The biggest mistake you can make when starting email marketing

Don't make this mistake with your email marketingDo you know the question that pretty much every business owner focuses on when they start thinking about building a mailing list and incorporating email marketing into their business strategy?

It’s some version of “Which service provider should I use?

Perhaps you’ve asked this same question and maybe even spent a few hours (or days, or weeks) researching your options – of which there are many!

If so, you’re not alone in wanting the answer to this question, but I’m going to have to go all tough love on ya and just shout…


This is NOT the question you should be pondering (yet). And it’s exactly why so many entrepreneurs get stuck in the planning stage of list building.

It might seem like a logical first step to get the ball rolling, but it’s the biggest mistake you can make when starting out with email marketing.

So what is the first step in email list building?

Before you start thinking about the tools you should use, you need to know how you are going to best serve your ideal subscribers.

Whether you’re a wedding planner for couples wanting a micro wedding, a health coach for new moms, or a fitness coach for busy CEOs, the people in your target market have a need that only you can fulfill. And when you discover what that need is, you’ll be able to determine two super duper valuable pieces of information:

  1. You’ll know what freebie will be a true no-brainer incentive for your ideal customers to subscribe to your mailing list; and
  2. You’ll be How you can use your mailing list to provide the best value for those who join your list.

Don’t over-think this, though. Your opt-in incentive can be as simple as a checklist, resource guide or a short how-to video that answers a common question. I promise, you don’t have to go crazy and create a 100-page ebook with 10 accompanying video tutorials! {Phew!} Because rather than providing value to your ideal customers, these ginormous freebies are more likely to overwhelm your peeps than encourage them to learn more.

The key to an effective email marketing strategy is making certain that you’re serving your subscribers (who are potential customers) and providing value. Always remember:

  1. Be consistent. Regular communication is a must if you want to be successful. Create a schedule that you can stick to and consider creating an autoresponder series or  batch write emails and schedule them in advance.
    So when will you email your list?
  2. Serve first, sell second. Marketing should always be second to providing information that will help your subscribers—if you’re constantly trying to sell things to your subscribers, they will unsubscribe.
    What kinds of information can you share (for free!) in your emails to help your subscribers?
  3. Be a thought leader. Cultivate trust with your subscribers, demonstrate your expertise and set yourself apart from your competitors. Make it your mission in every email you send to provide the ideas, opinion pieces, information, tools and products that your subscribers need to succeed. Carefully select what you’ll share to make sure it’s in line with the type of thought leader you want to be.
    What do you want to be known for? What’s makes you different everyone else? What can you share to build trust, establish your expertise and demonstrate your unique perspective?

Okay, so once you’ve gotten clear on how you’re going to serve your subscribers, the next question you need to answer is…

2) What are my list-building goals?

How will you be using your list? Will you, for example (and you can pick more than one here):

  • Send a weekly newsletter to your subscribers to share news, ideas, advice, encouragement and new blog posts?
  • Create an autoresponder series that delivers content to your subscribers according to a set schedule over a period of time?
  • Recommend other people’s products and tools that you love and use affiliate links to generate income?
  • Promote your own services and products?

The answers to these questions will help you determine not only the right tool for your email marketing needs, but will also illuminate the path for your ongoing mailing list content, promotions, and growth.

Now over to you. I’d love to know…How are you / will you serve your peeps through email marketing? If you’re having trouble answering this, let me know and let’s see if we can get you on track. 🙂

The biggest mistake you can make when starting email marketing

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