How to Build a Thousand Person Email List in a Year

If you’re in the entrepreneurship space for any length of time, you’ll hear about how important it is to have an email list. It is a marketing asset that you own and control yourself. It is the currency of joint ventures and many lucrative types of speaking engagements. It is just a cool thing to have.

That’s cool and all, but how do you build a list if you don’t have one? And how big does it need to be anyway?

How Big Does Your Email List Need to Be?

Like most questions of this type, the answer depends on what you want to do with it.

Generally, 1,000 is the threshold at which you can start thinking of your list as significant. That said, the old adage applies: it’s not the size of the boat. It’s the motion of the ocean. (That might be the wrong adage.)

If you have a list of 1,000 people with a 2% open rate, then you don’t have anything to be excited about. On the other hand, if you have a 200 person list with a 48% open rate, then you’ve got something pretty powerful.

This is why buying lists is so ineffective. It’s also why you shouldn’t put every person you meet onto your junk newsletter list. (No, I don’t need to hear about the latest mortgage rates.)

Confused yet? Good!

To put it simply, assuming your open rates are 15-20% and above, 1,000 puts you in the game, 5,000 is the minimum for many summits and joint ventures, and beyond that more opportunities build.

How Do You Build Your Email List?

How the heck do you get 1,000 people to be on your email list when you start with zero?

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

If you want to add 1,000 people to your list in a year, that means you need to add 80 per month. 20ish working days per month, and that’s 4 per day.

How many people do you meet every day? I meet that many people every day, but I’m a professional connector. You may not be.

Even if you aren’t spending all your time making connections, you still meet people. Prospects. Networking events. Heck, you can reach out on LinkedIn or Facebook and invite people to join your list.

Add 4 per day and you’ll have 1,000 in a year.

What Do You Share On Your Email List?

I know what you’re thinking. I just told you not to add every person you meet to your “junk newsletter list.” So how can you add every person you meet to your list?

Easy. Don’t have a junk newsletter list! Share valuable, interesting content that people want to read.

Nobody wants to get a newsletter. They don’t have time for it, and they rarely offer meaningful value. A newsletter tends to be an email with a collection of links to various articles. The consumption of such a piece is a serious undertaking requiring real time.

I don’t send a newsletter. I share content. Everything I write is either something that my personality is stamped on so people feel they’re getting some authentic Michael Whitehouse, or it’s something supporting and promoting someone in my community that my audience may be interested in.

Here are some tips to good email content:

  • One topic per email – Nobody has time for a newspaper in their email. Your email should have one point which can be grasped relatively quickly. We’d rather get three emails than one overwhelming email with three points.
  • Make it short or make it interesting – Either make it something they can read in a minute or less, like an event announcement, or make it a story or other engaging writing that holds their interest (for example, a brief discourse on how to get a thousand person email list.
  • Don’t be pitchy – You can pitch, and you can sell, but you’ve got to make your audience feel that you respect them and are offering them some value. If you want to sell a program or product, open up with an interesting story. Alternatively, use the email to promote events (that provide real value) at which you product will be offered.

Obviously, there is so much more to this subject, but these are some quick tips, and just enough information to get you that thousand person list by this time next year.

If you’d like to learn more and discuss ways that you can grow your list, your business, and your life, click here to schedule a call with me.

Michael Whitehouse is The Guy Who Knows a Guy, and author of a book of the same name. His clients hire him to make the connections they need, and events hire him to bring energy, humor, and verve to the stage as a host and MC.

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