89: Creative Ways to Grow Your Email List in 2023 (aka NOT using a PDF) featuring Magan Ward

89: Creative Ways to Grow Your Email List in 2023 (aka NOT using a PDF) featuring Magan Ward

In the world of email marketing lead magnets, a free downloadable PDFs are a dime a dozen. Stand out from the crowd by tuning into this episode featuring Magan Ward. We’ll dive into creative and innovative ways that you can grow your list without just creating another PDF.

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






89: Creative Ways to Grow Your Email List in 2023 (aka NOT using a PDF) featuring Magan Ward


Review the transcript

Dolly DeLong: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast. I am your systems and workflow BFF and guide Dolly DeLong, and today we are meeting up again with Magan Ward on episode 89. And today’s podcast episode is going to be one that you want to re-listen to over and over again because it’s going to not only be packed with innovative ways to grow your email list but there are a lot of juicy tips in this podcast episode.

And so Magan and I have a lot of notes to share with you. Just before we hit record, we were just discussing all the things we needed to talk about and so I’m really excited about this episode. Again, today we’re going to talk about some fun and, again, innovative ways to grow your email list that can set you apart from the masses.

Because I know, It feels like there’s over-saturation everywhere. So we want to help you be set apart. 

Today, we’re going to talk about fun and innovative ways to grow your email list that can help set you apart from the masses. Because probably all of us, me and Magan included, have PDFs as lead magnets. And y’all as much as I love a good PDF, there are other ways to grow your email list.

Magan Ward: There really are. Now, everybody, there’s nothing wrong with PDFs. Don’t take them off your shelf completely because they are easy to create and they do still convert. But what we’re going to do today is change your mindset a little bit around email list growth and move toward other ways that you can find that email list growth.

And some of these are going to find much better results for you than a PDF that’s just floating around out there on the internet.

Dolly DeLong: Now, I know that we’ve all heard about quizzes, and we’ve probably taken one and signed up for the results. I know I have. But Magan, are they still a hot ticket lead magnet as we move toward 2023 and 2024?

Magan Ward: They really are. I was just actually yesterday working on a client project and she has this beautiful quiz put together that actually goes with a private audio feed that I’m going to dive into that in a minute, but they’re especially good for podcasters and YouTubers. Now, not just podcasters and YouTubers, so if you are not one of those, just keep listening.

I’ll dive into all that in a minute, but there are quiz platforms out there. They’ve got generic quizzes that are ready to go for you, but I do recommend looking into and talking to a quiz strategist that can help create a custom quiz and strategy for you. What they do is they write the questions and the answers that all work toward the lead magnet or the lead magnets that you’re wanting to send for the results, the way you’re wanting to segment your list.

And they’re great because they help us segment the list just as I mentioned. I had a quiz back in 2021, it’s retired for the moment. I don’t know if you remember when I launched it, Dolly, it was not around too terribly long because it was a generic one, it was not a custom one, but what it did do is it helped me understand if someone was a beginner to email list building or an expert so that I knew how to best show up for them with content that met them where they were at. 

And now I did mention a second ago, how quizzes are great for podcasters and YouTubers, and here is why. So you can gauge what topic or topics that someone needs to learn more about, and their results could send them a very curated list of episodes or videos to go binge. So it ultimately can increase the downloads and views, which is the goal for podcasts and YouTube videos, right?

I know I’ve seen several podcasters utilize this method and increase their downloads exponentially. So while investing in a quiz strategist can be expensive in the beginning, it’s yours forever. And ultimately it’s going to increase your revenue over the coming years. So it is an investment that I feel would be worth it if you’re ready to take that step.

Dolly DeLong: And I’m going, to be honest with you guys, I’ve actually invested in a quiz strategist myself. I called it the quiz mastermind. It was through my friend, Linda Sidhu, and I will link that episode to the show notes because she spoke about the power of having a quiz as a lead magnet. And I can attest that it is an ever-evolving quiz and I’m actually after this near the end of this year, so near the end of 2023, one of my goals is to re-evaluate that quiz because it’s just not a set-it-and-forget-it thing. It is, okay, now I need to hone it in even more now that I know my offers even more intimately. And definitely, I would say this is my perspective, again, this is my perspective, but know your offers very well or know who you want to serve very well before you invest in a quiz strategist. Just get to know your business, and get to know your offers really well.

Magan Ward: Yeah, absolutely. So it might not be something for a beginner. You might want to just sit tight a little bit longer as you figure all of that out.

Dolly DeLong: Another lead magnet idea for you to do is live workshops. And Magan, I know you’ve hosted them before.

Magan Ward: I have, and I’ve seen a lot of success with this, but I will be honest, it took some time for me to build up the courage to host live classes because it can be intimidating, but the work that I have put into it has paid off immensely when it comes to email list growth and the growth of my digital shop that I have because people still love to learn in those live workshop-style classes.

And when I am consistent with putting my class invitation in front of people, the signups just roll in. So you don’t have to host a full-on webinar. It’s just a very, low-key workshop that I’m talking about for you to have your audience come to that’s not ending in like a massive pitch to an expensive course.

You can still do that. Don’t write off webinars completely, but maybe a bite-sized series of classes or workshops can be beneficial for you. And I know that’s where I saw some success last fall.

Dolly DeLong: Now, did you do this through Zoom, Magan?

Magan Ward: Yeah, they were all Zoom, and I had recordings and the recordings were available for a couple of weeks. So people that couldn’t come live still could get access to that recording. Or if something happened that they were late, they could still go back and watch the beginning of the workshop.

Dolly DeLong: Now, I do want to ask you this – I know this is off the cuff, but have you ever repurposed those live recordings and sold them in your shop?

Magan Ward: I have not at this time, I have used them for bonus content in courses. And I think I’ve got one that’s getting ready to go inside my membership, the digital biz life membership. So I am repurposing a little bit of that.

Dolly DeLong: Okay. Awesome. I love that you shared how you’re being strategic and repurposing. I’m, you guys, I’m not like egging Magan on to say the word repurposing. I just love that she brought that up. So if you’re worried, oh, I’m going to put so much work into this workshop and then nobody’s going to show up or insert XYZ, something could happen.

No, you can totally, even if one or two people show up, you can repurpose that video content and use it in some other way, form, or fashion.

Magan Ward: You absolutely can. You can pop it on YouTube as well. Make it a YouTube video if you do YouTube, or maybe it just stays a lead magnet, an evergreen lead magnet where they sign up to get the link to go watch the recording.

Dolly DeLong: Oh, I just thought of this, Magan. What if you had four different videos? I don’t know why I say four, but let’s say four different videos of you doing some sort of workshop, and then a way to repurpose them is quiz results, like how we were talking about earlier, how you lead people with a new lead magnet being your quiz, you segment them, and then depending upon what their result is, they get to watch that masterclass you led.

Magan Ward: Absolutely. Yeah, that would be perfect. Absolutely perfect because through the quiz results, you’re determining exactly where you need to show up and meet them. And maybe it’s because they need to, I’m just trying to think of what my workshop titles were back last fall. Maybe they need more help with their welcome sequence right now.

And so I could put that workshop in front of them, or maybe they need help learning a better way to segment and tag for their email list, and then I could put that workshop in front of them. So through those quiz questions with this hypothetical quiz that doesn’t exist right now, I want to go make this happen. 

Dolly DeLong: Tomorrow, Magan’s I have a new quiz, you guys. This is what’s gonna happen.

Magan Ward: But yeah, but to answer Dolly’s question, you absolutely could just flip those classes and turn them into another lead magnet and just keep using them and keep putting them in front of people.

Dolly DeLong: Another thing that I really liked that you brought up was and if you don’t want to use that video over and over again, maybe you could take the audio from the video and create a private podcast feed, which we’ll be talking about really soon.

Magan Ward: Absolutely. So I was mentioning the client that has a beautiful quiz, her email sequences that pair with each quiz result are just, they’re beautifully put together, but she took them and she made private feed audio through Hello Audio. So they, she has in her email, if you would rather listen to this, click here, and you get access to the private audio feed.

And so she’s done that same sort of thing, and she’s showing up and meeting them, whether they want to sit and read the email, or if they want to pop it into their AirPods and listen.

Dolly DeLong: I love that so much. So meeting other people’s learning styles, which is so important. I don’t know if we’re talking about this Magan, but I do want to point out to the listener that if you can create a lead magnet that can help with more than one type of learning style, that would be very beneficial.

Magan Ward: Absolutely. I know I always try to have if I’m doing one of my private podcasts, like a pop-up podcast, and we’re going to talk about that in a few minutes. I always try to also have the transcript. So that doesn’t just help people that have differing abilities, but just people who have different preferred learning styles.

Because you do have people that would prefer to just read through it really quickly because maybe they read faster than they could listen to the audio.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah, exactly. So I just wanted to plant that seed in the listeners. How can you package your lead magnets in a very creative way to serve different types of learners? Okay Magan you can also, correct me if I’m wrong, you can also transform these masterclasses into a challenge or a boot camp, is that correct?

Magan Ward: Yes, you absolutely can.

Dolly DeLong: So, I know people love challenges still, especially for those of us who are very I can’t even think of the word. I am very competitive. When somebody tells me I can’t do something, I’m like, hold my beer. I’m just kidding. I don’t drink. 

Magan Ward: Hold my water bottle.

Dolly DeLong: Hold my water bottle that I take everywhere with me.

Magan Ward: So yeah, you can definitely transform your workshop. Maybe it looks more like a challenge or a boot camp. And I also want to mention this. I’ve started seeing people that are not offering the replays for free, but instead offering them at a low-cost offer, like $27 or $37, maybe $47. Or maybe your workshop’s not free to begin with and just know that it is 100% okay to keep your workshop content behind a paywall and charge something for it.

You don’t have to give everything away for free.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah. I’m gonna share an example of a workshop I purchased from somebody as a replay, and it was one of the best purchases I’ve made in a while. Emily Reagan, who is the, she calls herself the digital unicorn. Do you know who I’m talking about? 

Magan Ward: I do, yeah.

Dolly DeLong: Wonderful. Emily, hi, if you’re listening, hi, I love you.

But she had a digital marketing roundtable about her and other, VAs who are behind a lot of strategic launches, they just had a marketing roundtable where they discussed different topics all centered around launching, and for those of you who may not know this about me. I love strategic launches so much.

I could just listen to launch plans for fun, every single day. Cause it’s fun. I love all the puzzle pieces. It’s like systems and workflows, but then like the tech pieces. And I’m like, oh wow, there is that new way of doing that. And so I paid essentially for a replay. And I watched it. I learned so much from it, and yes, it was like a Zoom call. And it wasn’t astounding quality, because it was Zoom, but I still learned, I walked away learning a lot from that workshop.

Magan Ward: Yeah, so there you go. There’s proof right there that you can make your workshop something that people pay for.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah. Yeah. 

 Okay, so I am going to be diving into Magan’s favorite lead magnet that has continued to grow her list quickly, and that is through pop-up podcasts. And you can think of them as audio workshops or audio trainings, and it is what grew her list by 78% in less than one month. It was a four-episode pop-up podcast that was free for people to sign up and tune in to.

Magan Ward: Yes. Now, I’m gonna pause right here real quick and just tell people that may not have heard of what a Pop-Up Podcast is. It is a private feed podcast that was free, but it required a sign-up. So I captured those email addresses and it was only available to listen to for a limited amount of time. Now I’ve also used some similar audio lead magnets for clients in the last 12 months, and they’re doing very well.

Also, the most popular one is a four-minute audio clip, and it has increased this client’s email list by 1,600 subscribers in seven months organically. And all they did, Dolly, all they did was provide a quick clip about their dad. Now, everyone would have to know their brand and their show to understand why their audience was very quick to hit that subscribe button and hear the story about their dad.

But what you need to know is that this was a very low-barrier entry point. It was an easy yes for their people to say yes to subscribe me to your email list so I can get this. Because it was answering a specific question that their audience was asking daily. And this just goes with the whole thing today, we just want you to be thinking outside the box with your lead magnet ideas for maximum email list growth.

Dolly DeLong: And I’m gonna piggyback off of that and I actually, speaking of purchases, not last year but the year before, so two years ago, I actually purchased the pop-up podcast system from our very own Magan Ward. And she teaches the system very well, so we will put this in the show notes. But I’ve led two private podcasts thanks to Magan’s guidance and systems.

Magan Ward: Dolly, you are, I don’t mean to interrupt you. You’re like the star student. I think she’s been through the course material three or four times and every time she does it, she’s this is so good.

Dolly DeLong: It is so good.

Magan Ward: She has launched two pop-up podcasts and she’s the only person, student I’ve had so far do it more than once since this course went live.

Dolly DeLong: You’re not paying me to say this, but you literally lay out a really good brick-by-brick system for everyone, which I really appreciated it. It made it, it was easy to follow for me and easy to consume for me, and I loved it. My audience loves pop-up podcasts too. That private component. There’s a limited amount of time you need to consume, this now component and then take action.

The only action is listening. There’s nothing paid about it. And I loved it. And one of them led to an actual paid offer earlier in the spring and which had a very high conversion rate. I believe it was a 26% conversion rate, which is very high. And I just… You all, I love pop-up podcasts, and for those of you who are listening who are like, okay what if I don’t have a digital product or what if I don’t want to sell anything, but I do offer services?

I’m actually, I’m letting you guys know, this is like an exclusive tip from Dolly DeLong Photography. I’m planning on doing a private pop-up podcast. It’s going to be an evergreen podcast for brand photography and for family photography for my future clients to download a new type of lead magnet that can meet my clients where they are. And then it’s going to lead them into just my overall email newsletter so that they can continue to get to know me. So if you’re listening in and you’re like again, I don’t have anything to sell but I do have a service that I want to book out, consider using a private pop-up podcast or a private podcast as an evergreen lead magnet to push people more towards your services.

Magan Ward: I’m so excited to see this new pop-up podcast come to life, Dolly, and I know you’re going to do an amazing job just as you did with the other two.

Dolly DeLong: Thanks! And that kind of leads me to the next type of lead magnet or list growth opportunity, but Magan and I also highly recommend Bundles. Both participating in bundles and hosting your own bundles. Whether free or paid, this is a wonderful way to grow your email list again organically. And a bundle event is essentially a marketing strategy where multiple digital products and resources are bundled together and offered as a package to attract and engage potential subscribers to an email list.

And it is a collaborative effort among various content creators and educators, and business owners who contribute their products to create a comprehensive bundle that is cohesive and it makes sense. Now it can include a collection of items such as courses, templates, and beyond that all, they fit along a similar theme.

So it’s not a random hodgepodge, some are, but really good bundles are cohesive and are similar in theme and are created to attract a specific ideal subscriber who will become a warmer lead and who you can continue to nurture and grow in your weekly newsletters. Now, these are limited-time events and are promoted not only by the organizer, the creator of these themed bundles but also by all of the contributors involved in the bundle.

So it is a collaborative event, and that brings us full circle to leveraging the audience of others.

Magan Ward: Absolutely. That’s where the magic in email list building really comes to leveraging the audience of others. Now, I know I’ve participated in many bundles, some very wonderful experiences, yours, Dolly, were all wonderful experiences. Some, if I’m going, to be honest, some of them were kind of duds, but the good greatly outweighs the bad when it comes to growing your email list through a bundle.

Now some of those bundles were just put together too swiftly, they lacked strategy in their organization, so if this is something that you’re wanting to put together, it’s just very vital to remember to have that true strategy in place to pull together a bundle that has resources included that all complement one another and have contributors that all have audiences with similar interest.

For example, let’s say you’re putting together a bundle. Don’t just get like any warm body to put a product into your bundle. I’ve seen this happen. It did not go well. And I know Dolly, you might have something else that you want to say here about that too.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah I’ve actually just ended up participating in a very successful bundle myself. I didn’t lead it, somebody else led it. And I’m so glad I pitched myself to be in that bundle, but, in the last four days, I’ve grown my email list by 400 people. And so those are 400 new subscribers to warm up to the Systems and Workflow Magic brand, and I know like some people will probably unsubscribe because they just wanted the freebie. But, to those who stay, I get to serve a whole new audience, and I’m so excited. And it got to a point this past week, Magan, where Zapier had to send me two emails to remind me to upgrade my account.

Magan Ward: That’s an exciting email though.

Dolly DeLong: It is, it’s exciting, but at the same time I’m like, oh, goodbye money. Once again, upgrading Zapier, but it was such a good problem to have. And so I, yeah, bundles when executed well and when they are strategic and when they’re led by a really good host that’s where the gold is. Just think about it.

If you want to host a bundle specific for service providers, and you have someone that you know who offers a website template for them, or Canva templates for putting together their service guide, okay? You don’t want to have someone who teaches home organization in a bundle that is specific for service providers, because that clearly not a good fit.

Magan Ward: Yeah, very obviously. And as I mentioned before, Dolly has hosted two bundles. I think you’re probably gonna have one coming up again. Are you planning? Yep. She’s nodding her head. Y’all can’t see her. She’s nodding her head. She’s gonna do another one and I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of both of the past bundles that she has done

Dolly DeLong: Yeah, and a Summit.

Magan Ward: And the Summit.

Dolly DeLong: So, well you all, to be honest, I just love collaborating with Magan, and anytime I get to work alongside her, I’m like, please come along with me.

Magan Ward: Hence all these episodes you’ve been listening to. If you’re just now tuning in to this episode, which I believe is episode 89, we have been doing this co-host situation since episode 84. So you can go back and listen to our little mini-series of co-hosts on the Systems and Workflow Magic Podcast.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah, we’ve only been talking specifically about the importance of growing out your email list, how it’s transformative, how to grow out your email list. We’ve made it into a small bite-sized series for you just to consume and feel more confident about email list growth.

Magan Ward: Yeah, and it’s been fun recording this and I know we’re not done with this episode yet, but if you are wondering no, I’m not the official co-host with Dolly. I’m just here for these few episodes.

Dolly DeLong: Maybe one maybe one day, I can tell I know, Magan, just as a reminder to you all, Magan has her own podcast, which I will link to the show notes as well. But it’s, right now, Magan, this, as we’re recording, it’s supposed to release, what, in five days?

Magan Ward: Yeah next Tuesday. So yeah, on May 23rd. So when you’re listening to this, it’s already been out for a couple of months. It’s the School of Marketing for Digital Entrepreneurs, and you’re gonna hear a lot of similar content over there as you are during this series that Dolly and I are recording for her show.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah, so you all, give, after you give this episode a listen, go and subscribe and follow, I don’t know, whatever the new lingo term is for podcasting, but go, just follow Magan. She is very helpful. Anyways, just, we were talking about bundles earlier, going back to that conversation, I led a free bundle in early 2022 when I led my first bundle and the other bundle was a paid version.

So I’ve seen both ends. The other one was in 2023 and there will be another one that I’m planning on for 2024. So normally I like to lead one bundle a year because, for me, I like to put a lot of heart and soul into each bundle. I go all out and they’re, you all, they’re normally free and I just go all out for them, but yes, to answer your question, I am leading one again in 2024, hopefully, Lord willing.

But, in August of 2023, Magan and I are actually opening the doors to our very first group program. It’s called the Bundle Intensive and it will be for anyone that has an interest in running their own bundles, whether it be free or paid, and inside we are teaching and sharing all the nitty gritty details about what is involved with organizing a bundle. How to put the systems and workflows together in a cohesive way. How to launch a bundle that your audience is raving about, and just like how to make it make sense. So inside this strategic bundle intensive, you will not only get access to us to help you put together your entire bundle.

We will walk you through this process, but you will get templates, graphics, and a marketing calendar tool, and learn all the best practices for a bundle that both purchasers and contributors love. And we will have limited availability, we’re not joking around, this is very limited availability during the first round of this program.

We invite you to get on the waitlist now, so you don’t miss out on this. Especially if this is something you have an interest in learning more about in strategic list-building growth through bundles. And I have linked the waitlist in the show notes, but again, it’s, if you go to systemsandworkflowmagic.com/bundle-intensive-waitlist, that’s a very wordy URL. Just go to the show notes and you will get on the waitlist. 

Magan Ward: Yes, we’d love to see you get in on the waitlist. You can be the first to know because we might have some early bird surprises. But as you begin growing your email list and just to sum up this episode and everything we’ve been talking about today, as you begin growing that email list, just remember to establish those genuine relationships with collaborators that you’re working with, whether it’s through bundles or summits or being a guest on a podcast. And always provide value to their audiences, because I don’t want you to find yourself throwing poorly put-together resources for the sake of email growth because that’s not going to build you a list of very well-connected people who trust you. And ultimately, it won’t build a list that works for you. So building that trust and credibility, it’s just so crucial when you’re leveraging the audience of others to grow your email list.

Dolly DeLong: Yeah, and I know that Magan won’t toot her own horn here, so I’m going to toot the horn for Magan. But one of the reasons why I love collaborating with Magan, especially in the last several years, is this. She has established a really good pattern of delivering not only good paid products but very good freebies, and lead magnets as well that actually transform certain that actually give you wins.

And so she has established this know and trust with me. And so I know she’s established that with a lot of people on her list, through her podcast, through Instagram. And so this, again, I know it took a lot of time, but I just wanted to Magan’s horn that she’s amazing and very that’s why I love collaborating with her.

When I see that not only people’s paid products are transformative, but their freebies are one of a kind and amazing. I’m like, yes that person is the real deal.

Magan Ward: Thank you, Dolly. So there you go. Do put free, good-quality stuff out there and find yourself a Dolly because then you’ll have a Dolly DeLong tooting your horn for you.

Dolly DeLong: Yes, you will have people shouting about you through the rooftops and you’ll also find that those people will push people towards your own email list. And again, this is like a slow growth process, but you want to create those, I don’t want to say fans, but you want to create that trust.

Magan Ward: They do become fans though. 

Dolly DeLong: I’m a fan of yours, Magan.

Magan Ward: Oh, thank you. But they do become your friends your inbox besties. Is that what Kate Doster, I think, maybe says inbox besties? But they really do. And you start getting replies from people and you start, and when you reply back, then you instantly have built an.

And you start recognizing their names because I have some of the same people that hit reply to my emails and it’s just so fun to make those connections.

Dolly DeLong: I can share something really fast about the last two years of doing collaborations and getting to network with other business owners because of those collaborations, because of leading specific types of bundles, I’ve been able to connect other business owners with future clients who have wanted to work with me, I haven’t been able to work with them, but I’ve been able to thankfully hand them off to a trusted resource because of these bundles, because of these collaborations, and I know that they’re in good hands.

Magan Ward: Yeah. And that’s another beauty of collaborating and building a trusted and credible audience.

Dolly DeLong: So there you have it. So head on over to the show notes for the waitlist and all the resources mentioned. And Magan, thank you so much for delivering so much value in this episode. I know we went a little over, so thank you for being here. And for those of you who are interested and want more information, feel free to shoot us both a DM on Instagram or send us an email and ask us questions about this bundle intensive, because we really want people who are invested in growing their email list and who are serious about this type of email list growth strategy to be in the group intensive. 

So we’re excited to hear from you and until next time, I hope you have a strategic and streamlined week you amazing muggles you and I will talk to you later. 


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