Updated: Jun 28
What would you do if all of a sudden, the internet broke and all of your social media accounts got shut down?
For many, me included, this would be an absolute nightmare. But- now that I have spent time building my email list from scratch, this worry is a thing of the past. This could also be your reality.
You probably are part of an email list or 2 or 3 and you don’t even realize it. know that I am personally subscribed to at least 10 of my favorite bloggers. Are you subscribed to my email list? If not, now would be a great time to join! [Shameless plug]
Today, I am going to share with you all how to grow an email list in 2022. Specifically how I grew my email list from scratch for free without the use of ads or any fancy tactics. As of today, I have close to 100 email list subscribers. But I remember when I had two email subscribers and I was frantically searching “how to grow an email list” on Google with tears in my eyes. I will also be sharing the number one tip that did not work for me and that hurt me.
Tip Number one:
Figure out your opt-in. Now, I know I know, you are probably reading this and shaking your head. I know I was when I was reading about how to grow an email list. But the truth is that without having a prior audience of some sort, it is almost impossible if not very very difficult to grow an email list. To find your opt-in you want to look at what type of audiences you already have on social media. Do you have a flourishing YouTube channel with thousands of subscribers? Do you have a medium amount of Instagram followers? ( Instagram is an amazing way to grow your email list by the way) Do you have a Tumblr page that focuses on blog content (No, Tumblr is not dead quite yet)? Either one of these can be an awesome way to grow your email subscriber list. If you do not have a big presence on any social media platform, another thing that you can do is to create a landing page with something that you know your audience would want like a giveaway, or a product ( I offered sneak peeks into my novel “Since when did Single Mean Sad”), or some sort of content.
The key to finding an opt-in is to choose one platform and stick with it. In 2020, I opened up to the social media world when I decided that I wanted to build my YouTube channel from scratch. I decided that the best thing for me to do would be to be present on every platform. I made an Instagram account, a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a Pinterest account, and a blog. Do you know what happened? Instead of being present on all of those platforms, I ended up posting on none of them and it got me absolutely nowhere. Then, in 2022, I watched a life-changing video by Sunni Lenarduzzi called “If your Marketing Sucks watch this' '. I recommend that every entrepreneur and business owner watch this video because it changed my approach completely.
I got rid of all of my social media platforms and decided to use Instagram as the optin for my business. All of a sudden, by the grace of God, my business exploded and I started to receive new email list subscribers in my sleep. Whichever platform you choose make sure that you are passionate about it. If you would like a blog post about how I grew my Instagram account, please drop a comment down below!
Tip Number 2:
Don’t depend on your friends and family, but spread the word. One mistake that a lot of people make when building an email list is sending a mass email to all of their family members and friends telling them to join the list. While this might work, it may also work against you. Email lists only work for you if people open the emails that you create. When I created my YouTube channel, I marketed almost exclusively to family and friends at first. However, what I found was that even though my channel subscribers were increasing, they did not amount to anything because these people were not watching my content. The purpose of an email list is to cultivate a small list of “superfans” who are interested in buying and participating in whatever you create. Therefore, quality is so much more important than quantity in this case.
Tip Number 3:
Network with other people in your niche.
One of my favorite things to do when building my email list was to contact people on Instagram who had the same niche as me and see if they would be interested in doing something together.
A lot of times these did not amount to much. However, I found that when it did work the impact was momentous. One of my favorite ways to do this was to create a resource list and add links to relevant creators in the niche I was working in.
Tip Number 4:
Figure out who you are targeting. I feel like this tip probably should have been moved up further because it is one of the most important things you could do for yourself while trying to build an email list organically. Have you ever heard the term “jack of all trades, master of none?” The phrase was made to mean that it does not help you or do any good for you to be good at many different things because you end up pleasing no one. The biggest mistake I was making on social media before I got focused was trying to create content for everyone. At one point, I was making six different niches and categories of content on my one channel. Not only was it exhausting but it also did not do anything for me. Big questions you can ask yourself might include:
How old are the people in my audience ? (kids, teenagers, 18-25, 30-35, 45-60, 60+)
What jobs do people in my audience work?
Where is my audience at? ( If you are targeting people who are in the 60+ age range you are probably not going to want to put your optin on tik tok or Snapchat because that is not where that bracket is at)
What type of content does my audience want to see ( certain platforms do better with certain content. For example, Instagram is no longer a strict picture platform)
What do the people in my audience have issues with? ( When I was writing Since when did Single Mean Sad, I knew that the people who would come to my blog were more interested in reading up about my website before purchasing the book and that trust would have to be earned first. Therefore, I tailored my home page to their needs.)
Tip Number Five:
When I first started my email list I got so UPSET because every guru that I want to speak the same sentiment “ You should be able to get 500 email subscribers in one day or five days or 10 minutes” they said. But the truth is that it took me about a month and a half before I started to see any growth on my email list. People’s inboxes are a sacred place. Therefore, most people are not readily looking to add another person to their busy inbox. In fact, according to a study by Finances Online, the average person in 2022 are sent 333 BILLION emails per day. That means that you could be competing with hundreds or even thousands of companies vying for their attention. Therefore, to earn someone’s email you have to have some pretty convincing marketing. Because most people do not trust strangers.
Tip Number six:
Be personable. I wish someone had told me this because it did change the game. People don’t subscribe to an email list or buy products for no reason. Most times, they are joining an email list community or purchasing your products because they believe in the message that you are sending. These are a few of my favorite tips about being personable
Avoid being too spammy. No one likes to be told over and over to do something. Therefore, if you tell someone about your email list and they do not join the first time let them go. Do not go in and try to convince the person to do so. Because the only thing you may get is an inactive subscriber.
Be careful about CCing people: I do not know if this is just me, but when I see my name in a long list of names of people it really turns me off. Unless, of course, the email is sent from somewhere like my job. If people wanted to get canned emails they could subscribe to a plain email marketing service. But when they subscribe to your email list, they want to know that whatever you are sending is for them. An alternative to CC’ing someone is to BCC them instead. When you BCC someone, you are sending a mass email but the people in the email do not know that it is a group email.
If you can, avoid naming people in the email subject : So I made an embarrassing mistake when I first made my email list. I thought that it would be a great idea for me to write the names of each person I emailed in the body of the email and the subject. Surprisingly, these emails with names in them had the WORST open rates of any of my email campaigns. Why is this? Looking back through my emails I realize that most of the companies who were sending me promotional emails and spam were using my name in the email subjects. Therefore, my friends and family were avoiding opening my emails because they believed it could be possible spam. Instead of adding people's names, you can personalize the email subject by tailoring it to your people in your niche.
Add in your unique author voice: I have a confession to make.. :( I am an email list creator and I often skip over emails from other email lists. Why? One of the reasons is because the people whose email list I do not read or open don’t personalize their emails and I know that I will not be getting anything from opening the email. Your email list readers want to hear your voice and listen to your emails. So give them what they want.
Tip number 7:
Don’t focus on the numbers. I cannot emphasize this enough. But it is one of the most important things about growing your email list fast. In this blog post, https://www.positivelygabriellewrites.com/post/grow-your-blog-community, I talked about the power of your mindset . When you are first growing your email list, it can be so easy to get wrapped in the number of people who are subscribing. But the truth is that, unlike social media where people are very unlikely to buy your product or take any steps, the people on your email list are much more likely to engage in your content. So when you see that you have 20 email list subscribers think of having 20 close friends with which you can share your biggest business secrets. When you change your mindset this way it becomes much easier to keep going.
These were the 7 tips that helped me to build my email list organically in 2022. If you like this writing style of tip, then story, then practical application, you will like reading my novel Since when did Single Mean Sad. To find out more about the book before you commit to buying it you can click here.
We are not done yet. In a moment, I am about to share the number one mistake I made in growing my newsletter email list that embarrassed me and almost made me quit.
How to NOT grow your email newsletter list
If you scroll back up to tip #6, you will see how I mentioned the importance of being personable. My biggest mistake happened when I decided to do the opposite. I had read somewhere online where the person mentioned that they had grown their email list organically overnight by doing this thing called a mail merge. The mail merge involved a complicated process of finding my social media followers, plugging their names and emails into this spreadsheet, and then adding the code to create individualized messages.
For some reason, the process was very tedious and I spent almost a whole day messing with the mail merge. On the day that I sent it out I was feeling confident. I had sent out the mail merge with perfectly canned messages asking people to join my email list. I sent out over 70 emails and guess how many I ended up getting open on? You would think that the number would be at least 20 people. But out of the 70 emails I sent 4 people opened the email. I was devastated and crushed.
See, the problem with mail merges is that people know that they are not receiving personalized emails. In fact, at the bottom of the emails was a message that said: “sent using mail merge”. The reason mail merges did not work for me is because my audience valued trust and they could not trust that I was the one sending the messages and not some spam bot.
This brings me to my biggest business tip. Which is to know your audience. For certain audiences, the mail merges my work because their audience values a certain type of connection. For example, an audience of gay businessmen is going to have a different approach to email than a 25-year-old pregnant mom. The problem with mail merges is that all of the opportunity for personalization is gone. So, be very careful and be warned.
Overall, an email list is the best thing that you can do to ensure that your business has a lifetime no matter what happens to the internet. How are you going to start your email list organically in 2022?
More posts about growing your business
10 tips to self-publish a book
See ya soon!
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