In a few short days we’ll be in Q4 and now is the perfect time to get your audience excited about the holiday season. It’s also the perfect time to start, or continue growing, your email list.
Today I’m sharing some of my favourite list growth strategies and as well as some specific email ideas you can use in your own business.
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It’s almost the start of Q4, which means it’s time to get your audience excited about what’s coming—the holiday season. It’s time to put some effort into growing your list between now and then so you have fresh subscribers to send your offers to. Subscribers are most engaged with you in the first few months after they join your list, so October is a great time to focus on this.
Let’s start out with some list growth strategies and then we’ll hop into a few specific email ideas you can use in your own business.
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Create a freebie download related to your product
This is the first thing I would do because this is something that you can give away in exchange for someone’s email address. Yes, you can use freebies in eCommerce too.
Creating an educational PDF makes it so much easier to promote your email list on your social channels vs. just telling them to sign up for the details of your sale, though I definitely recommend you do that too. We’ll talk more about the timing of that in just a moment.
Your freebie should focus on ONE problem
When you’re thinking about what to include in this freebie, remember that while you are still going to try to sell your products, it’s less about that and more about helping them solve a problem and getting them closer to the outcome they’re looking for with your product.
My favorite way to do this is creating a freebie focused specifically on one problem and offering five or so ways to solve that problem. One of these solutions should be your product specifically. You don’t want every solution to be your product. Some should be general advice, so it’s more educational and helpful than it is salesy, but you do want to feature your product.
For example, if you sell CBD and your primary marketing message is around getting better sleep, the pain point or problem you’re solving will be about getting better sleep. But you’ll also want to focus on why that’s important, which will depend on your ideal customer. Is it because she’s an entrepreneur and needs to have more focus in her business? Is it because she’s a mom who wants more energy to play with her kids? Maybe it’s someone who just needs help winding down at the end of a stressful day?
If you don’t know who your ideal customer is, click here to get your hands on the free resource library. There’s a workbook in there to help you do it.
The title of your freebie would be something like 5 ways to get better sleep so that… and then the reason why they want better sleep. Eg: 5 Ways to Get Better Sleep So You Can Have More Energy to Play With Your Kids.
Then provide some general better sleep advice like put away the electronics one hour before bed, create a nighttime routine so your body knows it’s time to go to sleep, get room darkening curtains, set the temperature to 68 degrees, and take 1ml of our CBD.
Flesh out each of these tips with some more detail and throw in some of your own stories or customer stories that the reader will relate to. Backup your recommendations with research, resources and statistics, and add lifestyle images that inspire some emotion.
What if you sell a product that’s more of a want vs. a need like clothing or accessories?
My go-to there is definitely some sort of styling advice. I know sometimes it feels like you have a bunch of fashionistas in your audience and they already know all the things, but after spending so many years in that industry and as a personal stylist I can tell you, that’s not the case at all.
In addition to that, you can make this specific to the season. Focus on styling for fall, or even the holidays specifically. Teaching people how to mix and match the items in their closet is always a win, and then you can introduce them to some of your collection pieces that are must-haves for the season.
The trick to making this more valuable is that you need to get specific and show them exactly how to put those outfits together. Create visual representations of these outfits and include items like shoes and accessories, even if you don’t specifically sell them.
Create a personal style quiz on your site
Once they complete the quiz, they’re taken to a collection of items that match that specific style. I do recommend that you still include some sort of PDF download with some styling tips so it doesn’t feel 100% salesy. The quiz option will work for a lot of different products as well.
Promote the shit out of your freebie
Dedicate at least one post to it each week and don’t forget to talk about it in stories as well. Remember that not everyone is seeing all of your posts, so you have to repeat yourself constantly. You can also weave it in as a secondary message to your other posts.
Focus on using your freebie to grow your list throughout the month of October. Once you get into November, lean more heavily into letting your audience know what Black Friday perks they get by being on your list. Whether it’s early access to deals, first dibs on new products, higher discounts, or all of the above…. shout that shit from the rooftops! Seriously, mention it in almost every post and create some posts that specifically focus on the benefits of joining your email list.
Collaborate with complimentary brands
Use this as an opportunity to get in front of other people’s audiences during Q4. You can do live education sessions on social media with another business owner, a brand you sell, or even an expert that speaks to the problem you solve. Focus on deeper relationships where you can do a few joint events and show up multiple times together. Doing a one off here and there will not have as big of an impact.
How do you keep your growing list engaged and get them excited about what’s coming?
Three words… behind the scenes!
People LOVE behind-the-scenes content. They love to get a peek behind the curtain and see what goes on behind closed doors; I mean, there is a reason reality TV is so popular, friend.
There are so many ways to repurpose behind-the-scenes content and engage your audience. So let’s run through a few ways that I used to do this in my previous job that always killed it with our audience.
Go behind the scenes of your holiday photo shoot
If you can have an assistant or a social media person there, someone who focuses 100% on getting behind-the-scenes content all day long, you’ll end up with a library of content that you can use throughout the entire month. Get a mix of photos, videos, boomerangs, all the things to keep it interesting.
If you’re using models who are active on social media, encourage them to create and share content as well. Sometimes we want to keep things secret for launch, but I always found we ended up with the best content and most engagement when we gave the models room to have fun and share with their audience.
Print out everyone’s social handles nice and big on a piece of paper and post them all around your shoot location so no matter where anyone is shooting content from they have quick access to tag everyone, including you!
Do a quick live broadcast from the shoot
This is another fun thing you can do if your models are active on social media. In my experience, they don’t want to do that unless their makeup is complete, so make sure you plan it out with them a little bit. You can do a 73 questions style interview with them like Vogue. Just ask fewer questions than that and make sure a good portion of them are focused around your industry, your product and things your audience cares about.
Repurpose all the content you create
Once you have all that content, you can repurpose it in so many different ways. Create individual posts, a photo album on Facebook, cut the clips into a video and share on YouTube and IGTV, create reels from them, etc.
Show behind-the-scenes and sneak peeks of your holiday collection
Anything from your seasonal mood board to you shopping for your holiday products. Share photos of your holiday collection without revealing the entire item. Zoom in on some specific details, ask them to guess what it might be, have them vote on colors or variations.
You’re really only limited by your imagination. How can you bring them into your process? What would entice them to keep their eye out for what you’re releasing this season?
If you’re a one-product store and don’t really have seasonal-specific content, then you can focus more on how you are using your product or how your product can help them in holiday-specific times. Let’s go back to the CBD example. Maybe you just switch up your messaging to talk about what you’re up against right now and how your CBD regime is helping you. Are you prepping for the holidays right now? Will you be traveling a lot? What are you going through right now that your audience probably is too? Or you can start future casting what it will be like once you get closer to the holidays.
If you’re really stuck for ideas on how to relate it to holiday, then don’t!
Stick to things like packing your orders and using your product. Even if you’ve shared it before, you can still share it again.
My other favorite way to warm up and engage your audience for the holiday season is to re-introduce yourself and talk about why you’re so passionate about what you do.
I know, you’ve already told the story a million times, but guess what… people don’t remember! The holidays are a great time to give your audience those warm and fuzzies. People vote with their dollars and you want them to vote for you.
Introduce your team as well
The goal here is to connect to your audience on a human level and remind them of who they’re supporting when they spend their money with you. People buy from people and love to support small businesses so get out there and show them!
Remember to be human
While the holidays are a great time to celebrate and radiate positivity, it’s okay to be vulnerable too.
The other day I had a check-in call with a client, and when we first got on the call she asked me, how are you. Like humans usually do when we greet each other right.
And my answer was… I’m kinda grumpy, but I was excited about this call because I knew you would cheer me up. Seriously, I love my clients and get such joy working with them.
And her response was… thank you for being honest because I’ve been pretty grumpy the last two weeks.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… People just want to be seen and heard, so when in doubt, just connect with them in a human way.
Now go forth and start creating some kick-ass content to get your audience excited about what’s to come. Remember, it’s about them and what they need, not you and your business.