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Mailchimp vs Convertkit: growing your list to 5000+ and which is best if you want to make money blogging with a small following?

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Last Updated on by Noni May

I often receive questions from bloggers: how do I grow my email list if I have a small following and what should I use? Convertkit or Mailchimp? I’ll answer both questions in this blog post. If you want an answer quickly, head over to read Why You Shouldn’t Switch From Mailchimp To Convertkit, but if you’re curious, please read the end of this post 😉

Let me tell you upfront: it does make things easier, having a massive following. But it’s not necessary AT ALL to make a living as a blogger. Therefore, I’ll explain first how to grow your email list to 5000+ subscribers that you gained legally, and that are people that you already know. From there on, you can try to gain ‘cold’ email subscribers and followers, using your network.

In this blog post I’ll explain how to find and email people that you’ve met/spoken to before, and then ask them to subscribe to your list. This is a strategy that works very well for my own list, and it’s how I’ve found over 5000 email addresses of people that I’ve previously worked with.

How to grow your email list with a small following

So today we’re all about reaching out to your COMPLETE NETWORK HISTORY, even the people you forgot all about! So it’s all about reconnecting with people you have already met, in a different way than the usual like or share. Let’s first find your complete network history (to be honest, this is the most boring tasks in this course, but it’s necessary!).

(note, you might just start out in business, and you’d be surprised. This lesson is also for you. You went to school, you have a family, you received emails… so please read the lesson to make sure you’re not missing out!)

Simple steps to find your COMPLETE NETWORK HISTORY

On the top of your head, you can probably come up with 5 – 15 names and companies that you want to receive your state of the biz email right? And that’s the problem. The ‘net worth’ is in the people you often forget to send updates to. So we need to find them, here’s how:

Do you have a LinkedIn account? If you do, you probably don’t use it much, and if you do, that’s great! I don’t really use LinkedIn very often, but I do accept colleagues and business partners very often, so over time, I have collected almost a network of 1000 interesting biz contacts (connect with me heredon’t be shy we’re all friends here!)!

  • Let’s extract all the people you have ever emailed with. I know this sounds scary and spammy, but I did it and oh my, did I find some awesome people in there! Because we’re all so focused on social media these days, we often forget people that don’t have profiles haha.

If you are a serial entrepreneur or job hopper, you need to try the next step: do you still have ‘old email accounts’? I did when I did this project and I found a few awesome people I all forgot about. I have had about four-six different businesses before this one, and guess what, I always worked with a ‘backup system’ so even when I no longer owned the domains, I could still access all the email inboxes. Yes! This added a few hundred people to my ‘to sort list’.

I wonder how many addresses you have by now. I did these steps now twice, and I have found over 5000 old contacts in total! The non-spam way, because I connected with these people before and they all know who I am. I only emailed them once anyways, but more about that later. We need to organize and sort your contacts now because most email providers will list you as spam (for life!) when you send out mass emails. I think you can only send ≠50 emails with Gmail per 24 hours, so you need to do this via a newsletter provider.

Mailchimp vs Convertkit, which is better?

Adding a few thousand email addresses to a newsletter provider is an expensive hobby, so let’s start with a free Mailchimp or HubSpot account to organize the addresses and sign-up to the <1000 Convertkit account once you have sorted them to send out your State Of The Biz email.

Here are a few reasons to sort your email addresses in Mailchimp:

  • Mailchimp is free as long as you stay <2000 addresses. Yaay! BTW, If you sign-up via this linkyou’ll receive $30 in MonkeyRewards for free!
  • Mailchimp is n00b proof, it’s very easy to use. You can create lists and store people under there. You can add them in bulk or one by one. Once you have added your contacts to Mailchimp, you can move them within lists if you want.
  • You can easily export lists (the sorted kind of way) so you have a smaller segment you can import to Convertkit and email them first. This way you can keep costs low if you’re just starting out.

Here’s why you need to move them (sorted) over to Convertkit:

  • With Convertkit, you pay per volume. The more contacts you add, the more you pay. This should push you to use your list the right way. I only have my ‘warm’ contacts in Convertkit, the people I never email are somewhere in an excel file – no need to pay for them because it would cost me $10000 a month! (Notice that I also have a press list to take care of with thousands of journalist on it, that’s why my business list is so large)
  • You can also use Convertkit to create awesome forms for your opt-ins, you can automate the heck out of your strategy and you can track clicked links. If you set up an automation for ‘clicked links + opened emails’ (your State Of The Biz Leads) you can follow up with a different approach. I would not suggest emailing the people again who didn’t open your email the first time or who did not show any interest. More about this tomorrow!
  • In Convertkit you never have to solve bounced emails back again. This can save a lot of time!

PS. If you are ready for something more advanced, I can recommend Infusionsoft and Hubspot’s marketing solutions!

Organize your contacts

Organize your contacts, create lists that make sense for you in Convertkit. Make it a habit to always add new addresses to the right list in the future. This is the start of your CRM!

It makes sense to organize your contacts in ways that are logic for you. For me, that means, sorted on deadlines (for press), business niche (bloggers or entrepreneurs? Photographers or coaches?), volume (bloggers >100.000 unique visitors or <100.000), previously worked with etc. etc.

You can think ahead and combine what you wrote down in yesterday’s assignment, what do you want to be known for? You can email different groups different things, so email the bloggers about your blog activity and the entrepreneurs about your business activities. I trust that you’re smart enough to understand what I am trying to say haha 🙂

You know how people try to reach new people all the time on social media? You should stop right now chasing people you don’t know and build better relationships with the people you already know. Don’t feel discouraged if you end up with a small list of <50 people. It’s all about connections. You can have a million followers on social media, but if you don’t have a connection with them, you’re better off with the list of fewer than 50 people who you all know personally. If you do end up with just a small list, you don’t have to sort them, I would just email them all a personal email! (Or call of course! But I don’t think you have their phone number?!)

PRO tip: if you want, you can also create a shortlist of people you really want to learn from or work with, but not know. Do some research and find out if people that you know, already know them. You can do this easily by looking them up on LinkedIn or Facebook. You’d be surprised how many connects are hidden in your network. You know, 6 degrees of separation right? (I am only 2 connections away from Obama and 1 from Kimye! I mean, goals ;)! BTW, I was only 1 away from Nelson Mandela, which is the coolest fact ever but unfortunately, I never got to meet him… so close! :()
Why is today a good day to create this list? Because you can really ‘road map’ your way to your goals and ask people in your (targeted) state of the biz email to link you to certain people. Reaching out to ‘strangers’ is not what I focus on in this course, but yeah, hope you get the picture.

It literally took me three weeks to sort and organize my contacts, because I wanted to make sure to exclude my sh*tty old landlord and people that I did not want to email (ugh, clients I fired… better not to email them ever again lol). I wanted to target people the right way, so I ended up with several lists and target groups!

Now what you want to do, is add a few things to your email so you won’t be marked as spam and convert without being super sales-y! 

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