One thing I’ve learned in the past eight years in business is that, as much as I love hanging out on Instagram, the money is in your email list.
People pay more attention when they’re going through their inbox than they do scrolling social media. No ads, no puppy videos, no dance tutorials.
When people are paying attention they need to see things fewer times before they sign up or purchase.
Social media is fantastic to grow your audience and warm them up, but to make double sure they’re aware of your services, products, or programs, your best bet is to get them on your email list.
So this week on The Dare to Grow Show I’m sharing the 3 things you need to be doing to create a consistent list growth strategy.
Resources + links
I fully confess that for the first two years I was officially in business I had no email list. Zip. Zero. Nada. I had clients, I was creating products, I think I had maybe even started my first course, but no email list. But now, eight years in, I can say with certainty that my revenue would have grown faster and more easily had I started an email list way back then.
List building can feel like a challenging process, but we generally make it more complicated than it needs to be. What you really need is an incentive, to share that incentive multiple times/week, and to email your list consistently. That’s it!
So let’s dig into each of those because I feel like list building is part of the marketing puzzle where people say, “Yes, I get it. I understand how it works, but how do I actually do it??”
The first thing that keeps your list from growing is not having an incentive
What I mean by incentive is that you need to provide something of value that people will be willing to trade their email address for. I don’t know about you, but I don’t let just anyone show up in my inbox. So asking people to sign up for news and updates isn’t going to work.
An incentive can be a PDF, a guide, a list, a discount, a webinar or workshop, a challenge.
When you create an incentive you want to look at what your ultimate goal is. If you want subscribers to hire you for a service then your incentive needs to be related to that. If you want them to join your membership or enroll in your course your incentive needs to be related to that product.
We’re not just growing our email list to grow our list. You’ll be paying for every person on your list, so having more subscribers is not going to help you get clients or customers, but filling your list with people who are interested in what you teach, what you share, or what you can do for them is way more likely to turn into customers and clients.
So my top incentives are free workshops (like this) and free guides (like this). These walk people step-by-step through a simple process and help them learn something or get a small win. Having the opportunity to learn from you for free helps people decide more quickly if they want to pay to learn more.
One last thing I want to share about freebies – this shouldn’t take weeks to create. You probably have the foundation for a guide or a workshop in your blog posts, Instagram posts, podcast episodes, or emails. And then you’ll need a landing page (ConvertKit works great for this – affiliate link) so people can give you their email address and download it. So give yourself max 3 days to create and publish.
You can get more creative and complicated in the future, but if you don’t have an incentive or you have one but it’s not helping to grow your list, then create a freebie quickly first.
The second reason your list isn’t growing..not sharing that freebie consistently
This is something I see all the time. You get really excited to make the freebie and to share it the first time like a product launch but you don’t have a plan for consistent promotion.
You can’t just toss an opt-in box on your website and then just wait for people to stumble across it. Plus if it’s only on your homepage or in the footer of your website the majority of your audience is not actually going to scroll that far. Most people only get 40 or 50% of the way through a page before giving up if they don’t find the information they’re looking for. This means that a good portion of your traffic may not actually see your freebie at all.
Your opt-in form should be in at least three places on every single page of your website. This can be in the site header and footer, it can be on your homepage, it can be an opt-in in the sidebar of your blog, or within blog posts, or even on your contact, about page, or product pages. And I always like to toss in an exit pop-up in there as well!
This ensures that no matter what page on my website you show up on, I will be offering you a chance to watch my webinar or download my free guide.
Along with plastering it all over your website, you need to remind your audience to download your freebie multiple times/week on social media. It should be part of your regular promotion schedule not something you only post when you remember. New people follow you all the time and if you don’t offer your freebie there’s a good chance they’re not going to go digging to find it. So if you are consistently getting new followers but your email list isn’t growing at the same rate there’s a disconnect that needs to be fixed.
Not hosting events – challenges, workshops, summits…
If you’re hoping for a big boost in followers all at once, hosting events is a great way to do this. Webinars, workshops, challenges, even summits or conferences – anything that has that time incentive. People need to sign up in order to get access to something and it’s only available for a certain amount of time.
For example: you might host a free workshop next Tuesday and that replay is only going to be available through Friday which gives people an incentive to hand over their email address and get that thing before it’s gone. This can generate hundreds of subscribers in just a week because people are less likely to put something off if they know there’s a time limit on getting the information or the help that they need.
And again – this doesn’t need to be complicated and time consuming. If you’ve been creating content you can probably pull together the information in just a few days. Then all you have to do is pick a date and create your landing page.
The last thing that keeps your email list from growing…not emailing your list consistently
In order for your list to grow you have to keep the subscribers you already have. But what solopreneurs usually do is get subscribers onto their list and then worry about sending email because they don’t want to annoy them. So those subscribers sit on your list for weeks or months, even years, and then you show up out of the blue when you need to sell things. And that does tend to feel icky.
Remember, your audience joined your email list for a reason – they want to hear more from you, they want your help, they want motivation and inspiration. If you disappear immediately after they download that freebie when you do finally show up, your audience is not going to remember who you are, what you do, or why they joined your email list first place, and they are going to unsubscribe. This is why so many people feel nervous about emailing their list. Because they wait and wait and finally send an email and lose all those subscribers they worked so hard to earn.
I lose 20-30 subscribers every time I send an email. But that is fine for three reasons:
1 – I’m gaining more subscribers than that every week.
2 – They can always re-subscribe. I’ve been on and off some people’s lists for years. Sometimes my inbox just needs to be cleared out for a while.
3 – You don’t want to pay for people to be on your list if they aren’t interested in what you’re sharing. So all those unsubscribes are actually saving you money. One of the reasons I love doing open enrollments – it cleans my list!
The way to stop feeling like you’re annoying your subscribers is to send email consistently. I have been emailing my list almost every week, sometimes multiple times/week for years so my audience is never surprised when I send an email or sell because they are used to me showing up in their inbox.
If you need help setting up your email list, learning to create a freebie, or coming up with a content plan to email your list consistently so all those new subscribers will stick around, head over to xosarah.com/essentials for access to all the trainings, coaching calls, and community to help you get your list growing asap.