In today’s episode, I’m sharing with you the five big list growth mistakes that I see people make (especially in online business), and what to do about them.

If you know your list needs some attention, you’ve been putting it off, or you just want to make sure that you’re not making some of the big list growth mistakes that I see, then this episode is for you.

Let’s dive in!

You’ve probably heard this a dozen times before… list growth is critical, especially for online business.

You don’t own your audiences on social media platforms, and you cannot move them to other platforms. If you decided to move from Facebook to LinkedIn tomorrow, you cannot move your Facebook followers over to LinkedIn and still have them following you there.

If you decide to change email service providers, your list is your asset – you get to take them with you.

It’s a great way to future-proof your business and really look after your business growth by building an asset.

A list is an asset.

However, it’s beyond risk mitigation for me. When some people talk about list growth, it’s all about the fear and the risk that Facebook might shut down (which I actually don’t think is particularly likely). But I think that mitigating the risk is not enough of a motivator for a lot of people, because they are very open to risk, or they just think that the chance of that risk happening is so low that they don’t need to worry about it.

When it comes to growing your list, there are so many more benefits beyond risk mitigation.

The big one that I want to talk about is this compounding interest effect.

If you started consistently growing your mailing list with 100 people a month four years ago, your list would be so warm, so large, and so much more valuable to your business, than if you got the equivalent number of people to sign up to your list today.

Let’s say over the last four years you could have grown your list by 5000 people. Alternatively, you can pay and get 5000 people on your list today.

Which would I prefer? I would prefer the 5000 that I got over time.

This is because the longer someone has been on your mailing list, the:

  • More likely they are to be a hot audience member
  • Further through your messaging ecosystem they are
  • More likely they are to buy something from you when you are next in launch

The best thing you can do to look after your future sales in your business, and particularly in the long term, is to grow your list NOW.

Don’t wait for some future date or future launch to start growing your list.

The people who join my mailing list during a launch are the ones who are least likely to purchase in that launch.

That is true of most niches and most businesses.

It’s a way for you to look after the long term growth and sales of your business. However, there’s also a short term benefit.

As people join your list, for those people that are particularly hungry to work with you, there will be 1-3% of people who join your list and are interested in something pretty quickly. This means you’re also bringing in those shorter-term sales.

There’s a short term return on investment and a long term return on investment.

It’s not just about compound interest.

It’s like having an investment where you purchase it and it pays you back immediately but ALSO get future returns.

List growth is a really sexy part of your marketing strategy. Yet so many people wait until later!

What I want to do with you today is cover the five big list growth mistakes that I see, and what to do about them…

1. Not prioritising your list growth

In particular, not prioritising consistent list growth.

There are so many students who come into the Take Off program that have been in online business for a little while that struggle to be consistent in their list growth. They’ll focus on list growth for awhile, then won’t focus on it for months, and then they’ll focus on it again, and so on…

If you have these flash-and-crash strategies where you have big groups of people joining, and then no one joining, and particularly if they’re spaced months and months apart, then it’s not necessarily going to have the same effect as having people join consistently.

It’s very easy for the gaps in your list growth strategies to span six months, and then all of a sudden nine months, and then it’s stretched out and you had list growth on your list at the start of the year, yet it’s 12 months later, and you’ve not really done anything to grow your list.

It’s prioritising list growth, but also prioritising that consistent list growth.

For those of you who are in the early stages of growing your list and you don’t have a proven value proposition yet, the way I recommend you consistently grow your list is through regular webinars.

In the Take Off program, I recommend that my students run one webinar every month. That means that every month, you’ve got some new people joining your mailing list. But you’re also having a portion of your existing mailing list coming to a live event and therefore likely to convert into buying something from you.

Running regular webinars is great in those early stages of business, because it brings in a short term cash injection, and looks after long term list growth on a consistent basis.

Once you’ve got that nailed and you know what topics bring people in, you’ve got a very systemised way of getting your promos out there and you know that you can get 50 to 100 people signed up to webinars very regularly, then I would also have an evergreen opt in for evergreen list growth.

Something where people can sign up for something, get it straight away and do it straight away.

Some examples would be having a:

  • Pre-recorded training
  • Checklist
  • Template
  • eBook
  • Video training series
  • Audio download

There are a bunch of different things that you can do for evergreen opt-ins.

I recommend that you build one that works really well and does its job of attracting your ideal clients and converting the hot ones quickly. Then set that up on evergreen for your evergreen list growth.

At first, for an evergreen opt-in, I recommend that you just focus on organic promotion.

Get out there and share it the way you would your webinar normally, and get a good 100 or 200 people through from your organic audience. And then you can start investing in paid advertising of that opt in as well once you know that it does its job. Its job is to grow your list and to get those early conversions from your hottest audiences.

Once you know it does those two things, you can then start investing in ads because you know that you’re going to get the return on investment.

That is the first of the list growth mistakes that I see: not prioritising list growth and not prioritising it consistently.

2. Perfectionism over progress

Many people are still delaying their webinars several months into the future because they need to have everything perfectly mapped out first. They choose to wait for it to be perfect rather than just getting that webinar up every month and refining it as they go by seeing what works with their audience.

No great webinar was built on theory.

The first thing that will happen when you run your first webinar is that you will realise what you need to update and change about that webinar.

If you’re working with a mentor, you can go through that process of reviewing it together to see what changes need to be made.

That’s how you get a really great high-performance webinar.

The first time I run any of my webinars is it’s the least effective run. The more I run it, the more I practice it, the more I refine it to do its job, the better that webinar performs.

Rather than waiting for the perfect thing or having to write the perfect opt-in page, just get something out there. But make sure that you review it and learn from it.

Make sure that you aren’t just throwing out webinar after webinar and scatter-gunning a bunch of different webinar topics and not actually taking stock of what works, what does its job and what doesn’t do its job.

That’s the second of the big list growth mistakes that I see.

3. Silent treatment

This one is about having some list growth but then giving your audience the silent treatment.

Doing that is like saying that there’s a big party at your house, inviting everyone to a party or place, and you’re not there. There’s no one there to give them a drink. There’s no one there to tell them where the bathroom is. Everyone’s just kind of standing around not talking to each other because they were invited to this party and nothing’s happening.

If you’re going to grow your list, you want to make sure that you are looking after the people that jump in.

One high connection lead – someone on your list who came to you because they were interested in your webinar or whatever it may be – is so valuable to your business.

They might not convert straight away – they might not be a paying customer ever. But they are interested in what it is that you’re sharing, they’ve signed up and given you their email address so there’s a level of trust there.

They are potentially an engaged audience member, someone who has enough trust in you to refer their friends through to you, someone who can help spread the word.

There are so many benefits to having people on your mailing list, but you’ve got to look after them.

Prioritise the list that you have before going out and chasing thousands more people onto your mailing list.

I once had a VIP client who said that she’d been growing her list for two years and really wanted to start emailing them, but still didn’t have her first 1,000 subscribers. She had been told that she needed 1,000 subscribers on her list for it to be worth investing the time into sending emails to them.

The people that HAD signed up to her list weren’t receiving anything! Most of them would have entirely forgotten who she was because they had signed up to her list over two years ago.

If you’re going to focus on list growth, be sure that you’re regularly emailing your list.

For a lot of people, the big reason why they don’t email their list consistently is because they feel that they’re being spammy, or they don’t have anything to offer.

If you’re sending an email a week to your audience, you are not sending too many emails. If you’re sending an email a day, then it’s probably worth looking at whether that’s appropriate for your audience. For some audiences, it might be. But definitely don’t give them the silent treatment.

For most people reading this podcast, your problem isn’t that you email your list too much, it’s that you don’t email them enough.

Look after, prioritise and nurture the audience that you have if you’re going through all the trouble of growing your audience.

That’s the third of the list growth mistakes that I so often see.

4. Toxic marketing strategies

There are far too many of these to mention. You’ve probably had them happen to you.

Rather than go through a ginormous list of all the toxic marketing strategies that are used in emails, instead, I just want you to consider whether you’re burning your leads by spamming them too much.

Something that I’ve seen taught in launch strategy is to send seventeen emails in the three to five days that your cart is open.

For me, that is far too many emails.

It’s using that churn and burn strategy where if someone hasn’t bought from you within the first 30 days, you need to cut them off or send them guilt-laden emails about how disappointed you are.

All of that is gross. Don’t do that to people.

Be really mindful of how you would like to be treated and how you’d like to be spoken to. That’s a really beautiful rule of thumb to just start there.

That’s the first thing: don’t send far too many emails.

Secondly, don’t treat your audience or your mailing list as just a bunch of numbers where if they don’t buy from you when you send them six emails in one day, then they’re never going to be your client anyway, so farewell to them.

Rather than looking at it that way, think about each person on your list as a human being who expressed some interest in your work, and who is potentially interested in working with you at some point.

If you think about them that way and speak to them that way, in most cases, you’re going to avoid a lot of those toxic marketing strategies.

There’s a recent episode of the podcast that I recommend you check out where I talk about the difference between consent-driven and toxic marketing strategies. Read, watch or listen at tashcorbin.com/292.

The way to fix the toxic marketing strategy part is to just focus on consent-based and consent-driven strategies.

You should never use guilt-ridden language (for example, ‘Is it something that I’ve done?’ or ‘Can you please tell me why you didn’t buy from me?’ or ‘I don’t understand, what have I done?‘). It’s reverse psychology.

Have you ever been on a list where the unsubscribe button is actually a really passive-aggressive statement? ‘I’m not interested in changing my life anymore’ or ‘I just don’t want to achieve big goals anymore’.

It’s absolutely horrible.

I once unsubscribed from a pet subscription boxes mailing list, and the confirmation button to unsubscribe popped up with Munchkin’s name on it saying ‘I don’t love Munchkin anymore’.

That’s what I had to click in order to unsubscribe from their mailing list!

That is completely toxic.

I don’t care how sassy or funny you think it is. I don’t think that that is something that’s appropriate to be doing to your audience.

Imagine if Munchkin had died and I had to click a button that says I don’t love Munchkin anymore.

That is absolutely disgusting.

I don’t agree with those kinds of things that use reverse psychology in your email strategy.

Then there are other toxic marketing strategies, such as future pacing people’s fears, dialling up their pain points, being aggressive or abusive on email.

You’ll be surprised how much this is taught.

In 2014, I was subscribed to someone’s mailing list where I got an email every day with subject lines such as:

  • You’re not going to make it
  • You’re making a mistake
  • Why are you so lazy?

It was trying to get a rise out of me and have me prove that I was hungry and that I wanted it. But actually, it was very aggressive. It was almost borderline abusive.

I can’t believe I put up with having that in my inbox every single day.

I am very much someone who doesn’t agree with a lot of those toxic marketing strategies.

In my opinion, it’s a mistake to dehumanise your list and treat them as a bunch of faceless people.

Another big one that I’ve been quite passionate about recently as there’s been a resurgence in Instagram reels, is where they say ‘Is your business not making sales? Then you don’t have a business, you just have an expensive hobby’.

It’s labelling your business as a hobby to induce shame.

That is actually shame-driven.

What they’re trying to say to you is because your business isn’t successful enough, you don’t even have a business, your little business is actually a hobby.

It’s ridiculing and minimising what it is that you have.

Don’t ever let anyone label your business as something other than a business. That’s up to you to decide whether you have a business or not. It’s not for someone else’s judgment.

(I could get very ranty about the whole consent-driven/toxic marketing strategies. I won’t go too deep in that, but I recommend you check out my previous episode on this topic: tashcorbin.com/292.)

5. Separating list growth from sales strategies

There’s a little bit in this, so bear with me.

People come to me a lot in the Take Off program and on social media asking questions about whether their upcoming webinar is a good topic. My first question to them is: What are you selling on it?

Most of the time, they haven’t even thought of what they’re selling on their webinar.

That’s actually backwards.

Every lead magnet, opt-in and freebie that you create in your business needs to be directly linked to a product or service.

This is for you and your audience’s benefit. If you create a bunch of webinars, free resources or free videos that go nowhere, it’s like your audience have asked you for directions and you have sent them down a dead end.

You have sent them literally down a dead-end because there’s nowhere else for them to go from there.

Your list growth strategy needs to be directly connected to your sales strategy.

If you build a lead magnet or an opt-in with an upsell in mind so that it actually takes people through the process of solving the problem that they want to solve and helping them understand what the next logical steps are, then it’s better for your audience and it’s better for your business.

Growing your list with a bunch of opt-ins or lead magnets that go nowhere, can lead to you having a ginormous list of people who are trained not to purchase anything from you. You’ve trained them that you’re just here to give them a bunch of free resources. If they want further support, they have to go somewhere else because you don’t offer it.

Make sure that if you’re going to go into this space of growing your list, that you do it strategically and that is it is inherently connected to your sales strategy as well.

That means that your list growth should speak directly to your niche and be aligned with the value proposition and messaging that you have crafted to promote your products and services.

All of these pieces go together and are on the same foundations.

These are my five big list growth mistakes.

I hope that you found this really helpful.

If you have any questions for me, I have a really cool new free thing that we are going to start playing with for some of the episodes of the Heart-Centred Business Podcast.

This is the first time we’re doing it so it’s a little experiment.

What I want to do is have a pinned pod in the Heart-Centred, Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group. This is going to be our first pinned pod.

What that means is when this podcast episode goes live, I’m going to pin an announcement at the top of the Heart-Centred, Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group. It will have #pinnedpod and the episode number (295).

On that pinned pod, I’m going to have a little summary of today’s episode, some questions for you, and encourage comments so that we can continue the conversation.

You can ask me further follow up questions or you can make a commitment and create that sense of accountability for yourself.

If you’ve been reading this and you’ve realised that you’re not prioritising consistent list growth or you’ve been acting like a perfectionist, then this is your opportunity to make a commitment on what you’re going to focus on.

Please come to the pinned pod post and let me know what you’ve got out of this episode and any follow-up questions you have: CLICK ME

I look forward to seeing how this whole experiment goes and continuing the conversation with you over there as well.

Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist