Want to Learn where to get started with Systems & Workflows
✓ (to impact the backend of your business?)
I've created a FREE on demand class!
Learn about the 5 Essential Systems you need to apply to the BACKEND of your creative business in order to truly lean into a season of growth! 
You’ve successfully signed up! Check your email for details.
watch now

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)

86: The Road to Email List Success: Undoing Popular Email Marketing Myths featuring Magan Ward

86: The Road to Email List Success: Undoing Popular Email Marketing Myths ft. Magan Ward

Let’s bust some email marketing myths, shall we? In the third episode in our deep dive series on email marketing, Magan Ward is exploring five super common myths that might be holding you back from going all-in on email marketing. Listen in to see if any of these myths are impacting your email marketing success.

The Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast is brought to you by Dolly DeLong Education. This podcast is for creative business owners who want to learn tangible steps to automate their business through workflows, systems, tools, and strategies to go from scattered to streamlined with purpose because even muggles can become automated wizards.

Meet Magan Ward

Magan is an educator (with a strong southern accent) who knows 150% what the struggle is when creating an email list, the opt-in, 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, grew it by 77.9%, and increased her open rates to a consistent 35 – 55% and she helps others do the same.

Review the Show Notes






86: The Road to Email List Success: Undoing Popular Email Marketing Myths ft. Magan Ward


Review the transcript

Dolly DeLong: Hello and welcome back to the Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast. I am your Systems and Workflow loving BFF Dolly DeLong, and on episode 86 today, we are gonna be talking about some belief-shifting myths about growing your email list, or I should say undoing some myths about growing your email list.

And of course, I have my biz bestie Magan Ward on the podcast today. Hey Magan!

Magan Ward: Hey Dolly. Thanks for having me back again.

Dolly DeLong: Of course. Of course. You are a fan favorite. You’re also a Dolly favorite as well. So I’m really, I’m excited to just dig into this topic about undoing some myths about email marketing.

Magan Ward: Yeah, so I think one of the first myths that comes to mind is “email marketing is dead.” And that’s probably what everybody’s like, oh, is email marketing dead? And y’all might have heard me roll my eyes through your AirPods because obviously, it’s not. But I always wonder, people that say that, are they just mad because they can’t grow a well-connected list of subscribers?

But truly, email marketing just continues to remain one of the most effective ways to reach and engage with your audience. And it actually has a really high ROI, which means return on investment. So, statistics say that every $1 that you spend on email marketing generates an average of $42 in return. So to me, that’s proof that email is not dead.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah. Another thing I was just thinking about while you were saying, talking about myth one, is that email marketing has been around for I think over 30 to 40 years now.

Magan Ward: Yeah, I mean,

Dolly DeLong: It’s still alive and well.

Magan Ward: I mean, think back to when we first started our own email address when we were in, I was in middle school. I wanna say I was in seventh grade when I got my first email address.

Dolly DeLong: What was your, what was your first email address?

Magan Ward: It was, oh, oh? It was a Hotmail address and it might have been, so my middle name is Carol, and so it might have been Magan Carol.

Dolly DeLong: I love it.

Magan Ward: Now I can’t remember.

Dolly DeLong: Okay, so y’all don’t know this about me. And I’m sure if somebody were to look at me now, they’d be like, you did not play basketball, but you all, I grew up playing basketball and I was, I think I was pretty good. There was a point in my life where I was like, I wanna play college ball and that’s laughable because seriously. But I loved basketball so much. So my first email address was dollydribbler.hotmail.com. 

Magan Ward: I’m obsessed. That’s so funny. But, you played basketball. I have a friend who, hers was soccer girl, GURL 

Dolly DeLong: Oh girl… 

Magan Ward: I don’t know. There was a number at the end and they were like, she’s never played soccer a day in her life. Why did she choose, why did she choose soccer? I don’t know. 

Dolly DeLong: I love it. I love talking about our first email addresses, but yeah, email has been around for a very, very long time, and as Magan was sharing, it is definitely not dead and it is a really good tool to add to your belt, especially if you are serious about a long-term business strategy for your business.

Magan Ward: So the next myth that comes to mind, Dolly, is that people think having a large email list is what guarantees high conversion rates. You and I already both know that’s not true, right?

Dolly DeLong: Definitely not true.

Magan Ward: So the size of your list does not constitute success in sales. The quality of your list, the relevance of your content, what you’re putting out there, and the engagement level with your subscribers are truly what matters most and what impacts those conversion rates. And it’s so much better to have a smaller engaged list than a large one that doesn’t do squat for your business.

Dolly DeLong: Mm-hmm. I totally agree. I know you have an example to share, but I have an example of my own for if you are thinking. Okay, I need a large email list in order to sell my services and do my one-to-one services, and I’m worried that I won’t be able to sell out. I want to give encouragement to you from a photography perspective.

So as a photographer, I cannot physically… let’s say I had a list of, I don’t know, 20 million people and I’m like, oh, I need to sell out all of my services to all these people that would, that would… I would die in a year. I could not physically serve 20 million people on my list, and so having a smaller segment of engaged people on my photography list has served me well.

I have around 300 people within my segment for family photography that stays engaged with me and that sells out for that type of service year after year. So it’s small, it’s not, it’s under 1,000 and I just stay engaged with them week after week. So I don’t want you to think like, okay, I need thousands of people to sell out my one-to-one service.

Magan Ward: Yeah, exactly. It, it’s very true. The list under 500 do so well. So I participated in a summit back in 2021 and I was of course promoting to my own list, but other people that were promoting the summit had lists like 13 times the size of mine. I had more clicks, I had more signups than those people per the stats that were provided by the summit organizers.

So that just proves that a large list is not all you think that it will be if you didn’t spend the time building a truly well-connected list.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah, that’s so, so true. And that kind of goes into myth number three. The more emails you send, the better your engagement will be.

 Magan Ward: Mm-hmm. Yeah, so actually bombarding your subscribers with too many emails can lead to fatigue and disengagement. However, I don’t want you to be scared to email because of this. So if you’re in a promotion, like a course launch, Dolly’s got her Summit coming up. There’s going to be additional emails to send and that’s just part of it.

And your subscribers know this, but what I’m seeing is if you set the expectation up in the very beginning about how often you’re going to email. It’s gonna be fine. I just signed up for a newsletter. They made it very clear they’re gonna be in my inbox three times a week and they told me what days of the week, and you better believe it.

They’re right on the money. Every one of those days, they’re in my inbox and I knew that before I hit the button to subscribe. So, If you do wanna have a cadence of two emails a week or a daily email, there are instances, you know, I know some pastors that send like a daily scripture or something like that.

Think along those lines. Or maybe you just wanna email twice a month. Just make that known and set the expectation with your subscribers, so if you are that daily emailer, they are not going to feel bombarded because they already knew going in, that’s what they were signing up for.

Dolly DeLong: Also, I just wanna say kind of Magan, what you were saying about setting up a cadence and letting people know when to expect you. There will be a familiarity, I can’t even say that word. Without stumbling over it, they will become familiar with your name and your brand over time.

So they will be expecting your name. Let’s say you decide to send it every Tuesday at 2:00 PM I don’t know. That’s just an example. So there comes an expectation that also builds up anticipation and excitement. So, Just again, it is okay to send this on the same day at the same time, and just establish that pattern for your audience.

Magan Ward: Yes, absolutely. Another myth that I was thinking about is offering incentives being the only way to entice people to sign up for your email list. So yes, having that solid lead magnet helps immensely. It’s not, but it’s not the only reason. You truly can say, Hey, I’ve got this really cool newsletter, it comes out once a week, and inside I always have X, Y, Z, sign up here. Drop the link to it, and people will sign up just for the content that you have promised to provide them inside those newsletters. I have a signup page on my shop. The email template shop, it’s toward the bottom of the page. It’s not a popup, but it says some emails suck, but mine don’t and it works and I get people signing up.

So, you know, it can be something just as simple as that. I’m just promising them emails that don’t suck. I’m not sending them, you know, a PDF of a new lead magnet or anything like that.

Dolly DeLong: And what I have done is sometimes I only share content with my email lists that I share nowhere else. And I know other, other business owners do the same um, thing as well. And this continues to build that relationship between your audience and you as a business owner because they know, Hey, I won’t be able to find this anywhere else, this is exclusive just for us.

Magan Ward: Yeah, so my, I have a weekly roundup email. It’s what I call it, the weekly roundup, and there’s usually a story toward the beginning, but I always have my favorite tech of the week, what thing am I loving to use? So like this week I’m loving Zencaster because that’s what we’re using a lot of while we record our podcast episodes, but sometimes it’s maybe something new I’ve stumbled upon, like ManyChat, Dolly, I know that I’ve talked to you about that.

I’ve really been enjoying using that and so I’m telling them. Hey, this is what I’m using. It’s user-friendly. I like using it to bring in leads from social media. So I, you know, invite you to give it a try. So people know that they can expect to learn more about new tech in this digital business world when they sign up for my newsletter too.

Dolly DeLong: And also another thing to point out, did you notice y’all, that when Magan and I shared, when we shared this extra content with our subscribers, it’s not that we’re selling to them all the time. We are serving them. We are gift, like giving them more advice, more tactical, practical advice on things.

So don’t think that every email you send has to be a hard sell. It doesn’t.

Magan Ward: Yeah, and some of those tech things, sometimes I do have an affiliate link and I’m very upfront about that, but sometimes I don’t, it’s just a free thing that I found and I’m just sharing that information and passing it along.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah. So don’t pressure yourself to think, okay, I have to have something to give in this email. No, it’s just, it’s just, or something to sell in this email. No, it can be just like continual relationship building.

Magan Ward: So another myth is, I think this is our fifth one. If you’re taking notes out there, and I don’t know if I really believe that a lot of people think this, but maybe I’m wrong. The myth is that buying an email list is an effective way to grow your email list quickly. And obviously don’t do that.

Never do that for one. It’s illegal, right? So that should be enough. So those people, should someone go buy an email list, which we know you people listening, you’re not gonna do that. But people who do go do that, those email addresses, those people didn’t voluntarily sign up and permit you to land in their inbox.

You don’t know who they are. You don’t know what their interests are. There could be a high bounce rate and more, you might even receive spam complaints, which is going to ultimately damage your send reputation and there’s also a possibility that your email marketing provider would shut you down. I have seen things like that happen where they thought that was the case and it wasn’t.

But yeah, don’t do that. Don’t buy email. Don’t buy email lists.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah, don’t be gross. But yeah, those are the five myths that we wanted to cover with you really quickly. Really quick to recap. Myth number one, email marketing is dead and it’s actually not dead. Myth number two, having a large email list guarantees high conversion rates. Myth number three, the more emails you send, the better your engagement will be. Myth number four, offering incentives is the only way to entice people to sign up for your email list. And myth number five is buying an email list is an effective way to grow your email list quickly. So Magan is, are there any other myths that you can think of?

Magan Ward: There’s none that are coming to mind right now. I do invite everybody, like, let us know if there’s something else that you’ve heard of, like send us a DM so we can, you know, open that conversation and talk about those. But those are some of the, I think the top five that come to my mind.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah, and also send us a DM if you’re like, no, I disagree with you because we want to open up the conversation with you. And I mean because honestly, at the very beginning of my email marketing journey, I honestly thought Magan, that email marketing was dead. I had thought that it was a scam.

Magan Ward: Oh, fake news.

Dolly DeLong: Fake news, it had worked for somebody in the past, but now, when I started email marketing, it was 2019 and I thought I missed the boat and it was a scam. That there was no way I could grow my presence because somebody else had taken out all the email addresses, isn’t that ridiculous? That scarcity mindset and also the mindset of, well, if that person has a million email addresses, there’s not enough left for me. They’ve already signed up for everything

Magan Ward: Yeah, I know.

Dolly DeLong: I want you all to listen in like that is ridiculous. And I definitely, it took me a while to realize that there are people, there are still people, sorry, I can’t even talk.

There are still people, who want to learn from you no matter what stage of business you’re in. If you jumped in and you’re starting your business right now, currently it’s 2023, you can still grow a presence through an email marketing platform through having an email.

Magan Ward: Yeah absolutely. And that’s if anybody’s listening and they’re like, I want to be a photographer. Oh, but there are already 500 of them in my town. The market is not too saturated. It’s really not, because you’re gonna bring your own style, you’re gonna bring your own way of doing things, your own client experience.

And that goes for every industry. So yeah, it’s not, it’s not too saturated.

Dolly DeLong: Yes. Yeah. So I hope this was an encouraging talk for all of you listeners out there, and I hope this encourages you just to overcome these myths and just to start the dang thing. Start email marketing for your small business. So to recap, in the next episode, episode 87, we are going to dive into the objections against growing an email list and we wanna help you overcome those objections.

And I know that Magan is, is gonna bring, is gonna bring the heat cuz she has lots to say about this.

Magan Ward: I do, I do. I have a lot to say about it, so I can’t wait for episode 87.

Dolly DeLong: No, and for those of you who are listening in and you want the resources that we mentioned, go head on over to the show notes for all the links and resources, and again, don’t forget to give Magan Ward a follow and to also leave us like send us a DM and let us know how this episode is helping you out.

And for those of you who are OG listeners, this one’s for you,

Continue to stay streamlined in magical you, amazing muggle you, and I hope you have a wonderful week. Bye! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Download the Guide!

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!

Not sure if you really need custom brand photography?