List building has been on my heart for a while.
On my heart, not my mind. So much advice out there around building your email list feels like it’s all about cold hard numbers.
Don’t get me wrong, I love digital strategy. But the bottom line is that your email list is made up of people.
It’s that human-to-human connection that gives email such power. Even with all the platforms out there, email marketing still has the highest conversion rates of any other marketing tool.
Translation? The people you send emails get to know you—you’re in their inbox right alongside emails from their Mom and notes from their friends. Trust builds up naturally, and that means they’re more likely to want to engage with what you create.
What about all your Facebook friends or Insta followers?
Social media is a great place to show up and make connections, but it’s important to remember that those sites are only ever someone else’s private playground.
The owners of those sites can change the rules at any time. Exhibit A, Facebook’s notorious algorithm changes, which make it harder and harder to share your work.
By contrast, you own your email list. You can take your list with you whichever provider you move to, and it’s totally up to you how you use it, tailoring your messages to fit your brand with no character limit, link restrictions, or image rules.
Building a Private Playground for Your Clients
So, email lists are one of the most valuable marketing strategies out there and the most effective way to build lasting relationships with potential clients and customers.
The million-dollar question on everyone’s mind is: How do you grow your list?
This circles back to that intimate connection philosophy. It’s precisely because of that level of trust you’re cultivating that you want to reward folks for coming into the fold.
To leave good feelings on both sides, it’s nice to honour that connection by giving something them in return for signing up. Effectively, you’re saying: “I value your time and trust, and I acknowledge that this relationship is a gift.”
You’re also giving potential clients who are new to your work a chance to dive in and get to know you better straight away—without clicking back through hundreds of archived blog posts or stalking you on Instagram (although, the ones who really like you will probably do that anyway ; ).
How to Figure Out What to Offer as an Opt-In Freebie
You likely have plenty of content already written that would be perfect to polish up into a freebie your Most Valuable Clients would love to receive.
Your freebie(s) can take the form of content upgrades in a blog post, a video series, a discount code, free shipping, or an ebook, among other options. Take a look at your blog analytics to find out what’s most helpful for people (and then make more of it!).
A great place to check out examples of the kind of gift that works well for new email subscribers is my own Vault.
Here’s the backstory: I got to a point where I’d created so many different thank you gifts over the years, it was starting to feel unfair to the folks who’d been on my list since the beginning. The original folks weren’t getting any of my latest creations and my newest subscribers had no idea of the valuable goodies I’d given away in the past.
I wanted everyone to have access to the great stuff I’d created over the years, and so The Vault was born: a digital library of all the best stuff I’ve ever given away.
Anytime I create something new, anyone on my list will also have access to it. (If you’ve also got lots of previous content gifts hanging around, you might think about something similar.)
If there’s one thing I want you to walk away with from this post, it’s this: list building doesn’t have to feel like a chore.
Done right it means getting to know an awesome community of people who support your business, love your work, and ask for more!
Your turn. Let me know in the comments how you want to build your list, or if this post left you scratching your head, leave me a question below in the comments.