It’s been a full year and a half since I’ve talked about email list growth and we’ve elevated our strategies quite a bit since we last talked about it in Episode 73. Tune in to that episode if you want more details or ideas on growing an email list — all the tips still apply today. This just furthers my argument that the tried and true marketing strategies are here to stay and if you are consistent with your efforts, they WILL payoff. Email list building was my number one focus this past year and I can confidently say that my efforts paid off. In just one year we added over 250,000 subscribers to my email list and today I am breaking down the 5 big strategies I use to grow my email list by 5,000 subscribers every single week.
In last week’s episode 221: What You REALLY Need to Know About Email Lists, I shared the power of email marketing and what you really need to know about email lists to determine if it’s a strategy you should invest into in the new year. Spoiler alert, the answer will probably be YES. Tune into episode 221, then come on back to this show, so you can continue your email list building bootcamp with yours truly.
Our email list grew over 30,000 subscribers last month alone which honestly is a little hard to even wrap my brain around. That’s 1,000 new subscribers each day… wild. You know I’m an open book and so today I wanted to share some of the fresh new ways we’re growing my email list consistently by over 5,000 each and every week in the hopes that it might inspire you to try some of these ideas out and see if they might work for your businesses as well.
Up your free content creation game
Let’s be real: getting someone to hand over their email address is no easy thing. It might be time to step up your game in terms of the free content you produce to grow your email list. Get creative and step out of what’s been comfortable and try something fresh. I don’t want you to misinterpret this advice and think I am telling you to create some really complex in depth training or that you have to give everything away to grow your email list. It’s much more important to tune in to exactly what your target audience wants from you and this is often something really simple.
Some of my best opt-ins have simply been stock photos or editing presets or a template to fill out like my opt-in that guides you through writing your bio or revamping your pricing strategy. I want you to take a fresh look at your freebies and try something new. Test it out, see if your audience responds and then re-evaluate again. Because here’s the thing: I want you to land on fewer freebies that do really well and focus more on promoting those things instead of constantly creating more, more, more.
Use a Quiz to Build Your List
One way I’ve created fresh freebies in my business that was new this year was to create an online quiz. This has been wildly successful in terms of attracting new people to my list in a fun way. It’s funny because I bet a lot of you who took it may not have thought of this as a freebie you were signing up for. We guided you through a series of questions related to a topic and then your results are emailed to you.
We started with the Secret Sauce Quiz all about “how to own your awesome, stand out from the crowd, build a successful business and have fun doing it”.
Quiz questions covered why you decided to do the work you’re doing now, what stage of business you’re at, what areas of your business you need more help with, what type of business you run and so on… and it takes people a total of 45 seconds to complete.
The quiz is an entry gate that’s fun for the person, but also allows me to gain valuable information about my followers without them realizing it and it gives me the ability to serve them in a very specific way based on their needs. We use my quiz to enter visitors into a 6-month funnel and provide content written directly for them based on their results so they feel like I’m speaking directly to them. It’s been a great way to both grow my list and serve them in a great way that primes them to be ready for the sale when it comes time to pitch.
Instead of creating more content, we put a lot of effort into getting eyes on this quiz. We run ads, it’s the homepage banner of my website, I talk about it on the podcast, we pin to it consistently, it’s a pop-up on many blog posts and it has added thousands and thousands of new email subscribers to my list.
If you’re thinking about doing something similar, we love the company Interact for creating the quiz, I’d also suggest hiring a copywriter (and there are copywriters that specialize specifically in quizzes) and thinking through how you’re going to use the answers to the questions to serve your audience going forward.
Speaking of fresh ways to get your freebies in front of your audience, one of the best ways we’ve done this is by elevating our pop-up strategy. What is a pop-up? I’m sure you’ve experienced them once or twice. Every time I talk about this idea, I’m met with a lot of resistance and trust me — I get it. They seem annoying, disruptive to the user experience and just a headache overall. But I’d challenge you to think about this in a new way. Think about it as a way to deliver the exact piece of content the person visiting your site would benefit from. We’ve got approximately 20 or so really strong freebies in my business that have proven to do well and like I said before, I’ve been focused on getting that content in front of more people.
So as an example, let’s say I write a blog post focused on strategies for using Instagram in your business and then my very popular freebie titled “My 5 must have insta apps” pops up, that person is much more likely to click through and download it because it’s something that is valuable and aligned with a topic they clicked through to read about.
This strategy on it’s own adds 250 new weekly subscribers and if you listened to my podcast about why list building is important where I talk about the value of each email subscriber and the statistic that says each new subscriber equals a dollar per month in income so 250 new people per week on my list translates to $1,000/month. Thinking about the impact on your bottom line when it comes to pop-ups can really help you in prioritizing this strategy.
Here’s where to start: Check out your email marketing service provider as many have now incorporated pop-ups and you can create them all under one roof without paying for another program. Otherwise, we really love Opt-in monster and it has a lot of next level features like generating specific pop-ups for people who come to your page from a specific place or “if/then” type pop-ups so you can be in full control over what pop-ups people are receiving and when.
Paid ads and your free content
I bet many of you have only created an ad when you have something to sell. Am I right? But what if you used your ads to serve up the free stuff! In terms of full transparency, we invest a TON of money into Facebook ads… in 2018, we invested a half a million dollars in Facebook ads which helped us not only acquire those 300,000 subscribers but also do big sales (to the tune of 3,000,000 in sales for the year!)
We aren’t just running ads that lead to purchases, we’re investing in people on the front end through Facebook ads that serve our free content and then serving our people so well so that when the time comes to sell to them, they have already qualified themselves as the perfect candidate to purchase. Often an audience needs to be warmed up before they are ready to buy from us and so running ads to our paid content might not always be as successful as we want it to be. Would you click on something from a stranger and purchase without context or more information? Probably not! Instead, try running an ad to free content with the goal of getting them on to your email list.
Firstly, this technique is way more affordable than running ads that point to a purchase – meaning the cost to acquire a new subscriber is usually a fraction of the cost of an ad that is pointing to a sale. So I’d rather invest then when it’s usually under a dollar per lead and then serve them content without a hint of a pitch until I know they are ready. This can be highly beneficial down the road when I do ultimately make the sales pitch because often, I’ve had months to introduce myself to them, I’ve shown that I can be trusted, that I’m an expert in what I’m talking about and when I have an offer, they are more ready to hear about it because they’ve had time to benefit from the free content that I’ve been serving up.
About 20% of my Facebook and Instagram ads budget goes to my best performing freebies and we’ve also recently started to use the Pinterest Promoted Function. So I have to preface this one to say that my success has been 100% organic reach on Pinterest to date. But recently, we’ve tried promoting a few pins, I’m sure I’ll share more on that in the future.
At the end of the day, I will always spend money acquiring new people to my list because I’ve only witnessed the pay-off of each and every subscriber. I am confident in my ability to serve my audience so well so that when the time comes to sell, they are excited to become a bigger part of my family through my additional products, courses and offers.
Reinvigorating a stale list
What happens if you have a list but it’s really not doing much of anything? So the next couple strategies are aimed at reinvigorating an existing list that might be a little stale because here’s the thing… You’ve worked hard for those people on your list and you can’t just call the job done there. Think about the journey you’ve taken your email subscribers on so far. Do they know who you are? What your best content is? Your brand story? It might be time to start fresh.
One thing we did this last year was put every single person on my list into my welcome sequence. Now get this, we’ve talked a lot about 6 part welcome sequences but what if I told you mine was SIX MONTHS long? I know that sounds crazy but honestly, it was so fun to create. I wanted people to really enter my list and know that they were being served intentional content, learning from me, hearing my story, and being educated on what I could offer them and I was willing to sit down and do the work that it took to create a long email funnel that gives me confidence that every new subscriber is on a journey that I created for them.
It honestly was done out of necessity because I was so sick newly pregnant and I wanted to continue to serve my list but just didn’t have the capacity to do so. I knew we had just written this amazing 6 month welcome sequence for new subscribers and I thought “why not give this awesome content to everyone no matter how long they’ve been around here?” Because the goal of the funnel was to serve 80% of the time and then go through my offerings and pitch them throughout the 6 months, I knew my people were well cared for and a side benefit?
Sales grew too because it turns out, even if someone has been subscribed and following for a long time, they are going to miss things and by emailing them consistently week after week with my welcome sequence, my content was delivered to them in a reliable way that was intentionally mapped out for them. It took people on a journey and I believe this strategy has solidified the plan to create true fans out of my email subscribers that will stick around for years to come.
Create Elaborate Funnels
I want to talk about it here because it is all about being smart with my current list and cross promoting new products and services to them. So much so that we recently hired someone on my team who’s sole focus is going to be looking at ways to cross promote products based on each individual subscribers history of interacting with my business. There is so much room for growth here and I’m excited about the opportunity to really dig in and see what we can create.
I want you to take a look at each and every one of your offerings whether it’s a freebie, a service or a product. Is there a way you can deliver an email funnel that would further serve the person who raised their hand and said yes for one of them? Can you write specific content for that exact person and then ultimately, is there something you could cross promote to them related to it?
Examples in my own business:
- The Photo Lab students – presets
- The Instagram Lab – Stories Icons
- The List to Launch Lab – Email List Building Quickstart guide
- The Pinterest Lab – The Ultimate Pinterest Guide
It’s safe to say that we grow our list the most when we go into a launch! For me, I follow a pretty traditional method where I invite people into a free training or a webinar. When we go into live launching, we are really focusing on growing our list during the pre-launch phase through sharing freebies and free resources and spending our time and energy and ad dollars on finding out who is interested in what we’re teaching about and learning how we can serve them better and then when we go into the actual launch we are generally inviting people into a free webinar or training where they can learn more about that specific topic.
These hyper-focused launches usually lead to big boosts in our email list and grow our list by thousands in a weeks time because we are really clear on the messaging, open with the invitations, and our ads are dialed in and targeted to people who we know are likely a good fit for what I’m teaching. I’ve learned SO much through launching but one of the biggest things I learn is the importance of serving well throughout a launch. A lot of times people will covet their best information or hold back on sharing things that really help people get results, but I make sure my free trainings are like bootcamps and lead to quick wins so that regardless of people purchase something or not they are walking away equipped and excited to make things happen.
I’ve found that simply by showing up in a big way while launching, even if people don’t purchase, they are far more likely to purchase the next time when they see that they really do need help or the tools to see even greater results. We did one launch per quarter this year and there were definite spikes in our email list during each launching period just because of the clearly focused content we were serving and our ability to grow our audience through serving in that way! I will invest just about any dollar amount into ads while launching because I know those people who are joining my email list during a launch period – they are likely seeing a mentor, looking for more information, and are more likely to be “my people” in the long run! I love the fresh energy that a launch brings and the opportunity and challenge to show up and warm people up to me and what I have to offer!
Perks for Subscribers
Lastly, treat your email subscribers like insiders! Another thing we did this year was to really treat my email subscribers like VIPs. They’re the first to know anything new in my business, they get content that you can’t find anywhere else, they get exclusive offerings and sales, they get encouragement you can’t find anywhere else and they really feel like they are my friend. I want you to treat your email subscribers like gold, value them and let them know how much they mean to you.
When we got more stock for my very popular “I Am Enough” necklace, guess who got the first shot at ordering before they even went live to the public? When we decided to increase the price to one of my courses, we let my subscribers know so they could hop in and save themselves some money. These are just a few examples of how to make sure to add additional value to your email subscribers long after they opted in.
So there you have it, just a few of the updates to our email marketing strategies over the last 12 months that have given us some really big results. I’ll keep you updated as we begin a new year. And if you’re looking for some extra guidance in this area, or just don’t know where to start, I would love to invite you into my ZERO to 250 email list challenge to grow your list from nada to 250 subscribers in one month flat. It’s totally FREE and only requires five days of list-building training to learn my best strategies, resources, and all the info you need to take your list from zero to 250, and beyond!
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