4 simple ways your website can grow your email list

This might be the most important thing your website does and so many of us either don’t have it or have it totally wrong. The 4 tips in this episode will help your website accomplish the job it’s meant to do – get people on your email list! But not for the reasons you might think.

Resources mentioned in this post:

woman looking at website on tablet

How will this make your life better?


I don’t know about you, but as a mom, I have found that if I just give my kids a job and I tell them what to go do (ex. go shower) they tend to whine and complain. But if I take the time to sit down and explain to them why that job’s important to them, to our family as a whole, then I get less whining and complaining. They are more willing to at least try the job.


Before writing this post, I asked my 11 year old daughter, “What’s a job that I have given you, that you don’t really like doing, but you’re willing to do it when you understand the reasons why?”


She said, “Showering.” My reply was, “Really?” She said, “Yeah, I get that I should shower so that my body is clean or whatever. But awhile back, Mom, you told me that I should shower because it helps me feel better.”


She struggles with anxiety and depression and I’ve told her before that showering will help. That is motivating to her because now the shower itself has a purpose in her life. Something that it’s going to do to make her life better.


The same is true of your website. And I want to dig into that with you today.


The real purpose of your website is to grow your email list


The essential job that you must make sure your website accomplishes is to gather leads. Your website should be a lead generating machine, but what do I mean by a lead? I mean, your website’s job is to take website visitors and turn them into email subscribers.


You might think, “But Misty, you said that I should build a website that makes me money!” True. But the way your website does that is by gathering leads.


There will be some people who come to your website and simply purchase a product without joining your email list. That does happen, but it happens far, far less often than someone coming to your website, joining your email list, getting to know, like, and trust you and then purchasing. That is what typically happens.


Your website’s job is to grow your email list. I believe if you really understand this, you will be far more motivated to take good care of your website because you know what its’ purpose is.


Too often, we get distracted by other more minor goals or purposes for our website. Like, ‘oh, my website needs to be beautiful. It needs to have the right colors.’


That’s not unimportant. You do want your website to make a good first impression, but it’s not the job of your website. It’s not the end all be all My daughter doesn’t just take a shower so that she’s clean. Of course that’s an important purpose, but for her feeling better emotionally is a much bigger reason.


So your website looking pretty is important because it helps you gather leads. It’s not important in and of itself. We don’t just want a pretty website so that we look cool. We want a pretty website so that people will join our email list, get to know, like, and trust us and eventually purchase from us.


How much you make per person on your email list


I want to talk numbers with you for just a minute, but I also want to clarify that I don’t believe numbers are the end all be all. I don’t believe that average is applied to everybody, but I do believe that they give us a good starting point. I also believe in people before profits. So I’m going to talk about your people as numbers for just a minute and then we’re going to transition into talking about them as real people.


First, if you were to take the averages of a bunch of different studies and a bunch of different industries and a bunch of different people, each individual email subscriber is worth $12 per year. If you have 10 email subscribers, you should be able to make $120 per year. If you have 100, you should be able to make $1,200 per year.


On average, an Instagram follower is worth $3.65 per year. So email subscribers are worth more than 3x as much as an Instagram follower. And yet so many of us, myself included, I should apologize to my email subscribers because I get distracted by Instagram.


Instagram provides us with immediate gratification and it feels like our followers are more engaged there because we can see who’s actually watching us when we go live or we get likes and comments, and it feeds our desire for immediate gratification.


Your email subscribers are intentional


But the fact is that your email subscribers are more engaged with you. So why is this? Why is an email subscriber worth more money to your business than an Instagram follower? Not as a person, people are all valuable. But, when it comes to numbers.


I believe that this is because somebody who puts their email address into that little form on your website, and hits enter, are more committed to solving their problem than someone who simply hits follow on Instagram. When we hit follow on Instagram, we know we’re not going to see every single thing from that person.


We can follow hundreds of people, some people even follow thousands of people on Instagram, and they’re just not going to see everything that you do. They’re like, ‘Oh yeah. That’s kind of interesting.’ You know you do it. Sometimes we follow people just because they follow us and we feel bad for not following them. But not because we’re really interested.


We’re much more careful with our email addresses. We don’t just sign up for every single email list out there. I am not on hundreds of people’s email lists. There is far less competition in an email inbox and the people who are there, who are getting your emails, are more committed to solving the problem that you want to solve for them.


More people will see your emails than your Instagram posts


Another reason is because there’s less of a middleman. I won’t say there’s no middleman, because there are spam filters, but they filter far, far, far, far less than Instagram filters.


For example, I want to teach my child about the Book of Mormon. But, every single time I want to teach my child, it has to go through the Instagram filter. Instagram decides if they’re going to show my child that information or not. And they only show my child information about the Book of Mormon 1 out of 10 times. That’s pretty frustrating, right? That’s what’s happening on Instagram.


Not that it’s not happening at all on email, but really only about 10% of your emails are going to go to spam. Most of them don’t, so that means 9 out of 10 times, the spam filters decide to show that information about the Book of Mormon to my kids. There’s less of a filter there.


But even more importantly, inside of email, you can customize what you show people. I am in the middle of rebuilding revamping my membership site and all of the emails that I send you. I am at a point now, in my business, where I can really automate and customize it.


You will click on something and it triggers emails about that specific topic. I’m going to filter out the noise for you. I am going to show you the things that you are currently interested in and not send you things that are annoying because you’re not interested in them. We can do that for our email subscribers.


Your email list can help you make decisions


This is where it really gets exciting to me, where we can really serve people before profits. I can see those email subscribers as real people. Starting in a few weeks when you join my email list, I will ask you to choose one of three options. I don’t have a website yet. I have a website, but I don’t have a product to sell yet. Or, I have a website and a product, but I’m not making as much money as I want to.


Your answers to those three questions will allow me to send you emails that match what you are interested in. The beginners won’t be overwhelmed by the more advanced stuff. And the more advanced people won’t be overwhelmed by the beginner information. I am so excited to be able to serve you better in this way.


This is what email allows. I cannot do that for you on Instagram. There’s no way for me to serve you that way on Instagram.


Jumping back to some numbers. Remember, I told you that, on average, you should make about $12 per year per email subscriber. Last year, in 2021, I made on average $350 per email subscriber on my list. That is because I put people before profits and last year I don’t even feel like I did a very good job of it. I really don’t. I got to know my ideal customer pretty well, and I really tried to send out helpful information.


But you know what? Weeks went by without me emailing. I’m sorry to those of you who are on my list and I didn’t really help you as much as I wanted to. I got distracted by Instagram, of all things, but even with that my heart was in the right place. And I made way more than the average because people got to know, like, and trust me.


What is a Conversion and why is it important?


So let’s talk about how we get our websites to do this essential job of growing your email list. In the business world it’s called a conversion. What are your conversions?


Essentially, this is when you take somebody from one part of your business to another. If they’re just a website visitor then we convert them into an email subscriber. Or they’re just an Instagram follower and we convert them into a website visitor. Or they’re an email subscriber and we convert them into a customer. The word in the marketing world is convert or conversion.


So if I’m using marketing terms, your website’s job is to convert website visitors into email subscribers. I feel like the easier way of saying that is its’ job is to gather leads for you. So how do we get your website to do a better job?


3 ways to grow your email list


#1 – Get Rid of Ads


I want you to get rid of your ads and replace them with invitations to join your email list. Ads on your website, in my opinion, are even worse for your business than Instagram is.


Instagram has its place. It’s to convert people from Instagram followers into website visitors. But ads? I believe they actually damage your business because what you’re doing is you’re getting someone to your website, where you have a problem you want to solve for them. And then you’re telling them to leave and go somewhere else and solve a completely different problem.


If you sell LDS printables, you want to make it easier for people to deliver a great general conference for their kids or teach Come Follow Me. They come to your website and they see an ad for a book on Deseret Book. They click on the ad, go to Deseret Book, and then they forget all about you and the problem that you want to solve for them.


This is damaging your business. So get rid of ads. Big and scary, I know, especially if you’re making money from ads. You might have to do it slowly,  back off, let some of that income slide a little bit. But I promise you, I promise you, that you will make far more than this if you get rid of those ads and direct people to your email list instead.


Where are we going to put those invitations to your email list? Everywhere that you’ve got ads.


You’re going to put them in your header up in your menu, at the top of your website. You’re going to put them at the top and bottom of every blog post, and sometimes in the middle of a blog post. You’re going to put them in your footer. You’re going to put them on a pop-up.


All the different places that you might put an ad, instead, you are going to put an invitation to join your email list. That’s step number one. If you don’t have ads, high five, but you still need to put invitations to your email list in all those places. 


#2 – Stop calling your email list a ‘newsletter’


If you truly want to grow your email list, you need to make sure the invitation is enticing. Those ads don’t say something like, “Um, come to Deseret Book.” They don’t tell you why specifically, why you should come to Deseret Book. They give you a solution to a problem, something that’s enticing, and you need to do the same thing.


Stop calling your email list a newsletter. Stop it. I forbid it if I could, if I could come and forbid it for each and every one of you, I would.


Instead, create a small gift that solves a micro-problem for your people.


This could be a PDF. It could be a mini e-book. It could be a 3 video mini-course. It could be a challenge. It doesn’t need to take an enormous amount of your time, but something that solves a micro-problem. Not a macro-problem, not a big problem.


It needs to be a little problem and the solution needs to be something that people can implement fairly easily, fairly quickly. You don’t want to overwhelm people with an enormous amount of info.


I have a client who teaches sign language to family members of deaf children. They’re freemium, or lead magnet, which is the marketing terms for this little gift that we give our email subscribers. Their freemium is 5 videos that each teach one simple sign to help with the bedtime routine.


They don’t teach sentences, they teach one simple sign. They’re not solving the huge problem of all the things you wish you could talk about with your deaf child. They solved one problem, bedtime routines. And they don’t even solve it perfectly, because wouldn’t it be better to speak in sentences? Yes, but the very first step is simply learning a few words, like brush teeth. That’s one of their phrases, but if I have a child who was deaf, that would be so empowering. To be able to learn just five words.


This is the type of gift you want to create for your people. Something that solves a micro-problem that your people really have.


Make that small gift enticing by creating an image of it


My favorite website for doing this is Smart Mockups, they are totally free. You can pay for an upgraded version, but you don’t need to.

  1. Go to SmartMockups.com (affiliate link)
  2. click on ‘all mock-ups’
  3. choose either multiple devices, or prints, or a frame, or a book, or a magazine
  4. then you can filter it by free.

Easy as that. Then you’re going to take a screenshot of your freemium. I use the snipping tool inside of Windows. If you have a Mac, it’s going to be something different. I just use the snipping tool and I’m able to take just a little screenshot of my freemium. Then I drop that screenshot in on Smart Mock-ups.


Now I have a visual representation of my freemium. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? That’s what you want to create.


To review, step number one, get rid of your ads and replace them with invitations to join your email list. Step number two, make sure that invitation is enticing by doing three things: stop calling it a newsletter, create a gift that solves a micro-problem, and then create an image of that gift. Digital products are hard for us to see, but people want to see what they’re getting.


#3 – Treat your email list like VIPS


I’m not going to go into an enormous amount of detail here today, but I am going to give you four tips for how to treat your email subscribers better than your Instagram followers.


Get to know them.

Spend time where they are in Facebook groups, follow the people they follow on Instagram. Get to know them, ask them questions, even in your emails, ask them to respond. Really get to know them in every way you possibly can.


Email them often at first.

I’ve done an entire podcast episode on this, but as a quick example, when I was dating my husband, he did not text me often enough and it bugged me. I was interested in him. I wanted him to text me, but at the same time, there was another guy who texted me all the time and it annoyed me because I wasn’t interested in.


Sometimes we’re afraid to email our email subscribers because we’re afraid that it will be annoying. The fact is, you will annoy the people who are not your target market. You will, and that’s okay because they’re not your target market. They will unsubscribe and leave. That’s good. Your target market wants to hear from you, especially right after they’ve just signed up.


If you don’t email them, they’re either going to lose interest or get annoyed. Which is what would happen with my husband. If he didn’t text me over and over and over again, eventually I would probably get annoyed at first and then I would just lose interest.


Give them VIP treatment.

The people on my email list always get the lowest possible price on my products. I may share a coupon on Instagram occasionally, but it is never as big as a coupon that I share to my email subscribers.


Occasionally send them tips that you don’t share anywhere else. Things that you don’t share on Instagram, because they are reserved specifically for your VIP email list.


#4 – Use systems that allow you to customize your emails


This is definitely a more advanced thing, but as you grow, make use of those systems that allow for customization. For instance, I told you I’m creating a whole system of emails that will be customized to your needs.


As you grow, take advantage of this. I use Convertkit  (affiliate link) for that. I love Convertkit, I am proud to recommend them. They’re a fantastic product for just $9 a month. You can have access to this type of customization, where you can really take good care of your email subscribers and put people before profits in a way that you’ll never be able to do on Instagram.


Your assignment today, I want you to choose one of the following four things: replace your ads with an invitation to join your newsletter, stop calling it a newsletter and instead tell them what problem you’re going to solve, create a gift that solves that problem, create an image of that gift.


Depending on where you’re at in your business, I want you to pick one of those four things to do this week in order to help your website do a better job of helping you grow your email list.


What it looks like to treat your email subscribers like VIPs


If you would like to become one of my email subscribers and be treated like a VIP, another thing my email subscribers get access to is a private resource library, full of resources that aren’t available anywhere else. They’re only available to my email subscribers.


These are little mini-courses, E-books, all sorts of things that are completely free to my email subscribers. This is in addition to my first freemium that I give you.  Regardless of what my current freemium is, once you join my email list, you will also have access to that resource library.


You can get on my email list and grab my current freemium at DesignedForGoodness.com/join

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Listen Here

This post originally aired as an episode of The Goodness Squad podcast. New episodes are no longer being recorded, but you can still listen to past episodes on your favorite podcast app.

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