Last week, I wrote an entire post about why you need an email list, regardless of your industry and what to send them.
Whether you’re a nonprofit, entrepreneur, independent contractor, freelancer, in a service-based industry, product-based industry, or in B2B, you need to have an email list.
It’s the quickest and most scalable way to establish yourself as an expert, build a relationship with your community and the ROI on email marketing is about $38 for every $1 spent… So yea, it’s worth it.
In this post, we’re talking about how to grow your email list quickly so that you can start seeing some really awesome results.
Personally, I’m not a fan of adding anyone I meet to my email list because it kills my engagement rates, puts a strain on our relationship and may or may not be of value to them.
For example, I interviewed someone about their business and he added me to his email list…
While that wouldn’t normally bother me, his emails are all about things to do in Long Island, NY.
… and I’m sure that’s awesome for people who live in Long Island, I’m in South Florida.
In the last article, I talk a whole lot more about permission-based marketing and how your definition of spam is likely very different from your community’s definition.
So, now that you know what to send them, you’re probably wondering…
How the heck do I grow my email list?
Method 1. Lead Magnet
Who It Works For: Anyone who wants to grow their email list and is willing to spend time promoting the lead magnet. This is one of the best ways to build your list because it doesn’t require you to create other content (blogs or podcasts) like many of the other methods.
When I write these posts, I usually try to avoid as much jargon and “blog speak” as I can, so let me break down a lead magnet…
Lead = someone who may want to do business with you
Magnet = a force that attracts an object or person to you
So a lead magnet is something that makes someone raise their hand and say “I’m in your target client audience and I’m interested in this topic so I’m letting you know that I’m interested and if you can give me value, I may become your customer.”
The simplest process for doing this is to create a piece of insanely valuable content that people are willing to give their email address for, create a landing page for it and start promoting the crap out of it to get people to sign up for it.
Note: the MOST important part of this is to promote the crap out of it… After all, if you have a great piece of content that no one knows about, it’s not going to help you grow your business.
You don’t need to create a blog or any other content to do this, you just need to have something that’s so irresistable to your audience that they JUST. HAVE. TO. HAVE. IT.
Your lead magnet should be something related to the product or service that you’re selling or planning to sell.
Also, ConvertKit* makes it really, ridiculously simple to deliver all of these so you don’t have to go and personally email each of these people with the lead magnet. You set it up once and completely forget about it… It works like a well-oiled machine.
Here are a bunch of different types of lead magnets that you can use with examples from all different types of niches so that you can see how this works for you.
Start with one and make it successful before you go crazy adding the rest:
Video Series and Webinars
Who It Works For: Video is insanely versatile and it works ESPECIALLY well if you have something ridiculously actionable that you can walk your audience through. People tend to fast forward through the intros, chit chat and theory stuff.
I LOVE doing video series because they’re such easy ways to establish credibility, share massive content and video has a higher percieved value than text.
You can offer a 3-5 part video series that teaches your community about a specific topic or a masterclass that gives them actionable content during the video or a webinar.
Our ability to connect with people is directly tied to our senses and text only allows us to see the words. Video allows you to make your audience see the message (AND YOU) and hear you.
When someone is skimming through an email or blog post, it’s a whole lot harder to get them excited, make them feel struggle or snap them back to reality…
Your voice inflections, passion and emotion can get them to feel you… and when you can make them feel, you can make them act.Logic makes you think, emotion makes you act. Click To Tweet
Webinars are great because of their scarcity…
The fact that it’s live will get people there because they know they can’t watch it any other time and you’ll generally have a much higher conversion rate if you do offer them something to purchase than you would with just emails, newsletters or other forms of advertising.
Alex Tooby has grown her Instagram following to over 390k+ (@menandcoffee) and now she teaches other people how to grow their Instagram accounts, too.
To get people interested in her course, she offers a free course that’s full of AWESOME, USEFUL content that’s a quick teaser of what her actual course is about.
Oh, and if you’re looking for AWESOME content about how to put a webinar together, make sure you check out Mariah Coz over at Femtrepreneur (she even has a post about how to create webinars for free).
She’s the queen of webinars and will get you up and running in no time!
Free Course or Challenge
Who It Works For: Pretty much anyone (I know that’s a cheap answer, but it’s so true). Courses and challenges are great because they give your audience a little teaser of whatever product or service you have to offer.
My search engine of choice is Pinterest.
… Not Google.
… Not YouTube.
Mostly because I’ve discovered a ton of INCREDIBLE bloggers in all different niches who blog about their own personal experiences, challenges and what they’ve learned rather than finding the same listcle articles regurgitated all over the internet like you find on Google.
I’ve talked about how when I need to learn something new, I become obsessed with learning about a new topic… and most of that time is spent on Pinterest.
What I’ve discovered more than anything else is how incredibly valuable free courses are.
Rather than finding one-off articles that only talk about a specific area, I like to immerse myself into that new topic with a free course or challenge… That way I get a deeper experience and learn about the entire topic, not just a specific part of it.
From an entrepreneur’s perspective, it’s super useful because it’s the quickest way to establish yourself as an expert, give them a taste of what you know and build a relationship with them so that when you do present an offer for a product or service, you’ve already warmed them up.
Free courses and challenges can have a conversion rate as high as 30-40%… So heck yea, they’re crazy useful.
Recently, I’ve been toying with the idea of going to a plant-based diet…
… But I’m also into working out.
Last night, I spent a few hours on Instagram and Pinterest researching about vegan diets for body builders, vegan diets for fitness, vegan diets for fitness because I was concerned about getting enough protein to sustain my workouts and still gain muscle without consuming too many carbs that I won’t be able to burn off.
I’ve always eaten pretty healthy, but doing this alone is going to be CRAZY difficult, so I went looking for a free course or challenge to help me get started.
I discovered this (on Pinterest might I add)…
JUST what I was looking for.
No one likes to give out their email addresses, but for this?
Heck yea… Take my email address.
It’s exactly what I’m looking for.
… Are they going to give me an offer to buy something at the end of the free course?
Will I buy it?
Maybe… But I’ll be a heck of a lot more likely to buy it than if I just read one of their posts and went off to another blog.
The key here is to make sure that your free course or challenge offers information that’s like a teaser for your paid services or products.
CoSchedule has a free course that helps marketers plan out their content, set goals for their content marketing and execute on their plan.
I also have a free growth plan course that helps young professionals build a plan to identify the areas of their lives that they need to focus on, build new habits to improve those areas and find balance in their lives again.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received was, “if you tell them before, it’s an explanation. If you tell them after, it’s an excuse.”
Everyone likes to buy, but no one likes to be sold…
So when you educate and then make an offer, rather than giving them a hard sell, you warm up those cold leads.
A free course or challenge, my friend, takes care of exactly that.
Who It Works For: Similarly to the video series/webinars and free course, ebooks are highly flexible. If you prefer to write instead of be on video, an ebook will likely work best for you.
Most of my articles are between 2500-3500 words… but I could easily write way more. In fact, I wrote a post that was 6,000 words about how to plan + host a networking event…. and while most people won’t sit there and read the whole post, if I were to convert that into an ebook, people would definitely download it.
The average page in a book has about 250-300 words on it, so turning that blog post into a 20-page ebook would be immensely helpful for some people and they’d be willing to give their email address for that.
These lead magnets are all about providing crazy value and an ebook will do JUST that.
If you’re worried about giving away too much information for free, stick to this model…
Teach them the why and the what in your free content with only about 10% of the how and then save the other 90% of the how for your paid services, courses, or whatever else you’re selling.
Cheat Sheet or Checklist
Quite honestly, this is the easiest lead magnet to create because it’s just a one or two page document and is often a complement to another piece of content like a video or blog post.
While cheat sheets are actually some of my highest converting opt-ins, I like to offer more value than that.
In fact, my most popular opt-in is the one page cheat sheet that walks you through the process of creating a capsule wardrobe from this post, so cheat sheets and check lists absolutely work.
These are great if you just need to get started with growing your list but I challenge you to offer them way more.
Cheat sheets and checklists are going to be most successful if you’re super clear on what your audience needs and is something they can’t find on google.
For example, let’s say you’re a financial planner whose target audience is young professionals…
Sending them a cheat sheet that gives them two or three tasks to do each year to make sure they stay on track for financial success will be immensely helpful… But sending them a cheat sheet with a bunch of finance definitions probably won’t be as successful.
Cheat sheets also work well for waiting lists… If you’re waiting to launch a product or service, having a quick cheat sheet that people can opt-into while waiting for the release will get way more people primed and ready for your launch.
Method 2. Content Upgrades
Who It Works For: People who are already creating content or plan to start creating content in the form of videos, podcasts or blogs.
A lead magnet is it’s own thing on it’s own landing page while a content upgrade is a piece of content that adds onto (or upgades) whatever content you’ve already created.
There are content upgrades on almost every blog post on this blog so you can get an idea of what those are like.
Content upgrades can be anything from a video tutorial, cheat sheet, checklist, workbook or any other piece of content that will help them put what you’ve shared into action.
Workbooks are by far my favorite because they are the most actionable and I’m all about learning for the sake of doing, not for the sake of learning.
Speaking of content upgrades, here’s a free cheat sheet to help you build your list building strategy for you to download. It’ll give you some of my best practices for each of the strategies in this post:
Method 3. Free Resource Library
Who It Works For: If you have a bunch of free resources (like videos, worksheets, cheat sheets, etc.) that have a high perceived value.
When someone falls in love with your content, they’re likely to go through a bunch of your posts and giving their email fifty times gets annoying…
Instead, give them access to ALL of your downloads in one place and you’ll be their hero.
If you’re on wordpress, the really simple way to do this is to create a page that has all of your downloads and then change the page from public to password protected. When you send out you’re emals and newsletters, include a quick ‘ps’ that reminds them how to get into your resource library.
Want access to mine? Go ahead and check it out right here.
Method 4. Starting A Meetup Group
Who It Works For: If you’re looking to build your email list with local people, have high organizational skills and can lead a group.
I started accidentally building my list with Meetup.
I would have people register and before I approved their request to join, I made sure that they also filled out a form that got their email address and phone number, too.
I started doing it because Meetup’s email communication system is absolutely terrible and I needed a way to reach our Meetup members directly.
I’m not in love with Meetup because their interface isn’t as pretty as I’d like and their organizer-member communication method isn’t all that great, so you need to make sure that you are collecting emails on an outside form.
This is ESPECIALLY true because when people get on Meetup, they join a bunch of groups at once and then they start getting dozens of emails every day about different Meetup groups so they end up unsubscribing and never come out to your events, so take it from me (I learned the hard way)…
Make. Sure. You. Get. Their. Email. Addresses.
Running a Meetup group is NOT for the faint of heart and takes a whole bunch of extra work, but if you are building a business that’s local to your area and you can put together regular events, a Meetup group is an awesome way to build your list and to help you get discovered.
Setting It All Up
In this video, I’m walking you through how to set up a content upgrade and a sequence so that you can create your video series.
I LOVE ConvertKit* because of how easy they make it to set up a content upgrade. Even though it’s designed for bloggers, I find it INCREDIBLY useful for my real estate business as well. With this link*, you’ll get a 30-day trial, so it doesn’t hurt to check it out.
Ready to start putting this all into action?
I created a quick cheat sheet for you that will walk you through all of the best practices for each of the 7 ways to get people to opt-into your email list…
After all, we don’t learn for the sake of learning around here… We learn for the sake of doing. Get instant access to the cheat sheet right here:
Let me know which method you’re going to start using in the comments below!