How to start and build an email list (& why you should start NOW)
Your email list is the #1 most important thing you should be focusing on in your business.
I don't care what your business is. You could be a massage therapist, a consultant, an actor, a candle-maker, a coach, a graphic designer, a balloon artist, heck, you could be making jewelry for dogs; WHATEVER!
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT BUSINESS YOU'RE IN: Your email list should be Priority #1.
Did you know that...
LESS THAN 6% of the people who follow you on social media see your posts at any given time?
A message is 5X's more likely to be seen in email than via Facebook?
72% of people PREFER to be sent promotional content via email?
Have you noticed how buggy Instagram and Facebook have been lately? I hope this doesn't happen (knock on wood) but it's possible that the platform could crash (again), or your could get hacked (dear Lord, please ,no), and you could lose all your followers in one fell swoop.
You don't own your social media followers, Mark Zuckerberg does. So don't spend all your energy building up a number you don't own that could go away tomorrow!
If you want to know how having an email list affects your bottom line, did you know that email order rates are 3'x higher on email versus social media? (In plain words, that's TRIPLE the sales). Not to mention, marketing experts estimate that every name in your email list is equal to about $1 of revenue per month.
Let that sink in. 1 subscriber= $1/per month. At least.
IT'S EASIER THAN YOU THINK
Now, I know, this stuff is intimidating. I myself resisted starting my email list for a long time because I felt like I didn't really have anything to sell yet. I also was worried about what I would even say to my email subscribers. But then I heard so many business owners and experts say that their #1 regret was not starting to build their email list sooner.
So, I did it. And I'm sharing the key points I learned with you because, well, I like you.
In this post I'm sharing (in super easy-to-understand language) the EXACT steps you need to take to start, and then build your email list. A little friendly starter kit, if you will! Read on to find out the 4 totally-doable steps of starting AND growing your email list...
Step 1: Choose a Provider
I'll say right up front that I use MailChimp. This is for a bunch of reasons, but honestly, it was mainly because of these 4 factors:
a) it's free up to 2000 subscribers (save dat money)
b) it's user-friendly (not trying to get a degree in computer coding over here)
c) it incorporates SUPER easily into lots of 3rd party sites (like wordpress, squarespace, shopify, etc)
d) because it's so popular, there's a ton of free info out there that teaches you how to use it effectively.
That said, there are lots of other great options for email list providers. A few of them are:
The main selling point of the fast-growing constant contact platform is that it's VERY easy to use. The downside is there's not a lot of customization you can do. But if you want a super straightforward, no-frills list builder with solid analytics and marketing features, this one's for you. Cost: Free 60-day trial, $20/mo up to 500 subscribers with increases from there.
Another good one for the technology-challenged. Mad Mimi's entire shtick is SIMPLICITY. They have very clean, SIMPLE templates and walk through step by step how to create, send, share and track your emails. Mad Mimi's pricing starts at $10/500 subscribers and goes up from there.
More for Pros and those who are well-versed in marketing stuff. Lots of fancy features that are freaking AWESOME if you know what you're doing. Particularly good for bloggers. Cost: 14-day free trial, and their pricing starts from $29/month. They also offer a 30-day refund policy.
Step 2: Reach out & get permission to add your peeps
I know. Asking people to join your list feels icky. But I promise you, it's gonna be okay.
Hey, we all start somewhere! Every single email list started at 0. But it's super important to build an AUTHENTIC list and get people's permission to add them before putting them on your list.
I know it's tempting to skip the whole "human interaction" thing, but it's a really bad look to just auto-upload your entire list of google contacts without asking permission first. Plus, doing that drives down your open/click-through rates. Also, it's wrong and it sucks. Please, just don't be a jerk and add people without permission.
Instead, send a short n' sweet email to past clients, friends, and other contacts letting them know what you're doing and giving them the opportunity to subscribe themselves.
MAGIC LESSON: Write and send this email in batches, meaning, send one email to clients, a different one to friends, a different one to school contacts, etc. The more specific you can get with this, the better. People appreciate when you take the time to tailor content just for them. It doesn't make sense to say "I loved working with you" to someone who has never been your client.
You email should include a few things:
A brief explanation of your business and what you're up to
Exactly what subscribers can expect to receive from you and how often
A link to subscribe (you get this link from your email list provider)
A heartfelt thank you!
Step 3: Make it as EASY AS POSSIBLE for people to subscribe
This seems obvious but you'd be SHOCKED how many of my clients are shooting themselves in the foot on this point! In order to build your email list, you gotta have a place for people to sign up.Preferably, about 3 places per page on your website, plus through promoting on social media (we'll get there in step 4, hold your horses).
Every email list provider has multiple options for methods of getting people to sign up for your mailing list. A few are:
Hosted sign-up form (a literal box where people type in their email)
Literally, there's no excuse for not having multiple places for people to sign up because it's SO EASY. Pepper them through your site so that people can decide to opt-in easily and efficiently with minimal effort.
Here, I'll put my money where my mouth is:
Step 4: Promote your email list more than anything else
...more than your website.
...more than your services or products.
...more than your social media profile.
Why? Because the people on your mailing list have already said YES. They actively want to hear from you which makes them a bajillion times more likely to buy from you when the time comes for you to sell.
How do you promote your email list besides having a place on your website for people to input their email addresses? Draw people in with something called an "opt-in".
An opt-in is when you offer something for free in exchange for someone's email address. An opt-in gives people a risk-free way to experience your brand as well as a chance to share and spread the word about you & your biz!
An opt-in can be any form of consumable content; e-books, free articles, trainings, step-by-step instructions, a downloadable checklist, a cheat sheet, a quiz, or literally ANY piece of content you can think of! They do not have to be long or complicated, they just have to be OF VALUE to your ideal customer.
Some of my opt-in freebies as examples:
You can put one of these freebies in the website area on your social media profile. You can also use bit.ly to shorten the URL so people can read it easily and quickly. Check out my Instagram profile to see an example of what that looks like.
Truly, building your email list is one of the most effective things you can do to grow your business and increase your bottom line. I highly encourage you to take 20 minutes (that's how long it takes on average to get signed up and started. I timed it. Literally.) and start your email list today! Because when it comes time to update your ideal customers about your new product, service, event, or news, you'll be SO happy you already have people to send it to who are engaged and excited about your business.