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How to build email list

With a freebie that works

Building a list is one of the most important things you do as a business owner. When Facebook shifted their algorithm where they stopped giving organic reach to business pages, I saw a lot of business owners go under. It was their one and only strategy, it was how they got their next client.


You do not own social media


Social media can change at any time. As a matter of fact, they change so frequently that it’s incredibly difficult, even for those of us who live and breath social media, to keep up. On the other hand, social media is an important tool to use, to build up your list.


Free, free, freebie


Offering a valuable freebie is the best way to get people to sign up to your list. Without a doubt. And I bet you’ve heard this a million times before. You might even have tried to offer a freebie, paid for it through Facebook ads, and then it flopped, big time. So, you tried again, made another freebie, did the same thing and again, it flopped. My friend, it’s not your fault! Every marketing specialist out there will tell you how important it is to build up your list, and you build it with offering a freebie, but they fail to tell you how to build a successful freebie. One that will actually build your list. Don’t worry, I’m here to tell you exactly, how to do this!


Freebie that works


Jumping into a freebie is a bad idea. There are necessary steps to take before you can even think about the word freebie!



Find your clarity. You need to be crystal clear on what it is that you are offering. How you deliver your service and whom you deliver it to. Get your tagline together and your elevator pitch. You must be able to explain in 30 to 60 seconds what you do so a 12-year-old will understand. Skip the fluff, skip the cute slogan, get to the point. Find your focus and clarity first.


Target audience


Whom are you going to serve? Who is your target audience, your ideal client, your persona? Whatever you want to call it, you are going to have to get detailed. How does their day look like, what keeps them up at night, what solutions are they looking for, where do they hang out, what are their hobbies and passions? Get to know your client in such detail that you can give them a name and if you close your eyes, you see them standing right there in front of you.


Social listening


Do social listening. Now that you have come up with your target audience, your ideal client you might think you know what they want. Let me assure you, you don’t. You might know the ballpark of what they want, but you must nail down the verbiage your actual client will use. Figuring out your persona is step one and will lead you in the right direction. Now you need to find an actual person to listen to.

Social listening can be done in many different ways. You can read books on your topic with the mindset of finding the trigger words. Join Facebook groups where your ideal client hangs out in and listen in on their problems and words they use. Go to Amazon and find a book on your topic, then read the 1 to 3-star reviews or go to YouTube and find a video on your topic and read the reviews. If you have clients, listen to them, ask them questions and write it all down. Make a list of the words and worries your ideal client has. Then you will use this list to dip into when you write material and social media posts, and of course to make your freebie.


Build a community


Start building a community. Online entrepreneurs need to have a know, like and trust factor before anyone is ready to purchase from them. Having a community to direct your audience to is essential. This is where you build up your social media channels and select a method where you nurture your audience and give them value. This is where you build your personal brand, establish authority and connection.


Clients journey


Get clear on what your client journey is. Make a plan. And what I mean with a client journey is the path with where they find you as cold audience to where you nurture them to become warm and hot audience (read this article on cold, warm and hot audiences). People will not give you their email address willingly. There is a lot of competition for their emails and people are tired of getting spam in their mailbox. You need to nurture them first. This is why it is essential to build up a presence first. Build your personal brand first. They might find you on Linked-in, read your articles there, follow your content, then your once a week sales post is a link to your freebie that throws them into an email sequence that offers them to join your Facebook group which is where you will nurture your warm/hot audience and get the sale. This is a client’s journey.


Gather data


Gather data. You have now figured out your target audience, you know where they hang out, so you focus on your specific social media platform, you give value to your audience through consistent posts and articles/videos and then after you’ve done this for a while, you look at your insights. What type of content is working, what isn’t? What does your audience respond to?


Make your first freebie


Now you can make your first freebie. Make it a simple one. A pdf guide with simple graphics. Don’t waste days on it. Remember, your time is worth money. Test it organically. Offer it to your community. Offer it in groups if that applies and is allowed. Offer it to a group of friends that can give you feedback. And if it is well received, then you can expand from there. You can pay for it through Facebook ads. You now know the trigger words. As an example, very few people responded to How to build your personal brand a couple of years ago, while they responded to, how to build up your influence on social media. Today, most people know the importance of building a personal brand, not long ago it was barely known in the soloprenteur circle. Then when you know the freebie works as a pdf guide, through Facebook ads and it is consistently building your list. This is when you expand.

You have a working Freebie – how to expand


You know your topic works, your freebie works. You did the work and most importantly, you didn’t waste your time and money. It is easy to go for the quick results and then spending so much time trying to get instant results, that if you put all that time and energy in doing it right, you would already have your working freebie. But you did, you did the work, you did it right, and now it’s time to milk it!

Make it into a video. Create one video or a mini video series. Offer it as a freebie. You have the material, it’s just a different and more valuable way of delivering your content.

Offer to guest blog or be a guest on a podcast with your topic. You know that people are interested in your subject, you know the trigger words already, it is much more likely you will get clients from the podcast or guest blogging than if you went in blindly. You know what works. You can even start working on getting published in major publications.


Email lists are dying a slow death


I just told you in an extensive way how to build up an email list and now I’m also telling you that email lists are dying a slow and painful death. I know it’s counter intuitive, but it is true. Email lists are becoming so saturated, every single business, small or big has a list and they want you on it. Everyone you do business with, will put you on their list and start emailing you, and majority of them, used the list wrong. Specialists where shouting at the top of their lungs that in order to get ahead of your competitor you need to email people once a day or more. This made people to unsubscribe, because who wants to be spammed? A lot of businesses are still emailing once a day, but at least not much more than that, but with a constant sales message. Buy my stuff, buy my stuff! People hate it, and this is why the national opening rate is 20% and email lists are dying a slow painful death.

Good news


The good news is that the replacement is already here. It’s been out for a while and larger businesses have been using it and grooming your clients for it. It’s messenger bot lists. This is where you use a third-party software such as Manychat to build a bot that offers your freebie which in return subscribes them to your messenger list. This is not anything new, but it is new to soloprenteurs and other small businesses. As a matter of fact, most aren’t using it yet which means you can catch this trend while it’s on it’s upswing. If you wait a couple of years for when email list is down to 5% opening rate, you are going to have to swim against the stream. Everyone caught on before you, built their list and most likely, used it incorrectly and ruined it for you.

It is highly invasive to pop up on people’s Facebook messenger, so a bot list needs to be used differently than an email list. Less frequently and always give value. This circles back to building a community. You can offer your bot list to read your latest article, view your video or listen to your podcast. If they don’t want to, give them a way to quickly opt out.

Messenger bots and how to build those is a material for a whole different article, but I wanted you to be aware of this option. I’m currently building both. Oh and btw, a bot list currently has an opening rate of 80-90%.


Before you move on, join the Facebook mastermind on how to reach your ideal client on social media. We would love to have you!

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