I follow a lot of you on Facebook.

Many of you are telling your clients not to diet right now. To enjoy the holidays and not go crazy. To focus on family and if they have a piece of pie, to freaking enjoy every.single.last.bite. Or to choose the pumpkin over the pecan (apparently it has nearly half the calories).

I wholeheartedly agree with your advice.

But, if you came from my email list, you know the story of The Big Sigh. The time in-between Black Friday and the New Year at Bowflex. Where no one was working but just shopping online. Nothing got done. 

I am all for relaxing. Trust me, my job over Christmas break is to finish the Costco size champagne bottle. By myself. In one day.

But I also know that it’s the in-between where stuff gets done in the entrepreneur life. It’s during the school pick up line where you finish up your client reviews. It’s at the bus stop where you plan your next post and save your witty caption in your notes. It’s getting up 30 minutes early every morning to write. It’s working on your email list because you’re in this for the long game.

So my challenge to you is to eat your pie and tackle one thing for your email list before the New Year.  One thing that will get you closer to what you envision.  Are you going to launch a product and sell through email? Are you growing your list so you have an audience to serve and sell to as you expand online?

Here are 9 things that will get you results. Choose one and then go celebrate with a mimosa the size of your head.


1. Add an automated Welcome email for new subscribers.

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they first start their email list. They ask people to sign up and “get their best tips” but then don’t hold up their end of the bargain.

Like social media, you should treat email as a 2-way conversation. You’re going to disappoint your new subscriber if you don’t at least acknowledge they joined your list.

Last week I joined email lists for two fairly popular yogis. I’ve followed both on Instagram for some time. One of them welcomed me and made me feel like I was on the inside. I was special for joining her list and I’d be getting exclusive content.

The other one…crickets.

Which one are you doing?

There are a zillion different things you can do for your Welcome email, but here’s my advice:

  • Be Yourself and show some personality. Think of your inbox and the emails you actually read. Layer in your personality and what you do on social media. Email doesn’t need to be super official. 
  • Thank them. Just like your mama taught ya. Following you on social media is one thing. But when they give you their email address, this is them inviting you to contact them. You’ve just earned a place in their inbox and you shouldn’t take that lightly. Show your gratitude.
  • Let them know what to expect. Are you going to show up in their inbox every Sunday? Will you be emailing them some exclusive content they can’t get on social media? Tell them what’s coming.

2. Add an automated sequence for new subscribers

Product or not, send an automated series of emails during the subscriber’s first week after joining your list. 

You may have heard me talk about this before, but recency (how recent they are) is the #1 factor for conversion. You want to get in front of them and stay top of mind. Even if they don’t purchase, they’ll remember YOU vs. someone who only sends 1 email.

Shoot for at least 2 emails in the first week, but 3 is even better. 

For your content, build on WHY they signed up. What’s in your lead magnet, or what was their reason for joining your list, and have your follow up emails expand on that. 

Do not be shy about selling in the first week. If not you, someone else will.

3. Segment your list by prospects and buyers

Ever buy something from a small business, only to get an email with a discount code for that very product days later?

I know the back end tech can be a huge pain to set up. But if you’re selling a product, you absolutely need to separate your buyers from your prospects. 

Your customers should be treated like gold, and you can’t treat them like gold if you can’t tell them apart from everyone else.

4. Clean up your list

If you’re holding on to names so you can feel good about having a big list, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Every time you email those old names who aren’t opening your emails, you’re affecting your sender score and how you inbox overall. Which means your subscribers who ARE opening your emails might not see them in their inbox, but you could be landing in their junk folder.

Take the time to clean up the cobwebs and don’t get hung up on the size of your list.

What you need to clean will depend on how old your names are and how you’ve been managing the structure of your list. Here are two common things I see you could likely benefit from:

  • Remove any inactive names that haven’t opened in the last 90 days.
  • Combine your scattered audiences in Mailchimp into ONE single audience. You should only have one audience because 1) you’re paying for names more than once if they exist on more than one audience and 2) you have a liability on your hands. Unsubscribes are managed at an audience level, so if someone unsubscribes from one audience, you might accidentally email them from another audience. And unless you have multiple brands, you shouldn’t have multiple audiences.

Having a clean list means you’ll inbox at a higher rate, so when you have something important to send or something to sell, you’ll see better results.

5. Set up a Retention automation

Do you thank people who purchase from you? I recently purchased a “Copywriting Course”. I say this in air quotes because it was essentially an overpriced blog. That part wouldn’t have bothered me so much, except the person I bought from really talks up his marketing prowess and at the very least, I expected a thank you email after I purchased.

Similar to setting up an automated sequence for prospects, you should set up an automated sequence for your customers. Once someone purchases from you, and have a good experience, they are something like 80X more likely to purchase from you again.

What information would be helpful to onboard them? What content reinforces their decision to buy from you? What can you send that makes them feel a part of the inside crowd now that they’ve purchased from you?

This will look very different for everyone, but the point is to invest as much energy into your customers as you do into getting someone to make an initial purchase.

As trainers, you know this more than anyone: People that do retention well don’t have to fight as hard to constantly bring in new customers.

6. Do a Winback campaign: Send a thank you email to cancelled clients

Hardly anyone is doing this and I get it that it might feel uncomfortable, but this is potential for gold. Think of the key reasons why people cancel in health & fitness: time, money, just not into it (among others). They may have loved working with you or your online product, but decided to cancel because of their current life circumstances.

Chances are you could winback at least a small portion of your past customers if you talk to them again.

Send a quick thank you, letting them know you appreciated their business this year and the door is always open. Let them know what cool new things you have or what’s something coming up they should know about. 

7. Revive your dead list

Did you start your email list and then never send a single email? It’s ok. You’re not alone. All you need is a little momentum.

If you have less than 1,000 subscribers, you should be fine to send one email and see what happens. Just be honest and let people know what happened. You’re human. They’re human. They will appreciate the honesty. Remind them who you are, what they signed up for and plan to remove anyone who bounces or doesn’t open your email (check after a week). Then, commit to a schedule from there. 

If you have more than 1,000 subscribers you’ll want to be a little more strategic before you open the floodgates. I’m working on another blog that outlines how to do this, but for now my advice is to select the last 0-6 months and start by emailing them. If things look good, roll out to the next 7-12 mths group of names. 

In both cases, don’t email anyone that is older than 3 years…you can count on them bouncing.

8. Update your Lead Magnet

Take a look at your current content. Could your copy be stronger, more enticing? Could you add a visual? Could you go back and update your download with some fresh graphics?

I am a huge proponent of launching ugly. Just getting stuff out there. I didn’t used to be but I’ve learned a ton playing in the entrepreneur trenches. You are the creative director, the operations manager, the customer service lead, the project manager and CEO. 

Maybe you were like me and just got stuff launched. The trick is to go back and polish up after you have some results and insight from what you started with.

If you launched ugly, go back and see what you can do to evolve.

9. And finally, start your email list gosh darn it.

Maybe you’re sitting here reading another blog and adding to your plans for 2020. Maybe you’re rocking social media and are on the fence about whether or not email will add value to your business.

If you’re in this for the long game, you need an email list. As stated on the Growth Lab blog, Consulting firm McKinsey estimates that email is 40X more effective at getting new customers than Twitter or Facebook.

Email doesn’t have the instant gratification like social media, but it will be the backbone for how you sell, automatically, down the road. Instead of *hoping* your followers see your new product or challenge, you’ll have a direct line and full control over showing up in front of your audience.

You don’t even have to tell anyone you started your list. Just get the structure set up. Test it out yourself. Write an email. Practice.

Then tell your mom and text 10 friends and ask them to sign up. Send an email to those 10 friends to try out your tool. 

The best time to grow your email list is before you have a product to sell. You can spend time getting to know your subscribers, seeing what kind of replies you get and learning what works (should you send emails on Tuesday or Sunday – or does it even matter?) We get caught up and paralyzed from the minutiae of it all, when really all you need to do is just start