Season 4 Episode 29: It’s Time to Actually Grow Your Email List with Lorraine Ball

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Growing your email list – is there magic to it?

Learn tips on how you can grow your email list and making a profitable one from Marketing Strategist Lorraine Ball.

00:52 How to create a profitable email list

7:24 how to get people on your mailing list

27:40 launches and email sequences

More Lorraine Ball:

Digital Toolbox –


Hello, my friends. Welcome back. I am so glad you’re here because I am bringing back a stucks looking at business all star right now. I am here with one of my most favorite people, and I mean that sincerely, the Red Bull. After spending too many years in corporate America, Lorraine said goodbye to the bureaucracy, glass ceilings and bad fucking coffee to follow her passion, helping small business owners succeed. Today, the successful entrepreneur, author, professional speaker and host of a marketing podcast, More than a few words and founder of Digital Tool Box, she brings creative ideas, practical tips and decades of real world experience to every conversation.

I love you and I like you. Thank you so much for being back.

I love you. And I like you. And thank you for having me.

I so we’re going to talk about actually creating a profitable growing email list and. I love this topic because I feel like. Everybody talks about this, but they talk about it in these big philosophical ways and nobody’s actually telling you how the fuck to do this.

Absolutely, Lorraine. And we need to do that today.

Yes, we are going to do that. That is the promise we’re making right now sober, by the way. Right. Why? Why do I mean, let’s just cover that. Why is this so important?

OK, well, number one, all the research shows that you can send an email about an offer and you can put it on social media. Any social media platform you pick in almost every case, you’re going to have a three to one response rate, three times as many people on your email list will click to learn more about your offer as will click from social media. Now, why? And the answer is, No. One, I’m on your list by choice.

I am on your list by choice. We are going to talk about you can’t just grab emails and drop people on your list and expect them to like you. I’m on your list by choice. So that’s number one. I’m a more qualified person. But number two, when I log into any social media platform, there are pictures of puppies and food porn and babies and politics and and and and all of the distractions. When you send me an email, it may only be for a second or two, but at that moment you have my divided attention.

I’m not looking at anything else. I’m looking at your email. It’s on my phone. It’s on my computer. And that one to one relationship is so much more valuable, three times as valuable. As social media now, I’m not saying don’t do social media, social media is where you meet new people and you grow your community. Email is where you talk to people who have already expressed an interest in learning more about you.

I completely agree and I think also something just to embellish on that a little bit. Social media is in it for social media, it’s not it for you, you know what I mean? Like Instagram’s job is to keep you on Instagram. It doesn’t care that you want people on your email list now. It wants you on Instagram. And these people that I see just relying on social media for community, I worry. I get you know, I get be kind of protective mother out just like, you know, this isn’t right.

Don’t do this well. And there are a couple of reasons why I totally agree with you. The first is what you said. The goal of the platform is to keep you on the platform. The longer you on the platform, the more ads you will look at, the more opportunities they have to make money from you being there. So let’s understand what they are about. But the second thing is actually people laugh at me when I say this, but there is going to come a day when Facebook is going to go away.

It’s going to happen. It may not happen this year or next year. We’re already seeing this shift and this decline among younger users. Your grandmother is still developing. I’m your grandmother now, but your grandmother, your grandmother is still going to be on Facebook. Your mom is going to be on Facebook because it was cool when she was in college. But if you’re a Gen Z or a younger millennial, that’s not where you’re hanging out. So Facebook is going to rise and fall.

You don’t want your business to rise and fall with their fortunes.

I love that and I cannot wait. I’m actually going to do a whole episode about why I hate Facebook and it’ll be pretty rampy, but this is how it goes. But I completely agree. Everyone thinks that Facebook is just going to be here for, I don’t know, in perpetuity. And it can’t it’s just that’s not how marketing works anymore. Ever, ever.

Do you remember AOL?

I do, yes. A juror with an IQ and all and everybody loved it. And it was how they communicated. And now and you got a CD and you put it in your computer and it was really exciting, you know. But it’s gone. It’s over. And nobody saw nobody saw that coming, so especially not Time Warner who bought a.

Do they buy MySpace to the Time Warner about MySpace?

I don’t think they buy MySpace. No, I think Miles and actually MySpace, I have been told it was never my thing. I was just in the wrong place when it was coming up. But I understand that among like musicians and certain communities, it’s kind of having a little renaissance. It’s its niche. It’s found its little place. And yet, you know, but it is mainstream. And if you’re a marketer and you’re looking if you’re a music promoter, great.

But if you’re anybody else, you got to be looking at the other platforms and you got to be looking at at all of them with one thing. Well, two things in mind. You want to build a community and have engagement and then you want to get people on your email list, because I’m going to give you my last little know. Quotable social media is a lot like going to a singles bar. You’re going to meet a lot of nice people.

You’re going to have some interesting conversations. But your end game is to bring your date home. Love and Home is your website. Home is your email list where you can have that intimate one to one conversation without the distractions of the other pretty girls or boys of the bar.

I love the way that you made me think of it as this social media. Join it with one foot out the door. All right, I’m going to be here, but you’re not it? You’re not for me, you’re not. This is not where I’m going to live and run my business. So how the fuck do we get people on our list? How do you do that?

All right. So there’s lots of different techniques, but let’s really focus. Let’s start here. Think about the email list that you sign up for. We are all inundated, we have a ton of email in our inbox, so why do you sign up? That’s exactly the same reason that your customer will sign up, because somebody offered you something of value information, a resource, a tool, something that you like. I want that. And this is where I can have it.

And I am willing to pay for it with my email address. And so, you know, if you have a retail store, you know, get the little fishbowl of the store, everybody who comes in invite them to to join. That’s a great strategy. That’s something tangible, a value. Offer them a discount. Offer them a cupcake on their birthday or a free glass of wine. You kind of have my attention with the free glass of wine.

I’m just just saying kind of where I fall. I’m not just a good chocolate cupcake, but cupcake like me, OK? It’s a tough choice.

But for people of all people, you know what? I got plenty of email addresses. Have one, you know, but what did you know? But if you’re not a retail store, if there’s not a tangible now you have to be thinking about, well, what can I give somebody in exchange? Because it is an exchange. And so now you’re looking at things like. Workbooks, worksheets, checklists, quizzes, join a group, whatever it is, you’ve got to be able to present someone an offer they can’t refuse in order to do that.

You have to know what that person wants, and so if you’re still running your business saying, well, you know what, all women are my customers, you haven’t got you haven’t got a prayer. It’s not going to work because as much as I love hanging with you, you and I are at different places in our business where different places in our lives and the things that are going to other than wine, the things that are going to ring my bell may or may not ring yours and vice versa.

And so the more specifically, you can divide your communities, you can have multiple offers, but the more specifically you can divide your communities. The more precise the offer, the better the chance somebody will go. Yeah, I’ll give you my email.

Your bring up a really good point that I just was watching this training this morning about demographics and creating avatars, and you and I know, like all of the things you have to do to get an avatar, but they bring up this amazing point of it’s not so much about statistics anymore. It’s not like Megan lives in Rochester, New York, and she’s 18 to 34. But it’s about Payne centric. Your demographic, your avatar has to be about the pain that they have.

That’s the focus, not the not so much the age range or the. But like, what are you following for them? What are you helping them with? That’s what you need to really focus on. And I think to your point is especially that with segmenting and things like do you agree? Am I just rambling?

No, no, no, no. You absolutely. And I’m going to give you a great example. Yeah, OK. Two men sitting on a park bench side by side. They’re actually twin brothers. They both went to law school and they’re both still employed as lawyers. They’re both married on paper. Demographically, those two men are identical age, education, income, marital status. Right. Wrong man. No one is married to his high school sweetheart.

The last of their children is going off to college. They’re thinking about selling the minivan and he’s going to get that little two seater Audi that he always wanted. They’re thinking about that European vacation they had put off all those years. So they’re not really paying, but their desires are very focused around this posterchild life and living the way they want to live, maybe downsize right size the other brother. Is also married. To his second wife, who is much younger, and she has just told him that she’s pregnant.

Suddenly his pain is 501 c three accounts, college funds, vacations in Disneyland, getting rid of his beloved two seater Audi and buying a Dodge minivan. And so, you know, when you look at just the demographics, you take people who are totally different and lump them together rather than creating an avatar around someone who is. Ladder stage, career grown children and not worrying about the career, but affluent parents of younger children. So it’s really more about what are they what are they worried about?

You know, are you know, and and the demographics help. But they only take you so far.

Perfect, perfect way to put it.

I’m going to give you another example kind of again of that next step and beyond just the pain is what I call the buyer behavior. And this is where if you have groups like if you’ve been in business for a while and you’ve got a list, if you can begin segment segmenting people between. These are my raving fans, I have a restaurant and they’re in every Wednesday night, these are people who like me and I see them about once a month or once a quarter.

These are people who come in once or twice if their friends drag them. These are people who’ve never been in. Now you’re focusing more on their relationship with your brand. If you run a bicycle store, now you’re thinking about I’ve got a group of people that are racers. They buy in the high end bikes, the high end equipment. I got the people who are doing it for health and fitness. So they’re regular riders, but they’re going to spend six or seven hundred, not six or seven thousand on a bicycle.

And then I’ve got the hobbyists so you can look at it based on their relationship with you or their relationship just to the product category. And again, you’ve got very different messages that you put out on social media. You make very different offers. To get those different people to stand up and go, wow, yeah, yeah, I want that.

That’s actually a really good point that I’d love for you to expand on. How do you start segmenting these people and do you talk to them all the same way or do you keep them completely siloed all of the time?

I don’t keep them completely siloed because sometimes you mischaracterize, characterize, but with and I give you an example a minute, but I want to talk about a part of it is let people self-select. If you advertise two or three different offers on social media and I sign up for one and you sign up for another and somebody else signs up for another, you’re going to get dropped into that list. You’re not going to get dropped into my general.

Hey, I kind of am I here? Kind of like you. Lorrain, what do you got next year in my email marketing, my social media marketing, my strategy, my webdesign list. That’s where you’re starting. And most of the communication that you get is about your interest relative relevant for that. Sometimes I have content that is relevant for everybody. And so everyone gets the same communication. And sometimes I will say, hey, you originally came to me because you liked chocolate peanut butter, and I’ve been sending you recipes to use my chocolate peanut butter.

But did you know that I also make mint-flavored peanut butter? Would you like to occasionally hear about mint flavored peanut butter? And you give your readers an opportunity to express that they’re interested in something else to get on a different list? I typically will go through and I mean and I have lists that have thousands of people. And I’ll look for for people that are on multiple lists and I’ll double check and go, does this make sense? And sometimes I’ll send them a note, say, hey, I noticed you subscribe to these two different lists.

You may be feeling like I’m sending you information all the time. Would you like to be on one or the other?

Interesting. I like that, and that actually is a good segue into talking to these people on because it sounds like you have a sort of an automation system set up of like everafter every so many emails and then touch base with you or something. How do you keep talking to these people regularly without it just being like. With it being valuable and not just being like, here’s my latest blog post, well, I don’t really care about your blog post or how do you keep that up without getting overwhelmed as an entrepreneur?

So a couple of things. Number one, I watch the rhythm of my audience. I’ve actually been doing email marketing since 2002. OK, I have people who are on my list today that’s still open emails from me and they’ve been doing it since 2002. Now, are there a lot of them know, a lot of them who have gone different ways? Many of those people. I mean, after 20 years, a lot of them aren’t in business anymore.

They got I mean, stuff happens. But the fact that they’re a community of people who’ve been with me since 2002, 2003, 2004 and are still interested, tells me that if you deliver the right information at the right rhythm. People will stay with you. Now I watch my open rates in my unsubscribe rates if they start going up, I know I’m spending too often and so I’ll dial back on my schedule. I, I will look at people who haven’t opened an email from me with cards.

I use constant contact. This is not a commercial for them. There are a lot of other tools that are great. This has been what I’ve used for all these years. I’m used to it. It works for me. I can go in and sit and pull a segment of people who have not opened an email from me in the last six months. And I can send them an email that says, hey, would you like to meet would you like me to remove you from my list?

How many times do you get an email from someone says, hey, would you like me to stop sending you email? And you’d be amazed at what happens. I’ll get people don’t know the I love your stuff. I’ve just been busy or I get a lot of people saying, yes, please take me off the list, OK? But by now, no. Yeah. And that’s OK. You know, a lot of people judge the value or the quality of their program based on how many people are on their list.

I want to know how many people are opening.

If you have to pay for these people.

Yeah, I actually my goal now, I do an email every week, so my goal. Yeah. Yeah. And they’re short. I’m going to tell you that a lot of people send these giant emails once a month. Nobody’s got time to read it and you don’t have time to write it. Take that giant email, make it four little emails, schedule them all at once and then go off and have a nice month. Come back a month later and do it again.

Every group or is it just like a general one for the whole shebang?

I, I have I have three main groups right now on the digital toolbox, and two of the three groups frequently get the same email every week. The third one, they’re getting a totally different email because it’s a it’s a community of people who’ve just been guests on my podcast. I’m not sending them invitations to my training. I’m not all I’m doing is sending them links to recent podcasts because they get a chance to see themselves featured. They get a chance to see other speakers.

A lot of them are interested in always looking for that next guest. So it’s a great I mean, that’s really the value. But that’s a very different audience than the audience of business owners I want to attract to sign up for my programs right now. When you download something, you get specific, you get enrolled in different programs, you get emails and you will stay on that list and then I’ll watch. When you hit the last piece of that campaign, then I’ll roll you into the general.

Got it. But I always know who came in. So, for example, I have about 50 people that have taken this one email marketing class that I teach. When I roll out the next one in the session, I’ll pull them out of the general email just that week. I’ll send them a special invite for that class that’s more tailored to, hey, you took the first one, you’re going to love the advanced one for the rest of the emails, going to look and feel much like what everybody else is seeing.

Constant contact also has something called dynamic content. So I can do one email, but then I can pull one paragraph and only the people that are on this one little list will see it.

I love and yeah, they haven’t sponsored this, but I love constant contact that they are super smart about the way that they think about email especially know. I’m sure you remember a couple of years ago convert kit was everywhere because they pay really good commissions. So that’s why everybody was promoting that. But I love I think constant contact is a dark horse that nobody really talks about.

They you know, it’s. For a long time, they had a program of people like me that were doing a lot of training and teaching people how to use the tool, and I think that really worked. They were acquired and it changed a lot of the features that I love and C.C. are available. Most of you are better. Email tools will have dynamic content. They’ll have some of those other things. It’s just a matter of learning to use them.

But those options allow you to create information that’s relevant to me because it’s not enough to grow your list. I, I can grow your list. Can you keep them interested for the long haul? We have a client that we’ve been working with when we started working with them. We had an email list with two hundred and fifty names today, that list has over 10000. Oh, wonderful. They are. That is Randall Beans. They make beans and glass jars, beans.

Ten thousand people want to know about beans a lot.

What about. Oh my God. That is amazing.

What do they want to know. They want to know how to cook them. And so we partnered with recipe developers to create unique recipes. We put together collections of these recipes and offered them in exchange for your email address, the brilliant.

And that is just such the perfect analogy of you can find people who are interested in what you’re selling, what you have to say, there’s people that are dying for fucking being.

I we have a subset within that group. So we have the ten thousand people that get the monthly email. We have a subset, maybe six hundred, that actually get a recipe every week, every week, and they open it.

Amazing what a perfect testimonial for your services.

But, you know, I, I it is about what I what we talked about right in the beginning. You know, when you were talking about the avatar understanding, what does your customer want? And giving it to them, yeah, they don’t make any money on the recipes, they don’t care because they sell a lot of beans, a lot of beans and jars. Like, I have to go check them out after this, because this is just blowing my mind, Brianna.

Beans, dotcom. Yeah. And we have we have a nice Facebook page. And we actually we’ve been working with them so long that Facebook really wasn’t as much of a thing when we started. But it certainly is now. They have a lovely community. They they have loyal fans who get all excited about a new recipe they share. We have a couple of people that will share their recipes and, you know. That’s what you want, no matter what your business is, you want to find that little group of people who are going to love, love, love you and bring their friends and their friends like you, and that’s OK.

And their friends will be like, oh, that’s kind of interesting. And that’s OK, too, because I like I have so many thousands of questions about this, but we’re out of time. So let’s talk about launches specifically because you kind of touch base on this a little bit. But when you have a launch, what is your how do you recommend your clients handle email sequences and things like that? Well, just because I’ve known, you know, that Amy Porterfield, the like where you get bombarded with emails during launches, is that effective or is it too much?

I, I, I think there is a breaking point and again and it’s different for different businesses in different industries and and depending on the buying cycle. But what I always do is I, I watch the open rates and when they start to fall off, I adjust the schedule because I’m burning out. I also religiously will go in and take anyone who has opted in out of that list. That’s really important. There is nothing worse than signing up for a conference and getting 12 more emails.

11 of them are promoting the conference. And one is the vital registration information and confirmation information that you miss because you were so annoyed by the other 11 emails. And, you know, I’m not saying you have to do it every day, but you need to have a system that will very quickly pull people out during your launch you’ve launched. Take them out so that now when you get past launch and you start communicating to the people who are in your program, they’re not burned out.

They are excited to hear from you.

Perfect. So, yes, I got to go. As soon as we’re getting out the front, I’m checking out beans and then I’m going to go play with my email is a little bit, but we’re running out of time. So I want to talk about when people are getting overwhelmed, they’re going to need your help. What do they need to do ahead of time and how do they get a hold of you?

So the very first thing you should do is go to the digital tool box, because we’ve got resources and courses and and webinars where you get more of me talking. What could be better? Oh, talk coffee. Talk to yeah. They get those in like people. But I got a digital toolbox, that club that is like the best place to go to start to learn more. You can find me Lorraine Ball. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter.

I’m on Facebook. You can also check out Round Peg. And I would say if you’re really ready to start working and you’re you’re past the exploration phase, then check out Round Peg that because I have multiple hats. I started the agency round peg. I’ve kind of I’m in a consulting role with them now after 19 years. And I’m focused more on the tool box, but I am still engaged and connected. And that’s the team that I trained how to do all of this.

And so they’re still doing that work for the being companies and the flooring companies and the plumbers and the diversity consultants that we’ve always worked with. And that’s, you know, I guess that’s the real takeaway is I have yet to find an audience. I’ve yet to find an industry in 20 years of doing this that can’t use email. And I have worked with. Engineering manufacturing companies I’ve worked with lawyers, home service, professional service, multilevel marketing, it’s different, the campaigns are different.

The approach is different. But I haven’t found an industry where it doesn’t work.

Agreed, five hundred percent agreed. Anything that we didn’t cover that you want people to know about.

Do it, even if you have just a really small list, you’re like, I only have two or three hundred people, OK, start there once a month. Once a month is fine. You don’t have to be on a once a week schedule like I am. You don’t have to have a lot twenty lines, you know. What is that in an email. Is that a two hundred words, maybe two hundred and fifty words. Not, not, not even send something, ask a question, drive people to your website and your Facebook page and kind of keep that virtuous cycle going.

But start, send an email but ask people and in that first email, hey, this is why I’m sending it to you. Are you OK if you want to unsubscribe and don’t take it personal when they unsubscribe. Yeah, not those and not in the beginning. Later, if you’re getting a lot of unsubscribes, that tells you you got some work to do, but not in the beginning.

And I think people with the smallest loss have the biggest advantage. I think that, you know, you don’t have all of this backlog of things that you’ve got to take care of. If you have a small list, that’s the time to be experimental and just kind of play around with it and see what happens.

Well, and also, if you have a small list, you probably actually know those people. When I went out, when I say there are people who’ve been on my list since 2002 and 2003, I know those people, you know, I mean, they were friends. They were coworkers. They were early customers. I know those people. So I know what to say to them. You know, when the list gets to be three and four thousand, I don’t know those people the same way.

So I kind of have to dial it back a little bit and maybe not be. I’m still edgy, but I. And I still say. Things and some people go, did you just say that I did, you know, I did, but I do dial it back a little bit because there’s some people who don’t know me. And I have discovered that, particularly on LinkedIn, some of the things I say, people like Lorrain. Really?

Yes. And it’s OK, because what you want, though, that’s like you go away. If you don’t get it, go away. I don’t know.

Yeah, I had somebody on the show who said when I on my podcast and he was talking about kind of that pushing people into the quadrants in the more that you move to one of the four quadrants and out of that middle. So I love you and I believe you. I hate you, but I believe you. I love you, but what you’re saying is not true or no, I hate you and I know it’s not true any one of those four reactions.

We’ll do way better then that’s nice.

The passion. Yeah, agree. Thank you, Lorraine. You’re awesome as always.

Oh, this is so much fun.

Thank you. Course, we will talk again soon, I’m sure.

That the great.

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