Don't Wait to Get Started
You're on the right page if you know you need to know how to start an email list, and you want to get it done the right way—and fast.
After this step-by-step tutorial, you'll have an email list up and running, an autoresponder sequence laid out and ready to go, and even learn some more advanced stuff that'll help you stand out from your competitors, too.
Looking back at the first business I created back in 2008, not having an email list was like shooting myself in the foot. It was a huge mistake, because I sold products, but had no way of letting people—interested people —know that they existed.
Even here, on Smart Passive Income, I didn't collect my first email address until 1.5 years after I started the blog. Big mistake—and I made it twice!
That’s exactly what I want to help you with in this tutorial, because you need an email list so that you can grow your business, or even start one if you're right at the beginning stages of your online business journey.
Keep reading, and then get ready to take some notes, and take some action, too!
Email Lists Are Crucial For Your Business
Since 2010 when I first started my email list, I’ve learned so much. Here are a few fun facts about my email list, and how it has been crucial for my business—and how it can be crucial for yours too:
- I’ve grown my email list to 200,000+ email addresses.
- Email has helped me discover the top pains and problems of my audience, which can then be used to craft content and product ideas to help alleviate those pains and problems.
- A single broadcast email once helped me earn over $60k in affiliate earnings.
- More than $1,000,000 in total earnings can be directly attributed to my email list.
- Email lists have proven to be versatile for driving new traffic to SPI by promoting new posts, and also resurfacing older posts. They also let me send out notifications when I add new information to an older post.
- Automated follow-up sequences have allowed me to serve my audience with additional content that allows me to keep in contact with people over time so that I end up with higher open and click through rates.
- My email segments let me send updates directly to the people on my list I know will be interested in a particular product or post, and skip notifying people who I know aren't ready for it yet.
That One Time My Email List Saved the Day
In March 2013 I was in San Francisco shooting promotional video for my book, Let Go, when hackers took my website down—for an entire week. I couldn’t log in to the site. Everyone who came to the site got an error screen, and the only way I could communicate with my audience was through my email list.
The email list I had built literally saved my business for a week. I was able to keep my audience up to date, I shared podcast episodes and YouTube videos that were coming, and kept my business up and running even though my blog was completely out of commission.
Your email list is a huge asset and the experience of not being able to use my main communication tool—my blog—hammered home the benefits of having a solid email list.
It's Not about the Money, It's About the People
Before we get into the meat of the tutorial here, a couple of things:
- Thanks for reading through this, because seriously—most people miss this stuff and it's so important for your long-term success in email marketing.
- So many people in the online business space will tell you that “The money is in the list.” While that’s not entirely untrue, I happen to think that it’s just a small (but still important) part of the picture.
You see, I believe that the money is in the list because that’s where the people are. That may seem obvious, but let’s break it down a little bit more.
When you create an email list, you’re allowing a group of fellow human beings to come together in one place where they expect to hear from you. You have a huge opportunity—responsibility, even—to provide value to them. When someone essentially says, “Hey, I like you enough to give you my email address,” you owe it to them to offer up everything you can to ensure that they make progress, stay informed, or are entertained.
It’s not all about money and it’s not all about the numbers, either.
I have so many people reach out and tell me that they feel discouraged with their small email lists. But, since we’ve already established that these are actual human beings, I like to take a much more visual approach. When you think about the 50 or 100 people on your list, think about having that many people in a single room to hear you speak. They’ve all shown up to hear whatever it is you have to say.
It can be frightening to think about, right? But that is exactly how I think email lists should be treated. When you think about it this way, you can begin treating your email list more like people in a room who are there waiting to hear what you have to say and, ultimately, continually deciding if you and the information you provide is still worth being in the room for. This approach will help you craft effective emails, build trust, and remember to treat your list with respect.
And, if generating an income is one of your goals, you’re likely to do very well.
First, Find the Best Email Service Provider
Now, you may be thinking, “Why do I even need an email service provider? I’ve got a Gmail account and can just send emails to my friends and family that way.”
Here’s the thing: don’t send bulk business emails to your list through your free email service. Not only will you be breaking email marketing opt-in laws, you’ll also have no real way to grow your list.
When considering an email service provider, you’ll want to make sure you can:
- Build a database of subscribers
- Send emails to several people at the same time
- Setup automated follow-up sequences
- Place signup forms on your website and landing pages
- Tag or segment your users
Signing on with an email service provider (ESP) that’s built specifically to help you manage and grow your list is incredibly important and, in my opinion, ConvertKit is the way to go. I use it currently, and it’s especially friendly to those just starting out. [Full disclosure: I am a compensated advisor and affiliate for ConvertKit.]
Also, they're offering a 30-day free trial if you get started today!
You can use the strategies and tactics you learn in this tutorial with any ESP; however I’ve personally experimented with a lot of different ESPs over the years, and I recommend ConvertKit to you because it's the one that has everything I need to grow my business, while still being very intuitive and easy to use.
As I mentioned above, I want full disclosure here: I am a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit, but that's because I believe it is the best email product on the market for online businesses. Here are just a few reasons why I love it:
- The platform is well designed and extremely easy to use. The names of the tools are clear and easy to understand: forms, automations, sequences, broadcasts, subscribers.
- Emails are delivered reliably and as expected.
- Their customer service team is super helpful, and they have 24 hour online chat available (a feature my team uses often when we have questions).
- The autoresponder sequences are easy to implement.
- It comes with powerful tagging and segmentation features.
- Visual automations make it easy to create complex “if this, then that” rules.
- It’s extremely easy to make changes and updates. For example, if you decide to change a tag’s name, that name automatically updates everywhere you’re using the tag.
Now, let’s get to the tutorial videos! These videos are a completely free resource for you, and they walk you through the process of setting up your list, step-by-step, right from the start.
Here’s what we’ll be covering, video-by-video:
- How to setup your list and place an opt-in form on your website.
- How to start getting email subscribers, including information about creating “lead magnets.”
- Advanced strategies people are using to scale the list building process.
- How to setup a winning autoresponder series.
- How to send broadcast emails that get opened and clicked.
- How to start segmenting and tagging your email list so you can learn even more about your subscribers.
How to Setup Your Email List—Email Marketing Tutorial Part #1
In this video, I’ll explain why email lists are essential components of your business, and share some personal stories about my experience with email. I will also teach you how to setup your email service provider and show you the basics on adding a signup form to your website. Lastly, I share a demo and setup instructions for ConvertKit, my chosen email service provider, but the lessons I teach you will apply to any platform. [Full Disclosure: I'm a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.]
How to Start Getting Email Subscribers—Email Marketing Tutorial Part #2
In this video, I’ll teach you how to make your visitors want to sign up for your email list. I will explore the biggest mistakes people make when starting email lists, eight types of incentives you can use to get people to sign up for your list, and ten specific places on your website you can place an opt-in form.
5 Strategies to Get More Email Subscribers—Email Marketing Tutorial Part #3
In this video, I’ll teach you my favorite methods for bringing in new website visitors and getting them to sign up for my email list. I delve into ten specific strategies you can use (I’ve used them too!) to get more subscribers starting today.
How to Setup a Winning Autoresponder Series—Email Marketing Tutorial Part #4
In this video, I’ll introduce you to the autoresponder sequence: an incredibly powerful tool to build loyalty with your audience and introduce them to your best content. My favorite part—it’s completely automated! Plus, I share eight tried and true tips to enhance your own autoresponder sequence.
Tips for Sending Broadcast Emails That Get Opened and Make an Impact—Email Marketing Tutorial Part #5
By this point you may be thinking, “Pat! I just want to send a regular email to my list!” Okay, let’s get to it! These are called broadcast emails, and in this video I’ll tell you how to use them effectively. I share how broadcast emails differ from autoresponder emails, and, most importantly, how to broadcast effectively to your list.
Segmentation and Triggers in Email Marketing—Email Marketing Tutorial Part #6
Want to take you email list a step further? Are you ready for a little more advanced information? Excellent! In this video, I’m sharing the best ways to incorporate list segmentation into the list building process.
Your Email Questions Answered: AskPat On Email List Building
The first 1000 episodes of the AskPat Podcast featured lots of questions on email list building. I am featuring many of those questions here because I think they’re issues you’re likely to encounter as you work through the advice above.
Promise me one thing: when you hit a question or a problem, you won’t let it stop you. Questions will come up. A great place to ask those questions is in the Smart Passive Income Community Facebook group. This closed Facebook group is made up of both new and established online entrepreneurs from the SPI audience. It’s welcoming and supportive—the perfect place to find help to keep you moving.
AP 0062: How Do You Get People from Facebook into Your Email List?
AP 0073: Email Marketing: How Often Should You Send an Email to Your Email List?
AP 0128: Is It Worth Starting an Email List, Even Though I Don’t Have Many Visitors?
AP 0463: Why Aren’t People Subscribing to My Email List?
AP 0574: I’m a Musician. How Can I Grow My Email List?
AP 0608: What Should I Do When My Competitor Joins My Email List?
AP 0651: What Content Do I Send to My Podcast’s Email List?
AP 0684: Should I Worry about Spam Bots Filling My Email List?
AP 0800: How Should I Reach Out to My Audience to Start Growing My Email List?
AP 0880: Is It Better to Have People Find Your Email List Organically or to Use Pop-Ups?
Boost Your Email Smarts to the Next Level
As my dear friend Amy Porterfield says, “The energy of your business is directly tied to your email list.”
I didn’t want you to make the same mistakes I made when I failed to start an email list early on in my entrepreneurial journey. So I wrote Email The Smart Way, my free ebook designed to make sure you never run out of email ideas for your audience.
Email the Smart Way is designed to give you valuable insights into building a strong email practice. You’ll receive:
- A playbook designed to help you write ten different styles of emails.
- Advice on when to send each email style and what the call to action should include.
- A strong understanding of the difference between broadcast and autoresponder emails, so that you send the right email at the right time.
- My rules for what makes for a good email.
I want the energy of your business to thrive, and it’s why I recommend you read Email the Smart Way. It’s free!
Click “Get the free playbook” below to get it sent straight to your inbox.
Learn to Write Emails the Smart Way
Learn to Write Great Emails.
Once you’ve set up email marketing, you have a direct line to each person on that list. And if you provide value to these people, they’re going to want to open your emails. Every time. Score!
Write Winning Emails with These Great Game Plays
- Plans for emails to round out campaigns— Each “play” in this playbook has a unique purpose and structure.
- Timing to strengthen the relationship you have with your audience— Like a “choose your own adventure,” you select what structure works for you.
- The when, where, what, and how for your Calls to Action (CTA)— For when it's time to finally pitch to the people who trust you.
Thanks! You Are Why I'm Here
Thank you so much for reading this tutorial and watching the videos. I sincerely hope it has helped you to start and grow your own email list.
You are why I am here. Without your support and passion, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. So thank you for that!
If this tutorial has helped you in some way, I’d love to hear about it. And, if you’d like to help me out, please share this tutorial so others can benefit too!
I appreciate you! Cheers!