Episode 13

Growing your email list with Steph Taylor

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to connect with clients and grow your sales! 

Today I chat to Steph Taylor who shares her secrets for growing an engaged email list.

 

In this Episode:

  • 04.26: How to create great content
  • 07.30: How to drive people to your content
  • 09.30: How to keep your email list engaged
  • 21.02: Steph’s most challenging time as a business owner
  • 24.20: Her BEST time as a business owner and plans for the future

 

Freebies 

 

Links

Steph’s Bio

Steph simplifies marketing and launching for small business owners. She is a corporate dropout turned marketing nerd and host of the bite-sized online marketing podcast, Socialette, which had over 100,000 downloads in its first 6 months.

Steph is also the founder of StephTaylor.Co, where she empowers small business owners with the no-fluff marketing know-how they need to launch and grow the business of their dreams. 

 

Transcription

Email marketing is still one of the most powerful ways for converting people who are interested in your brand, to becoming paying customers. But if you have no idea how to go about creating an email list, don’t worry because today I’m chatting to Steph Taylor and she shares exactly how to go about creating an email list and importantly, how to keep them engaged so they don’t unsubscribe.

This episode is incredible so make sure you stick around if you want to learn how to go about growing an email list.

 

You’re listening to the Clare Wood podcast, where we talk all things business, finance, marketing, and mindset for entrepreneurs, sharing practical tips, and actionable advice to help you take your business to the next level. Introducing your host: me! I’m Clare Wood, I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, and a reality tv addict, and I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life, because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two. Now let’s dive right in to today’s episode.

 

CLARE:

For anyone who doesn’t know Steph Taylor, she is an absolute gun at marketing, Instagram, launching and building an email list and I’m super excited to have her here today.

 

STEPH:

Hi, thanks so much for having me Clare!

 

CLARE:

Now for anyone who doesn’t know you, can you give us a quick intro to who you are, what you do and how you help people?

 

STEPH:

Yeah sure! So I simplify marketing for small business owners. I essentially do this through eBooks, courses, my membership site all under my own personal brand stephtaylor.co. I also have a podcast, a bite-sized online marketing podcast called Socialette. I think that just about covers everything I do.

 

CLARE:

That’s an impressive list I have to say.

Anyone who is listening who isn’t onto Socialette yet, I would highly recommend you have a listen. I’m also featured on an episode.

 

STEPH:

Yes, way way back! Almost a year ago.

 

CLARE:

Was it? No!

 

STEPH:

Yes, it was when I was in London.

CLARE:

Doesn’t time fly!

Well, the reason I wanted to get Steph on today was to have a chat about something that is super important to business owners when they are looking at up-leveling their business, which is growing their email list.

 

STEPH:

So important!

 

CLARE:

So I’m going to pick Steph’s brain tonight, get all of her hacks on how she grew her list and how she recommends we can do the same.

Steph, someone who maybe they are at the stage in their business where they have got a few people on their list and they are going, right, I really want to explode my list and the potential clients I can reach. What would you suggest is a great way to start?

 

STEPH:

Firstly, you need to get your expectations in check. It’s all well and good trying to grow your email list, using organic forms of traffic, so organic social media, organic search. But if you are really looking to explode that list growth, you will need to put aside a little bit of budget for paid ads. They might just be $5 a day, but as long as you have that little bit of budget. If you don’t have the budget to spend, that’s not a problem, you just need to have that understanding that you need to manage your expectations, you know that it is going to be a bit slower.

So the first place I would usually recommend you start, is create some sort of free piece of content, or something free that you can give away to people as an incentive to sign up to your email list. That might be a free eBook, a free cheat sheet, or a short video training lesson. Something you can give them in return for their email address. Then you pop that up on a landing page, where they give you their email address, you send them that piece of content, and you have a new subscriber! That’s the very simplified version!

 

CLARE:

Haha, yes.

Now something that I know I really struggled with when I was at that stage, when I was starting to create my lead magnets, is how do you know what kind of lead magnets to create.

 

STEPH:

So, you and I are quite lucky because we know our ideal customer/clients hangs out on a lot of Facebook groups, none which we will name on this podcast, but they are always asking questions in those groups, and that’s where I got most of the ideas for my ones, I have several different cheat sheets and eBooks that I give away for free but most of those ideas I got from those groups. You could look at google keyword research tools, so UberSuggest is a good one. For example, say you were teaching people about Instagram, you would type in Instagram and it would give you search suggestions based on what people are searching for.

 

CLARE:

Wow, that’s awesome.

 

STEPH:

Yeah so you can see what trends are happening, if people are searching for a lot of one term, then you now there is potential to create a lot of content around there. So that’s really good when there is something new happening.

 

CLARE:

Yeah, and a thing I do is think about the questions that your customer/clients are asking you. For example if you are a photographer, people are always asking “What do I need to do to prepare for my photoshoot?” then maybe that could be a great checklist that you might want to create for them.

 

STEPH:

Yes, I know for me, one of the best performing lead magnets has been a Photoshop template, and the reason that one has done so well is because I initially created a blog post on how to create a puzzle feed on Instagram using Photoshop. And this blog post just did crazily well on Google. It was #1 for so long and I was thinking I’m getting all this traffic to this blog post and I have nothing to up-sell then onto, no way of capturing these people, so I created this free template, and that, to this day has been the best performing lead magnet I’ve had so far.

 

CLARE:

Wow, that’s excellent. I love that.

So embedding content upgrades or lead magnets that are relevant to the specific blog you have created.

 

STEPH:

Yeah but that’s not to say you should create one from every single blog post. Because who has time for that! But if you have 2 or 3 that perform particularly well, especially with organic traffic from Google then it’s really worthwhile trying to capture those people.

 

CLARE:

So, first things first, we have our lead magnet, so what do you suggest people… because I know with me when I first went through this process, I created my lead magnet and I thought ‘oh awesome, I’m just going to sit back..’

 

STEPH:

What was it?

 

CLARE:

I can’t even remember… something terrible [laughing], as the first lead magnet always is. But once you have created this lead magnet and I sat back, I thought ok, I can’t wait for my list to explode, but people weren’t signing up, so anyone who is listening, what is the next step? How do you actually get people to be opting in? Obviously you had a blog that went nuts, but what if your still in those stages where your blog isn’t getting a lot of traffic and traction?

 

STEPH:

That’s so relevant because, if you think about, that one blog post, only 14% of people who visited that blog post actually convert. So if you are only getting 100 people to your blog post in a month, that’s 14 people. Some of my other lead magnets, converted 4%, so that’s not very many people. So you have to be actively driving people to that page. You either want to drive people to the blog post, and have a separate page to download that free piece of content from, and you can give that call to action, whenever you are posting on Instagram, so you can say this is an extract from my free eBook, to download the full eBook visit the link in my bio or visit this short URL to that page.

The idea is, you have to actively be driving people to it, they aren’t going to just stumble upon it.

 

CLARE:

Yeah! And another great thing I’ve found is, is mini-collaborations, so if someone you know is posting content, I sometimes share it and say check this out. And you know it’s not a formal thing but quite often they will return the favour so I think that’s a great way you can cross-promote each other’s content to make sure that more people are getting exposure, people in your target market.

 

STEPH:

I always talk about the importance of having business friends! And supporting each other’s stuff, and promoting each other’s stuff, that’s one of the most important things about it.

 

CLARE:

Definitely.

Ok so, people have go their lead magnet, and we’ve talk about ways to draw people to that lead magnet, what do you do when your list starts to grows? Like, what do you actually do when your list grows? Everyone talks about, you need to grow your list, you need to grow your list, because it’s a way to find new clients for your business, but what do you do when you have people on your list, and how do you keep them engaged?

 

STEPH:

Well you want to avoid the #1 mistake people make, which is doing nothing, because they are so scared they are going to do something wrong, or send the wrong thing to their list, so they actually send them nothing. So you don’t want to do that. I recommend emailing your list consistently. When they first sign up, I would recommend having a welcome sequence in place, like 3 emails introducing yourself, talking about your business, sharing your story, depends a lot on what you do and what you sell, but you want to get them involved in your brand, and seeing you landing in their inbox, otherwise, they sign up and then the next time they hear from you is a month later, they aren’t going to remember who you and they’ll click unsubscribe or report you as spam and that hurts your deliverability going forward. So you want to have that welcome sequence, then you want to be consistently emailing them, and when I say consistently, if you can commit to once a week that’s amazing, if you can only do once a fortnight, then that is better than nothing.

 

CLARE:

Great tip! I think a big thing again, now that I’m reflecting back on when I started my list, I had that fear about contacting my list, I over-thought it, I over-analysed my emails, and nowadays I think about what would I write to a client, answer the question someone has got. Make it really conversational and really regular.

 

STEPH:

Yeah and if you have content to share, and are regularly putting out a piece of content once per week or once a fortnight then sharing that content… What I have found works best, I have tried so many different forms of emails to my list, I consistently do once a week, and what I found works best is picking 1 of my 3 podcasts episodes I do from the week, that I want to promote, and then somehow relating that back to either a story about something that has happened in my life, or something that we can all relate to. For example I might talk about marketing your business without a strategy is like going to Ikea without a shopping list. Like you get everything, except for what you actually need.

 

CLARE:

I love that! That leads me to my next question, which is what would be your top tips for making sure you do have a list that is continually growing and people that are really passionate about following you?

 

STEPH:

Ok, so don’t just sell to them. Don’t look at them as people who are there just to be sold to, they are people there for you to build a connection with. They’re not just there so that you can land in their inbox with all your promotions, and if that is the only time they are hearing from you, they are going to be unsubscribing faster than they are subscribing. It’s that simple. It’s give and take, you have to give them a lot of value, and it might value in the form of stories they can relate to, it might value in the form of content they can learn from, but you have to give them that value and then ask for the sell.

 

CLARE:

So value first, and then you ask for the sell. Cool.

So you spoke a bit about your podcast, what role would you say your podcast has played in the success of you growing your email list?

 

STEPH:

I think it’s played a big part, but probably not as big of a part I thought it would. Because getting people off… a lot of people are listening to the podcast while they are walking, cooking, driving, while they are doing other things, and by the time they have the time to open up their phones or computers and download the freebies of content I had been advertising, they had already forgotten. So for a lot of the people who listen, it has taken multiple repetitions of hearing the same piece of content, before they have gone and actually downloaded it. Honestly, I think paid ads have been the biggest thing to my email list, and that organic traffic.

 

CLARE:

So anyone who is listening or thinking, ok, I want to jump in on either paid advertising or organic traffic, let’s start with paid advertising, let’s talk about Facebook Ads, if you are a newbie and know nothing about Facebook Ads, what would suggest, how would you get started there?

 

STEPH:

Download my free cheat sheet! Well, seriously…

No so, it comes back to having that free content and landing page ready to go and then you… I don’t know where you would start… I guess you would hone in on who you want to target those ads to, who you really want to get on your email lists, because yes you might be able to get leads from India for 5c a lead, but are they going got be the people who are going to buy from you and work with you, maybe not. So, hone in on who you actually want to get to download your lead magnet, think about what is going on in their heads, so you can write copy that actually makes them want to click. Think about what their struggles might be, if they have particular pain points that you can talk to in the copy, then you are onto a winner there. Think about the benefits of your piece of content, not just the fact that it’s a 26 page eBook with 50 tips, think about what they are going to get out of that, and try to include as much of that as you can in the copy. Don’t just run one ad, and don’t just boost posts. I think that is one of the biggest things, just don’t boost posts! You are much better off setting them up from inside in Facebook Ads Business Manager, where you can setup multiple different versions of an ad, you can test them, see which one performs better, switch the ones that don’t perform well, off, and you can ramp up the budget for the ones that do.

 

CLARE:

And if someone has no idea about Facebook Ads, what’s your suggestion, do they engage some outside help, do they invest in a course, do you just try and test and see how you go?

 

STEPH:

It depends on your budget. So if you are hiring someone to do them externally, then you need to have a big enough budget for it to be worth the fact that you are paying someone to do it for you. So I usually would suggest to people starting out that they either learn by doing a course, or learn by spending money on ads, and either way that’s going to cost you money. It’s not cheaper to learn by doing it yourself.

 

CLARE:

Great tip!

So we’ve spoken a bit about using Facebook Ads as a way of driving traffic to your lead magnets or your content. Let’s go back to the other one you touched on which is organic traffic. Now you’ve spoken about this amazing blog post that you’ve got, just for anyone listening what was that one again?

 

STEPH:

How to Create an Instagram Puzzle Feed using Photoshop, I believe it is!

 

CLARE:

Wow, so that sounds super specific to me.

 

STEPH:

And it was, at the time I created this blog post about a year and a half ago and it was at a time where puzzle feeds were starting to become a bit of a thing on Instagram, and I thought ok, there is no one really saying how to do them and they are super easy to create, so let me write a blog post about it!

And that’s the thing with ranking in Google, you don’t have to necessarily be the oldest website or most authoritive website, but you do need to put in the right keywords.

 

CLARE:

Absolutely, and you know I’m working through the Kate Toon SEO Course at the moment and one of the things that she says is that so many get trapped into that idea of I want to rank for that particular keyword. For example, someone like me would be business couch, but the reality is trying to rank for a term like that, firstly it’s really hard, and secondly your ideal client a lot of the time, I mean maybe if they are at the hot stage where they are ready to invest in a particular service they might be, but most of the time they might not even know, like for example your services, they might not be specifically looking for it, what happens is they stumble across your content, fall in love with it, and then start to follow you, before they eventually become clients.

So my question is, when people are trying to think of content, how do you they find something like the puzzle feed post, that will be their winning formula, that will help people to get to their website?

 

STEPH:

It’s really depends on what you do, but having that finger on the pulse and what the trends are and noticing, for example, in the health food industry, teff flour became a big deal a couple years ago, and knowing that this is about to take off in Australia, let me try and write a blog about this or create a free piece of content about this thing that people are suddenly starting to show interest in.

 

CLARE:

So trying to be ahead of the trends. That’s such good advice, and I think no matter what service based business you are in, it’s kind of knowing what people are asking you, and knowing what’s happening, what are people starting to worry about at the moment? And maybe being super specific is actually a good thing!

 

STEPH:

At the end of the day, content marketing, a huge part of it is keeping an eye on the trends anyway, you want to be reading the news in your industry and seeing not just what is in the news but what people are talking about in groups and on social media, that’s a lot of the time, ahead of the news.

 

CLARE:

Cool.

So look today we’ve spoken about a lot of things, and you’ve shared so much with us, we’ve been through how to create an amazing piece of content, how to create a lead magnet that people find really appealing, how to drive people to our content through paid advertising and organically, so we’ve covered off on how to be building this amazing list, if it’s ok with you, I haven’t even mentioned this to you, but we might take a little bit of a pivot and talk a little bit about your business journey.

 

STEPH:

It’s full of pivots that one!  

 

CLARE:

And maybe you’d be happy to share the challenges you’ve gone through? So to that note, I think when you get to a certain level of business, people start to almost glorify it, and say “You’re so lucky” and “Isn’t it great you have gotten to this level?” But could you share the most challenging time you’ve been through as a business owner?

 

STEPH:

I think it’s probably right now, to be completely honest, it’s so funny, because maybe I think it’s most challenging because it’s what I’m going through at the moment and you always look back at things in hindsight, and think, that wasn’t so bad I survived it. But at the moment, because this is the first time that I don’t have clients and suddenly I have no one to be accountable to.

So, for me, trying to create all these different courses and content, it very easy for me to be like, this doesn’t actually have to be done today. I can go home at 3pm today and nap if I want to, there is no solid deadline there, and that’s been one of the biggest challenges. And also, one of my biggest products, my bread and butter, which was providing that nice consistent cash flow while I’ve been creating the bigger courses and now actually, someone in the space has gone and created a free version of it, and that’s like halved my revenue in the last few months, so that’s been stressful, instead of me having the energy to create these new courses, what am I going to do to get some more cash in, making me a bit more reactive, if that makes sense?

 

CLARE:

And I think there is an expression, ‘New Level, New Devil’ and I find that even when I move to a new level in my business there is a whole bunch of new challenges, whether it’s cash flow, whether it’s literally just… so at the moment I’m finding I’m super busy which is great but it’s also suddenly super stressful in itself. It’s really interesting to learn that people at earlier stages of business want to think, I want to get to this level, a 6-figure level or when I’ve got a passive income, that things are going to get easier. And it’s not that it gets easier, the challenges are just different, isn’t it?

 

STEPH:

Exactly, and the things that were difficult a year ago, aren’t so difficult.

So a year ago, public speaking, a year ago, I was terrified at that, and now I’m like, it’s not so bad. It’s uncomfortable, but I know it’s something I can survive.

 

CLARE:

But then there are other things that come up and it’s like whoa.. and as you up-level you face a new level of challenge which is really interesting.

Ok, let’s talk about some of the great times in business, tell me about the best period you’ve had in your business journey so far, and what made it so great?

 

STEPH:

That’s a great question! It was great and also really challenging at the time, as I was getting smashed with client work, but at the time, I was travelling quite a bit and most of last year I was living out of a suitcase, it was great. I got to spent lots of time in New Zealand and Europe, I had 3 summers in a row.

 

CLARE:

I was so jealous I was watching it on Instagram and thinking Steph is living the life!

 

STEPH:

But that’s Instagram. And Instagram isn’t the reality. I was getting up at 5am, doing client work, then doing travelling and site seeing, then coming back at 3pm working… that’s the reality of it. You don’t see that on Instagram, you don’t share that on Instagram, because where is the fun in that, no one wants to see me sitting at my laptop for 5 hours.

 

CLARE:

So it was, as much as it was a challenging time, it was probably your favourite time? Because financially you were in a great spot, you had lots of clients, and you were loving the work, it’s just juggling that.

 

STEPH:

And ultimately, the client work wasn’t really lighting me up. What I really enjoyed the most was helping the people who couldn’t afford to get someone else to do it for them, who wanted to learn and were really passionate about learning and that’s really why I created my Facebook Ads course, because it was a big lightbulb moment for me, that all these people out there, they are really keen to learn and don’t have a trusted source to learn from. That was when I was like ok, I need to help these people.

 

CLARE:

Awesome.

So anyone who is listening along now, because we haven’t really spoken about what is next on the agenda for Steph, so anyone who is listening and wants to learn about what you are working on at the moment, and what is coming up for Steph?

 

STEPH:

Oh my goodness, this changes all the time, as much as I try to plan everything, it changes so much, so what’s next? At the moment I’m in the final stages of my Instagram Course which I’m so excited to launch because it was an eBook that I poured my heart and soul into for 9 months, then I realised so much has changed since I wrote the eBook, let me take that eBook, stop selling it, turn it into a amazing course and now I’m about to put that out into the world, which is very exciting and very scary. But I’m glad to get that done. The second half of this year I will be focusing on creating my signature course which will be a roadmap for launching anything from a new business to a podcast, to a new product, to a new service offering, it’s a framework and template you can take and apply to your next launch and takes a lot of the stress out of it!

 

CLARE:

That’s super exciting and when you are going through that process of wanting to create anything new in your business, it’s always really scary because there’s not really a roadmap for how to do things, so I love the fact that that is on the horizon for you, and I can’t wait for it to come along.

To wrap it up, for anyone who is listening, I’ll be sharing the link to Steph’s website and I’m sure she will be happy to share one of her favourite downloadable’s with you…

 

STEPH:

My favourite one would be 79 Ways to Up-Level your Business and it’s just 79 actionable tips that you can do one of them or all 79 of them will up-level your business in some way. And you can get that from stephtaylor.co/79

 

CLARE:

Amazing, and I’ll be adding that into the show notes as well!

So Steph, thank you so so much for joining us today!

 

STEPH:

Thanks for having me!

 

CLARE:

It’s always awesome catching up with you and I’m sure we’ll see you again soon.

 

STEPH:

Thanks Clare, thanks!

 

CLARE:

Thank you so much for joining me today, if you enjoyed this episode, please make sure you subscribe to receive future episodes, and I’d be so grateful for a review on apple podcast! If you’d like a copy of the show notes or any of the links mentioned today, please jump over to clarewood.com.au/podcast and remember that Clare is spelled CLARE, have a wonderful week and look forward to chatting to you again soon!

About your host

Hi, I’m Clare Wood – I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, a reality tv addict, and a passionate business coach. I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life; because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two.

Follow me on Instagram for daily inspo >>

Struggling to get followers on Instagram?  Well, actually ENGAGEMENT is far more important!  Here is my no-fail checklist to authentically grow your Instagram engagement and attract your dream clients

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