Why You Need a Mailing List - and How to Get Started
Here’s what the people who have a mailing list say,
“I wish I started sooner”.
This is what everyone, and I mean EVERYONE says.
Is that enough to convince you? Can I sign off now? Are you going to go do it?
Jk, I somehow doubt it is enough to convince you, even though it should be.
I’m sure your big reservation right now is, “okay I’ve heard I need a mailing list but” what am I going to put in a newsletter? What do I really need it for? So let me break it down.
The first thing we really need to let sink in is this - we do not own our social media channels. If Instagram, Facebook or Twitter disappeared tomorrow, or if something happened to your account, you would have no way to contact those people. All the names AND all of your content would be gone, forever.
Now think about how much time you spend on these apps, how much content you’ve made, and how many YEARS you’ve spent collecting those followers.
I’m guessing losing it all would suck pretty bad.
The thing with a mailing list is, we do own it. And that in itself is a game changer.
Our social media posts are getting seen by about 6% of our audience. Our mailing list emails will on average be opened by 40% or higher when done right !! That’s a huuuuge difference.
But the question remains
How do I even start a mailing list?
Well you need a mailing list host. A few common ones are Mailchimp and Convert Kit. From what I’ve heard Mailchimp allows up to 1000 subscribers for free and provides good email templates. However, templates can be a good one way ticket to the Spam folder so in this case, plain is more likely better than a fancy template with lots of elements and images.
I use ConvertKit and have loved it so far. It’s very straight forward, gives you great metrics and analytics and their chat support is very helpful! Even though it’s a bit pricier, for me it’s been worth it!
The only other thing I would say is that if you don’t have a website yet either and you’re trying to get it all done in one go, you could consider a more all-in-one platform. Kajabi for example allows you to do your email marketing, have a website and sell products, they specialize in hosting online courses. Squarespace has some similar options, website + sales + email marketing (I think it’s a bit ‘weak’ but it seems like they are making efforts to improve it).
Again ConvertKit is my favourite, I use them and one of my clients does as well so I am always in the back end of hers too and I’ve never seen any problems!
What Do I Send To My Mailing List?
Just because you have a mailing list doesn’t mean you are all of a sudden required to be chatting with them on the weekly. Really, you don’t have to send them anything in the beginning if that feels like too much for you.
If you are someone who is consistently putting out content in the form of IG posts, blogs or videos you can opt to send a monthly, bi-weekly or weekly newsletter.
Your newsletter can simply have a short intro and a link to your newest video or blog, or it can be it’s own stand alone piece of content that has similar themes to what you audience would see on your social media.
Your newsletter can could also have it’s own unique content which you could promote by marketing it as ‘exclusive to your subscribers’ or letting them know that' being on the mailing list allows them to be the first to know your newest tips.
How Do I Get The Emails?
Ahh the tricky part. Actually getting people to commit to YOU. They already followed you on Instagram and those numbers are hard enough to grow, are they really going to also let you email them? Maybe not. Our inboxes are constantly flooded with random stuff we signed up for, random sales, and updates we didn’t care about, or completely useless like that transcript from the Chat Support conversation you had with lulu lemon about your package delivery date.
So in order to get people to allow us in to their precious inbox we need to make it worth it!
What can you offer them in exchange for their email?
Most commonly this is done in the form of a freebie.
A freebie or free download is usually something like a PDF, an ebook, or a quiz that brings value. Instead of just putting this content straight onto your blog you hide it behind a landing page with a form for them to enter their email. Once they do the good stuff will be emailed to them and now, boom! They are on your mailing list.
A email list can also help keep you organized! Platforms like Convert Kit allow you to segment emails in different ways. You can have a segment of people who are your clients, a segment for those who downloaded a specific freebie etc. So if you create a freebie targeted towards photographers lets say, even if your entire business is targeted towards freelancers in general, you might want to be able to keep track of WHO in your audience is a photographer. Then if you create a paid offer or product down the road for photographer you could send them a more targetted email.
A very talented acquaintance of mine, Tina, uses her email list in a genius way! Let me explain, Tina is very high in demand, it’s May and she has a waitlist out till July. That being said her cancellation list is also very long. Whenever she had a cancellation in the past she would have to spend time working her way down the cancellation list and texting a few people one at a time from the top to offer them the appointment. Then she’s have to wait to see if they could even make it in and if not go on to the next person. Such a time drain!
So she decided to use her mailing list to notify people about cancellations. Now as soon as she has a cancellation all she has to do is go into her email host, click on her cancellation template, enter the details and send it to her whole list. It’s first come first serve and the person who books the fastest gets it!
You better believe people are jumping on that list ASAP!
Getting Started Action Steps to start your mailing list
Get signed up with ConvertKit they have so many resources and videos to take you through everything although it’s not too complicated!
Creating something you can offer in exchange for an email. Something like a free download - quiz, PDF, ebook, checklist or mini video training series.
Promote it on social media at least once a month to start building up your numbers!
Consider running facebook ads to promote the freebie
Start emailing your list with valuable content on a consistent schedule!
Alright, you have all the information you need. There should be nothing holding you back at this point!!
Head over to ConvertKit and get started TODAY!