So, you have this daydream that you can grow an online business and live financially free.
This the daydream that helps you get through your day job and gives you hope that one day you can live inspired.
Maybe you even have a website published and a few blog posts are written.
But, the whole grow an online business process is overwhelming to the point of decision paralysis and you just need to know what to focus on each day.
I know it does for me.
I have been helping other entrepreneurs grow their businesses for years.
But, every time I started to try and grow my own … frozen.
My mind was blank.
And, I just went back to daydreaming about it all coming together and actually happening.
But, you what the cool thing is about quitting and trying again?
Eventually, you get clarity.
Eventually, you get your mind wrapped around what you need to do each day and what the steps are on the path to success.
That’s what I want to give you.
The clear path. The actual steps. So that you can realize eventual success for yourself.
And, it all starts with building an email list.
I know that sounds ridiculous.
Like, the key to this whole clusterfuck that you have been trying to sort out is Hotmail?
The key to making the “build an online business” dream a reality is building an email list.
Why is an email list so important to my business?
Okay, so when you think of reaching out to a really good friend to see about getting together for lunch, you probably send her a text, right?
She’s in your contacts and you just send over the message right to her phone.
Well, an email list is basically an entrepreneur’s contacts.
It’s your book of business.
It’s a list of really good friends who have invited you into their world.
When you have news about something that happened in your life or you have a really amazing offer that you know your contacts will love – you can email them.
Your email list is a group of people who believe in you and know that you can help them.
PRO TIP ** If you’re not sure what your offer is yet – you can literally ask your email list.
Stay with me … this is freakin’ genius.
Let’s say you have 500 people on your email list and you’re ready to create an online course but, you’re not sure what the course should be about.
What do you do?
You send an email to your list and ask, “If I were to create an online course to help you with YOUR NICHE GOES HERE, what topic would be most supportive? Choose from the following …”
And then you create an online course around the option that gets the most votes.
If you want to go one step further, you use a tag in ConvertKit to keep track of who clicks which option and send a special email to everyone who clicked the option that got the most votes.
Your email will provide them with the option to buy the course you have created around the exact thing they said they needed help with.
An email list is a POWERFUL asset for your relationship building, authority, and revenue.
So, what’s the difference between an email list and social media followers?
Just for fun, go over to your Facebook page or your Instagram profile and take a look at the URL.
What is the first thing after the www. that you see?
It’s not your business name, is it?
It’s literally the URL of that social media platform.
So, what does that mean?
Basically, it means that the owner, president, board, executive team, etc of that social media platform have 100% control over your profile or page.
If they wanted to shut it down for violating their TOE – they could do it in a hot minute.
Hell, if they wanted to shut it down for no reason at all – they could do it.
This kind of dramatic consequence doesn’t happen often (although, I do know several entrepreneurs who have had their account shut down temporarily).
But, guess what does happen with consistent regularity?
These changes can impact your reach, your engagement, and ultimately, your bottom line – without any warning, at all.
And, guess what isn’t subject to any algorithm changes?
Your email list.
In fact, the only way that someone is removed from your email list is if you yourself remove them or if they opt-out.
No one else is involved in the relationship.
Just you and your audience member.
As it should be.
Email list building to grow an online business
Okay, so you now you know that any time that you have available in a given day to work on your business should include some kind of list building strategy.
For instance, if you’re creating content (video or written), you should be thinking about what kind of opt-in will level-up that content and how you will offer it.
On your “write a blog post” project list in Asana, you need to include a task called “create a landing page for opt-in”. Or, “create opt-in and sign-up box to embed in post”.
If you are creating Facebook share images for a day of posting – include at least one that links to a landing page or a blog post that includes an opt-in.
Running a boosted Instagram post?
Send the traffic to a freebie download opt-in so you can get an ROI on that ad spend.
Here are some of my favorite ways to stay focused on growing an email list …
Leverage the bio of all of your social media profiles
Anytime there is a bio or an about you option in a social media profile – add a link to a download page.
If you have a really insane offer that everyone wants when they see it – you could even buy a dedicated URL for it and point it to your opt-in page.
For instance, Brian Moran uses “www.get10000fans.com” for his download opt-in “How To Get 1,000 Fans In 7 Days”.
So, in his Instagram bio, he can drop that URL and it tell very specifically what people can expect to get if they follow the URL to his landing page.
Pin posts to the top of your feed
On social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you have the option to pin a post to the top of the feed.
This post stays put and doesn’t move down the feed when you add new posts. That means, that no matter when people land on your profile, they will see that pinned post.
Make good use of this valuable real estate!!
Pin a post that includes a call to action and sends people to a sign-up page.
Use Instagram posts to drive traffic to your profile … which includes a link to a landing page!
People scroll through their Instagram feed or hashtag search results looking for images that speak to them … that make them stop their scroll.
As an entrepreneur who is growing your email list, your job is to design images that make people stop and take notice.
Everyone loves the word FREE
So, create and share Instagram images that advertise “free download – link in bio”.
You can schedule Hootsuite or another social media management tool to share these images several times per week to build your list.
Use your Facebook page cover photo
At the top of your Facebook page, there is an 820 x 460 section of prime real estate that can easily and quickly be used to build your email list.
The cover photo image at the top of your Facebook page can be designed as anything that you want!
And, what’s more, Facebook even encourages you to use it by giving button options like “sign up” and “learn more” that can be linked to a landing page for an opt-in download.
Open up Canva and design a beautiful Facebook cover image that advertises your opt-in. Then, link the “sign up” button to the URL of that landing page!
Don’t forget Pinterest!!
I spend 1-hour each day creating new pins for my landing pages. Yes, it’s valuable time and 60-minutes is a lot.
But, it is 1,000% worth it.
The return that I see in my email list from this strategy is amazing.
Plus, it helps my account with the algorithm because Pinterest sees me posting brand new content every day.
Canva is amazing for making this process very easy and streamlined. Some pins do better than others, but I always get traffic and subscribers from the effort that this takes me.
Facebook and Instagram have stories now where you can share little clips of your behind-the-scenes life and business.
These little clips are also a great place to share images of your opt-ins to drive list building.
You can just share an image with a text overlay that says “Free Recipe Download – Link In Bio” and that’s a wrap!
Each time you write a blog post or create a YouTube video you absolutely need to include a link to a freebie download.
This is the download that bridges the gap between “learn strategy” and “apply strategy”.
The download will give your audience the tool they need to actually carry out whatever the content has taught them.
If you plan to publish one blog post per week – make sure that you plan to include one content upgrade in that post too.
Leverage your “about us” page
Just like you leverage the bio on all of your social media platforms, it’s important to leverage the about page on your website.
If you did a heat map study, I bet you would find that the about us page gets the most traffic of any other page on your site.
So, don’t leave people hanging after they have read your about page. Give them a clear call to action and make it feed your list building strategy!
You’re probably already thinking about (or, actually doing) a strategy for growing your social media following.
You’re posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and (hopefully) Pinterest in an effort to share your products and services with people.
My advice is to redirect all of that energy into leveraging your time on social media. Make it work for you! Turn those minutes spent designing and posting into email list subscribers.
Keep list building top of mind while you are working to grow an online business. Each person you add to your email list is a new friend who believes in you and needs your help!
What is the number one thing standing in your way of building an email list?