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Stop Making Excuses and Start Building Your Email List… in the Next 10 Minutes

Email marketing is like showering. Everyone tells you to do it, but you just never make the time.

Umm… I meant to say it’s like… changing the A/C filter in your house. Yeah, the A/C filter. Don’t know why I mixed those two up.


Note from Chase: Rob is an accomplished self-funded entrepreneur. I’ve been paying attention to him online for the past few years because he’s good at this stuff. When he talks, I listen. I think you’ll like how simple his list here is.


Anyway, email marketing… it’s awesome, it works, but you’re not doing it. Most likely because you think it’s going to take a bazillion hours to setup.

Well I’m here to show you how, in about 10 minutes, you can setup your first email marketing campaign (including several key pieces of content) in 4 easy steps. Walk with me…

Step 0: Focus

You don’t want to setup an email campaign. That sounds like hard work.

So the secret is to dive in with both feet and sprint until it’s done. If you hesitate, your brain will try to shift your focus to Reddit, Hacker News, or some other form of entertainment masquerading as productivity.

I recommend you drink some caffeine and set a 10 minute timer. Then run like gangbusters through the next 4 steps.

Step 1: Write Your Headline

Notice that you haven’t written any emails yet. Start with your headline.

To get going fast I’d recommend creating a 5-day email mini-course. This is a series of 5 emails linked together by a particular thread.

For example, a 5 day course on doubling your consulting revenue, or a course on taking 6 strokes off your golf game.

And the best place to find this content? Existing blog posts, ebooks, or whitepapers that you’ve already published. This is typically solid gold content that most people aren’t reading, and repurposing it into emails is an excellent way to find a second use for it.

Start by skimming through your old blog posts and find 5 along a theme that will make a compelling 5-part course. Then write a headline and short description for a mini-course that fits that theme.

This isn’t a post on writing headlines (there are some here, here and here), but I use this tactic to promote one of my products, HitTail.

The positive side effect of this approach is that you don’t need to write emails and create an opt-in reward. Your emails are your opt-in reward.

Step 2: Sign Up for An Email Provider

MailChimp is free up to 2000 subscribers, but you’re going to want their plan that includes autoresponders, which is $15/month.

An autoresponder is a sequence of emails that you pre-schedule so that anyone who signs up for the list receives an email X days after the previous one. Autoresponders are genius, and they will allow you to create content once and have it dripped out over time.

The other service to consider is Drip. It’s more expensive than MailChimp (starts at $49/month), but it’s completely focused on autoresponders. I’m biased, though, because I’m the founder. The plus side is that if you run into any trouble getting setup we’ll be there to help you out. Also, we’ll help out with step 1 (above) and take care of step 4 (below) for you.

But either way you go, once you’ve made it through the sign-up process you’re ready to…

Step 3: Add the Email Capture Form

If you’re using MailChimp, add their opt-in form HTML code to your high traffic pages (on every page if possible). If you’re using WordPress, adding it to a widget in the top right of every page is ideal.

If you’re planning to add it to the footer, don’t bother. It’s not worth doing due to low opt-in rates.

If you’ve decided to try out Drip, simply add the Javascript tag to each page of your website and an opt-in form will magically appear in the lower right of every page on your site. You can control its visibility on individual pages within the Drip web app.

Step 4: Repurpose Your Content

Grab the blog posts or ebook you referenced in step 1. Paste them into 5 emails. Add intro and outro text, set the first one to send immediately, and put a 1-day gap between each.

If you don’t have any content to pull from, then you’re kind of a slacker. But fear not; the fastest way to generate content is to grab 5 questions that relate to your business that you’ve received via email, seen on Quora or a forum, or been asked in person.

Then download the Rev Voice Transcription App for iPhone (or equivalent for your mobile OS), and answer the questions into your phone. You’ll pay $1 per audio minute for the transcript, and with no typing you’ll have the core of your first 5 emails.

Remember that short emails (even 400 words) are just fine if they are valuable and targeted.

Step 5: Relish Victory

It feels like there should be more to it than this…but you’re done.

By following the steps above you can get a 5-day email mini course live in about 10 minutes (15 if you stopped for a beer).

My final recommendation: don’t stop here. Once you start building your list, write more emails and add them to the end of your autoresponder sequence. Over time you will build a flywheel that spans from here to next year.

Nothing like having people sign up to your list and receive a year’s worth of email without you having to write a word.

To accomplish this with class, update the final email of your course to let people know you will be emailing them every few weeks now that the course is over (and offer an unsubscribe link if they’d prefer not to hear from you). Most people will not unsubscribe, and you’re off to the races.

Give this a shot and let me know how it goes in the comments.


Rob Walling has been launching products for most of his life, and almost every one has used email to accelerate growth. Rob is the founder of Drip (among others), an angel investor and mentor who has been quoted in Inc. Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and dozens of other national publications.

Photo via Yakobusan


The Top 10 Mistakes in Online Business

Every week we talk with entrepreneurs. We talk about what’s working and what isn’t. We talk about successes and failures. We spend time with complete newbies, seasoned veterans, and everything in between.

One topic that comes up over and over again with both groups is mistakes made in starting businesses. Newbies love to learn about mistakes so they can avoid them. Veterans love to talk about what they wish they had known when starting out.

These conversations have been fascinating, so we compiled a list of the 10 mistakes we hear most often into a nifty lil' guide.

Download the guide

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