email list marketing

Email List Marketing for Beginners

May 17, 2024

 Did you know that email list marketing is a critical piece of your business’s marketing strategy? On average, emails have an open rate of 33%, which is higher than any other form of advertising or marketing. As you start to create your marketing plan, building an effective email list should be one of your first areas of focus.

A well-curated email list of current and target customers will make it easy to stay connected with anyone interested in your business. It will help you stay top of mind with your clients and customers, keeping them engaged and informed about your new products, deals, and anything else you want to share with them.

Getting started with email list marketing can feel overwhelming. I get it. I used to feel that way, too. But after years of working on my business, I am here to tell you email marketing is—and for years has been—the most effective form of online marketing, period. And it doesn’t have to stress you out! Your email list is how you build your business in a way that you completely control.

In this article, I’ll walk you through many of the common questions I hear (and I once had!) around this topic, including:

  • Which platform should you use? 
  • How do you get people to sign up to be on your email list? 
  • What kind of emails should you send? 
  • How often should you send emails?
  • Will people think you’re spamming them?
  • Is it really worth all the effort?

As a certified business coach, best-selling author, and your bossy big sister… I’m here to give

you the practical steps you want and the tough-love-truth you need to succeed with email marketing. 

Building Your Email List: Is It Worth It?

Email marketing is the most effective form of digital marketing. Most emails have an open rate of 33%, which is higher than any other form of marketing. Plus, you know people on your list are more committed and loyal because they’ve already raised their hand and said they actually want to hear from you! You have potential sales sitting right there on your email list. 

As a business owner myself, I am a control freak—and I bet you are, too! We don't want someone else telling us what to do. We want to control this thing ourselves. That's probably why you started a business in the first place. Your email list is how you have access to your customers completely and fully within your control. This is unlike social media marketing, where you're at the mercy of their ever changing algorithms and character counts and rules.

If you’re not cultivating an email list, you are losing thousands—potentially tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands—of dollars of revenue. So, yes, it takes a ton of effort on the front end and some ongoing upkeep. But your email list can provide stability and scalability for your business. Keep reading to discover how and why. 

5 Steps to Setting Up Your Email List

1. Choose an email marketing platform.

I know this already feels overwhelming, but this step doesn’t have to be hard. Your website may already be on a platform that has an email marketing component, so start there. 

If not, research other platforms like:

  • MailChimp
  • ConvertKit
  • Constant Contact
  • HubSpot
  • Infusionsoft

Each software has its own pros, cons, bells, and whistles. But the reality is you should use the one that is

the easiest for you to understand. If you don't understand it, you're never going to use it. So I want you to choose the one that looks easiest to you! 

2. Create your lead magnet. 

A lead magnet is something valuable that you create in exchange for someone's email address.

It needs to feel so valuable to them that they would pay you for it, but you're not going to ask

them to. You're going to give it to them for free! They just have to give you their email address to get it. 

As you’re brainstorming what your lead magnet could be, don’t overthink it. It can be simple, easy, or scrappy. 

Here are some popular ideas for lead magnets:

  • Exclusive video
  • Worksheet
  • Educational PDF
  • E-book
  • Masterclass
  • Notes from a presentation you gave on-stage
  • Quiz
  • 7-day challenge via email or Facebook

Practical examples of lead magnets to grow your email list

Let’s talk about some lead magnets I’ve created. When I wrote my best-selling book, Business Boutique, I listed tactical action steps at the end of every chapter. I also created a digital download a PDF of those action steps to incentivize anyone who bought the book to give me their email address in exchange for the PDF. I did something similar with my next book, Take Back Your Time.

Another example from when I was at Ramsey Solutions was an online calculator called Profit Potential. You could enter some high level numbers of your business, and the calculator would reveal how much profit you stood to make. You could tweak your costs, hours of work, products sold, and more to potentially increase that profit. You had to enter your email address before we revealed the totals. It was a very effective lead magnet because people love this kind of stuff! 

Now, it’s totally understandable if you’re not ready to hire a developer to create a tool for you. An easier example that anyone could do is an email series. I created a seven-day devotional to supplement my podcast, Get Your Hopes Up. This one is so simple: I wrote seven practical tips to help people stop feeling discouraged, and my email platform delivers one each day automatically. The key with offering an email series is to call it something that sounds more valuable than, here are some things I wrote. Use words like “challenge” or “devotional.”

Now that you have some ideas, start by creating a lead magnet in the format that you can create the most easily. As you can probably tell, for me, it’s writing. But I always make sure my lead magnet solves a problem—and therefore, provides value—for my target consumer. And whenever I talk about that lead magnet, I do it in a way that clearly presents what problem it will solve. Which leads us to…

3. Create an enticing landing page. 

This part is simple and even fun! Create a page on your website that contains these three things:

  1. A problem your target customer has
  2. Your lead magnet positioned as a valuable solution
  3. A simple form where anyone can enter their email address

That's it! You’ll set up the form component of this on your website or email platform. When they sign up using the form, the lead magnet will be automatically delivered to them and they become part of your email list. 

For an example of this, visit the landing page for one of my current lead magnets: The Speaking Business Starter Kit.

4. Drive people to your lead magnet. 

There are many ways you can drive people to your lead magnet. Here are some common methods:

  • In person at trade shows
  • Paid ads on social media
  • Organic posts on social media
  • Facebook or Instagram Lives
  • Presentations from stage
  • Podcast mentions—yours or someone else’s
  • Articles or blogs

You need to pitch your lead magnets every chance you get. That should be easy, because you're offering your audience something both valuable and free! 

So get comfortable talking about your lead magnet. Make sure it has an easy URL to remember and say. Especially if you’re a guest on someone else’s platform—your lead magnet is a way to pull people from their world into yours.

5. Nurture your email list.

Nurturing your email list simply means to take care of them. Talk to them. Help them. Add value to their lives. Send them emails that they care about.

And I know you’re busy, but you need to send them something beyond the initial welcome email that you write one time and is sent automatically when they first join your list. Otherwise, all the effort you spent getting your lead magnet created and up on your landing page was for nothing. You want to stay at the top of their mind. 

How often and what to send 

I email my list about once a week with something valuable. I view it as a letter from me. Sometimes it has personal stories, advice, inspiration, teaching updates about my business, or new things coming up. Depending on your type of business, you may offer promotions, deals, new product launches, and more. 

No one wants to hear from you every single day (unless it’s a limited series they signed up for, like we talked about earlier). That’s spammy. Some businesses send out emails more often, and some less. Find your sweet spot by paying attention to the rate at which people are unsubscribing. According to Mailchimp, the average unsubscribe rate across all industries is .27%. But it’s different for every business, and you can drill down into the average metrics for your specific industry here

If people are unsubscribing at a rate far higher than the industry average, it means your list is annoyed with you. Consider sending less emails at that point, and also think about how to make your emails more valuable.

Make sure that what you're talking about is what they care about.

Does all this take some work? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. 

In the last year, I’ve made over 50% of my revenue through email list marketing. When you use the process outlined above effectively, it has all the potential in the world for you. Do you want to sell something? Send an email. Do you want to build brand equity? Send an email. The bigger your email list, the more potential your business has to grow… every time you push “send.”

If you put forth the effort, you will be amazed at how much email marketing will help your business for every single thing you want to do.

If you are tired of feeling overwhelmed by marketing your business, I want to personally help you.

When you join my Goal Getters Club, I will coach you on email list marketing and setting the right goals. I’m also going to teach you the systems you need to make those goals actually happen. Learn more about working with me

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