Email List-Building and Marketing

Topics covered: What an email list is, why you need an email list, how to start and build a list, and how to connect with and effectively use your email list. Length: 38:51.  See two additional videos, below class notes.

Class Notes

This is a great class for you, if you:                             

  • Don't have an email list, but thinking about getting started and you're not sure where to begin or how to proceed.    

  • You already have some subscribers, but you're wondering how to grow your list or utilize your list.

KEY TAKEAWAYS                        

What is an email list?    

  • An email list is a list of names and email addresses of people that have given you permission to email them updates about what you're doing.           

Who needs an email list?

  • Anyone who is thinking about building a business or a platform for sharing a     particular message.                            

  • For example, if you blog or are thinking about starting a blog; if you want to test an idea in terms of whether there's a market for the information/product/service; if you want to blend your training with other interests, and see if that's something that would receive a good response (if you need a group of people with whom to test your ideas); if you will be starting a business, or if you have a business you're interested in growing; if you're looking to reach a very targeted or niche audience; or, you're exploring options for additional income streams.                 

Why do I need an email list?    

  • Build a following of people that are interested in your services or products.    

  • Learn from your target audience – what you offer can be based on their needs.

  • Connect with your community – you can expand your community easily.    

  • Market your services and products.

  • Reach a larger audience.                        

  • Email marketing: $40 for every $1 spent, which is an excellent ROI, and your email subscribers are more likely to click on a link that you send them via email and purchase your products and services than if you share a link via social media.

  • Targeted – a group of people that have already decided that they're interested in what you have to offer.                        

  • You own your list – while you may have meaningful connections via comments on your website or on social media, you don't have the contact information for those interacting with you. However, your list is your own; you can download and export it to use as needed.                     

How to start an email list:

  • You don't need a website or business, but you do need a topic and way to collect email addresses.

  • A topic is typically an area of expertise, such as couples therapy. It can also be a project; for example, if you are moving across the country and want to provide information about your transition.

  • When you're starting the list, you can have a simple way of collecting email addresses, such as manually importing your subscribers into a Gmail list.    

  • Initial goal:  100 subscribers.                            

  • Before you contact anyone to ask them to get on your list, you need to know your content (what you'll be sharing) and schedule.

  • If you're already blogging, a blog post is an easy way to get started. You can send the blog post when you publish it.

  • If you're not blogging, you can do a monthly roundup newsletter, which can be updates over the month on your business, and can also include special offers or invitations.                            

  • If you are seeing therapy clients, and you are responsible for your own informed consent, you can include a section on signing up for your email list.

Goal #2 – 1000 subscribers:

  • This is when you can start thinking about automation, which means that your     subscribers, or potential subscribers, can sign up for your email list on their own, without contacting you or needing your involvement.                             

  • In order to set up automation for an email list, you'll need an email marketing service and an opt-in. An opt-in is an incentive, or a reason for people to subscribe to your list.

  • An email marketing service is a platform that allows you to automatically collect names and email addresses as well as create sign-up forms that include attachments. In this way, they can sign up for your email list and receive something in their inbox right away.                    

  • There are several email marketing services that have a pre-startup level, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact. Most of these are not complicated to figure out, but they will take few hours of familiarizing yourself with the features and options that work best for you.          

  • At this stage, you can create a link which will take people to a form where they will sign up to receive your blog posts, or monthly newsletter, as you move towards 1000 subscribers. You can also create high quality downloads as opt-ins; these should be relevant to your target audience, such as 5 Tips for Not Escalating with Your Partner (for couples). After someone clicks the link, your email marketing service will add them to your list, and deliver the download.                       

  • You don't need a website for starting a list, and even at this level, an email marketing service is more important than a website. You can generate a link that goes to a form.  The process is handled by your email marketing service. You can post the link on any social media platform and begin generating your list without worrying about having a website yet.                   

  • Once you have a website, you can choose to have people use the form to sign up for your list on your website. You can embed it on pages, or include it as part of your footer or sidebar.

How to build your list once you're in the automation phase:    

  • Blog posts – at the bottom of your blog post, include a “content upgrade;” this is a download that readers will receive by giving you their email address (signing up for your list).                    

  • Newsletter/Roundup – giveaways and special discounts are popular incentives for potential customers.                     

  • Free challenges – A free email challenge requires that people sign up for your challenge list, in order to receive daily challenge information.  Tips for a great challenge:

    • Specific, clear action steps

    • Short daily reflections/prompts

    • A cohesive challenge that builds from Day 1 through Day ?

    • Emails get sent out every day at the same time                        

  • Targeted opt-ins – downloads that will give your target audience quick takeaways and quick wins.

Once you get to 1000 subscribers, that's a really good time to start promoting your products and services, because you have a really good base for selling products or services. The next goal level is 10,000 subscribers, which is an advanced masterclass that can take some time and a few different strategies.             

How to use an email list:  3 Steps   

1.  Connect

  • Choose a schedule and content that you're sending on a regular basis. Your schedule doesn't matter, but I recommend sending an email at least monthly, so that your subscribers don't forget about you.
  • Consistency matters! This helps establish your credibility and expertise.
  • Be active where you're asking for opt-ins. Choose 1-2 social media profiles where you are the most active and make sure that you check messages and comments (no comment left behind).  Set aside several hours during the week to interact, so that followers know you're accessible.
  • Give subscribers exclusivity, such as a personal story or a look into your business that others won’t see.                        

2.  Create – It can be difficult to get out of our own mindset as the creator/therapist/writer, etc., and your subscribers can give you information you can use to serve them better.

  • Survey and learn from your subscribers so that you can offer what they need. This should be in balance with your vision for what you want to do and are interested in. If you get information that they're in need of things that you're not interested in providing, it may be a sign that you need to niche down, or a sign that you need to start blogging more on the subjects that you're more interested in, in order to attract a more suitable audience.
  • By asking your subscribers to help you by surveying them, you are enacting the Benjamin Franklin Effect, which is the idea that people like you as a result of doing you a favor. By asking your subscribers to complete a survey, this will cultivate kindness in your relationship with them – they're doing you a favor, but you're also offering a lot of information to them and wanting to serve them, which is the purpose of the request. Everything that we do, needs to be genuine and in the interest of service.

3.  Convert – “Conversion” refers to clicks on links that move from your website visitors to your list, or from your list to being paying customers.  It also refers to when people show up in your office as a result of your emails or online presence.

  • This all ties into you being consistent with your schedule and sharing your “gifts of knowledge,” as well sharing giveaways and special offers. Through your gifts of knowledge, you are nurturing your relationships with your target audience and connecting with them meaningfully. Through these efforts, you’re establishing a platform of expertise as well as growing a business (or the foundation for a future business).
  • There is a monetary aspect to building an email list – you can't build a business and get a return on investment if you only share gifts of knowledge. Once you feel that you've connected and surveyed, you can begin to announce or promote products and services to your list. A good ratio is 2:1 (give:ask), that is, gifts of knowledge:promotion. This can be higher on the giving side--whatever reation feels right to you.
  • In terms of return on investment and conversion, according to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing sees an average of 4300% return on investment for businesses in the United States. Depending on your target audience and the focus of your business, email lists can get 10 times or higher conversions than social media or other methods, because it is targeted marketing. Your subscribers have already given you permission to email them and they've already said (by signing up for your list) that they're interested in your area of expertise.


  • Having an email marketing system and consistency are the two most important things for email marketing success.

  • Pick a topic, decide one way you're going to promote signups, and decide on your schedule at the beginning of list building.

  • You need an email list because you deserve and audience. You have a message to share with the world and a service that will help people. Your email list will help you expand your services and reach more people in your local community, and it may lead to future endeavors that you can't yet imagine.

  • Reach out, then automating.

  • Connect, Create, and Convert!



Take action with the Email List Start Plan, found in The Library-->Resources.

A ConvertKit Example

My Story: From Blog to RTN