Episode #3: 5 Ways to Develop an Engaged Email List with Laura Pennington


Laura Pennington of SixFigureWritingSecrets.com joined me on the Learn to Love Email Podcast and shared so much marketing goodness. We talked about her journey to freelance writing and ultimately becoming an online educator and got her tips on list-building and marketing automation.

We started our conversation by talking about taking the leap into full time entrepreneurship from part time work. It's scary because you don't have all the time in the world to put towards your business and you don’t know what will happen if you do take this leap. Laura and I had similar experiences, being pushed into making a side hustle something more.

When I was running my side hustle, my philosophy was anything I made was over and above the salary I already had. It was awesome, but once you switch to investing more time in your business, it’s like, crap now I need to make up either half my income or whatever it is depending on your situation. And it’s interesting to see how much you gain from investing more in your business. If you’re thinking about taking the leap to shift more focus on your own business, like Laura and I have, forget the fear and focus on using the additional time to your advantage.

And once you have more time to focus on your business, you’re going to want to spend time developing your email list. Laura shared incredible experiences of how being personal with your audience can increase the value of your list.

5 Ways to Develop an Engaged Email List

1. Write Emails with a Human Touch

Your first instinct when writing to your email list is probably to share blog posts and write things like, “5 Mistakes You’re Making with ---” or “How to Save Time and ----”. Laura found that the best connection she had with her audience was when she got personal. By sharing the reality of her life and what experiences she had, Laura’s message translated on a deeper level. Laura also shares pictures of herself in her emails so that her list knows she’s a real person and not just a robot sending out messages.

2. Reveal the Inner-Workings of Your Business

Letting your email list see all sides of your business is another way to make email a personal communication. While Laura doesn’t share an income report on her blog, she does share it with her tried and true email followers. “I like to be very real with people on my list. I tell them when something didn't work, I tell them when something works really well, and I tell them why I make certain decisions...like fire half my clients,” Laura said. Giving email subscribers an inside look into your business or life makes them feel involved and more intimately connected to you which ultimately makes them more likely to buy. People buy from people they like.

3. Don’t Worry About Your Numbers

There's this myth out there that if you don't have 10,000 subscribers, your list is worth nothing and that’s not true. If you have 100 or 200 or even 500 subscribers that are laser focused on a particular thing, rather than being generally opted into list, you have so much more value. Email is not about the numbers. Nobody can see how big your list is, so you can email your list as if there are thousands of people on it, but no one knows if you only have 30 people.

4. Engage Before You Sell

When we’re overwhelmed with our businesses, firing off an email whenever we decide to have a sale can seem like the most we can do. Laura found that her audience didn’t respond to promo emails that came from nowhere. When she’d send emails on a random Friday with a coupon for a course, no one would click on it. You have to warm your audience up to be interested in your offer. This is where email automation really comes in handy. By creating a sequence of emails that create urgency and scarcity, Laura made $1500 while she was on vacation.

5. Get To Know Your Audience Because Every Audience is Different

When Laura asked her list to reply with a struggle, they just wouldn’t respond. That goes to show that everybody's audience is different. A lot of times we’re looking for the golden rule of email marketing, but there isn't one way. It's just a lot of trial and error, and it's a lot of putting things out in the world and seeing what works with your audience and what doesn't.

Want to learn more about increasing the quality of your email list? Listen to our complete conversation on iTunes: Learn to Love Email Podcast.


Resources Mentioned in this Episode: