13 Creative Ways to Use Your Email List to Grow Your Business
Ahhh, email lists. Do you need one? Should you have one? What’s the whole deal with them, anyway?
Here’s the nub and gist of this whole “list-building” thing…
If you are a:
or anyone else with any kind of online presence
… an email list will be your best friend when it comes to growing your business, making sales, and getting your message heard.
Why is email marketing such a powerful strategy?
Because email is a direct line into your subscriber’s world. The majority of people check their emails every single day, and 34% of people check their email more than ten times throughout the day. In other words, your email subscribers aren’t likely to miss a message from you!
Compare that to a platform like Instagram where you spend hours trying to plan the perfect grid of photos, write the perfect captions, and figure out the perfect time to post… only to have less than 10% of your followers even see your posts in their feed.
With an email list, you won’t ever have that problem!
Besides being a direct line to connect and communicate with your audience/potential customers, there are lots of other benefits of having an email list. I’ve listed eight of them for you below; two that are a little more obvious and six that I’m guessing you haven’t heard of or even considered before — along with 13 creative ways to use your email list to grow your business.
My hope is that by the end of this post, you’re not only convinced of the value of having an email list as a blogger/coach/educator, but you’re also super excited to set up your list and invest time into growing and nurturing it.
(Pssst. If you’re in the “I don’t quite have an email list yet…” camp, I’ve included instructions at the end of this post for how to quickly set up your email list for free. Hang tight!).
The 2 Most Obvious Email List Benefits
These are the two major benefits most entrepreneurs think of when they think of email lists, and I don’t blame them: these are huge perks — both for you, and for your audience.
List Benefit #1. Your email list is another avenue for you to serve, educate, and inspire your followers.
You started your business because you wanted to help people and/or motivate people, and your email list is another opportunity to do just that. By sending regular emails to your list that are jam-packed with valuable content, you’ll be making a positive impact on your subscribers’ lives every single time you pop into their inbox.
Speaking of, I recommend sending an email to your list approximately once a week. If you can, send it on the same day and at the same time each week so that your subscribers start to expect — and look forward to — your weekly messages.
List Benefit #2. Your email list is the best way to sell your paid offerings.
Regardless of whether you sell digital products, physical products, courses, services, or something else, your email list will be your #1 sales generator when used correctly. Why? Well, when you send regular emails to your subscribers filled with free tips and value, you build up the “know, like, trust” factor with your audience — making them much more likely to purchase something from you because they view you as an expert, have a personal connection with you, and trust your suggestions.
13 Creative Ways to Use Your Email List to Grow Your Business
So, we’ve covered the two biggest perks of having an email list: 1) Serving your audience, and 2) Making more sales. Beyond that, there are lots of other ways you can use your email list to grow your business and make an impact on more people. Here are 6 more benefits to having an email list as an entrepreneur, and 13 creative ways to use your email list to grow your blog and business.
List Benefit #3. Your email list allows you to form personal connections with your audience on a 1:1 level.
The cool thing about sending out emails is that the recipients of those emails have the option to email you back. This can spark some really great conversations and help you form genuine connections with your followers and potential customers – and these sorts of relationships can propel a business for years (because they create lifelong customers who buy everything you sell, and raving fans who tell anyone and everyone they know about you and your business).
Here’s an easy way to encourage your subscribers to respond to your emails to get those two-way conversations going:
→ At the end of your welcome emaIL, ask your subscribers a question and encourage them to hit “reply” and share their answer with you.
A common question you might ask is something along the lines of:
“What are you currently struggling with most when it comes to X?”
Not only does this question spark conversation, but the answers you receive will give you valuable intel into what your audience’s biggest pain points are and potential products you could create to solve those problems.
When you receive replies to your welcome email, take the time to respond and share thoughtful advice, tips, and resources with your new subscriber. Your time and effort will go a long way in terms of building a relationship and helping you stand out in your subscriber’s mind.
Here’s an example of how I’ve done this in my own welcome email:
List Benefit #4. Your email list is an easy, authentic way to grow your social media following.
Just because email trumps social media in terms of sales, that doesn’t mean you don’t need social media accounts for your business or that you shouldn’t invest time into growing those accounts. You should!
But here’s the good news: the subscribers on your email list are the exact type of people who will also want to follow along with you on social media.
They joined your email list because they’re interested in you and what you have to say — and what better way to provide even more free value and form even deeper connections with those people than to have them follow you on your Instagram and Facebook accounts as well?
The more often you appear in front of your target audience across various online platforms, the more you stay top of mind (which is always a good thing).
Here are two quick and easy ways you can use your email list to grow your social media following:
Strategy 1. Add a few social media follow buttons in the signature at the bottom of your emails.
With most email service providers, you’ll be able to add these buttons to your email “template” so you don’t have to insert them manually each time. For bonus points, use your brightest and boldest brand color for your social media buttons so they stand out from the rest of the email and catch people’s attention.
As an example, here’s a peek at the buttons the Tone It Up ladies have in their email footer:
Strategy 2. In the “P.S.” of your welcome email, include a Call-to-Action to follow you on one specific social media platform.
Don’t overwhelm people with too many options (e.g., “Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!). Instead, make your CTA focused on one specific platform. This should be your core social media platform, the one you spend the most time working on and that you show up on regularly.
Here’s how Tyler J. McCall did this in his welcome email:
List Benefit #5. Your email list is a super effective way to drive traffic to your website/blog.
If you’re spending time creating fresh, valuable content to share on your blog every week, you want to get as many eyeballs on your blog posts as possible. This is yet another huge benefit of having an engaged email list.
Here are two creative ways to drive traffic from your email list to your blog:
Strategy 1. Whenever you publish a new blog post, send a “teaser” email to your list with a Call-to-Action to check out your new content.
The key to making this strategy work is to give your subscribers a compelling reason to click over and read your post. People are busy, and if they don’t see a clear benefit — “What’s in it for me"?” – they aren’t going to invest precious time into reading your post.
To get those precious clicks, you want to convey exactly what your subscribers stand to gain by reading the post (e.g., the problem it solves, the results it will help them achieve) and also what they stand to lose if they don’t read it (for example, they’re going to stay stuck in the same situation they’re already in or it might even get worse).
Strategy 2. In your welcome series, link to some of your best-of-the-best blog posts.
This is a great way to share value with your subscribers and establish your expertise without needing to create any new content. Chances are you already have plenty of helpful, foundational blog posts sitting in your archives just waiting to be devoured. Link to one or two of these posts throughout your welcome series, and use the same tips from above to encourage subscribers to click over and have a read.
List Benefit #6. You can use your list to build up your expert status and secure invites to summits, conferences, podcasts, etc.
There’s no such thing as “too much” publicity when it comes to growing a business, and establishing yourself as an expert is a great way to gain publicity. Being viewed as one of the go-to experts in your industry will help you secure invites to be interviewed on the most prestigious podcasts, summits, events, panels, magazines, websites… and the list goes on and on. As you can imagine, this exposure is great for business!
Here are two ways you can use your list to build up your expert status:
Strategy 1. Continuously share free tips, value, and content to demonstrate your knowledge.
Every email you send to your list should have an emphasis on value — yep, even if it’s technically a “sales” email.
Share tips. Teach a step-by-step method. Create a bonus PDF resource and send it to your subscribers as an unexpected gift. Whatever you can do to give away as much free value as possible.
Strategy 2. Share results, testimonials, and case studies (like, all the time!).
If you want to be viewed as an expert — which, trust me, you do — social proof is gonna be your new best friend. Every so often, go ahead and sprinkle a few testimonials from your clients and customers throughout your emails. Tell the story of one of your client’s transformations. Tell your own transformation story and how you got to where you are today.
Just a heads up: This type of social proof is great in any email, but it’s especially valuable in your sales emails when persuading a potential customer to take action.
Lexi D’Angelo is an absolute goddess when it comes to sharing testimonials in her emails. Here’s an example from an email I received from her recently — this “Client Results” section was at the very end of the email, after she’d already provided tons of value. If you were to scroll down, you’d see about 10 different results/testimonials from her clients underneath these ones.
List Benefit #7. You can use your email list to survey your audience and get feedback.
Everything you do in your business should be catered towards your audience — their wants, their needs, their interests, their personalities. And what better way to figure out exactly what your prospective customers want and need than by going directly to the source and asking them?
Here are three easy ways you can survey your subscribers to improve your products and business:
Strategy 1. Send out a validation survey before creating a new product.
In this survey, you can ask your subscribers questions like:
Is X a topic or area you struggle with?
How long has this been a problem for you?
What have you tried doing to solve this problem?
Have you ever purchased a product to help you solve this problem?
What would your ideal solution look like?
If you get the green light with your validation survey — in other words, it’s an idea people are interested in and a product they would likely purchase — you can go ahead and develop the product. And then, you guessed it, you’re going to launch and sell the product via your email list! (I love how this has come full circle).
Strategy 2. Segment your subscribers into different groups for targeted conversations and marketing.
A great way to segment your subscribers into relevant groups is to ask new subscribers what their skill level is and/or what topics they’re most interested in learning about from you. Give them a few options to choose from (for example, “Beginner”, “Intermediate”, and “Advanced”) instead of leaving it open-ended.
If you use an email list tool like ConvertKit (*affiliate link), you can set these options up so that they’re clickable links, and when your subscriber clicks on one of the links to indicate their experience level or interests, they’re automatically marked with certain “tags” and segmented into a specific group on your list.
Strategy 3. Send a post-purchase customer feedback survey.
No product you create will ever be 100% perfect, and there’s always room for improvement. When deciding what changes to make to your products and customer experience, again, go straight to the source.
Send out an automated email to your customers once they’ve had enough time to use your product and ask for their feedback. Link to a 5-question survey where your customers can share their thoughts with you anonymously, and then use this information to improve your offerings moving forward.
Here’s an example of a feedback email I received from Big Cat Creative a few weeks after purchasing one of their website templates:
List Benefit #8. Email lists aren’t just great for selling your own products… You can use them to promote other people’s products, too!
In case you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, I’m referring to affiliate marketing here. If you’re an affiliate for other companies’ products, you can absolutely market those products to your email list (in an authentic, ethical, properly-disclosed fashion, of course!).
This strategy is a great way to boost your revenue in months when you don’t have any launches or promotions planned for your own products.
Check out these three creative ways to generate affiliate income with your email list…
*Note: These first two strategies are relatively time-intensive, so I only recommend using them to promote affiliate products where the resulting commission is worth the investment of your time (i.e., probably not for a $10 product!).
Strategy 1. Run a promotion for an affiliate product.
This will be similar to a promotion or “launch” you would run for one of your own offerings. Make the promotion time-sensitive and offer a special bonus for people who purchase within the given time frame. Send a series of persuasive emails to your list highlighting the problem that the product solves or the result it will help them achieve, why you love it so much, and then giving them clear instructions on how to purchase it (and snag the special bonus).
Strategy 2. Create a sales funnel for an affiliate product.
A sales funnel is an automated series of emails with one big goal in mind: taking people on a journey that ends with them purchasing a specific product. A typical sales funnel includes 5-8 emails that are spaced out over 1-3 weeks, and is a mixture of value-focused emails, soft pitches, and hard pitches for the product.
Just like you can create sales funnels to sell your own offerings on autopilot, you can do the exact same thing to promote and sell products you’re an affiliate for. Once someone joins your list through a relevant freebie, add them to an automated sales funnel series where you promote a product that will help them take their results to the next level.
Strategy 3. Include affiliate links in your opt-in freebies (and your newsletters too, if you like!).
I love adding links in my freebies to products and resources I’ve used myself and highly recommend for my audience. And if those happen to be affiliate links, even better! By sharing these links, you help your subscribers find the exact tools, products, and resources they need to succeed with their goals and get the results they want, while also making a bit of extra money for yourself. It’s a win-win!
As you can see, your email list is good for so much more than just selling your products and educating your subscribers.
When you implement the strategies above, your email list will become not just an asset to your business, but the entire backbone of your incredibly successful, wildly profitable blog and biz.
To recap, here’s a list of all 13 creative ways to use your email list to grow your business:
At the end of your welcome email, ask your subscribers a question and encourage them to hit “reply” and share their answer with you.
Add social media follow buttons in the signature at the bottom of your emails.
In the “P.S.” of your welcome email, include a Call-to-Action to follow you on one specific social media platform.
Whenever you publish a new blog post, send a “teaser” email to your list with a Call-to-Action to check out your new content.
In your welcome series, link to some of your best-of-the-best blog posts.
Continuously share free tips and content to demonstrate your knowledge.
Share results, testimonials, and case studies.
Send out a validation survey before creating a new product.
Segment your subscribers into different groups for targeted conversations and marketing.
Send a post-purchase customer feedback survey.
Run a promotion for an affiliate product.
Create a sales funnel for an affiliate product.
Include affiliate links in your opt-in freebies and newsletters.
Which of these 13 strategies will you be trying out? Do you have any other creative strategies for using your email list to grow your business?
If you don’t have an email list yet but you’re scrambling to set one up after reading this post — I got you! You can start your list today by clicking the link below to get a free 14-day trial of my favorite email service provider, ConvertKit.
→ Click here to claim your free 14-day trial! (*affiliate link)
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