No List? No Problem! Building a List with Paid Ads
We’ve been told (and told and told) for years that “the money is in the list” and that “your mailing list is your biggest business asset.” But if your list numbers are hovering in the low four-figures, or fewer, with no sign of growth on the horizon, such advice can seem a bit unhelpful. (If you don’t have a list at all, check out this Mailing List 101 to know where to start!) The fact is, building a list is a catch 22: you can’t get sign-ups without traffic and it’s difficult to find traffic when you have no list. You can go in circles for months trying to figure out how to build your list, or you can do it an easier way!
Paid Ads Make Building a List Easy
By strategically placing ads in front of your target audience, you can drive tons of traffic to your opt-in offers and enjoy conversion rates of two or three percent or more. Even better, with some tweaking and split testing of your offers, you can carefully refine your ads and copy so that you’re attracting your exact ideal client and filling your list with buyers who are ready to take action, rather than freebie seekers.
All you need to run paid ads to your opt-in pages is:
- A compelling offer, such as a video training series or live webinar
- Copy to grab the attention of your target audience
Best Ad Placements
Once you have your components in place, the only question remaining is where to run your ads. You have dozens of choices, from Twitter to Google to YouTube to solo email spots.
The key to successfully building a list is to first determine where your market is most likely to be hanging out. If they’re on LinkedIn, then running ads on Twitter will be a waste of time. Keep in mind the cost as well. Ads on Facebook are generally less expensive and less competitive than a Google Adwords placement.
Start Small, Then Refine
Once you’ve decided where to place your ads, it’s time to set your budget and begin running a small set of ads. Consider setting a small daily budget, such as $10 or $20 at the beginning, so you can get a feel for how your ads will perform. Watch the traffic, track your conversions, and create split tests of your landing page and ad sets to determine which performs the best. You can refine the audience you’re targeting based on the stats you receive. For example, if you find that men between the ages of 20 and 30 are clicking but not opting in, you might want to remove them from your audience.
At least at first, it’s best to avoid running ads for paid products. Conversions for a free offer will far outshine those to a paid product, especially if your program is expensive. After all, those who are clicking on an ad most likely do not know you at all, so it takes a much bigger leap of faith to offer up a credit card number than it will to provide an email address.
Ad Copy Blunders to Avoid
Have you ever clicked on an ad because you saw an adorable pair of sandals that you just had to have, only to land on a page full of sneakers, with not a sandal in sight? It’s frustrating, to say the least, and that kind of ad-to-landing-page mismatch will kill your conversions.
Your ad copy is making a promise to the reader. If your landing page doesn’t fulfill that promise, your readers will click away, and you’ll have wasted the money you spent to get them there. Before running any ads, be sure your ad headline, image, and copy all match the message on the landing page; use these Sales Page Copy tips to get started.
Paid advertising was once a tool used only by big companies or marketers with a lot of money to spare, but today they’re more cost-effective than ever, and technology makes them easy to create and monitor. If you haven’t yet tried your hand at this useful traffic generation method for building your list, it’s time to do some experimenting. You might just find your list numbers – and sales – growing.