Four years ago I created an ecourse about email lists, and one of the major parts of it was all about how to grow your list. It’s interesting now to look back at the content and see how things have shifted so much online in just those four years since the course came out.
Think about it – back then content upgrades were a standard feature on almost all blog posts. People ran multiple webinars to help grow their list before a launch. Everyone had a 3, 5, or 7 day email course.
Looking back, all of those tips were quick wins based on trends. Sure, they still work, but nowhere near as effectively as they once did.
Today I want to uncover authentic ways that you can work on building your email list without worrying about trends and while staying true to your values.
Create a free product that solves a problem
You might be surprised to see me mention this first after my talk about the trends before, but this exchange with your audience is something that is never going to go out of style. Why? Because everyone loves getting something for free.
Here’s the kicker: your free product has to actually solve a problem for your audience – a problem that you know how to solve. If you’re offering free templates for Pinterest to download but you’re not a designer or a Pinterest manager, you’re growing an audience of people who may not be interested in a single thing you can do for them.
Need an example? When Coded Creative launched in 2016, the free opt-in incentive was a 3-day course on how to help people choose their next WordPress theme. A month ago I reformatted the content and turned it into an 11-page PDF, and to no surprise in just a month I’ve gotten an average of more than 1 subscriber per day for that freebie.
A free product like this converts so well because it hits on a very specific pain point someone has (trying to decide which theme to buy for their website) and it guides them through steps to solve that problem for free.
Use social media to your advantage
A big part of your audience is hanging out with you on social media. They’re getting an insight into what you’re doing with your business and taking all of the advice you share there and putting it to work for their business. If someone is eating up all of your content on social media, why not take things to the next step?
Social media doesn’t have to be a place you promote only your products / services or blog posts. Instead of only promoting the obvious stuff on Instagram, why not promote the next email you’re going to send to your subscribers?
This could be as simple as sharing the first couple of paragraphs or hinting at the topic and encouraging your audience to head over to sign up for your list. This obviously works the best with content that will only get sent to your email list or content that people on your email list will see first.
Give your subscribers exclusivity
Speaking of sending content only to your email list, exclusivity is a great way to encourage people to opt-in. I’ll admit – for a long time I believed that the content you send to your email list shouldn’t be shared anywhere else, but there’s not enough time in the day for people to read twice as much content. So it makes sense to link to your blog posts or even send your whole blog post to your email list.
Exclusivity doesn’t necessarily equal content that isn’t shared anywhere else. However, your email list deserves something more than just that free opt-in incentive to encourage them to stick around. This is where things can get really fun for you!
If your email list likes getting your blog posts sent straight to their inbox, then maybe you give them exclusivity by sending it to them before it hits your blog (I’m talking days or weeks). Maybe you create an audio recording of you reading the content that only email subscribers get access to. Maybe 1x per month instead of sending the text, you create a video of bonus material that didn’t make the cut of your post.
Aside from just content, think about how you can take it a step further. With my brand, I often give email subscribers peeks at what I’m working on that I don’t share on social media. Maybe you give your email list access to a digital product that you don’t sell anywhere on your website. Or you could offer an email list-only discount.
Exclusivity works because if your email subscribers can find your content elsewhere and frankly don’t want it in their inbox, that extra bonus of seeing behind the scenes or VIP access to discounts and products encourages them to stick around.
Consistently create high-value content
I truly believe consistency is the key to success, which is why I shared about how to make consistent content creation easier earlier this year. In fact, if I were to create a list of traits that make a successful business owner, consistency would be one of those high up at the top.
Showing up regularly shows your audience that you’re not going to flake on them, which makes them trust you more. It also builds massive amounts of trust when you’re consistently showing up with really valuable content that helps them with their pain points.
And let me be clear here: I’m not saying you have to write blog posts every single week. Some people just aren’t interested in doing that anymore, and that’s totally okay. However, you still have to show up for your audience. One of my favorite people who do this really well is Holly from A Branch of Holly. She shows up just about every day on Instagram stories, and she’s not just posting about her daily routine or something casual. She shows up and consistently shares in-depth tips on things that can help your business. I don’t know about you, but this easily makes me excited to see what she’s sharing with her email list!
This is the kind of thing that really makes an impact on your audience. It’s also one of the reasons I’ve always loved Jason and Caroline from Wandering Aimfully. They show up consistently, and they give you amazing content that makes you want to dive deeper into their brand in terms of getting on their list or joining their membership.
Consistency works because we’re much more likely to engage and connect with someone we see show up regularly. Your new followers or website visitors are going to be much more likely to want to sign up for your email list if they see that you’re active in your brand!
This last point is really just a fun reminder for you. Things are always changing online. New trends come and go – just think about all of the things you’ve tried in the past in your own business. But experimenting is all part of running your business.
The same thing that worked to help you grow your email list and then convert those subscribers last year, may not work this year. You can’t sit on that and simply hope it’ll get better, though. You have to be willing to try new things. Change up your copy, move things around, put a pop-up on your site for 30 days to see if your audience might actually love it.
Growing your email list in 2019 is all about being consistent and authentic in your marketing tactics.
If you’re trying to grow your email list, I encourage you to show up and try some of these things to see how they convert your audience into subscribers.
If you need more help with your email list, be sure to check out the Rock Your Email List workbook in the shop!