“Email marketing is dead! Open rates suck!”

“Email marketing is the #1 thing you should focus on! Drop everything else!”

Conflicting thoughts, much? 

If you’re feeling confused about email marketing in the midst of kickstarting your freelance business or side hustle, and would rather shove the whole idea to the side…

How to grow your email list and boost sales with a quiz - Elise Darma.png

I hear ya.

Besides, when you’re just getting started, it seems like one of those things you can worry about when you actually have a business with customers and followers up and running, right?

WRONG. (Sorry for the shouting.)

One of my earliest mistakes in my freelancing career was ignoring the importance of list building.

I didn’t think it was necessary since I had just a handful of clients at any given time.

Besides, what would I do with 100 or 1,000 email subscribers? What would I send them?

What I was ignoring then was this simple fact:

When someone opts in to your email list, you then “own” their email address.

Granted, you followed the anti-spam practices for your country. In Canada, this means that I need proof that someone confirmed their subscription and that I didn’t just add them to my list, willy-nilly. You’ll want to read up on the specifics of email marketing and anti-spam practices in your country to be on the safe side.

When someone follows you on social media or reads your blog, you don’t gain access to ANY of their personal information.

Sure, they boost your follower count, but if you’re not attracting them over to your email list, you’re losing out on the chance to lead them to your services, products and paid offers.

Believe me, people NEED coaxing.

Followers aren’t mind readers. So don’t assume they know what you do or what you have to offer.

An email list is the perfect strategic partner to a healthy social media following. 

Thank the email gods – a subscriber!

Thank the email gods – a subscriber!

And the sooner you start, the better.

In my experience, list building is the slow and steady race.

When I first started my list for this very website EliseDarma.com, I would get disheartened when people would unsubscribe (yes, I tracked this sometimes daily and no, I wouldn’t recommend doing that 😁).

Then, I had no clue how to turn people from followers on my Instagram into paying customers.

That was until I learned about using quizzes as a way to grow my list.

With half the time and effort, I was suddenly able to:

  • Kickstart the growth of my email list
  • Learn more about my followers
  • Boost my brand’s awareness on social media
  • Improve my sales with pre-qualified potential leads 

Bottom line: quizzes did more than just grow my email list.

With quizzes attracting followers to opt into my list, I could better understand my audience, book in more clients, and increase awareness of my brand.

Here’s how to create a winning quiz that will grow your mailing list.

Step 1: Research Your Audience

The secret sauce to creating a successful quiz comes down to one thing:

You have to know your audience like the back of your hand.

Here’s how you can get on their wavelength and choose a topic that resonates:

Create a survey to find their common struggle.

One of the best ways to understand your audience’s struggles is just to ASK them. Send out a questionnaire to your existing list or get onto Instagram Stories and create a few polls.

Hang out in online forums.


I’m Facebooking my way to “market research.”

Facebook groups, subreddits, Quora and other forums are where people come together to ask questions and get advice from their peers.

It’s market research that won’t cost you a cent.

Here’s a quick example of what I would do inside a group on Facebook:

  1. I want to see what questions people have about Instagram.
  2. I search the group for “Instagram” and learn that people are struggling with consistent growth.
  3. I create a fun quiz that puts their Instagram growth knowledge to the test and I use that as a lead magnet to my InstaGrowth Boss course.

Step 2: Work Backwards and Create The Results of Your Quiz First

Besides learning about yourself, the fun part about taking quizzes is sharing the results.

We want the world know what kind of fruit we are, right!? 🍊😝

So when you’re creating a quiz, it’s crucial to write results that people will want to share.

Remember: everyone wants to look good.

Will they share quiz results that tell them their credit score is down the toilet? Probably not.

But will they share the fact that they scored 90% on your Instagram quiz?

Or that their inner superpower is Unicorn Ninja?

You betcha.

Step 3: Write Questions That Are Relevant to The Results

Here’s a question I used in my ‘What’s Your Freelancer Superpower?’ quiz:

“Think back to high school. Time for a group project! What role do you eagerly sign up for?”

A) The commander-in-chief

B) The presentation engineer

C) The editor

D) The presenter

E) The visionary

It’s a fun question that’s easy to answer, but it also gives me tons of information about the person’s personality.

Then, whichever option they choose can easily be linked back to one of the results I’ve already planned out.

Step 4: Craft a Title That Converts

Your mailing list isn’t going to grow unless your quiz’s title is clickable.

Create interest in your quiz by appealing to people’s curiosity and egos.

Here are some formulas to help you write winning quiz titles:

  • Discover What Your ____ Skills Are Actually Worth

Include the word “actually” in your title. It transforms a boring question into a challenge that no one will want to back down from accepting.

  • What Type of ____ Are You?

People love hearing good things about themselves and who doesn’t want to know what kind cat they are!? 😺

  • How Much Do You Know About ____?

The knowledge quiz is a great way to gauge if they are a beginner or expert on a subject.

Step 5: Use Interact To Set Up Your Quiz

I don’t know about you, but I’m not an overly techy person.

The second someone starts talking about CSS or UTM codes, my mind wanders and before I know it, I’m daydreaming about my Lisbon retreat.

This is why I love Interact so much.

It’s the easiest platform out there for quiz creation, and it integrates with pretty much everything.

From Facebook to Gmail and even WordPress, you’ll have your quiz set up and live with just a few clicks.

Plus, you don’t need to design a quiz from scratch.

You can use one of the templates and filter by conversion rate to give your quiz that extra oomph it needs to bring home those leads.


Step 6: Don’t Forget To Nurture Your Quiz Leads

#Truthbomb: You can’t sell to your new leads right away.

How to grow your email list and boost sales with a quiz - Elise Darma

Imagine if the guy you swiped right on just a few seconds ago appeared at your door, and was down on one knee asking you to marry him.

Too much too soon right?

It takes time for your audience to get to know you before they are ready to hand over their hard-earned cash.

To help move your new leads from lukewarm acquaintance to full-blown love affair, you’ll need to create an automated welcome sequence.

My favourite tool for this is ConvertKit.

With a welcome sequence, you can:

  • Introduce yourself. Give your new subscribers a clear overview on what you do without trying to sell them anything.
  • Build trust and value. You can use this as an opportunity to offer other free resources such as PDFs, webinars or relevant blog posts.
  • Ask questions. Learn more about your new subscribers and how you can help them.

By creating this connection early on, your new leads will be more likely to open your emails and buy your products or services down the line.

Ready to grow your email list?

Create your first quiz with Interact and ConvertKit, and let me know how these programs work for you!

This is Part 5 of a 6-part series on kickstarting your freelancing business! 👊

Read Part 1: Tools to start your freelancing business for under $100

Read Part 2: 4 digital nomad skills that you can learn online for free

Read Part 3: How to win your first client with my cold emailing secrets

Read Part 4: SEO tips for freelancers: how to boost traffic to your website

Still not entirely sure what your superpower as a freelance would be?

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