How to Explode Your Email List as a Beginner in 5 Easy Steps
So you want to start an email list?
Good call! With a conversion rate 3x higher than social media, email marketing is here to stay — and it’s about time you got a piece of the pie. 😉
However, when you’re new to email marketing, I totally get that the whole process can feel just a little bit daunting.
When you think of email lists, do a ton of questions run through your mind at rapid-fire speed? Things like…
“How do I choose a platform for my email list?”
“How do I get people to actually sign up for my list?”
“And what the heck am I supposed to say when I send out emails!?”
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry — you’re not alone.
However, I don’t want you to let this confusion or overwhelm stop you. My goal today is to help you ditch the overwhelm for good and start. taking. action TODAY to build up your email list. 👏
I’m breaking down the entire list-building process into 5 easy steps and sharing my best tips and strategies for starting, growing, and nurturing your list.
Grab a pen and notebook to jot down your ideas and let’s jump in!
5 Steps to Explode Your Email List
Step 1. Choose and set up your email list platform.
I’d say this step is where 90% of beginners get hung up. They spend days agonizing over this decision, comparing the features of aaaall the different platforms out there, watching tech tutorials to try to figure it all out… when what they really should be doing is taking action.
Action is what moves your business forward. Stagnation is the enemy!
In other words: just make a decision and move on. Yep, seriously. Don’t stress about it!
Most entry-level email list platforms (read: the ones that cost less than $50/month) have pretty much all the same features as one another.
In other words, all of the main email list platforms have all the functions and features you’ll need in the early stages of building your list. And if you ever outgrow your original platform and need something more advanced, no biggie — you can always move your list over to a different platform.
If you’re wondering, I’ve used ConvertKit (*affiliate link) for the past three years and I think it’s a really great platform for beginners.
ConvertKit offers a free 14-day trial so you can see how you like their platform, and you can sign up for the free trial right here. (*affiliate link)
Your action step
→ Choose your platform! Don’t get hung up here. Your platform is the least important thing to be worrying about in these early stages, trust me. So just make a decision, create your account, and move on.
Step 2. Create an irresistible opt-in freebie.
To grow your email list, you’re going to create what’s called an opt-in freebie — basically, a free resource that you give people in exchange for their email address. This can be anything from a checklist to a guide to a workbook to a video tutorial (and more).
If you’re curious, the types of freebies I see working really well right now are:
1. The Roadmap
In a roadmap PDF, you guide your subscribers through a step-by-step process to achieve one of their goals — whether that goal is to get more Instagram followers, cultivate a deeper sense of self-love, or spend more time with their family.
Here’s a roadmap example from Instagram guru Tyler J. McCall:
2. The Masterclass
A masterclass (also sometimes called a “webinar”) is a live or recorded video training centered around a specific topic. Masterclasses are generally between 30-60 minutes long, and are a great way to provide free education while also making a personal connection with your audience.
Here’s an example of a free masterclass that Haley Burkhead hosts:
3. The Quiz
Everyone loves a good quiz, am I right? Although it can take a little while to put together, a quiz is a fun freebie that your audience is sure to love.
When it comes to quizzes, Jenna Kutcher reigns supreme. Here’s one of the current quizzes on her site that’s super fun to take:
Contrary to what you might think, nobody actually wants to sign up for a masterclass or download a checklist. In other words, nobody wakes up in the morning thinking, “You know what, I really want to sign up for a free masterclass today!”.
They just don’t.
But what they do think about in the morning when they wake up?
Their goals. Their problems. What they want to accomplish that day.
This is why it’s so crucially important that your freebies help people solve a problem or move toward a goal.
Remember: They don’t want the masterclass or checklist — they want the solution that the masterclass or checklist is providing.
Your action step
→ Identify one of your audience’s biggest problems or goals and create a freebie to help them with it. For my step-by-step guide on how to create a freebie your audience will love, click here.
Not a graphic designer but want to make your freebie super pretty? No problem. To check out the affordable templates I use to design my own freebies, click here. (*affiliate link)
Note: Once you’ve created your freebie, you’ll also need to create a landing page for it. This landing page is where people will go to sign up for your freebie.
You’ll most likely be able to create a landing page or opt-in box within your email list platform itself, but if not, another great tool for designing landing pages is LeadPages. (*affiliate link)
Step 3. Write your welcome email.
Your welcome email is the very first email your new subscribers will receive from you when they sign up for your freebie and join your list. While your welcome email is your chance to make a good first impression, I also don’t want you to stress about it (are you sensing a trend here?).
Why? Because your welcome email can always be changed. A month from now, you can go back in and update it, if you want. It isn’t set in stone. Plus, it’s not like your new subscriber is going to sit there critiquing your welcome email. “Hmmm, she could have done a better job wording that bit…” (um, no one does that).
So just write the dang email and get it set up already! 😉
When crafting your welcome email, here are the four main sections I encourage you to include:
Thanks for joining my list! — This is where you welcome your new subscribers to your list and community.
The introduction — This is where you introduce yourself and explain how you can help them. Feel free to share a fun fact or two about yourself.
What they can expect from you — This is when you let them know how often they’ll receive emails from you and what type of content you share in your emails (more on this in Step 5 below).
The call-to-action (CTA) — At the end of the email, give your subscribers ONE action step to take. This might be to follow you on a specific social media platform, to hit reply and tell you about themselves, or to send you a message letting you know the #1 thing they’re struggling with right now.
See? I told you it doesn’t have to be crazy complicated!
Now, if you want to get a bit more advanced, you could create an entire welcome series — a sequence of 5-7 emails that gets delivered to your new subscribers over 1-2 weeks after they join your list. If so, I have a great guest post about welcome series right over here.
However, if the thought of writing that many emails all at once stresses you out, just stick with one welcome email for now. You can always add more later.
Your action step
→ Write your welcome email and set it up in your email list platform so that it gets automatically sent to new subscribers when they join your list.
Step 4. Promote your freebie in #alltheplaces.
Now that your welcome email is ready to go, it’s time to start sharing your freebie with the world.
This is another big area where I see newbie list-builders get hung up in. They either share the freebie once or twice on social media and then give up when nobody signs up for it, or they’re too shy to talk about the freebie at all and they stick it into a few blog posts instead (and still, nobody signs up for it).
The average consumer needs to see something 7-9 times before they’ll take action on it. In other words, people may need to see your freebie or hear you talk about it 7-9 times before they sign up for it. So don’t hold back!
It might feel obnoxious or uncomfortable to talk about your freebie over and over again across multiple platforms, but I promise you, it’s not. Plus, you’re coming at it from a place of service. I mean, you created this epic resource and now you’re giving it away to people for FREE. What’s not to love?
To get you started, here are a few different places you can start sharing your opt-in freebie:
On Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
In your email signature
On your website’s homepage
In your blog posts and sidebar
In a pop-up box on your website
… Just to name a few!
Speaking of freebies, I have the perfect thing to help you out with Step #4. It’s a free guide I created called 50 Ways to Rapidly Grow Your Email List TODAY.
In this guide, I break down my top 50 list-building strategies with implementation tips and real-life examples so you can see the strategies in action. If you’re serious about growing your list, it’s a must read!
Your action step
→ Start sharing your freebie errrrr’ywhere. Follow the strategies in my free guide to get the word out quickly and start attracting new subscribers on the daily.
Step 5. Send weekly newsletters to your subscribers.
Once you’ve completed steps 1-4, your email list foundations will be in place and your list will be growing steadily.
Next, it’s time to start sending out regular newsletters to continue building up the “Know, Like, Trust” factor with your subscribers.
A LOT of people stress about what to say in their newsletters and end up procrastinating for weeks (or even months). Don’t do that! Even a short newsletter is better than no newsletter, trust me.
Ideally, I’d like you to be sending newsletters to your email list on a weekly basis. Choose a certain day of the week to be your designated “Newsletter Day” if you need help holding yourself accountable and sticking to it.
To give you some inspiration, here are a few things you can write about in your weekly newsletters:
Talk about your newest blog post and encourage people to check it out
Share a story from your business or personal life
Teach your subscribers something (think of your email as a mini-blog post)
Bust common myths in your industry
Highlight common mistakes your audience is making
Share some of the things you’ve been loving recently
Share the story of how you got started with your business
Share some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned along the way
Give a behind-the-scenes look into a project you’re working on
Ask your subscribers for feedback on why they enjoy your business and what you can do better
The more you practice writing and sending newsletters, the easier (and less scary) it becomes. Don’t stress about it — just do it. I promise you’ll be a pro in no time.
Your action step
→ Send out your first newsletter this week. Even if it’s only going out to two people, that’s two people you have the chance to positively impact! 😊
What did I tell ya? Your email list doesn’t have to be this scary grey cloud looming over your head.
By taking a few simple action steps this week, your list will be up and running in no time — and you’ll be able to start growing, nurturing and profiting from your subscribers.
If you couldn’t already tell, the overall theme of this post is: Don’t sweat the small stuff, keep moving forward, and just do it. Email lists will only be overwhelming to the degree that you decide they’re going to be overwhelming.
→ PS. I’m holding you accountable to these 5 steps, babe!
Once you complete all five steps above, report back here and tell me how it went. If you have any questions along the way, you know what to do! Hit me up in the comment section below or send me a message over on Instagram.