4 steps to growing your mailing list (even if you’re starting from scratch)

I’ve been talking about mailing lists a LOT lately. It’s the one thing that filmmakers don’t have, but really should. Your mailing list is your currency.

Social media following is great, but it’s never completely yours. Instagram could change the algorithm and you could lose 200 followers. In fact, that happened recently, and everyone freaked out. Your mailing list is always 100% yours, and in your control.

Why do I need a mailing list?

Your mailing list, or dream client base as I call it, is where you nurture your community. It’s where you give them a glimpse into your life (a la Instagram) but you also provide them with truly valuable content (which you can’t really do on regular socials).

You keep your subscribers nurtured and engaged, and they become loyal followers that will become guaranteed audience members for all of your future work.

Having a mailing list is one thing (if you don’t, you can set one up right here) but how you grow your list? Let’s break it down into 4 easy steps.

Step 1: create a lead magnet

Lead magnet is the proper biz term, but you can call it an opt-in or freebie and everyone in the blogging biz world will know what you’re talking about.

Your lead magnet is a free download that you can give people in exchange for their name and email address. That sounds a little bit like a hostage situation now I read it back, but it’s just so that you have somewhere to actually send the download.

Knowing exactly what your dream client needs is the magic trick behind all successful lead magnets. Success in this case means a high conversion rate. You want as many people downloading it as possible.

For example, I know that my dream clients make films that they want to show at festivals, so I created a guide on making the most of their festival run whilst spending less.

You can use Canva to create a beautiful looking lead magnet or just create a Word doc. Whatever suits you, your biz and your dream clients. Get tips on using Canva right here.

step 2: create a nurture sequence

Remember when I talked about nurturing your subscribers? This is where we get started.

Head to your mailing list provider (mine is the always reliable ConvertKit) and create a sequence of emails to welcome new subscribers after they’ve downloaded your lead magnet.

Example: welcome them, talk a little about who you are, what you do and why you do it and then invite them to book a call with you.

Want to get the exact scripts I use for my mailing list? Get them sent straight to your inbox 👇🏼

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step 3: sharing it in your content

Notice my subtle (or maybe not) share above? That’s the basic get started step for actually getting those subscribers.

You can share them within blog posts, within mailing list content, on your Facebook page and on your Twitter and Instagram.

Start getting people who are already following you to take the extra step: signing up to your list.

The biggest mistake I see people make with this step is talking about what they’ve just made, and not the results it is going to give people. I hate to break it to you, but people don’t care about what you made. They care about what they can get from it and why they need it. So when you’re plugging your goods, be results-focused and think about it from their perspective.

Example: I have three key scripts that nurture new subscribers, help me grow my business and increased the engagement rate of new subscribers by over 40%. Get them here

Bonus: you can always go to your friends, family and colleagues one on one and talk to them about your mailing list. Tell them the content you put out there, say you think it’s something they’d be interested in, and can you add them? This is especially useful when you’re starting out.

step 4: share it with a wider audience

It’s time to start sharing it with the bigger field. Step out of the comfort zone of people who are already following you and share your lead magnets to new places online.

The two best places to do this are Pinterest and Facebook groups. These are concentrated hubs of potential dream clients for you to target and reach out to.

Facebook is pretty crowded, but it’s a great place to find groups in your niche and create personal connections. Pinterest is the most under-utilised platform for filmmakers and is an incredible way to skyrocket your web traffic for a lot less work. One pin can reach people from all over the globe and produce leads for weeks and months (and even years) to come. On Facebook you have to work a little bit harder at posting regularly in the groups and pushing your content.

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Creating a great graphic for your url is the basis of Pinterest. Find out how to create killer graphics with high conversion rates here.

This is my most popular Pin right now

These are the four steps you need to create an engaged list that’s constantly growing.

If you’re ready to start leveraging your list you can book a free one on one call with me here


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