can use any online advertising platform, but for this example I’m going to use Facebook.

Facebook

And I’m going to use Facebook because it is the one platform that (almost) every business can use.

With 1.6 billion users, your target market is almost certainly on Facebook…

And I haven’t worked with a business yet that couldn’t profitably generate leads on Facebook.

Of course, if you’re more familiar with Google AdWords or LinkedIn or any other online advertising platform, and you’ve had success with it in the past, then start there.

If you’re going to advertise on Facebook, the first thing you need to do, is establish who on Facebook you’re going to advertise to.

Hopefully you already know quite a lot about your ideal client.

Age, gender, location, what are they interested in, etc.

If you haven’t yet taken a look at the Facebook targeting options then prepare to be amazed…

And a little bit horrified.

Yes Facebook really does know all about you.

But it’s fantastic for us marketers.

For a lot more detail on the targeting options within Facebook, I’d recommend you take a look at this blog post I wrote: How To Target Your Ideal Prospects On Facebook

If you have multiple groups that fit the bill of ‘ideal prospect’ then just pick the one that you think will be most interested in your lead magnet.

Work backwards

You should have created your lead magnet with your ideal prospect in mind.

But if at this stage you don’t think it’s quite right… take a deep breath…

And redo your lead magnet.

Yes it’s painful, but it will be worth it in the long run. And it’ll save you wasting money on advertising.

Once you’ve established who you’re going to advertise to, you need to create your ads.

This blog post would turn into a book if I detailed best practice for creating Facebook ads.

So I’ll defer to this masterful Facebook ad template from Digital Marketer on how to do that effectively: http://www.digitalmarketer.com/lp/fb-ad-templates/

I would recommend keeping it very simple (an image ad will do).

One step at a time

And remember, the job of the Facebook ad is to get people to click through to your landing page.

The landing page is designed to convince them to opt in…

And there should be absolutely no mention of your services whatsoever.

If you try to sell your services at this stage, you’re going to turn people off.

This is why we’re building an email list in the first place.

Asking someone who has no idea who you are, to hire you directly from an ad is way too forward.

It’s like asking someone you’ve just met if they’d like to get married.

Your prospects need to get to know, like and trust you first.

And all these steps really help them do that.

Here’s the progression:

-> You offer something for free
-> Prospect is interested in the free offer and visits your website
-> They give you something valuable (email address)
-> You give them something valuable in return (lead magnet)
-> They have a positive experience with your valuable lead magnet and start to see your company as an authority in the market place
-> You ask (via email) if they would like a phone call or a free consultation
-> They say yes

We’re trying to replicate normal human interaction and allow your prospects to get to know you naturally.

Of course the relationship you build with your prospects isn’t going to be as strong as if you met them in person.

But by starting online, you have access to thousands (even millions) more people than you could ever meet face-to-face.

Great for tough industries

Building an email list is especially important in industries that are overcrowded or have a bad reputation.

Our own industry is the perfect example.

There are tons of digital marketing agencies and some of them have given people a really bad impression with incredibly annoying cold calls and cold emails.

By providing value upfront, we’re able to separate ourselves from the competition.

(FREE DOWNLOAD: 5 Part Facebook Ad Template

This template includes some of the best performing ads we’ve created for our clients in multiple industries and if you’re looking to promote your business on Facebook you’ll find it very useful.

Click here to download the free template now: 5 Part Facebook Ad Template.)

5 Part Facebook Ad Template

What to do with your email list?

So once you have a bunch of email addresses on your list what’s next?

You need those prospects to take the next desired action – phone call, meeting, etc.

I’m going to go into a lot more detail on how to use email to convince the people on your list to take that next step…

But you’ll have to wait for next month’s blog post.

For now just simply ask.

Provided your lead magnet is high quality, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

And that’s it.

Best of luck.

About The Author

Ben Heath

Ben Heath is a Facebook advertising expert, writer and the Founder of Lead Guru. Alongside creating content for our online community, he works closely with our clients to develop and implement Facebook advertising strategies that deliver industry leading ROIs.

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