Knowing how to drive traffic is a wonderful thing.
Once you control the flow of eyeballs to anything on the web, a whole new world of income opportunity arises for you.
If you can point loads of traffic anywhere, you can drive people to affiliate offers and earn commissions without customer support headaches.
You can drive people to your latest and greatest product or service, you can make good content go viral, or you can even drum up support for a cause or a mission.
Controlling eyeballs on the internet is a powerful thing. There are so many ways that you can take control of eyeballs as well.
You can pay for them through Google ads or Facebook ads. You can create amazing content and work on your search engine optimization so that Google will send you free traffic…
Or you can do what we do and focus on building an owned audience.
What Is An Owned Audience?
These are audiences that you can tell where to go “at will” and almost instantly drive traffic to something.
An owned audience could be something like your email list, a direct mail list, a Facebook fan page, Facebook groups, Instagram followings, and even Facebook retargeting audiences.
These are the main audiences that we focus on.
Some other amazing platforms include LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat.
However, we don’t have a ton of experience with those so we’re not going to dive into those in this post.
For us, it’s been all about the email list, the direct mail list, and the various Facebook opportunities.
Pick one or two of the following strategies to focus on first and get really good at it:
Build your own audience with one platform that jumps out at you (we recommend email) and then leverage that platform to grow another owned audience.
That’s the beauty of building a large audience on one platform.
You can now begin to direct eyeballs from there to whatever platform you’d like to grow next.
With SEO, Google can change the algorithm and your site could disappear from search in an instant.
With advertising, you can get an account shut down or quickly run up an adspend with no results to show for it.
Building owned audiences means that you have control over the traffic source, not some algorithm or some random person in charge of approving or denying advertising.
Next, I'm going to rapid-fire several ideas and strategies that you can use to grow your own owned audience.
The Tried And True, Most Effective Way We’ve Grown Our Mailing List
I’m going to start off with one that may seem obvious to some but brand new to others. However, this is still the quickest way that we’ve found to successfully grow our mailing list.
It’s the simple opt-in page, followed by a one-time-offer, with Facebook ads to drive traffic. It’s so simple but so effective.
In the past, we've discussed the YouTube Curation product test method where you’d essentially create a basic opt-in page and, after they opt-in, send them to a pre-existing YouTube video.
You’d drive ad traffic to it and you’d test a product idea as well start building your list.
This strategy is essentially the same except for two major differences.
You are opting them in for something that you created and you are putting an offer for sale after they opt-in.
Theoretically, you could use someone else’s video as the opt-in freebie but we want to create as much congruency as possible between what they are opting-in for and what product you have for sale.
The product that’s for sale is simply there to try to recoup your costs of the advertising so that you can essentially build the list for free.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Create some sort of free offer… 1 page “cheat sheets” seem to work well. Long videos, ebooks, or mini-courses don’t seem to be that effective due to short attention spans and people not feeling like they’ll get value from a free offer. Make it quick and to the point.
- Create an opt-in page using Clickfunnels or LeadPages where they can opt-in for that freebie. Simple pages work best.
- Create a sales page with a short sales video for a product priced between $47 – $97. This is the page they will see immediately after opting-in. The goal of this page is to make back some of the money from advertising.
- Use your autoresponder (we use Drip) to deliver the free guide that they opted-in for.
- Use Facebook ads to drive people to the page.
This is the tried and true strategy that we’ve seen work over and over again to grow our list.
We pretty much always have an ad and an offer like this running on Facebook since we’re essentially breaking even on ad costs and our list is always growing. It’s a free mailing list.
How To Leverage Other People’s Content And Other People’s Platforms To Grow Your Own Profitable Mailing List
We recently launched our new podcast and, as part of the promotion, we offered up a “teaser strategy” in exchange for subscribing and reviewing. This is actually our second most effective strategy, after the one that I mentioned above.
Here's how this works:
- To start things off, you are going to create a blog post on your own WordPress website. In this post, you are going to make a list of “The Top 10 Articles About X”. X is, of course, something that relates to your niche. 10 is an arbitrary number. In fact, the more articles that you round up, the better.
- When someone lands on your site, you are going to have a pop-up or a little slide-in where someone can download the entire article for free (in exchange for them opting-in to your email list).
- Finally, you are going to reach out to every single person who wrote one of the articles you mentioned and let them know that you mentioned them. That’s it… that’s the whole strategy.
Here's what this looks like in practice.
This works because people love to see themselves or their websites talked about on other sites.
Most people are more than happy to share articles with their owned audience that share kind words about them or what they’re doing.
I’ve heard it called “share bait”, “ego bait”, and even “induced viral marketing.” Whatever you want to call it, it’s damn effective and we even use it to a small degree on every article we release now.
You’ll have a hard time finding an article from us that doesn’t at least mention someone else or a company. That’s because we know we’ll get some extra shares just for including them.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- WordPress – To write content pieces on your own site.
- A Resource For Good Articles – We like Buzzsumo but you can pick from any blogs that you frequent as well.
- Designrr – To create a PDF version of the post.
- OptinMonster – To create slide-in email captures.
- Drip – To collect emails and to mail the list.
Here are the steps to accomplish this:
- Write a blog post and title it “The Top X Articles About Y.” You can get creative with the title if you’d like but that’s the basic subject line that you want. X equals the number of articles you’re going to share and Y equals your niche.
- Find at least 10 articles to curate on this blog post. I personally try to think of a handful of influencers who I’d love sharing my content. I then search their blog for the content that’s closest related to my topic.
After I have a handful that way, I’d head over to BuzzSumo and type in my niche to see what content has gotten the most shares lately, related to my topic.
- Optionally, you can add some extra commentary to each article on your list. We typically like to link out to the article and then write a one or two sentence comment about that article to add a personal touch. Explain why it’s one of your choices as a top article.
- Install the OptinMonster plugin so that you can add a slide-in opt-in form to your blog to collect emails. Follow the instructions with the plugin to sync it to your autoresponder. We use Drip for our autoresponder. This will allow you to keep a database of the emails and mass mail them in the future.
- Use Designrr to create a PDF version of the blog post once it's live. Simply open Designrr, copy and paste the URL of your blog post into it, and it will spit out a PDF version. You can also add some additional links or commentary to the bonus PDF to make it even more valuable to those that download it.
- Use Drip to have the PDF version automatically sent out whenever someone opts-in to your email list.
- Finally, chase up all of the content creators that you mentioned in your article and let them know that you mentioned them in your list. Be sure to send them a link to the blog post and ask if they know of any other articles that would make a good fit for the list. Hopefully, the professionals that you mentioned in your post will share your piece with their owned audience.
This blog post doesn’t need to be a “one and done” strategy.
You can continually add new articles as you find them and follow up with the writers once they go live.
Asking people who you featured if they know of other articles that would be a fit gives those people a reason to respond to you and it provides you with a never-ending strategy to consistently have others help drive traffic to your site.
If you can get in the habit of mentioning people or brands in your content and then making them aware that they’re mentioned, you’ll see your traffic spike and, as a result, your email list grow.
Resources mentioned to help grow an owned audience: