How to Turn a Small Email List into Big Profits

One of the topics that business owners want to hear about the most from us is our superpower of turning a small email list into big profits. We have consistently achieved this for Thrive Virtual, and for our clients. Entrepreneurs who have smaller email lists can sometimes be discouraged, wondering if they are reaching enough people to make an impact. What we want to help female entrepreneurs avoid is solving the wrong problem. Often, a female entrepreneur just starts doubting everything, including her instincts, and starts undoing work that’s actually really good because she’s trying to solve the wrong problem.

The reality is that 96% of businesses fail. And the number one reason they fail is that they run out of capital, i.e., cash flow. Knowing how to tap into what you’ve got, and turn it into cash, is one of the most important skill sets an entrepreneur can possess to help them stay in business. 

At Thrive Virtual, we believe the most important asset in an online-based business is the email list. In this post, we’ll show you how changing your thought process around that list can free your mind to the potential hidden within the list.

The Three Core Components of Converting Your Email List to Income

There are three core things that work to convert a smaller email list into solid income:

  1. Make it Personal
  2. Offer to Help
  3. Know Your Numbers


As we go into depth on each of these, know that if you have an email list of any size, five people, 16 people, or 1,000, you’re already ahead of the pack by just having it! Once you have an email list, you have profit potential. It’s just a matter of tapping into it.

Also of note, it’s helpful to understand that a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is where you should house a legal email list. It will keep your database organized, allow you to store important customer data, and provide helpful reporting on your email communications.

1. Making it Personal: Change How You View Your Email List
Next, you will need to shift the way you think about your email list. We all hear this question often: “Are you a glass half-empty, or half-full person?” When we’re talking about a small email list, it’s obviously important to continue to grow it. And when you’re talking about monetizing it, it’s really important to come to the table with a glass half-full perspective.

You really want to make it about the people. The way to self-coach into this productive relationship with your email list is to first close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. Imagine all of the people on your email list showing up at your house at once. For some of you, imagining that many people showing up would create a block party! Wow, that puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Allow yourself to feel the potential of your list by visualizing a real situation.

Then, from that place, imagine individual people coming to your door and asking you a question, or asking for your services. Once you shift into a place of generosity and focusing on serving real people, you then can approach your email list differently. Picture real people before you send out an email asking them to care about what you’re doing so that you can adjust your thinking and messaging around how you can best serve them. We’ve seen this work for business owners over and over.

Another perspective shift can come in the form of the number of prospects on the list vs. converted clients. Say you have 100 individuals on your email list, and two paying clients. You may feel discouraged by those numbers and think you aren’t working hard enough, or not hitting the right mark with your communications. But when you shift your thinking and look at the power of your list, you see you’re already converting 2% of your list into buyers. Now imagine what will happen as your list grows.

It’s important to acknowledge that you’re already winning in many areas. Shift perspective and imagine the abundance. When we’re coming from a place of love, appreciation, and acknowledgement of the real human beings involved, we then show up more productively, effectively, and find success. Remember the Power of One and how one person converting to a client will make a ripple effect from there.

2. Offer to Help
As you put together the messaging in an email, there’s one exact thing to say that immediately gets attention and response from your audience. This is effective even if you haven’t sent anything for a while, or if they’ve been quiet in response to past emails. It’s a four-word, simple phrase:

I can help you.

As an entrepreneur, have the strength, courage, and certainty to simply say those four words. Practice thinking: “How can I help these people, specifically?” If you don’t know what they want, then send out a survey. A few helpful survey questions are, “What do you want?”, and, “Why is that important to you?” Their answers reveal what they consciously want, and their emotional driver. Use their language that you hear in comments, questions, etc. Then, in your communications, you can speak to them and understand their wants and challenges, and thus how you can solve them. Offer fill-in-the-blank survey questions, because they provide much more information. You don’t have to always do a formal survey either. Survey data can come from a private chat over Facebook with a potential client. Use your CRM to store this valuable client information.

Here’s a truth: People want to buy from people who have the courage to say, “I’m a leader in this arena. I want to help you, and I know how to help you.” Give them that sense of confidence so that they feel safe to lean into you and buy from you. Just simply having this come through in your messaging could be the thing that allows those who’ve been following you to actually step forward and purchase from you.

A simple way to get in this mindset is to practice saying: “This is what I went through, and this is what I know now. This is how I can help people.” Owning what you’re comfortable with and communicating it often will attract people who need exactly that.

3. Know Your Numbers
The third secret is knowing your numbers. First, understand that one to two percent of your email list are buyers at any given time. This is a great barometer to follow. Knowing that, we’ll use this example:

  • Alexis has 250 people on her email list
  • She statistically has 2.5 to 5 buyers

Alexis needs to be realistic and not think that everyone on her list wants to buy her product/service. Or she may think the opposite way; that 250 is not enough to have even one buyer. Having realistic, grounded expectations is important.

Alexis can look at her numbers and do some planning. Let’s say she started doing Facebook ads and over time grew her list to 1,000 people. She has greatly improved the amount of potential buyers on her list to be 10 to 20 people.

Keep in mind too that it’s perfectly fine to have a small, yet mighty email list, because the size sometimes really doesn’t matter. It’s about the quality of the community. The quality of the list always trumps the size, because you can create a mass movement when it’s really mission driven.

From here is where you can develop your price point for your product or service. Set your income goal during your sales cycle and work backward from there. How many sales, at what price, do you need to make during a cycle in order to reach that income goal? Then, how many total people do you need on your email list to have the one to two percent equal your desired number of sales? Play around with the numbers until you feel completely comfortable with your plan. Then you can start brainstorming ideas to grow your list.

The Effective Trifecta

Turning a small email list into meaningful profit is part psychology, part human behavior, and part formula. Combine those things to unlock the potential of your list. Don’t be discouraged by having a small list, you can effectively leverage the influence that you’ve already built. A simple perspective shift, and understanding how you communicate with the human beings on that list, make the difference.