Do you believe you need to have thousands of email subscribers to successfully pull off an email launch? What if I told you it’s possible to see more sales generated from a small email list? If you’re skeptical, keep reading because I’m sharing the 3 biggest lessons I’ve learned from helping business owners nurture their email list and convert prospects into buyers.


So often we hear that the best way to be successful online is through focusing on building a big email list with lots of subscribers, and there are usually two ways to achieve that:

  1. Organic traffic
  2. Paid traffic

Now, this isn’t a lesson on how to do either one, really. Today I want to talk about why email list size is actually the wrong thing to focus on when selling online.

Here’s the truth: your email list isn’t “too small” to reap the benefits of marketing and selling online.

What you really want instead of a big email list is an engaged email list.

When we spend a lot of time and resources focused on subscriber count, we’re putting a lot of faith into a number. A number that's actually arbitrary and meaningless if those subscribers aren’t aligned with our messaging, aren’t part of our target audience and aren’t really qualified to work with us or buy our offers.

Before I go any further, let me clarify that YES: list building is an essential part of growing a successful online business, but more importantly, you should be focusing on email nurturing and engagement over list size.

Why? Because when you cultivate an email list (regardless of its size) with subscribers who are ideal customers but who also have shown interest in your email content through opening, reading and taking action on the emails you’re sending them, they have a much higher chance of converting into a buyer during your promotional period or email launch.

What does “nurturing a small email list” actually look like?

There are several easy ways to encourage your subscribers to stay engaged with your content, but let’s look at my two favorite types of nurture email content:

New Subscriber Nurture Sequence. This is a series of emails welcoming your new subscriber onto your list, giving them more information about yourself, your brand and positioning yourself as a guide to help them solve the problems they’re having that are directly related to the offers and products you sell.

Long Term Nurture Campaign. Consistency is key with nurturing, and no – you don’t have to send an email newsletter every week to consistently connect with your subscribers. You can choose to automate communication by setting up a long term nurture campaign that features your best content, dripped out over a period of time for all of your subscribers to consume, based on when they subscribed to your list.

If you’re focusing on building your email list, and you’re not nurturing your subscribers through consistent, valuable, engaging content, you’re not reaping the full benefits of having an email list when the time comes to promote and sell your offers and services.


If you believe that email list size is a key indicator of a successful launch, and you’re a business owner who hasn’t been focusing on list growth, its easy to feel discouraged when your launch doesn’t perform as well as you thought it would.

But if you pull back the curtain on some of today’s “popular” marketers’ launches (and I can speak to this because I have BEEN behind the curtain, helping them launch their flagship products and programs) you’ll see that a majority of their sales was a direct result of many, many dollars spent in paid advertising, which gave them a hefty amount of new subscribers to promote to during each of those launches.

But the reality is: the majority of online business owners don’t have the budget for acquiring thousands of new subscribers through paid advertising, and therefore, this funnel strategy isn’t available in real life to most small business owners.

If you have a small email list, what CAN you do increase sales?

Instead of focusing on how many subscribers you have on your email list, shift your attention to subscriber behavior and monitor email metrics like open rates, click rates and micro-actions like webinar attendance, consumption of educational content and sales page clicks.

These “needle moving” metrics are the ones that magnify warm segments of potential buyers who have a higher probability of converting during your launch - not your email list size.

Big ad spends and thousands of subscribers are NOT the only way to hit your sales goals.

Be a savvy CEO who focuses on email list behavior and engagement instead of vanity metrics like email list size to hit launch goals.

If you prioritize communicating with those warm segments by following up with more personalized, targeted emails, you’ll naturally be continuing a sales conversation with the people who are actually interested in your offer, and that intentional, segmented follow up has been proven to increase revenue during an email launch.

Rethinking your marketing and sales cycles in this way alleviates the stress, shame and guilt you may have felt in the past, for not having success while trying to launch “like everyone else”.

The Zen Marketing Method gives you flexibility, room to grow, and permission to communicate and convert your buyers on a timeline (and budget) that works for you and your business.


I understand that not every small business owner has the budget to bring on a marketing strategist to review, edit and publish every piece of marketing material you need to produce during both the on/off launch cycles in your business.

And until now, the success of using email marketing has been painted as reserved only for the business owners who have a hefty ad budget and a big email list.

When in reality, it’s not just the ad budget, the thing that differentiates you from “them” is a SKILLSET.

Here’s why learning and understanding email marketing from an email marketing expert will help you: once you learn the skill of nurturing and selling to your email list, the skillset, strategies and techniques in the Zen Marketing Method are the same regardless of what your niche is, how much money you make each year, or how many people are on your email list.

And once you switch your focus from comparing your launch plan to everyone else’s and start courageously practicing the skill of email marketing using the Zen Marketing Method you’ll start to see better results and more conversions because you’ve reviewed the data and have been making changes based on how your email list responds….

You’ll stop wasting time rewriting emails that actually performed well.

You’ll stop spending the budget you don’t have on unnecessary an entire redesign of your sales page and membership portal thinking it’s the problem for not seeing more sales.

You’ll start spending time you DO have more wisely by focusing on the precise points of your marketing plan that need to be refined.

You’ll start trusting your email metrics to inform business decisions.

Your time will be used wisely, allowing you to produce content & assets that will move the needle in your business.


Remember that your email list size isn’t too small to experience success as an online business owner.

Take a few minutes to reflect on what metrics you’ve been focusing on and start paying attention to not how many subscribers you have, but rather how your subscribers are behaving.

The Zen Marketing Method will help you review email data that matters and increase your likelihood of converting buyers because you’ll be communicating to specific segments of warm prospects and making changes only to the components of your email marketing strategy that need to be optimized.

And lastly: remember that email marketing is a skill that you can improve over time with consistent practice. And that improvement will come the more you start reviewing and refining your email marketing content and stop wasting your time trying to reinvent the wheel every time you need to sell to your list.

Thank you so much for reading; if I can support you in any way, let’s connect!

About the Author:

Jamie DuBose is the CEO, Launch Strategist & Marketing Automation Specialist at Zenplicity. She helps profitable entrepreneurs make strategic marketing decisions that consistently improve their business & increase their revenue. Her expertise lies in creating targeted, high-performing campaigns that track & use behavior-based subscriber metrics to sell more units to a more engaged audience.
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