As we head into 2020, you’re probably wondering whether it’s still possible to grow an email list for free, especially as everyone wants you to ‘pay-to-play’.

Well, good news friend — it is possible and I’m going to share it all with you in this post.

image of woman wearing fedora hat smiling, holding coffee mug with text overlay

Here’s why it feels like pulling teeth just to grow your email list…

If you started your coaching business between 2015 & 2016, then you likely remember the good old days on Facebook, B.A.C (before algorithm changes) when everyone would see your content.

Yeah, me too friend.

The issue? We relied on that platform for traffic to our blogs and website pages. Seriously, when I started my business, I was encouraged to write new blogs during a launch that led to my programs/offers because people would see and read them in real time…

So when Facebook changed the rules in early 2017, everything changed and THAT is why it felt like blogging was dead.

(It isn’t — you’re here aren’t you?)

Blogging isn’t dead, the only thing that died was your traffic.

orange colour block with text overlay describing blog

Set A Goal

Before you get started creating content, it’s important that you set a goal.

Your content is how people get to know you and your business, so you want to be creating content that connects to your audience but also lays a foundation for your growth.

Think about your long term business vision (at least 12-months) and write down where you want your business to be and more importantly, WHY.

Example: I want to be making consistent 5k months using a passive sales funnel, affiliate program and word of mouth for my membership and services. Making $5,000 a month would allow me to pay my bills with ease, support my husband in his business, take regular trips with my family during school breaks and save for future investments in my business. I would love to have the money saved for courses or programs I want to join so that there’s no hesitation.

Creating a really specific vision based goal allows you to create a feeling around your content, so that each time you sit down to write you have that vision in mind. You’ll not only get laser focused on your goals, but it will help you stay motivated when you don’t feel like writing.

Your goal and vision connects to your content on a much deeper level, and it helps you to create valuable content for your audience.

Create A Content Plan

A content plan is about so much more than just knowing what to say; it’s about structuring your weekly content into themes and connecting those themes to your offerings.

I see so many coaches who are busting their butt to create content for Instagram, and it’s these same coaches who are not seeing engagement on their posts.

If you want to get real engagement on social media (i.e. not just bots!), the kind you hear about from the Instagram gurus, then you need to put your audience first. Your posts cannot be about you, even if you’re telling a story about yourself — they are the hero, you are the guide.

Your content plan will be made up of these 5 things:

  • A promotional calendar
  • A content theme bank
  • An editorial calendar
  • A customer journey, and
  • More valuable content

Prioritise Your Blog & Email List

If you want to grow your email list, then you need to prioritise your blog and email list. Nothing in our business works in isolation, and there is zero point creating random pieces of content that don’t move you closer to your goals.

This means prioritising your legacy content over social media, taking the time to come up with keywords, subject lines and tracking your email data so you can monitor any trends.

As Kristen from Going Ultraviolet recently said: “When I finally got honest with myself about why I wasn’t consistent at sending newsletters to my email list, I had to admit it was because I wasn’t trying to be”

If you want to move the dial in your business, and see organic growth with your email list… then it makes sense that all roads in your marketing must lead to your email list.

colour block of brown with text overlay describing the blog post

Be Consistent With Your Priorities

This is a rinse and repeat method, when you consistently create content you will consistently attract traffic to your website leading to opt ins and subscribers on your email list.

But if you stop prioritising your website and email content then you will see a drop in numbers, because we typically don’t buy services from Instagram or Facebook. 

We will however sign up for someone’s lead magnet, read/listen/watch their content and get to know them… think about it, when we find an account that appeals to us we go ALL in.

Create social media content that has people going ALL in with you, create your legacy content to TEACH them about you, your business and services.

image of wicker tray with coffee cup and reading glasses with text overlay describing blog

Create Content That Leads To Your Offers

I know, you’re probably thinking ‘DUH!’ but there was a time, not too long ago, that business coaches were teaching us to create a NEW lead magnet for every single blog post… and every new launch… 

Please. Don’t do that, it’s such a waste of your time.

Focus on that ONE lead magnet that is aligned with your offer, it’s the piece of the puzzle your client avatar needs before they take the first step with you.

TIP: ask yourself ‘what does my ideal client need to BELIEVE before they will buy from me?’

(if you have multiple offers, same thing applies, you’ll just need to create seperate pieces of content for each)

Braindump in a Google Doc or Asana board all the content ideas you have that easily connect to your lead magnet, and then get started.

Commit to a writing schedule that fits into your week, and start by creating content that sets up your lead magnet as THE first step to getting results.

Then, when you spend time ON your chosen social media platforms — do it wisely.

Focus on content that creates a real connection between YOU and your IDEAL CLIENT.

Share more than just what you do, sprinkle in your real life, the things you love and some of your everyday routine — trust me it’s not boring.

Every single morning I share a few Stories as I  make my morning Oat Milk Latte, I always add country music over the top using the ‘music’ feature in Instagram. My followers LOVE seeing this story, I get DM’s every day and people wanting me to share my fave songs/artists with them.

Nope, it has ZERO to do with business… but it’s HUMANISED content. And, guess what? When they are ready to get shit done in their business, they’ll remember me.

Screengrab from Instagram DM

Social media isn’t going anywhere, but sometimes there are glitches in the system, the algorithm is CONSTANTLY changing and NO ONE can tell for certain what it will do next.

So if you’re fed up busting your butt to create content, without seeing the return on your time, then shifting your mindset and prioritising your website and email list is a no brainer.

You own your website and email list, and you can create a totally different experience with a blog and email.

One final thing, I know this is tough.

Many of my clients are struggling HARD to make the shift away from creating content for Instagram first, but if you don’t take your audience on a journey beyond the platform then you’re all losing out.