You’re currently reading Chapter 5 of The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your E-mail List.
When I first started primozbozic.com, I went from 0-600 e-mail subscribers in less than two months. A month later, I successfully launched my first online course (a 2-hour productivity workshop), and got 7 sales to make my first $350 with this online business.
A few months later, I improved that online course and had my first $1,000 launch. Then a $2,000 launch. Then a $5,000 launch. Within the first year of starting my website, I made over $30,000 through online courses and coaching services that I sold through my website.
The engine behind the exponential growth of my online business was my e-mail list, which grew from 0 to 2,200 e-mail subscribers within the first year of my business:
The key to building the initial momentum and getting to 600 e-mail subscribers was finding a problem worth solving.
With only two articles written on my website, I created The Ultimate Guide to Creating Bulletproof Habits:
Back in 2014, not many people talked about how to create habits that stick, and when I wrote this guide, it created a lot of buzz. People talked about it, used it to form better habits, and shared it with their friends.
That was my problem worth solving.
I created something remarkable about a problem many people had but nobody solver, and became known for it. I was no longer a “no-one”, I was someone worth paying attention to.
I’ve seen a similar pattern in many online entrepreneurs I interviewed to create this guide:
- Sam Gavis-Hughson published an e-book about coding interviews that helped him double his e-mail list overnight, attracting 500+ new e-mail subscribers
- Olivia Angelescu created a database of websites and publications that bloggers could pitch, together with exact guidelines to pitch them, to get to 400+ e-mail subscribers
- Rusty Gray wrote a guest post for a major animation website and got 400+ e-mail subscribers from it
- Peter Nguyen wrote a guest post for a popular style blog and attracted 1,000+ e-mail subscribers from it
If we break down the process for how they did it, it’s pretty simple:
- They found a Problem Worth Solving that their audience has
- They created a Lead Magnet to solve that Problem
- They promoted the Lead Magnet to grow their e-mail list to 500-1,000 e-mail subscribers
Table of Contents
- 1 Why You Need a Problem Worth Solving
- 2 How to Start a Casual Conversation With Your E-mail Subscribers to Discover Their Problems
- 3 The BEST Way to Find Problems Worth Solving: Welcome Calls
Why You Need a Problem Worth Solving
Before we talk about how to create a Lead Magnet, we need to find a Problem Worth Solving that our Lead Magnet will help with.
You might have heard other entrepreneurs say that “building a business boils down to solving problems of your audience”.
That’s exactly true – in order to get people’s attention (whether it’s to read a blog post, subscribe to your e-mail list, hire you as a coach or join your online course), you need to solve a problem they have.
The bigger the problem, the more likely you are to get their attention.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to solve the problems of our audience in the most effective possible way to stand out in your industries and stand out from everyone else, while creating your own following of Raving Fans.
But to do that, your first need to FIND a Problem Worth Solving.
What is a Problem Worth Solving?
A Problem Worth Solving is a problem that your audience complains about over and over again.
A Problem Worth Solving is a problem that your audience spends hours and hours Googling about to find the solution.
A Problem Worth Solving is a problem that keeps your audience up at night.
Here are some examples:
- Let’s say you have a job interview for Google coming up in 2 weeks, and you have no idea how to prepare for it. That’s a Problem Worth Solving, and Sam can help you solve it.
- Let’s say you want to buy a new leather jacket and are willing to spend $500-$1,000 on it, but have no idea what to look for in a leather jacket and don’t want to waste your money. That’s a Problem Worth Solving, and Peter can help you solve it.
- Let’s say you have a TEDx talk coming up in a month and you have no idea how to put together a great talk. That’s a Problem Worth Solving, and Ryan can help you solve it.
You can spot a Problem Worth Solving when you see people complaining about a problem with a lot of emotion.
Let’s say you’re looking at a reddit thread. If you find a thread that hundreds of people are commenting on and they’re writing long, detailed responses, it means that you’ve discovered a Problem Worth Solving.
If people take the time to complain or talk about a problem at length, it’s likely a Problem Worth Solving.
How to Find a Problem Worth Solving: Talk to Your First 100 Fans!
In an earlier chapter of this guide, I taught you how to collect your first 100 e-mail subscribers (Your First 100 Fans).
If you haven’t read that chapter yet, give it a read, as it will make Problem Worth Solving and answering questions like “where can I find people to talk to?” SO much easier.
Once you already have a list of 100 e-mail subscribers, you don’t have to look far to find a Problem Worth Solving. You can just talk to them and ask them what it is!
Gabriela Pereira did exactly that when she started growing her e-mail list. She reached out to her e-mail subscribers and invited them to jump on a Skype call with her.
She talked to them about what they were up to and what challenges they faced when it came to writing. She made a lot of great connections that way and got a lot of research done for her business as well.
When you attract your first 100 e-mail subscribers, don’t rush to get to thousands of e-mail subscribers as soon as possible.
Appreciate the fact that there are 100 people out there who are eager to listen to what you have to say. It’s as if you spoke at a conference in front of 100 people.
How to Start a Casual Conversation With Your E-mail Subscribers to Discover Their Problems
Don’t treat these people as just numbers. Instead, start Casual Conversations with them.
Treat them as real people. Take the time to talk to them. Email them. Message them on Facebook. Invite them to a Skype call with you. Be curious about what they are up to, and what challenges they are facing. Ask them a lot of questions. Get to know them better, like you would get to know a friend.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be as simple as saying:
“Hey, I know you said you wanted to speak at TEDx, can you tell me more about why you want to do that?”
And then naturally evolving the conversation from there.
Talk to them as if you met them in person (or as if you were talking to a friend). Ask them what they do for a living. Ask them about what they want. Ask them about their struggles.
You’ll soon start seeing hints of Problems Worth Solving.
The BEST Way to Find Problems Worth Solving: Welcome Calls
The most valuable thing you can do at this stage is to invite your e-mail subscribers to a Skype call with you. Think of it as a Welcome Call for signing up to your e-mail list.
This will help you get to meet them face to face and as real people, and help you really understand and get to know them a lot better than you would if you just exchanged e-mails with them.
You can invite them to a Welcome Call in a very casual way:
“Hey, I’d love to talk to you more about this subject – would you be open to talking on Skype with me for 30 minutes some time this week so we can officially “meet” each other face to face?”
During the Welcome Call, you can have a casual conversation around things like:
- Who they are, and what they do for a living
- Why they are interested in learning more about [TOPIC]
- What are the biggest challenges they have
- What’s the most painful around those challenges
- What they want to achieve
- Why they want to achieve it
- What are the biggest obstacles in their way
- What they tired doing before, what worked and what didn’t
- What annoys them the most about advice that’s already out there
- What’s missing for them? What’s something that nobody talks about?
Don’t go through these questions like a formal interview. That won’t make people open up to you.
Instead, use these questions as things you can talk about if you run out of things to say, as icebreakers or as follow up questions.
Use natural follow up questions like “ooh, that’s interesting, tell me more!” as a way to naturally evolve the conversation, and if you end up talking about something completely unrelated, that’s ok! You’re trying to get to know your e-mails subscribers as people, not just as customer research subjects.
Your goal at this stage should be to build real, meaningful connections with your first 100 e-mail subscribers and turn them into your First 100 Fans.
These fans will then:
- Tell you the problems they’re struggling with (so you can help them solve them)
- Help you promote your Remarkable Content and Lead Magnets as you publish them
- Become your first customers
And they’ll also help you come up with an idea for your Epic Lead Magnet that will help you attract more people just like them.
Best of all, they’ll be the people that “get you” that you can talk to about things that excite you, and they’ll be the first people that you can start helping in your online business journey.
Talk to your First 100 Fans. Note down the challenges they share with you. Sooner or later, you’ll see a pattern emerging.
Maybe there will be a common problem that everyone has. Maybe there will be a problem that people get really emotional about. Maybe there will be a problem that people can’t stop talking about.
What to do if You Find More Than One Problem Worth Solving
If you’re not sure which topic you should create your Epic Lead Magnet about, you can either pick the topic you’re the most excited to talk about, or ask your e-mail subscribers which idea they’d like for you to talk about.
For example, you could write an e-mail like this to your e-mail subscribers:
SUBJ: Quick question about speaking at TEDx events
“Hey guys, I talked to a lot of you over the past week, and I’m thinking about creating an amazing resource that will help you [speak at a TEDx event].
I’m torn on what I should create this resource about though.
I’m thinking about one of the following:
-How to find a great idea for a TEDx talk
-How to find the best TEDx event to speak at
-How to prepare for a TEDx talk in under 30 days
Can you let me know which resource you like the most by replying to this e-mail? I’ll then create the resource that gets the most votes.
This will help you find a “winning” Problem Worth Solving. And if the votes are tied, choose a problem that either (1) gets the biggest emotional response from your audience, or (2) you’re the most excited to solve.
Continue to Chapter 6: How to Create an EPIC Lead Magnet
Your Turn: What’s a Problem Worth Solving you’ve successfully identified? Share it with us in the comments below!
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