I am really excited to share with you the most important revenue driver for your business, and that is your email list. Whether you have one and you’re not sure how to nurture it, or you really don’t know how to get started in creating one, this episode is going to be so amazing for you.
I can speak to you on your level because not long ago I was in your shoes. I thought having an email list was for people with more time on their hands, maybe a bigger audience, but definitely not for me. That could not be further from the truth. Everyone and I repeat, everyone who owns a business needs an email list. I hope you’re ready for a jam-packed episode and ready to get to work.
Hey mama, I am so excited to be here with you today. Before we jump into today’s episode, I want to take a minute to let you know how proud I am of you for taking the time out of your day to learn and grow. If this is your first time listening, I want to say welcome. Thank you so much for joining. My name is Ashley Freehan and I am a brand photographer and founder of the Purpose Gathering Community.
My mission is to support, educate, and empower mompreneurs to live their best lives while chasing their dreams and raising kids at the same time. In addition to this podcast, I love to hang out on Instagram and share more value over there about motherhood and business. So, if you’re not following, be sure to find me on Instagram at The Purpose Gathering and I can’t wait to connect with you over there. I also have a free Facebook community that I would love to invite you to join. So, go ahead and take a minute right now to pause this episode. Head to thepurposegathering.com/mamas that’s M-A-M-A-S and join today. This group has over 300 like-minded mompreneurs waiting to cheer you on, give you feedback and help answer any questions you have.
Okay, so back to today’s topic. I hope that you are ready to buckle up and get moving in case you need a little more convincing that you need an email list. Allow me to set the stage a bit. So, I have been a photographer for going on 10 years, and I have heard this idea of having an email list and nurturing your list for probably the entire decade I’ve been an entrepreneur. But I want to tell you my feelings about why I never got started, and maybe you can resonate with this as well. I was under the impression that an email list was for people who had a bigger audience than me. An email list was for someone who just had a bigger team and who maybe was further along in their business, and I believe this lie or several lies for a really long time.
But what I’ve noticed is that these beliefs that I had were actually detrimental to my business. And I want to tell you why Instagram and Facebook own your followers. You’ll hear me say this over and over again in my episodes, and you’ve probably heard it from other influencers as well. But I want you to take a minute and really let that sink in. If those platforms shut down tomorrow, would you have clients? Would you have an audience? And if your answer is no, then you need an email list right. All of us need an email list, anybody who owns a business needs a list.
Whether your audience is two people or whether your audience is 2 million people. It’s so important that you have a list, these people are your audience. You own your email list. So, you might be thinking to me, well, why is an email list important? Like, I don’t sell physical products. I get you; you want to stay front of mind, top of mind. When your ideal client is looking for your services, right. So if you are a photographer, for instance, or maybe you’re a web designer, you want to nurture your audience, whether or not they need your services right then and there, because chances are they know somebody who does, or they might end up needing your services in the future.
But the idea is that you own that space. And those people that have chosen to follow you are going to be more loyal to you when you show up and actually nurture them. So, I hope that you’re onboard and you’re understanding that everyone needs an email list okay. And if you’re still not convinced by the time the episode ends, I hope that I will have changed your mind.
Okay, so we’re going to talk about four steps today about how to create and nurture an email list.
Step 1: Choose a Platform
So, step number one is going to be to choose a platform and create an opt in form. So, I want to share with you two different email platforms that I have used and my experience with both. So, when I first started, I used MailChimp, which is really great for beginners. It’s actually even free, so it’s a great option if you are wanting to just get started for no cost. I used MailChimp for about a year and then I decided to transition to another platform called FloDesk, that’s F-L-O. And I actually have found that since I moved to Flodesk, the platform is so much more user friendly and it is absolutely stunning.
So, I’ve found that because of these features, it allows me to be more consistent because I get more excited about creating beautiful emails for my audience. So, I encourage you to check out both and decide for yourself which one you want to go with. So just a reminder, MailChimp is free. However, Flodesk does have a 30-day free trial that you can check out, and if you use my affiliate link, which I will put below in the show notes, you can actually get 50% off every single month. It’s an amazing deal, so I’m excited to hear which one you choose. So, I know there’s going to be pushback from people who are in the email marketing space that would say that Flodesk doesn’t have all the integrations for advanced email marketing. However, since I’m speaking to those of you who are new to email marketing, this, I think would be a perfect option for you because it’s not super complicated.
Step 2: Create an Opt-in Form
Okay, the next step after you have chosen your platform is to create an opt in form. And this is basically just a landing page that you can send people to that has an embedded code that turns into a form. So, someone can put in their name, email address, hit submit, and be automatically added to your email list. Flodesk has the absolute most incredible templates for you to use for your opt in form, which is one of the reasons why I love them. They are literally just drag and drop, you just click on the image container, add your image. They already have all the opt-in containers there and you just fill in the information and it’s so easy.
You can literally create multiple opt-in forms that take maybe five minutes max, it’s incredible. Now since everyone has a different website provider where your actual website lives, I’m not going to be able to give very specific directions as to how you put that form onto your website. I can speak only to what I use, which is the Show It platform. And so, there’s a very easy way for me to create a new page on my website that has a URL, the exact URL that I want to send my subscriber to. So, you heard at the very beginning of my episode.
My opt-in form firstname.lastname@example.org /mamas, so when people go to that direct link, I have embedded the form from Flodesk to live on that page.
So that should be the only thing that you have to do right. Again, depending on your website provider, you might have to reach out to their tech support and ask how you embed the form onto a new page. But I hope that helps. Just get you started from not having an email list at all, to choosing a platform, getting your audience set up there, and then creating an opt in form.
Step 3: Creating a Lead Magnet
Let’s move on to step number three, which is creating a lead magnet. So, you guys might have heard this term before, and that just means how are you going to get people to want to sign up for your email list. It’s probably more difficult to get someone to just head on over and sign up. Not that they don’t love you, but they need some type of incentive to get them over there. So that’s what your lead magnet is going to do. If you don’t have your own email list or lead magnet yet, I bet you’ve had experience with other people’s lead magnets.
So, for instance, if your five steps to creating and nurturing an email list. So, you read through the blog post, you may be listen to the podcast episode, and then in the middle of the blog post, it might say something like, do you need help finding content to share with your email list? Click here to sign up for my free template right, or my free guide, or my 15 topic ideas to get you started. Or something along those line right. So, you’re going to click on that link and you’re going to be taken to the opt-in form where you’re going to exchange your name and email address for that specific freebie.
So now it’s a win-win situation. You got something that you need and would love to benefit from, and the other person just got your contact information, which is gold. Okay so I want you to get that into your head that every subscriber that you add to your list is a potential for future business okay. That’s obviously not the only reason why you have an email subscriber. Of course, we want to serve from our heart and lead authentic businesses and not be just only out to grow our list for revenue. But if I’m being honest, none of us can do what we want for free right. There comes a point where we decide are, we going to just keep doing this expensive hobby or are we going to turn it into a business? And when you change your mindset from the fact that you can serve an audience and you can lead with authenticity, but you can also make money doing it, that’s a beautiful thing.
Okay, so I want you to get this into your head that an email list is absolutely essential for future business. And if you need ideas of what your lead magnet could be, there’s so many different ones that you could do. You could have a PDF checklist, a template, a guide, an eBook. For me right now, one of the big lead magnets that I use in my business is I invite people to join my free Facebook community. So, if you have a Facebook community, that’s a great lead magnet. So, what I do is when you visit thepurposegathering.com/mamas page, it’s going to give you a couple different steps.
So, you first have to join my email list, and then as soon as you click the submit button, it sends you to the link to join my Facebook group. And one of the requirements when you request to join my Facebook group is that you’re on my email list. And so, do you see how that works? You create a win-win situation where your audience gets something of extreme value in exchange for their email.
Step 4: Driving traffic to your Opt-In
Okay so are you tracking with me so far? So, you’ve chosen a platform, you’ve created an opt in form, now you have your lead magnet. Step number four is going to be actually driving traffic to your opt-in okay. And this can be in a number of different ways, depending on how you’ve structured your business. Where do you meet most of your potential clients? Where is your audience being found? For me, my audience is on Instagram okay that’s where I find the majority of my audience. But maybe yours is word of mouth referral, or maybe it’s Facebook or maybe it’s in person networking events that you do. So, whatever it is for you, you’re going to want to make sure that’s part of every conversation that you have.
So, when you go to a networking event, you’re using that lead magnet. Maybe your lead magnet is on your business card, right? There are so many creative ways to drive people to your lead magnet. I’m going to share with you the way that I use that’s most effective for me and my business model, and you can use it too, if that works for you. So, what I do is I started transitioning my thought process of growing my Instagram following, and I turned that into, while my Instagram following is growing. How can I turn those new followers into email subscribers?
So, if you haven’t listened to episode nine of this podcast, how to grow a real and engaged following, I want you to go listen to that right after this, that’s Episode Nine. I’ll link it in the show notes as well, and that’s for you to really understand what it looks like to grow your following in an authentic way. And so, once you start to grow your following an authentic way, because you’re actually searching for people who you would really be friends within real life, they’ll start to follow you back and they’ll start to engage with you. And when they do, I want you to send them a quick reply. And this is something so cool that Instagram has that I just found out about that. Basically, what you do is you can, I know they have autoresponder replies, but this is not what I’m talking about, it’s a quick reply. So, you can go into Instagram and you can add a quick reply, and this just allows you to have a shortcut word that you type in and then it will pull up your paragraph that you typed in.
So, let me give you an example. So, for me, anytime I get a new follower, I want to basically thank them for following me, introduce myself, who I am, what my mission is and how I want to serve them through my free online community. So, what you do is you type up that paragraph of what you want to say, and it’s very similar to what my intro of this episode was okay. So, you type up the paragraph that you want to say, and now I have a quick reply. So anytime I write the word follow inside of that message DM, it automatically remembers, Oh, there’s a quick reply associated with this word follow. And then it gives you a little like blue message button with dot, dot, dot, and you click on that and then it expands and gives you your quick reply. So, it’s very similar to those of you that have iPhones where you can do that predictive texts, right, where you could just type address and it instantly populates your address because you’ve saved that as a shortcut.
So, I hope that is a fun tip for you guys, but definitely make sure that you are being authentic with the people that are following you and engage with them. I wouldn’t say you have to do it for every single person who follows you, cause sometimes we get people that follow us that really aren’t our ideal target audience right. We go to their page and we know just from looking for me, especially like when men follow my account, I’m like, they’re definitely not my ideal target market right because I target mompreneurs. So that’s what I would recommend to you is use Instagram has a tool as a resource for you to get leads, but then instantly shoot them over to your email, opt in form and get them on your email list.
Step 5: Nurture Your Email List
I saved this last step. On purpose because I knew it was going to be the most difficult. So, step number five is to nurture your email list. So, I think by now I’ve gotten you onboard. You’re ready to choose your platform and create your opt in form, and you’re thinking of lead magnet ideas right now that you could do and you’re excited about using Instagram and other resources to start driving traffic to your opt-in. But now you’re like, okay, so I’m onboard with all of that, but what do I do to nurture these people right? Now, I’m getting this audience, I’m growing my list, but I don’t know what am I going to say? All right, if that’s you are right now. I can totally relate. This was me not very long ago okay, and I’ve had a podcast since the beginning of March okay.
So, I’ve had weekly content, but I was not doing the nurturing on my email list okay. So, here’s what I’m going to challenge you guys to do. I’m going to challenge you to commit to sending one weekly email to your audience. I don’t care if it’s only two people on your list, okay. I want you to commit to this, get an accountability partner that’s going to hold you to this okay. Because I want you to continually show up. Consistency is the key, and I know what you’re thinking right now because this was me. Ashley, I have a million other things to do. I can’t add anything else to my plate.
I get it, here’s what you need to do. You need to take some stuff off your plate. If you don’t have time to nurture an email list, then you’re focusing your time on the wrong things. I’ll say it again, if you don’t have time to nurture your email list, then you’re focusing your time on the wrong things. Remember at the beginning of the episode that I said, your email list is your number one most important revenue driver in your business. I hope that you’re understanding how important this is, it doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. Your email list is going to keep your audience wow on the edge of their seat, waiting to hear more from you okay.
I want you guys to understand that whether or not you think you’re an expert in your field yet, that doesn’t matter okay. All that matters is that you have people that are attracted to you. They may be your friends and family to start with, and then from there they’re going to share it with their friends and their family. So, I want you to commit to that weekly email. And I want you to understand something, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to get used to constantly providing content. And I know that seems extremely hard when you’re starting a new business or you maybe have been, you’re further along in your business. You’ve been doing it for a while, but you just feel like you’re in a hamster wheel and you never feel like you’re getting ahead.
You have so much stuff going on all the time, you’ve got little kids who need you and husband who wants attention. I totally understand. I’ve been there, but I want you guys to hear from someone who has been in your shoes before. And I wish that someone had told me this so many years ago, so I’m here lovingly letting you know that this is going to propel your business forward in a way that you never would have expected. So, I want you to just take my word for it and just try this okay. Just try showing up weekly for your audience again, big, or small, and it doesn’t have to be a long email, it can just be a paragraph or two.
But before I dive into content creation and topic ideas, I really want to interject this other piece that I think is super important. The other thing, in addition to an email list that I wish I would’ve known 10 years ago was to start a blog, a podcast or a YouTube channel where my weekly content would live. So why this is important is because Instagram, again, we do not own Instagram. If it shut down tomorrow, all of our content would be gone. So, we want to make sure that the platform in which we create our content is our own. So, if you’re just starting, I’m going to recommend that you start with a blog because I think it’s much easier to start a blog than it is to start a podcast or YouTube channel.
If you’ve already done the blog thing for a while and you’re ready to take the leap into one of the more advanced platforms, then I definitely support that as well. But I think if you’re starting, a blog is a great place to start. So, while I give you these content ideas, be thinking about them in the form of a blog post that you would then repurpose into a weekly email. I also want to let you guys know that if you don’t feel like you’re an expert in your field yet, that’s okay. There are other ways that you can provide value to your audience. So, there are some things that you can do, like re-purposing other people’s content. So, for instance, you can take something that I wrote, for instance, share it with your audience and link it to my podcast. Say, I really love this, and I think you will too right.
Find a blog post that really resonates with you, that you think your audience can learn from as well. Go ahead and put your spin on it, take out the key points that you learned that you want to kind of hit home and link the blog post, right? So, you’re repurposing someone else’s content, you’re kind of using it as inspiration. You’re giving the original creator credit and a link right. But you’re also providing extreme value to your people. So just because you send an email to your list doesn’t mean that the content has to be a hundred percent from you. I also want to give you a strategy that you can totally use if you are ready to create your own content okay.
So, I found this, this is not my idea. I found this idea from a Pinterest article and I cannot find it. I’ve looked for it, so I can’t even give credit to the original person, which makes me so sad that I don’t remember who it was. But I just want you to know this wasn’t my idea, but I did create a template that I’m going to link down below that you guys can grab so that you can use this content planner. Okay, so what you do is you want to pick five different pillars that you want to be known for in your business okay. This is also a really great planner to use when you’re trying to plan out your Instagram content okay. So, you’re going to pick five big pillars that you want to be known for in your business.
So, for me, I want my mompreneurs to learn about business. I want to teach them about parenting, self-care and mindset, marriage and then I want to share a little bit of me. So, the me part is going to be mostly for Instagram, but I can share a little bit about me and my email newsletter as well. But I wanted to show you guys too, that you break down each of those pillars into subcategories. So, for instance, if I want to talk to you guys about business, there are four different subcategories under business. So maybe I want to teach you guys time management and productivity tips. Maybe I want to teach you about enhancing client experience. I could also teach you about marketing and lead generation and sales tactics.
And then the fourth one I could teach you about growth mindset. So how to get out of your own head, how to think bigger, right. So, I have my big pillar, which is business and my four subcategories. Now I’m going to go down and break it down even more; so now each of those subcategories get five bullet points okay. Now I’m going to break it down into very specific topics. So, for business, I could talk about Instagram and how to grow your following, like I’ve already done an Episode Nine. Then I can talk about inbox management, that’s a previous episode I did as well. So, then I could also talk about time blocking right. There’s so many different topic ideas that I could come up with just by using this content planner brainstorm. So why don’t you guys to start thinking about this? There are so many things that you can share, and I feel like we all kind of get hung up on the fact that, well, I just don’t have anything to share.
But once you actually sit down and you start to brainstorm. What do I want to teach my audience? It comes more naturally to you, and then you have this planner to refer to when you get stuck. So, I hope that’s helpful. I will definitely be sure to link it below. So, it’s going to be a content planner that you can use that will help you just get really specific about what you can share and then how you can nurture your email list. I feel like I could talk about this topic all day with you because it’s so new and fresh in my own life and I just see the benefits already from it. So, I’m so excited to have had this conversation with you. I really hope that you have found these tips helpful and that you actually start putting them into action.
So, if you follow me for any length of time, you hear me say this a lot, but good intentions are not the same as intentional habits. So, I don’t want you to say, yes Ashley, I’m going to do this and then not do it okay. I want you, if you say, and you commit that you’re going to do this, I want you to do it, and I want you to go all in. And I want you to DM me, let me know how your progress is going. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a week but stay consistent with it. Get that accountability partner, like I mentioned, have somebody who is going to be waiting for your email. Utilize that content planner, any time that you hear someone ask you a question or just show interest in something that you do, make a note of that, that is a great place to start for content.