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The Not-So-Sexy Secrets of Growing Your Email List...

The Not-So-Sexy Secrets of Growing Your Email List with Paul Jarvis

Our #bossboyfriend gives really good email. Every Sunday morning I get a letter to my inbox from him that inevitably leaves me violently nodding my head in agreement, exclaiming “AMEN!” or hitting reply with little more to say than “Yes. This.” In fact, that’s how we became friends. Even though Paul has a newsletter list of 30,000 and counting, he made me feel like he was writing just for me—and by simply telling him how his work resonates with me, we began a conversation that turned into a friendship. Another thing I admire about Paul is that he’s always launching something, and it’s always really solid. Right now he has a course called Chimp Essentials that is all about teaching you how to give good email too.

We’re going to be hosting a webinar with Paul next week to talk about email and why it’s so important. You can sign up here. In the meantime, here are a few questions answered to hold you over until then:

You doubled your email list in a year!? What’s your secret.

Hot sauce freebies. Just kidding, it’s actually a very unsexy answer: sending the right email, to the right person, at the right time.

Sending the right emails comes down to knowing your list. You do this by listening to them: what do they like, what are they interested in, what motivates them, what are they struggling with? I talk to subscribers regularly and use replies and conversations as ideas to write new articles for them.

I also don’t just send out every email to every person on my list (i.e. fire-hosing). My list is segmented in several ways, based on: where they signed up from, what they’ve signed up, what they’ve purchased, and their engagement history with my list.

Developing a regular cadence, so subscribers know to expect an email from you at a routine time, is very important for growth. For me, it’s every Sunday morning (which is good, since my list is called The Sunday Dispatches, ha). I never miss a Sunday, ever. This shows my subscribers that I put a lot of time and effort into the list, and that value is returned to me because they’re likely to enjoy my emails more, remember why they’re on my list and even buy things from me when I release products.

Finally, while there about 1,095,643 articles online about growth hacking and subject lines and tricks to get more engagement, I’ve found it simply comes down to this: if you routinely write and send emails your subscribers not only enjoy, but enjoy so much they want to share what you wrote with others, your list will grow in a massive way.

I have no bonuses, freebies, or incentives to get my newsletter other that just getting my newsletter. And my main source for new signups is subscribers sharing my newsletter blasts with their own audiences.

Why is email important?

Technically, email converts about 3x better than social in terms of selling products to an audience. This is because you’re showing up in a place that your audience spends most of their time—their inbox. And moreover, they can only read one email at a time, so there’s not much noise (compared to social where any given tweet or post is one of thousands).

Personally though, email is a 1-to-many relationship that feels like a 1-to-1 relationship because it’s a message from you, sent directly to each member of your audience. So it feels personal and special—but only if you make it those things. It’s kind of important to let your own unique brand and voice shine through in everything and not become some marketing robot or corporate-speaker just because it feels like the “professional” thing to do. People signed up because they want more you, so give them that.

'People signed up because they want more you, so give them that.' -@pjrvs Click To Tweet

From a money side, I’ve never seen a better return on investment than my mailing list. For every buck I spend on my list, I make $120. Which is bananas! Whereas when I spend money on social or search ads, those don’t convert anywhere close. MailChimp is my largest monthly expense right now (since my list is big), but I gladly pay it because I know that pretty much all of my revenue is generated because of it.

Why MailChimp?

MailChimp just works. It’s fun to use, easy to use, and it lets me run basically my entire business on it. I can set up complex automation campaigns with smart segments, I can group my subscribers by lots of variables to send them more personalized emails, and it all just makes sense. They have the tools I need to be as simple or as complicated as I want with talking to my audience.

 

But these are answers to the deeper philosophy behind Paul’s email practices, he gets even more specific and shares actionable strategies that you can use to grow and nurture your own MailChimp list in his course: Chimp Essentials. And because we’re so fascinated to learn about how he does it too, we’re holding a webinar with Paul next week to really dig into what it takes to grow a successful newsletter list. You can register here for Being Boss + Paul Jarvis: A Webinar About Mailchimp.

Kathleen Shannon
Kathleen is the co-host of Being Boss Podcast, helping creative entrepreneurs learn how to run their own creative business while being their most authentic selves. She also co-owns Braid Creative, a brand and business visioning studio for creative entrepreneurs. You're already in the right place to listen to Being Boss podcast episodes and read more Being Boss blog posts, but you can also say hi online through the Being Boss Clubhouse.
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