Building your email list is the most fundamental component of building your online business. Every successful online business has a list of email subscribers.
Because your email list is an asset you control. Google can change their algorithms, Facebook can change some code but your list lives on and you own the relationship with your subscribers regardless of what trends and changes the internet goes through.
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This is very powerful.
In this guide you will learn how to build your email list, what to send your email list after you build it, how often you should email them and ultimately how to build a relationship with your list so they will know, like and trust you and buy your products when you launch to them!
So here's how this breaks down.
Once someone on your email list buys something from you, you will end up with two different lists:
The Leads List is a list of all the email subscribers who haven’t unsubscribed, they love you, they like you but they haven’t purchased from you yet.
One of your goals will be to move as many people over from the Leads List to your Buyers list.
Why do you want to do this?
Because once someone buys from you they are more inclined to buy from you again because they already trust you and already have demonstrated buying momentum in your direction.
So before we jump into the nitty gritty details here, I would like to start this section by saying the size of your list is not as important as the responsiveness of your list.
A highly engaged email list of 100 subscribers is more valuable than an unresponsive list of 10,000 subscribers because your smaller list will actually open your emails, click your links and buy your products! This is also why the relationship is superior to anything else.
The way you build an engaged list is to talk to your people in a conversational tone; don’t try to sound big and important.
Write as you talk, as if you were writing to a close friend.
Treat the people on your list like they really are your friends. Even though you're not actually a personal friend you want them to FEEL like they are. You want them to FEEL like they know you.
Treat them like gold and they will give you gold… it’s really as simple as that. Treating them like gold means giving them your upmost respect and honesty and it means delivering massive value in their lives that gets results. If you do that you will win every time.
Write as if you are writing to ONE person (even though you’re writing to more than one) because the raw truth here is you are entering into someone’s personal space. Our inboxes are very personal to us so treat your subscribers with respect every-time you click send.
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The other thing I should mention is as soon as you start publishing content, the people on your list will start seeing you as a celebrity.
It’s like if you published a book people would suddenly see you as an expert, as a celebrity. I know this is weird but it's true and it gives you more credibility and more ability to influence.
You just need to get out of your own way, stuff your insecurities in a little box and commit to publishing even though it won’t be perfect, will have errors and might make you uncomfortable.
The weird thing here is that people are interested in celebrities so you should pull back the curtain on some of the private details of your life. When you let people into your life, when you talk about your hobbies, your passions, or even just everyday mundane events like your parking debacle at Costco, that will create a bond and consequently give you a lot more influence with your peeps.
So how do we actually build our email list?
You really need three components:
Okay so that's great but what does this actually mean?
We’ve already talked about getting traffic to your website in the Getting Traffic section. And we’re going to talk about the Lead Magnet in excruciating detail in the Magnet Basics and Magnet Creation sections.
To get a better understanding why we’re using New Kajabi (as opposed to InfusionSoft (Keap), Click Funnels, Ontraport, ConvertKit, Teachable, Podia, Thinkific or anything else, go back and reread my rationale in Choosing Your Technology Platform).
There is actually a proven formula for building the kind of responsive list we discussed in this lecture.
Targeted Traffic + Irresistible Lead Magnet = Super Responsive List
This is the gold formula and it really is this easy to understand.
Now I’m not saying this is going to happen overnight (because it won't) what I’m saying is if you follow this formula and stick with it you’ll have a responsive list. And a responsive list can easily translate to revenue for your online business.
It all starts with Targeted Traffic. We talked about this in the Traffic lecture, but the idea is that you only want to target people who are in your niche. You are not trying to serve the whole world, you are trying to serve a segment of the world with a specific set of problems you can give results.
So if you send this targeted traffic to your site through Organic Social Shares, Facebook Ads and Word of Mouth then you’re on the right track. People are rushing to your site because your content is freggin’ awesome; reread the Website Section for details on exactly how you can create awesome content.
So when visitors arrive at your site, they encounter an opportunity to opt-in to your email list. In other words, every page of your site - your about page, your home page, your error pages, your blogs... everywhere - you have a small box or a popup. (we’ll talk about popups later so don’t immediately discount them because you find them annoying... there’s a reason you see them all over the internet... ) The point is you are presenting something of great interest to your audience and asking for their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.
How do you know what to offer as a lead magnet? Don’t worry we have an entire section on this, let's just assume at this point that you've done your research and you’ve created a lead magnet so compelling that it is almost impossible for your audience to reject.
When they join your email list you can use your auto responder email sequences to nurture a relationship with your people, build that relationship we discussed earlier and warm them up for the sale of your flagship product.
Again, we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of crafting the flagship product and everything in future lessons, right now I just want you to get a good idea of the overall process.
Before we go on, I just wanted to set some expectations of email list growth here.
Over the first few weeks and months your list growth will be a slow, arduous process without many results. This is the period where most entrepreneurs give up and quit.
But eventually you’ll start to pick up steam and you’ll move into 1 to 3 subscribers per day. As you continue to consistently deliver content and treat your list with respect your subscriber count could move up to 10 to 30 subscribers per day and more.
Now the interesting thing is people will unsubscribe, emails will bounce (meaning, they will be undeliverable for some technical reasons), and people will abandon emails. So in the beginning you might lose one subscriber per day. And when you’re averaging 10 to 30 subscribers you might be averaging 2 or 3 unsubscribes per day.
The key is to not let these unsubscribers affect your mood or demotivate you. Take it in stride, those are people you don’t want on your email list anyway because they probably wouldn’t have purchased anything from you in the first place (and they add to your total cost in terms of time and hosting on New Kajabi)
So you’ll start getting stats for the percentage of people opening your emails. The more people you add to your list the fewer people will typically open your emails. In other words, if you start a list with 100 people you will generally have a higher open rate than when you would with 1000 people on your list.
The other thing to keep in mind, is the freshest people you add to your list will have the highest open rates, they will be the most responsive. But the longer someone is on your list the less responsive they will become. So if you just add a bunch of people to your list but stop adding new people to your list, your list will get stale a lot faster than if you just kept pushing your list growth forward.
So let's start talking about actually writing the emails.
The key to writing your emails; to taking that blank canvas and building something awesome is to focus.
One of the ways I did this is I set a timer for 50 minutes and I turned my phone to airplane mode, disabled all notifications and just got in the zone for 50 solid minutes of deliberate work. It doesn’t matter if for the first 15 minutes my page is still blank, without the internet or any distractions I’m still in a better place than if I had all those distractions chewing into my productivity.
Then I take a break for 10 minutes. I walk around. I get a glass of water, or green tea or coffee and I even do jumping jacks.
Then I jump back in the zone, no distractions again for 50 minutes. Set the timer on your smartphone (just make sure it’s in airplane mode) and focus and force yourself to write – and when you get stuck you just keep writing anyway.
For me, listening to classical music or hip-hop instrumentals really gets me zoned in.
In the beginning it will be tough to force concentration like this but eventually it will become a habit.
You’ll notice that after doing this for a few weeks, you will be amazed at what you created. What I've just shared is an effective method that has truly helped me crank out great emails.
Remember, just be yourself, talk in your own tone, use stories, share your personal stories and just make it your goal to delight and wow your email subscribers with awesome content that can give them real substantive results. You're goal should be to get them results immediately after they read your emails.
Now let's move into popups.
You probably think they are annoying but the funny thing is they actually work.
According to Email Service Provider Mailchimp, adding a popup form on your website to collect leads increases email list build by 50.8%. There were also similar studies conducting by Aweber and other major Email Service Providers.
The reason popups make us feel so icky inside is because we’ve all seen popups done wrong. I’m here to show you if you’re doing it right, it can be a valuable tool for delivering massive value to your subscribers.
So when you build your email list, your email system will allow you to do two things:
To maximize subscriber responsiveness, you'll create follow-up campaigns so you can have a list of pre-canned, well written, high value emails that are scheduled to drip into your email subscribers inboxes over an extended period of time. You can send once every week at 9am EST (usually the best time in the U.S.) or whatever and you can schedule these out for as long as you want.
On my other blog, securitypluspro.com, I created a weekly email sequence that spanned an entire year. I mean think about it: 52 emails dripping high quality weekly content into your subscribers inboxes can enable you to make a huge impact.
The other thing I wanted to talk about are broadcast messages. Broadcast messages are one off emails that usually go out based on some announcement or special discount you have for your list.
So here’s how to maximize your list responsiveness:
Your first three emails must be your highest value emails in your entire sequence. Why? Because this is your chance to create a great first impression.
So I’m going to help you out here.
One of the reasons people have such a hard time keeping people on their email list and generating revenue from them is they just don’t know how to be themselves over email.
Earlier I hinted that you need to be yourself but that’s hard to do right?
“It’s hard to let loose and let go when sending emails to people you don’t know.”
So you need to write in a way that attracts your readers to you. I’m about to share the secret for making this work.
In order to send the most awesome emails possible you need three things:
I’ll quickly explain what each of these mean in detail.
You need to decide how you want to come across to your email list. When you send emails you can share content like a reporter. Maybe you’ve interviewed people smarter than yourself and you’re relaying that knowledge to your list.
You can also share information from the perspective of an Adventurer. This is where you come clean and honestly tell your list you don’t know all the answers but you are inviting them to come along the journey to discover the answers with you.
Another option is to be a leader where you take your people from one awesome result to the next. I find this is one of the hardest personas to express for beginners.
And that’s why I’m suggesting the Reluctant Hero. This is when you basically let your people know that you don’t really enjoy being in the spotlight and don’t want a bunch of attention for the things you’ve discovered but you know the content you’ve found can change lives. So you are struggling to overcome your shyness to share your life changing content with the world because you know it’s the right thing to do.
How does that sound? Pretty cool right?
This is all about having a good personal story to share. You need to let your personal story leak a little bit into all your emails (but especially those first three otherwise your list will forget who you are and forget why they subscribed).
The key to making this work is your story has to show vulnerability AND connect to the product you ultimately will be selling. This takes practice to pull off correctly and you will mess this up in the beginning but that's okay - this entire business thing is an experiment anyway so have fun and don't be afraid to mess up a little!
So when I say you need to show vulnerability, I mean you need to share your weaknesses, don’t hide or gloss over them.
Why are you doing this? Because nobody wants to read from a perfect person! You want to be someone normal everyday people can relate to and the best way to create that connection and bond is to drop your facade, show your peeps you are a real person and relish those moment of awkwardness when you share your flaws.
The other thing I mentioned is you need to connect your story to your product. What I'm trying to say is that you want to share stories that relate to what you're selling, don't just tell random stories for the sake of telling a story. For example, if you’re selling an online course that can teach teenage girls how to be better horseback riders, share a memorable story of your first time riding a horse. Or if you’re selling an online course about dating for Information Technology Managers, share the first time you asked out a girl and how awkward it was when she rejected you.
Are you starting to see how this works?
The nice thing is these stories don’t have to be novels. Short anecdotes are sometimes the best. If you just moved from New York City to the midwest and hate it, share that experience. Or if you just went to the grocery store and found out they were out of milk share that. This is actually harder to do than it sounds but it is a skill that can be learned and the payoff for doing this is amazing... you’ll build a real lasting bond with your email list.
The other thing that’s super important is you want to be a little controversial in your emails. You don’t want to be boring and by creating controversy or taking a hard position on various topics you’ll split your fan base down the center. You'll very intentionally create people who HATE you and people who LOVE you. You’ll need thick skin for this but it’s super powerful because the people who HATE you will just unsubscribe but the people who LOVE you will be your fans for life. They'll become rabid supporters of almost anything you do.
The last thing that’s super important for cementing your connection with your audience is want to adopt an overall story arch that sort of ties all your emails together.
There are six basic story arc themes that have been proven to work.
Let's jump into them one by one.
Before and After is a story of your personal transformation. Weight loss is a great example for this. Basically, you want to show in the beginning you were fat, broke, stupid, embarrassed, shy or whatever and then now you are thin, wealthy, smart, confident,
Lost and Found is where you tell the story of how you had everything, life was awesome, things were grand but then you lost it all because of some unexpected hardship... and then you found it. You found something better.
Us Vs Them goes hand in hand with being controversial. You create a common enemy and rally your team against them. I wouldn’t recommend this approach in many cases but it is very effective. There are some creative ways you can pull this off without being too offensive but it does work.
Surprising Discovery is when you discover something and you just can't wait to share it with everyone. If you have a genuine discovery and it aligns with what your people care about this can be a very powerful technique to increase engagement on your email list.
Secrets Sharing is exactly what it sounds like: everyone wants to know a secret and if you have a secret to share people are going to want to know what it is. If that secret can truly provide awesome value in your audiences lives then it becomes even more powerful and can be an excellent way to move people through your sales funnel process (we’ll talk about Sales Funnels in a later lecture)
Finally, Testimonials are the best. We’ll talk about how to get testimonials later. You might be wondering how do I get real testimonials for a product I haven’t even built yet!?
Yes, don’t worry that’s where the Beta lecture comes in. Again, we’ll get that in a future lecture!
Here are excerpts of the exact emails I sent to my mailing list for my SecurityPlusPro cybersecurity business line.
I actually was going to just paste each of the entire emails into this post but some of the emails are long and, well this post is already getting unwieldy. So... if you want to see the entire thing just join my email list by clicking the button at the bottom of this post and remind me to shoot you the emails. I'll send them all as a handy zip file so you can study them.
Here's the first one I sent:
and the next day I sent this one:
And the next day, I had New Kajabi automatically drip out this email:
And then I sent this one out. Notice how I took on the "Reluctant Hero" persona here.
Then finally I sent this one out. There's a lot of science and sales psychology that I'm working in these emails (which I can't get into right now) but I just wanted you to get a big picture view of how I have successfully implemented the email strategies I'm teaching you.
Notice the way I write and try to emulate my style based on the concepts you’ve learned in this lecture.
For example, notice how each email connects into the next email to keep people reading and anticipating the next one. And notice how I’ve let my personality bleed into everything and I’m not trying to hide anything.
Eventually you’re going to notice that you’re going to run out of stuff to say.
But this is where things get awesome.
"What will happen is in the beginning people will want 80% content and 20% entertainment but as you continue to build trust, and deliver value the amount of content they want will actually drop. People will want 20% content and 80% entertainment!"
When you really understand this paradox magic starts to happen.
Remember, when this switch happens your peeps will already know like and trust you and they will switch over to anticipating your next email like the next great episode of Grey’s Anatomy!
The key to making this work is to send these little entertaining-this-is-what-happened-to-me-at-the-grocery-story type emails every single day.
These emails will be 80% entertainment, 20% results changing content and you'll be sending it off daily.
Guess what will happen? Awesomeness.
For example, the next time you take a vacation to Walt Disney world, share that in your email.
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Or if you got promoted at work but then fainted in your bosses office and had to be wheeled out in a stretcher (true story happened to me) then share that!
What made you laugh hysterically yesterday? Share it! Even if you don’t think anyone will get it. Share it anyway!
The point is to just be you and enjoy it and you’ll bond with your list and eventually make a lot of money in the process.
We’ll talk about the money part later I promise :)
Full transparency here, I love being up front with you guys...
When you signup through this link I will receive a small commission since I am an affiliate for New Kajabi (and almost every other link on this blog). Using affiliates is actually a smart way to create a reliable stream of income on the side as you build your business. For this reason, I'll show you how to become a New Kajabi partner so you can get in on this awesomeness later.
But here's what I need you to do today:
Log into New Kajabi click over to the “Marketing” > “Email Campaigns” and put in your business address. If you don’t have an address yet you could use your own address but I highly suggest creating an LLC and using a P.O. Box or something similar for your address. LLC’s will give you an extra layer of legal protection that sole proprietorship simply don’t provide.
Once you setup your business address you can start building your email campaign.
If you click the Kajabi logo in the upper left corner of the screen and then click inside the little search box at the top of the main page and type “campaign” you’ll see “Email Campaigns”.
Click that, then click “New Email Campaign” in the upper right corner of the screen to get started.
You can then click “Email Sequence” to begin creating a list of pre-written emails that can be triggered by a specific event.
Alright so that's it.
Try to remember everything we talked about in this lecture.
Take note of the differences between a Leads List and a Buyers List and the three components of an email list (targeted traffic, opt-ins, and lead magnets).
We covered a lot of ground in this training so don't feel bad if you need to reread this one 2, 3 or even 4 times. It will be good for you to do so!
The only thing I want you to do right now is to login to New Kajabi and create your first email campaign. I just want you to see how easy it is and in the next lecture we will drill into “Strategic Blogging”!
Glance back over this lesson and write down two things you never really considered before going through this training. Did you have any eureka moments? Be sure to share in the comments and come back next week as we explore Strategic Blogging.
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