My 3 Social Media Secrets for Growing Your Email List

Jenna Kutcher 

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October 7, 2020


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Does it get any better than talking social media, email list building, AND a little strategy?! This is basically like Christmas morning for me! In this episode, we’re delving into how they all go hand in hand and how to strategically use your social platforms to grow that email list.

But first things first, why does this even matter? Why *should* we use social media to grow the list? After all, isn’t social media its own separate beast meant for engaging and beating the algorithm and connecting with your ideal audience and booking your dream customers and clients? Well, yes, but it’s also completely owned and controlled by other people. It’s not your domain, you don’t own your followers, it’s not your platform, so ultimately, you’re left with almost zero control.

Why Email Lists are Important

I led a few hundred students through a business course earlier this year and one of the main things we talked about in regards to the goal of growing their businesses is that you should literally have two main objectives that are linked together — that’s it, just two focus items as a business owner, and those are:

1. To grow your social media following in order to 2. Grow your email list.

They go hand in hand and serve different purposes that are aligned on the overall strategy. You don’t want to have the first without the second, and your ultimate goal on social media should always, always be to get people to trust you enough on the platforms to be eager to dive off of the them and onto your list. Too many entrepreneurs focus primarily on only one aspect, namely social media when they miss the real goal of what we should be doing on our apps.

Email lists, on the other hand? I mean, let’s just chat quick about my pride and joy which is the email list for a hot sec. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, growing and nurturing my email list is my #1 priority as an entrepreneur and it is the #1 way we drive results in my business. When you get people to opt into your list, they’re automatically invested in SOMETHING you have to offer.

There’s this exchange of value, you providing something they opt in for, them providing you the chance to land in their inbox. You know they’re more interested than a passive social media follower because it takes a lot more thought and attention to hand over your email address than to click a follow button.

So, you’re starting out with an immediate advantage that you have a warm lead and interested fan in whatever you have to say! On top of that, showing up inside someone’s email inbox is way more intimate and personal than maaaybe popping up on their social media feeds, where they may or may not stop to see what you have to say and may or may not hop off the app and take action on whatever you want them to do, whether it’s buy something, sign up for something, read something, or so on.

When you’re launching your next product or introducing a new suite of services, you’ll have a ready and captive audience at attention and eager to support you, rather than trying to convert semi-interested followers on social media. Like I said… I could talk about this for ages, but I just really want you to see that social media is certainly FABulous for so many reasons, but it’s not the end all be all. Your goal there should be to build trust and connection that ultimately helps you to grow your list, and I want to share today a few pointers for how to do just that! Let’s boogie on into it, shall we?

Share one opportunity to opt-in every single week

The first way to use social media to grow your list is by sharing at least one opportunity for your followers to opt in every single week, this is an invitation that offers value in exchange for someone to join your list.

Now, even though we talked about how the ‘gram isn’t exactly link friendly, if you get into the habit of continually, weekly pointing people to your resources and freebies, you’ll have a higher rate of conversion and click through. Don’t be afraid to share the same offer over and over again, remember that only a small percentage of your audience is seeing your posts each time and a lot of times people need to hear about something numerous times before they take action.

In fact, the “rule of 7” in marketing says that we need to hear something 7 times before deciding to take action. Take into consideration how many people might not even be seeing some of your posts on social media. So don’t be afraid to share your freebies and opt-ins waaayy more than 7 times in order for people to see, pay attention to them, and take action. This also allows for room for you to creatively share the same offer or craft that opportunity for people to opt in.

Have 1 to 3 pillar freebies to start that you cycle through and share in different ways with different angles. One of my favorite ways to look at and get the most out of content like blog posts is to stretch myself to repurpose one piece of content 10 different ways. You can do this exact same thing with your freebies… actually, you could likely think of even more ways to share it!

Optimize any place you send your traffic to

Ultimately, social media is a place to start and lead conversations and engage with your people. We also use it to share our work and progress, and so any time you’re sending traffic to places outside of social media, you want to optimize their attention fully and try to use that momentum to capture their email addresses.

If you send people to your podcast, make sure there’s a call to action or an opportunity for them to sign up for a freebie or include links in your show notes or the footer of your posts to sign up for your list.

If you send them to your blog, is there a pop-up that captures email addresses or a footer that invites them to opt-in? If you send them to YouTube, is there some sort of content value or place to invite them to stay in touch or get updated on future videos?

You can even invite people to opt in using your email signature or autoresponder, so you just want to think of the many different ways someone might connect with you, your content, or your brand, and ensure that there are invites to your list along that way.

Any time you’re trying to get someone to go somewhere else, there should be that opportunity to invite them to join your list. It seems simple and small, but this one detail has enabled us to grow our list more than almost anything else. By having opportunities to opt-in anywhere and everywhere my followers interact with me, they’re constantly being reminded of how they can stay in touch, get free value, and be notified via email anytime there’s something new they’d want to hear about from me.

Tips for inviting followers to join your list

As far as actually sharing with your followers on social media how to sign up for your email list, I want for you to keep in mind four important things:

Make it EXCITING for them. I always say my sister Kate does such a good job of this with her holistic health newsletter. She calls her email list for her blog the “email club” and shares about it so intentionally and authentically because SHE genuinely cares so deeply about the exclusive content she shares there with her subscribers. Anytime she mentions it in her IG stories or feed posts, you can tell it’s just this fun, intimate place where you can get to know her better and where she thoughtfully curates important content she knows her list will be interested in.

Pay attention to the first sentence of all of your social posts. On Instagram especially, longer posts are mostly hidden and just the first two lines are shown on the feed unless users click to read more. Treat those 2 lines like GOLD, like they’re the subject lines of your emails or a headline of a blog post.

As for videos and stories, if you’re talking face to camera about your freebie, always, always, always include captions on the video. The vast majority of IG users watch stories on silent, so if you are sharing some amazing resource but they have no clue what you’re saying because there aren’t captions and they’re watching in silent mode, then it’s a missed opportunity! These little tweaks take almost no time to pay attention to and implement, but they can make such a big difference in getting people to sign up for your list.

Create freebies with the intent to serve people over the long term. While a timely freebie may be appropriate SOMEtimes — like for example, when COVID hit, we built a new freebie with tangible steps for small businesses to take to survive through the storm of canceled events and a spiraling economy — but I wouldn’t recommend this sort of resource for your first or even fifth freebie.

The Big Picture

I don’t know about you, but all this talk about freebies and list-building has me itching to go create a brand new freebie and share it in all the places and all the ways! And that’s how social media SHOULD make you feel! So often we get caught up in the comparison game or not feeling like we’re enough on our social platforms, but if we can shift it and look at social media as a tool for business growth, not a measure of our worth, then sharing what you have to offer comes so much more naturally. And it’s a heckuva lot more fun, trust me.

You have valuable knowledge to share with others, so package it up into a free opt-in for your followers, and then get it out there and in front of them again and again. Before you know it, your email list will be thriving and you won’t even remember the days you worried about what in the world to post on social media. Can I get a heck yes?!

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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