Build an email list from scratch…Facebook organic reach is sad

When we started blogging in 2012, Facebook pages essentially gave you 100% organic reach. There was not a single reason to learn how to build an email list from scratch.  Then, every post you published was actually viewed by almost 100% of the people that were following you.

Now, if you’re just getting started and you think, well, why wouldn’t my post get to 100% of the people that follow me…? We have bad news for you. In the last few years, the % of your follower base you could reach with every single post diminished. And it’s now way below 2%. This 2% is really tough on seasoned bloggers with Facebook accounts that top the 50,000 of followers, but it’s even tougher on new bloggers and businesses, who are trying even harder to have their content go viral.

Needles to say, we didn’t think we wanted an email list back in 2012. Why wouldn’t we? We each accumulated over 2,000 followers in our first months blogging (Andrea blogged about gluten-free baking and Amanda was busy covering celebrities and entertainment). Traffic to our sites was growing exponentially, and we had our fan bases at our fingertips through Facebook.

Fast forward a few years later, and though we kept our thousands of followers, our traffic to those sites and the engagement and views to each post soon decreased.

Then and there we learned a very good lesson – we didn’t “own” our fan base. Facebook did.

You’re almost there!


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Build an email list from scratch….it’s your #1 priority towards monetization

If you want to work with brands or you want attract your ideal client, people will automatically gravitate to your social profiles and make assumptions about how successful or how liked you are. Social media numbers are the most obvious ones and we know you’re eager to start to see them getting larger and larger. However, if we may share our painful experience of being late to the email collection race –  your #1 asset to develop for true monetization is your email list.

If you’ve already searched for it, you probably found a thousand articles that tell you to promote, promote, and promote your opt-in across your blog or website. This kind of advice could be really frustrating if you are just getting started and you have just your mom and aunt visiting your website these days, and, by the way, they’ve already signed up to your email list.

Which brings us to the next big, and important question that all our clients ask right away:

How do I get traffic to my blog if you told me my traffic should come from my email list…

….and my email list from the traffic to my blog?


We get it.

We’ve been there before.

And we have good news!

We have a solve.

Well, actually, we have a bunch of really good solves.

If you’re truly starting to build an email list from scratch…

Hey! It’s okay! We have five things, all lazy girl approved, that you can start trying right now.

# 1 – Focus on one single social platform and build from there

For us, it happened to be Twitter. Marketing and branding are not the most visual so it made sense for us to focus on curating great news and articles that were relevant to our brand and use Twitter to distribute them using the right hashtags. We started posting up to 10 tweets a day, which is not a lot by the way! It was important to have a great cover photo, a great description on the bio, and an opt-in with a great graphic pinned to the top of our profile. We grew it slowly but steady, and, soon, we saw up to 60% of our emails coming in from Twitter.

# 2- Make your opt-in the main focus of your homepage

That’s it. Therefore, we recommend using at least 50% of the vertical space of your homepage to call out the email list opt-in. We know it sounds a little bit much, perhaps, but it truly works. If you go to our homepage (here), you will see we go even farther than that and we use 100% of the space to ask people to subscribe, and we do so by offering a variety of opt-ins such as a chapter on how to build your email list from scratch, a registration to receive our Fearless Friday newsletter, and so forth.

# 3- Facebook Ads

Though we tried to focus on mostly free or low investment strategies, we believe you will need to invest SOME money. This way, shy of advertising your actual services or product, the next best place for your dollar should go to building your email list. For Facebook Ads, and for all email opt-ins, we highly recommend you offer an irresistible freebie to go with it.

Most of all you should be all about providing VALUE to your potential clients first. Selling to them is always second. This way, a freebie becomes a great way to start building trust and rapport, as well as showing off your goods from very early on in your “relationship.” Finally, and in terms of what kind of freebie you should offer at this stage, we want to recommend you don’t spend days creating it, as you will be testing a few of these in the weeks to come.

Our favorite freebie ideas for high perceived value and low, low time invested in them are Lists and Demos. Therefore, you should create one to two-page lists that spike your ideal client’s curiosity such as: “133 money blocks that you can tackle right now.” You can also try “15 free tools online to help you create graphics, manage your email lists, and monetize your blog.” Or, if you’re tech savvy, we also like the idea of creating quick 5-minute demos where you show how to use a tool (such as Photoshop). People will not be ready to invest more than 5 minutes with you, so make sure all your info and tips are concise, mouth-watering, and extremely useful.

And there’s more…

This post is meant to be a preview of our actual opt-in offer – a full chapter from our hackbook about how to build an email list from scratch. We have more tactics to grow an email list from scratch, as well as a full section on how to build an email list from your email list! 

Click on the button below to download the FULL CHAPTER for free now.

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Andrea - Co-Founder Lazy Girl Co.