How We Made Our First 6-Figures From A List Of Less Than 2,000 Subscriber

How We Made Our First 6-Figures From A List Of Less Than 2,000 Subscribers

This week we're telling you all about how to make money from your email list. So if you have a small list (or you think you have a small list), don't despair! We're going to tell you exactly what you can do to make money from that. 

Because guess what?

We were rubbish at growing our list. Most things that email marketing gurus out there teach didn't work for us. 

But we figured it out, and we continue to make 6 figures from our lists, so buckle up and read (or listen) on. 


(2:30) So how about this #EmailMarketingWednesday that Kennedy loves so much?
(3:33) Is your list really small?
(4:29) The things that really matter with your email list (and it's not size!)
(5:57) Why there's no point in building a ginormous list with the wrong people on it.
(6:55) Why a small list isn't actually such a bad thing after all.
(7:58) How we did a rubbish job of growing our own email list (and how we got really good at making money from it).
(10:14) Why you should email your subscribers more often.
(12:28) Why you should create email campaigns that are designed to sell.
(14:59) Why you should regularly clean your list. 
(17:25) Subject line of the week.

The Top 10 Books To 'Power Up' Your Email Marketing

10 book recommendations that will improve all areas of your email marketing (including some underground treasures that we stumbled upon which have been game-changing for us).

Is there such thing as a ‘small email list'?

We see this all the time. 

People with lists of 20,000 subscribers who think they've got a small list. And equally, people who only have a few hundred or a few thousand subscribers and worry that their lists are too small to make any money from them. 

Want the honest truth? 

It's not the size of your list that matters. It's what you do with it. 

So the great news is that if you have a small list with only a few hundred people on it, you can still get a really great income from that.

Because it's all about the relationship you have with your subscribers.

See, we genuinely have no idea how many people are on our list. We don't check that number. And that's because it doesn't do anything for us. You can't pay the bills with email subscribers!

The numbers we care about are the ones in our bank balance. We look at how our campaigns perform – how much we make from every subscriber. Because that‘s what matters!

Should you spend time and money growing your list?

We come across lots of people who don't have a list or who panic about the size of their email list. And typically these people think they'll need to spend a lot of time, money, and energy building and growing their list.

But what they should be doing instead is to first test that they have the right type of people on their email list. You want subscribers you can sell to – people who want the offers you have. People who will buy from you.

The truth is that you can build a profitable business with a few hundred or a few thousand subscribers on your email list. But if you waste time building a massive list without first checking that the people you have on your list are the right people for your business, then growing that list might not be profitable at all! 

The advantages of having a small list

We get that people are nervous when starting out. But then again, isn't it easier to test the waters and try out ideas when you have a smaller list? If you get it a little wrong, you're doing it in front of a smaller audience at least!

Having a small list allows you to dial it in and then grow. But focusing on growth without doing any testing isn't the answer!

So one thing you can do while your list is really small is to figure out how much each subscriber is worth to you. Because a lot of people don't know that. And that's a key piece of information to help you decide how much to invest in ads or lots of other things in your business. 

See, when we started out, we didn't have a lot of money to invest in advertising, and we were a bit rubbish at growing our list. We paid for courses and tried to learn from all the email marketing gurus out there, but their methods didn't work for us. So we had to learn from the trenches. And the thing we quickly figured out was how to make the most from what we had. 

And here's how we did it (and how you can do it too).

Email your subscribers more often



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The first thing you have to do to make the maximum amount of money from your list is to email people more often. 

That's right. Because that's what allows you to help as many people as possible and deliver as much value as possible. 

Now, a lot of people tell us they can't possibly email more often because their subscribers are going to hate them and unsubscribe. But…

Say you've got a list of 1,000 people and 25% of them see your emails. That's 250 people who've seen one email you sent. If you stop there, that's potentially 250 people who've seen your email this week or this month. But what if you email again tomorrow? Because if you hit a 25% open rate again, that's another 250 people seeing your stuff. And, granted, some of them (shall we say 10%?) will the same people – your super loyal fans. But a lot of people (15%?) will be new. So potentially, that's another 150 people who see your emails.

If you carry on like that every day, can you see how things start to really build up? Over the course of a week, if you email 5 or even 7 days, you'll be able to reach a lot more people on your list than if you'd only sent one email that week. And when you have a small list, that really starts to help fast. If you want to put your message in front of more people, emailing more often is the way to do it. 

Create email campaigns

The second thing we recommend you do if you want to make money from your email list is to build email campaigns, rather than sending individual emails.

Single emails don't work.

You have to have a series of different emails structured together and designed to make sales. Please stop trying to impress people with your emails – structure them for sales instead! 

To do that, remember to stay focused on the outcome you want. What's the reason people are on your email list? You want to make sales, for but for them, it's about the value you offer.

Regularly clean up your email list and keep it small

The third thing we recommend you do is to clean your email list regularly. We intentionally keep our list small. As small as we possibly can.

We do that through our LOL revival campaign, which helps us segment out the people who are not engaging anymore. We run our subscribers through regular re-engagement campaigns and bring the ones who re-engage back into the fold. But then we send the rest of them their way and delete them. 

It may sound harsh, but if you pay your email marketing platform per subscriber, by cleaning your list regularly you can pay them less. But also, the delivery of your emails is easier. The people who remain on your list are more engaged, and you feel like you're closer to them. It's a lot easier to maintain a relationship with fewer people and stay connected to them. So keep your list small and clean it out of all the people who aren't going to buy from you

You can definitely make a good living from a small list. The key is to focus on giving people things that are genuinely going to help them solve their problems and give them value they're going to enjoy. 

Subject line of the week 

This week's subject line of the week is, “Are you cabbage, peas, or carrots?” This is an actual subject line that Kennedy used in one of his emails.  

And there's a bit of a story behind that (isn't there always?!). 

One day Kennedy was on the phone with his sister, and he got so distracted he managed to allow the cabbage, peas, and carrots he was cooking to steam dry and burn. From there, he went into a lesson around how you can be distracted by things.

But the subject line worked because it used a few curiosity principles. Kennedy put some unusual stuff in there (cabbages, peas, and carrot), made the email very personal by sharing a story, and then turned it into a question to the audience. And the subject line did very well! 

Useful Episode Resources

Related episodes

How To Clean Your Email List – List Hygiene With Steve Wagner.

Email List Cleaning: When You Should Delete Your Subscribers.

Get Your Emails Delivered (And Avoid The Spam Folder) With Adrian Savage.

FREE list of the top 10 books to improve your email marketing

Want to write better emails? Come up with better content? Influence and move your readers to click and buy? Well, you can do that with this list of our Top 10 most highly recommended books that will improve all areas of your email marketing (including some underground treasures that we happened upon, which have been game-changing for us). Grab your FREE list here

Join our FREE Facebook group

If you want to chat about how you can maximise the value of your email list and make more money from every subscriber, we can help! We know your business is different, so come and hang out in our FREE Facebook group, the Email Marketing Show Community for Course Creators and Coaches. We share a lot of training and resources, and you can talk about what you're up to.

Try ResponseSuite for $1

This week's episode is sponsored by ResponseSuite.com, the survey quiz and application form tool that we created specifically for small businesses like you to integrate with your marketing systems to segment your subscribers and make more sales. Try it out for 14 days for just $1.

Join The League Membership

Not sick of us yet? Every day we hang out in our amazing community of Email Marketing Heroes, where we get to share all of our training and campaigns and a whole bunch of other stuff. If you're looking to learn how to use psychology-driven marketing to level up your email campaigns, come and check out The League Membership. It's the number one place to hang out and grow your email marketing by applying everything we talk about in this show.

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