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last updated:
February 12, 2021


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Hey! Ashlyn here, OG copywriter for creatives—reporting for duty. 

Let's get you a message so tight you can bounce a quarter off of it. Around here, we serve up science-based storytelling strategies the creative set.  Even while raking in more than 1.26M in agency work since I've been at it, I firmly believe working from a place of rest (not hustle) IS possible—and I want the same for you. Words matter. Best be sure they work (and oui, with math) ... and know how to party while they're at it. 

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Reading time: 11 min.

You’re ready to launch a new business, a new course or even a new one-on-one service but during your pre-launch stage you are trying to figure out how to grow your email list! Anddddd you need to build your email list fast before you launch. I’m going to share with you my go-to email list building for your pre-launch marketing plan! These tips to grow an email list are really great especially if you are in product launch mode and you need some email list-building tactics now!

5 Ways to Build Your Email List Before Your Launch | Ashlyn Writes

Becca sent me a message recently… she’s a mom of three who just left her nursing job and is prepping to launch her new business. She’s got her website done, she knows the one-on-one service she’s gonna be providing and she even has the digital products ready but it’s growing her audience prior to launch that she’s focusing on now.

You’re in luck Bec—as is anybody who’s preparing to launch something this year in the coming months, whether it is a product or a service.

In this post, I’m talking about 5 different ways to grow your audience. When I say audience, I mean your email list prior to your launch—I know you don’t want to launch to crickets, no one does.;)

Today, I’m talking to you about how to grow your email list with these 5 strategies that are working right now.

If you’re inside Primed to Launch™, you know that I recommend you back-up 6-8 weeks prior to the launch itself to craft the different messages and help make those dominoes fall along the way to you presenting your offer. That strategy has worked for ~sooo~ many of my Primed to Launch™ students and I love hearing about it. This post is going to show you more ways that you can crank out that three-part opt-in strategy that I teach inside PtL.

⬇️Click here or down below to grab the ✨NEW✨ Primed to Launch™ Playbook to plan your marketing & content calendar⬇️

primed to launch playbook

No. 1| The FB Family: Organic Traffic

First things first, I love ads and paid traffic, but don’t negate organic traffic. People (aka entrepreneurs) complain that organic traffic on the FB family doesn’t work, but sometimes the problem is us, not them. We’re doing the same *tired* strategies and we need to call an audible on the old way of doing things.

Maybe that means taking a look at whatever neighborhood it is that the Facebook family, maybe it’s Facebook itself or maybe it’s Instagram, is pushing at the time.

This was a lightbulb moment for me at Social Media Marketing World last year—I love the word “neighborhood,” and Sue B. Zimmerman coined that to talk about the different pockets of the IG platform: the basic feed, Instagram Stories, IGTV, Instagram Live.

When you’re thinking about marketing your opt-ins on social media, I want you to think about that app and break it down into the different neighborhoods that that app may be trying to push. I want you to try to figure out which one is the favorite child at the time of your launch or pre-launch. At the time of this post, it is 100% reels on Instagram. Those weren’t even out and available last year, and now the minute you get on the app you can see how Instagram is just pushing it— they love reels right now. IGTV was big last year.

If I’m promoting my lead magnets in my opt-ins, I would absolutely be using lives right now. BuzzSumo’s reviewed 777 million Facebook posts and they found that Facebook Live dominates the feed right now. When it comes to engagement, lives are where it’s at.

The highest averages for live videos are around that 3-4 minute mark, that’s actually something they would even consider a long-form video, and many of the top posts are related to current events. This is why Newsjacking can be sooo helpful when you’re trying to figure out what to shape your content around.vGo ahead and play off of what is going on in the world.

At the time of creating this post, the Super Bowl is right around the corner. How could you create content and play off that or Valentine’s Day, President’s day, whatever’s going on—use that as a hack and a way to come up with some ideas.

⬇️ Here’s how I did this in my Instagram feed this week⬇️

5 ways to build your email list before you launch

If I were moving into a launch right now I would, at least for those 6-8 weeks back from my launch date, plan to go live at minimum once a week on the Facebook platform. Don’t worry so much about the production value—I would instead focus on having 3-4 minutes of quality, high end, education, and then making sure that I’m mentioning whatever lead magnet it is that I’m promoting in that span of time.

>>Related: 3 Tips to Launch a Website, Product, or Service<<

To wrap up strategy #1—about using organic marketing efforts via social media—quit doing it like you did in 2018 or like you saw people do it in 2019.

Instead, go to that app, figure out what the favorite child is, and craft a strategy around THAT. Craft your hero content to fit into that bucket. Then do it each week for that hero piece of content those 6-8 weeks leading up to your launch.

No. 2| Pinterest

Alright, next up on how to build your email list during your pre-launch: Pinterest.

I’m pulling out Pinterest from social media because it is more of a search engine itself. We get a ton of website traffic to my website from Pinterest. As you’re growing your list prior to your launch, take every piece of hero content that you come out with, and craft ~at least~ 5 different pins, varying different visual styles, that you can use to promote. Vanessa on my team is a total whiz and a boss at this stuff. She takes those five pins and she schedules them out using a tool called Tailwind.

Here’s a hot tip here—one thing I don’t want you to forget is if your content lends itself naturally to an infographic type of image then absolutely create a pinnable infographic for every piece of your hero content.


This is something that we’ve actually recently started doing and the pins are doing great. This then functions as a sixth pin for that post. It gives a little bit of a different way to consume the content that’s in the post and bring people into the learning page, the blog itself. Don’t be afraid to use this strategy— the 5 pins in the infographic—not just for your blog pieces (that hero piece of content) but also for the 3 lead magnets that you’re creating for your launch itself.



Again, I referenced those three inside Primed to Launch™ but make sure that you’re also pinning those opt-ins on Pinterest.

No. 3| ADs

I love paid traffic, but, it’s also no secret this past year that we have seen a big tech social media splinter and possibly affect the paid traffic strategies that we have in our businesses. This is why you always want be thinking about not building your business on other people’s land, or putting all your eggs in one basket. All that said, I still think it is wise to have a paid traffic mechanism for your opt-ins.

The big picture I want you to take away as I talk through this, use the bulk of your ad dollars upfront before the launch even starts.

We’re spending during the audience building time, those 6-8 weeks, that’s where the lion’s share of my money is—I tell my clients to put their money prior to any launch. The earlier I can get people in and then start to address the different objections that they may have to the offer that I’m going to pitch them later—the more I can start to nurture that relationship. I’m going to spend the bulk of everything up here in front of the launch during that email list building time.

I also think it’s safe to say—be prepared to blow at least $1000 for each opt-in that you’re going to be pushing, I know that is A LOT. It’s simply harder to break through the noise than it was in past years—the same way that it’s harder to rank on page one of Google… there’s just more noise out there. There are more people competing. It’s absolutely still possible to break through on a lower ad spend budget but it’s just a little harder to get lucky on talent or killer content alone.

Again, I know ad spend may not be possible so that’s why I’m trying to give a lot of organic strategies as well.

we can't build a business on borrowed land-ashlyn writes

If you take nothing else away from this tip #3, I want you to keep in mind the bulk of your ad spend, if you’re doing ad spend at all in your pre-launch marketing, is going be spent on the audience (email list building) building timeframe.

Don’t be afraid to build your email list with smaller offers, with tiny offers putting out little pieces. I would rather have an email list before a launch of not just leads, but actual customers.

People that have raised their hand and have put a little bit of stake in this. Even if it is a small amount,  it tells me that those are the people that I would rather try to push into a launch. Rather than just a lot of people who loved the free stuff (and don’t get me wrong, I love free stuff too).  With all the launches that we’ve done, I think that would be my vote.

No. 4| Cold Pitching to Podcasts

I saw a meme one time that said that the millennial version of “I’m gonna write a book” is “I’m gonna start a podcast”. 😉

The podcast industry is continuing to explode and what’s interesting is among weekly listeners those who do listen to podcasts tend to listen to multiple podcasts.

Here’s my tip here: Don’t be afraid to pitch yourself for podcasts. I have an entire video (you can watch it here!) where I talk through how to craft the copy for a cold pitch that you’re sending out to somebody that you don’t know and you want to be on their podcast.

>>Related: How to Write a Pitch Email for Your Creative Business<<

What I don’t talk about in that video, when it comes to growing your list from the podcast interview, lean on the host to guide you—they usually will tell you if they’re comfortable with you mentioning something. I.e. they’ll probably tell you at the end you can share freely, but here’s, this works better for me. It’s always been better if while I’m talking, I can go ahead and drip and mention in some piece of content that I have, or some freebie I have that would help reinforce something that I’m teaching on while I’m on a podcast interview.

An online quiz can be a great way to do this (I have a training on how to create your own quiz here) because it’s not just some other PDF but it’s a diagnostic tool that can go ahead and help the people that you’re educating while you’re on the podcast interview, continue to go down and figure out this and solve their problem

The #1 thing I want you to keep in mind when you’re on podcast interviews is how can you give so generously, of what you know, that it almost feels *uncomfortable*.

I also want you to start your pitching calendar backed up from your launch. So remember, this pre-launch marketing phase that we’re talking about growing our email list is that 6-8 week window and podcasts will fill up in advance, so you need to back it up even further.

5 ways to build your email list before you launch

Here’s my best recommendation for this—I would make a list of 50 different outlets, blogs or podcasts that you could pitch. Then, every single Monday for one month pitch five of them with that cold pitch template that I gave you earlier.

You will hear no a lot, you will hear crickets a lot, but by pitching at least 20 different outlets, you are at least casting a wide enough net where you live where you will get what you will get some yeses back. You can be on those podcasts and mention whatever diagnostic tool, quiz or freebie that you have.

This might be too much right now for your next launch, but just put it on your radar for your pre-launch marketing during your next launch or marketing campaign you have.

No. 5| SEO

Last but certainly not least, SEO the investment strategy of all the things I’m talking through today. Okay, let me show you again a graph of the traffic that comes to our website so you can see how much of this comes from SEO alone.

I’ve got a full training on how to actually find the words that you want to rank for in your content, but let’s bring this back to your pre-launch marketing. What I want you to do is really optimize those 6-8 weeks of hero content that you’re turning out for SEO.

This means you’re gonna have that blog piece for each of them. Then you’re gonna take that blog and make sure that it is all ready to go when it comes to search engine optimization.

After I do the legwork and decide what I want to rank for I’m gonna go into the blog and make sure that I have talked up that freebie multiple times in there, I’m also gonna make sure I have some sort of an exit intent pop up on my website that either mentioned that freebie or an overall freebie that I have for that business.

Then I’m gonna ensure what the Yoast plugin, that is to me worth every penny of the upgraded version of it, that I pass the green light.

>>Related:The Top 8 SEO Copywriting Tips You Need to Apply in Your Business <<

I also love using the tool SEM Rush for keywords, because I’m able to take that keyword go pop it into the keyword tracker inside SEM Rush and I’ll get an email every week or every month. This email tells me where I am, and what page and what ranking I am in the slot for with the keyword I was going for.

You can look this up on your own manually absolutely all day long, but it’s worth it for me to pay a little bit every single month, and get a list of the keywords that I’m trying to rank for and how I’m doing with them just so I can start to see that I was spot on and where I missed the mark.

Now you may be feeling a little bit overwhelmed right now, if so I would love to take the pre-launch marketing planning process off of your play, I would love for you to check out my Primed to Launch Playbook™, inside you’re gonna see how to come up with content ideas to talk about before your launch how to take each week of hero content and break it out to push out on various channels how to set goals for your launch, and metrics and so much more. You can check that all out here.  

Now you know all about how to build your email list prior to your launch during that pre-launch phase. But what about nurturing your email list during pre-launch, and pet even when you’re not even in launch at all, be sure to check out this video on my YouTube channel, I’m taking you through my email marketing predictions for 2021. 

Here’s to working from a place of more rest, less hustle.

primed to launch playbook



5 Ways to Build Your Email List Before Your Launch | Ashlyn Writes

Reading Time: 11 Minutes Reading time: 11 min. You’re ready to launch a new business, a new course or even a new one-on-one service but during your pre-launch stage you are trying to figure out how to grow your email list! Anddddd you need to build your email list fast before you launch. I’m going to share with you […]


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