I like to pride myself on my academic accolades, but sometimes I have to be the dumbest person in the world.
I do not think I am alone when it comes to experiencing this.
It is not our fault though. We as humans cannot think of a solution to an answer if we do not know the solution exists in the first place.
As a result, we like to make things 30 million times harder than they have to be.
The part of business that frustrates so many people is building an email list. It remains sort of magical to them, much like a Unicorn getting high off a rainbow.
What is the traditional approach to growing your email list? You work your ass off to drive a bunch of traffic to your website, optimize your landing pages, and then get down on your knees and pray to the email list Gods that someone just someone would join your email list.
This kind of work takes weeks and maybe months before it really pays off. What if starting your email list was easier?
What would you do if I could show you how to grow your email list? All without setting up a website, landing pages, and all sorts of optimized funnels that marketing nerds like Josh and I love to talk about.
I am going to show you the exact process I used to go from 0 to 100 Subscribers in 72 hours for a recent client of mine without a website.
Don’t think it is possible? My client did not think it was possible either. Perhaps I have the email list Gods on my side.
Here is a 3 step process for generating an email list of 100 people in 72 hours…
Step 1: Ask People You Know to Join Your List
Most people make building their email list too hard and they leave their success up to chance.
Instead, you are going to ask people you know who may be interested to join your email list or people who know other people that may be interested in joining your email list.
So who could this be?
- Your Mom
- Your Sister
- Your Boyfriend
- Your Pet Squirrel
For example, here is how we did it for my client…
My client, who I have been consulting with since he was a personal trainer, recently opened up a crossfit-style gym that focuses on women looking to lose weight.
Since he still does personal training, we had a ton of people we could ask to join our email list. We either asked in person, sent a text, sent an email, or made a Facebook post to ask all of his past and current clients if they wanted to join the list.
Here is the post we made on Facebook (Email version is the same with a few personal touches in there):
I know, you are probably saying whaaa, but Alex, I do not have any clients. That is why I am working on building an email list.
First stop your crying, I am a robot so I will not show you any sympathy, and second, ask people who may know people that fit your target market.
For example, in growing our email list, we asked his personal training friend, Addison, to join our list. Did she need weight loss? No, but I bet she knows people who do. This will be very helpful in the next step when we begin asking for referrals.
Still cannot think of anyone to ask? Probably means you do not have any friends because you sit by yourself playing dungeons and dragons while eating Funyuns and drinking mountain dew in your mom’s basement.
If you really cannot think of anyone, then you may want to reconsider starting a business.
Without a network, your work is going to be a million times harder because you are going to have to convince strangers to join your email list or you are going to have to spend months cultivating more relationships.
This action alone for us netted in 38 email subscribers. Within 24 hours. We were aiming for 50 and did not quite hit that number, but we moved on anyway.
Congrats, Alex, but how do I get those results?
Simple, here is what you need to do.
- Make a list of people you know who may be interested or who know someone that may be interested in what you have to offer.
- Send a personalized message. (Feel free to use my Facebook post as a template, try not to be too formal)
- Enter all email addresses you receive into your email provider.
- Rinse, lather, and repeat.
Step 2: Ask Your Current Subscribers to Refer People to You.
If you had a problem with asking your friends to join your email list, then you are about to become a lot more uncomfortable.
The next step is to ask the people you know to ask people they know to join your email list. Think of it like the movie “Pay it Forward”.
One person helps three people and each of those people in turn helps three people. It continues like that until you have a movement of people helping and a little boy dies.
There were people who would have asked their friends to join our email list if we just asked them, but we wanted to incentivize them, so we made it a contest.
Give us a referral for a chance to win a prize. I will tell you what we offered soon.
Here is what it looked like for us…
We sent all 38 people an email the next day thanking them for joining our email list and told them we were running a contest and they would have a chance to win a prize if they sent us referrals.
We were giving away two different prize packages, so the odds of them winning were pretty high. We made sure to let them know their odds of winning knowing they would be more likely to refer people because they are more likely to win.
Here is the email we sent our list the next day.
You might be thinking, but Alex, what could I possibly give away? I do not have money to hold a contest. Short answer: Anything with perceived value. Long answer: Anything with perceived value.
Here is how we came up with our prizes and what you can do if you have no money.
Step 3: Reward Those Who Gave You Referrals
The next step is to reward those who gave you a referral by offering a contest prize. We did all of this through gleam.io. It will cost you $39 per month to collect the emails.
We decided to offer free classes at the gym for 3 months ($375 value) plus a $50 credit to a nutrition and supplement store for one prize. The second prize was 1 month of free classes ($125 value) and a $50 credit to a nutrition and supplement store.
I hear you. I know you likely cannot afford to give away a prize like this. You have a few options and will be required to flex your creativity muscles.
When my client and I were brainstorming giveaway ideas, we were thinking of ways we could pay for the prize. We could have:
Paid for the prize with some of the money in the bank. (Least preferred option)
Paid for it when it came time to monetize the list. (Risky since we had no idea how much we would make)
Get someone else to pay for it by sponsoring us. (This is a golden ticket that will let you inside the chocolate factory)
It is going to require some hard work and possibly some cold calling. We called several nutrition stores before one said yes to giving us a $100 credit to their store, and in exchange, we would share their brand with our email list.
The entire contest gave us 64 clients, which brought the list to 102 email subscribers.
Wait, I thought you said you only got 100, Alex. I did. I had to get rid of some of the emails because they were fakes or duplicates. This brought my list to a total of 100 people. Not too bad for 72 hours of work.
Once I purged the list of fakes or duplicates I uploaded all the emails into Mailchimp.
People want to help: In my first year of college I did not have a car, but I needed to get to places like the grocery store. I felt bad asking my friends at first, but many of them were eager to help. Same goes for your email list. Many of your friends will be willing to help you.
Building an Email List doesn’t have to be hard. You do not need to leave your list building up to the fates of the email list gods. You can build an email list in a matter of hours all without fancy buttons and landing pages.