The worst thing that you can do as a Creator is work hard.
Wait, that doesn’t sound right. There is nothing wrong with working hard, but you shouldn’t be working hard on the same things on Day 1,000 as you did on Day 1.
That still doesn’t sound right.
It’s like you build an ice cream shop. Since it’s you at the beginning you’re doing everything.
From standing outside with your spinning sign to making the ice cream, and scooping it into the cones. Because you don’t have many customers to start it’s not a big deal.
But over time and because you’re great at what you do, you get more customers. Things are starting to get stressful because you’re still doing everything, but now you have to do it faster and harder or people leave.
Because of this, the quality of your ice cream suffers. Fewer people are coming in because you don’t have the energy to spin the sign.
This is what happens to a lot of Creators because they don’t know how to effectively use email marketing and funnels to keep things moving when they aren’t around.
The truth is that there are no time zones. You don’t know when people are coming to your site. You don’t know when they are signing up for your mailing list.
And most importantly, you have NO idea when they’re ready to buy something from you.
And this is why an email marketing system needs to be put in place.
But how do you even get started with that?
That’s what I’m here to show you.
The 3 Paths to Getting Started With List Building
You’ve chosen your email service provider (ESP) and you’re ready to start building your list.
How do you do that? There are three main ways to build your list as a creator:
- Paid offers
1. Freebies / Opt-Ins
This is the most common route for Creators because, well, it’s been around forever.
When the Internet and email lists first started to get going you would get people to sign up by having a form and asking people to “Sign Up for Updates”.
After a while, people stopped subscribing because they didn’t care about updates on what you were doing. They wanted help with their thing.
So some Creator one day realized that her best bet would be to give something away for free to entice people to sign up for her mailing list. And it worked!
You’ve seen this before. “Sign up to receive the free PDF on…“
More and more people started to jump on this boat until everyone had a free PDF to give out. And like all things that become the norm, things went to shit.
You’d get excited to get the free thing only to find out the free thing sucked. There was no point in the free thing so that left you disappointed.
Some smart Creators caught onto this and started to up their freebie game while others continued to put out less than mediocre stuff. The main problem here is that there was no way to differentiate between the good stuff and the bad stuff.
But something else started to cause fatigue with this model as well.
The Sales Funnel.
Expect the Expected
The usual model for this type of funnel was pretty simple. Once you sign up for the freebie, you’re then put into a sales funnel. This is an automated sequence of emails that are meant to lead you to an offer.
They can be very effective, but just like the freebies, many people are getting used to them.
They know they are being sold to and that works well for the people who are waiting for the solution, but those who aren’t? The emails get ignored.
This is why you see people saying that you need very large lists to make decent money. But it also shows the problem with the next type of listing-building.
Newsletters are what Creators are turning to today and for good reason. A ton of people are signing up for newsletters that fulfill a promise.
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Because of this, newsletter subscriber lists are blowing up. Who wouldn’t want to jump on this train? Even I have a newsletter.
Newsletters are great at building trust and establishing your authority with your audience. The problem with them is that they aren’t great at selling.
Don’t be fooled by what some creators say. If you have 50,000 people on a mailing list, of course, some people are going to buy. But a newsletter with 500 subscribers is going to find a harder time, not because the people don’t want to buy, but because they don’t expect the newsletter to sell to them.
So if you want to make good money as a creator should you avoid writing a newsletter? Not at all.
You just need to understand how to set up a newsletter funnel. There are 3 types of these funnels:
- Passive. What you see a lot of creators have where they’ll link their offers in their newsletters without a sales pitch.
- Active. Where a Creator will actively pitch their offers.
- Choose Your Own Adventure. These are the types of funnels I teach in Feel Good Funnels. They are great because they start the sales process when the customer is ready for it. Not before. Not after. Just in time.
The most powerful thing about a newsletter is that it sets a rhythm of communication between you and your audience. So often Creators create a mailing list and then don’t email their audience enough.
That sounds crazy, right? You don’t want to bug your audience.
But here’s the truth and you’ll need to write this down. In fact, I’m going to highlight it.
Your audience WANTS to hear from you as long as you continue to provide value.
There are people in your life that you love to hear from and they often say things like, “I don’t want to be a bother”, and you roll your eyes because they are being foolish.
You can be the person that whenever your audience receives an email from you, they are excited because they know it’s going to give them something.
For some Creators, newsletters make that easier.
3. The Paid List
This is the least common strategy when it comes to building a mailing list and for good reason.
It’s not easy, but the payoff is immense.
This is when you only put people on your list when they buy something from you.
No freebies. No public newsletter.
They’ll get your emails once they whip out the credit card and I’m not just talking about paid newsletters. I’m also talking about when someone buys a book or course from you.
Now they’re on your mailing list getting emails from you.
Why would any sane person do this? Because people that buy from you are more likely to buy from you again than someone that hasn’t purchased anything.
The challenge is getting people onto the list, especially at the beginning.
And for that reason, I never suggest this strategy for Creators just getting started.
This strategy is usually done with paid ads but can be done through an effective content strategy.
Which Path Is Best?
This is the wrong question to ask simply because everyone’s business is different.
Understand though that there is a lot of crossover between all of them. Even if you do a freebie-style opt-in, that doesn’t mean you also can’t send out a newsletter.
Doing an opt-in can be a great way to vet your audience. It puts them through a filter of “I want to hear more about this specific topic.”
Newsletters kind of do that but even niche-specific newsletters are broad in that they aren’t address a specific problem.
However, if I created an Email Marketing Bootcamp, then I know everyone signing up for it is specifically interested in Email Marketing and how to be more effective with it. This can guide the rest of my emails and funnels that I put in place.
If you feel as though you haven’t fully nailed down your niche then a newsletter is a great start. You can write about a varying number of topics (within an industry) and see what resonates with both you and your audience.
What’s more important than the strategy is the actual emails that you send.
How to Get the Most Out of Email Marketing
There are a number of questions that people ask about email marketing.
- How many emails a month should I send?
- How long should the emails be?
- Do I email my whole list?
The answer is almost always…it doesn’t matter if the emails are bad.
If you want to email your list every single day then by all means go for it, but make those emails good.
If you only want to email them once a month then by all means go for it, but you better make those emails super good.
The key is to remember that there are dozens or hundreds of other brands emailing your audience as well. What can you do to stand out?
When they see your name in their inbox do they rush to open the email or do they tell themselves they’ll get to it tonight?
How to Write Effective Emails
There is no specific style of email that works best.
The ONLY rule is that your audience has to feel as though they got something out of it.
Some people believe this means there is always something actionable to be done, but that isn’t the case.
My best-performing emails are usually the ones where I am vulnerable with my audience. Letting them know that I fuck up just like everyone else.
Emails are your chance to strengthen the bond between you and them. If you’re doing your job correctly you’ll see that people begin to treat you as a friend.
You’re a penpal sending them another letter.