Starting and Nurturing Your Email List
Let’s start easy!
What is an email list? It is a list full of people that are in your inner ecosystem. The ones that want to learn from you and thus they signed up to one of your freebies or in some other way ended up on your list.
Why do we want to have an email list? It is the only thing in the online world that we really ‘own’ or control, that belongs to us and that nobody can take from us. Instagram accounts, Pinterest or Facebook accounts can get shut down any time. And yes it happens everyday. For all of those three I know examples or have been personally affected, too. But the list belongs to you.
The Future of Email Marketing
Yes quite a number of people predict that the importance of email marketing decreases over time and bots for example will take over their place. For now 91% of all people check their email every day and currently it still is the case that the majority of business leaders and marketers still have email marketing to be among the top marketing channels with respect to ROI.
As with everything: Don’t putt all your eggs in one basket!
The Technical Side
Where do we host this email list? There are hundreds of email marketing services out there. Personally I feel like I hear the same over and over again: Most people start with Mailchimp (as I did & quickly moved on) because its for free. It definitely is a viable option, I very quickly got annoyed by it. Others options are: Aweber, ActiveCampaign, Convertkit (which I currently use and am happy with) and many many more.
Personally when choosing the provider I look for good customer support as well as an easy interface to use as I am not the most techy person and need things to be simple.
Okay, now that you choose a provider. What’s next? Good question!
How do we get people onto our email list?
Let me preface this by saying that I am not a lawyer! Rules and regulations with regards to collecting information are constantly changing so whatever you do make sure it is compliant with current standards.
5 different ways that come to my mind to start and grow your email list
Newsletter subscription on website … maybe even with a pop up! Personally I have never ever signed up to any of these and I also don’t do them on my website but I still see loads of people use them, so it definitely is an option!
Give a special ‘subscribers only’ incentive: subscribers get a discount to xyz, get a sneak peak into the new program / the book release. Only people who are on your email list will get the benefit of whatever it is that you chose. I often see big companies do with a newsletter sign up and for example a 10% discount off the first order.
Join forces with someone (not sure how GDPR complaint this is, definitely need to make sure!) I have heard quite frequently already with online conferences or online events or even just a collaboration with someone that the collected leads will be shared across all participants. This definitely might be a sweet and easy way to add a lot of leads to your list especially when the other person already has a great visibility online.
Host a giveaway: Something that I also have done before (I think when 1,000 people joined my facebook group), where I did a giveaway of several different prices (my services, courses from other people, …) and to enter the giveaway you had to enter your email address and joined my list. Personally I think it’s a nice way to add people to your list - just not the most sustainable as you will frequently give away stuff for free! This bundled with #3 of cooperating with someone might also be a great way.
And of course my favorite way, because you lead with enormous amounts of value and everyone knows what they are in for:
A lead magnet / freebie: so giving something away for free in exchange for an email. I just did a whole blog post about it, so check it out here if you want to learn more about creating your very first lead magnet funnel.
All of those are tools that can be used to start your email list but also grow over the years.
Of course with any of the given options you can use paid marketing too (again, see this blog post to learn more!).
So now that we have people on our list, what do we want to do?
Nurturing our email list
Two different parts and pieces that we want to distinguish:
Welcoming new people onto the list and a follow-up nurturing sequence
So when someone joins your list chances are they don’t know quite as much about you. They might join because they saw your lead magnet and were interested or they hopped on your website and wanted to learn more about you! So this is a great opportunity to introduce yourself and what you do, what you stand for, who your clients are etc.
Let’s take the example of a lead magnet. Someone signs up for your lead magnet to receive the free guide / book / video series or whatever.
Obviously, the first email is about this specific freebie! You could add another call to action at the end of the email like „follow me on instagram / join my community / hit reply and let me know xyz“ but personally I think for this one email it’s all about the freebie. Make sure to have the same name in the headline of this email as the headline of the landing page, so people do know that this is what they wanted to receive.
For this kind of email sequence I will have around 7 emails that will follow. Mostly in 2 or 3 day intervals
The purpose of this sequence is: A) Let them get to know what you do, establish a relationship and B) see whether they are interested in buying from you.
So in the following emails I make sure to introduce myself, introduce some of my clients successes, introduce some fun facts about me, ask them questions & hope they reply and take the relationship a step further. I really always try to start a conversation because sometimes sending email after email seems really weird if there is never a reply!
What I also do in every email is provide some kind of value: send them a Facebook live I think they might like, a podcast episode, a wise quote or nugget I learnt and wanted to pass on, etc … always trying to relate it back to the lead magnet they signed up for because I already know that they are interested in this one topic.
Towards the end of the sequence I will sell to them or give them a call to action - different lead magnets I created serve different purposes, e.g. leading up to the sale of my course for „beginner entrepreneurs“ or leading up to my 1on1 mentorship for more established entrepreneurs, where the call to action is booking a call with me.
Very strategically I want to build out in advance what the purpose of this whole lead magnet and the following email sequence is so that it all works together and I never leave the lead puzzled with what we are doing here.
The every day kind of email
So once people are on your list, got your first few emails through the sequence that was set up. What now? Well, emailing your list on a regular basis would be great!
And with that it totally depends on what works for you. Some people send LOADS of emails and I guess their community enjoys it? You gotta see what YOU like (as in, how many emails do you like to send) and how many emails your community likes to receive.
From what I have experienced anything between 1-3 emails a week is considered fine. Again it depends on how valuable and on point your emails are. If it’s just junk or purely selling people will get sick of them reaaaally quick.
If it’s amazing story telling, great inspiration and awesome tips that are just needed obviously people will want to read your emails!
What do you want to share in those emails? Anything and everything! You could set ONE day per week where you are sending those emails or whenever you feel like it. You can share behind the scenes of your business, books you are reading, things that inspired you or you can share successes your clients had and how the people on your list can get this success too (by actually sharing tips and not just referring to your 1on1 mentorship). You can share things that you have written, articles somewhere or interviews you have given.
I think a good mix of story telling, teaching and selling works best!
To share some personal insights: Most replies to emails I do get when I share a super spontaneous thing that I wasn’t even planning on sharing. Something personal, like a personal pep talk I gave to myself or something vulnerable. Because people relate to this. So much online seems to be the perfect world and when we let people in on the secret that not everything is perfect, people really respond to it!
Let’s talk numbers: Statistics of your email list
So now that we are sending emails to the people that just signed up and regular, weekly emails… we are wondering ONE thing: How many people are actually reading those emails? And this could be a little discouraging at least it was in the beginning for me… until I did some more research and found out that I am actually not doing TOO BAD.
The very first email, e.g. the coupon code you are sending, the lead magnet you are sharing gets the highest opening rate - obviously! Anything above 50% is considered good. I just checked my opening rates for my lead magnets and I get around 65 to 70% which I am very happy with! (In the second email I send, I do put the link to the lead magnet again, just in case someone forgot to look at the first email)
Emails that follow in the sequence: Personally I am going for 40% opening rates, which I don’t always hit but on average that’s what I am looking for. These are fresh leads, fresh people, I have enticing headlines so yes. That’s what I want. But generally speaking the emails that follow in the sequence and the regular emails … anything above 20% is considered OK or good.
For the regular emails (called Broadcast on Convertkit), I used to get 30%+ frequently. Right now we are somewhere in the 20s. I don’t really know why, maybe it’s the season we are in but I am surely wanting to get this back up.
So don’t be discouraged if you see rates like this… literally at the beginning I thought everyone that signs up will read all of my emails of course they will, but that’s just not the case. And that totally makes sense, too because I am obviously by far not reading all the emails I am getting!
Improving our opening rates
Three things that come to my mind!
Experiment with headlines, look into what headlines worked really well, try variations, using emojis and A/B split testing of emails, e.g. with Convertkit where 15% is sent to email headline A and then 15% to B and then they wait 4 hours and whoever gets more open rates is the winner and the 70% left will only be send to the winning headline.
Experiment with how many emails you sent, maybe you are just sending way to many emails and people cant keep up with them or you sent too little and people don’t remember who you are! Personally my sweet spot is 1-2 emails a week and no more than this (except during launch times!)
Delete unengaged people from the list! Clean your list from people who never open your emails, why would they start now?
Two final thoughts on this topic.
YES, whenever you send an email people will unsubscribe and it totally hurts my heart, too! Especially when I really believe in this email and I put a lot of thought and time into creating it. But it will just happen!
Maybe the person moved on and is no longer focused on what you are teaching, maybe they are annoyed by all the emails they are getting or maybe they just don’t want to consume so much content right now.
So there are many different reasons as to why they might not want to read our emails anymore and that is FINE.
This does not mean that you should stop sending emails OKAY?
Personally I love to include my email list into my goal setting activities. So what I would sometimes do is say something like: This month I want to get X amount of people onto my list. Or I want to email my list X amount of times and get opening rates of Y.
Why do I do it? Because it’s easy to forget about our email list and not send them emails in like months and months … that sucks! Because maybe by then they have already forgotten who this person is and we got to start at the beginning of the nurturing again.
So do make sure to be consistent in this area of your business, too! And this doesn’t mean that if you haven’t sent an email in ages that you shouldn’t start back NOW. You totally should!
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