When it comes to building a great mailing list, size doesn’t matter–engagement does. I should know–last summer, my little list of 2,500 devoted newsletter readers helped me to raise (well)over $50,000 in 50 days, without my ever asking them for a dime.
The open secret to engagement is two-fold: (1) provide the people you want to reach with the content they want to consume; and (2) offer it to them, rather than foisting it upon them.
The first part of the equation means you may have to scale back the “me me me!” talk and concentrate on listening. What problems does your desired audience have? What do you know about that you can share to help them solve these problems? Rather than natter on about this or that fabulous shoot you did, think about sharing some of the problems you helped your clients solve–or better yet, a success they enjoyed as a result of your work.
The second part is often harder, because it involves patience. While the CAN-SPAM Act against unsolicited email does allow you to contact customers, the best lists grow organically, when people come to you for more content because of what they’ve seen or heard from you elsewhere, whether that’s via social media, an article, or an actual in-person interaction.
Be patient, provide awesome content your Right People need, and you’ll attract the audience you really want: engaged, no matter what the size.