How To Grow Your Email List

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There are two things every brand MUST have (or at least they should).

The first is a website… The second is an email list.

In this episode, we break down some actionable insights that brands and people can use to grow their email list. The strategies and tactics shared in this podcast episode are things that you can start embracing and using immediately if you want to start seeing more people subscribe to your email list.

The transcript

Ross: So, last week we were on an episode and you mentioned that you did something that blew my mind, to be honest. It blew my mind. You talked about your email list, you talked about a webinar and there were some schedule conflicts, and I’ll let you speak to that. But we have to. We have to share with our listeners the power of an email list because that’s exactly what you have. You have a very powerful email list and you have been able to use it to drive results for your business. So, I’m very curious. Can you share with our listeners a little bit around the story that you shared with me just a week or so ago, so our listeners can get an insight into the power of this thing that we’re talking about?

Talia: Yeah, sure. I’m laughing because I was announcing a live session. So, we do a lot of live training and due to COVID-19 and everything that’s happening right now, I decided within the company that we were going to do a live session and help people. And we were going to talk about how they can do marketing right, the right way during this crisis like, how do you actually do marketing the right way?

So I scheduled the whole thing, and I sent out an email, and we segmented quite a big piece of our email list. I think we sent it to about 10,000 people. And we got, I’m going to say, about 700 signups, I think. Then I get an email from one of the people that registered for the webinar and they say, “So sorry, I registered for this webinar, but I just realized it’s on our Passover Seder night and I won’t be able to attend.” And I’m looking at this, I’m like, “Holy… Oh no!”

Ross: Right.

Talia: “I’ve scheduled a webinar on my own Seder night.” Because things-

Ross: That’s hilarious.

Talia: I was telling you because, right now, so we’ve been in quarantine for a month now and every day is blended into just one-

Ross: It’s so true.

Talia: … so I forgot about holidays.

So, I just scheduled an hour long webinar right smack in the middle when we have this family event. So, I had to cancel it. Well, I didn’t cancel it, we postponed it by a week and it was a whole thing. But it turned out well, we did it yesterday. It was really good. A lot of show ups.

Ross: Amazing.

Talia: It was fantastic. But still, my heart missed a beat so many times.

Ross: Yeah, I bet.

Talia: And I was like, “Oh, I can’t believe I did it.” Yeah.

Ross: That’s hilarious. It’s funny, but it is so true. It’s the entrepreneur way, right? All of the days blur, and blend, and become one, and I’ve got to say, the quarantine isn’t helping much. But to revert back a little bit, ridiculous numbers, 10,000 people. That would fill a stadium in most of the stadiums that I see around my province. That is a lot of people and you have access to their inbox. That’s huge. And 700 people showed up. A typical elementary school doesn’t even have 700 people.

So, you have access to all of these people because you have built an email list. Talk people through how you were able to do that, build that and reach. And you even said 10,000 was a segment of your list, so your list is clearly bigger than that. Talk us through how you were able to build a list that significant and what advice you would give people to be able to create something like that as well.

Talia: I’ll divide it into two. There’s my approach and there’s the funnel. I definitely want to share both because I think both are really important. When I started my business, I had zero people on my list. So, I’d just sold my agency. I started my own consultancy business. I had zero people on my list. By the way, I went from having an agency with 50K people on an email list to zero. It was hard. I was six months pregnant when I started my consultancy business and it was like, “I’m doing this. I’m going all in.” I created my first course for conversion optimization and I was going to launch it a few weeks before I was giving birth. I was crazy.

Ross: Wow.

Talia: I don’t know what I was thinking about. I had zero people on my list. So, I had to figure out a way to grow my list, but really think about who these people are and approach them in a certain way. Because, my entire business is built on being customer-led. It’s about helping companies become customer driven, so a lot of the content is about that. And when I started my email list, it was important to me to preserve that authenticity, to show people that you can do it. I know that back then I was a one person team and I was just really open and relatable, I guess, and that was my approach. I just wanted to talk about what I’m doing, how I’m doing it and give people as many tools as possible to do it themselves.

Ross: Wow.

Talia: So, my approach was really about helping people out and to do that I actually started a funnel and this is the funnel. And funnily enough, so this consulting business has been going now for, I think this is its fourth year. I’ve had the same funnel set up for four years. And I’m an optimizer, so I’m constantly optimizing, I’m constantly testing, and this is still, to this day, my best funnel for getting subscribers and adding them to my list. So this funnel is essentially, and I’m going to break it down for you guys because anyone, no matter what type of business you run, B to B, B to C, you can create this type of funnel. So, the first thing you want to have is a lead magnet. And a lead magnet, I don’t really like that name because it sounds really fishy, but essentially a lead magnet-

Ross: That’s true.

Talia: It really does, it sounds really bad. But you want to create a free resource. And this free resource, let me tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t a case study. It isn’t a white paper. It isn’t something about you. A free resource is something that’s going to help your specific audience, your prospects, get something done. So this could be a checklist, a guide, a template, three videos, each video three minutes, whatever it is, a free resource that helps people get something done.

Now, it doesn’t have to be your entire business. You have to think about one specific pain and solve that. So for me, what I did, because our business is centered around understanding emotions, and persuasion, and psychology, I created a PDF with 30 plus cognitive biases, psychological triggers that affect our decision-making. And I broke down what each psychological trigger means and how you can use it in marketing. So, I created this PDF. Essentially, that was my free resource. So, you want to create a free resource and again, it doesn’t have to be this robust, okay? When I started out I had 10 on it. Now, these days I have many more, but when I started out it was 10 cognitive biases.

You could create this for anything. This could be five tips for creating Facebook ads using social proof. It could be five tips for writing high converting content. It could be a checklist for your Google analytics. It could be anything, but the idea is something simple that people need to get done and you can help them do it. So, you create this resource and then when people come to your website, you offer it to them. Now, there’s many different places that you can place this on the website. And I know, Ross, you do a lot of free resources too, so I’d love to hear how you promote those free resources on your website. But for me right now, it’s in an exit pop-up that people, when they’re leaving the website, they get a prompt to download this cognitive bias list. And the other way is on our free resources page. So, those are my two main ways for getting people to notice this resource and subscribe to get it. What about you, Ross?

Ross: Yeah. So, I love that. We just recently started to use exit intent pop-ups on our end. We haven’t used them for a while, but we’re excited to see how the test runs in terms of using it. But similar to you, free resources have been gold. We have found a lot of success in creating free resources, whether it’s a content calendar that people can use as a template, whether it’s eight copywriting tips for creating great blog posts, or a swipe file with a bunch of blog post title ideas that people can use for inspiration, there’s no question that free resources can be extremely powerful for increasing and capturing leads and people into, essentially, your funnel.

One of the things that we’ve also started to do and have found success with is offering folks the ability to get a PDF version of blog posts. So, we have a lot of blog posts. We write tons of content. We’ve recently started to reformat those into PDFs. And we have found a significant amount of people who actually want the PDF version rather than the blog posts. The reason they want that is because they want to save it on their drive, they want to share it with their boss, they want to print it off even, sometimes, and have a physical copy. So, we have found a lot of success with taking old blog posts that are generating a lot of organic traffic and adding a CTA above the actual kind of core elements of the content. So, we would have the introduction first and then we have a form that says, “Submit your email. We’ll send you a PDF version.” The conversion on that has been significant and it’s been a key driver for our email list.

Talia: Oh man, I’m stealing that so much.

Ross: Feel free.

Talia: Wow, I love it. Love it.

Ross: Feel free.

Talia: Love it.

Ross: That’s awesome.

Talia: So as you can see, there’s so many places where you can place this. There’s tons of tools for exit pop-ups. It’s so easy to create an exit pop-up, or just a signup box on your website itself, to tell people about this wonderful free resource that you have and give it to them. And as Ross mentioned, which I am totally stealing, you can actually do that on your content too. Ross, you are so good at repurposing content. It’s just amazing. Love it.

Ross: Thanks. Yeah. I think repurposing content to build your email list is something that a lot of people are going to start to leverage in the future. And we’ll have, probably in the future, I think it’s definitely on our roadmap to have an entire episode just dedicated to repurposing and how it works. When it comes to email lists, a few other ways that people can do it is, I know on your website is one of the low hanging fruits for how to promote it. But it’s also important to promote free assets on your various channels that you have.

So if you have a Twitter account, send out tweets with a reference to the resource that you have developed for free. If you have a LinkedIn account, you’re going to share those on your LinkedIn. You’re going to repurpose, maybe, some of those blog posts, and in those include a comment or a link referencing that free asset that you’ve developed. It’s so important to not just press publish on these magnets, so to speak, that will give value to your customers and just assume that the only way that people can find them is through your website.

We also need to distribute those across social media channels. And even, don’t be afraid to go back to your own email list and let them know that you have a new free product available because those people who are on your email list have already demonstrated that they care about what you’re doing. They’ve already demonstrated that they think you’re an authority. So if you can get that in front of them again… You might already have their email, so you don’t get a lot of value to have them reengage there, but you do have the opportunity to have those people then re-share it on their LinkedIn, on their Twitter, on their Facebook, and start to have their network become a part of your community as well. So, the power of these assets and the power of a funnel that you have built and you invested in early on can pay dividends for years to come.

Talia: 100%. Once you’ve created this resource and once people have signed up to get it, the most important piece is delivering it. The first email you send people is key to the relationship with this person and it’s where you’re going to frame your entire connection. So, when someone signs up to your email is to get a resource, what they’re actually saying is, “I need this. I have a certain pain and I’m looking for a solution, and I believe you can solve it for me.” So, you better believe it that you have to solve it for them in that email. And that means showing up in their inbox, introducing yourself, explaining and reiterating why you are the right person to solve this for them and then delivering on your promise. Then you can start an email sequence, like a welcome sequence with many emails coming in, but first make sure to deliver on that promise because you want to make sure that you’re forming that connection and that people will keep opening your emails when you show up in their inbox.

So, think about the voice that you’re using. Think about what you’re including in the email itself. Ross and I are going to do a ton of episodes on email marketing, because it’s our jam, talking about all this stuff, what type of content you should be including, how to even choose the right voice and tone for your email. Should your emails be design-based or maybe text-based? Or, what kind of strategy you should be applying or how to even create a welcome sequence.

There’s so much to talk about when it comes to email marketing. But the first steps is setting up that funnel for yourself, is setting up that resource that people can leverage, and setting up that first email that people are going to get from you where they will know that you deliver on your promises. And this is important because one day when you turn up in their inbox and you have a paid resource that you want them to pay for, whether it’s a course, or a product, or anything you want them to buy from you, they will have that knowledge that you deliver so much value to people when it comes to free, so obviously that your paid content or any other product is just going to be fantastic and great for them.

Ross: I think you have to focus on building that one-to-one relationship with the people who are on your email list. And when you do that, again, it will pay dividends for years to come. You want people to feel like when they see your name in your inbox, that it’s a friend reaching out to them, and you want to replicate that with your tone, your voice, your messaging throughout. So I couldn’t agree more, 100% I’m with you, I feel that. I think when people take that insight and they run with it, they’ll be able to see their email list kind of grow and they will see their unsubscribe rate continuously flatline and people will stay connected to them for years to come.

That was great. I really think folks are going to get a lot of value out of this one. I hope that folks enjoyed our tips, and tricks, and insights into building an email list. If you do have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at any time. We are always available on Facebook at We would love to connect with you one-to-one and have conversations to discuss any questions that you may have around this. And if you want, please leave us a review on all of your favorite sites that you can listen to podcasts on. From Spotify to Apple, we are across all of the platforms and we would really appreciate five star reviews. Thank you so much for listening.

Talia: Thank you.

Ross: We’d love to stay connected. Take care.

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Ross & Talia
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