You’ve heard about the importance of building an email list, but what are you supposed to do with it once you have it? We’re discussing how to consistently use your list and the importance of growing it today on the podcast. And, we’re continuing the conversation in our Mastermind group. Head over there to share what works for you and hear what others are saying: www.growwithusmastermind.com.
Building an email list. It seems to be one of those things that’s on every TpTers to-do list, but it’s often not something that we focus on. April and I both admit that we haven’t been real consistent with sending out emails to our lists over the summer either. That’s why we brought Nicki from The Sprinkle Topped Teacher on the podcast to share how she grew her TpT store by focusing on building and using an email list.
A little about Nicki
Nicki started her store, The Sprinkle Topped Teacher, back in September of 2015. Her original focus was on K-3 products, but she has moved into creating resources for a broader audience.
This is her first schoolyear that she is going full time as a TpTer. She recently moved across the country and is using this as her opportunity to try stepping away from the classroom.
If you’re thinking about taking the same step, check out our episode So You’re Thinking of Going Full Time TpT? It’s an exciting step but can feel a little scary too.
Nicki started focusing on building an email list after listening to plenty of business podcasts that talked about the importance of it. And, it really stood out to her when she heard Jenna Kutcher from Goal Digger say that if people subscribe to your email list they are your people.
She spent the entire 2018 year creating products releasing three a month! After that, she felt it was time to start building her list. So, she signed up for Amy Porterfield’s Email List Building course and hit the ground running. During the 2019 schoolyear, she only created one resource and spent the rest of her time focusing on growing her email list and the results have been huge!
Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself
Nicki mentioned that because she invested in herself and spent the money on the course she was more likely to follow through on completing it. The investment became a type of accountability for her.
April and I have found the same thing to be true. So, don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. with courses and software. It might be just the thing that you need as motivation to really get your TpT business growing.
What do you send out to your email list?
Nicki believes in the 90/10 strategy. This means that 90% of what she sends out is focused on serving her customer. The last 10% is leftover for sales.
Every Sunday she sends out the Sunday Sunshine to her email list. The goal is to help her audience fight the Sunday scary. She reminds them of their purpose and value and gives them a freebie or notifies them of a promotion or podcast that shew was on.
On occasion, (that 10%) she sends out a sales email. When she does this it’s usually an email the day before the sale and then one on the day of the sale.
Here’s the best part—people reply to her emails. They are thankful for them and she gets feedback and reassurance that her emails are a hit with her audience.
What type of format should you use?
Nicki sticks with a simple format for her weekly emails. They begin with an introduction and then include a tip or challenge for the week. After that, she has a closing message and a P.S. that includes something that she’s promoting.
You may hear from other sources that you should keep your emails short. But, Nicki mentioned that her emails are long and people are reading them. So, find what works for you and your audience and stick with it.
The importance of planning ahead
In January, Nicki created a spreadsheet of all the topics that she wanted to cover in her weekly emails. She’s adjusted them as needed when the week arrives, but having this list in place has made it easier for her to create content. She doesn’t feel stuck on what to focus on because she can refer back to her list.
The impact her list has had on sales
You may think that Nicki’s sales would be down in 2019 because she has only been focused on building an email list. But, not so. Her store has more than doubled compared to last year. It’s been the biggest growth jump that she has seen.
If you’re wondering if it’s really worth your time to start an email list, it is!
What platform should you use for signups?
Nicki gets almost all of her email subscribers from Instagram. She likes to hop on Instagram Stories and explain what she’s going to be sending out for the week. This encourages people to head over to her link to sign up.
She spent her time focusing on Instagram and now that she feels she has that platform down, she’s starting to focus more on Pinterest and Facebook.
This is a great reminder—you don’t have to be active on every platform at once. It’s overwhelming. Choose one platform, learn it well, and then expand from there.
Best strategy for building an email list – Have something great to give away
When Nicki started building an email list she used 5 Days of Freebies in order to get people to subscribe. Then she made sure the things that she was giving away had a lot of value but were also part of a larger bundle.
In order to get the free resource, subscribers would have to read about the bundle first. This way if they liked the freebie they would be more interested in purchasing the entire bundle. For one freebie she polled her social media following to find out which one they would be most interested in.
While her sales stayed pretty consistent during this time, she found that she had significant growth during the TpT site-wide sale.
Advice for TpTers just starting out
1. Make a plan
It can feel overwhelming when you are starting to send out consistent emails to your email list, so you need to have a plan.
- Write down your goals
- Create a plan
- Schedule time to sit and write
Nicki recommends batching your work together. Sit and write all of your emails for a month at one time. You can always edit them before they go out, but doing it at once helps you make the best use of your time.
2. Chose a specific topic
Focusing on happy and encouraging emails for teachers helps Nicki to keep a focus for her email topics. You could do this by choosing an overall theme for your email list or for choosing a specific topic to focus on each month.
3. Use your list
There’s plenty of TpTers that have an email list but never use it. We hear it all the time. Nicki’s biggest piece of advice was to simply use the list that you have created. If you already have their emails, start sending them stuff.
4. Focus on the 90/10 rule
No one wants to be sold to all the time. This is why the 90/10 rule is so great. Nicki recommends thinking about what questions you get asked a lot and then focus on answering them for your subscribers. Or, think of things that you are good at that others might struggle with and focus on that.
Don’t get discouraged
Remember, as you send emails, people are going to unsubscribe. That’s perfectly normal! Don’t pay any attention to them. If they unsubscribe from your list then they weren’t your people anyway. And, if they aren’t going to open and engage with your emails, you don’t want them on your list.
If you want to see more of what Nicki is up to, you can follow her on Instagram or hop on over to The Sprinkle Topped Teacher.
And, don’t forget to join the MasterMind group to continue the conversation on email list building.