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You’re a maker. You love to create and you love to produce. Maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s design, maybe it’s art—most likely you share your creations through various outlets like social media or your own blog. What you probably don’t use is an email list. “Email list? Email’s dead though, isn’t it?” Hardly! Did you check yours today? Thought so.

Even if you already have an email list, I’m going to show you how to not only grow it but also utilize it in a way that will revolutionize your exposure and breed unprecedented loyalty with your audience.

Are you ready to invest? Oh yes, it is indeed an investment and no mere one at that. But it’s one that’s going to give you the biggest return you’ve ever seen. Are you ready to put in the effort? Let’s begin.

Show Notes
  • We are the makers
  • 03:31 Other people are looking for the same answers you were.
    • What challenges did you face?
    • What problems did you encounter?
    • How did you solve them?
    • What tools did you need?
    • How do you use those tools?
    • Where did you find them?
  • 04:43 Every single one of these questions has the potential to be a business. Your business could be entirely around providing the tools that are needed. You could point people to where they could buy them or even sell them yourself.
  • 05:03 Your business could be on how to use those tools once you have them. Maybe your business is simply about overcoming the challenges that are common to anyone getting into whatever it is you’re doing. It could be any combination of the above.
  • 05:21 You’re here because you’re passionate about your work. In fact, it feels like cheating sometimes, getting to do this work and being paid, because you love it so much!
  • 05:45 The good news? You don’t have to be limited to doing this work just for other people. Sure, if you enjoy client work, keep doing it! But that doesn’t have to be all there is. You have the skills, the talents, and the abilities to make things. Things people would buy. You have experience, knowledge, and understanding that other people do not have.
  • 06:09 It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey, you know more than someone. You’re smarter than someone in a certain area. There’s always someone who knows less, which means you have value to give them.
  • 07:39 I could have easily said “Well, I can’t teach people business and design professionalism, because my audience is comprised of hand lettering enthusiasts!” But here you are listening. So remember, there’s always someone who can learn something from you.
  • 07:56 My goal is to call you up from being a designer, help you also be a business person, and help you start looking for ways that you can use your experience and your skills to solve a problem or teach someone.
  • 08:44 There’s never a better time to start than now.
  • Why you need an email newsletter
  • 08:52 You’ve already got a Twitter, a Facebook, and your own Blog, so why do you need an email newsletter?
  • 09:12 One word: Engagement.
    • 09:18 Twitter gets just 2.5% engagement.
    • 09:32 Facebook is getting worse and worse with them hiding more of your content and forcing you to pay to promote your content just to get your own followers to see it.
  • “I thought email was dead?”

    “Well, did you check your email today?”

    “Uhh, yeah…”

    “There you have it!”

  • 09:56 You let me know when you DON’T check your email and I’ll believe it’s dead.
  • 10:33 With social media, you wait and hope for people to check their feeds, hope they stumble across your post, hope they don’t miss it, hope they click the link, and hope companies like Facebook aren’t hiding your content from your followers. Email pushes content to your audience.
  • 10:50 I told you twitter gets 2.5% engagement. So if you had 5,000 followers, that’s only 125 clicking a link. Emails on the other hand can easily get 50% open rates. That number is even higher on very targeted lists.
  • 11:06 In terms of eyes on your content, email is more effective than Twitter by a factor of 20. Do you see how monumental that is? The people with 20,000 followers on twitter—you could have as many people view your content as they do by having an email list of 1,000 subscribers.
  • 11:30 Also, with an email list, you own that list. You could even move from one email provider to another. With social media, you have no idea what will happen.
  • 11:38 Don’t ever have all your eggs in one basket when it comes to third-party platforms.
  • Setting expectations
  • 14:50 With everything—business, client relationships, partnerships, customers, marriages, followers, and of course, email subscribers, expectations are the most important thing.
  • 15:15 Here are my questions when I come to your website and see a subscribe box:
    • What am I going to get?
    • What’s in it for me?
    • What am I going to get immediately?
    • What can I expect to get in the future?
    • When am I going to get it?
    • How often am I going to get it?
  • 15:41 If I don’t feel that you are answering these questions, I’m not going to sign up.
  • What value are you providing me? If you can’t do any better than saying “Get updates” then I already know that you’re not going to be providing value. Pass.

  • Email addresses are personal
  • 16:26 Most people guard their email address. No one wants to deal with spam. Generally, email is reserved for close friends and business. It’s a place for real conversations and getting work done.
  • 16:46 If you are given the privilege of entering this space, you need to make your messages contextually appropriate. Be real. Be authentic. Be to the point, but personable, and provide value.
  • 17:02 How do people know that you’re going to provide value? It’s through your reassurance. You have to convince them that you’re going to provide value. “Well how can I do that before they even subscribe?” The answer is through the context of the page they sign up from.
  • 17:18 You don’t ask for someone’s email address before providing value.
  • 18:52 You know how you see those boxes that say “We’ll never share your email address or spam you”? I NEVER say that. Your visitors weren’t even thinking about spam until you just mentioned it—way to go! The only reason people say this is because they haven’t already provided value. If you’re asking for someone’s email before providing value, you’re doing it WRONG.
  • Positioning
  • 20:41 You want to ask for an email at the end of helpful blog post. The reader has seen what you have to offer and given value free of charge, so they know what they’re in for.
  • 21:02 Let’s break down the answers to those questions I posed a while back:
    • What am I going to get?
      • You’re going to get the seanwes newsletter.
    • What’s in it for me?
      • Down-to-earth educational content on creativity, design, business, and passion.
    • What can I expect to get in the future?
      • You’ll get personable, original content, written by yours truly (with this being at the end of a blog post, the context shows them the kind of content they can expect to receive).
    • When am I going to get it?
      • Sundays.
    • How often am I going to get it?
      • On a weekly basis.
  • 21:56 I’m answering ALL of these questions in the signup box.
  • How do you grow your list initially?
  • 22:10 Lead magnets. “What’s that?”
  • 22:22 One of those questions that I didn’t mention a minute ago was:
    • What am I going to get immediately?
  • 23:13 When someone subscribes to your list, yes they’re going to receive messages from you in the future, but you also have an opportunity here. They’re signing up right now, in this moment, and that moment is an opportunity. You have an opportunity to provide them with value right now.
  • 23:33 The way you do this is through an Autoresponder. An Autoresponder sends a message right after someone subscribes. This gives you the ability to create what’s called a lead magnet—or incentive.
  • 23:47 This is huge leveraging power.
  • Value, Investment, & Consistency
  • 24:15 So at this point, I’ve explained some powerful methods for getting people onto your list—and it’s all very exciting—but before you start feeling drunk with power, I have to say: Not so fast. That was the easy part. Now comes the hard part: You have to provide valuable content, put in a significant time creating this content as an investment, and do it consistently.
  • 24:45 Dangit, it just got hard.
  • 26:07 I follow up here on how my Early Wake, Daily Write efforts are going and some details on the investments I’ve made over the past 6 months. I underscore that I’m not talking about some quick return deal. This is a very long term investment. You need to be writing daily. You need to be producing content to deliver value to your subscribers. You have to be consistent.
  • Writing effective, conclusive emails
  • 27:53 I said it already, it’s a ton of work. So why do all of this? Well, it’s all going to pay off and we’re going to get to that in a minute.
  • 28:08 Tips for writing effective, conclusive emails:
    • If your email has 12 links: no one is going to click them all. Instead, try to limit yourself to a single link—maybe two if you have to. This not only will increase the number of clicks but it will help you focus your email better. Make it about one single, focused topic, and if there is a link, make it highly relevant and contextual.
    • If you’re looking to generate a response from your email, distill it down to a single question—a single call-to-action. This is helpful for any email really. Try to consolidate your request as much as possible and make it as simple as possible for that person to respond.
    • Less is more. If you have a lot to say, that’s fine, as long as it’s digestibly formatted, but don’t say more for the sake of saying more. Sometimes, all you need is just to convey a simple thought and let it be simple. As long as you’re providing value, that’s what’s important. Another note here: you don’t always have to have the answers. Sometimes just talking about a subject that is relevant to your audience is enough to be helpful. You get them thinking about things on their own, and they’ll find it useful.
  • Attracting people to your website
  • 31:20 Write blog posts that are relevant to your audience and helpful to your readers.
  • 31:49 One of the best ways to attract people is to give away your best product for free.
  • 31:57 It sounds ridiculous since you could theoretically make the most money from your best product, but given away for free will make people think, “Wow, if this is his FREE stuff, his paid stuff must be AMAZING.”
  • 32:13 Most people will hear about it from someone sharing it—because it’s awesome and free. So give away your best product, but in return, capture leads.
  • Optimizing conversion
  • 34:24 Keep things simple. Don’t have first name, last name, where’d you hear about me, etc., just keep it simple. Email address field. Submit button. Done. The less options you have, the better it will convert. Make signing up absurdly simple.
  • 34:54 As we talked about before, placement is crucial. Put your newsletter signup somewhere after you’ve piqued interest and provided value.
  • “Above the fold” is crap. I’ll tell you why.

  • 35:03 Go look at my Learn page. That page is over 6,000 pixels tall. 6,000 pixels! There is not a single signup until you scroll 6,000 pixels. Yet I’m now beating my average daily signups number I mentioned back in e033 by over 30%.
  • 35:41 I break down the success of my Learn page and explain why it works so well.
  • What’s the point?
  • 38:13 I keep talking about how to get people on your list and writing valuable content that is useful to them, what really is the point?
  • 38:24 The point is to deliver value, build loyalty and trust, so you have a dedicated following that wants to support what you do.
  • 38:34 What do you do with this following? Well, you now have the most insanely loyal group of targeted people that trust you and want to support what you do–what do you think you do with it? You give them an opportunity to do support you! You sell them solutions to their most common problems. All of this is a precursor to launching products.
  • 38:58 Remember, with your newsletter, it’s a process of investing in your audience. Not every email has to, or should, be promoting something of yours. Invest in your audience by providing value consistently over time. After you’ve done that, then you can start to promote things. Send an email with helpful information, then a few days or a week later, follow up with another helpful email. Maybe after the third or fourth email, you can mention your product. But don’t do it in a pushy way, just mention it in passing in your email. Go back to providing value, and maybe something like the 7th or 8th email, you can do a hard sell for your product. That’s an email where it’s very to-the-point: “This is what I have to offer. I think this will be helpful to you, relevant to you, and meet a specific need you have.”
  • Strategies
  • 43:22
    • Keep the subscribers informed of what you’re working on as you provide value.
    • Build up to your launch gradually.
    • Let them know your product is coming.
    • Give them an exclusive offer and tell them ahead of time.
    • Show them how you’re pricing it and why before you launch.
    • Transparency is crucial.
  • 43:47 The best way to learn is to see how other people are doing it.
  • I used to think I was super clever by not “falling for” people’s email subscribe boxes. I later learned that all I did was cheat myself out of the invaluable education they were providing.

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