The Art of Email List Building from Zero to Hero

Email List building attracting followers

Part 1: What’s an Email List and Why do I Need One?

Having an email list is important. If you want to build a profitable blog or business, it isn’t enough to just have a great message, product or service. In fact, you can be the best in the world at what you do, yet if no one knows about you, then they can’t buy from you. When you’re just starting your business, chances are you won’t have a ready-made network of potential customers eager to see what you have to offer.

That’s the frustration many people experience wanting to take their blog and their business to profitability. They have a product or service they want to share with others and a talent they want to get out into the world, and they don’t know where to find or connect with the people who need them. 

An Email List is a Great Business Asset

One of the most valuable marketing assets almost every profitable business possesses is a targeted email list. This is one of your best resources for nurturing the all-important relationships with potential and current customers and clients.  Before you spend excessive amounts of time on trendy marketing tactics, focus on growing your email subscriber list as a priority. Whether you’re launching a new business or looking to grow your current one, a high-quality, relevant email list will help you achieve your goals. 

In this series, you’ll learn exactly what you need to do to build a targeted email list from scratch. You’ll learn to put automated systems in place to attract potential clients on a consistent basis. You’ll discover the best ways to find your ideal subscribers, as well as how to entice them to provide their email details. By the end of the series, you’ll have a detailed plan to use to grow and email list to get your business on track and achieve the results you want.

Your email list, even a small one, is the most important asset in your business.  It is critical to building and nurturing relationships with your audience and potential clients. An email list is your main way to keep in touch with your prospects, customers, clients, and other people you serve.

As you attract people to subscribe to your list with offerings of value that answer their questions and solve their problems, you build a list of followers who are interested in your work and want to know more about what you have to offer. An email list opens the door to meaningfully communicate with your prospects and customers directly, sending them the information they want. The valuable content you send to your subscribers then establishes the know/like/trust factor that is so crucial to growing a loyal following of people who buy what you recommend.

Since email marketing costs are low or even free, you don’t need to make a huge investment to get started. Some people begin with friends and family on a list but you can do much better than that. In this series you’ll learn the key steps you must take to build your list from scratch, and you’ll set realistic goals for your list building, so you make sure and steady progress.

Build an On target email list 
arrow hitting a bullseye
Start from Scratch to build an “On Target” email list

What is an Email List?

Think of an email list as your virtual contact list. It’s a collection of names and information about people who have subscribed to your list. It is especially important because you have ready access to the information about each subscriber. However, it’s important to use the information only for the purposes you state when asking for that information. This is to protect people’s privacy. Never pass on the data you collect about your subscribers to others. You should feel privileged that people have chosen to share their contact information with you so make sure you look after it.

Why Email Marketing?

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to market and grow your business. Your audience is the people who are interested in what you have to say and how you can help them. Email marketing is your way to communicate with them.

Here are a few key reasons to use email marketing in your business:

You gain the opportunity to become a thought leader. Your audience has shown interest in your business, which is why they subscribed to your email list. This means they’re more likely to open and read your emails, and look to you as a thought leader in your area of expertise.

Email marketing can be more effective than marketing via social media. Let’s say you have a Facebook business page where you have a lot of followers. While that’s great for your business, you don’t actually own the information about your followers, Facebook does. For that reason alone, an email list is crucial to your business because it’s something that belongs exclusively to you.

Communication helps to build your brand. Your customers are easily overwhelmed with the amount of information and advertising in their social media feed. By marketing via social media, you’re fighting with the millions of businesses using social media daily. With an email list, there’s no fighting for your audience to see your content. You can use an email list to communicate directly with your subscribers.

You can take it with you. If your whole business disappears tomorrow, your list is there to stay. If you change direction with your business or start a new business, you can use that same email list. Remember, it’s your privileged client list.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have, you will benefit from an email list. It’s a crucial part in marketing your services and products.

What Do You Use an Email List For?

There are limitless ways to use an email list. Here are some key uses for your list:

  • Nurture relationships
  • Get to know your audience
  • Collect feedback
  • Share status updates
  • Advertise new products or services
  • Stay in touch with your clients
  • Provide education
  • Promote content from your blog or website
many cartoon images depicting a wide variety of people following one person through email.
Build Relationships with your Followers

What Are You Waiting For?

There are a variety of reasons people wait to build an email list. It’s important to understand that there are some mindset hurdles you have to overcome to commit to email marketing.

Here are a few:

Fear of technology. Perhaps the biggest reason is fear of the technology. But don’t worry; most email service providers offer training videos and support desks to help you, along with templates that make creating beautiful emails easy. You can also find YouTube videos to take you through the set-up.

Not sure what to write about. This is an important one. You don’t want to send an email just to send an email. It needs to be well thought-out, provide useful content, and include an enticing call-to-action. If you’re not sure what to write about, sign up for emails from your competitors and see what they send out. Better yet, ask your audience what type of information they’d like to receive from you. It’s okay to keep it simple when you’re starting out. Remember to provide information your audience wants, not what you think they want. We’ll be giving you some help with this later on in the course.

Time commitment. It happens to the best of us. We become too busy working ‘in’ our business rather than ‘on’ our business. You can’t expect your business to grow if you aren’t taking advantage of email marketing. Think strategically about where you want your business to go and plan for that. We’ll talk about how you prepare the content of your emails in a later module. That way, when work gets busy, your emails will send on autopilot.

5 Benefits for Building your Email List Right Away.

How to Start and Grow Your List

When you start to grow your list, it’s okay to start small. You might start with only friends and family who have expressed an interest in your business.

Here are a few things you need to start your list:

  • A clear picture of your ideal subscriber – 
    What is an ideal client? Who is my content for? You cannot be the answer to everyone.
  • An email marketing system or CRM to capture contact information and send emails – there are many that start out free and as you grow move to paid. MailerLite, MailChimp, ConstantContact, ActiveCampaign
  • An enticing lead magnet to motivate people to share their email address – From Free to Profits is a great place to start! You do want to make money in your business!
  • A high-converting opt-in page where people can sign up for your list
    There will be more help with this step on
  • Consistent, valuable, and relevant email content to nurture relationships with your list. A nurturing welcome series and more!
  • Steady traffic to your opt-in page and forms
    More help with traffic later. Join the Facebook Visibility group!
illustration of two email letters

Review Where You Are with Your Business Now

Before we dive in completely over the next few articles, it’s important to take stock of where your business currently sits in this process.

Take some time and answer these questions:

  • Do you have an email list?
    • How responsive is it?
    • How have you collected it?
    • How regularly do you interact with it?
  • How will having a list of relevant and interested people change your business and your life?
    • What will you be able to do in your business when you have a targeted list that you can’t do now?
    • How will you be able to help more people?
    • How will it change how you make your offers?
    • How might it help with income generation?
    • When you increase your income, how will this change your life?

Set Realistic Goals for Building Your Email List

To keep yourself accountable and to make email marketing a regular activity for your business, it’s important to set some goals.

You need to be realistic in your goals, otherwise you’ll get discouraged and give up before you really get started. Building a list requires focus, determination, and consistency.

What makes a list valuable? It’s not the size. Big numbers aren’t the goal when you’re growing your email list, unless you are mass-marketing a product. What’s relevant is that you have an engaged, targeted list of people who actually want to hear from you.

How much time does it take to build a list? If you’re setting up an email list from scratch, don’t expect it to reach 1,000 subscribers overnight. Experienced entrepreneurs who focus on the activity of list-building will allow roughly 3 months to get to that point, if they work consistently on driving traffic. Give yourself a timeframe that fits with your available time, set up the systems, and do what it takes to put list-building strategies into action.

Why do you want a list? Examples of list-building goals differ for different types of businesses. It’s important to start by identifying the primary need your email list will address for your business.

First, commit to the setup of your list and the actions needed (which you’ll find in this course). Then identify specific results you want for your business.

You may want to build a list of:

  • Potential students for a course you want to teach
  • Patients in your practice who you want to retain or educate so they stay healthy
  • Customers who would benefit from your new product or service
  • Potential coaching clients who need one-on-one help
  • Current customers so you can keep them coming back and buying more
  • Customers who have purchased your products or services in the past
  • Potential leads or business partners
  • People who may want to represent your brand or champion your idea
  • Customers who have shopped online or in your brick-and-mortar store
  • Highly engaged subscribers who often reach out to you for help

Regardless of the type of business you offer, email marketing is a great way for you to stand out to your audience. By creating an email list, you are connecting with some people you already know and adding new connections to grow your email list. They are eager to receive your emails and will begin to see you as the expert in your field.

If you’re not building an email list, you are missing out on the opportunity to have a list of prospects, customers, and clients who want to know about your products and services.

Don’t let fear or a negative mindset ruin this opportunity to grow your business in a surefire way.

Be sure to watch for Part 2: Defining your Target Audience coming soon.

Follow this series to establish your email marketing list.

5 Benefits for Building your Email List Right Away

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