It is amazing how many companies don’t realize how incredibly valuable a solid email database is. It’s truly the most valuable online asset a company has, and yet, they seem to completely ignore the importance by not including any tactics or calls to action on their website asking for this priceless piece of information … the visitors email address.

Just think about it for a second. This person arrived on your website because they were interested in something you offer that is related to problem they are looking to solve. This automatically makes them a prospect for your offering, and therefore you should be interested in gaining the identity of that visitor.

I know what you are thinking. You already receive at least 50 emails a day from people and companies that are of no interest to you. With that and all the spam out there you spend too much time as it is trying to sort through and find the important email. I completely understand your thought process related to unsolicited email and am on your side 100%. I’d like to help shift your mindset a bit and show you how you can have your visitors volunteering their email address to you left and right. There are a couple things you need to be aware of first though….

Your website visitors don’t care about your products, your services, your company, or you. They only care about “what’s in it for them.”

Although this may seem harsh and make you believe that people are completely self centered … it’s absolutely true. This can be powerful ammunition though, if you use it properly. If you truly want to build a massive email database you need to take the time to completely understand your prospective customers and find out what they want most.

PLEASE NOTE: I said what they WANT and not what they NEED.

All of us see people every single day that need to stop drinking, need to stop smoking, or need to push back from the table much sooner than they do. These same people continue to make the same choices regardless of how much you tell them you can fulfill their needs.

Conversely, this same person who is sitting at the casino playing a slot machine with their unemployment money, with a cigarette hanging out of their mouth and an oxygen tank by there side, responds immediately to the Marlboro sign in the gift shop because it is something he truly wants. We all know this person is doing everything listed in this example that is contrary to what they NEED and totally based on what they WANT.

For example, if you are selling a weight loss product you should focus on how sexy the person will look if they take the product, not on the fact that they’ll be healthy. I am not saying the benefit of becoming healthier isn’t something they’d think was nice, but if they truly wanted to be healthy they’d probably exercise and wouldn’t have this weight issue anyhow.

If you show pictures of great looking people with before and after shots, your visitor will be very motivated to try your product because they really WANT to look like the person in the after picture. The sad thing is it doesn’t even matter if the pictures are believable. They’re feeling of WANT is so strong that they’ll suspend their disbelief.

You need to take time to deeply research what your visitors want, and create a “give away” that caters to their most intense WANT.

You need to create an offer with far greater value than what you are asking for.

Once you’ve identified what your visitor wants more than anything, create a report, an eBook, a video, or some type of information product which will help them achieve this want.

I was giving a workshop a couple months back and we were digging into a discussion forum so I could show an example of how you can get intimately familiar with your buyers by hanging out where they hang out, and reading content which was created by them.

During this exercise we found a post which was a couple hours old.

Someone was asking for a spreadsheet that would help them with some type of calculation. That particular post had been viewed 68 times in the two hours following it’s origination. The gentleman who saw this mentioned he had such a spreadsheet.

We quickly talked through a plan to create a clear call to action on his website offering this report in exchange for an email address. To take it a step further, he could take the EXACT question that was asked in the forum, conduct some quick keyword research to identify how many times that question was searched on each month. If the volume was high enough, he could create an optimized page on his site and attract a significant amount of targeted traffic.

The key to making this work is to make sure the value of your offering is far greater than the email address you are requesting. Remember the visitor is already barraged with unwanted email so they’ll be evaluating whether it is worth it for them to possibly receive more unwanted email in exchange for this item.

Take care not to violate your visitors trust or you will pay dearly.

I’ve seen companies who offer these “give to get” reports and the content of the report is horrible. This is completely illogical to me. You’ve worked hard to get visitors to your site, you spent time to find out what their most critical WANT is, you’ve taken the steps to give away something that satisfies their want in exchange for their email address, and then you hurry up and create a piece of garbage that wasn’t nearly as valuable as you advertised. Do you really think this visitor is coming back? I don’t think so!

Secondly, remember your visitors were weighing whether your offer was worth the risk of receiving unsolicited email? Don’t make them regret giving you their information! Your report which taught them “how to raise perfect children that never did anything other than what you told them to” would all of a sudden lose its luster if they received multiple emails each day trying to sell them everything under the sun. It is important to use the web to develop relationships with your visitors. Keep in mind that the beginning stages of any relationship are spent evaluating whether it is worth it to continue with. If you’d like to build a killer email database, take the following steps …

  1. Take the time to understand your buyers and their most intense WANT.
  2. Create an extremely valuable giveaway that will make it a “no brainer” for your visitor to give you their email address.
  3. When you correspond to them after the delivery, make sure to continue to provide value and not simply try to sell them.

If you follow these three steps religiously, you’ll be on your way to building, what should be, your largest online asset. A killer email database!

Don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself? We can help. Just head over to our email marketing page to learn more.