Tell me if this sounds like you…

You know you want to add a passive income stream to your business, but you have yet to come up with a super solid idea for what that will look like.

So in the meantime, you just keep on posting your stuff, hoping that with all this free content you are cranking out, people will still be around when you have your lightbulb moment and can create your product.

Slightttt problem…if you plan to sell your passive income thing, you need a way to keep in touch with all those people who at some point engaged with your free content.

Building up an email list is the best way to be able to reach back out to those people who showed a genuine interest in your topic when you go to launch your thing.

You do not want to be left waiting on people to *hopefully* land back in your corner of the internet right around the time you are ready to take your thing live.

If you are going to the trouble to create content but are not collecting emails, you my friend are leaving money on the table.

So what’s the #1 most important take away from today’s post?

You need an email list.

So don’t wait until you have your product (or even just your idea) ready to start building one.

You may be wondering what the heck are you supposed to do with your list in the meantime??

You don’t want to just leave it sitting while you work on creating your thing, only to dust it off come launch day (Hey stranger…buy my thing!) so here’s a few ways you can stay engaged (and be of actual use to) your email list BEFORE you ever have anything to sell.

What to do with your email list before you have your passive income product ready

Give subscribers a warm welcome

Depending on how and where your new subscriber came across your freebie opt-in gift, this may be the very first they are hearing about your business, so you definitely want to make their first impression a good one!

Let them know that your list is not like alllll those other lists out there, and set yourself apart and super helpful and relatable right from the get go.

Introduce yourself, share your story, and let them know what it is that you actually do in your business. Let them know what they can expect from you email-wise in the coming days and weeks, and that your inbox is always open so they know that this emailing thing is not just one-sided.

After you are done sharing about you, invite them to share about them! Depending on their communication style, people might be genuinely excited to be able to share where they are at in their journey. So asking them questions about who they are and their “why” could really help you get off to a more personal start.

Oh, and don’t forget to check that they actually received the freebie they signed up for! All these super handy softwares to help you automate your business are great, but they are known to misbehave from time to time.

Speaking of automation, if you need help getting started creating your welcome series and other email sequences, check out ConvertKit 101: Beginners guide to sending a welcome/evergreen sequence.

Show them around your business

Like I mentioned, if someone is brand new to your business, they may not know what (besides your freebie) you have to offer.

Don’t wait for them to ask! Go ahead and give them a tour! Show them the best of what you have to offer, with extra emphasis on your free resources, since they are likely still warming up to your biz.

My fav way to do this is to share the 10 blog posts from each topic I teach, as well as links to any other free resources I have going on.

You already shared a bit about your self in your warm welcome email, but it wouldn’t hurt to let your new subscriber in on how you got started in your own business. Seeing where you started vs. where you are now is a sure way to inspire and engage your newest virtual pen pal.

Share your recent content

People are busy, and likely won’t be waiting at their computer when your latest blog post, podcast episode, or YouTube video drops.

Reminding them of just how helpful your content can be lets you remain the authority on your topic in their mind so that you will always be the first person they think of when they want to know more on the subject!

Being generous with your knowledge is the best way to build trust, which is something you’re really going to need when you go to start selling your thing.

Aim to be consistently adding value – even when you’re not selling, and sharing your valuable free content is a fab way to help subscribers get the most out of being on your list.

Repurpose past content

If you’ve been doing this content creation thing for a while now, you’ve likely built up quiteeee a library of knowledge!

There’s just one problem with putting out so much content on the regular…some of your best content might actually be several months or even years old, and therefore buried behind pages of other stuff on your site.

Unless your new subscriber goes all out and binge your entire blog, channel, or other content archives, they are going to be missing out on some actual gold.

So don’t be shy about sharing past posts with your list from time to time. It will be like Christmas to those who missed your helpful post the first time around.

Answer FAQ by creating a free resource

Tired of getting the same 15 questions in your inbox everyday?

Chances are you are going to answer these questions the same way every time anyway, so use it as an opportunity to create a new free resource that you send to your subscribers.

You’ve now effectively:

  • Cut down on your hours spent in the inbox

  • Created a super helpful resource that you know answers questions your audience is actually asking

  • Used what you know about your current audience to attract new ideal subscribers by having them opt-in for your new free resource

Tag & Segment your list based on how they opted in

Say you run a blog that talks about decorating & organization. Even though your topics are very related, they can easily be separated into their own categories when it comes to creating content around them.

You want to be able to keep track of why someone opted into your business? Which of your topics are they most interested in?

Use your email marketing software to tag your subscribers with something that lets you know how they opted in to your email list so that you can know how to welcome and show them around in a super relevant way. as well as introduce them to other topics you cover that they might be related in.

When it comes time to start selling your passive product, you will have a solid idea of who from your list would be genuinely interested in hearing about that thing.

For more on properly tagging subscribers to your email list, check out How to correctly tag your subscribers in ConvertKit.

Make sure to include custom unsubscribe options

By law, you have to provide a way to unsubscribe from your mailing list altogether, but you may want to consider including custom unsubscribe options at the bottom of any sequences or broadcasts you send out to help subscribers customize their experience.

Maybe you’re a food blogger and they aren’t interested in your content on vegan recipes, but they’d still like to hear more about meal-planning tips in the future. Don’t make ditching your list altogether their only option!

For more on how to do this, check out How to let subscribers opt-out of launch emails in ConvertKit. Even though that post talks specifically about launches, the steps you learn can also apply to sharing free content or making announcements to your list.

Clean up your subscriber list

When it comes time to sell your passive income product, you’re going to want to track some stats around how well your list converted (aka what percentage of your subscribers actually bought your thing.)

Got a bunch of cold subscribers on your list? You don’t want people who are never opening your emails to be included in those stats, and totally mess with your conversion rate, so it’s best to check in on your list every now and then and see who might need to be removed.

Pro-tip: Cleaning up your list will also result in a a higher email open rate, which lets the internet gods know that your emails should be delivered to people’s actual inboxes, not straight to their spam or junk folder never to see the light of day.

Track email open & Click through rates

Speaking of open rates, you want to take note of those from time to time.

Which subject lines seem to be doing well? What content seems most appealing to your list as a whole based on the percentage of people opening emails about that specific topic? Of the people who are opening your emails, how many of them are actually opening the links you included? Are there some types of emails that you are regularly sending in your business that people just don’t seem to care about?

Your email marketing software should be able to tell you all of this, and it’s generally good info to be aware of as it helps you to get to know your audience. It will also be super handy to have when you sit down to write your launch emails for selling your new passive thing.

Give Exclusive access

Want to know the best way to make subscribers feel like they made the right choice joining (and staying on) your list?

Give them exclusive access to deals, perks, bonuses, or free resources that they would otherwise miss out on by not being on your list. You can also use your list to offer opportunities that your audience might be interested in.

For example, I have a lot of content around leaving the 9-5, and building an online business that allows you complete financial, scheduling, and locational freedom. It’s safe to say that a lot of my subscribers are looking for ways to make this happen in their own lives, so anytime I need to hire a new team member for a super dreamy remote position, I share that opening exclusively with my list!

You can also you this exclusivity to encourage newbies to opt-in. But for. the. love. please don’t just say “sign up for my newsletter for exclusive information.”

You’ve got to offer legit value – something tangible that they will get instant access to by signing up now.

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What to do with your email list before your passive income product is ready