Welcome to the Grow My Podcast Show
Dec. 26, 2022

40. Growing your email list through artful automation with Kelsey Johnson

40. Growing your email list through artful automation with Kelsey Johnson

Are you a small business owner or content creator looking to grow your email list for your podcast? Have you been told to keep creating more content and find yourself spinning your wheels? Are you feeling nervous about relying solely on social media? Then this episode with Kelsey Johnson is for you!

"People want to join your list, so make it stupidly simple for them to do so!"- Kelsey Johnson

Kelsey Johnson is a Product Marketing Manager at  AWeberan email marketing tool that also includes tools like landing page builder and ecommerce, and has ten years of experience in marketing for small businesses, content creators, and podcast networks. 

A long-time podcast enthusiast, Kelsey used to be the director of Marketing for a podcast network and is passionate about helping people build and automate their podcast promotional email lists.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1) How to use emails to drive up podcast download numbers

2) The best way to build an email list and automate sending of emails

3) How to incentivize people to sign up for an email list? 


Related Grow My Podcast Show episodes you may enjoy:

The Truth About Podcast Email Strategy with Britney Gardner

In this episode you will learn the framework that will help you write emails that get people to listen to your podcast.

The Email Marketing Strategy High-Income Earning Podcasters Use (That Lower-Income Earners Don't)

Learn how to grow your podcast email list so that you always have fresh new listeners to share your podcast.

Resources mentioned in this episode 

💻 Try Capsho free for 2 episodes here!

Capsho is an AI-powered podcast marketing content writer that creates an episode title, description, podcast website content, social media captions, emails, blog posts, LinkedIn article and YouTube description AND curates a selection of quotes from your episode. All with a simple upload of your episode audio or video file.

🎁 Learn more about Aweber here

💬 Send me a message  here

❤️ Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating  here 

Connect with Deirdre:  Instagram  | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn



If you are a follower of this podcast. First of all, thank you. You motivate me to keep trying new things and sharing what I'm learning and doing to grow our podcast. So you're awesome. And second of all, you would know that I have already done a few other episodes related to emails.


So you might be wondering another episode on emails? Yes. And bear with me on this because there is a reason. In fact, it's a pretty simple reason. Simply, emails work.


They do, trust me. I tried fighting it with my second podcast. It was called the remarkable entrepreneur. I tried relying on just promoting it in my Facebook group. I even tried creating a bit of a virtual podcast listing group through my Facebook group because I didn't want to bother my email list.


And while I got a tiny bit of engagement from those amazing community members who are just so lovely that they respond to everything, I didn't see any discernible uplift in my download numbers. And so I swallowed my pride and I emailed about the podcast to my list. And almost overnight, the download numbers on that particular episode went from something like 54 to 167. So, between you and I, emails work. But I also know that emailing is hard.


You have to build an email list which gosh, it feels like it could be a fulltime job on its own. And then you have to remember to write the emails and then write super effective emails that actually get you the outcome that you're looking for downloads. Fortunately, I had Kelsey Johnson from AWeber speak to my Capsho collective members. We held a Mastermind on how to tackle the first couple parts of this problem, that is how to build an email list and then how to automate the sending of the email so that if you wanted to, you could just set and forget them.


And she was very generous in allowing me to pull out some of the conversation from that Mastermind for this podcast episode. So if you have been struggling with getting those listener numbers up, perhaps because you've been primarily focused on promoting on channels like social media and know that you need to build your email list and actually email that list about your podcast, then this episode is for you. My name is Deirdre Tshien, CEO and cofounder of Capsho, the Fastest way to market and grow your podcast. And this is the Grow my podcast show.


I am the Product Marketing Manager at AWeber, which is an email marketing tool that also includes tools like landing page builder, ecommerce, a lot of that other stuff that goes along with all those email marketing tools. I have ten years of experience in marketing for small businesses and for creators and for content creators and everything like that. And I actually also used to be the director of Marketing for a podcast network with I think it's Peak 31 podcasts that went live at least every month. So I'm also a podcast enthusiast, so I've been around a little bit. I could not think of anyone better than Kelsey Johnson from AWeber to speak to you about building and automating an email list for your podcast.


As you've just heard, she has experience in this unique crosssection of having produced podcasts for network and in email marketing in her role now. But, well, I know what you might be thinking, what gets someone excited about email marketing? So when you do digital marketing, which is what I started out in, you kind of do a little bit of everything and you're doing, you know, you're doing social media, you're doing SEO, you're doing I was doing web design at the time too, and then obviously email as well. And when it came down to it, when we looked at the numbers, at least in my original job, when I was working for this podcast network, we noticed that that was the way to drive up numbers, right? And I've worked in house for other companies, tech companies, I've worked on behalf of small businesses from everything from a boutique to somebody who runs a YouTube channel.


And that's like their full time job. And when it really comes down to it, across the board, the real numbers that most people are able to make in terms of actual sales come from emails. So I have a small example of that from my original journey from when I did work for this podcast network. At the time, everybody was talking about load times, right? Everybody's website had to be super, super crazy fast.


Load crazy fast. Nobody had time of day for anything like that. So we took down the popup form that asked people if they wanted to sign up for our new podcast notification. And that's something we'll talk about a little bit later in terms of how to get that stuff set up, but it immediately resulted in the numbers of our downloads and the numbers of new listeners going down. And that number directly the pop up form on our site was the reason that people who were on our site had already found our podcast.


They'd already been told about it, they were already crossed listening to other episodes, or had found somebody else through some process. But this was truly the way that we were able to reconnect with the listeners again. And the same thing is true across the board for whether you make sales, whether you make content, whether even if you're just sort of building up your personal brand. When it comes down to it, social media truly is the way to bring in new people. And it's a great way to connect with the people who happen to be on that social platform and are on it all the time.



But you are subject to algorithms there. You are not reaching every single person all of the time. And across the board, every single small business, large business, doesn't matter that I've worked for, I've seen the numbers drop off. If you're not doing email for your business and you can heighten up social numbers all you want, you can get all of the streams of your reels and all of those other numbers up, but the way to sustain that, the way to keep those people around, is through email. And so a couple of years ago, I got the opportunity to start working for AWeber.


And since then, I've been able to see from the inside the way that it results in people being able to just grow their channels, grow their networks, and truly make money from the things that they're doing. And so that's a little bit of all over the place. But that's kind of my journey with like, why I think the email is so important. Yep, you definitely know my thoughts on this. I am behind that 100%, which is why I am so, so excited to get into Kelsey's three steps to building and automating a podcast promotional email list.


So what we're going to do is we're going to take a quick ad break, and when we get back, we are going to deep dive into how to build an email list and start growing those listener download numbers. I had Kelsey Johnson from Aweba, a leading email marketing platform, present to my capture collective members about building and automating a podcast promotional email list. And it was so good that I thought I'd share her thoughts on this podcast as well. So, without further ado, let's get into the first step in Kelsey's process, which is building an email list. There's sort of two halves to how you can build an email list, and there's actually just a proven way to build it faster, which maybe you're already doing, but maybe you could be doing this a little bit better, and it's with a lead magnet.


Now, no matter what your content is on your podcast, there's something that you can either provide more succinctly, so if you give general advice, you can put together a resource that's free, let's say, a checklist, or a todo list, or an insider's look at something, or elaborating on something or even premium content. I did an interview with this person. You tell everybody about it, but you got to sign up for the email list to do it. So really having that incentive is your fans are going to be your fans, and like, the true, true deep fans are going to be the ones who will go and sign up just to receive your notifications. But when it comes down to it, it's just really like ten times more effective if you can give them that little nudge.



You know, you want these anyway, but sign up today because of this incentive. Now, it can be something that takes a while to put together, like a premium interview or something like that, or just something that you sort of pull that you already have. But one of the simplest and easiest ways to put together a good lead magnet is just to do something like a checklist, like a, you know so let's say I was going to do a podcast. Yeah, I was going to do a podcast about email marketing. 


I would maybe put a checklist together of the first ten steps to get started, or my top ten recommendations for lead magnets, or ten subject lines that just really made people open, right? It's just a really simple checklist. And it's something that's in my experience, but something that I can give away as like a little like, here's what you get for taking that actual step to sign up. It seems so crazy, but in this world, everything's so easy that having somebody listen to an audio podcast and then hear about something, and then open up their phone and then go to your site and then sign up for something, you need to give them a little nudge to incentivize them to do that. And if you already have a lead magnet but your list really isn't growing that well, there's a couple of things you can do.


The first thing is change your lead magnet. Try something different. Your lead magnet might have worked two years ago, but you know, you need something newer to reincentivize people. And if you can come up with those digital assets sort of quickly based on your own experience, they don't need to take that one. You can build one in Canva.



It's a PDF, but it's your experience. And try out some different stuff. See if you can really push people with the new lead magnet. And then the second thing that I see, and I see this all of the time with podcasters. I see it with small business owners.



I see it with content creators. You need to be, I promise you, almost everybody here is not being forceful enough in trying to get people to sign up for this list. It is so valuable in the long run, and we can talk about that in a minute, but it's every single person who signs up is so valuable, you should be talking about it on every single podcast episode, right? You have people's ears every single time. Bring it up on the podcast episode.


Don't be robotic about it. Be jokey. Fold it in. Make it like an extremely easy form to find. Mine is at Kelsey Johnson newsletter.


Go sign up where somebody can remember it from audio and plug it in and sign up and try to have a pop up form on your site, if possible. If it's really, really annoying, you can consider it or put it on and then see if it's worth it. But that's really one of the best ways to get people to sign up. Pop up. You get this incentive to sign up now.


You're already here. Make sure that you have it on your blog if you have one. If you are putting your content into YouTube, which I know a lot of people they're certainly talking about at Podcast Movement, are not just doing audio these days, but you're also doing YouTube or you're also doing these other places. Get that into your end card. In YouTube, you can put up like, a card at the end that promotes things.



Just put your newsletter there. Put it in your descriptions. Like, make it annoyingly easy for somebody to find this and know why they should sign up for it. And don't worry, people won't get annoyed, I promise you. It's just like part of the game.



And it's one of those things that even as marketers, we kind of are like, are people going to be annoyed if we're like two in their face? But this is you know, when you have a podcast, people really like you. Especially these are the people who already like you. There are the people who are already reading your blog and are already listening to your podcast. Like they want to hear from you.



And if you know you have a certain amount of people downloading your podcast and listening to them, and then you're like, I can get people to sign up for this email list. Tell them to email you with, why not? Do you like our podcast? What would make you sign up for this email list? How can I get you into an email list today?



And that's the kind of stuff that people probably are going to be really incentivized to engage with. You there, and you got to keep pushing, keep trying, keep trying the new stuff. I promise they're there. I promise they're there. And they will sign up once you find that special sauce.



All right? And you know what actually annoys me? When I'm a fan of someone not knowing how to get onto their email list so that I know what's going on in their world. So if there's anything at all holding you back from a mindset perspective, holding you back from going all in and hammering join my list. Join my list.



Join my list. Please do not let it. People want to join your list, so make it stupidly simple for them to do so. I've got a small anecdote, too, as a podcast consumer. I had an old phone, and I actually listened to podcasts on Overcast.



I'm not a fan of the Apple podcast app, just a personal preference. I listen on Overcast, but Overcast doesn't make you sign in. So I was never signed in. I just had the app on my phone. It never asked me to create an account or anything like that.



And then about a year ago, I broke my phone. And I am such a huge podcast listener, but I don't listen to them regularly. I will often wait for two years until there are 15 episodes of something and I'll binge it and I lost, I would say, three quarters of the podcast that I listened to but I already liked. And let me tell you, if I was on all of those newsletters, I would be like reminded and I am on a couple of them and I'm still reminded, like, oh yeah, I love this podcast. Oh, look at this new episode of content that I'd really like.



And that's the kind of way to stay connected to people, even if mistakes happen on your end or on their end or Facebook and Instagram's end. That goes down again. Probably won't because it was such a big deal when it did, but you never know. Oh, so true. Have you ever had an account shut down or restricted or been logged down and then couldn't remember your login details?



Yikes, huge risk. So yes, do not be afraid to ask your fans to join your list. I also recommend if you've got a huge audience testing something and you have a lot of traffic to your site, testing something on a signup form, like a CTA is great, right? Because you can be like, okay, I'll sign up for, I don't know, like a click bundles or one of our thrive themes is a good one where you can actually test the two different form copies against each other. But if your audience is small, you're just sort of getting your podcast audience off the ground.



Or you've got a podcast audience that's decent sized, but nobody ever goes to your website, so it's like really hard to test that. That's where I think it actually comes in really handy, maybe for a month or two while you're trying to grow your list, instead of telling people what you're going to give them, ask them what they want. I'm not going to promote anything for the next month or two or the next couple of episodes. The only thing I want for you to do is go to this link. Also make it extremely easy, if possible.



I've got five questions or I've got a box. What do you want to hear? What do you want to hear? More from my podcast, maybe? What do you like?



If I were to send out emails, what can I send to you? You know, what would make you sign up for my list? And now like five to 10% of people are going to fill that out. Even if you make it as easy as possible, it's just how the world works. But with a smaller audience, you can get a lot more trends tracked from a 5% 10% of a small audience than trying to do some of these sort of overengineered meant for big companies with lots and lots of search traffic testing this versus that, when it's like, well, it might be if three more people click on it, that might be like a 10% increase relative to the people on your site, which is don't be ashamed of that.



It's great we've got anyone on your site, but I love that. Get the audience engaged. What was your favorite episode? If I worked my booty off trying to get a guest, which one would you want it to be? Sort of a thing.



And then, you know, when it really comes down to it, like you said, there are people, tons of people probably here who have podcasts for their business. It's not like a full time thing or just for entertainment because they thought it was fun or something like that. And this is a way that you can grow that and engage it and engage with your audience without needing to go down the spending a ton of money trying to grow an avenue. So many good ideas, it even got my mind firing with all the ways that we can make it super easy and enticing for people to join our list. OK, so if step one is building your email list, what is step two?



Automation. Now, this is my favorite part and I'm going to go back to my origin story of being the director of a podcast network, which is I had 31 podcasts that I had to I was publishing them, I was writing descriptions for them, which now you don't have to anymore, as we've discussed with Cap Shell. I can't believe that that didn't exist when I was doing this. And I was tweeting every single episode and posting on Facebook and all of this stuff and it was like death by a million tiny cuts. It was just so mindless.



And that thing that I said where it was like after I felt like I was already done with so much of the work, I still had like 510 minutes long tasks to do. But then I am not only on Facebook for ten minutes. Even if I check, like if I was to go into my email tool and write up an email that I'm checking my stats, should I look at another email? I get so distracted so easily. So that's why I love automation.



Now, the main thing that you want to make sure you do, especially about a lead magnet, which it sounds like everybody has pretty well set up at this point, but make sure that when somebody signs up for your list, they automatically get that lead magnet if it's something that you can provide digitally, because that's how we all, you know, in our minds are like, I asked for something. I want it now. This is what we've become used to. And that's something that you can just set up as a simple automation in AWeber or MailChimp if you have it, to where it's just a trigger, signs up, maybe signs up on this form or in one of these various places that you have set up that are easy. They get a tag and that triggers sending out that first email and then you just put in the email somewhere.



Here's how to download it. Or here's a link to it or something like that. So that's your first automation. So that when you are signing people up, they don't immediately unsubscribe. And then what you want to do after that is welcome them like you do for your business or anything like that.



Here is an hour later, maybe. Here are our top three most popular episodes, right? So anybody who's new to this list can either be reminded of popular episodes they liked or be told about things that they haven't gotten to yet because they're older. Here are the things I sell. Definitely in one of those first five emails, be like, you like me enough for my email.



You don't have to shove it down their throat. But I do have a course and this is what you'll get from it. I do have a summit coming up. This is what you'll get from it. I sell merch.



Even if you have advertisers, like, make sure that they're in there so that you can really start. Email is one of my favorite things for podcasts to help the monetization. Maybe some people who have listened to your podcast that really liked it, or some other podcast you have or anything like that, make sure you get any of those essentials that you just really want somebody to know about in those first five emails. And for a lot of people with personalities, which basically you'd have to have in order to have a podcast, you can make them kind of fun too, like chatty conversational. Here's some podcasts I like to listen to.



This is a book that I read recently that I thought was really useful. This is a TV show that I like. It has nothing to do with my podcast, but I like it and you like me, so you might as like it too. Anything like that. I think it's okay to put in there to really get people engaged and incentivize them to want it.



Email automation can be a very, very convoluted process to try to work out. And the easiest way to get started is exactly what Kelsey has just outlined. Automate just the first few emails your subscribers going to receive, the sending of the lead magnet and your welcome email sequence and then we can start to think about monetizing them. And very importantly, promoting our podcast. The main thing that you want to make sure that you're doing is sending out notifications of new content and podcasts.



If you have a podcast, you know what an RSS feed is, right? Or you should. I imagine that anyone could find theirs. You can actually use that RSS feed to both trigger emails to go out. So when you publish a new episode and it hits that feed, you can use that instead of like the trigger we talked about before, which was a tag, right?



Somebody signs up and they get a tag instead. You can trigger the email to go out based off of new content in your feed. So what that means is, for example, you can have a new episode within the hour, send out an email being like, I have a new episode. You want to know my newest episode? Here it is.



But you can also set it up on a schedule. So you can wait if you tend to publish like five times a week or you publish really sporadically, or you just want to give people another option. What you can say is it'll trigger from that new item in the feed, but then the software will wait until Thursday at 11:00 a.m. And then it will send out the email. And then the last thing that you can do is in that email that sends out, you can make sure that you include your newest episodes.



And you can do that with the podcast feed itself or with YouTube or both. So you can pull in an element, we call it a web or an element where you basically plug in your RSS feed, you tell it how many to post. I'm going to send it out immediately after I post a new episode and then I want that newest episode in the email. And so you pull that in, you put in your RSS feed and you just tell it what number, like one newest one. And then you review it and everything like that.



And then you just click publish and activate it and it will happen every single time that happens. So you're more or less setting up one email like you would to send out any given newsletter or anything like that. But it's set up on rules to go out when you tell it to in the future. So then you can go back to your audience and say, are you sick of missing episodes? Do you want notifications of new episodes?



I'm not going to spam you, I'm just going to let you know when there's a new episode and they can sign up for that and be notified when you have your newest content. But the other thing you can do is, do you want to know about all of the content from the past month on the last day of the month or on the first day of the month? And then you can do the same thing where it's like Kelsey posts three podcasts a week. I don't need that many emails in my inbox. Totally understandable.



Not everybody wants a ton of emails from me all the time. So instead I can just say end of the month, here's all of the ones that I published this month. But again, you set it up like you're sending one email one time and it knows the rules of when to go out at the end of the month. It checks. Do you have anything new in your feed.



Even if you didn't do anything new that month, it knows that it's not going to be like, here's the newest stuff from September, but it's actually August content. It will know because of the way the RSS feeds work and the way that readers work. Oh, here's the newest content. We'll include it in here. Send the email out to people who have asked for it.



The reason that we've been talking about it for broadcasters with AWeber, we made it kind of easy. We made it plug and play at AWeber. So if you use AWeber to do it, you just pull your feed in and it kind of just asks you some questions. You can do it on all tools. It's usually called RSS to email.



And what you have to do is set up a little bit more code. So Aweber is very user friendly from that perspective because you just plug in and then it talks like a person. It instructs you like a person and then pull up what? I didn't even know this was possible. So cool.



Okay, so what we have here is step number one, building our email list. Step number two, automating our lead magnet and welcome email sequence. And step number three, automating our ongoing podcast promotional emails. The great thing about step number three is that an RSS feed already has the basics of your podcast episode. So it can pull through things like your title, your description, and the artwork.



And populate your automated podcast email, especially when you use a super easy tool like Awebar. And if you really want to level up your podcast promotional emails, then here is my suggestion. Create two automations. One for your weekly drops and another that is a monthly wrap up for your weekly automated emails. Delay the scheduled sent for 2 hours that you have enough time to drop in Capsho's email.



Draft the promotional email that Capsho creates for you. Now we know that it's just a draft, so you do have to review it and really personalize it by using your own personal story as it relates to that topic. And if you want to learn more about how to do that, I suggest listening to episode 26 of this podcast with Brittany Gardner. This way you'll always be promoting your podcast episode to a list of people who want to be kept in the know and really driving this listener numbers up. So if you want to give AWeber, try and start automating your podcast promo emails.



You can do that for free with their free plan. I'll leave the link for that in the Show Notes. And the great thing is that if you happen to get lost or have any questions, they have twenty four seven support insane. So go ahead and use a link in the Show Notes to sign up now. Thank you for joining us on this episode of The Grandmother Podcast Show.


Kelsey JohnsonProfile Photo

Kelsey Johnson

Kelsey Johnson is a Product Marketing Manager at AWeber, an email marketing tool that also includes tools like landing page builder and ecommerce, and has ten years of experience in marketing for small businesses, content creators, and podcast networks.