Updated: May 22
What would you do if suddenly every social media account you had 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. The difference between an email list and social media is that you own your list so you can transfer it wherever you would like to.
Today, I am going to share with you all how to grow an email list in. 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.
1.Figure out your opt-in. Now, I know you are probably shaking your head in confusion. I know I was when I was reading about how to grow an email list. But the truth is that it is challenging to grow an email list without offering something in return without a primary audience.
Another word for an opt-in is a freebie. To talk about the effect of a freebie, I want you to imagine being offered a food sample at the mall. Most likely, you don't keep walking by the free sample unless you don't like the food they offer. Once you eat the sample, you are more likely to buy something from the store. That is how freebies work, you give someone free information, and they want to reciprocate, so they often offer support by purchasing an item or interacting with your content.
To find your opt-in, you want to look at what type of audiences you already have on social media and determine a goal. Are you seeking information from your email list subscribers or trying to provide educational content? There are a myriad of different freebies you can crate, from quizzes and worksheets to eBooks and masterclasses. The possibilities are endless!
The key to success when utilizing opt-ins 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.
2.Don’t depend on your friends and family to 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.
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.
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 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.)
When I started my email list, I got so UPSET because every guru said the same thing, "You should be able to get 500 email subscribers in one day." (A complete lie by the way).
It took me about a month and a half 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 inboxes. In fact, according to a study by Finances Online, the average person in 2022 will be sent 333 BILLION emails daily. That means you could compete with hundreds or even thousands of companies vying for their attention. Therefore, you must have some pretty effective marketing to earn someone's email.
6.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 join an email list community or purchase your products because they believe in the message 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.
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 people's names, it turns me off. Unless, of course, the email is sent from somewhere like my job. People who wanted canned emails could subscribe to a basic email marketing service. But when they subscribe to your email list, they want to know that whatever you send is for them. An alternative to CC'ing someone is to BCC them instead. When you BCC someone, you send a mass email, but the people in the email do not know it is a group email.
Add in your unique author voice: I have a confession to make. :( I am an email list creator and often skip over emails from other email lists. Why? One of the reasons is that 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 your emails. So give them what they want.
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. 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. 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.
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?
Like this post? You might also like this one: Six Self publishing tips that changed my life
Your Pen Pal friend,
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