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).

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 3.11.59 PM

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.

Comments

  1. Lillian Kliewer says:

    This sounds like the future and I’m game! Can I use it for real estate sales? Selling real estate is obviously more complicated but establishing myself as an expert could be very beneficial. What’s next?

    • Absolutely, I think you could. You could do a webinar aimed at people who want to move to your area, educating them about the area, local schools, local communities, etc. Basically exactly what you would do one on one but you’re doing it one to many.

  2. I’ve done lots of webinars but never with the goal of a sale. I’d use the course to make that connection!

    • Cool thanks @LoriMac. I definitely think it’s important to start making sales, because that will provide you with the motivation to keep going. If you don’t make sales, then you won’t want to keep doing webinars, which would make me sad. : (

  3. Hey John, FANTASITIC POST.

    This content aligns perfectly with my business model. I’m sure it would be worth your time to put this new course together, because nothing is as great a teacher as experience. You’ve experienced breaking out on your own, building a list, and then finding a strategy to GROW the list quickly.

    And we all know the potential larger lists hold. More impact. More sales.

    I know your followers would appreciate you sharing this to build their businesses.

  4. Sharon Rogles says:

    I’d be interested in learning more. I host women’s retreats and am a life coach catalyst for change after having a life changing spiritual experience where I was told what I was to be doing now. I’m building my new coaching site and I know that online webinars is the wave of the future and the way to get our message out to the world. I just happened to read your email today and thought I’d respond. 🙂 Cheers

  5. Samantha Masinsin says:

    Do you have a email template that you send to warm/cold collaborators to get them excited to co-host a webinar with you?

  6. Great post. I took a webinar on hosting webinars recently and it really felt like a big waste of time. Other than of course, learning what NOT to do. I’ve hosted a couple myself, but only about 20 participants tops. I think some of the technical stuff, like having people ask questions and answer, and using the right service were a bit of a challenge. But also, more information on how to connect and collaborate with the right people, and promote and engage (instead of only using FB ads), would be awesome.

    • Teri, how long was the webinar on webinars? 60 minutes? 90 minutes? Even if you crammed in everything, it would be hard to cover everything you need to do in that short amount of time.

      I probably had maybe 3 people on my first webinar. So 20 sounds awesome!

      FB ads can be dangerous… if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could waste a lot of money fast.

  7. Love it, John! Thanks so much for sharing about your experiences in growing your list through webinars and for those solid tips for getting them off on the right foot. I can’t wait to hear about your program as soon as it’s released!

  8. Tyron Maynard Cutner says:

    I would love a course on this. I have some ideas. Put me down for the beta testing.

  9. Ladan Jiracek says:

    Love it!! This really is inspiring especially as I have started building my list and seen how hard it is!

    I finally started going down the path of internet marketing and see the potential, especially here in india

  10. Andy Iskandar says:

    Thanks for the info John! Really appreciate it. But you left one loop open… so how do I proceed if I am not an expert, have no list and would like to build relationships with maven experts? How do I use webinars to do that?

    • Hey Andy – you raise a valid objection … and this is something just about everyone struggles with. It’s the psychological barrier that you are not an expert. But here’s the thing… you don’t need to be an expert. You don’t need to spend 30 years in academia building up a body of work. You just need to be able to educate/entertain a group of people (who you define) in 60 minutes. You don’t need to be a bestselling author or world renowned expert to do that.

      Also, there are paths for overcoming not having a list and not having relationships with maven experts. 3 years ago, I knew no one and had no list. That barrier can be overcome.

  11. Laura Cumming says:

    Hi John, this was a great read and is really inspiring me to get started with my webinars. I would love to take part in your beta testing idea if you go ahead with this. It is great to hear how your list has grown exponentially as a result, I have the same goal for my business. There are a few things that have held me back so far (1) defining a clear purpose/subject (2) fear that people wont see it as valuable (ie. it goes wrong or they know it already) (3) tailoring it to so many different people

    • Excellent Laura. I’d love to have you in the beta group. The best thing you can do to refine your purpose and subject is … (wait for it)… get started. Of course, you want to have an idea of what you’re going to focus on before you do the webinar, but there’s nothing quite like announcing a webinar when you don’t have the content created yet to crystalize the mind. : ) There can also be different purposes – one purpose should be to share educational content that your attendees value, another could be to gain favor with your audience – even if people don’t attend, they will be appreciative that you are putting valuable trainings out to the world.

      Also, there will certainly be people who know some of the info already, but if your title and description are aligned with the content you’re going to share, and if you are clear at the outset what people will get out of the webinar, then those people who know the info already will not be in the audience, which is a good thing.

      Finally, you may NOT want to tailor your presentation to many different people. You might want to hone in on a target market. You can’t appeal to everyone.

  12. John, great post! Nothing beats getting advice from someone who has done it.

  13. Sarah McKee says:

    Hi John, I would love to hear more about your webinar course, yes please!!! My business is an infant which is why I haven’t moved to webinars, however it is my next step.

  14. I’m in – I have just signed up for leadpages – have run a few webinars but sounds like I could fast track with your proven strategies. Sign me up!

  15. Joanne Gruttner says:

    Hi John,

    Great article. And very timely! I’d love to learn more about your beta course. Just starting out with virtual work. Still beginning stages learning everything about building an online biz, so this is perfect timing. I’m interested in knowing about: the technology, what, how to use it; how to lay out the content and add education and entertainment factor to keep audience engaged for an hour, getting people signed up, and setting up an irresistible offer at the end. All from A-Z. 🙂

    • this is great feedback Joanne – thank you. I closed the first window for beta testers but keep your eye out as I’ll be doing some webinars in mid-Sept where I will likely open the doors again for more beta testers.

  16. Hey John, I really like step nr 2. It is a win-win-win!

    However, do you have a free give away for opt-in by the end of the webinar or something so you can collect emails? Or does someone else invite the audience but they still have to opt-in on your page for the webinar?

  17. 1HughBlane says:

    John, yes, this is an interesting idea and one I would like to learn how to use. As well as the nuts and bolts of creating a million dollar presentation, will you share how to approach mavens about working with them? Thanks in advance.

    • Hey Hugh – yes, I will, but most of this content is going to be in the advanced training as I don’t want to overwhelm people who are just getting started with webinars.

  18. This is awesome John. I’ve been looking at using webinars to help me bootstrap a brand new business with a small following (right now). If my main goal is to build my email list, do you think a webinar without a call-to-action at the end is… missing something? I’m not sure I’ve ever been to one without an offer of some kind :).

    PS: Thanks to strategies I’ve learned from YOU over the years I’m off to a great start with some key connections. Thanks!

    • Hey Deacon – yeah, I would try to have something at the end, even if it’s a call to action to a free strategy session with you – then you could at least use those free strategy sessions to get additional feedback.

      The thing is if you do your job right the first 55 minutes, then your audience should really want something more from you, which is where the call to action comes in.

  19. Hi John,

    I’m a new visitor coming on the recommendation of Adrienne Smith. I’m excited to have been introduced to your site!!!!

    I can validate every single thing you said. Back in April I did my first ever webinar with SEMrush. Not only did my list grow but the urgency was created such that my sales exploded as well.

    I teach the simple formula I learned and tweaked from Tony Jeary that “Clarity + Focus = Execution” so it was a natural place to start teaching on webinars the importance of clarity and how to gain it so that ones message is so clear that the audience is attracted to it.

    I then did the same webinar on my own platform and it was so successful I’ve done it now 4 times.

    I have now created 3 webinars and my 3rd will debut on SEMrush this Thursday and I will present it again the end of this month and in November.

    My goal is to be running one webinar a week but never the same one in a given month.

    If the content is clear and focused and people understand the value, they will join it quickly and it’s so much easier to reap the rewards than just in a blog article… but since they are now on my list they consume my content are buying other services as well.

    I learned a long time ago that profits are found in repeat business and webinars are a great introduction that can lead to a lifetime client/customer.

    Great post John and it’s awesome to meet you here on your site.

    ~ Don Purdum

  20. Hey John,

    I wanted to stop by and check out your post and of course you and I just had this conversation yesterday where you helped me understand how I can and should be getting in front of more people using webinars. I had also mentioned Don Purdum as well who I recently had the pleasure of working with and he’s done this same thing. I see he’s left a comment here already stating this as well.

    I’ve watched him really explode and although we haven’t known each other for very long I am so very impressed by what you’ve been able to achieve. I’m in awe with what you’ve accomplished and I have to tell you that I’m SO excited about the upcoming webinar you’re going to be doing with me. I’m like a little giddy now!

    Great great great share John and I’ve definitely already been passing this post around. Really appreciate you sharing this with your readers and I’m excited to see now what my future holds for me.

    ~Adrienne

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