by Jenna Kutcher
I have a few business lessons that I repeat over and over again. One: Done is better than perfect. Two: Nothing is urgent. And Three: Don’t build your business on a platform you can’t control. I can’t tell you how many DMs I get every time Facebook or Instagram does down, hundreds of panicked people wondering how they’ll get their message heard if they can’t post to Instagram that day… I really, truly get it. You know I like to show up on Instagram and it’s always been a great way to connect and communicate with my audience and ideal customers, but there’s something I’ve learned through the years and I am so passionate about it, I’ll never stop sharing the importance of it: You need an email list.
When Instagram goes down — No sweat. I can still reach my audience, and even more directly, with my email list. Instagram is the handshake, the hey, how are ya, here’s what I’m about and would you like to learn more? Email closes the deal.
If you haven’t started building an email list yet, I have a ton of resources on my website, including a full on course to help you launch, grow, and leverage your list to build your business. I’ve also shared a ton of tips and tricks for email lists right here on Goal Digger. And today on the show I’ve got more. I’m working with one of my students, Natasha Smith, for a coaching session all about email lists. She’s a little apprehensive about building her list, she doesn’t want to sound sales-y and she’s not entirely sure what would convert best for her business? We’re working through those questions and more, so let’s start right now. Class is in session!
Natasha is a busy, multi-tasking mom who discovered the Enneagram through counseling. When she learned to understand herself through the Enneagram, she felt her world opening up and she became the person she was supposed to be. That’s what she is passionate about now — Helping women become who they are supposed to be through understanding their Enneagram type.
She became a certified Enneagram coach about six months ago, and since then has also been studying how to start her own business. Natasha is a dedicated student in my courses, she listens to this podcast and others, and she’s a self-proclaimed “online course junkie” because she loves learning from people who have already done the work. She’s new to the idea of an email list with a lot of the apprehensions that beginning list builders feel.
Natasha’s goal for her business is to do one on one coaching sessions, small groups, and live presentations on the Enneagram. Courses and podcasting are in the future for her, but she wants to start where she’s at and begin reaching people with her business.
P.S. If you’re an Enneagram fan like us, Natasha is a type 6 with a strong 7 wing. She’s the loyalist and a dedicated hard worker, with a degree of anxiety and self-doubt creeping in. I’m a type 3, through and through. (Tune into episode 237 to hear more about the Enneagram.)
Natasha’s first roadblock to starting her email list starts with the opt-in: How do you get people to actually hand over their email address?
A lot of times in service businesses we make the mistake of thinking a generic form on our website with the title “Sign Up for my Newsletter” is enough of a hook. I don’t know anyone who wants to sign up for a newsletter… Do you?
No one wants more email unless they know what the email is about and know that it will serve them. So where to start? Create two different freebies with two separate topics and subject matter.
For Natasha, she could create one freebie about using the Enneagram to support your marriage. This would be targeted towards people who are interested in the Enneagram and how it works for other people, not necessarily themselves. The second freebie would be more personalized, like how the Enneagram can impact your career. Creating two different freebies helps you understand what your audience is looking for and what speaks to them the most.
Creating the opt-ins themselves doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with the information you already have in your brain. If Natasha starts by creating the marriage focused opt-in, she can open up a Word document or even voice memo, and just start putting down the information that relates to the topic. Then, focus down the information into a digestible one-page help sheet.
Don’t over complicate the opt-in. You might think a one page download isn’t enough, but people just want information fast. One page with the top three tips on the topic is exactly what the audience wants and can digest.
How do you deliver the opt-in? You just have to host it on the internet. Upload it to Google Drive, Dropbox, or as a file on your website. Find the shareable link and put that in the confirmation email.
After the Opt-In
So you have their email address, now what? Time to create a very simple three part sequence to start and continue serving them. Most email service providers offer automation options, so dig into the features. In this episode, I refer to ConvertKit specifically.
The next day, after they’ve downloaded your opt-in and have the resource they want, pop into their inbox and introduce yourself. The person could’ve been cold traffic meaning they wanted your resource but they don’t really know YOU. So tell them. Share your mission, what you do, and how you can serve them.
The second email you send to them should include more resources. If you have a blog, link to some related blog posts. It’s an extra way to serve them without ever selling or asking for money in anyway.
For the third email in the starter sequence, ask them what they need. Invite them to hit reply and share what other resources they need from you. Creating those relationships and allowing people to connect with you before handing over any money continues the cycle of serving.
How to Sell
As you’re building your email list and serving your new audience as they opt-in, the obvious next step in your mind is converting that casual (but warm) audience into a paying customer. How do you SELL without feeling slimy? First off, shift that mindset, because that person is engaging with you and opted in for your freebie because they are interested in what you offer and what they can learn from you, so there’s no slime here. They’re warmed up, so now it’s time to show them that there’s more you can do for them if they invest.
Follow up with anyone who responds to your first or third email in the sequence. If anyone takes action and asks questions or requests more resources, follow up directly! For Natasha, the first point of contact would be a free 30 minute consultation to see if she is the right fit to offer them more with their Enneagram coaching needs.
You can treat this call as market research and make notes of the questions they’re asking. But it can also be the opportunity to book further services and actually sell to your customers. This course of action is the simplest and least amount of overwhelm.
As things get more complex and as you’re drawing more people to your list with more questions and requests, your email sequence might expand with different sub-sequences so a lot of the same questions are answered before you get on the phone with a potential client.
Essentially, if your potential customer is warmed up, they know you, your offering, and they feel served and loved on without spending a dime, they will be open and interested in investing their money to learn more from you.
Don’t Forget These Tips
As you’re creating your opt-ins and email sequences, don’t put yourself on a hamster wheel. Creating a timely weekly email with updates about your content that week only serves you and your audience a week at a time. It’s a one and done piece of content. Think of ways that you can create content that can be reused over and over, month after month, that’s still relevant in three months when someone new lands on your list.
In my business, we create each email sequence in three parts: Serve, Serve, Sell. Sell doesn’t mean I’m offering a product or service and asking for money in that third email, it’s simply an offer to take action on something. The “serve” emails might not even contain a single link, they simply exist to tell a story, inspire, encourage, and help my audience wherever they’re at. If you follow that formula, you could create a month’s worth of content pretty quickly, and it is easily automated for reuse over and over.
Don’t email ONLY when you have something to sell. Email is a direct way to reach your ideal audience, in a way you can control more than any other platform. Don’t take that lightly. Warm up your audience and give them all the love. It’ll make the sale down the road that much easier.
More from This Episode
This coaching session with Natasha is filled to the brim with email list questions and great discussion on how to effectively use pop-ups on your site (and the WordPress plugins to make them work), tackling subject lines and headlines, and key numbers that indicate your email strategy is working the way you intended. Press play right now and sit in on this coaching session with a fellow Goal Digger as we talk list building.