We all know that list building is hands down, no-doubt-about-it, one of the most vital parts of growing any online business.
When you have a list, you have a personal line of communication with people who signed up to hear what you have to say and are just waiting for you to make the right offer so they can become paying clients.
It doesn’t get better than that!
List building is so important that I’m going to boldly state this: your business simply cannot reach its full potential without it.
But let’s be honest: It’s challenging to get list-building right, especially if you’re an overthinker.
Creating a successful online business requires overthinkers to do what makes them most uncomfortable: take action to grow their business day after day, week after week, year after year, even when they don’t feel “ready.”
Can you relate?
It’s easy to hide, pretend you’re putting yourself out there, and totally ignore the “must-do’s,” especially if you tend to get paralyzed by the need for perfection.
The good news is that overthinkers CAN build incredibly successful online businesses, but only if they confidently put themselves out there. (And I’ll tell you how to do it fearlessly, like me!)
If you learn how to leap over this one hurdle that’s holding you back, you’ll see your email list grow, and probably faster than you think.
Where Overthinkers Excel
Before we solve your over-thinking challenges, let me be clear: Thinking things through isn’t all bad! I’m an overthinker, too, and it has its upsides!
If you’re an overthinker, you typically do a lot of research and prep work before taking action. That’s great! This means when you do take action, you have a clear plan telling you exactly what steps to take and in what order (and you know I’m all about that!). You’re not wasting your effort on things that won’t pan out, shiny objects, or wild hunches.
So when it comes to building your list, you know you need to do it and you probably even know some of the steps you need to take.
But, there’s one problem…
Knowing Isn’t the Same As Doing
Overthinkers tend to believe that knowing about list building is the same thing as actually building their lists.
Many of the overthinkers research so much about list-building that information overload gets the best of them, and they become completely overwhelmed.
Or they plan so much for so long that they get too tired to take real action. They feel like, because they’ve created checklists and schedules and outlines, they’ve actually completed their task.
List building takes action. If you’re not taking action, then you’re not really list building!Click to TweetList building takes action. If you’re not taking action, then you’re not really list building!
Which brings me to the number-one list-building mistake overthinkers make.
You Take a Step, Then Stop
The ironic truth is that overthinkers tend to feel like they are taking massive action, even when they’re really only taking the first step.
I’ll tell you exactly what I mean by that (and how to avoid it) in just a minute.
But first, it’s important to talk about what stops overthinkers in the first place. There are a few common reasons that overthinkers come to a screeching halt:
- They don’t feel like they’re “ready” to take the next step. They want everything: their website, their images, their offers to be perfect first
- They see more than just the next step. They see the step after that and the step after that, and they get overwhelmed.
- They try to predict the response to their next action: What will people think? What if no one clicks, comments, or shares? This keeps them stuck.
If this sounds familiar, that’s okay! You CAN learn how to manage your thoughts and keep moving forward so you can successfully grow your list and get more clients.
Keep reading to discover a few common areas of list building where overthinkers tend to stop and how to push through them.
Do This: Ask People to Sign up
You set up your email software and have a place where people can opt in to get your newsletter. Fantastic! That’s the first step.
But simply saying, “sign up for my juicy newsletter, it’s free” or “get free updates” isn’t enough to grow your subscriber list. It might work if you’re Lady Gaga or Kid President, but it won’t work if you don’t already have strong name or brand recognition.
You have to keep going.
Keep Going: Communicate Your Value
When you’re brand new and totally unknown, you must give people a compelling reason to join your email list. Prospects don’t magically come to your site and sign up for your list, just like clients don’t magically appear in your appointment book!
Your next step, after setting up your email service and opt-in box is to communicate your value.
To do this, you need to create a solution-based offer that you give away for free when someone signs up for your list. Then, use strategically-placed opt-in boxes with impactful copy to show your clients that you understand their challenges and can help them find a solution to their specific problems.
As you continue with your list-building efforts, you should always remember that being allowed into someone’s email inbox is a privilege that has to be earned and kept. And if they grant you that space, always be respectful and make very good use of that privilege.
Do This: Hit a Roadblock
It might sound strange that I’m telling you to do this! But you almost always hit a snag in your journey, so let’s look at it as something we all have to deal with on the path toward success.
Even if you’re actively trying to build your list and giving people good reasons to subscribe, chances are high that you won’t have immediate fireworks.
Let’s say you’ve created a free offer that you’re sure will be super helpful for people, and you post it on your site with an email signup form. You check obsessively day after day only to find that you have very few – maybe even zero! – new signups.
The biggest mistake you can make at this stage is to accept defeat without question or make assumptions that totally derail future efforts.
You have to keep going.
Keep Going: Experiment Until You Get It Right
Just because no one signs up for your freebie doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with it. It’s much more likely that you’re not getting out there and telling people about it. Too many people say, “I need a new opt-in, because I’m not getting signups.” But remember:
Simply putting a free offer on your site doesn’t do squat! You have to tell people you exist!Click to TweetSimply putting a free offer on your site doesn’t do squat!
Remember, a little bit of failure is unavoidable in business. Rather than calling it quits, adopt a scientist’s mindset so you can learn from your inevitable and totally human missteps!
Do This: Get on Social Media
You’re on a few social media sites, and maybe you even joined some groups. You subscribed to your favorite blogs and you love to scroll through the comments. Awesome job! You took the first step.
But now you stay safely hidden behind your computer.
Your dream is to have more clients, and you know one of the best ways to do that is to connect with potential clients online. The trouble is, you can’t bring yourself to interact in the social media groups you’re in, and even writing a blog comment feels like a huge feat.
Yes, it’s scary—especially for perfectionists and overthinkers—to put yourself out there. But to achieve the success you’re dreaming of, you have to take the next step.
Keep Going: Engage on Social Media
This is a big one, so I’m going to say it loudly:
Lurking on social media is not the same as engaging on social media.Click to TweetLurking on social media is not the same as engaging on social media.
In fact, studies show that lurking on social media can create a vicious cycle of comparison, causing you to feel awful about yourself.
The good news? Interacting online can do the exact opposite! When you engage with others, you see yourself—and everyone else online—as dynamic, complex, and layered. In other words, you see everyone as human!
You can get past your fear of interacting online by doing just a little bit every day.
That means showing up, letting people know what you’re all about, sharing goodwill and being helpful. In short, being of service! Often. Over and over and over again.
The way to overcome this fear is to not think about it and move right to doing.
I PROMISE that the more you think the scarier it will be, and the more you take action, the less scary it will be. Sort of like standing on an epic ocean cliff where you know that there is a deep, warm ocean below with no jagged rocks. The longer you stand staring down, the scarier it gets. But if you walk right up and leap on over, you get right to the fun part.
Do This: Watch Your List Grow
Woohoo!! People are signing up! It’s a fantastic feeling to see that what you’re doing is working and you’re getting traction. Congratulations!
Just remember one thing: list-building never stops. Just because your list is growing today, or this week, or this month, doesn’t mean it will continue to do so without any effort on your part.
You have to keep going.
Keep Going: Always Be Building
This is a mistake many business owners make, not just overthinkers. A lot of business owners think list building is something you do once when you’re just getting started, and once you have your list you’ll be free to think about things.
This could seriously not be more wrong.
The fact is that markets change, people unsubscribe, and lists get stale and tapped out (there’s only so much you can expect people to buy from you!).
Successful online businesses continue building their lists — zealously and regularly — for as long as they’re in business.
Any of This Sound Familiar?
If these mistakes sound like ones you’re guilty of making, you’re not alone! I hear this a lot. In fact, let’s get the conversation started right here in the comments…
What list-building mistakes have you made in the past?
What is your biggest list-building frustration right now?
What strategies can you recommend for someone who overthinks their next steps?