How to Grow Your List from Scratch

If you have an email list, then we have something in common. We both started from scratch. Zero. All of the bloggers and coaches you look up to right now, that seem like celebrities to you, all started from zero too. 

How to Grow Your List From Scratch

When you're just starting out, it seems like it will take forever for your list to grow. Especially when you constantly refresh your screen to see if anyone new has signed up in the last 45 minutes... 

Gone are the days when you could just put something on your sidebar that said something like, "Sign up for my newsletter!" and hope for the best. 

People see right through this tactic now. They know that being on someone's email list will potentially lead them to being sold to. So, that means we need to up our game. 

The best way to do this, is to give something absolutely amazing for free. I call these freebies. You may have also heard others use similar words like freemium, free offer, etc. 

Don't be nervous about giving something away for free. Studies have shown that offering something for free will lead to potential sales at a faster pace rather than offering discounts because people feel like they have nothing to lose. Instead of spending money on someone they just met, all they have to do is give out their email address. 

Think of your favorite place to shop for makeup. Most of them offer some sort of free sample to their customers. Whether it's them letting you test their products for free or they may have a basket by the cash register full of little goodies you can grab. 

Letting potential consumers sample free product is not just the store's way of being friendly. They want your business and they want you to know how amazing their products are. Letting you test samples and grab freebies by the cash register is how they give you a little taste of what they have to offer.

Think of your home page as your store front. When people walk in, what do they see? Do they have to look around for a minute or two before you they can figure out what you're about? Or is it totally clear on what you do and who you do it for? Where are your free samples located? Are they easy to find? Right now I have 3 chances for website visitors to sign up for freebies when they land on my home page without even scrolling. See here.

Having my website set up the way it is is strategic on my end. (You can watch a blogging workshop here to see why you should have yours set up this way too.) I let people know they're in the right spot not only here, but on all of my social media platforms as well.

Here are some important tips for you to get started:

SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES: Make sure your social media profiles are working for you. Your profile descriptions should be the same (you may have to edit due to character count limits) or very similar. You should also have the same profile picture so people can easily spot you when they start seeking you out. You don't want to have a group of you and your family for your Pinterest profile and then a single shot of you on Instagram. Keep it consistent and represent your business well.

Here are some examples.

This is my Instagram account. Notice how I am totally clear with who I help and what I have to offer. When people click on my link they are brought to a separate page where they can pick out what they want that fits their business needs.

Lindsay Maloney Instagram

This is my Pinterest account profile. It is very similar to my Instagram. The only difference in my copy is the last sentence because Instagram and Pinterest have different character count limits. You'll also notice my link is a link (to save characters) and visitors can easily copy and paste it into a new screen to grab their free workbook. My profile picture is also the same.

Lindsay Maloney Pinterest

THINK OF SOMETHING AMAZING TO MAKE: Are you thinking of a ton of ideas for your first freebie (Learn how to create an amazing freebie here) or are you having a hard time thinking of something?

When I'm having a hard time coming up with something new, I like to picture myself in the past and go back to my Google history. What was I searching for on Google? What was I clicking on that caught my eye?

I also like to think about what I was searching for and pinning on Pinterest too. More than likely your ideal client/customer is you 3-5 years ago. So, all you have to do is go back into that mindset and remember the areas you were struggling with.

For example, if you blog about gardening you could head on over to Pinterest to see what people are searching for. In the example below, all I did was start typing in "gardening" and Pinterest automatically gave me the top 5 keyword searches that are performed as of today. 

Pinterest example

Your freebie could simply be titled "Gardening for Beginners." And then you could also add a catchy tagline like "How to plant your first herb garden."

TELL THE WORLD: Once you have your amazing freebie created, it's time you told the whole world. And guess what? You don't even have to buy ads to get the ball rolling! Here are some ideas for you to get free traffic to your freebie landing page:

  • Create several Instagram images and schedule them out (around 3 a week)
  • Create several Pinterest images, pin to your board, and ask to be a part of similar boards that your blog would fit in well with
  • Write a blog post that promotes your latest freebie
  • Make sure your website is working for you and have several options for readers to sign up
  • Put your latest freebie in your email signature
  • Post the link to your blog post and your freebie on your Facebook business page
  • Tweet out your links

Once people get a taste of what you and your business have to offer and how you can change their lives in a small or big way give them a chance to get to know you. Set up a welcome series in your email service provider and keep that relationship going. Pretty soon they'll start to like you and then eventually trust you enough to do business with you. If you keep this process in mind and never feel tempted to skip over the important parts, your list will grow. And it will be full of people who love what you do and can't wait to see your name pop up in their inbox again. #ultimategoal