THIS IS HOW TO GET YOUR FIRST 1,000 EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS
Here’s the thing.
I know lots of you aren’t paying any attention to your email list. You either don’t have one, or you’ve got one and don’t think about it. You prefer to focus on creating content, social media networking and brand collaboration.
So many things to work on, right?
But - and you might not like this - your email list should be a big priority.
Especially if you’re passionate about blogging and want to create some serious opportunities for yourself and your brand.
So what do you do? How do you reach your first 1,000 email subscribers? And if you’ve already started, how do you keep bringing people in?
You’ve got a signup form in your sidebar, right? What does it say? Are you offering people something in return for their email address? Or are you just asking them to subscribe?
If it’s the latter, this post will SERIOUSLY help you.
I know you might feel a little overwhelmed right now. I did when I first started my own email list.
But the truth is - people aren’t totally loyal members of your audience until they become an email subscriber.
Yeah, I get that they check out your latest blog post from social media, but if that’s the only way they’re interacting with you, having a simple signup form in your sidebar just won’t cut it.
So what can you do?
I didn’t start growing my email list seriously until I knew I wanted to take my business full-time. And it’s played a big part in getting to where I am today.
WHY YOU NEED AN EMAIL LIST
I’ve been talking about why an email list is so important ever since I wrote a lesson on it for the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge.
When you get emails from people on your list, it’s SUCH a great feeling. I light up whenever I see one in my inbox.
Bit nerdy, right?
Well it’s because I know for a fact I’m growing my audience. I know these people want to place their trust in me and hear more about what I have to say. Plus, the might eventually want to buy something from me, which is an even bigger bonus.
So for me, the most important part of having an email list is getting to connect and engage with your community. With my weekly emails, I can create content I know my readers will enjoy and help them take a step forward to get a breakthrough. You can do the same.
Email isn’t like anything else.
It’s a big thing when a blogger hands over their email address to you. They’ve suddenly turned into your VIP. Like I said, it’s giving them a chance to use their voice.
And do you want to know something? I answer every single one. It’s all part of becoming more visible and growing my own online presence.
So yes, building an email list is going to help you in all sorts of ways as a blogger. But it’s also going to help you talk to your audience on a completely different level.
If you’re passionate about your blog, your email list has got to be a focus. Then it’s about deciding what you’re going to do to get people to sign up.
Sure you could tell them that they’ll get instant access to your latest blog posts. But is that enough?
Not when you look at the other things on this list it’s not. These are the strategies that will help you get your first 1,000 email subscribers and I use every single one of them. Get ready - they work like a charm.
#1 | CREATE A FREE OPT-IN
I know - sounds like a buzzword, right?
Your opt-in is what’s going to get people to sign up to your mailing list. When someone decides to give you their email address, this is what they get in return. Pretty good, right?
My current opt-in is the latest issue of the Blogging Breakthrough magazine. It’s changed every month to the new issue and is exclusive to my email subscribers.
I put it at the end of each blog post, in my sidebar AND it’s got its own dedicated landing page. People love it. And I know this, because ConvertKit gives me all the stats. I’ve only just made the switch from MailChimp to ConvertKit, so I’m keeping an eye on the conversion rate for this opt-in.
But what if you don’t know what opt-in to create? Don’t worry. Here are some of my favourite ideas.
A resource library is one of the most valuable ways to get subscribers to sign up to your mailing list. Instead of just getting access to one piece of free content, you get access to a whole host of freebies and new ones are added regularly. Elise’s resource library is a perfect example.
You can create a resource library for whatever industry you’re in. Fitness blogger? You can create printable workouts, meal plans and shopping lists. Beauty blogger? You can create tutorials, mood boards and so on.
Plus? This is a surefire way to grow your audience.
By offering your subscribers SO much value all in one place (for only the exchange of their email address), they’re much more likely to shout about how awesome you are. Win win.
This is by far the easiest and quickest opt-in you can create to get you first 1,000 email subscribers. Lizzie’s opt-in is a Freelance Business Blueprint. It goes through four things you need to grow a profitable business.
If you’re looking for some simple ways to up your business game but don’t want to be overwhelmed, you’d definitely want this.
Creating a checklist takes less than half an hour and is so easy to do using the tools you have at your disposal right now. I’ve created various checklists as content upgrades (which I’ll talk about soon).
I created this whole thing in Pages on my Macbook.
A video training is great for two reasons:
It targets different types of learning (lots of people love learning through video)
Video is the BEST form of content marketing right now
This is a seriously valuable opt-in offer.
Zoe, of Zoe Linda offers a free 30-minute workshop for one of her opt-ins. What’s great about this is that it’s just the right length - she knows her audience want to do #allthethings so she’s really taking their needs into account.
So this blogger outreach and influencer marketing training is easy to watch while you’re doing your make-up, having your lunch, on your commute home - whenever. And guess what? I’ve watched it and it’s great.
And don’t worry, you don’t even need to speak to the camera. The way Zoe does her training is through a presentation. So she records her computer screen and herself talking then puts it altogether. Genuis! You can use Keynote or Powerpoint to create your slides.
Don’t you just LOVE step-by-step guides? I do. And this is exactly what a road map is. This is a great example opt-in from Allison at Wonderlass. A complete roadmap for starting and growing your online business with a 17-page checklist and list of resources - IN ORDER.
The best thing is, when you sign up, you get redirected to a page where she gives you a quick video AND invites you to join her free Facebook group. Best opt-in ever?
You can create your step-by-step guide on Pages or Word and just jazz it up a little. Think about what someone would like to know when they’re starting out in your industry - that’s your idea.
Email courses are so great (I’m in the process of creating a productivity one as we speak!) If you’ve ever thought about purchasing a course, a mini email course is a great way to just dip your toes in. Plus, they’re free and oh so useful.
Kayla’s opt-in, ties in directly with her business. She’s all about copywriting and content creation, and her 7 lesson email course helps you “make a killer impression with your website copywriting”. It includes real case studies, actionable exercises and intentional storytelling.
Free courses like this are really valuable. You should be easily able to automate your emails with your email provider, but you might have to pay a small fee. With ConvertKit, automation is part of the package.
So really, the better and more valuable your opt-in is, the more likely people will be to subscribe.
#2 | USE CONTENT UPGRADES
This is one of my favourite strategies of all time.
I never used to know what a content upgrade was. Then when I found out, I thought it was WAY too much work.
I was also put off because I used to create so much content for my blog that I honestly just couldn’t come up with that many ideas for extra freebies.
That’s until I defined my categories, spoke to my Mastermind Group and decided to create a super valuable content upgrade for each category within my blog.
A content upgrade is a free download you add within your blog post, that’s related to the specific topic. And let me tell you - they work. In just a week, I’ve gained over 50 subscribers. Now that might not seem like a lot in itself, but think about that over twelve months...that’s like over 2,000 subscribers.
They work because the blogger is already reading about the topic. If they want something extra that’s going to help them out with said topic, they’ll instantly download the content upgrade.
Creating a content upgrade is simple and if you want me to do a free training on this on my YouTube channel, just let me know! This is a simplified version of the process I go through:
Write the document in Pages
Choose an image, add an overlay and the title of the content upgrade
Create a blog post image mentioning the content upgrade
Create a signup form within ConvertKit and add the front cover as a graphic
Link it to the relevant welcome sequence
Embed the form within my blog post
And this is what it looks like:
Still unsure about what kinds of content upgrades you can create? It’s all about the word “upgrade”.
You want it to add extra value to your post. Read through it as your audience - what’s something else super valuable they would want to know? Do you talk about something but don’t tell people how to do it? Create a tutorial and there’s your content upgrade.
Don’t make it complicated. The best content upgrades are simple and effective. My opt-ins for A Branch of Holly are:
A email course (that I’m in the process of creating)
I’m monitoring their growth but they’re getting me some huge results already.
#3 | CREATE A LANDING PAGE FOR YOUR OPT-IN
I know you know what I’m talking about when I say landing page.
But I know a lot of new bloggers read my content so if you’re not sure, it’s one page on your website about one specific thing that has one call to action.
Your landing page serves one purpose and one purpose only. Readers go to this page for one reason - to get whatever your landing page is all about.
In this case, it’s your opt-in.
Here’s a bit of the revamped page I’ve created for my own opt-in, the Blogging Breakthrough magazine.
You could also set the homepage of your website to a landing page, but I definitely prefer creating an extra page within your blog and linking to it.
#4 | PIN YOUR LEAD MAGNET ON ALL YOUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Are you on Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? These are all fantastic platforms to help you grow your online presence and get your first email subscribers.
Another way to grow your email list is to pin your opt-in to the top of your Twitter and Facebook profile, and include the link within your Linktree link in your Instagram profile.
Look at this one on Twitter from Elna Cain.
If you visit her profile, this is the first tweet you’ll see. You’ll go to the challenge, input your details and get the first email in your inbox.
It’s so easy to pin things to your profiles on Facebook and Twitter. There should be three little dots you can click and there’ll be an option in that list.
For Instagram, use Linktree and create it as the very first link in your list.
#5 | PROMOTE YOUR OPT-IN EVERYWHERE
This is why social platforms are so great. You want to share your opt-in at least once a day on Twitter, once a week on Facebook and you can mention it in your Instagram captions whenever.
And don’t forget about pinning (we’ll come onto that in a minute!)
But hold on, how do you make sure your message is going out about your opt-in all the time?
Use a scheduling tool! Buffer is my all-time favourite. You can switch up the message each week or just copy and paste to loop the same one again and again.
I schedule a tweet about the Blogging Breakthrough magazine or community every single day. And guess what? New people subscribe to my list every single day. So include it into your social media posting schedule.
#6 | CREATE A PIN FOR YOUR LANDING PAGE
Pinterest has hands down got me more traffic and email subscribers than any other social platform in the four years I’ve had this blog.
Pinning is where it’s at. Take it from me - by implementing a Pinterest strategy for my blog, it helped to increase traffic to my website by over 120%.
Yep, 120%!!! A post I published in May 2016 still gets repinned and saved to this day. So just imagine if you starting pinning your landing page where loads of people could get access to your opt-in...and it would be like that all the time?
Here’s one I found on Pinterest.
This will take you directly to the landing page for the opt-in. It’s such an effective strategy because you know on that landing page a visitor has one option - to sign up or click away. It’s easy to make a decision.
#7 | PUT YOUR OPT-IN AT THE END OF YOUR BLOG POSTS
So you’ve got your opt-in spread out all over your website. Now you can add it to the end of each of your blog posts. Most people coming to your website are reading your blog, right? So why not include it in the most popular place?
Not all blogs have a sidebar (and some people don’t pay any attention to it) so placing your opt-in at the end of your blog posts is highly effective and will definitely reach your target audience.
Plus, you know they’re going to e loyal members of your audience because they’ve read your whole post - why wouldn’t they sign up to get your opt-in?
#8 | CREATE MORE THAN ONE OPT-IN
Here’s your final big tip.
The more free download you have, the more chances you’re giving people to sign up to your mailing list. That’s why content upgrades work so well.
For instance, I’ve got my main opt-in and then four smaller opt-ins/content upgrades for each of my four categories:
Build a community
Yep! These four don’t have their own landing page, but they do have their own signup form and welcome sequence that people go through once they subscribe to get the freebie. So whenever I write a blog post about social media, I include the Get Social freebie and so on.
This is also a great way to test which freebies have the best performance, which can help you when it comes to planning your content strategy.
BONUS WAYS OF GETTING MORE EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS
Guest Posting - this is when you get a blog post published on someone else’s site. What’s great is you can include your author bio and link to your opt-in freebie.
Webinars - the people who watch your webinars become loyal to you. The want to know more about you and will become invested subscribers.
Host a giveaway - if you giveaway something really valuable and your audience has to sign up to your mailing list to enter, just think how many subscribers you’d get!
You did it!
Blogger friend, I’m so proud of you. I didn’t expect this post to be this long, but I wanted to pack as much value into it as possible.
Now have fun getting 1,000 email subscribers!
Which one of these strategies will you be trying out first? Will you be putting a plan in place? Let me know in the comments!