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Your Email List Is Your Community, Here’s How to Engage Readers

Your Email List Is Your Community, Here’s How to Engage Readers

Do you have a large email list? If so, that’s where your community lives and it’s time to start thinking of them as the community they are. They are not simply people waiting to hear whatever content you push to them, they are your fans, your customers, and the foundation for your business. Even more, they are people and the more you work on building a relationship with them, the more your business will thrive for it. However, since an email community is different than the more common places where communities live such as forums, Facebook, Twitter, etc, I wanted to give you some advice for making the most of your email list. Here’s how to treat your email list like a community: Write About Them. Your email list can include a shoutout area for your readers to share their struggles, ask for advice, or talk about their breakthroughs. When you give them space to share you open it up to let them build more relationships. Hold Events. You can have a webinar, a Facebook live, a Twitter chat, or a Hangout on Google. These events can be regular, such as once a month, and can feature other readers from your email list sharing their expertise. For example, one of my favorite coaches is Jenn Scalia, she has a phenomenal Facebook group, email list, etc, she knows several wonderful coaches who specialize in different areas and sometimes she tells her community about them, what a wonderful way for us all to learn about other coaches and possibly share our own businesses someday. Share A Calendar of Events & News. There’s plenty of space in your newsletter to share upcoming events, allow members to submit their events (your approval is necessary) for the newsletter. Offer A Place To Followup Online. If you don’t have a site or Facebook group you can offer a Twitter hashtag for your community to connect. When you do this, ask people to share their comments, points of view, and favorite links with the hashtag, announce this in your newsletter and follow up by sharing in future editions what people have said.

Why Have An Email Community Instead Of A List?

It’s actually really simple, when you sign up for an email list and you receive newsletters all about the writer, it just isn’t as fun, engaging, or inclusive as when you join a group and actually get to connect with the owner and others they value. Think of it this way. Would you rather be invited to join Steve Job’s personal email list or get invited to a Facebook group of his closest business confidants you can connect with? Simple choice, right? Now offer that choice to your readers. I guarantee they are hoping to connect with you more, and build important relationships for their businesses and lives, give them the opportunity to do that with you and they’ll stick around a lot longer. As a reminder, think of what you’d like to get out of following someone online, and when you can provide that to your followers, they’ll appreciate it, and the results will speak for themselves.
10 Tips for Building & Managing Your Facebook Community

10 Tips for Building & Managing Your Facebook Community

It’s super easy to start your own Facebook group and since it is THE place to be online, why not? But once it’s started, how do you keep it active, keep people from leaving, and grow it for your business? That’s what I hope to share in this post.

Your New Facebook Group

If you’ve just started your Facebook group you need two things; people and content. Content is simple enough, you can find links, images, blog posts, products, etc and just share your comments. You can even just ask questions to get your members to comment.

AND…

People, on the other hand, that’s sometimes more difficult. You can find people in other groups, your email list, friends, social media sites, etc. I suggest having at least 3-4 when you start your group. And you’ll have to work hard to keep them interested and engaged. You see, people want to see that there are a lot of people in a group before they join, that shows that it is active. When they do join they expect interesting content. And, when they engage with the content, you MUST engage with them. For example, if you post a question about what books your members love, you better be ready to answer every single comment, uniquely, and with interest. This is more difficult in the beginning because a large percentage of your group won’t take action on what you share, so you JUMP on every opportunity to engage with a person possible. For new communities, I suggest actively recruiting new people to your group every day. As for content, add new content 1-3x per day, at least Mon-Fri. Answer EVERY Comment!!!

Your Established Facebook Group

Once you get a few comments on each of your posts, you are heading in the right direction. Don’t be surprised if this means you have 50-100 people. However, if you engage with these people personally in messenger as well, you’ll see they are much more likely to participate in the group conversation, so you may have as few as 10 people. At this point, it’s important to keep the momentum growing. Keep adding new members and make them feel personally important to the group. You’ll want to do this for as long as possible because a member that feels important to your community will stick around longer. Keep adding unique content, but plan it in advance. You can plan ahead at any time and you can spontaneously add additional content, but the important point is to make sure there are no holes in your strategy. Recruit an additional admin. Since people love to get immediate responses, it helps to have someone who can more closely monitor for comments and new applications. Set a schedule. Check in with your group at least twice a day. While an additional admin will be able to keep things running in your absence, your group is there for YOU. They want a piece of you, your brilliance, your expertise, your knowledge, so you must deliver.

Advanced Tips for Facebook Group Management

Now that you are adding new members regularly and (more importantly) keeping them engaged with content, it’s time to start focusing on those business results you need so here are my favorite tips to bring it to the next level. Collect Email Addresses. When a new member applies, use the question option and ask them for their email address. You can easily add it to MailChimp to start building your own email list. (It’s free). Make Sure Members Feel At Home. I’ve actually joined groups where only the admin (a digital course coach) was the only one allowed to post. When I did post it was removed and then they posted the same question to the group. While this seems like a great way to maintain control over the group, it hardly works to build a community that can thrive without your micromanaging assistance. And trust me, you do want it to grow because then the leads and business can flow a lot more freely from it. Cook Up Some Rules. Most communities have rules, just look at any subreddit. Most of them focus around spamming, self-promotion, not giving back, etc. I don’t necessarily agree with no self-promotion, but it’s good to give some guidelines on what is acceptable in your group. Call Members Out In A Good Way. The initial post welcoming new members is lame, at best. Sure, most people do it, but why does it have to be so cookie-cutter? It doesn’t. You can welcome members personally in messenger and tag them into discussions they would want to participate in. This is more time consuming but it shows the members you care about their needs, and since we’ve all seen those posts with every new member mentioned, we know we aren’t special when that happens. Let Members Share. You should choose updates that allow members to share. This could include sharing links to their companies or facebook pages, pictures of their dogs, stories about why they started their business, etc. Do this at least every week. Make Connections Between Members. You are the tie that is bringing your community together, but it’s not all about you. Connect members with each other based on personality, availability to chat, interests, business ideas, etc. Helping to facilitate these relationships will build even more loyalty to your group.

The Secret To Any Community’s Success

As much as any community is about the topic, it is more about people and connection. When you take care of the people following you, they will take care of you. I hope you’ve found this helpful for building your Facebook community. If you have any questions please post them in comments or message me.

Visualize Monthly Goals With The Gap Goal

Sometimes it’s rough to visualize your monthly goal. Think about it, 3500 WAUs for a goal in one month might have been difficult to hit, but with 20% MoM growth, that jumps to 4200 in the second month.

However, if you are using a blueprint for growth you are building marketing assets that compound on each other over time, so each month you are capable of bigger goals.

For instance, in my monthly marketing growth calendar post, I showed how each month you add marketing activities and improve or optimize on the activities you are already using to increase efficiency and better position yourself to meet goals. So 4200 WAUs this month sounds much easier than 4200 without a framework.

Which brings me to the gap goal. If last month you hit 3500 WAUs, this month your goal of 4200 is only 700 more, thus 700 is your gap goal. Assuming you can depend on your past marketing to continue working, and you’ll make appropriate tweaks to increase how effective it was, you should be able to plan more activities to reach that 700 gap goal, and let’s face it 700 sounds much easier than 4200.

Over time, 3-6 months, you’ll notice that each marketing activity is capable of providing a certain amount of leads. For example, when I was at Inbound we started out with around 200 visits a day from social media, I knew going forward that meant I could depend on that level of visits for the amount of effort I was already investing.

The gap goal is one of the 7 steps of my growth blueprint to consistently meet your goals, month over month. Get a copy for free, here. And please let me know what you think about it.

Plan Monthly Growth Success With A Marketing Calendar

As we know, growth doesn’t just happen on its own. Sure, some companies hit the lottery but you can’t leave your success up to the fates by waiting for that to happen.

So you have to plan, week by week, month by month, to achieve steady, scalable growth.

Set Your Goals

The first step will always be to decide what your goal is. Paul Graham has mentioned that growth of 5-7% per week is a good rate. Some startups I’ve worked with are happy with 10-15% per month. Choose your most important metric and an increase that seems plausible based on past months but a bit of a stretch as well so you have to hustle.

No doubt, your growth schedule for the next month looks something like the following for a 15% month over month (MoM) weekly active user (WAU) goal, starting with 2500 weekly active members.

Month 1

Month 2

Month 3

Month 4

Month 5

Month 6

Month 7

Month 8

Month 9

Month 10

Month 11

Month 12

2875

3306

3802

4373

5028

5783

6650

7648

8795

10114

11631

13376

375

431

496

571

655

755

867

998

1147

1319

1517

1745

Now, this is great information to put into a goal tracker, like HubSpot or Chart Mogul. But, you need a drawn out plan that details how you expect to hit these goals, at least a few months planned out at a time.

Growth Marketing Calendar Month 1

For example, in Month 1 you have a gap goal (my saying for the increase from what you have to what you need) of 375 weekly active users. Now, what can you brainstorm to help you reach that goal?

Let’s look at your marketing options:

Facebook Ads– optimized, more specific campaigns and target audiences, like audiences, geographical audiences, campaigns for different offers.

Social media– Organic, with images, without images, paid ads on Twitter or Linkedin, subscribe cards, with links, without links, more replies and conversations, giveaways, referrals, contests

Email– onboarding, activation, reactivation, engagement, education, cold email, campaigns per offer, improved subjects, better format for click through rates, build a list, newsletters, swap campaigns.

Content– blogging, downloads, 10x content, guest posting, accepting guest posts, SEO, podcast, book.

In-app– messaging, ads, chat, support.

There are dozens of ideas for marketing, and there are always ways to improve what you are already doing in marketing, so coming up with a plan depends on identifying what you are doing, where you can improve, and choosing and implementing new methods.

Email Marketing Tactic #1

Assuming you are already using a bit of email, let’s fill out Month 1 with additionally weekly emails that engage the audience. We will call this “Email Engagement”- helping all members grasp deeper feature usage.

Example: For a SaaS metrics or analytics tool this could mean sharing dashboard templates, specific report links, or offering the ability to sign up for daily emails to your entire team.

I suggest sending 2 emails in the first week to see how well they are received if it goes well stick with that schedule for the month. If you receive a lot of complaints or unsubscribes cut back to 1 email a week and make sure it is of high value.

You could use MixPanel to identify features used by your most successful users, then share more about these features.

Facebook Ads Tactic #1

Now I always recommend having more than one idea to reach your monthly goals, so let’s add to this plan by slowing starting a couple of Facebook ads campaigns.

I would choose these for the first month because you’ll want to test and move slowly and you have a small gap goal this month so there is time to deal with setbacks if they happen.

And since you already know that SEO and content can take some time in showing results, let’s also add a 10x piece of content to use in next month’s newsletter, and on social media to get leads now. If possible add a download to the content to collect leads for email marketing.

Monthly Analysis & Adjustment

At the end of each month, you want to analyze your results and adjust the upcoming month based on what has worked, and what results you can expect going forward. I recommend using a spreadsheet to keep track of all experiments, adjustments, and tactics for future reference, in my experience growth teams are constantly growing and changing.

I suggest planning at least 3 months ahead when possible. This will give you time to handle larger goals as they come about. During Month 1, you’ll want to keep track of what worked as far as the email engagement and Facebook ads. Did you see an opportunity for improvement? Did you need it? Did you use it? If not, now is a great time to try. Add more?

It’s a good idea towards the end of the month to hold a team meeting to discuss results and how they affect future goals. If everything went well, discuss what your needs are for next month, how the calendar should change, whether it’s time to add a new marketing method, or if you have plans to improve on the methods you are using.

During this time I also suggest brainstorming for what to do if and when you come up short to meet a goal. It’s always best to stay on top of your goals with a goal tracker, if you have one so that you will know right away if you fall behind your growth goals.

If this happens, I suggest using an ace in the hole, which is basically my fall back plan for making sure I hit a goal when things don’t go as they should.

Let’s say you get to the 20th of the month and you’ve only gotten 200 WAU, clearly something is wrong and you need to come up with a plan to hit that goal of 431. This is when you use the aforementioned ideas from your meeting to close that gap. An ace in the hole is basically a trusty growth method that you can pull out when needed to hit your goals.

Growth Marketing Month 2

Based on a successful Month 1, the analysis of Month 1 and brainstorming for Month 2 we are going to plan the following for Month 2 where we need to get another 431 weekly active users.

We will assume Month 2 looks like this:

  • Email Engagement
  • Facebook Ads
  • Another 10x Content Piece
  • Cold Emails
  • Work on product based on survey

You’ll notice that only cold emails are new because there are a lot of opportunities to improve your emails, ads, and content. Let’s add the following specifications for Month 2, brainstormed after Month 1.

Improvements for Month 2

Email- target subsets of users and funnel them into their own reactivation campaigns, test 3 new campaigns, and be sure to take these users out of the pool of general users who get the first campaign. Additionally, try a few email subjects, and add a link call to action to the emails to increase CTR.

Ads- What campaigns did well? Can you test or improve the copy of the landing page or ad copy? Supplement newer images and ads in new campaigns to catch the eye of users who have now overlooked your ads. If you have time, add retargeting to your new campaigns for users who have been inactive for 14 days.

Content- How did the content do last month on social media? Remember to send it in the newsletter in Month 2. We should also plan some content promotion. Start with the bookmarking sites, multiple social media updates, and asking people on the team to share on social as well (no demanding it though), then consider adding the content to Quuu for promotion, or spending $30 on Facebook ads for the piece.

Cold Email Tactic #1

Cold Emails– With these, we’ll want to encourage people to join your free service, as they count as weekly active users as well. But, it’s not as easy as sending one email and forgetting it.

Today you have to send a drip email to make cold email effective. It must be clever, people are probably well aware that you offer a free trial (if you do) and just haven’t felt the need to sign up, so it’s your job to make them feel the FOMO, or at least understand how valuable it will be to their team to sign up.

I go over this extensively in a post on Crazy Egg, grab a pdf copy here.

Growth Marketing Month 3

Now we will plan Month 3. Email Engagement, Facebook Ads, 10x Content Piece, Cold Emails, Social Media, Event with CEO or CMO, and product update based on survey

This month we need almost 500 more WAU, the goals are starting to get bigger and heavier, but we have plans and can make this work.

We’ve been optimizing email, starting new campaigns in email and Facebook and should do the same this month. We might even try a like audience on Facebook to see if that will bring results.

The content we’ve written is getting picked up by Google so we are seeing some SEO improvement, let’s schedule more SEO tweaks for Month 4, Cold emails haven’t been doing great so we will shelf that for now and instead work on guest blogging to get exposure, we have a few sites willing to take our content.

We are going to put a special focus on social media this month and see if we can turn our likes and followers into more users, and last but not least the CEO or CMO will be a host on a podcast, or hold an AMA somewhere to help us meet our goals. Schedule this event early in the month to get exposure and have time to use an ace in the hole if things aren’t going well.

During Month 3 you should take time to schedule months 4-6, what new methods do you think you should include, how many appearances for your CEO? What has worked and what hasn’t? What needs to be improved to make it work? Have you had a hard time hitting your goals? Are you confident you can keep hitting them as each month gets harder?

A lot of thought and energy goes into your monthly marketing calendar, and it will no doubt change over time, but it’s still good to plan it out, have an idea of what you are doing, and stay up to date on where your metrics currently are.

If you need help hitting your goals, I can help, send me a message and we’ll talk soon. I look forward to helping your team build a growth goal streak.

Month

Tactics

Month

Tactics

Month

Tactics

Month 1

Email Engagement

Facebook Ads

10x Content

Survey Users

Month 2

Email Engagement

Facebook Ads

10x Content

Survey Users

Cold Email

Month 3

Email Engagement

Facebook Ads

10x Content

Survey Users

Cold Email

Social Media

CEO Event

As I say, growth doesn’t happen on its own, you have to plan it for it to happen. Hopefully, this post will help you jog your mind to come up with some marketing activities that will help you meet your goals.

4 Fast Acting Tactics To Meet Your Growth Goals Every Month

Want to make sure you never miss a monthly growth goal? Perhaps you need a boost right now to get the month moving in the right direction?

Then you’ve come to the right place. Big companies like Facebook and HubSpot have lofty growth goals and continue to meet them every month.

But how do they do it exactly?

Planning of course!

That is, consistently planning ahead to meet their goals and then planning for the occasional situation when they need to scrape together their resources and make ends meet.