You can set up a GENERIC email list in either GetResponse or Aweber in hours. However, generic is . . . generic. It is impersonal and basically is designed to fit any website and any list no matter what your focus, topic or niche is. Generic does not help build relationships, which is what you need to do to create a successful and responsive email list.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are using another email mail list management system such as Aweber or Constant Contact, the process is very similar. You might have to search around a bit to find where to insert your code, but each of the programs will have online help, phone help and a list of FAQs.
If you are in a real hurry, go ahead and start with generic … you can go back later and add your custom elements when they are ready.
The Custom Subscriber Intake System Works Like This:
- Your visitor fills out one of your Intake Forms (side panel form, pop-up, top or bottom ribbon, below post form, exit pop-up, etc.).
- Their status has now changed to “interested.” They immediately see a Custom Please Confirm page that asks them to check their email and click on the confirm link. This page also has a few links to your most popular posts.
- At the same time, they get an email (semi-customized) that asks them to confirm their subscription. They might check for this email right away, or hours later when they open their email inbox.
- Over 60% of those on your “interested” list will click on the link and confirm their subscription. They are now updated to “subscriber.” Who knows why the other 40% don’t confirm. Don’t sweat it, there is nothing you can do about it. You will greatly increase the odds of people confirming with your Custom Please Confirm page!
- Your subscriber will immediately be routed to a Custom Thank You page. This page will welcome them to your list. It will give them a link to your sign-up incentive (freebie) and will include a few links to related posts on your blog/website. There are dozens of things you can do with this page to make it interesting and engaging.
- At the same time, they will also get a Custom Email. This is an autoResponder email that welcomes them to your list and sends them the link to your Custom Thank You Page. This is the first autoresponder in your soon to be created evergreen sequence.
The challenge with setting up this custom sequence is that it is NOT intuitive and on any of the newsletter services I have used, it often requires numerous rounds of back and forth, back and forth. It can be very frustrating and may result in bald spots on your head.
The day-by-day process below will help you avoid a lot of frustration and will save the hairs on your head. I have set this up so that you can do it in 30 to 60 minutes a day. This is assuming you already have a give-away (more about this in Day Tw0). If you want to fast-track, go for it!
Be sure to Book Mark this page and come back daily!
Sign up for your email service or if you are already a member, log in. You can get a free 30-day trial membership to GetResponse here. NO credit card is required for the trial.
Take a bit of time … poke around, look at their help section to see what is available and check out the videos. There is a LOT of useful information IF you know the right questions to ask and what to search for.
Create your first CAMPAIGN.
I think of this as my “list” and you probably will too. However GetResponse calls this a campaign for good reason. There are a number of things that are organized under your campaign name. First of course is your “list” of subscribers, next is the emails you send out, as well as your autoresponder series, your landing pages and your subscribe boxes, pop-ups etc.
You can have an unlimited number of campaigns, each with its own list of subscribers, emails etc.
To create a new CAMPAIGN:
- Click on Dashboard (top left)
- Click on the drop down arrow beside Your Current Campaign (top right)
- Click on Create Campaign
Fill in the name of your Campaign. You can only use lower case letters and the symbol “_”. AND your name has to be unique, so you might have to try a few times.
Your new campaign will now be added to the Campaign list.
Add your existing contacts. GetResponse allows you to add a list of your existing contacts by manually adding email addresses or by importing a list. You really should KNOW these people and know that they would be happy to be added to your list. You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot having people complaining about you spamming them. You are better off starting at zero than trying to hijack unwilling participants onto your list.
With that precaution ringing in your ears, click on the big CONTACTS symbol or on the drop down list in the menu and start adding.
If you are adding a list of your friends and acquaintances, hold back 2 -3 of your BEST friends. Later on in the week you will need 2 – 3 people to help you test your custom sequence. They will be adding themselves to the list.
Tomorrow on Day Two, I will be talking about Subscriber Incentives. These are freebie giveaways that entice visitors to subscribe to your list.
You’ve already seen the giveaway I use for my Sell More Books newsletter — the PDF report titled 10 Ways To Get Ten Reviews. If you haven’t seen it … take a look and join my list!
Free Incentives, giveaways, freebies WORK. They attract the interest of visitors and they get people to sign up. A great “targeted” giveaway will attract the “right” people. People who are interested in you and what you have to offer.
Over the years, I’ve created dozens of list for my customers. I’ve had customers who refused to even think about giveaways … they didn’t want to seem “crass” (their words) or they didn’t want to spend the time or money to get it done. It was not surprising that years later their email lists remained small. In contrast I had a customer who embraced the idea. He was a restaurant owner and wanted to give away something different than other restaurants After brainstorming for a few months we came up with an idea for an app. We had it built for less than a thousand bucks and started promoting it. His list rapidly grew to over 100,000 targeted users and his restaurant is thriving to this day.
Your freebie doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. It just has to be targeted to your audience and entice them to fill out your form.
If you already have something you can use as a freebie, upload the file into the Media section of your website. Then put on your thinking cap and come up with one or two good “Titles” and two or three sentences describing your freebie.
Here is where you upload your freebie (PDF file, media file, zip file etc) on WordPress:
Look at a half dozen websites, including some author sites … make notes on what they say about their giveaways … and use those ideas to create your own headlines and descriptions. Use the word FREE.
If you do not have a freebie … be sure to check out Ideas For Creating Free Giveaways and come up with at lease one idea for each freebie suggestion. Then pick what you think is the fastest and easiest and set aside some time to create it (or hire it done) over the next few weeks. This should become one of your marketing priorities because it will make a huge difference for you over the next six months to a year.
Continue to set up your custom subscriber intake system over the next week. When your freebie is ready … simply upload it and then go back and change the text to include your freebie.
Today you will create a custom “Please Confirm” page.
If you do NOT create this page, when your visitor fills out the subscribe box nothing will happen. You WANT something to happen and that is what your Please Confirm page is all about.
As you can see, I’ve kept it pretty simple.
I let subscribers know that in order to get their freebie they have to confirm … and I show them how. Then, just in case they haven’t clicked over to their email program and are still reading … I give them a link to one of my most popular posts. Many people don’t want to interrupt their browsing, so it is worth spending some time testing various ways of keeping them on YOUR site. Over the next few months I will test a few of my best posts and see what works best.
Since I don’t want my Please Confirm Page to show up in any menu or in my category listings I did two things just before I hit the publish button:
- I made sure that none of the categories were checked off (right hand box)
- I back-dated the post 2 years so it would not show up in any “recent post” lists
If you are following my Day-to-Day process you won’t HAVE a screenshot of your email to use yet … I’ve created a generic screenshot you can feel free to use, until you can replace it with one that is more specific to your website. I stripped out as much as I could to make it as generic as possible. You can download it by clicking HERE.
Do NOT link to my site. Make sure you upload the image file to your own site and use your own code, otherwise your visitors might end up on MY list.
Here’s how to copy the image:
- Click on this link (image opens in a new tab)
- RIGHT click on the image and choose “Save Image As”
- Download image to your hard drive
- Upload image to your website and insert in your blog post
If you need more ideas for what to do with your Please Confirm Page … google “Please Confirm” and you will find dozens and dozens of great examples.
Setting Up Your Custom Thank You Page
If you don’t have a Custom Thank You Page, the only way your subscribers can get their freebie is through an email message. You want BOTH.
Here’s how the Custom Thank You Page works. When your customers go to your Please Confirm Email and click on the confirm link, they will IMMEDIATELY be transported back to your website … to your Custom Thank You Page.
This is your BIG opportunity to engage them again. Here are a few of the things you can have on your page:
- What subscribers can expect (blog post announcements, other free stuff, when your books are on sale, and updates)
- Your freebie download
- An invitation to join you on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, G+, Linkedin, etc.
- A list of your most popular blog posts
- A welcome video
- A note about your books
- A short blurb about your services
- A discount coupon
- Invitation to your Members Only area
- Your story or Bio
- If you have a comprehensive and rich website, include a guide on how to get started
Here is a COPY of my page (I have stripped out the freebie download. If you want the download, please go through the subscribe process).
The first thing to note is that I used a PAGE instead of a POST. This is for two reasons … the first is so that there are NO distractions, including the sidebar information and the after-post information. This allows me to channel visitors to the blog posts I want.
The second reason is that I will be doing extensive A/B testing. This page will actually become a landing page (in Week 3). I will test a half dozen different landing pages to see what works best. My mission will be to find out the posts that are most popular with newbie visitors and the posts that keep people on the site the longest. For example, my visitors are presumably interested in a sugar-free lifestyle .. but are they more interested in recipes or information about the best diets for losing weight? Are they more interested in diets or in exercise programs?
Welcome Email Message
At the same time as your new subscriber is being transported to your Custom Thank You Page, they will also trigger your first autoresponder (Day 0). Your email message will welcome them, and will direct them to your Custom Thank You Page where they can download their freebie.
It may seem redundant, BUT remember that your subscriber may not see this email for several hours or even days. It is a way that they can archive and store the link to their freebie(s).
I can’t begin to count the times I have looked for and been happy I archived my welcome email. I often don’t have time to download or read the free thing I wanted while on the spot. Being able to return to the welcome email has made me a happy camper many times.
For example I follow writer Jeff Goins. In his welcome email he sends subscribers to a custom welcome page that has several different freebies. I have returned to this page a half dozen times, each time by locating his welcome email and following the link. IF he had not sent a welcome email I would have never been able to locate his freebie page again. So yes, your welcome email may seem redundant, but people ARCHIVE emails, not web-pages.
How to Setup Your First Autoresponder
From the top menu, choose Messages and then Create Autoresponder.
In the Create autoresponder panel, make sure you have the right list. Choose “same time signed up,” this will send your welcome message immediately after a subscriber confirms.
When you click on “Create new email” you will work you way though a series of panels that includes naming your new autoresponder and choosing a template.
Choosing a template
Don’t waste a day going into a state of angst over choosing the perfect template. There is NO perfect. My advice is to choose a really simple template and get it done ASAP. If you choose a complex template the time for your learning curve and customizing the template will go up and you will spend gobs of time loading logos and images and making things look pretty.
Just choose something simple! My suggestion is to choose a template similar to this one. You will be able to edit it and have it ready to go in an hour or less.
I would customize this template by adding two or three links to your best blog posts OR include links to your About page and one of your book posts.
If you are not familiar with online page editors … take 10 minutes to go through this video tutorial. It will save you hours of frustration.
Once you have completed your Welcome Message to your satisfaction, click on NEXT STEP and then on SAVE AND PUBLISH.
You will now see a calendar with your first autoresponder in the “0” position.
CONGRATULATIONS! You now have all the custom elements for your Custom Subscriber Intake Process in place. Tomorrow you will link everything together and do your first test.
Today we are going to link everything together and install a sidebar signup box. Our day will end with a test to see make sure it all works.
Step One – Customize The Permission Page
Click on your Dashboard and then on the left side of your screen, just under the menu … make sure you have the right campaign (list) chosen and click on the small gear icon.
When the page opens, on the left side of your screen, choose PERMISSION. Note: I have never changed any of the settings in either General or Profile, but take a look. You might want to turn Notifications ON under General and you might want to add a title and logo to Profile.
In PERMISSION: Click on the Email and Web Subscription boxes and on the HTML button.
IF you have more than one registered email … pick the one you want to send from and then choose a Subject Header. There are several dozen subject headers to choose from … find the one that is most appropriate or one that you like the best.
Click on the Custom Button and insert the URL for your Custom Thank You page. Click on OK. Just to clarify, this is your Thank You page .. the one that you have your giveaway link on. It is NOT your Please Confirm page.
Finally click on OK. (This is important … it saves everything you just customized on this page).
I have never found an easy way to get off of this page …. so just click on Dashboard on the main menu when you have saved everything by clicking on OK.
Step Two – Create An Intake Form
MOST Blogs have a signup box in one of their sidebars, so that is the first one we will create and install.
On the main menu click on Forms and Create Form
You will be faced with choosing from hundreds of forms. Once again, my advice is to keep it simple. If you do, you will be able to create your form and install it in less than an hour.
Your fastest and easiest choice will be from the menu on the left. Scroll down to the formats section and choose side column. This form will easily fit into the sidebar of most blogs and you won’t have to fiddle around resizing to fit your column.
Choose your template and click on it.
The editing process is really simple and easy. You will see the main editing menu on the right hand side.
The more information you ask for or require, the fewer signups you will get. Ask for first name if you intend to personalize your newsletter (i.e. Hi Mary) — remove the name field if you don’t intend to personalize.
To access the layout editor, you have to click ON the form. Layout will allow you to move elements around, change the side of your panel etc.
To access the style editor, you have to click ON the element you want. You will be able to change text, colors, fonts, background colors, etc.
If you have never used this type of online editor before, here is an excellent video tutorial. The 20 minutes you take to watch it will save you hours of frustration.
Once you are happy with your sidebar form, click on Save and Publish (top right corner of your screen) then click on Save.
Next click on the little gear icon. This will take you to a Form Setting page.
Choose CUSTOM thank you page.
Add the URL to your Custom Please Confirm Page. This is definitely NOT intuitive … this had to be the page that says Please Confirm your request for your free thing, or Please Confirm your subscription. It directs people to their email where they have to click on the confirmation link.
So make sure you are entering the URL for your CONFIRM PAGE.
Once you have done that click on SAVE (upper right corner of popup page).
And finally . . . click on the Save and Publish Button in the upper right corner. This time choose Save and Publish from the drop-down menu.
You will be transported to a Who Will Publish page.
IF you have a WordPress blog, installing the code is really easy (honest). If you are extremely challenged by these kinds of installations, you will be able to find a WordPress expert on Fiverr that will do this install for $5. It literally takes someone with experience less than 5 minutes to do this.
OK … assuming you will give it a go. Click on the radio button beside I will install my web form, and copy the code.
Step Three – Install Form On Your Blog/Website
Go to your Blog and log in.
Click on Appearance and Widgets.
In the Widgets menu, find the TEXT widget. You can either drag the text widget into your Primary Sidebar OR just click on the text widget and choose Primary Sidebar and Add Widget
Open the Text widget and paste the code you saved a few minutes ago. Click on save.
You might want to move the widget into a different position on your sidebar by dragging it into position.
YOU ARE DONE! But don’t celebrate yet . . .
Check out your new signup box.
TEST it by adding a name and email address.
If your Custom Subscriber Intake System is working correctly you should immediately see:
- Your Please Confirm Screen.
- Go to your email box, find your please confirm email and click on the link.
- You should immediately be transported to your Thank You page.
- Go to your email box and you should find Your Welcome email.
If everything is OK … Fabulous you’ve done it. NOW CELEBRATE!
If there are problems … do some trouble shooting. Go back through the steps and figure out what is missing or where you went wrong. Fix it.
Ask two or three friends to go to your website and subscribe. Ask them if the system worked for them. Did it make sense? Were they able to download your freebie? Do they have any suggestions for improvement?
Take a look at your friends feedback. The most important thing you want to know is if the system works. Consider any other feedback carefully. Because you asked for feedback, friend might say stuff just to be able to … say stuff. Friends can be wrong. Go ahead and make changes if necessary.
Later on in this process … we will look at ways to test. We will test everything and you will find out what your SUBSCRIBERS think!