article marketingWelcome to your next lesson of my blog series Ten Ways to Grow Your Email List! Today we’re talking about how to increase leads with article marketing.

You’ve probably heard of article marketing by now. You may have even tried it. But have you gotten results yet? I have for my customers and I know how to use article marketing to get traffic that is looking for one thing – to join your email list. Sound good? Good – let’s get into it.

For those of you who have never done article marketing before, here’s how it works:

  1. Write your article
  2. Add a resource box at the end.
  3. Submit your article to article directories (such as EzineArticles.com or niche-specific sites like LadyPens.com)
  4. Get traffic and leads!

Step 1 – Writing The Article

Here’s the number one mistake people make with article marketing: They pick a topic and write an article.

Huh? Surely the first step to article marketing is to write an article, right?  No. Writing the article first is a sure-fire way to get zip from all your efforts. Confused? Let me explain.

The first thing you MUST do in order to successfully drive leads to your list is to create your path for how people will get from your article to your list. Saying you want people to sign up for your email list is not specific enough. A good path is something like: “I want people to read my article about training their dog and then click the link in my resource box in order to find out the one thing they must do every day to maintain that training.” That is a VERY specific path.  However, “I want people to go to my site about childhood obesity, so I’ll write an article about dental health” is not a clear path.

Once you have a very clear, very specific path then, and only then, should you write your article.

I encourage you to set your path first because it’s like laying a trail of stepping stones. You want to readers to go from Point A to Point B and on to Point C. And if you don’t know how to get them there, you’re going to be missing a step or two along the way.

Once you have a clear path, then yes, write that article.

Step 2 – Adding a Resource Box

Remember that really clear path we talked about in Step 1? Once you have that path, Step 2 becomes easy! A resource box is an extension of your article, and it is where you invite your readers to take the next step. Here’s a fictional example using the dog training topic:

“The initial weeks of training are very important, but the follow up is crucial! Learn the #1 thing you must do to help your puppy retain his training – click here to grab the free report now:

http://your-puppy-training-link.com”

Here’s a big tip: The more customized your resource box is to the article it accompanies, the better your results will be. Don’t worry so much about your name and credentials; instead, focus on moving readers along the path – from article to email list, one step at a time.

Step 3 – Submit to Article Directories

The next step is to submit the articles you’ve written to a variety of article directories. This will require some work, depending on how many directories you choose to submit to. Some people submit to hundreds, some submit to just a few. My recommendation to you is start with just a couple. ArticlesBase.com and EzineArticles.com are two of the most well-known.

Article marketing is a long-term investment in your email list. Done right, it will bring you repeat visitors and sign-ups for years to come. That being said, it’s a good idea to invest some time and even some money into learning how to do this right.

In the meantime, today I’d like you to make a list of 5 article topics you could write – and how you would lead a reader from that article to your blog and, ultimately, your list.

Talk to you tomorrow when we discuss contests and giveaways!