How Author Paula Rizzo Grew Her List to 5K+ Subscribers with Email Courses + Free Media
Take a look at how author Paula Rizzo uses email marketing to nurture her email subscribers at every stage of her funnel, plus how anyone can get free media attention for their business.
By Kristen Dunleavy August 19, 2016
Five years ago, Paula Rizzo was apartment hunting in New York City. She knew what she wanted in her new space, but she kept getting distracted by non-essential amenities like wine refrigerators. (Although the term “non-essential” is up for debate.)
To make her life easier, she made a comprehensive list of everything she needed in an apartment. Her list helped her score the perfect place. It also sparked the idea for Paula’s business, List Producer, and her book, Listful Thinking.
Paula doesn’t exactly have all the time in the world to run her business, though. By day, she’s a senior television producer. That’s why she relies on email marketing to grow her business and maintain relationships with her followers.
“It’s tough when you have a full time and a side gig that you love, because you want to work on that side gig all the time,” she said. “It’s really fun, but it’s also a struggle to balance and manage them both. Email has been amazingly helpful to grow List Producer. It’s quick and you can do it on the go. I’ve done campaigns on vacation.”
Paula not only uses email marketing for time management, she also uses it to deliver paid email courses, stay in touch with people who bought her book and keep her followers updated on her media appearances.
We’ll take a look at how Paula uses email marketing to nurture leads at every stage of her funnel, plus how anyone can get free media attention for their business.
Driving traffic to your blog + growing your subscriber list
Paula started her blog before she wrote her book to gauge interest in the topic of list-making. Her first task? Making a list, naturally.
“I wrote a list of 50 blog ideas I could write about,” she said. “From there, I started putting them together and putting blog posts up. I learned how to use social media. I wasn’t using email in the beginning, and a friend said, ‘You’re crazy, you need to start getting email addresses.’”
But Paula still needed a way to drive traffic to her blog so she could collect those email addresses. That’s where guest blogging comes in.
“I took all these courses about growing your email list, but I didn’t get a big boost until I started writing guest blog posts,” she said. “I started writing guest posts for sites like Entrepreneur that have more traffic, so I was able to get more subscribers. I set up campaigns just for subscribers from the websites where I guest posted to welcome them to my website.”
Not to worry – you don’t have to write for Entrepreneur to get traffic to your blog and grow your list. Instead, research popular industry blogs that are accepting guest bloggers and reach out to them with a pitch. Here are more ways to drive traffic to your blog.
Creating paid email courses (that are worth the money!)
When Paula creates content that her audience will have to pay for, she does her homework to make sure she’s creating content they actually want. That means doing extensive research via surveys to ensure she’s addressing her audience’s biggest needs with her courses.
“We sent out a lot of surveys to find out what they really want so we could create a product that they actually need,” she said. “We want to know what they think is valuable. Those surveys are helpful because we get to see exactly what the pain points are from their perspective.”
For Paula’s Take Back Your Inbox course, she helps address a common organizational issue her audience has: managing an overstuffed inbox.
“A lot of people said they weren’t using email the right way,” Paula said. “It wasn’t an inbox anymore, it was an everything box. People wait so long for the perfect response, and then they never write back. Just quick things like respond back as quickly as possible, mindfully and in a nice way. You don’t have to write a novel; just use two sentences to respond.”
The Take Back Your Inbox course has not only boosted Paula’s subscriber list, she’s been able to expand her reach to more people, too.
“I’ve noticed an uptick in subscribers since I launched the program,” she said. “That’s great because these aren’t just people who are interested in lists. These are people who are interested in email productivity and time management.”
Once her subscribers are done with her course, she follows up with a few more emails and gives them the option to opt into her blog list to receive Paula’s latest blog posts.
“I send out a couple more emails because I realize that it’s a work at your own pace course and sometimes people are not always as disciplined to do the course as soon as they buy it,” she said. “So I have a few follow ups for people who haven’t done the course, encouraging them to do it. From there, I’ll ask if they want to opt into my blog posts or if they want more info about my book.”
If you’re thinking about launching an email course, always follow up with your subscribers after they’ve completed your course. This allows them to continue their relationship with you and encourages them to purchase from you again down the road.
Managing multiple subscriber lists
Paula’s list-making talents come in handy when it comes to managing her subscriber lists. She has several subscriber lists, including a blog list that she uses to send her blog visitors her latest blog posts, her email course list with the people who purchased her Take Back Your Inbox course and a list just for people who have bought her book.
Because her subscribers on these lists have all had different interactions with List Producer, Paula makes sure to send them content that makes sense to them. For example, Paula sends people who bought her book content that builds on what they learned in the book.
“In the book, I have a specific URL where people can sign up for my list,” she said. “They can access special templates I’ve mentioned in the book. I’m able to target them in a different way than people who have read the blog or signed up for the email course list.”
Because her subscribers on those lists are all different, her open rates vary as well.
“I have about a 30 percent open rate,” she said. “I notice that the people who have read my book are a lot more eager to open my emails. On that list, my open rate is 50-60 percent. “
One obvious reason for that incredibly high open rate is that her book audience is already engaged. If Paula wasn’t collecting email addresses from people who bought her book, she’d be missing out on a huge built-in audience.
Have a paid product or service? Always ask your customers to sign up for your email list. Chances are, those people will be your most engaged – and profitable – subscribers.
Get free media attention for your business
Since Paula is a senior television producer, she knows what media outlets are looking for when they’re booking guests. She has an upcoming 4-week paid online video course, Lights Camera Expert, designed around helping people scale their brand and get some much-desired media attention. By the time her new 4-week course goes live, Paula will be gearing up to give away a free 3-part video course.
We couldn’t resist asking Paula about her most effective tips for boosting your brand in the media – tips that she uses to grow her List Producer following.
“Getting media for your own brand is super important because that’s gonna give you some credibility,” she said. “If you don’t have a book and you just have a blog or business and you want to get more media for it, check out HARO. I’ve gotten so many opportunities that way for my business and for my day job.”
Remember how Paula used guest blogging to grow her email list? This is also one of Paula’s top strategies for gaining media attention for small businesses. The good news is that if you already have blog content, you can start pitching your expertise today.
“Be specific about your pitch,” she said. “Don’t say, ‘I can help you out with anything!’ Instead say, ‘I’m a nutritionist and I help moms get their pre-baby bodies back.’”
Another way to score free media attention is featuring other experts on your blog. One way to do this is to propose a guest blog post exchange: That means you write a guest blog post for another website, and in return they’ll write one for you.
Featuring other experts could also be as simple as reaching out to others in your industry, asking them a few questions via email and incorporating their answers into a blog post.
“Featuring other people is a great way to pull in more eyeballs,” Paula said. “That way you get to feature them and they share it with their followers. I’ve done that a lot and people are always flattered to be featured.”
- Thinking of writing a book? Start a blog first to test the waters.
- Seek out guest blog posting opportunities to drive more traffic to your blog. Make sure your blog has a sign up form so your new visitors can sign up for your email list!
- Email courses are perfect for educating your subscribers and monetizing your email list. But before you get started, survey your audience to find out exactly what they want to learn about.
- If you have multiple email lists, be sure to send your subscribers content based their experience with your brand. So if they purchased a product, send them content based on that that particular product.
- Use HARO to be discovered by journalists and feature other experts on your blog to score media attention.
Growing your following, monetizing your business and getting media attention may sound like daunting tasks, but they don’t have to be. Focus on one thing at a time, and use email marketing to save the time and hassle of keeping your audience engaged.