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!
When you invest your time and energy into growing your email list, your business can transform in so many ways. In this episode, Magan Ward is back to talk about setting realistic achievable goals for growing your email list. Plus you’ll hear about why there’s beauty in growing your email list slowly and deliberately over time.
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.
Dolly DeLong: Hello and welcome back to Episode 88 of the Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast. I am your Systems and Workflow loving host and BFF Dolly DeLong, and today we are continuing our email list-building series co-starring one of my biz besties, Magan Ward. This week we are talking about the transformation that happens when you grow your email list, and we’re gonna dive into what happens once you begin actually growing your email list. And I just wanna say, should you expect a million dollars once you hit a certain subscriber count? No, definitely not, but you can expect changes across the board slowly over time. So Magan and I are going to be talking about this very fun topic.
Magan Ward: Yes, and so well, yes, you will see a revenue increase. I typically do make money every time I hit send on an email, but you’re also gonna see more opportunities for collaborating and getting more inquiries for speaking engagements so that you can share with someone else’s group about your area of expertise. And I know that’s where a lot of my podcast guest spots and summit requests come from, are people who have landed on my email list and they want me to come and speak to their audience about email marketing.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah, I will piggyback off of that, Magan, and we’ll say in the last year specifically, I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries on my website from people who’ve heard me on either this podcast or being a guest on other people’s podcasts and asking, inquiring about my one-to-one services, and it’s all like through either them, the episodes being shared through my email list or through my guest podcast appearance, their email list.
Magan Ward: Yes, so being a guest on podcasts, and even if you don’t have your own show, it’s totally fine. But being a guest on a podcast or maybe going to speak to someone’s membership as a guest expert, that and your email list all go hand in hand together and they just work so well together.
Dolly DeLong: So I know that kinda leads me to the next question I have for you because I wanna kinda pick your brain about this. Magan, I know that we both just kinda dropped the seed of you can also grow your email list by being a guest on a podcast, and for someone who is just now starting out with growing out their email list for the foundations of email marketing, that can seem very overwhelming.
So how can you pace yourself and not put too much on your plate as your list is growing, as you see your business taking traction?
Magan Ward: So if you are new to hearing my story, my email list is exactly how I was able to leave corporate, and I’ve seen seasons of slow growth along with seasons of large growth. Fortunately, there’ve been more seasons of large growth over the last couple of years, but those slow growth times are still alive and well.
So if you have a week that you only have five new subscribers or even zero know that it happens to all of us, just be looking forward to what you can be doing to improve those numbers in the next few weeks. What can you do to really get that momentum back up? And so one thing is to set very realistic goals for yourself and your email list.
Give yourself very achievable milestones for making those lead magnets more visible on social media or just sharing about them more with your existing social media followers. But another thing, Dolly, that I think about is just setting yourself achievable tasks when it comes to planning and scheduling those emails.
Now I’m gonna stop for a second and also tell you because we were talking about being guests on podcasts or going to speak to memberships, also set yourself a very achievable milestone for pitching to be on a podcast. So whether that’s, “I’m going to pitch myself to five podcasts this month”, or “I’m going to seek out specific memberships that I know that there are potential audience members that could benefit from hearing about what I’m an expert in”. Just giving yourself those very achievable goals, and you know what, if you pitch to 10, wonderful. Don’t overdo it though, because then you’re gonna spend an entire month recording podcast episodes all the time and you’re not going to get anything else done.
But just having those very small goals for yourself will help to move you in the right direction. And another, go ahead Dolly.
Dolly DeLong: No. I was also gonna say if you’re listening and you’re like I know I am an expert in X, Y, Z, but I certainly don’t want to be, I have no desire to be on anybody’s podcast, but I do want to grow my email list out. I was just thinking this, another way to do this is through in-person networking events.
Do you have a local chapter within your city or within the area of your state? Because I know for example, there are so many women’s business groups where we are from, Magan, and I know that is a really good way if you’re able to go meet other women and as you are networking, you can put your name in there to be a guest speaker for a certain month, and that is not a huge influx of email addresses, but that’s one way to grow your brand awareness and hopefully grow out your email list as well.
Magan Ward: Absolutely. One thing that comes to mind is Young Business Professionals, I know they’re prevalent in a lot of larger communities. HoneyBook has Rising Tide Society, and it’s all over the place to see if you can find a local chapter there. Something else that was coming to mind is, I know Nashville, we have, there’s a Nashville Podcasters group. And they meet, I don’t know if it’s once a month or once a quarter, but they always have guest speakers.
Now you don’t even have to know a lot about podcasting. Maybe you’re a social media person so you can help them understand what they need to be doing as a podcaster in order to get their show more visible on Instagram, for example. So just think outside the box a little bit and you are gonna have to put yourself out there, whether it’s being a guest on a podcast or going to network a little bit. You’ve got to do a little bit of that to get that more visibility for yourself and your business.
Dolly DeLong: Can I share something I heard on somebody else’s podcast really quick? Okay. So I don’t know if you listen to Oh man, I, of course, I’m gonna mispronounce her last name. It’s Candace Coppola, oh my goodness, this is so embarrassing. But she used to be, do you know who I’m talking about? She has this really amazing podcast and I listened to it.
Magan Ward: I’m starting to think I do now.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah, she was on the Brands That Book podcast that Davey Jones is his wife, Krista lead, and he was interviewing her, and she, you just made me think of this phrase that she shared on the episode that he interviewed her on.
And it was this phrase, and I constantly have to remind myself to give yourself that new girl energy.
Put yourself out there like the new girl constantly, because whenever somebody moves into this new city and they have to network themselves, they have that new girl vibe. They’re everywhere, and the people that have been established, and have set is set in their ways, in that city, they’re like, man, that new girl or that new guy is everywhere. And it’s just because that person is hustling to really network themselves, get to know everyone, and make relationships. So Candace on this podcast episode said, just remember to have that like new girl energy, new girl vibe.
Magan Ward: I like that.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah, so it just always makes me think like when you’re growing your email list, like just give yourself that new girl – I’m like totally butchering the whole like the context of it. I should just tag that podcast episode in the show notes. But you all give it a listen.
I will give that podcast episode a tag.
Magan Ward: I like that though. It’s so true. That new girl energy that like the new kid in town, you’ve got to make friends, you’ve got to network somehow. So I really like that a lot.
Now to get back to setting those achievable goals that we were talking about just a minute ago, it also includes setting up your automation workflows, and your sequences, just to keep things organized and planned out. Sometimes it can look very overwhelming, but if you take one task a day and work on one, small thing a day, you’re soon gonna have everything set up the way that you want. For example, let’s say that you are setting up a brand new sequence, and this means maybe you need a new lead magnet for it, or maybe it’s from a brand new product.
You’re definitely gonna need that new sequence in place with the tags and the automation to boot. So if you take an hour a day and just work on it little by little, you’re likely gonna have it set up by the end of the week. So don’t do like I do, which I just go head first and I just try to get it all done in one day and batch it out.
If that’s your jam, absolutely do it if that’s your vibe. But sometimes that can feel overwhelming when you have other things that you need to get done during the day. So just taking a little bit of time a day to do, just a little bit to move you forward.
Dolly DeLong: And that’s why I set up the Systems and Workflow Magic Summit: Email marketing edition. That way Magan, if you remember, I’d set it up in four days where it all builds on top of each other. So if you purchased that all-access pass from that summit, that was I guess like a little over a month ago when this posts you should see that you will be able to, like Magan is sharing, like build each foundational building block on top of each other. So if you need to learn, okay, how do I create a segment? There is a video about that. Or, okay, now I need to create a sequence. Guess what? There is an instructional video on that and bonus supplemental material along the lines of that as well.
So yeah, take it one day at a time. Give yourself small, achievable goals. Because if you seriously dive off of the deep end, it will be very overwhelming. You probably, I’m not saying you will give up, but it’s very overwhelming. I remember being overwhelmed when I decided to do it all at once.
Magan Ward: Yeah. Yeah, it can feel very overwhelming and I know I go into when I work in Canva – I’ll call it the black hole of Canva because I just get so excited and I think it’s just my creative brain just keeps going and I’m like, oh, but if I can do this one more thing, just this one extra step. So I tend to fall into that black hole and I just get in a groove and I keep going.
But for other people that is, they’re like, that’s too much. I don’t have time for that. I don’t have the mental capacity for that to sit and do that all day long. So just take those small steps, absolutely.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah. Okay, so I do wanna share like in the last three years since pivoting more into the education side of my business. Because again, for those of you who are listening, you know that I have two different sides to my business. I am a Nashville-based family and branding photographer and then on the flip side, I’m also a business owner and an educator for creative business owners who want to understand systems and workflows. So in the last three years, I’ve been really leaning into that side of my education, and I know I’ve had to grow out my email list for that side and I needed to segment a warmer audience for that education.
Because I knew going into that education side of my business, my past clients, my families, and maybe some of the business owners, but not all of them, would not all be interested in systems and workflow education, and there would be a lot of confusion.
And so in the last three years, I’ve really been growing that specific segment of my email list. I call it my systems and workflow automation segment. I know very wordy, but it helps me remember who I’m serving and it has been a great, not only a great learning experience for me in relationship building because I know that Magan and I have spoken a lot about the importance of building out relationships with your audience and finding out how you can serve them better.
It doesn’t happen overnight. And so I finally believe it after three years of going out the email list. It’s so true. Relationships through email list building take a lot of time. It takes a lot of time to know your audience. It takes a lot of time for you to get in the groove of how you show up weekly, some or maybe twice weekly.
And for me, it’s been a really fun journey of learning where my strengths and my personality can best serve others, and then where I need to grow and where how I can continue to grow and serve my own audience. Hopefully, that makes sense.
Magan Ward: It does. I love that so much.
Dolly DeLong: Okay. So for those of you who are listening, I know this episode is a little shorter than normal, but Magan and I want to help you paint a picture of what your future business self could look like as you grow your email list.
And both of us wanted to be completely transparent and honest with you that our own business journeys have and are still continuing to grow, and it’s been a long time in growing our own email lists. It’s not an overnight thing like many online business gurus want you to believe, it’s a gradual thing over time.
Magan Ward: Well, if I can say when you see reviews or not reviews, but maybe it’s testimonials of they’ve got this one person who, this student who grew their email list by 5,000 in the first week or 24 hours. I know that’s probably being a little dramatic, but I have seen one where it’s, she’s in one week I grew to this many subscribers like, okay…
That’s the one person, and that’s the only individual that I’m thinking about that uses this testimonial, that is the only testimonial I have seen from them in years. For several years, I see the same one in Facebook ads all the time, and I’m like, that’s a student from over five years ago.
Whatever she did five years ago, maybe she was running Facebook ads. Maybe she already had a nice target audience. Maybe she already had her Facebook pixel set up. So it was retargeting all of those people that had been to her website or visited her social media or whatever it was. It seems to me like that is not necessarily the norm. And so I don’t want you to pit yourself against that and say “Well this person did that. Why can’t I do it?”
Probably a completely different situation. So we just have to be really honest about what’s going on here. So I have a client that’s got over 200,000 Instagram followers.
So is she seeing massive growth as she starts to put her lead magnet out there? She is. Because they didn’t know she had this thing that they could go download to help them design their home. So that’s totally different from me who has I don’t know, 1300 Instagram followers. I’m not gonna see as much of a growth just posting it on Instagram stories like she will. So just go in knowing that and knowing that everybody’s situation and circumstance is different. And so what you might have to do to grow your list is going to look slightly different. So you might have to leverage the audience of others, like going on podcasts like we were talking about just a little bit ago or having the new girl, what new girl mentality? What did you say?
Dolly DeLong: I don’t know, new girl hustle or new…
Magan Ward: No, we’ve already forgotten it. It was only a couple of minutes ago.
Dolly DeLong: This is embarrassing.
Magan Ward: But, so some of us might have to do that in order to help grow our list even more.
Dolly DeLong: That new girl energy!
Magan Ward: New girl energy. Yes! We got it. We got it.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah. And I do wanna say with, there might be listeners who are OG listeners. Thank you. By the way, you might be thinking Dolly, haven’t you shared several times, you grew your email list by almost 4,000 people in one week?
Yes. That is 100% factual and true, and you can listen in to those past episodes, and I was able to do that through collaborations and through a very specific type of lead magnet, which Magan and I are gonna be talking about in the next several episodes. But that was not, let me tell you this, this was over – not over, but almost a year and a half ago. And I had already, I was starting to hone in on who I needed to talk to, and who I needed to serve. So I think that served me, just knowing my ideal client and then the collaborations and the, I would have to say the networking component too.
That was terrifying for me.
Magan Ward: Absolutely. And Dolly, you worked on that we’re, and again, we are gonna dive even more into that, I know in the next couple of episodes, but you reached out to me and I don’t know that I was the first, I might have been because you were toying with the idea and it was like in the summer before, so it at least six months in advance, maybe a little bit more when this idea started churning and then you started piecing it together. So that 4,000 in one week, was a lot of work put into it, so it wasn’t an overnight thing.
Dolly DeLong: Yeah, that’s very true. And to be completely honest and transparent with the listeners, cause you know I like to be straight with you, I’m constantly always trying to grow my email list out in organic ways because I don’t depend on marketing. My marketing budget goes to other things like my podcast for example.
And anyway, shape or form I can grow my email list organically, I do, but it is a slow growth process. But like Magan and I are trying to share, the theme of this episode is just helping you see how you can future pace yourself with email list growth and how transformative it can be over time and give yourself achievable goals. Even if it’s one hour a day of working on that email list, do it. Or collaborating with other business owners, do that. And putting out that new girl vibe, do that. But either way, we want you to know this takes time and it will continue to take time.
Magan Ward: Absolutely. I agree a hundred percent. It definitely takes time and like just as Dolly said, just pace yourself.
Dolly DeLong: So as we wrap up, I want to encourage everyone to head on over to the show notes and grab the links mentioned in this podcast episode. I know that I will continue to share Magan’s ConvertKit link so if you are interested in setting up your email list through ConvertKit, I made sure to share Magan’s link.
And then if you are interested in Flodesk, I have a 50% off link for you to use as well. And then I will of course put in Magan’s fun freebie for you to grow your email list. So that will all be in the show notes and I wanna encourage you all to follow me and Magan on Instagram and let us know how these podcast episodes have been helping you, especially encouraging you, to take baby steps in realistically growing out your email list.
I hope that you have a whole lot more confidence after listening to our conversations these past several weeks. And Magan, before we end, do you wanna say anything else?
Magan Ward: Yeah, as we end, I just wanna tell you to give yourself some grace as you move through this and as you grow that email list, because as I said earlier, you are gonna have those seasons of fast growth, but you’re gonna have those seasons of slow growth, and sometimes that’s okay.
Sometimes actually there’s beauty in the slow growth because you might actually be behind the scenes working on the next thing that’s moving you toward that next fast growth.
Dolly DeLong: I love that. That’s a good reminder to all the listeners. So again, everything is in the show notes. And thank you again for listening to the Systems and Workflow Magic podcast.
I hope you continue to have a magical and streamlined week, 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!