Corrie Ann Gray
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My Friends and Family Ignored My Email List

You often hear how difficult it is to make a living as a creative professional without and email list – in my case, that means writing. The “business” today is much different compared to when I started making significant money as a writer. Although I did it part-time while I pursued a corporate career, I had enough work to keep me busy when I wanted it. Once I snagged a writing gig with a nonprofit, the referrals started rolling in. I did no advertising or marketing aside from a simple business card that I carried with me.

Today, things are massively different. The noise in the marketplace makes it difficult to stand out. And writing mills staffed with workers who are willing to be paid a dollar an hour to create weak content push expert writers (mostly copywriters) out of the running for projects.

Even in today’s noisy business and social climate, you can make a living as a writer if you have the secret ingredient – the list. Your business is your list. A list of what, you ask? An email list of qualified tribe-members who trust and buy from you.

So, how do I get this list? That is where the work comes in. An email list of happy followers is not an easy feat to achieve today. I don’t care what the list building “gurus” say. I used to have a large mailing list in the late 90’s – early 2000’s when I published an online writing newsletter called “Writing 202.”  At the time I wrote the newsletter to encourage and support other writers to pursue their love of writing. I had no products to sell, other than my writing services (which I never advertised). I merely shared what I knew about the writing world, resources that helped me, and where to find work as a writer. I loved publishing the newsletter however due to a personal situation, I shut it down and let my list go dry.  Talk about a big mistake!

Now that I have learned my lesson, and I have (relatively) recently decided to make writing my full-time gig, I am learning all I can about how to attract my tribe and get them on my email list so we can get to know each other better.

One thing I learned from someone who is an expert in building an email list (a legitimate expert) hasn’t worked for me yet. It is supposed to be an “easy” first step to your first 100 subscribers; however, I got relative silence. Here’s the idea.

Once you identify the topic/theme of your newsletter or product, you email everyone in your contact list asking them if they are interested and want in.  The email/text script goes something like this.

“Hey <insert name>, I’m starting a newsletter about <insert topic>. Do you want in?”

Want to Build Your First Email List?

Download this FREE GUIDE to get started.

The Beginner's Guide to Email List Building for Writers
(and other Creative Professionals) is a simple to follow resource
to get you started creating your first email list. Get it now!

This bit of advice is from Bryan Harris, at Videofruit. He says you should be able to get to your first 100 email milestone pretty fast using this method. Now, I am a HUGE fan of Bryan – and I know this advice works – just not for me. At least not yet.

I don’t have emails for 100 family and friends, so I worked with what I have. I only sent out emails/texts to people who I know reasonably well, or we have had a large number of interactions. This count totaled about 50 people. I added a bit more to the message (more personal), but I got nothing in return. Most of the emails were never opened (I did return receipt in Outlook), and I received no inquiries for further information. I didn’t even get a “leave me alone” note. Two people in this experiment did eventually subscribe, but it happened through a post on social media several weeks later.  Other than that – nothing.  I had better luck asking complete strangers on social media to join my list (if I gave them my manifesto).

Now, I’m not writing about this to say that this method doesn’t work. It does. I know bloggers who have done this successfully. I am writing about my personal experience.

I won’t lie, at first I was hurt and upset. Getting no response from family and people you call friends is bitter medicine to swallow. Now I realize there are many reasons for the lack of response. With the “noise” in today’s online and digital world, there is a high chance my email got lost in all the other messages people receive every day.

So, what do you do to make them notice you? To be honest, I’m not sure exactly what will work to attract this new tribe, but I do know what I’m doing with the few dozen people who are on my email list (a few of them are family and friends).

I will continue to love on them as much as I can. I will provide relevant information and resources that I know will help them in their multi-passionate and/or writing endeavors. I’m also going to encourage them to share this page with their family and friends. They say having your existing followers refer you to others is an excellent method of building trust and connections with others. We’ll see what happens.

Over the next few months, I will be going head first into advanced list-building strategies and will figure out how to best attract the people who are meant to be in my tribe – my followers – my peeps. I know they are out there so now all I have to do is hush the noise for a bit so they can find me.

What are your favorite list-building strategies? Share in the comments.

Want to Build Your First Email List?

Download this FREE GUIDE to get started.

The Beginner's Guide to Email List Building for Writers
(and other Creative Professionals) is a simple to follow resource
to get you started creating your first email list. Get it now!

About the Author Corrie Ann

Corrie Ann Gray is a writer, philosopher, coach, wellness advocate and cookie creator. She is also known as The Renaissance Soul Writer and is the founder and director of the Clean Body Project, where she inspires individuals to live a holistically purpose-filled life.

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