Starting From Scratch: Your First 100 Subscribers

New Biz


You’ve probably heard a zillion +1 times that cultivating a solid e-newsletter list is “the key” to sales success. But getting the subscriber train rolling can feel as elusive as finding the perfect swimsuit. Naturally, you end up eyeing that “Get 1,000 Subscribers in 10 Days!” ad that won’t quit popping up in your Facebook feed, and you feel compelled to reach for your wallet.


But wait… remember when we talked about smart investments? Before you jump to strategies for growing your list by the thousands, you should probably think about just getting your first 100, right? Especially if you’re starting from 15 and they consist of your Mom, your second cousin, your boyfriend, and the weird lady you met at the networking event who doesn’t understand how online marketing works, and thinks your emails are actually written just for her…


There are plenty of things you can do to grow your email list before you plunk down hard-earned cash on a course that doesn’t meet you where you’re at today. And by focusing solely on rapid list building strategies, you’d be missing out on a prime opportunity to tailor your content to your audience and to attract quality subscribers who resonate with your message.


Which would you rather have: 1,000 subscribers who only sometimes engage and might buy your service or product? Or 100 subscribers who open every single email and are chomping at the bit for your next offer?


So before you whip out that credit card and push the “Buy Now, Only Seconds Remain on this Great Deal” button, try implementing these profitable newsletter tips:


1. Does your newsletter have a name, or at least a common theme?

When is the last time you got a thrill seeing “Suzie’s Newsletter!” in your inbox? Ummmm… right. I thought so. There are plenty of good reasons to give your newsletter a unique name, or focus on something that your audience will come to know you for. Increase your subscribe and engagement rate by drawing your readers in with a catchy name that brands your message as uniquely you, and gives them an idea of what to expect.



2. Do your website visitors know your newsletter even exists?

Simply sharing your sign up link on your personal facebook page over and over isn’t going to attract the people you want on your list (and will probably annoy your actual friends). Capture the audience you have already by integrating sign up forms into your website in places where they’ll see it.

I have a banner at the top corner of my website (thanks, Privy!) to entice my readers into signing up for my list, and I give them lots of other chances too. You can integrate pop-ups, banners, slide ins, and in-line sign up forms to let your visitors know that you have a list, and you’d love for them to join.


3. Do you give your visitors one last chance?

Ah, the exit-intent popup. These little babies watch for behavior that indicates your visitor is leaving, and throw up a last minute plea for their email address.

Many visitors won’t sign up for your email list immediately (unless you’ve got a too good to miss offer, more about that below). But by the time they’ve poked around your site, gotten to know you a little, and are ready to sign up, that pesky pop-up they closed initially is nowhere to be seen. This is why the exit-intent pop-up is so valuable. It makes it easy for your visitors to stay in touch with you and shows up when they’re ready to take the plunge.


4. Are you offering value in return for their information?

Email addresses are precious, precious things. By trusting you with their information, someone is saying “Hey yes, I’ll let you take up space in my inbox, and I’ll give you my attention when you get there.” That’s a pretty big act of trust, and you need to offer something for free in exchange.

You’ve done it before—given someone your email in exchange for a free worksheet, printable, email course, or something else—right? The technique works. Think about what you could offer that solves a problem for your potential client. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, either. For example, offering a video training might be more enticing to your audience than a download.


5. Do you have more than one freebie?

Last but not least, give your audience plenty of reasons to sign up for your list. Perhaps they’re not interested in “10 Different Ways to Design Your Gallery Wall,” but “Tips for Working With Your Wedding Photographer” is just what they need. Create different opt-ins for different posts or pages on your website, and update old posts with new opt-ins as you create them. (Don’t forget to try different calls to actions for the same opt-in, too.)  


If you’ve implemented everything above, and you’re still not getting sign ups, it’s possible that you’re just not visible enough. Make sure you’re spending enough time marketing your business to attract your audience.

Which of these tips could you implement today to grow your list? Tell me in the comments!


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