Email List

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

21 Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your List

How often do you create freebies? Does it sometimes feel like that's all you do and you're running out of ideas? Or are you on the other end of the spectrum and you've never even made one before. Or maybe it's been a while?

opt-in ideas

It's important to continue to show value to your audience and bring them on over to your side, but sometimes, we run out of ideas on what to send give them. So here's a list of 21 different opt-in ideas you can use to grow your list!

Before you move any further, make sure you download this amazing freebie that will get you some extra help!

21 Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your List

  1. Audio file
  2. Video (you talking to camera)
  3. Video (screen tutorial)
  4. Business Checklist
  5. Cheatsheet
  6. Compilation of your top 4 blog posts in a PDF
  7. E-Book
  8. Templates
  9. Graphic packs
  10. Desktop/Phone wallpaper
  11. Discovery calls
  12. Discount
  13. Giveaway
  14. Systems/Products Checklist
  15. Workbook
  16. Worksheet(s)
  17. Written tutorial
  18. Recycled webinar
  19. Podcast
  20. Calendar
  21. Invitation to Facebook group

Audio file: these are super easy to make. If you want to give a talk, record a meditation, etc. you can just use your phone and save the file in a DropBox folder. Add quality to your recording by using lapel microphone. 

Video (you talking to camera): this is a really great way for you to make a fast and deep connection with your subscribers. If you feel like you can only convey something over video then do it! 

Video (screen tutorial): screen tutorials are super helpful because people love to watch you do the work. It allows them to see exactly what you're doing and then they can pause and play as much as they need to. I use ScreenFlow for my tutorials.

Business Checklist: people love checklists because they're small and easily digestible. You can turn anything into a checklist. You can do a simple Google Doc or be fancy shmancy and use Canva.

Cheatsheet: show your audience an easy way to get around a problem they may have. 

Compilation of your top 4 blog posts in a PDF: take your best blog posts and put them in a Google Doc. or create an e-book in Canva.

E-Book: who doesn't love a good e-book? They don't have to be super long either! You can make an e-book that's 3, 30, or 300 pages! As long as you're being helpful and you're conveying your message well, the length does not matter.

Templates: these are really great when you want to give your audience the exact layout on how to create or write something. 

Graphic packs: if you're a graphic designer or photographer, free graphic packs are a really great way to show off your work and get those raving fans!

Desktop/Phone wallpaper: people love to make their work settings/wallpaper pretty and inspirational. Design something or create graphic quotes for them to download.

Discovery calls: these are a great way to do market research and for you to meet new and potential clients. The most common length for a discovery call is about 20 to 45 minutes. Use scheduling software like SetMore, Calendly, or Acuity. All free.

Discount: offering a limited time discount is a great way to add urgency and bring people onto your list so you can introduce them to your products. However, use discounts wisely. People will forget to use them or they will not value them as much. You are almost better off giving something away for free as they will be able to see your value instantly. This way, you're not waiting for them to use the discount.

Giveaway: or contests are a super way to build your list. Remember to keep your ideal client in mind and only give away products and services that they would love. For example, you wouldn't want to give away and iPad because you would get everyone from 10 year old boys to 75 year old women entering. Give away a session with you, one of your programs, software, books, planners, journals, etc. Think about what they would absolutely love and create an amazing giveaway bundle. I use for my giveaways.

Systems/Products Checklist: One of my most popular opt-ins is an online business checklist. I made a list of all of the tools and software I currently use in my business and people loved it. I didn't create anything fancy for this one, I just put everything in an email that automatically went out to them once they signed up.

Workbook: I absolutely love creating workbooks because I feel this is a great way for a reader to go through a transformation without my individual attention. I've made dozens of workbooks and I know I have a lot of workbook junkies on my list too! I create all of mine in Canva.

Worksheet(s): simple worksheets are perfect for giving clients quick results. If you want to show how many subscribers a client needs in order to launch a program, then show them how with a calculation worksheet. #yayformath

Written tutorial: instead of doing a video tutorial, you could do a written tutorial. Just make sure you write the steps out clearly so they are successful.

Recycled webinar: record your webinars and use them for opt-ins! You can do this for free by going live in YouTube or I also like to use


Podcasting: if you don't have your own podcast then pitch to be on some! Remember to bring something good with you to promote (your latest freebie!) and you'll get in front of an entirely new audience.

Calendar: simple creations like calendars are another strangely popular item. I have a really simple one that I use to create a rough draft of the coming quarter. I share this in my List Building Mania course.

Invitation to Facebook group: last, but not least, is the Facebook group. Do NOT push people into a Facebook group. Write a blog post about how awesome your community is, put a link up in your announcement bar, or in your side bar. Then once they join, make sure they're funneled into your list with a super awesome freebie that only your community can get.

There you have it my loves! Now, start creating and have fun!


6 Reasons Why You Should Build Your List

Want to learn from one of the biggest mistakes that I’ve made in my online business career? I wasn’t continuously building my list. I took for granted that the side bar on my website would do all the work. I thought that having one slightly average opt-in on my site was good enough. I had no clue. I had no clue because I wasn’t aware of the reasons WHY I should be building my list.

I always thought it was some number game amongst business owners and I’m not a big game I just went along and did my thing.

You won’t be shocked to know that I saw little to no growth when I worked with that attitude.

Things changed when I finally realized WHY I should be doing this. I didn’t learn these from Pinterest or another online coach somewhere. I learned these on my own. Those are the best lessons aren’t they?

  • Your list is your list.

  • Make money while you’re busy (or sleeping)

  • The lost art of communication

  • They deserve and want your news first

  • You don’t have to be a cheesy car salesman

  • Data and analytics that matter

YOUR LIST IS YOUR LIST: don’t you love it when you wake up in the morning to 30 new followers on Instagram? And then 24 hours later, for no reason, they’re all gone again. Whaaat!?

Sure, this can happen easily with an email list too. You can get a ton of new subscribers one day and then a bunch of unsubscribes the next, BUT you will have more of an idea as to why they unsubscribed.

Did you send out an email that may not have resonated with them? Were you launching something and they just got sick of all the emails?

The difference between your list and Instagram (or any social media platform) is that your list is your list. These people are on there for a reason. Your social media platform that’s getting a ton of unfollows? Yeah, they’re probably just in it for the follows. No one signs up for an email list offering expecting you to go and sign up on theirs right? See what I mean?

MAKE MONEY WHILE YOU'RE BUSY (OR SLEEPING: unless you have someone working for you 24 hours a day, networking on your behalf, and selling on your behalf you might want to pay attention to this.

Imagine someone signing up for your email list because you had a crazy awesome freebie. Imagine a week later your automated sales funnel kicked in to that subscriber and you sold a product or two to them. And all this was happening while you were getting the kids ready for bed. Imagine seeing that surprise notification on your phone! #bestfeelingever

THE LOST ART OF COMMUNICATION: did you know that you can communicate with your list? Did you know that you can ask them questions and stuff? Yeah, totally! I remember thinking how scary this would be because I was so afraid of getting unsubscribes.

The first time I used this tactic was on Christmas Eve one year. I was baking one last batch of cookies and I thought to myself, “hmmm, I should email my list and tell them Merry Christmas.” So, I finished what I was doing and sat down at the computer and typed out a quick little message. I can’t remember what I all said, but it was very short. I just wanted them to know I was thinking of them.

I was so scared of getting unsubscribes, but I hit send anyway! And guess what? I got some responses aaaannd I got some unsubscribes. I was totally bummed. But that was before I knew how useful unsubscribes actually could be…

THEY DESERVE AND WANT YOUR NEWS FIRST: I love when I get exclusive news or sneak peaks behind the scenes from my favorite people. The majority of your list feels the same. They want you to keep in touch just like any other friend would.

They also want you to bring something to the table every time you shoot over that email too. So, don’t send out an email that probably could just be put in an Instagram post. Always give purpose to every email you send. Make them feel more connected to you in one way or another.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A CHEESY CAR SALESMAN: you know those people who spam your social media feed with their selfies of them and their “can’t live without” thing of the week? Or even worse...the people who direct message you/SPAM you with information about the thing they’re selling. How lame is that?

These are the people who don’t believe in providing value, taking time to actually speak to people, and who want to spend all of their money on bots. I don’t support that. At all. When you have an email list, you don’t have to freak out and frantically do these slimeball tactics. Ever.

DATA AND ANALYTICS THAT MATTER: when you post something on social media (besides an ad) you don’t really get any data or analytics about that post. When you email your list your email service provider will start gathering data about who is opening, clicking, unsubscribing, etc. These are all important things to take note of because you want to make sure that not only are your emails being OPENED, but if you put any links or anything like that in your email you probably want to see who is clicking out of them and what they’re actually clicking. You certainly don’t have to be super analytical if that’s not you, but it’s all there for you when you need it!