free on demand class
Learn why you need to be concentrating on
5 specific systems and workflows to refine the backend of your business
(in order to grow your business)
I'm Dolly — a Nashville based family & branding photographer AND a systems + workflow educator (and Podcast Host) for creatives who want to be more streamlined and organized with Systems, Workflows & SOPS to better impact the backend of their businesses. I'm here to help you look awesome (for your photos) & feel great about workflows!
In this episode, I’m kicking off a deep dive series on email marketing for go-getters who want to learn how to sustainably grow their email list. Joining me is Magan Ward, host of The School of Marketing Podcast. Our conversation touches on what you can expect throughout the series and the importance of nurturing your list and building relationships for sustainable business growth.
Magan is an educator (with a strong southern accent) who knows 150% what the struggle is when creating an email list, and the opt-in, and the welcome sequence, and the millions of other details that we handle while doing all the things as we run this digital biz. She took her email list that was suffering, and grew it by 77.9% and increased her open rates to a consistent 35 – 55% and she helps others do the same.
Dolly DeLong: Hey everyone, and welcome back to another episode of the Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast. I am your Systems and Workflow, BFF Dolly DeLong, and in today’s episode, I’m actually starting another series with one of my really good biz besties. I’m just gonna call her one of my biz besties. She might be like, no, she is not my biz bestie, but I am claiming her as my biz bestie.
We have Magan Ward on the Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast for the next several weeks, and we’re just gonna do some, I’m gonna call them bite-sized episodes about all things email marketing and growing your list strategically. I know I talk a lot about the importance of growing your list with email marketing.
And you may be screaming at me from wherever you are and you are like, I want to learn about something else. But I promise you, growing your list not only has short-term benefits, but it has long-term benefits for your business. So I really want you to continue to dig into this topic. So if you can just stick with me and Magan, I promise you, we will bring you a lot of gold when it comes to email marketing.
So without further ado, Magan, how are you?
Magan Ward: Hey Dolly. I’m great. Thank you for having me back. I know I’ve been on the show several times, so all your veteran listeners out there have met me before.
Dolly DeLong: Well, they love you. They love you so much. Some of your episodes have been one of the most downloaded episodes, so I should say, very popular episodes, so they obviously love you so much.
Magan Ward: I’m thrilled to be here. I’m thrilled to obviously talk about email marketing. Everybody knows I’m the email girl and Dolly’s right, your email list is the cornerstone of all the things. So as we’re recording this, I’m getting ready to launch my own podcast. I’ve already got an arsenal of listeners ready to go and ready to go download those episodes because of my email list, and I’ve been prepping them and priming them for this.
So that’s just an example of how I’m gonna be able to get this thing off the ground a lot easier than just throwing a podcast out into the abyss with no audience really.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah, you guys, I’m gonna kinda not throw Magan under the bus, but embarrass her right now on the podcast. I am actually on Magan’s email list myself. And I have been just, what’s it called? Prodding, poking at Magan. Hey, you need to start your podcast. Hey, you need to start your podcast.
I’ve been talking to her about this for, I don’t even know how many months. And you all, it has finally happened. Magan, at the time of this recording, Magan is gonna be releasing her podcast very soon. And when this episode airs, you guys need to go and subscribe to her podcast. Magan, give us a little hint about your podcast.
Magan Ward: Yeah, so it’s called the School of Marketing Podcast. It’s for digital entrepreneurs. It will have launched in May, so by the time you hear this, it’s already out there. There’s episodes for you to go binge. I don’t believe that running a profitable digital business requires subscribing to the hustle culture to make a comfortable living and find the freedom for things you love most.
Me this afternoon, I’m going on a family picnic at my child’s school, and I did not have to ask permission from my corporate boss to go do that, to take off work, to go do that. So for example, I have a sale running right now, so I know I’m gonna be having income coming in while I’m literally having a picnic with my kid.
And it’s just so nice and I want that for others. So this podcast is for those that also dream of having that same thing without those constant late night work sessions. And I know they happen from time to time, but I just wanna help people find those simple strategies that set them apart in this industry with real actionable steps in the digital marketing world.
So anyway, it’s called the School of Marketing Podcast for Digital Entrepreneurs. So y’all can go check it out and have a listen. But we’re talking all things digital business, of course, heavy on the email list building. But other things like how to find white space on your calendar for those things that you love most.
Dolly DeLong: I love it. I’m so excited. Everyone who’s listening in, of course, go and subscribe to Magan’s podcast and like she said, binge listen to all of the episodes. I’m Magan, I’m so excited it’s finally happening and. It’s gonna be awesome.
Magan Ward: Thank you, Dolly. And Dolly and I go way back. So some of you may not have ever heard this story. Dolly, I’m trying to remember what year that it was that we met. I always forget.
Dolly DeLong: I think it was 2019.
Magan Ward: It was, and it was freezing cold.
Dolly DeLong: Yes. Blaise was not yet a year old. He was maybe two months old.
Magan Ward: So this was January or February of 2019 and my youngest was also just a little guy. He was not even a year old either. And we were still very much actively photographers, and wedding photographers at that. So that’s gonna take you way back because I don’t know, Dolly, the last time you shot a wedding either.
Dolly DeLong: The last time I shot a wedding was in 2021, because it was during covid. A lot of weddings were pushed out and that was my last wedding due to Covid and I just transitioned full-time into family photography, branding photography, and then systems and workflow education.
Magan Ward: Yeah, so this was back when we were very much in our heyday of still wanting to shoot weddings.
Dolly DeLong: Mm-hmm.
Magan Ward: Like crazy people.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah.
Magan Ward: And don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute that I did it. But we were at a styled shoot outside of Nashville.
Dolly DeLong: Near Columbia, I remember that.
Magan Ward: Yes. It was a gorgeous venue and yeah, that’s where we met. So we met as photographers before I ever started dabbling in digital business and email list building and that sort of thing. So this was, yeah, that was when we first met.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah. I will share with you a very random memory I have about that day. I’m a little bitter about that day. You want to know why?
Magan Ward: Why?
Dolly DeLong: I lost my favorite water bottle at that shoot! Okay, Magan can see this, listeners can’t, but I’m holding up a Nalgene water bottle. So essentially I lost this, but this is a brand new one. I lost it and it was my favorite one because Ty had taken me out west from Montana all the way down to Arizona for a national parks trip for our babymoon.
This was a few months before Blaise was born in 2018, and I had collected National Park stickers, so it had a lot of special memories for me. I brought it to that photo shoot and I lost it and I looked all over for that water bottle. All over the building, the parking lot. Surely, I had misplaced it somewhere and I brought my, I don’t know if you remember, but I had brought my best friend with me.
Her name’s Lindsay. She also came to the shoot with me because also does photography, and we looked together and then finally at the end I was like, “Lindsay, I think a ghost took my water bottle.” Cause, this was essentially an old plantation.
Magan Ward: It was, and there are Civil War battlefields all around that area.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah, so I was like, I think a ghost was thirsty. Some listeners are gonna be like, wow, Dolly has officially lost her mind. No, but I was like, I think a ghost took it and I’m never gonna see it. Y’all, I still have not found it, obviously several years later. But yeah that is my only anger about that day.
Magan Ward: I don’t remember any of that.
Dolly DeLong: Oh man,
Magan Ward: I’m sorry about your water bottle
Dolly DeLong: It’s ok. I, but I am notorious for losing specifically my Nalgene water bottles. My husband knows that I am notorious for losing them.
So it wasn’t like a one-time thing. It happens once a quarter with me.
It’s really embarrassing.
Magan Ward: Speaking of water bottles, again, no one can see this. We’ll have to take a picture and share this. I was showing Dolly my water bottle I have today that I got at Five Below and it’s something my nine year old daughter would probably want. And it’s a pink pineapple. It’s the cutest thing.
It is pink and rose gold and I am sipping out of my pineapple water bottle today. So I’ll make sure we’ll take a picture and post it for y’all on social media.
Dolly DeLong: We’ll take a water bottle picture and you all can see my Nalgene, current Nalgene, but oh, Magan, okay. So let’s talk more about the series that you and I are doing together for the next several weeks and what we have planned for the listeners and why they should stick with us, especially with email marketing, because I know I just wrapped up a series, I wrapped up a summit all about the foundations of email marketing and so sometimes it feels like people are over talking about it over and over again.
But really I am sticking to the point that email marketing is so essential and it’s really important to learn about the basics and about the foundations of email marketing. So let’s just hash it out.
Magan Ward: Yeah, so obviously we’re gonna dive into all things email marketing. We’re gonna talk about some of the myths surrounding that as well, and just undoing those myths that we’ve heard that maybe some of us have started to believe a little bit, but we know deep down, they’re not true.
And if you don’t, you’re gonna believe it after you get done listening to us. But we’re gonna talk about the pain points too, about growing an email list because I know that it, some people’s and some of us might make it sound super easy and there is some work that you have to put into it, and there are some very strategic things to do in order to grow your list and not just grow it in numbers, but with a well-connected audience that wants to read your emails, that wants to see what you’re up to and wants to check out your products that you have available.
I know that we are gonna start by talking about some topics of why people, I know you mentioned this lightly. But there are a myriad of reasons why people don’t even want to grow their email list, and why they just want to depend on social media or depend on other traffic sources that are not owned by their business, and we’re gonna hit up on that as well.
And then we’re also gonna talk about how growing our own email lists have been very transformational – for me, for you, for other business owners that we work alongside. And it’s not just a transformation in that we are making a million dollars in our sleep transformation. But that it’s been life changing to impact our families, for the “enough” factors for our families.
So it’s very much a relatable transformation and it’s possible to have a small email list size and still have transformational results.
Magan Ward: 100%. So if you go listen to my episode one on The School of Marketing Podcast. How my email list allowed me to leave corporate, I put in my notice October of 2022. I probably could have put it in a little bit earlier than that, but I was being very conservative on my exit strategy to make sure we had all our ducks in a row over here with health insurance, et cetera.
But it was my email list that grew my business, that grew my revenue and got me to the point that we could feasibly look at me leaving corporate and my email list is not massive at all. But it’s built with the right people, it’s connected with the right audience. And so we’re gonna talk, we’re gonna dive into that.
And then what happens once you do grow your list. So let’s say you do have a Reel or a TikTok go viral that is relevant to your business and it actually does help move people from social media to your email list. And you start to see that big growth, what happens then, what do you do with that?
And we’re gonna talk about some of that too during this series as well.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah, I’m really excited about that. And I know, Magan, that you work one-on-one with clients currently in your business, and you’ve had clients who are pretty big names who have not started an email list. And they have regretted it now, like they have an email list now, but I bet looking back, they’re like, we should have started this X amount of years ago.
Magan Ward: So two examples that come to mind really quickly. There’s one, they have, I think the last I saw, they had over 22,000 followers on Instagram. And at the time I came along, it was right around 20. And they had a list of I don’t know, 1000 people maybe. And the last I checked in, because I don’t work with them directly anymore, the last I checked, it was over 8,500.
And that was all organic. That was all organic. Just using their podcast because they are a podcaster. But then there’s another client who I worked with and she had over 200,000 followers on Instagram, but she only had, it was less than 5,000. It was right around 4,000, between 4,000 and 4,500 email subscribers.
And she wasn’t leveraging that and moving people from social to her email list so that she could sell more. So we put a strategy in place and her growth has started taking off as well. It’s just amazing how much social can grow really fast and I don’t want you to discount it either because it is an important way to get traffic.
It is an important way to build connection because you can really build connection with your audience through Instagram stories. I love to show up there, just, as I am, tell ’em what I’m doing, give some behind the scenes kind of stuff and let them get to know me better. But you’ve gotta move them off that platform.
So we’re gonna talk more about that as well.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah. I love that you brought that up because for those of you who are OG listeners, you know that I like to refer to Instagram, Facebook whatever social media platform you use, that’s part of the top-of-funnel strategy. You may not call it “top of funnel”, but that’s essentially what it is.
So you want to bring people in and funnel them in to getting to know you through your email list by either a lead magnet or some sort of tiny offer or whatever you might have to lead them closer to getting to know you.
Magan Ward: We’re also going to be diving into ideas on how to grow it, not just lead magnets, but things. Such as bundles. We’re gonna get into that. Popup podcast, we’re gonna get into that. And how some of these things that might feel like a lot of work can actually do a whole lot of really great growth for your email list and the email list of others as well.
And so next week, and I believe, Dolly, it’s episode 85. We are going to dive into really acknowledging those pain points about growing your email list. So y’all make sure and tune in next week to hear more all about that.
Dolly DeLong: And before we officially sign off, Magan, let me just ask you a question. Do you have anything like email list related freebies that a listener can dive into right now that I can share in the show notes?
Magan Ward: Yes, you could do Connect and Convert. It is a pdf, but it walks you through a little bit of lead magnets, but it’s really about how to build a true well-connected list since we talked about that today. It’s at maganward.com/connectandconvert.
Dolly DeLong: Okay. And I will have that in the show notes. And then I’ll also have my most popular lead magnet about lead magnets. I know it’s so meta you all, but it is a full-on list of ideas for you to get started with, your first or your 10th lead magnet that actually would make sense for your business. So I will put that in the show notes as well.
And that way as we do this series, you can follow along and you can optimize your lead magnet and you can optimize ways that you are growing your email list alongside us. So I’m so excited and I will, or we will see you all next week for episode 85, like Magan shared.
And until then, you stay streamlined and magical you amazing muggle you. Bye.
Or maybe you're not really sure how you'd use your new collection of branded images? Download my free planning guide to learn how to plan an elevated brand photography session to impact your business!