If you’ve been part of this family for a while, you’ve probably already heard some of my Instagram horror stories - like that time 70% of my content disappeared off my feed for weeks with zero response from IG as to what happened. Or that other time 10% of all IG users, myself included, were locked out of their accounts days.
As someone whose business lives mostly online, it was terrifying to be disconnected to my community. I had no way to show up for them. It was the wake-up call I needed to stop relying on social media as my only means for communicating with my people and to start working on a way I could communicate directly with them.
So I started building, week by week, person by person.
You’ve probably heard it a gazillion times by now, but if your business is going to live online you need to have a way to connect with your people in a way that’s truly yours and NOT rely on a third-party platform to champion that message.
You need an email list and you need a newsletter.
Not Quite Convinced?
If my social media scaries haven’t quite convinced you to start building, here’s a few more reasons for you :
You don't own your followers or your content, Instagram/Facebook.YouTube does. When the apps crash, so does your channel.
Only 7%-10% of your followers are even seeing your content. This means your message is only getting out to a small fraction of your followers. Thanks algorithm.
People don’t buy from people they don’t know, like or trust. How do you get someone to know, like and trust you? Consistent communication, service to the community and a voice of authority.
It takes on average 7 (seven!) ‘touches’ with a potential customer before they’ll invest in your services. Think - emails, comments, messages. It might take months for them to get 7 of those in over social media alone. Newsletters allow you to connect in a more personal and concentrated way.
Social Proof: When you keep showing up for your people and serving them, you become the expert. They’re more likely to invest in someone whose proven to be the expert, than someone who just claims to be.
Where Do I Even Start?
First thing first - you ALWAYS need someone’s permission before putting them on your newsletter.
You CANNOT take email addresses you have (coworkers, old clients, friends) and throw them into a list and call it an email list. You CANNOT take people’s email addresses off of their social media accounts and add it to your list.
You’d be surprised at the frequency both of these instances happen. Not only is it a social faux pas, it is ILLEGAL to put people on an email list without their permission.
So how do you get people to give up their email?
Trade Their Email For Something Valuable
It takes a lot for someone to say ‘YES’ and give away something as special as their email address; there has to be something in it for them. The easiest way to convince them to ‘opt-in’ is to trade their email for something valuable they need:
A downloadable guide explaining how to set-up online Zoom training sessions.
Access to member-only content that they’d otherwise probably pay for.
Early access to event registration.
Subscriber only sales.
Ask yourself, what does your client want and how can you provide it to them?
Once you’ve decided which of the above lead magnets has the most value to your clients, create it. This might mean hiring a graphic designer to help you (I have an *excellent* one who would love to help you), learning how to use Canva, or even scheduling a call with me to discuss what would best serve your client.
You want to SERVE your clients (existing and potential) by giving away so much good and valuable information for free, that they can’t help but think - wow, if this is her free stuff, I wonder how much more helpful her paid stuff is.
Ya with me? Give your clients that hint and tease of how GREAT you are. Leave them wanting more of your magic.
How Do You Start Collecting It? - The Tech Stuff Simplified
Before you go live with this - choose your email service provider. Your web host might offer an in-house email management system (Wix does this), or you might want to go with Constant Contact or Mailchimp. There’s no right or wrong provider - find the one you feel comfortable working and go from there.
Create a fun and visually appealing email with your freebie, discount code or offer attached. While you’re at it create a welcome email for new subscribers. Save them both and have them ready to go.
If you have a website already, dedicate a new cover page to whatever lead magnet you’re offering. If you don’t have a website, you can create a simple landing page through your email service provider OR web host. Write a creative and enticing caption explaining what you’re offering and what value it brings to your clients. Summaries are great, but people aren’t going to be ‘sold’ unless you can explain how your product fixes a problem in their life or business. Insert a form for them to enter their email address so you can email the freebie directly.
The form on your website will either auto-populate into a spreadsheet (like a Google Excel document) OR it will integrate with your email service provider to send out either 1) a welcome email, or 2) the email that contains the free product.
And just like that, you’re up and running.
Marketing Your Freebies
You’ve spent tons of time putting together a beautiful, thoughtful and helpful lead magnet. It’s not enough to post about it once or twice on social media and hope people flock to it - you need to keep coming back to it when it’s right.
My free guides help me create a library of resources and help me become the expert I am in fitness and wellness businesses. Whenever I need to talk to people about making their first steps in business, I refer back to my Small Business Starter Guide. Whenever people ask me about why they should form an LLC, I refer to my Business Formation Guide.
That said, if it’s a situational or seasonal guide - market the heck out of it while you can. I find that seasonal guides provide quick wins and steeper increases to my email list in a short amount of time, but the guides that live on my website provide the most long-term, steady growth.
Your list building efforts are constant and continuous. Find ways to slip your freebies into conversations, newsletters and social media posts. Keep coming out with new ways to draw people in - even if it’s as simple as an ‘exercise of the month’ video.
Communicating with Your List
Now that you’ve started your list, you’re done, right?
NO! Your work is just getting started!
Make it a point to communicate with your list weekly, if not more. Newsletters don’t have to be big and life-changing. They can be as simple as sharing a win from the previous week or spotlighting a client.
Find any small reason to say ‘hi’ to your people. And do it often.
When you’re ready to launch a new product, host a workshop, or need something from your clients, they will be more likely to step-up and show up for you, in proportion to how much you’ve shown up for them.
So if you send out a quarterly newsletter? That’s great. Your people might kinda, sorta, vaguely remember what you were up to last quarter and therefore might kinda, sorta, vaguely be interested in what you’re up to now. Or maybe they’ll have forgotten they signed up and unsubscribe/spam-folder you.
But if you’re engaging weekly, keeping them in the loop and invested in your business + life? They’ll be there for you.
But What If I’m a Studio - I Don’t Need to ‘Sell’ To My Existing Clients
Totally agree, you’ve already got those people in the door. For now.
But don’t forget that if you don't make those clients feel special, seen and heard, they’ll take their business down the street to another studio who gives them these things.
Think about if you want to offer new services, announce sales, change up studio policies, or just share some good news? If your members aren’t used to hearing from you - they’re less likely to open and read your email. If they only hear from you when you’re offering a sale, it comes across sales/slimy.
Let your newsletters be a place of inspiration and extras - recipes, wins, playlists, anything that makes your clients and members feel extra special.
Happy writing family,