How I Quadrupled My Email List in 7 Months

05.27.2015

Quick question – wanna get more leads and sales?

Sure you would …. just about everyone needs more of those, right?

But it’s not easy. If you’re a small business owner or service professional like most of my readers, then you have to find new leads, close them, and then actually do the work!

There aren’t enough hours in the day.

Well, it turns out there’s a much better way. It’s about shifting from a “one to one” model to a “one to many” model.

In this article, I want to share a new strategy I’ve used this year to quadruple my email list, build my reputation as an expert, forge relationships with tens of thousands of people at once, bring in hundreds of new customers and clients, and most importantly attract multiple six figures of revenue to my business.

I’ve never shared this material before, but it’s been such a game-changer for me that I had to share it.

Why You Don’t Have Enough Leads or Sales Now

First, let’s discuss the reason why your business is not doing as well as it could be.

Often, the reason businesses struggle is because their owners are not nurturing long-term relationships with the right people.

They’ve surrounded themselves with the wrong people … or they aren’t taking steps each and every day to connect with influencers and VIPs in their industry or other professionals they admire in their local community.

Their ‘network’ is something being created at random rather than something they are actively and intentionally creating for themselves.

But there’s often another explanation for why you don’t have enough leads or sales: lack of leverage.

Most businesses have little leverage.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, nearly 90 percent of businesses are small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

That means most businesses have to do more with less. Most marketing and selling is done “one to one.” Relationships are nurtured one at a time.

It’s time consuming, expensive and exhausting. A lot rides on each sale.

A better approach is to sell to many at once. It allows you to break out and create a truly thriving business with scaleable income.

Now, there are many ways to market and sell “one to many” using leverage. I’ve tried just about all of them, and most are not perfect. For example:

  • Writing and publishing a book creates leverage because you write the book once and thousands of people could read it. But: tens of thousands of books are published each year and it’s hard to break through the noise.
  • Teaching creates leverage because you teach the class once and many people learn the material. But: teaching can be very labor-intensive – ask any teacher!
  • Facebook Ads – a lot of people want to jump to advertising on Facebook, but I’ve found people who “discover” you from a Facebook ad are a lot slower to warm up to you. Plus, it can be expensive.
  • Social media – when you share something on social media, it takes just as much effort on your end to share it with one person as with 100K. But: if it was easy to create a massive social media following, everyone would do it.
  • SEO can bring tons of traffic to your website. But: don’t get Google-slapped!

Now…  there’s a relatively new digital tool that is still in its infancy that is head and shoulders above every other high-leverage tool.

I’m talking of course about webinars.

How I Quadrupled My Email List in 7 Months Using Webinars

During 2014, I grew my email list primarily by writing guest posts for sites like Art of Manliness, Get Rich Slowly and Boost Blog Traffic. That took me from around 1,000 email subscribers at the beginning of 2014 to 5,800 by Dec 31, 2014.

At the end of the year, I thought “Woo-hoo!  I nearly 6X’d my email list!”

Then, in January of this year, I began doing webinars, and here’s what happened…

I doubled my email list within the first 90 days of the year; then I tripled it shortly later.  And since then I’ve quadrupled it, and we’re just halfway through the year.

Let’s put it another way: it took me about two years (or 24 months) to go from 0 to 4,000 email subscribers.

… then it took me 7 months to double that, from 4,000 to 8,000.

… then guess how long it took me to double it again, from 8,000 to 16,000 email subscribers?

7 months?

Wrong. 5 months.

So adding email subscribers actually speeds up, and gets easier.

The funny thing was in January, my goal was to hit 20,000 email subscribers by December 31st. Then a month into the year, I realized I could probably hit that goal by July 31st.

Then a month after that, I realized I could probably hit that goal by July 1st. And I was almost exactly on target.

Now, my revised goal is to hit 35K-40K subscribers by the end of this year. And to hit 100K by next summer.

Considering it is safe to assume you can make $1 per subscriber per month (many people I know do much better than this), we’re talking about some serious money.

Before you accuse me of going all “internet marketing” on you, let’s take a step back.

I focus on how to build better relationships at scale using digital tools.

Each one of those email addresses is a relationship. I’m building relationships with more people than I could possibly build relationships with the old-fashioned way.

Whether I have 100 people on an email list or 100K, you’re putting in roughly the same amount of effort to write up some content and share it with everyone on your list.

And doing all these webinars have helped to build my reputation as an expert, which has all sorts of ancillary benefits.

For example…

I’ve been profiled in Forbes and in the great book Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It (referral link).

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I’ve been profiled on the LeadPages blog:

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I’ve been invited to speak at conferences alongside some major players, like with the upcoming Webinar Ninja Live in San Diego September 27th, 2015.

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In fact, while I was writing this blog post, I saw a message in a forum I belong to from one of the other members, telling everyone that I had been mentioned in another highly influential forum, Ryan Levesque’s Next Level Marketing Group.  Here was the mention:

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I’m even organizing my own group events where influencers and VIPs are paying me to attend, like this invite-only mastermind in April in San Francisco:

A gathering of entrepreneurs in San Francisco at the Mixery workspace, brought together by John Corcoran and Jeremy Weisz.

Just 18 months ago, none of these things would have seemed plausible. That’s how quickly webinars can light a fire under your business.

All of this happened because I decided to start holding webinars. I didn’t have it all figured out when I got started, but I made the decision to START anyways.

How Webinars Can Help Your Business

OK, so you’re probably wondering how webinars can work for you.

I actually think almost any kind of business can benefit from webinars, which are in fact simply more a engaging web-based version of a speech or presentation.

There are many reasons why webinars have huge potential.

  • Webinars can be nearly free or at least very inexpensive, especially compared to live in-person events (you don’t have to rent out a room, provide drinks or refreshments, or anything like that). I use a combination of Google Hangout on Air, LeadPages and Chatwing.com.
  • You can communicate with thousands of people at once.
  • Webinars have an intimacy that you don’t get from other forms of online content such as blog posts, videos or podcasts.
  • The live nature of a webinar creates an urgency which makes people more likely to buy on a webinar.
  • You can hold a free webinar is a great way to gauge feedback on a product or business idea.
  • Webinar software has gotten MUCH easier to use and less glitchy – if you can tie your shoes, you can definitely run a webinar

More importantly, webinars allow you to leverage what is probably your biggest asset: your network. The people you know already.

Here’s how: even if you don’t have an email list, you probably have hundreds of connections on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or simply people you know in your local community.

However, months or years can go by without you communicating with them in any way, because you’re simply too busy. Life gets in the way.

Those relationships are effectively “dead to you.” You’re not using them, so you might as well not have them.

That may sound harsh, but it’s true.

Now, when you hold webinars, it’s an opportunity to nurture those relationships and keep them warm, leading to all sorts of new opportunities.

Even if you’re a service professional with a mostly “offline” business and little online presence, you can use this strategy. Nearly any offline product or service can be marketed to a much larger group using webinars.

How to Get Started with Webinars

One of the most common questions I get is about how to get started.

People ask: what if I don’t have an email list? What if I’m not an expert? What should I teach about? What if I don’t have a product to sell?

Here’s a simple 4-step process to get yourself started:

1.)  Have a Clear Purpose

 

What is your purpose of doing webinars? Is it to grow your email list, or to increase your  income, to sell more consulting services, or perhaps to build your reputation as an expert?

You should be clear on why you want to do webinars so you know what you want to get out of it.

For most people, they do webinars because they want more leads and sales. But you can also use webinars to test an idea, get feedback, nurture relationships with your connections/audience/email list, etc.

Your purpose can also evolve over time. For most people, I recommend setting very modest goals for their first webinar. So perhaps you want to just invite 5 or 10 people to your first webinar and you want to hold the webinar without any major technical snafus.

Many, many people are held back from holding webinars by fear, so simply getting over that fear by holding your first webinar should be a victory.

2.)  Find Your Collaborators  

The next thing you need to do is find the people you can collaborate with on webinars.

What is a collaborative webinar? A collaborative webinar is simply a webinar that you hold which is hosted by someone else for their group of friends/followers. You do the “teaching” while someone else brings in the audience.

Put it this way … imagine for a second that you’re an amazing chef and you make this incredible butternut squash ravioli dish.

You offer to throw a completely free dinner party at your house for your good friend Sam and all of Sam’s friends. You do a cooking demonstration, make an incredible meal and everyone walks away happy. You even hand out the recipe and ingredient list.

But not everyone likes to cook. Some people just want the meals prepared for them.

Other people want to buy a copy of your cookbook and still others want to pay you to do a cooking demonstration in their home with their group of friends.

As thanks to your friend Sam for inviting his friends to this event, you share a portion of the proceeds.

Pretty cool, right? Isn’t that a “win-win-win” all around?

That’s what you’re doing with collaborative webinars. You have a friend share you with their friends and followers.

Using this strategy, I’ve added as many as a couple thousand email subscribers within a matter of days.

If you are serious about doing webinars, you absolutely should do collaborative webinars for as many audiences as possible.

In the book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the concept of mavens and connectors. Mavens, he wrote, are “information specialists”, or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information.” Mavens can start word-of-mouth epidemics due to their knowledge, social skills, and ability to communicate.

“Mavens are really information brokers,” writes Gladwell, “sharing and trading what they know.”

If you want to be serious about using collaborative webinars, then you need to find mavens and build relationships with them. You may have great friends locally but if they aren’t involved with holding webinars then there’s going to be a limit to what they can help you accomplish.

Action item: fill out your conversations list and be sure to include anyone who is active or interested in collaborative webinars on your topic or field of expertise.

3.)  Create a Million-Dollar Presentation

Next, you need to create a “million dollar presentation.” You should treat your webinar, even if you aren’t charging anything for it, like people are paying you thoughts of dollars to attend.

And even if people aren’t paying you, they are taking time out of their day to listen to you, and that’s something you need to be appreciative of.

It’s not enough to simply show up and teach from the top of your end. You need to engage, educate and entertain people.

How do you do this? Well, study other webinars. Watch a lot of other webinars and figure out what strategies work. Then create a webinar presentation and practice it, as well as get feedback from friends and colleagues.

In fact, if your webinar is boring or slow paced or too basic for the crowd, you will hear about it.

4.) Create a Killer Offer

A lot of people worry about having to “sell” at the end of a webinar, but my view is if you do your job right the first 55 minutes then you shouldn’t have to worry about selling in the last few minutes.

To the contrary, if you don’t offer anything for sale, you will get complaints from people who watched the entire presentation hoping for more and were deprived of the opportunity.

But if you do want to make sales, you need to know how to sell. For that, I recommend studying direct response copywriting.

Until you learn how to write copy, you’re going to have trouble selling.

For that, I can recommend a few books:

How Can I Help You Get Started with Webinars?

Now, over the past few months, as people have gotten wind of the impact my webinar strategy has had on my business, I’ve been getting more and more questions about webinars.

So, I’m considering creating a course to show people how to get started using webinars to build your reputation as an expert, to get more leads and sales, and to increase your revenues.

If you’re interested, I’ll build the course — and I’ll share everything I know.

But first I need to know if this is even something that you want.

 

So I want to hear from you…. what is holding you back from holding webinars?

Share your response in the comments below.

If enough people are interested in learning more about how to use webinars to become known as an expert and increase your leads and sales, I may run a small, private beta class to test the material.

  • http://niklasgoeke.com/ Niklas Göke

    Excellent post John! I learned about this strategy from Joseph Michael and I’ve recently created a killer pitch for one. While all of my prospects are interested, unfortunately they’re all fully booked right now, so it might take a few months to pull it off, but I’m 100% convinced this is worth the time and will keep pitching.

    • http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

      Joe knows what he’s talking about – he’s done an amazing job with webinars this past year.

  • http://www.adventurecamel.com/ Scott

    Great insights. I’m crafting a webinar now for one business and eagerly awaiting the day I’ll have product to sell on a second one. I appreciate these tips for getting started.

    • http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

      Cool thanks Scott.

  • http://www.donnamerrilltribe.com/ Donna Merrill

    Hi John,

    I found you on Adrienne’s Smith’s blog and glad I did. I agree 100% that webinars do increase your list and so much more. I have been doing them for a while now myself and it does increase our followers. As long as we have a clear purpose that benefits others, we are fine!

    Thank you so much for bring up this topic that some people really need to know.

    -Donna

    • http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

      Awesome thanks Donna! What kinds of webinars do you do?

  • http://www.beamoneyblogger.com/ Muba Mi

    Hi John
    Much appreciate your upfront way of telling secrets to your readers and that shows money can be a big thing in life but is not everything. Very smart business strategy you reflected here so who can know better than you how to influence your readers to build a long term business relation with them. Thanks a lot for sharing these very precious tips to grow email list

    • http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

      Great thanks Muba.

  • Peter Beckenham

    John many thanks for sharing this amazing list building experience. I was aware that webinars could help with building your authority status and your list but I had no idea of the real potential until I saw your post today.

    The stats really blew me away and have made me retrhink completely the concept of runnning webinars. With the excellent tips you have provided I now fee much more confident about using this strategy moving forward.

    Just one question…have you also tried oput the new periscope platform as I am hearing great reports about the interaction and list building capaciity of this new arrival. Would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Delighted to share this post as widely as possible as so many people will benefit from the expertise you so kindly shared. Thank you again John.

    • http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

      Hey Peter – I’ve done exactly one periscope so I’m no expert, but I haven’t heard many reports of people who are having a lot of luck building an email list on Periscope. It’s just a very new platform so it may take a little while for people to figure that out. But I’d love to hear evidence to the contrary.