I may earn a commission from the companies mentioned in this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Do you have a tiny email list, or barely have anyone on your list besides maybe your mom or your mom's best friend? Craving your first 100 subscribers?
No worries, because today we are chatting with marketing expert Theresa Heath-Wareing all about getting your first one hundred subscribers and having them actually be real legitimate subscribers, not your mom or your mom's best friends.
Today we’re going to talk about:
Now, if this is your first run with Theresa, you are in for a treat. She is an award-winning international speaker, TedX speaker, trainer, podcaster, author and business owner.
Theresa works with businesses, entrepreneurs and marketers to help them enhance their digital marketing and social media efforts. And today we have the privilege of picking her brain all about list building.
You may have heard from some people that email is out – it’s not working anymore. That isn’t true!
It’s important to have an email list because it belongs to you, as opposed to social media which lives on that other platform.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with social media! But you never know when they’re going to change the algorithm, or you might accidentally break one of their terms & conditions, which may leave very few people or no people seeing the content you’re putting out in the world.
This isn’t an either/or situation – you can use both social media and your list to get your content out in the world. In fact, that’s actually better. If you’re using both, there’s a better chance that people will see your content.
An email list is yours and you can mange and use it however you’d like!
Email can also be really personal – it doesn’t just have to be a cold, generic newsletter. You can write emails that allow you to have conversations with your members and it’s not a fleeting post – that’s a conversation that allows you to go more in depth in connecting with your audience.
You may have heard this before, but Teresa says the very first thing you need to do to get started building your list is know your potential customer.
That goes for any marketing, but it particularly goes with building an email list. You don't want to build an email list of people that actually don't care about you or your product or what you're talking about.
The way to ensure that you are building the right list is to know what your customers pain point is. Then use this to give your customer good content that they want as a reason to opt in.
People who are considering joining your list need a reason to opt in.
No one wakes up one day and thinks, “I wonder if this woman I don't know about has a website and an email list and how would I get on it? I'll go to a website and find that button to sign up.”
You need to make it easy for them and make them want to sign up for your list.
Usually we even hide this sign up button – it’s in the top corner or the bottom footer of your website, and it's really quietly going, would you like to join my email list? There’s no context or content here – we don’t even make it sound good!
Teresa’s recommendation is to get a form on your site and tell them exactly what they’re going to get. Share why they should be joining your email list – how often are you going to share content? What type of content? Let them know what to expect and why they’ll want to join. That is the most basic first step.
The next step to building your list is creating something that your subscriber wants, that's going to help them.
This is a lead magnet. Lead magnets are a digital product that are gated – your customer receives it for free when they sign up for your email list.
What you need to do is develop a good lead magnet, to make sure that you’re attracting the right people. You need to listen to your audience’s pain points, what they need help with, and then give them that thing, in order to build a list with targeted potential customers.
Don’t overthink or make something too complicated. You don’t need a fifteen part video series or 200 page PDF. Keep it simple, especially if it's a new audience you're trying to attract. Give them three or five simple steps to fix a problem that they need help with.
Ideally, you should also make it a prerequisite for whatever your paid product or service is. For example, Teresa has a freebie download called “Five Steps to Start Your Email List,” which gives five steps for people to start building their list.
This feeds into a masterclass that goes deeper into how to build your list. At the end of the masterclass, Teresa sells a course on how to build your email list using a lead magnet.
Not only is she helping with a problem she’s identified, but she’s leading them through a string of different products and value that will help them to solve it.
By doing this, you’ll make sure the right people are getting onto your list. The next step is to make sure that the next thing they’ll get from you is something that they're going to want, that's relevant to them, and relevant to the services and products that you're going to sell.
People throw around numbers a lot and their list size, but to be completely honest it’s not about the size of your audience. The most important thing is the quality of your list.
Teresa says she’d rather have a teeny tiny list of people that loved her than a ginormous list of some people who don’t even open her emails.
In fact, you should be happy and welcome when someone unsubscribes. If people are unsubscribing from your list, that means they’re not your customer and obviously don’t want the stuff they’re promoting. It’s not a numbers game – you want to have quality people on your list.
One thing Teresa hears all the time is the question – do I need to email my list when there’s only a few people on it?
The answer is YES. Once you start building a list, you should be emailing and to nurturing your audience whether there are 5 or 500 people on it.
The people on your email list don’t know there’s only 5 people on your list. So treat it like it’s a thousand! Two thousand!
These people are on your list for a reason – they want to hear from you. So you should be reaching out to them.
What Teresa recommends is telling them in your welcome email exactly what they can expect from you. Thank them for joining your list, and let them know how often you’ll email them and what it will be about, and remind them they can unsubscribe at any point.
Then, make sure you stick to this schedule. If you’ve told them you’ll email once a week, then actually do it! Email once a week. Let them know when and how you’ll change this schedule if at all so they’ll be prepared to hear from you at a different time.
That is super important. If you start building your list and you use a lead magnet for people to start signing up, you need to make a commitment to yourself and your list to email regularly. You'll thank yourself that you did that.
So now that you’ve created a great lead magnet, what’s the next step? How do you get people’s eyes on that offer and get them on the list?
The first thing is once you have a lead magnet, you need to share it! You should be posting it consistently across all of your different platforms, with different visuals, to get people to see and engage with it. If you’re not posting it, no one will see it or opt in.
Whenever Teresa is promoting a new lead magnet, she creates three different images and texts all going to the same magnet. They may focus on something slightly different or be worded slightly differently, but this allows Teresa to post about her lead magnet.
Truthfully, the reach on social media posts is generally not that great, so the chances are that someone won’t be seeing it every time you post.
Find a schedule that works for you. Teresa posts every day, and so at minimum two out of those seven posts are usually promoting her lead magnet.
You can also advertise your lead magnet, if this is something that interests you. If you've got a warm audience that you can use us through Facebook ads manager, that will also help you get it in front of people.
Another great idea is to put it on your email signature – that way when you’re emailing people who aren’t on your list, they can see your freebie. It’s a great way to attract people because you’re already emailing with them!
Finally, you should also be including it on your webpage and your socials so that people who are coming across you online can easily find it and opt in.
Don't be scared to put it out there. Remember, your lead magnet is helping people that people have a problem, which they're going to be very grateful for. So why would you be afraid to keep promote this solution that helps people?
Never apologize for sharing something that’s beneficial to your audience. That’s the point of it! If someone unsubscribes then that’s okay – it means they weren’t a good fit for your content and products anyway. Your community wants you to post and share information with them – that’s why they’re there.
How long it will take you to get your first 100 subscribers really depends on you and the size of your audience and the quality of your lead magnet. You may be able to get a lot in a short amount of days, or it may take a little longer and that’s okay.
Teresa has a few tips to speed up the process:
Remember, if you’re starting with your first lead magnet, it’s going to take time. You don’t want to create something quick just to get it out in the world but not have it be good quality and high value.
Teresa also recommends trying to make your first lead magnet evergreen. If you create something that’s seasonal, or will quickly go out of date, then you’ll be back at square one in just a few short months.
Create something that’s evergreen so you can talk about it for a while, and then create others that you can cycle in and out depending on the season or the need for those solutions.
Learn more from Teresa
Grab Teresa’s freebie (and get on her list!), the 5 Key Steps to Starting Your Email List.
Find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at Teresa Heath-Wareing.