About Your Small Email List


Your permission-based email list is your most powerful asset in marketing your work. If you are just beginning your journey to create reach for your work, you may feel frustrated and impatient about the difficulty of growing a permission-based email list. You may wonder if there is some magical approach to this that other people know and you haven’t figured out yet. I don’t think there is! However, I do have a few ideas for you that you may not have tried yet.

Stay connected to the people you meet at in-person events. Every single time you speak in front of an audience, you have an opportunity to build a connection. Whether you speak to a small group of 15 or to an audience of thousands, you can either have that one-time chance to add value, or you can look for a way to provide lasting value. Simon Bailey is a speaker I met at a conference in 2013. I remember him because at the very end of his inspiring presentation, he asked all the people in the room to email him immediately in order to receive the notes from his talk. Across the room, I could see that as he paused, many of the workshop participants were doing exactly what he asked of them; we were all sending him an email in order to receive the additional value he was offering. To this day, I still receive Simon’s email marketing. A utility like Join By Text is an easy way to invite people to your list during a speaking event.

Do a list-building exchange with someone whose content is complementary or similar to yours. If you are just starting out building your list, it likely contains many people who know you already. You may be wondering how to get beyond the people who know you to new people. One way is to create a lead magnet (a free content asset of interest to your core audience) and ask two or three thought leaders in your space to offer it to their subscribers. In return, you can offer an asset from them to your list. In addition to helping others by offering their lead magnets in your newsletter, you can also cross-promote on social media to help each other reach wider audiences.

Invest in paid social to connect to new audiences who may sign up for your list. Modest investments on Facebook or Instagram boosts can grow the reach of your content far beyond your organic followers. Once you’ve created a compelling lead magnet, experiment with paid social to attract new subscribers. If you aren’t seeing the results you want, consider partnering with an agency with experience in paid social for a targeted campaign.

Launch your lead magnet like any other new product. While your lead magnet may be a free offer, it’s a valuable resource to your audiences. Our client, Bob Tiede, has created multiple lead magnets over the years to draw new subscribers to his work. In addition to creating free digital downloads, he also prints his resources and sends them to his influential friends, who then post about the resources. When those friends take photos with the resources and link to Bob’s free downloads, he draws many new subscribers. Over the last decade, Bob has attracted over ten thousand news subscribers worldwide through this approach.

Partner with other thought leaders in your space for a free event. Free online events can be an effective way to grow your list faster, especially when you partner with others. When you partner with others, there’s a multiplying effect because you each promote to your followers and attract a wider audience. Make sure it’s clear that when people sign up for your event, they are giving you permission to add them to your email list.

While your list may be small, you have the potential to grow it over time. Keep showing up with value, and you’ll attract the people need the value you’re offering.


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Becky Robinson

About Becky Robinson

I am an entrepreneur who is energized by creating opportunities for others. When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, running, and reading.