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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Learning How to Nurture My E-mail List

Like many other writers, I’ve always heard the importance of creating an e-mail list. But because I never really had a product to sell, I put it off. Then, when I started working on creating my podcast, I figured it would be a nice to at least have a small e-mail list developed so I could let people know about my launch.


To start my e-mail list, I created a “freebie,” where I packaged one of my unpublished short stories that fits with the tone of a missing persons podcast and offered it as a free download to anyone subscribing to my podcast. That offer still remains on my website to help capture interested subscribers. Since then, I’ve heard from other marketing experts that it’s a good idea to have two or three “freebies” going at any given time to gauge the interests of your potential subscribers.


I consider myself an e-mail marketing novice, so I’m learning as I go. One of the terms I frequently hear is the importance of “nurturing” your e-mail list. This means giving them valuable, free content that they will appreciate before you try to sell to them. I was listening to an episode of the “Online Marketing Made Easy” podcast by Amy Porterfield and she discussed some mistakes she made in the early days of her e-mail marketing.

She talked about how she worked to build up a moderate list of about 600 subscribers, who she hoped to eventually convert to customers, but she didn’t nurture the list at all. Meaning, she ignored her list for months and didn’t send them any marketing tips, links to other helpful information, or “get to know me” type e-mails. Instead, the first thing she sent her subscribers was an offer to purchase a digital course she had created. Not surprisingly, many of her subscribers couldn’t even remember who she was and this led to her low sales of a course.


My list is still in its infancy stages, but right now I send out an e-mail every time I drop a new podcast episode, share photos of the people discussed in the cases, and try to offer a few links of my own writing, such as blog posts from WOW! or from the true crime section of my own blog. I’ve been doing some reading and am researching ways to nurture my subscribers even further, such as sharing more true crime links from other places and recommendations of other related content. I have an idea for a new freebie that I think will be a good way to attract more subscribers, but I just need to find the time to create it!


Hopefully by continuing to nurture and grow my list, I will have engaged and excited customers who will eventually purchase my digital classes, books, or other content I create.


Think about the e-mails you subscribe to. What types of free content do they offer you and what do you enjoy about it?


Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and editor whose article, We Speak for the Dead: The Creation of Writing Conference All About Crime, recently received fifth place in the print/online magazine article category of this year’s Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. To learn more about her podcast, visit or sign-up to receive updates from her here.


  1. Renee! Congratulations on your article winning fifth place! :) I'm not surprised--it's a well written, unique, and informative piece. :)

    I enjoy single person email lists because they can be so much more intimate than a group or company's list. Personal stories from the sender are most interesting to me these days, and I enjoy a good round up or list.

    Since you're planning to sell classes, books, and content, you'll be establishing yourself as an expert in the categories of your future products, and could design your free content around that.

  2. Jeanine DeHoney12:34 PM

    Renee, this was an informative article about growing an email list. I did create a list of book clubs a few months back who I thought would be interested in my novel once it's finished. As far as myself, I subscribe to alot of lifestyle and inspirational emails and many of them offer free downloads or pamphlets.

  3. Renee--I read your post. (I am guilty of ignoring anyone who occasionally stops by my blog. ;) I then virtually high-fived you. Fifth place in a national contest? Run by Writers Digest? Wowzer!

    (It's an excellent article. I can see why it won such great recognition. You made the conference sound so fun and so informative, even though I don't write or read crime stories, I was jealous.)

    Despite me having a full evening of lesson planning, I was then drawn into your short story. (I thought I had read it before? Or am I mistaken?) It, too, was fabulous. It had me on the edge of my seat (and on the verge of wanting to gut that pervert in a slow and delicious way).

    Bravo! I don't know how you do it---all the stuff you juggle--but you surely do it well.

    Some day, you will be organizing your own murdercon conference. Really. I can see it.


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