One of the most frequent questions I get is, “How do you grow an email list from scratch?”
This is simple, but most people won’t do it. Send an email to personal contacts first: friends and family. Start with ten people, and email them individually from your “real” email account. The email should read like this:
SUBJECT: this may not be for you, but…
I’m creating some content about [your topic] and thought you might be interested!
Can I pass some stuff along to you?
Do not write anything after the question at the end of the email. Do not say thank you. Do not say “I hope you’re well!” End the message with a question, because this creates an open loop that is almost too difficult to ignore.
What happens if a person replies with a yes? Send them this next email. (You may not even need a new subject line. Just reply to their email in the same thread.) If you start a new email, just use the subject line below:
SUBJECT: two quick questions!
Awesome! Really quick, I have two questions:
What’s your biggest question about [topic]?
What blogs, books, or podcasts do you go to in order to learn more about [topic]?
Would you let me know?
If you think this is simple, it is. Simple things work. Start with ten people. It’s likely you’ll get at least two positive responses, which means you have a 20% opt-in rate.
If it worked once, then it can work again. Pick ten more people. Do the work.
Why send the second email? Because you need to make a habit of gathering data. Data is what a professional marketer uses to make decisions. In this situation, you are gathering “focus group” data so you can understand:
- The main challenge or question people have about a particular topic
- Who your competitors are
You must send that second email if they respond with a “yes” to the first. Do not deviate from the plan.
You can also use this if you’re getting ready to promote a new offer but want to give subscribers the choice of opting in. Here’s the email I sent to my list:
SUBJECT: I’m not sure if this is for you, but…
I’m starting a newsletter (print only) about all the secret (and sometimes politically incorrect) marketing things I’ve done to grow my business…
…and the insider tactics I’ve used to help grow some of today’s highest-paid thought leadership brands.
How open-minded are you about learning about how marketing *really* works?
If you’d like me to send you some info, click here:
Otherwise, hit delete or unsubscribe and I’ll disappear faster than a politician’s promise during a government shutdown.
The only reason I didn’t end this email with a question is because it was being sent to thousands of people. If I elected to have them hit “reply” I would be manually fielding requests for the next six months.
Instead of having them write me back personally I had them click the link (which tracked them). Otherwise the email would’ve said:
I’m starting a newsletter (print only) about all the secret (and sometimes politically incorrect) marketing things I’ve done to grow my business and thought you might be interested!
Can I pass some info along to you?
I can’t overstate how well simple things work in marketing.
I’ve hosted several workshops throughout the years. I’ve been known to “force” attendees to write these two emails on the spot and send them to their contacts.
There’s always resistance but those who follow through always get results. One lady had zero email subscribers for her business to start and ended up with 24 subscribers before the day was over. She just kept sending the first email to all her contacts individually.
You don’t need a fancy email marketing program. You don’t need fancy opt-in pages. Just start with these emails and gather the data you need.
If folks aren’t responding with a “yes”, that may tell you something about what you’re offering or how people perceive you and your level of expertise. Don’t take the results personally… just gather the data and go from there.
Get Your Copy of You Are the Brand Today!
My book You Are the Brand is available on Amazon or wherever books are sold.
You can also grab the audiobook on Audible here.