The Only 3 Ways to Actually Grow Your Email List

Bailey Richert
Oct 17, 2020 · 5 min read
Anonymous white man in blue long-sleeved shirt types on an Apple laptop on a wooden table
Anonymous white man in blue long-sleeved shirt types on an Apple laptop on a wooden table
Source: Pexels

Email marketing remains one of the most effective direct marketing methods available to business owners today — including infopreneurs.

Authors, speakers, course creators and other marketers of info-products know that the best way to have a successful launch is to first grow their list of potential buyers by collecting their emails. Then, pitch.

But how can you grow that email list legally?

When you boil it down, there are really only 3 ways:

1) Collect ‘em.

2) Buy ‘em.

3) Borrow ‘em.

Let’s discuss each method further here.

#1. Collect new email subscribers.

Let’s break this down.

First, you’ll create content like blog posts, YouTube videos and social media posts that people can discover online. Maybe they were searching for a specific term on Google, or maybe the YouTube algorithm showed them your video. In any case, they have consumed your content. They are aware of your existence now. What you need to do is ‘collect’ their email address before they go away.

You can do this by offering a free lead magnet (e.g. free PDF, free ebook, free checklist, free training, etc) in exchange for their email address.

We should all definitely be participating in strategy #1 because posting content online does more than just grow our email list. It also helps us establish authority in our niche.

But the truth is, even if you are posting stellar content on a regular basis, strategy #1 is a long-term game.

You’re not going to grow an email list of 50,000 subscribers in weeks or months with this strategy. It’ll take years, and by the time you do get 50,000 people opting in for that lead magnet, half or more will be unsubscribed by your next launch time.

Even though we’ll all always been growing our lists for years and years, there is sort of an element of time involved. A list of 50,000 grown over 1 month is way more valuable than a list of 50,000 grown over 10 years because of unsubscribe rates over time.

That’s why you should always be doing strategy #1 in the background, but you should realize that to grow more quickly, you’ll need to invest in either strategy #2 or #3.

#2. Buy new email subscribers.

Instead of generating free content online which you’ll post to free platforms (e.g. YouTube, your own website, social media channels), you’ll pay a company like Facebook to show your lead magnet or introductory offer to your ideal customers.

You’re paying to get new leads.

Paid ads are a totally viable strategy — given that you have the budget.

Let’s pretend you don’t even have to spend any money testing ads and audiences, and you’re able to just rock that first ad campaign with optins costing only 50 center per.

You’re still going to be spending $25,000 up front to build a list of 50,000 subscribers for a launch which you can’t even guarantee will convert like you predict or hope.

While I don’t think any list building strategy is just for established infopreneurs or just for beginners, this up front financial investment is why many beginners don’t immediately turn to ads.

That money is either going to come from your own personal investment (boo), credit cards (double boo!), your other revenue streams like coaching or done-for-you services (fine), or self-liquidating offers (good).

Let’s dig a little deeper into that:

To fund their ad spend, many infopreneurs will offer higher priced offers that are more “high-touch” like coaching and services. They will roll the profit they would otherwise be able to keep into their ads to keep generating leads.

Alternatively, you can also try “self-liquidating offers”, which means you present a small-priced offer to a lead immediately after they opt in to your list, and that revenue helps offset your ad spend. The goal would be to break even on the amount you spend on ads vs. the amount these small offers earn. Your profit is then made from your upsells, high-ticket items and future launches.

Either way, the key here is that if you want to run ads to grow your list, you have to have a plan for how you’re going to pay for those ads week after week, month after month, which doesn’t involve an “invest a lot first and hope for a good outcome later” strategy.

#3. Borrow new email subscribers.

Well, they can’t. That’s illegal.

But they can promote one of your funnels to their audience members on your behalf.

When they do, their email subscribers legally choose to opt into your funnel and become your subscriber.

I like to think about growing your email list like going fishing for bass.

When you ‘collect’ leads (strategy #1), you just sit there with a big net waiting for bass to come by. When you ‘buy’ leads, you dangle your bait into a huge lake with all sorts of fish — some you want and some you don’t.

When you use strategy #3, you ask the owner of a small pond on private land with only bass in it to throw your bait in — and you get to keep whatever you catch.

Which do you think is going to the fastest way to catch a bunch of bass?

In practical terms, there’s a lot of way to do this (like hosting a JV webinar or a virtual summit), but there’s really 2 keys to making it work:

1. You have to be the one to set up the funnel and email autoresponder system so people who opt into your funnel get on your list, and

2. You have to financially compensate your JV partner, as they’re known, so they’ll want to promote for you in the first place. You have to pay the owner of the pond to let you fish there. Otherwise, why would they?

This is most often done with affiliate commissions: your JV partner gets a small commission for each referral sale that is made from a customer who goes through your funnel from their list.

Business owners need to recognize the importance of growing their email lists and should consider all different options available to them to do so given their budget and time they’re willing to invest.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial or legal advice. Always consult a qualified legal and/or financial professional before making business decisions.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +775K people. Follow to join our community.

Bailey Richert

Written by

Award-Winning Business Coach for Infopreneurs >> I help infopreneurs grow their businesses with proven online strategies. >> baileyrichert.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +775K people. Follow to join our community.

Bailey Richert

Written by

Award-Winning Business Coach for Infopreneurs >> I help infopreneurs grow their businesses with proven online strategies. >> baileyrichert.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +775K people. Follow to join our community.

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