How To Build An Email List For Free

Episode 62: How to Build an Email List For Free, with Hannah Roth

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How to build an email list for free? Explore proven methods and boost your outreach. Follow our steps on how to build an email list for free.

I am thrilled to welcome back to this episode of Sell With Authority the brilliant Hannah Roth. Hannah is our very own mad scientist and strategist here at Predictive ROI.

She is no stranger to our community of rock-solid awesome agency owners and strategic consultants, as she consistently shares her expertise through various platforms like open-mic Q&As, 2-day Intensives, Teach & Do sessions, and our Facebook group. This marks Hannah’s fourth appearance on the Sell with Authority podcast, with her previous insightful contributions in Episodes 35, 48, and 54 — all of which I highly recommend adding to your must-listen list.

What truly sets Hannah apart is her unwavering dedication to being relentlessly helpful in all her interactions with our audience, whether in-person or virtually. Every time she takes the stage, her curriculum is meticulously prepared with one overarching goal: to provide immense value to our community and right-fit clients.

How to build an email list for free? Let me set the stage for what we explore. I can assure you that the issue and challenge Hannah helps us tackle today has likely hindered your results, or left you feeling like you’re trying to grow your business with one hand tied behind your back. We delve into the critical topic of building an email list — more specifically, how to accomplish this from scratch without relying on paid ads or complicated technology.

Holy Bananas – it’s one of those episodes where you ask yourself, “What in the world was that — because that was awesome!”


What you will learn in this episode is about how to build an email list for free:

  • How to build an email list for free: Gain context around siphoning an audience.
  • What happens when you approach an audience with intentionality behind the strategy
  • How to build an email list for free: Learn why showing up as helpful will grow your sphere of influence.
  • Potential opportunities to get in front of other audiences
  • The advantages of deepening relationships by providing helpful, informative, and actionable information



How to Build an Email List For Free: Full Episode Transcript – Hannah’s Introduction


Welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I am Stephen Wesner, CEO of Predictive ROI. And holy bananas, this is going to be one of those episodes where you ask yourself after listening to it, what in the world was that? Because that was so awesome. In fact, perhaps we ought to start calling like episodes like this, maybe the latest installment in our Holy Banana series of interviews with our special guest expert today. My guest today is none other than my esteemed colleague and friend, Hannah Roth. Hannah is our mad scientist and strategist here at Predictive ROI. You may have crossed paths with Hannah while she was teaching during one of our open mic Q and A’s, one of our two-day intensives, maybe a teach-and-do session, maybe inside our Facebook group, or any number of the other ways that she consistently shares her smarts with our community of rock solid, awesome agency owners and strategic consultants.


Now, this is Hannah’s fourth visit to the Sell With Authority podcast. Her previous appearances include episodes 54, 48, and 35, and I highly encourage you to add 54, 48, and 35 to your list. So one of the things that I appreciate most about Hannah is how when she stands in front of our audience, either in person or virtually, she preps the curriculum with one overarching goal in mind: how to be relentlessly helpful with what she’s about to teach and deliver. So before I bring on Hannah, I’m going to set the stage here for the conversation that we’re about to have because I promise you the issue and challenge Hannah helps us tackle today has most likely impeded, maybe hampered your results, or at the very least, made you think it was an obstacle standing in your way. And until you got past it, you’d be trying to grow your business with one hand tied behind your back.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Effortless List Building


And the issue is how to build an email list, or to say that another way, how to build an email list from scratch without a bunch of paid ads or complicated tech. In the early days of Predictive ROI, one of the members of our board of advisors was Darren Hardy, then Publisher of Success Magazine. And Darren shared a great lesson with us about how to get the greatest ROI from paid ads. Maybe we had an opportunity to guest on someone else’s podcast. Maybe we had an opportunity to stand on stage and speak at someone’s event or some other public appearance. So here’s the lesson: capturing the attention of the audience, reading a magazine, a senior ad, or listening to you from the stage at an event where you’re speaking is only a fraction of the actual opportunity. In fact, the bigger opportunity is to share something so smart, so screaming cool that the members of the audience immediately grab their phones to scan your QR code or your email address or whatever to download the thing when you make the thing available.


And when that happens, what you’ve effectively done is siphoned the audience from one pond into yours. Here’s the reality. One of the best ways to build your email list is to swim in the right pond, then share something smart, and then make it super easy to get ahold of the smart thing. Siphoning is a strategy we’ve used here at Predictive ever since we learned that lesson from Darren, and now Hannah shares it with our clients and teaches it inside our community. So I asked Hannah to join me here for this episode to teach us all the steps in the strategy, how to do siphoning well, and what pitfalls to look out for and avoid. And if there’s time we might even dip into once somebody jumps into your pond, then what? Okay. So, without further ado, welcome back to the Sell with Authority podcast. Hannah.


Thank you, Stephen, as always. I’m so excited to join you today and to talk about this. And probably, turn the tables as I like to do sometimes you some questions.


Hot seat. We’ll see. Oh my gosh, no. But seriously, thank you for that lovely introduction. I am super excited to share something with our audience again, and I always enjoy being here, so it’s going to be a good time.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Maximizing Audience Reach


Yeah, indeed. It is gonna be a good time. And I enjoy having you here too because, like I mentioned in the introduction, you always share something smart. You’re always ready to step into conversations like this super well prepared, but you’re always thinking about whoever’s listening to this, how you can be the most helpful with the next asset or guide or strategy or whatever. So again, thank you for saying yes. Alright, let’s go high level first, and obviously, I give a slight little bit of insight into siphoning, but if I were to ask you, let’s go high level, 30,000-foot view, and if you were to give us like this overarching view, your view of what siphoning is, how would you describe that to somebody who, who’s just looking for some context first?


In the simplest terms, siphoning someone else’s audience is an opportunity to share your expertise and something helpful. The outcome of that equation is really growing your list and expanding your sphere of influence and authority. So, at a high level, that’s how I would describe siphoning others’ audiences.


Okay. So you mentioned sharing expertise, like the first piece. So why did you put that in the first place position?


 well, I think that sharing your expertise is probably one of the most important components because I think that anyone can stand in front of anyone and share something generic or,  share something that other people are saying. But I think when you really share your expertise, that is when people find it valuable.  and that’s when people want to engage with you more because they see you as an expert.  you’re not just somebody standing up talking for the sake of talking. You are sharing something helpful, and it should be very clear that you have expertise in the subject matter.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Building Authority & Influence


Yeah. And yes, in indeed. And then when you share the expertise, like what you mentioned, share expertise in the subject matter, then that really implies the intentionality behind this strategy, right? Like, you’re not just getting up on stage or getting onto somebody’s podcast or whatever and just sort of winging it and flying by the seat of your pants. If you’re stepping in, it’s because you’re, you’re getting ready to deliver something awesome for the audience, and you’ve thought about it in advance, right?


How to build an email list for free? A hundred percent. And I think,  I listen to a lot of podcasts and in my experience, like we’ve always, I mean, we’ve all listened to podcasts where it seems to kind of meander.  and to me, I have a limited amount of time during the day.  I’m extremely busy, with our clients and work and family and all kinds of stuff. So I think that, you know, when I listen to something, I want it to be intentional. I want it to be guided by something other than just chitchat, So I really prefer to listen to podcasts that have intentionality, where somebody is an expert or sharing something helpful that I can actually apply in my everyday life.


Yeah, I like that. Okay. So then that also would imply that if somebody approaches this with intentionality as a way to share their expertise, then, by doing this really well,  that gives them a chance to really demonstrate their position of authority or further build their position of authority or further build their influence.


A hundred percent. And I’ve actually got,  so as you know, I love to make frameworks and curriculum. So,  I do have a framework,  for this tactic and the strategy, which we can put in the show notes to share if anybody would like to download it. But I actually came up with kind of four intentions, goals, and outcomes. Okay.  I can expect from doing this exercise. So it’s okay, I’ll just go ahead and run through those. That’ll be awesome.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Strategic Audience Engagement


How to build an email list for free? Okay. Awesome. So, number one, the goal is that when you’re siphoning other audiences into your own, as we mentioned before, you want to share something helpful? and I think it’s really important. We have been gifted with opportunities and experience to develop expertise.  and I always kind of like to work through things with the intention of being helpful first and foremost because I believe that when you focus on being helpful, and you have that kind of mindset, it naturally repels,  some of those icky feelings like fear and scarcity, desperation,  because we’ve all been on the receiving end of those feelings, right? If someone’s trying to sell to us or if somebody’s trying to kind of pound their info into us, like, it just doesn’t feel good. And typically, that’s coming from a place of scarcity or desperation. So,  the number one goal, again, is to share something helpful.


Okay. So, number two, the goal for this exercise, with siphoning others’ audiences, is to form or deepen relationships with other helpful people. These can be existing people in your network or community or people outside of your network or community that you are trying to connect with, have a conversation with, or just generally get more involved with.


Okay. So, number three, obviously, what we talked about before as well, you want to grow your list in an intentional and targeted way. And I say intentional and targeted because obviously we are going to talk about niching and going narrow because, well, because we’re us, but also because we do that with purpose, right? Because it makes everything so much easier and effective when you’re trying to grow or expand your business. Going narrow is a really important step. So that’s number three: to grow your list in an intentional and targeted way. Okay. And then the last one, number four, and this really isn’t a goal but more of an outcome.  and you mentioned it a little bit before, but expanding your sphere of influence and authority. And I wanna caveat this by saying it’s not in some egomaniacal way. Like you’re not like, I want to be so influential. That’s why I actually listed it as an outcome more than a goal because by getting in front of other audiences, sharing something helpful, showing up, and being authentic, your sphere of influence and authority will naturally grow and develop. So that is just an outcome that you don’t really have to try for if you show up in the way that you need to show up.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: The Power of Authenticity in Audience Engagement


How to build an email list for free — You know, I’m so glad that you walked through all four of these in, in the first one. This isn’t exactly what you said, but as I added it to my notes, you said it’s not selling or pounding your info at somebody, right? It’s about being helpful. And so could we put that into, like, in the introduction, before I had you on, I mentioned some of the pitfalls? Would that be a pitfall? Like somebody thinks,  I’m gonna do something promotional from stage, or whatever. That probably isn’t gonna land well with the audience, right? Cause that’s like selling, right?


I think that is the pitfall. Okay. Not just a pitfall. I think that showing up with kind of your own selfish intentions or showing up and looking at this as a, from the lens of, oh, I wanna sell, I wanna sell, I have to sell, I have to sell. Again, that’s kind of that scarcity or desperation mindset, and that’s not helpful. It’s disingenuous, and people recognize that they can feel it right away if you’re more interested in your outcomes than actually being helpful. So when you talk about pitfalls, I would say, And again, that’s why I put it as number one, it is helpful because I think the pitfall for this is if you show up with bad intentions or ill intentions and you’re not showing up to be helpful.


Okay? Thats awesome. And it made me think of an example, actually just last week when Mitch Matthews was on stage at the Build a Better agency summit in Chicago. And he delivered two keynotes, but in his first keynote on Tuesday morning, I should say, it was like 60 minutes of awesome. I mean, as you know, ’cause you were in, in the audience. Yes. But it was just, it was just absolutely amazing. And then at the end, when he was talking about his three buckets, the bucket one, two, and three, he said, and he put up a QR code, and he is like, if you want the three buckets, we’ve got this thing, and I’m happy to send it to you, or, whatever. And I was sitting in the back of the room And it was, it was absolutely remarkable seeing so many people in the audience grabbing their smartphones. Like they couldn’t do it fast enough to get the QR code, right?


Oh, a hundred percent. And it’s a perfect example, right? Because he showed up with this amazing,  you know, keynote speech. It was helpful, it was actionable, it was informative, it was all of those things. And, he didn’t have to get up there and say, okay,  this is gonna help you, and here’s what we can do, and blah, blah, blah. Like, he shared something helpful, and then he gave people the option. And I was in that room and I raised my phone up to scan that QR code just like everyone else. But yeah, I mean, it was literally the whole audience. And when you think about the audience of that summit, it was, what, between three and 400 people? I mean, that’s incredible.


Right? And it goes back to,  point number three that you shared with us in, in my opinion, when you said grow your list in an intentional, targeted way. You know, those three to 400 people are exactly the type of people that Mitch could serve in a setup to serve and has so much experience in serving. But it felt great. And we were all like, yeah, yeah, yeah. I gotta shoot that QR code because it never felt schmutzy, right?


Not at all. And that’s the difference between being helpful. And I think all of these kinds of numbers one through four weave together because, you know, growing your sphere of influence and growing your authority also comes from being helpful.  Because it progresses naturally and organically. You can’t force anyone into believing you’re an authority. You can’t force anyone into your sphere of influence. So again, just showing up helpful, sharing something informative and actionable,  and just being genuine will naturally increase your sphere of influence and authority.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Building Influence with Genuine Engagement


How to build an email list for free — That’s the thing, right? I think if you have to, if you have to tell people like a wolf doesn’t have to tell anyone. It’s a wolf. It just is a wolf. And it’s recognizable to anyone and everyone. So I think it’s the same thing with a thought leader, an influencer, or an authority figure. Like the person walks in the room and you automatically know, right? You know, from what they say, from how they carry themselves. And the best part, I think, is that from what others have said about them and their reputation,  ’cause we all have a reputation, right? It’s sometimes not something that we can choose. So you have to be intentional about the way that you build it.  And people will naturally recognize that, and they’ll naturally recognize it if you’re not so.


Amen to that. Okay. So, really great high-level, although that sounds like a jux, a juxtaposition where I say high-level foundation, that doesn’t make any sense, but a really good high-level overview of this strategy, the siphoning strategy. So, if we were to think more eye level, more tactical steps, from your experience and how you teach this with our clients and in the community, what would be step one?


How to build an email list for free? Okay, so step one, and again, this is on the framework as well. So, if you haven’t downloaded that, go ahead and click to download it.  step one, we’re gonna talk about going narrow, as I mentioned. The reason that this is step one is that we have found that with our sprint clients, coaching clients usually find this to be the most difficult hurdle for agency owners and consultants to overcome.  they feel that by going narrow or niching down, they are saying no to more money, right? Because it’s kind of like, oh, I don’t wanna say no to people, especially if you’re in a pinch, especially if you’re a smaller agency or a smaller consultancy,  it can really feel scary to say no when something that looks like revenue walks through your door. Yep.  so step one, niching down.  and I just wanna kind of iterate here that, when you niche down, what you are actually saying no to are inefficient processes, custom products, and services that have to be reinvented with every new proposal. It wastes time and resources, and you’re also saying no to wrong-fit clients that will inevitably lead to losses in revenue. So niching down can make all of those problems smaller, if not eliminate them entirely. So that’s kind of why we start with step one.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Navigating Client Niches for Business Growth


Yeah. So I, oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you when you said the wrong fit piece. That reminded me of, again, last week at the summit, having a conversation with an owner. And I said, so, who is the right fit for you? Like, what are some of the right fit criteria and lit? And literally, he said, they have breadth and money. I’m like, oh boy.


And it’s funny, right? There have been so many times where I’ve talked with agency owners, and believe it or not, that is the criteria for a lot of business transactions that happen. And, it’s funny because even when they think that a wrong fit has money, typically, they don’t actually end up seeing the revenue that they thought they were gonna see because it’s their processes are inefficient. They’re having to come up with stuff on the fly. There are deliverables that are seemingly random. So, the wrong fit clients can really lead to loss of revenue. And that’s what I wanna stress here is that niching down is not saying no to revenue. It’s saying no to things that actually cost your business money.


I love that. So, it is a helpful resource here. If you don’t yet have the WHO framework that Eric, who’s our chief strategy officer here, and my business partner Predictive that Eric and Hannah designed, I would highly encourage you to go get our WHO framework. It’s, of course, free to. So, if you go to predictive,  you’ll be able to download the framework. Again, Hannah and Eric designed it to specifically help you identify,  find and identify your right-fit clients, what they look like, where they behave, or excuse me, how they behave,  the ponds that they’re swimming in. It’s a, it’s a fantastic framework that will help you sort out this step one,  that Hannah is talking about here for siphoning. So, let’s assume that somebody has moved past. Step one says, yep, I hear the words of wisdom that Anna’s talking about. I’m gonna go narrow. What’s next?


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Identifying Opportunities for Audience Engagement


Okay. So step one, I just wanna mention real quick that,  there’s kind of three ways that you can think about. Step one, you can think of it as your audience, your expertise, and or your industry. So,  for predictive, we’ve chosen to niche down in all three ways. So, our audience is primarily agency owners, CEOs or business consultants, and founders.  our expertise is growing your audience, nurturing leads, and increasing sales. Our industry is agencies and consultancies. So, when you’re thinking about step one, which is the go-narrow piece, I have a couple of questions listed in the framework. So, a good way to think about this is, who do I serve? How do I serve them? And what do I know about their unique challenges? So if you can get through those three questions, that’ll really help you kind of, delve into this go narrow step one.


So after step one, after you’ve kind of dove into that and figured that out.  step two is I want you to list some potential opportunities. And the way that I like to think about this is,  speaking or writing. So, most of us are naturally better at one over the other.  for those of you who are gifted in both, hooray for you; I am typically better at writing than speaking. That is where I feel,  most comfortable. So,  when you’re thinking about opportunities to get in front of other audiences,  first kind of decide, okay, do I wanna speak or do I wanna write?  and so some examples of speaking platforms would be podcasts. So, like what we’re doing here,  you could also try to guest on someone’s YouTube channel. You could co-host a webinar, or you can be at an event if you have connections in that way.


One of the opportunities on the writing side is guest blogging.  you can be a guest contributor for a media outlet.  you could be featured in a newsletter with something helpful, or you can co-author a book. So those are some different opportunities on the speaking and writing side. And,  one of the things to think about when you are thinking about opportunities is you wanna be really intentional about the ponds that you’re fishing in. So, Eric and I like to explain this as kind of a peanut butter and jelly relationship. So you want it to be complimentary but non-competitive. So,  Stephen, if you wanna give some examples of that in our kind of industry, just to give some real-life kind of example, that would probably be helpful for our audience too.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Finding Your PB&J Relationships


Okay. So,  great question. And we do have wonderful examples of Pb and J relationships. And I want to, so cite the work here from Pamela Slim, who wrote the book, the widest net, which is just absolutely brilliant. And when we study that book, we’re like, holy bananas,  PB and J relationships. That’s amazing. Plus, it’s also my favorite food, peanut butter and jelly.  it’s just amazing. Anyway, I am down with any sort of PB and J reference. But in all seriousness, our PB and J relationships here, like AMI Agency Management Institute, are a great example, right? So, I’ve written a book with Drew, I teach with Drew McClellan, CEO of AMI, and we do a lot of travel together. We go to events together.


And so there’s just a lot of interaction back and forth. He’s a guest on our Q and A. He is a guest on our podcast a whole bunch. And so because of that back and forth, we’re in his community. He’s in our community. We don’t compete, but we serve the same audience. We don’t compete at all in our services, but we have the same heart for serving the same audience as agency owners. Or like Susan Byer, the founder of, she’s the founder of Audience Audit. And so anytime one of our clients needs their cornerstone content to be researched, we bring Susan in. So she’s in our pond in our community, and we’re in her community And back and forth. So it’s a very good relationship, just going back and forth. Hence, the definition of PB and J is complimentary, not competitive, right? Yes.


Thank you for clarifying that for our audience. I think a lot of times when people are looking for their right fits, they typically tend to focus just on who can be a client, but it’s also important to look for the right fit partnerships, right? Or strategic partners, referral partners, or people in your network or industry that serve the same audience. So, really try to expand your thinking when you are being intentional about the ponds you’re fishing in. So, step two is actually listing the opportunities.  pick whether you’re more comfortable with speaking or writing, and then think about some of those PB and j relationships like Stephen just outlined. 


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Making Your Offer Irresistible


So before we go to step three, I just want to, maybe this is a slight nuance here, but I just want to maybe shine a brighter light back onto step one and maybe even the overarching kind of high level that you were giving us. And here’s what I mean by this. When you were saying, this is an opportunity to grow your list, but this is an opportunity for you to be intentional. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate,  authority and to expand your influence and all of that, it becomes really, really difficult then to step into step two, looking for podcasts or events and that kind of stuff, where you can stand on stage if your content doesn’t align, right? If you can’t be deeply helpful standing on somebody else’s stage, if you are then with generalistic content, at least in our opinion, am I tracking with you?


Oh, a hundred percent. And I try to think of this like, if I went to a trade show for mechanics and they wanted me to stand on stage and talk about catalytic converters or something, like, I have no idea. I’ve had nothing helpful to offer. My content would be super generic for that audience. So you really have to go narrow, think about your audience, think about your expertise, and think about the industry that you’re serving and that you want to serve and how you serve them. Because if you are not fishing in the right pond, it’ll actually have the opposite effect. Instead of expanding your sphere of influence or expanding your authority, the outcome will actually make you look kind of silly and like you’re in the wrong spot and like you don’t know what you’re talking about. And sometimes losing credibility in that way is really hard to recover.


Amen to that. So now we’ve got this really cool, high-level. We’ve got step one and step two. So what is step three?


Okay, so once you’ve gone narrow and once you’ve actually listed your opportunities for your potential audience, audience that you wanna siphon, the next thing that you wanna do,  is you wanna share something helpful. And this goes more than just,  sharing your thoughts.  it’s more than just an interview. It’s more than just a blog. So I believe in the intro, Stephen, you talked about,  screaming cool value exchange. So, something helpful that is so screaming cool that people can’t wait to get their hands on it. So, step three is to develop or refine your screaming cool value exchange. So that way, you’re showing up. You’re not just sharing your expertise, which is incredible on its own, but you are giving the audience a way to connect with you in a higher context.  So,  I always have kind of three rules that your screaming cool value exchange should be.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Engaging Hearts and Minds


So, number one, it should be helpful. Number two, it should be informative. And number three, and this one’s really important, it should be actionable. So it’s one thing to throw information at people; it’s another thing to give them information that they can actually implement and execute that makes their lives better or makes their businesses better. So,  helpful, informative, and actionable.  so you should have a screaming pool value exchange that meets all of those criteria that you share with the audience. So Stephen, in your example, with Mitch, when he was speaking, and then he put up a QR code, he had something helpful that the audience could download. And that’s helpful in two ways, right? Because it’s helpful to the audience. He’s sharing something that’s actionable, something they can take home, something they can execute on, execute something that’s informative. And also, he’s growing his list, so they step into a deeper context relationship with him and his business.


Yeah. And he did such a masterful job of the helpful, inform, or informative, excuse me, helpful, informative, actionable three words I tried to throw together into one word: terrible. Anyway, because what he then added this layer into that was this heart connection piece. Like those three buckets that he was talking about at the end of his keynote, it was so, like, there was this sort of energy charge to it, like this emotionality, like you would not question that it was helpful. You’re like, yes, I want that because I know that it’s gonna be helpful and I’m gonna learn something new, hence informative, and I’m gonna be able to take action on what he’s given me because he just gave me 58 minutes of awesome. So I can’t wait to get that thing. And layering in this heart piece that really connects with the audience. I mean, it was just absolutely masterful to see that in action.


Yeah, a hundred percent. And I think that’s, you know, really indicative that he showed up in an authentic way. ’cause remember we talked about when you show up in a disingenuous way or an inauthentic way, you don’t have that heart connection. And that’s why, when we originally were listing the goals and intentions, one of them, number two, was to form or deepen relationships within your network. So it’s really that relational piece that, that is the heart piece that makes people wanna lean in and say, Hey, this person isn’t just trying to sell something, they’re actually trying to help me and make my life better. So when you’re thinking about step three, developing or refining your screaming cool value exchange, really try to think of it from the lens of deepening relationships within your network. It’s, again, helpful, informative, actionable.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Repurposing Content for Impactful Value


So one of the kinds of phrases that I’ve heard you and Eric use is to look under the digital bed. I know that I’m not saying that quite right, so I’m serving that up to you ’cause I know you’ll correct it and say it better.  but essentially, maybe somebody doesn’t have to create this from scratch; maybe they already have it. So can you,  take us through that piece?


A hundred percent. And it’s so important that you mention this because, a lot of times, the screaming cool value exchange is very daunting and overwhelming.  you know, we’re all so busy during the day. We all have a million things running through our brains. We all have a million meetings and you know, like I said, family responsibilities, personal, professional life, all of these things. So sometimes, this is where people kind of fall down. They think, oh, I don’t have anything. I don’t even know how to put this together. Does it have to be an ebook? Does it have to be 50 pages? Like, yada, yada, yada. So,  one of the things that Eric and I advised and you did, you said it correctly, Stephen. Oh, okay. So, we try to tell people to look under their digital bed. And what we mean by that is typically you have content, or you have an infographic, or you have one sheet, you have something, most people have something that they’ve developed for something in the past, and it can probably be repurposed or reformatted or updated.  so that’s a lot easier than starting from scratch.  the one thing to say about that is that it still needs to be helpful to the intended audience.  ,  that you’re speaking to. So try to find something,  under your digital bed that is, maybe not starting from scratch and maybe can be repurposed or refined, or it might be good as is. And you might think, Hey, this was really smart. I don’t know why I never looked at it again.


I love that because it may be a shorter path to revenue or a shorter path to list growth, but putting it against the litmus test is helpful. Is it informative? Is it actionable? And then going, maybe going then to step two, like, where could I envision using this? And then going to step one, like, is this truly narrow? Right? And then against kind of your o for your four overarching goals. So that, that’s really cool. If you find something, Hannah has just given you sort of the litmus test of whether you should or should not use it, right?


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Turning Plans into Action


Yeah, a hundred percent. And,  you know, that’s kind of the beauty of this framework, which is that it can be retroactive or proactive. You can, start in different places and kind of work your way with what you have. So yeah, I think when you’re looking at your screaming cool value exchange, or you’re thinking about creating it, and even your content, really when you’re creating your content, it should pass all of these criteria.


I love this. Okay, so I know that we need to start thinking about coming in for a landing, but I know there’s step four. So, let’s go through step four and Discuss how somebody can think about this whole process And put it into a plan that they can start to execute.


Okay, perfect. So, just to recap real quick, step one was to go narrow. Pick your audience, your expertise, and your industry. Step two is to think about opportunities and actually write them down. So whether you’re good at speaking or writing, there are different platforms and opportunities for each of those. Step three was the screaming cool value exchange.  it needs to be helpful, informative, and actionable, something that you can share with the audience so they can have a higher context with you and join your list. So step four is to actually make the plan to reach out.  So step two, you listed the opportunities you probably thought about people in your network or in your community, or people that you want to connect with outside of your community. So step four is actually bringing this all together and executing on it. So, there are kind of three substeps within this one.  so making a plan to reach out, we want you to have a door-opening email. So this is something where you introduce yourself,  you kind of, list how you think you can be helpful to their audience. You talk about some credibility so they know you’re not just; what is it, John Melli, that you always say?


You don’t want any John McEllis. You want to list your credibility, mutual context, or other relevant information.


O, one of these days, I’m gonna get an email from a John schmuck, Catelli’s like, dude, seriously, come on.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Strategies for Successful Connection


Oh, that’s like, Andrew actually met someone named Babet. But,  so yeah, so you wanna do the door opening email.  that includes all of those things. And it’s important to note that this door-opening email may not lead to a booking right away. That’s not really the intention. It’s really reaching out, kind of opening the door, and kind of, basically, figuring out how you can be helpful and beneficial to the person that you’re reaching out to. You can be helpful and beneficial to their audience. So that is the door-opening email. Then if you are,  in our membership group,  we have templates for these on predictive So these are all in our all-access pass library. You can find the templates if you’re a member. So, the door-opening email is number one.


We also have templates for some follow-up emails. So, if you don’t get a response within a certain amount of time, you can send a follow-up email. And we have,  again, templates for that on our site if you’re a member.  and then number three is an effective one sheet. We also have resources for how to create that,  just so that way you can send it out. People kind of get a feel for who you are and what you’re about, and they can make sure ’cause a lot of people are very protective of their communities.  and rightly so, we are protective of our community as well. We don’t want people coming in that don’t align with our values and goals. So if you have one sheet,  you can kind of get through some of those filters and make sure that it’s the right fit for you and them. So that is step four is the actual plan to reach out to the people that you want to siphon their audience.


This is great advice. And, we, we, we get, we get pitched, so that’s probably the appropriate word because most of them are pitches from prospective guests or guests who want to be considered for the show and all of that. And that’s lovely to receive that sort of kind of volume. But I will tell you as, as you know, most of them are, completely,  not just, not just sort of spam, but you can tell they’re automated. You can tell that somebody just sent it. Somebody didn’t, really. Is it like they’re playing the volume game? Instead, the way to break through that clutter is, is by doing what you’ve said And just this whole entire strategy. It’s like, be helpful, be researched. How can you add value to the audience? Talk about that specifically, and stop pitching.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Building Bridges, Not Sales Pitches


This is not about selling. It’s about how you can be a helpful step. And also, you’re asking for a huge privilege. You’re asking for this huge honor to step into somebody else’s audience with their sort of vote of credibility to share something smart. And, if somebody says yes and puts a guest in front of their audience and that guest is not good, then that affects the host, the conference organizer, the meeting planner, or whatever. So there’s a little bit of risk there. And so to honor that by putting your best foot forward by showing how you can be helpful, it’s so important. Right?


A hundred percent. And I love that you touched on that, Stephen. Cause I think, as a business owner, an agency owner, you’ve been on both spectrums, right? Like, when you were growing predictive, I’m sure you were trying to get in front of people’s audiences. I’m sure you were trying to show up and be helpful. You kind of, we’re trying to grow your list and all of that. And now that you are established, you have a podcast, you have people that are reaching out to you as well. And it’s such a stark difference that you recognize immediately between people who are just playing the numbers game. And I can’t even count how many emails I get a day from just everyone. So, like, if I see something that looks like spam, I don’t; I read the subject, and I delete it. Like, it’s so easy to tell. And so I think that you have experience with, obviously, growing your agency and then now being in a position where you can allow people to come to share with our audience. Like, you just have such a good perspective on that And why it’s so important to be helpful and not gross.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Building Genuine Connections in Business


Yeah. Right, because growing gross is just gross and feels gross. So just stop. Like May, should we make that the title of the episode? Just stop being gross. I’m kidding. Of course. 


Right? Don’t be gross. But it’s really kind of funny. Yesterday, I was talking with a prospective client, and I know this is sort of a gross example, but everybody gets it because we’ve seen this person do this, or maybe we’ve had it done. To us, it feels equally gross in that scenario. But we see a person walk into the bar, grab a drink, head toward the person who they find attractive, and try to get the third base in the first five minutes. That’s gross. Very like, you can see it almost happening. Like, oh no, it’s like in slow motion. You’re like, ah, you, you wanna stop it. It’s, it’s gonna be super gross. And we know that it’s gross in a social situation, nobody would argue that, at least I hope not. Maybe the person doing it would say, no, it’s, that’s gross.


Right? So, but I mean, it is gross, and it feels yucky, and it’s terrible. And then, in the business situation, people try to do that all the time and circumvent social norms, which are the laws of nature. And don’t do that with your content, either. And you have these four steps that you just outlined, which actually completely go 180 degrees in the opposite direction, from yucky to helpful and being there for the recipient, for the audience, whatever. And then you show up in a great way, just like Mitch did last week, right?


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Expanding Opportunities


And you know what the greatest thing about that is? When you show up in that way, and you’re helpful, and you know you’re excited and authentic and all of those things, you’re gonna get invited back. So not only do you have one opportunity, most of the time that turns into multiple opportunities. And when there’s, you mentioned AMI, they’re a great partner for us. They’re a great audience for us.  how many times have we been to their events, and we’ve been able to meet really helpful and awesome people? we’ve grown and cultivated this amazing community because we get invited back because we show up as we are; we’re authentic. We’re not trying to be salesy. We’re trying to learn from others just as much as they learn from us. And when you show up that way, it just expands the opportunities, and it becomes kind of exponential. It grows in an exponential way.


Yeah. One, 100%. And how, like in a pinch,  last week,  you then stepped in for Drew to facilitate his round table. And you get tapped for that because Drew has confidence in your smarts and how you are going to show up. And you’re not going to step into the round table thinking, oh, well, there’s gonna be 10 people sitting here that aren’t gonna try to monetize. Like he knows you, then that’s not your heart. And people walk out of that round table saying, wow, did I learn something new? She was really helpful. Now she gave me some actionable ideas, right? And then it’s a day or a decade, and maybe we’ll never be helpful to those people, but, but maybe we will be, but it’s not because we’re trying to be or that we come off as being schmutzy, right?


Not at all. And yes, I definitely did not show up to the round table thinking, oh, here are 10 people I can monetize. I showed up to the round table thinking, oh my god, there are some people. So yeah, no, but it was amazing. And also,  you know, you remember that everyone has different experiences and insights. You can always learn new things from other people as well, even when you are the teacher.  so just having a collaborative environment, too, might not get you a direct sale per se, but at the very least, you’re gonna leave with expanded knowledge and, again, expanding your sphere of influence and your authority. So, there are really no downsides to this strategy.


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How to Build an Email List For Free: Final Bits of Advice from Hannah


No o, other than that, yes, it requires patience. And that’s what a good sales process is, patience. And so that every time someone in your audience turns around there, you are being helpful. And so they don’t feel like, drew, and I use this analogy in the book, about the timid deer stepping into your yard and it’s like, oh, there’s a hot lead, and I gotta pounce on them. And that it is just a horrible scenario. Nobody wants to be the deer that got pounced on. So stop doing the pouncing. It feels gross. Instead, follow these steps that Hannah just shared with you because it’s a great way to give someone who has audience confidence that you’re going to step in front of their audience, their most trusted asset inside their business, that you’re gonna step in front of the audience and not only behave, but you’re gonna step in front of the off audience and add a tremendous amount of value, a huge amount of value,  and then that’ll come back to you in spades. So,  Hannah, I know we need to come in for a landing. So before we go, before we close out and say goodbye, any final advice, anything you think we might have missed? And then please tell our audience the best way to connect with you.


Yeah, perfect. So, the final advice is don’t be gross; I had originally named the framework how to siphon others’ audiences into your own. But I, I’m rethinking that now into maybe just don’t be gross. So don’t be gross. No. Take these steps and advice and start implementing and executing it in your own business. And I promise you’ll see the results from it. You will grow personally, you will grow professionally, you’ll grow your list. So,  all of those things are great, and I hope this has been super helpful. If you’d like to get in touch with me, you can email me at [email protected], you can also find me on LinkedIn or Facebook in our How to Fill Your Sales Pipeline Facebook group. So those are the best ways to get in touch with me and Stephen, as always, thank you. And I didn’t put you in the hot seat too much, but don’t expect that next time. So I’ll have to cook up something even better.


Wow. Okay. Shot over the bow. Okay. I heard Yes. Okay. Everyone, no matter how many notes you took or how often you go back and re-listen to Hannah’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope that you do. The key is you have to take the four steps: all of the guidance, all of the advice, and all of the examples; you have to take that and put it into practice, apply it, and accelerate your results because you did. Right. The key is the application. It’s one thing to actually take the instruction and take the knowledge and take the framework, but then you have to apply it and accelerate your results. And Hannah, we have the same 86,400 seconds in a day. And I’m grateful that you said yes for a fourth time to come onto the show, to be our mentor, to be our guide, to help us move our businesses onward to that next level. Thank you so much, my friend.


You are so welcome. Thank you. It’s an honor to be here anytime I get to step in front of our audience. I feel very honored and proud. Thank you for having me.

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Sell with Authority Podcast

The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.

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