Email List Building Part 2: The School of Hard Knocks

I have a love/hate relationship with emails.

I hate getting spammed and get frustrated with the spam that still find ways to intrude into my inbox.  It’s really frustrating when I can’t find the unsubscribe button that is usually hidden in the tiniest font at the bottom or their advertisement.  

Spending precious time unsubscribing to 5+ a week of unwanted emails is annoying…

However, sending an email to clients and my audience is the fastest and most efficient way for me to communicate outside of actually talking to them.

There is email list I subscribe to that I really look forward to receiving!  I opt into lists to learn and find valuable information for myself, my biz and my audience.  I am often inspired by those who abundantly share valuable information.  Every expert I follow HIGHLY recommends creating and building your list.  Why?  Because if done correctly, email marketing works.  

Learning from the School of Hard Knocks

I started my first email list when I began my art career 20 years ago.  I remember creating an artful book and eventually found printed sheets on a colorful clipboard worked best for me.  At first, I would quietly put it on display in my booth and took pretty much a “wait and see” approach.  

I would smile and quietly jump up and down inside when someone would add their information.  

Here is my Big lesson “NO, NO”…

People offered me their contact information and I didn’t send them updates.  BIG mistake!  Actually, I would send out news maybe 3-4 times a year, that’s crazy!  Shaking my head:)  


My Mind Games & Assumptions:  

  • I didn’t want to bother my clients and audience.
  • I didn’t know what to share with them.
  • I’d say, I didn’t have time to do it.
  • I didn’t have the consistency or a great plan.

Do any of these sound familiar?  If so don’t make the same mistake I did!

[Tweet ” “Your email list is like gold, treat it as such.” ~Darla Kirchner”]

After a time I became comfortable asking folks if they wanted to join my list.  

I would start the conversation asking if they wanted to join my list.  Then I would promise “not to send emails often” and would say “I won’t send them weekly like x big box store”.  

It took me years before I realized they wanted to hear from me (at least more that a few times a year).  That’s the reason they gave me their information.  (Hitting my head… again!)

[Tweet ” “If you’re not building an email list, you’re an idiot.”– @derekhalpern of Social Triggers”]

 I began to see a pattern and took action:

  • I stopped assuming they didn’t want to hear from me!
  • I created an Email plan.
  • I strived for delivering MORE than monthly newsletters:  Sending updates, new introductions or upcoming events.
  • I documented and measured my results.
  • I understood the value of MY LIST, people who wanted to hear from me.

When I began to take action with a plan, I realized customers were calling or emailing to place orders.  Clients would come into my store after receiving my emails for a gift.  They would bring friends to my seasonal events.  Customers would place orders because they were reminded of a gift they needed after receiving an email. 

I was seriously missing opportunities to connect with the people who WANTED to hear from me.  So yes, I believe having an email list is one of the most important areas you should focus on in your business.  Besides sharing your story, products, and services, it’s a great way to build your brand and stay in their mind.  Your list is like gold and should be treasured and constantly given attention.

Convinced yet?  Ask yourself:

  • What better way to connect with your audience?  Outside of face to face talking to your audience, emailing them is the next best and most efficient way to communicate.
  • How often will I commit to sending my audience emails?  It’s really up to you.  Whether you can commit to once a week or once a month, just commit.  Remember consistency is key.
  • Am I currently sending out consistent emails?  If yes, Yippee!  If your answer is no, my advice is to start NOW.  Your audience is just that…YOURS.  It’s not Facebook’s, or Pinterest’s or Instagram’s to do what they want.  It’s yours.

That my friend is WHY you need to build your list!   

If someone subscribes’s to your list, they want to hear from you. 

I hope by sharing my story of learning through the school of “Hard Knocks” that you will not make the same mistake I did.  It’s not easy to be vulnerable, but I share because I care.  Learn from my mistake, don’t wait:)

[Tweet “Build your Email list, if you have one and it’s not your priority, make it be. Darla Kirchner “]

Darla Kirchner Brand, Visual Storyteller, Speaker


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