3 Simple Steps to Building a Powerful Email List | Nashville Branding Photographer & Business Systems Educator Dolly DeLong Photography

3 Simple Steps to Building a Powerful Email List

how to organically grow your email list by following these three easy steps

Building an email list can feel like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. You really just need to choose an email provider, create a super valuable lead magnet, and market your lead magnet well. If you’re thinking “easier said than done,” I’ve outlined the ins and outs of the process in this post just for you!

Step One: Choose an Email Marketing Service

Three of the most common options for an email marketing service are Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and Flodesk. When I first started, I used Mailchimp because it was free, but I didn’t find it very user-friendly. Now I use Flodesk and I absolutely love it!

With Flodesk, I can create an unlimited number of audiences (we’ll talk about why this matters in a second) and they let me use my own colors and visual branding elements to create pretty emails that increase my brand awareness.

When looking for an email service, I recommend trying a free trial of any service before committing so you can see how you like the different features.

Step Two: Create a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is simply a free, valuable resource that a potential client gets from you in exchange for giving you their email.

Why don’t you just ask for people to sign up for your email list? Well, unless you’re Beyonce, people probably aren’t lining up to hand over their email address. Email addresses are valuable, and people are overwhelmed by the sheer number of mailing lists they end up on. You’ve got to prove your value to someone before they give you access to their inbox.

The best way to do this is with a high-value lead magnet.

I created this FREE PDF “The Lead Magnet Master List ” and if you click over here you can access it!

Your lead magnet should relate directly to the value your business provides. For example, my friend Emily is a copywriter and she helps entrepreneurs improve their writing skills so they can connect with their dream clients. Her lead magnet (that you can download here!) is all about finding your unique brand voice

You can offer your lead magnet in any number of formats

-Ebook (the route I took) 




-Video mini-course



-FAQ sheet

-Email course

-Webinar replay 



-Product samples 

-1:1 Call

-Free engagement session or another photography session

Your lead magnet should be created specifically for your ideal client. Remember, if you’re for everyone, you’re reaching no one. This is the time to be specific! If you haven’t nailed down your ideal client just yet, you should create something you would be willing to pay for. You’ve got to offer significant value!


Step Three: Market Your Lead Magnet and Start Building Your Email List

Once you’ve created your valuable lead magnet, it’s time to start collecting email addresses!  Here are several ways I, myself, collect email addresses so that I can share my lead magnet with other small business owners! 

  1. You’ll need to create a landing page through your email marketing service. It’s basically a form that requests a first name and an email address. Once someone enters their information, your email service will store them in your subscriber list. 
  2. To advertise your lead magnet, use social media!
  3. You can put the link to your landing page in your Instagram bio with a description of what your lead magnet is about.
  4. Include the link in your business’s Facebook page description.
  5. Put the link in your Pinterest bio and create a pin that links to your landing page.
  6. Embed your lead magnet on your website. (I have mine embedded on every page!)
  7. Include the link to your landing page on your LinkedIn profile.
  8. Put the link in the footer of your website or on a sidebar. Write an attention-grabbing sentence to direct your audience’s attention to the link.
  9. Include a pop-up on your website. These are great for getting a visitor’s attention, but some people find them annoying, so figure out what works for you!
  10. Talk about your lead magnet in your Instagram stories!

Marketing your lead magnet is not a one-time thing. You’ve got to consistently talk about it! Hype it up! Get people excited! Show them how much value you are offering and how your free resource can solve their problems. 

“Marketing your lead magnet is not a one-time thing. You’ve got to consistently talk about it! Hype it up! Get people excited! Show them how much value you are offering and how your free resource can solve their problems.”

Don’t be discouraged when you start building your email list. The email addresses may trickle in slowly, but those people are invested in you! So make sure you treat your email audience well. Send out regular communication and keep providing value!

I use my Google Analytics to choose when to send emails to each of my subscriber groups. My family audience seems to open emails most frequently in the middle of the week, so I send my emails to them on Wednesdays. I send my business owners emails on Mondays so they can start their week with a dose of encouragement! 

I’m a big believer in serving your audience and potential clients. Building an email list is one of the best ways to specifically serve your audience! I promise it’s worth the time and effort required.

In Summary

I hope this post serves as a valuable resource for you as you begin the process of determining what type of lead magnet you can create for your ideal client base! Remember, this is NOT a race! If you are in this small business venture for the long-haul you need to know that this is all a part of the small-business marathon! PACE yourself along the way (don’t rush on building a crappy lead magnet), NOURISH yourself by continued education for your small business so that you can continue to NOURISH and SERVE others well!

If you enjoyed this post, can you please do me a favor? Can you share it on Facebook and Pinterest so that other small business owners can use this as a free resource as well?


Meet Your Friendly Nashville Branding Photographer & Business Systems Educator

a dad mom and toddler son are all smiling at eachother at a lavender farm by Erin Fox photography in Nashville

Dolly DeLong is a Nashville-based family & branding photographer and a creative business owner who educates on all things Pinterest, Dubsado, Lead Magnets & Email Marketing (aka pretty much all the fun automation stuff centered around those business systems)!  Dolly loves serving families, and business owners with her timeless, radiant photography.  She loves capturing the joy and emotion in both digital and film photos.

She also has a heart for serving the larger business community. Dolly shares her knowledge of tools like Pinterest, Dubsado, email marketing, and business systems with new creative business owners in an encouraging and supportive way because she believes that even muggles can become automating wizards!

Dolly’s faith and love for her family motivate her to help other business owners find the joy and freedom she’s found in running a successful small business.

Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), loves eating way too many sweets, and listens to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography LLC, please email her at thedollydelong@gmail.com or fill out her contact form here.

Interested in learning how to best automate a part of your business to attract your ideal clients by creating a Lead Magnet and have NO clue where to start? I created this FREE PDF “The Lead Magnet Master List ” and if you click over here you can access it!


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