How to Build a Successful Email List from Scratch

You’ve heard that you have to build your email list to be able to grow your business and reach your customers more effectively. But, where do you start? It may sound overwhelming, techy, and not-so-chic at first, but the thing is, if you’re hoping to create a purposeful and sustainable business, you have to work on this. So, better sooner than later! I’m here to guide you through the first few steps to creating an effective and meaningful email list that will boost your reach and your bottom line!

Define your purpose:

First the “why”? Sure, I can tell you lots of reasons to have an email list, but to make this more interesting for you, let’s get to the core of it: THE PURPOSE.

Creating an email list will help you reach your clients more intimately, serve them with purpose, and eventually grow your business by selling your products and/or services.

Ok so those are the main reasons, but let’s go even deeper still. Ask yourself: What are the reasons I want to build an email list for my business? It could be to launch a website, to leverage your social media, to create a long-lasting community, to create an audience for an event, to serve your audience with relevant content or to get to know your customers better.  This list could go on and on, but the important thing here is for you to write down YOUR PURPOSE.

Once you define your purpose, it will be easier to create a strategy to attract your ideal clients to subscribe.

Not sure about your purpose? I'm here to help, get my FREE GUIDE: Finding your purpose roadmap

How are you going to serve

Let’s say you already know the why. Then let’s dive into the how! What do you have in mind for your list? An email list can’t work its magic just hanging out on your email provider’s server. You have to make it work by serving it and getting in contact with the potential customers on your list regularly.

Engaging with your audience via email is powerful and profound; it’s the most intimate way you can approach your ideal clients. Ok, let’s say you have a service or product to sell, but what value can you add to your subscribers besides offering your product? What topics might they be interested in hearing about from you?  How can you solve their pain points via email? In what ways can you approach them periodically without pitching yourself, but by becoming an instrument of help they can trust? I know, I know, it’s overwhelming to think about serving for free while you have bills to pay, but let me tell you that serving your audience will pay off way more in the long run. By working on this, you will establish yourself as an authority and grow a loyal community at the same time.

For instance, you can send monthly freebies, tips, tricks, blog posts, references to books, podcasts, or good articles on related topics. Think of the ways you can get your clients excited to be on your list! And get yourself excited about this too. Believe me, they will love you for that!

Choose an email marketing provider

Ok, let’s get a little bit techy here. Now it’s time to choose a good email marketing provider. The most popular lately (and the ones I’ve used the most) are MailChimp and ConvertKit. I’ve used MailChimp for a long time, and with their platform, I’ve built a list of 57K subscribers. MailChimp has consistently worked fine for me, and I can’t complain one bit. Also, I’m well aware that the pricing for my number of subscribers is quite reasonable compared with other marketing services providers.

I’m new at ConvertKit, having recently switched to it because I’m beginning to work more on my email sequences and segmentation. I’ve found in my experience that ConvertKit is easier to set up in this area. MailChimp is a good starting point as it’s free up to 2000 subscribers, vs. ConvertKit, which offers a 30-day free trial but then you have to to pay $29 a month, minimum. These are just two options and there are a lot of other email providers out there. Do your research and pick one to begin with. Take advantage of the free trials and sign up for your favorites so you can get familiar with the platforms and decide which one you want to fall in love with first. Also, keep in mind that you can always switch to another company later on if necessary.

Create a lead magnet

The most exciting part is here!! How are you going to collect the emails for your list? How will you get your potential subscribers to get in? Offer something attractive when signing up for your newsletter. It could be a discount in your shop, or free content like a guide, checklist, video class, or something that adds value to your potential clients. The more value you add to your free content the more likely they are to sign up and some lovely day become paying clients. If you want to know more about creating the perfect opt-in freebie, grab my FREE GUIDE to Create a Successful Opt-In Freebie

Create a welcome email sequence

I have to be honest, this is something I learned recently! I’ve grown my list by releasing monthly freebies since 2011, but I didn’t learn about welcome emails and email sequences until just a few months ago. I used to only collect emails and never made my presence known until I had a new design collection, a sale, or a new freebie. I didn’t know how to communicate with my customers and engage with them from the very beginning. I missed a super important step in the process, which was to actually welcome my new subscribers, and engage with them by letting them know my story, and putting myself at their service for future business. So making a welcome sequence is a must. This is something you can do in an afternoon. You can make a little sequence of 3 emails:

  1. First, the welcome and freebie: Briefly introduce yourself and let your new subscriber know the “why” behind this freebie. Also, talk about the uses and applications of that special thing they are getting from you.
  1. Second: Your story. Take a moment to talk a little bit about you here. Let them in on your past, struggles, and why you are doing what you are doing now!
  1. Third and beyond: Serve them! Show up in their inbox with something useful: an article, a tip, a video, an exclusive. Begin cultivating the relationship with your clients in a positive way by Giving!

What’s next?

Now comes the fun part!! You are now part of the show, and your audience is waiting for it to begin! Stay in touch with your followers! Let them know how often you will keep in touch with them, it could be once a week, or once or twice a month. Keep in mind that you want to build a relationship and friendship with your audience. Ask yourself what you would like to get in your inbox from a friend? Maybe a little secret of yours, a quick tip on something you’re struggling with, perhaps a good resource, book, article, podcast, or a gift once in a while. Now put this into practice! Connect with your subscribers on things that get them excited to open your emails right away! Sure, you can share your new products, collections, and sales, but avoid pitching your products in every single email. Make it your primary purpose to serve them, and they will eventually become paying clients.

Finding your purpose roadmap

Create a Successful Opt-In Freebie


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