2 List Building Strategies to Take Your Email List from 0 to 100 in 30 Days or Less

This post is the first part of a 3 part email series on list building for online teachers.

  • PART 1: [YOU ARE HERE] – 3 Strategies to build your email list from 0 to 100
  • PART 2: [coming soon] – The Next Level: Moving from 100 to 1,000 subscribers
  • PART 3: [coming soon] – The journey from 1,000 to 10,000 – 3 tactics to get you there

We are wrapping up week 6 of our online coaching program CourseClinic. It has been incredible working with course creators from around the globe on how they can build, launch and sell their online courses. In the process of teaching this course, I have found that many course creators struggle with list building.
If you don’t have a list, it’s exponentially more difficult to do things like…

  • Test new content and ideas
  • Presell a pilot course
  • Launch an evergreen course

Today I am going to outline 2 of my favorite strategies for building an email list and give a blueprint that you can use to jump start your list building efforts.
But first, let’s take a high-level look at the process.
List building takes hard work
There is no way around it. If you are starting off with ZERO email subscribers on your list, then you are going to have to get your hands dirty. This means you are going to have to manually reach out to individuals in your social network to create a group of subscribers that you can build upon (more on this in tips 1-3).
Once you get to 100 subscribers, things get easier. You can use tactics that are scalable and give you more exponential list growth.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you don’t have a least 100 email subscribers on your list, then none of the other strategies will work for you. So focus on getting 100 before moving on to the other strategies.
Here are the two strategies that will get you to 100 email subscribers (in 30 days or less):

  1. The Grin’N Hustle Method
  2. Twitter List Building Hack

Grab your favorite beverage, because we are going to put in some work…

The Grit’n Hustle Method

When I was younger, my father taught me how to sell. His idea was that if I learned how to sell and the psychology behind selling, then I’d never go hungry. Even in the worst economies in the world, a salesman can always make money.
Those skills have served me well, and they are the exact skills you need to build a list to 100 people.
Specifically the skill of cold calling – or cold outreach as we will call it.
Now before you shut your computer and scream in agony at the thought of cold calling… here me out.
Cold outreach is simply letting someone who is potentially interested in your subject matter know that you are going to be doing something cool and relevant in their area of interest.
Here is what is interesting. Most of us probably have around 20-30 interested people’s emails in our inbox already. We just haven’t done anything to let them know we are going to be working on something cool.
Radicati.com states that the average person sends and receives roughly 102 emails per day. This means we have 100+ potential people we can have conversations with that might be interested in our subject matter. The question is how do we segment and contact the most relevant people?
The answer is manual labor.
It’s not fun or sexy, but it is effective.
Here is the process:

  1. Open your email inbox
  2. Look at the last 200 emails you’ve sent
  3. Find 25 people in that list you can reach out to using the template below

Reaching out can seem and feel awkward, and most people over think what to put in an email. So I’ve created a template you can modify that will help you get going.
Subject: quick question [use no caps – it’ll stand out in their inbox] 
[first name],
Hope you’re having a good [dayoftheweek].
I’m starting up a new project where I’ll be [insert what you’ll be creating]. Thought it might be something you’d find interesting. 
Do you mind if I notify you when I’m ready to share more information about it? I really value your perspective
All the best,
PS: [insert a personal note or story]
Here is what it would look like if I were sending it…
Hope you’re having a good Thursday.
I’m starting up a new project where I’ll be teaching simple growth hacks for startups. Thought it might be something you’d find interesting. 
Do you mind if I notify you when I’m ready to share more information about it? I really value your perspective
All the best,
PS: I saw you signed up for HustleCON Facebook. I’m going to be there too. We should meet up! 
In my experience cold emailing like this generates roughly a 50% “yes” response. So if you send out an email to 25 people you’ll get around 12 people to sign up!
12 people is great when you are starting from zero.
SUPER CHARGE IT: The Grit’n Hustle Method works well for Facebook too. Make sure you do the above steps to and reach out to relevant people in your Facebook following too.

Twitter List Building Hack

I love Twitter for list building. The reason is that it’s very easy to find people who are interested in what you are teaching. My secret weapon for all things Twitter is a tool called ManageFlitter.
ManageFlitter allows me to search keywords in user profiles and then follow them. Here are the steps:

  1. Use the “account search” to find accounts relevant to your industry.
  2. Search for a keyword that is relevant to your industry. I’ll look for accounts with “growth hacking” in the bio.

account search list building
I’ll select all of the accounts and follow them. Have you every looked at the bio of someone who has recently followed you on Twitter? I do all the time.
They key is then to have something relevant that will entice the people to click a link in your profile and give you their email. This can be a simple lead magnet that you produce and give away through a landing page. Here is what I have in my personal Twitter bio:
twitter list building bio
If you are a course builder and you see my Twitter profile, you will probably want to know what’s going on behind that click. And when you click it, you’ll be taken to a landing page that asks for an email address in exchange for a 5-part video course.
The other great feature is using ManageFlitter’s build engage functionality. This functionality allows you to drop tweets to relevant people.
This is huge for me, because it automates the first interaction with someone so I don’t have to. If they respond, then I can start a chat with them that allows me to get their email. To set up drip engagement, simply select the relevant follows and hit bulk engage.
Here are the steps:

  1. Search for relevant accounts (same as before) but now select “bulk engage”

manage flitter list building 1
After you select “bulk engage” you’ll be asked to load in a tweet where ManageFlitter will prepend the user name to the beginning of the tweet.
Use the following template for your first variation and then create 3 more for variety:
[once your prospect responds and you chat a bit] I’m working on a new project on [insert topic]. Though it might be something you would dig. Want in?
Here is what it looks like loaded up into ManageFlitter:
manage flitter list building 2
If you use both of these Twitter strategies, and you stay consistent with them, you can easily add 50-100 relevant followers to your list in 30 days or less.

List Building Thought Experiment

Think about how you can use the above idea in other social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and even your phone contacts to build your email list.
Let me know you idea in the comments below…

DISCLAIMER: You are going to get rejected

A few years ago I was in an entrepreneurial mastermind where we forced ourselves way outside of our comfort zone. We did things like call random businesses and try to sell them toilet paper over the phone. The goal wasn’t to sell toilet paper, but to rather get rejected so that we would be comfortable with rejection.
Every time we got rejected, we would all explain the story in the forum and title our post “I got pooped on.”
The “I got pooped on” posts were meant keep things lighthearted and also prompt all of us to jump in and encourage one another when we faced rejection.
Getting cussed out for hawking TP feels very strange, but after some time you are able to shrug off the swear words and move on to the next call.
Now I am not saying that you need to do anything this extreme, but the reality of cold outreach is that some people are going to turn you down. Some people might even get downright mean and say hurtful things to you. But that is okay – get used to rejection.
It’s part of the process of building an online course business.
Move on.
Move forward.
Build that email list.
Remember email list building is the lifeblood of any online business. If you focus on how to build your list early, you’ll set yourself up for success in the future.
Next week we are going to go through a handful of methods to take the 100 email subscribers you will build with these tactics and scale that list to 1,000.
And don’t forget to download my walkthrough video….