email list

build a thriving email list – 21 proven ways

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the products or services, I may make a commission for those sales. I only promote products or services that I believe in and trust.

So you’re ready to take your business to the next level and grow that email list. An email list is like gold in your business. You can nurture your audience, give them great tips, announce your specials, and ask for feedback to create your next offer.

As you go through these ideas, remember to treat your email list with the respect it deserves because this is your audience. These are not just numbers in an email list; they are people who understand your value and who WANT to hear your message. These are the people who need a little more coaxing before they buy or they are looking to continue their healing journey with you.

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to implement all these ideas at once. Pick and choose which ones appeal to you and which ones are easiest to implement to start building your email list.

Now it’s time to tell the world about your awesomeness.

1. Take Action

No more wishful thinking and hoping that your current clients will send you tons of referrals or that your website will be seen by the right people who need your healing talents. You can create a valuable guide to offer to your ideal clients as a free gift in exchange for an email address. It isn’t hard to create a lead magnet and set up an email list…you just need to take action.

You have the tools and resources you need to grow this email list so now put those into action. Aim to tackle at least one action step per day to start and as it becomes more of a habit, add two action steps to your day. You won’t move toward your goals if you’re standing still waiting for things to happen. MAKE them happen instead of waiting.

And remember…Done is better than perfect! Often times, we don’t feel that what we create isn’t good enough or we aren’t ready to put it out into the world…Don’t let that stop you from moving forward. Just start and you can always pivot as you get feedback. Nothing is written in stone.

2. Plan Your Content

Remember…emails are a form of content, so if you have a content creation calendar to plan your blog posts or social posts, you can use this same calendar for your email marketing efforts.

Coordinate your blog posts, social posts, and emails based on season, big industry events, or simply on topics that your audience finds useful. Even if the email is a reminder to check out your latest blog post, your audience will get used to hearing from you and you’ll drive traffic to your website.

3. Tell Stories

Stories sell. They also warm up your audience to show that you’re a regular person, just like them, with regular everyday problems, just like them. It’s just one step in the process of getting your audience to know, like, and trust you before they buy from you.

Infuse stories into your emails when appropriate. Not every email needs a story nor do your stories need to be 500 words. If a funny thing happened over the weekend that reminded you of something business related, your audience may get a chuckle when you share it.

4. Step Out Of “Feeling Like An Imposter” Mode

SO many business owners – both online and those with physical locations – have admitted that they felt like an imposter at some point during their business career. They felt like they didn’t have all the knowledge they needed or they didn’t have the right (or any!) degrees, so why would anyone want to listen to them (or sign up for their list)?

You have value because of your experiences.  You are qualified to share and teach your message because you have passion, which stems from what you’ve learned from your experiences. Those words like “guru” and “expert” don’t require any qualifications, so don’t limit yourself by saying, “Oh, I’m no expert.” And if you don’t have all the answers, chances are that you know where to find the answers, so that puts you in the “expert” category. 

The more you embrace your experiences, the more your confidence will build, which will bring you out of your comfort zone and into the world, promoting your business (and your opt-in link)!

5. Host A Webinar Or Master Class To Build An Email List

There’s no better way to showcase your expertise online than to host a webinar or produce a series of videos.

If your prospects are worldwide with little chance of them attending a live meetup, video is the next best tool. They can still see and hear you as you present and they can gauge whether or not your style works for them. 

Webinars work great for introducing both your hands on work as well as your online offerings if you are creating a passive income to compliment your hands on income.

Consider using an evergreen webinar host, such as EverWebinar, which keeps offering your recorded webinar as many times as you like. You can also just post it on a YouTube channel, keep the link private and deliver the link when they sign up for your email list.

Host the live webinar once, then continue its replay at the frequency you choose. In order to gain access to the webinar, viewers will have to enter their email address.

6. Share A Free Video Demo Or Presentation 

You don’t have to be on camera to make a video valuable to your audience. Consider shooting a video demonstration or a presentation. Demos are perfect if you’re showcasing a software or tool you use all the time. If you have a membership site, give a tour using a screencast software.

If you ever give live speeches or presentations, ask the host if they’re recording it. If so, ask for a copy so you can share it. If no recording is available, take those same PowerPoint slides and turn those into a video slide show. Add your voiceover, if you prefer. Use these video options as content upgrades or as your general opt-in offer to build your email list.

You can see an example of this in my online course 90 Days to your Dream Practice.

7. Create A Quiz 

Quizzes are a fun way to capture your audience’s attention while granting them instant gratification with your analysis of their problem. Using a quiz creator such as Qzzr, you create the questions and sort out their answers ahead of time so everything is automated when visitors take your quiz.

Look at Melissa Ingold’s quiz on her Time Freedom Business blog. The reader answers a few questions targeted at a pain point then they enter an email to receive their results.

8. Dump Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is aptly named because it keeps you comfortable and safe, which means it’s keeping your business at a constant hum but you’re not growing. You’re likely to feel frustration at this point or feel like you’re on the hamster wheel to nowhere.

I know this feeling. Even though I was feeling the burnout of my hands on practice, I would start pursuing other avenues of more passive income online but when it got uncomfortable, I would put the brakes on and go back to what I was comfortable with. But when I took the leap and did something that was a little uncomfortable, that is when I have seen the most growth in my business.

Step out of that safe zone and take a risk. A calculated risk that will help your business, of course, but something that you’ve never tried or a strategy that you dumped before seeing it to fruition. Breathe some new life into your business by trying new things. You will find great satisfaction in creating something new and making a bigger difference in the lives of your ideal peeps.

9. Ask What Your Customers Need

When it comes to creating new programs or products, why guess about what your customers want or need when you can simply ask them. Email marketing is a great way to ask for feedback to help you grow your business. You can guess what your clients need, but there is no way of knowing unless you ask.

Build a feedback email into your monthly or quarterly series. Create an online survey and promote it on social media. Or ask them to simply hit the Reply button to your email for more direct feedback. Once you get those answers, you can properly build a program that you KNOW they need.

People love to share with you if you ask and you will see your business grow exponentially when you are creating services and programs that they are asking for.

10. Unplug For The Weekend 

Give yourself a little self care. Unplugging gives your brain a rest from all the round-the-clock commotion and it reinforces your business boundaries if you have clients trying to reach you on the weekend.

Unplugging also allows you to be “in the moment” with your family, friends, or even just yourself. Enjoy that quiet and calmness. Take time to do something fun. Reconnect with an old friend and rediscover the joy of a real face-to-face conversation! Just think of all the stories you’ll have to tell in your next email series. Use your own experience as a case study, even if you only last for a single day unplugged.

As a hands on healer you want to be an example of what you teach to your clients. If you are burning the candle at both ends and don’t create a life work balance then how will your clients create balance in their healing journey with you.

11. Uncover Your Lost Creativity  

You’ll be surprised at how energized and creative you feel after being unplugged for the weekend but this shouldn’t be just a one-time event. Unplugging and finding ways to uncover your creativity on a regular basis will help relieve stress and add some fun back into your life.

We tend to put a lot of energy into our business and our clients which can drain our creative energy. Take some self care time and see what ideas come flooding in.

Rediscover an old hobby. Join a local sports team. Explore the outdoors. Volunteer. Visit local wineries. Create your own foodie experience at local restaurants. Plan game nights with friends. Enjoy movies with your spouse or kids. Your choices are unlimited and you just might think of your next big idea while you’re enjoying yourself outside of your hands on practice.

12. Get Inspired By Your Competitors 

It’s time to do some reconnaissance on what your competitors are doing in their marketing efforts. Not that you’re going to copy them but getting inspired to try a new strategy is fair game. Success leave clues.

Check out their website; look at their social profiles. What are they offering as an opt-in gift? How does that compare to your opt-in gift? How can you make yours better than theirs? Now look at their programs and products through the same eyes. How can you make improvements to YOURS that your audience will love?

13. Answer Questions & Participate In Groups  

Don’t be a fly on the wall in your Facebook and LinkedIn groups. The same goes for any membership forums you belong to. As we discussed earlier, people won’t know you’re a member of a group unless you make yourself known. 

Answer questions, especially those regarding your specialty. Ask questions or ask for feedback. Follow the group’s rules regarding links and promotions so you don’t get kicked out. On promo days, promote your opt-in freebie. Don’t try to make a sale within these groups. That is why you will build an email list. Once they take you up on your free gift offer, you can then nurture them with your emails.

Find groups that are highly engaged and positive. I have been parts of groups that only bitch and complain…and trust me…you don’t want that type of energy on your email list.

14. Use A QR Code On Your Printed Materials  

If you know how to scan a barcode on a package at the supermarket, you understand the basics of using QR codes. These black and white symbols are used in mobile marketing and store large amounts of information. To get that info, the user just needs to scan the QR code with a scanner app on their smartphone.

QR codes can redirect people to websites, YouTube videos, or a Facebook page. Or to email opt-in landing pages. In-store QR codes can also alert customers of special promotions. Many people print QR codes on their business cards and/or their printed company brochures. Companies also use QR codes to direct fans to their app, which eliminates the hassle of searching for the app and possibly running the risk of the prospects getting distracted. 

For example, my husband and I run a local referral group and when we host a mixer that is designed to introduce our group to a bigger audience of business owners. We offer a free gift…usually a free drink ticket…and the only way they can get the ticket is to scan a QR code and register their email. Make it clear on what they can expect when they sign up for your list.

If you want to create a QR code for your business, you’ll need to use a service such as QR Code Generator or Canva. If you plan on using this QR code for a long time…like printing it on your business cards, printed on brochures, or on your website…make sure the code doesn’t time out after a period of time.

15. Be Approachable & Authentic

You hear the word “authentic” used an awful lot these days in the business world but it’s an extremely vital part of doing business with integrity. Sure, you’ll find the sleazy hustlers who will do or say anything for a sale but if you want to form true relationships with your followers and prospects, then being authentic and approachable are important traits.

Your potential clients are looking for solutions to their pain points and are looking for the practitioner they can trust to help them.

Being approachable simply means acting like a regular person, willing to answer questions for those who view you as an expert. Truly authentic people don’t pretend to be perfect; they often show their weaknesses through their stories sent to their email lists. These stories can endear the teller to their audience even more, because they want their followers to learn from their own mistakes.

16. Add A “Share With A Friend” Button On Emails  

What better way to grow your email list than by word of mouth. Check with your email provider about how to add a “Share with a Friend” or “Forward to a Friend” link in your emails, then actually ASK your subscribers to do so by ending with a clear Call to Action.

Not everyone will forward your email but it never hurts to ask, especially if you’re writing about a hot topic in your industry.

17. Host An Email Challenge  

Challenges are all the rage these days and they are super easy to host. Simply plan out your challenge – including the number of days – then write your emails in an autoresponder, set up a Facebook Group for live interaction, and start promoting.

Of course, the only way people can join the challenge is to opt-in to your email list; and, if you continue sending valuable information, they will remain loyal followers and potential customers.

18. Write Your Emails In A Conversational Voice  

Do you like to be preached at? Not many people do, especially when reading an email. Tone of voice definitely matters when people can’t see your face or hear your voice, so choose your words wisely if you truly want to form relationships.

One simple tip is to write your emails as if you’re speaking to your best friend or your favorite client. Don’t get caught up in the formal writing we were taught in school; online writing (depending on your market, of course) is generally much more casual, especially for emails.

19. Have A Conversation, Not A Sales Pitch  

Making sales – or adding new subscribers to your email list – isn’t about making a sales pitch. Instead, consider this process as just having conversations with people looking for support, some of whom will need what you have to offer.

This idea rolls back to the idea of forming relationships instead of just closing sales. If you nurture the relationship and genuinely learn how you can help your prospect, then they will remain loyal for years to come. If you just hit everyone with a sales pitch, you’ll sound desperate and the prospects will wonder if you’ll disappear after the sale. In this case, the sales person only cares about their own sales, not about your needs.

20. Don’t Forget To Network At Live Events 

The online world is amazing but don’t forget to look right in your own backyard for networking opportunities. Print a QR code on your business cards and then visit your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI groups, or any number of other events meant to bring local business owners together.

This marketing avenue is the number one way I have used to build both my hands on and online businesses for the past 20 years. I believe in it so much that my husband and I founded our own local referral networking group.

When you show up in person and people get to know you through various networking events (if you attend enough events, you will start to see the same people who love to network and support others businesses) you will start to see a flood of referrals.

Even if your business is 100% online, you can still be of service to local customers. You just have to get out there and meet people to find out their needs. You never know where your next client will come from and it may be from your own local area.

21. Practice Consistency & Keep On Giving 

Consistency breeds a new habit, so set up an email schedule that works for you and your audience and then STICK TO IT. Staying in touch is really a win-win for you and your subscribers: They will remember you and you will get to know them better.

Also, continue to find ways to give your audience what they want, whether that’s free information or paid products. When they see you working hard to find what THEY need, that will make a lasting impression. 

Always look for affiliate offers (selling other peoples offers where you get a commission) Check out my blog post on creating an affiliate marketing side gig to support your peeps and create a passive stream of income to support your hands on practice.

Share social posts that make a difference to your community. Look for ways to better serve your tribe and they will become loyal fans – and email subscribers.

Growing your email list is not just a numbers game: It’s all about building that sometimes elusive relationship with your tribe. While a list with a huge number sure makes your ego feel good, even small lists of qualified buyers can be profitable. It all depends on how much YOU put in to help your target market achieve the results they want.

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