I’m sure you’ve heard everyone talk about the importance of starting an email list, the trouble is getting those first few subscribers can be tricky!
Have you got your first few subscribers but reached standstill? Or maybe you just don’t know where to start? This is the post for you! I’m going to teach you 10 steps to getting your first 100 email subscribers!
(If you don’t know why building an email list is so important, check out my post ‘5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs and Email List’).
Disclaimer: This post does contain some affiliate links, however I only recommend products and services that I actually use and really love!
1. Choose your email marketing platform
There are so many different email marketing platforms out there, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. Whether you’re on a tight budget, or got some spare cash to invest, there are a variety of different options available. You might have heard names like Aweber, Infusionsoft, MadMimi, MailChimp, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign and GetResponse. Each platform has different features so it’s important to do your research and choose one that will work best for you.
Here’s some things to consider:
- Ease of use
If you’re looking for a straight answer, I’d say go for MailChimp or ConvertKit. MailChimp is free for your first 2,000 subscribers so it’s ideal if you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend any money yet, however it does have quite a few limitations.
ConvertKit is the email platform I use and I love it. If you have the money to invest in your business I would definitely recommend you go with ConvertKit from the start, click here to find out why!
2. Create a signup form
Once you’ve chosen your email platform you need to create a signup form. A signup form is a simple form that you place on your website. This allows your subscribers to join your mailing list by entering their email address into the signup form. Your email platform will then automatically add them to your email list. If you’re using ConvertKit, I’ve created a whole post on how you can create a signup form and connect it to your Squarespace website, click here to read it.
3. Create an opt-in freebie to encourage people to join your list
An opt-in freebie is an offer of free content to your readers in exchange for their email address. This helps you build your list faster because people will be more likely to signup if they are getting something in return. There are many different types of opt-in freebies. In this post I give you 10 ideas of opt-incentives to help grow your list!
Opt-in freebies don’t have to be difficult to create, even beginners can create them with a simple program like Microsoft Word, Apple Pages or Canva. Click here for a step-by-step tutorial on how you can create your own digital freebies using canva.
4. Add your opt-in form to 5 places on your site
The more places you add a signup form to your website, the more opportunities you are giving your website visitors to see the form and take action. Research proves that messages and adverts are more effective when repeated. This means the more places your visitors see your signup form, the more likely they are to actually sign up.
I recommend you place a signup form in at least 5 different places on your website, such as on your homepage, blog sidebar, footer, announcement bar and content upgrades. Here’s more information on how you can optimise your website for more email conversions.
5. Create a landing page for your opt-in freebie
A landing page is a simple page on your website that is dedicated to your email list and your opt-incentive. This is beneficial because the page only has one available action, which is to join your mailing list. This helps reduce distractions and directs your visitors straight to want you want them to do - sign up!
Landing pages also make it easier to get email subscribers from social media, as people can click straight through to your landing page and signup immediately, rather than getting lost and distracted on the rest of your website.
You can easily create your own landing page using your website editor. Just create a new page and customise it to promote your opt-in incentive. You can do this by adding headings, text, images and a signup form. Alternatively, ConvertKit is a great option for creating a stylish and effective landing page in minutes. You don’t need any design skills, so it’s perfect for beginners! (The photo below is an example landing page created in ConvertKit).
6. Add your landing page to your navigation bar
Start directing traffic to your landing page straight away by adding it to your main navigation.
Give it an exciting name like ‘free course’ or ‘free workbook’ to encourage readers to click through and see what it is about. This will help generate more email subscribers as it is one of the first things people will see when they land on any page of your website!
7. Blog consistently to grow your traffic
Like with anything, consistency is the key to success. Blogging regularly is a great way to keep a regular stream of traffic coming to your website. The more blog posts you put out there, the more opportunities there are for people to find your posts and visit your website. The more people that visit your website, the more people will sign up to your email list!
8. Create quality blog posts with content upgrades
Content upgrades are similar to opt-in incentives. They are free pieces of bonus content added to the end of a blog post in exchange for the readers email address. The difference is a content upgrade is very specific to the topic of the blog post. It’s usually something like a checklist, worksheet or workbook that goes alongside the blog post. Click here to learn how you can create these freebies using Canva!
Content upgrades are a very effective way of generating email subscribers because if your visitors are reading your blog post, they are obviously interested in that specific topic, so they will also be interested in the freebie you are offering that goes alongside it!
Try and incorporate content upgrades in your future blog posts to maximise your opportunities of getting more subscribers. You could also find your top 5 performing blog posts and add a content upgrade to each one!
9. Create shareable blog post graphics
The best way to get people to click through and read your posts, is to advertise the fact it contains a ‘freebie’. You can do this by showing a picture of the freebie on the thumbnail graphic, this encourages people to click through and sign up straight away!
To create an effective blog post graphic it should include the following:
- Large graphic
- Vertical orientation
- Big title that takes up most of the image
- Bold text that’s easy to read
- Bright, attention-grabbing colours or images
- Displays the content upgrade
Here’s an example of a bad thumbnail graphic compared to an effective thumbnail graphic. As you can see from the images below, the graphic the right is a lot more enticing!
10. Share your posts on social media
Finally, you need to share and promote your blog posts and opt-in incentives on social media. It’s important to share your content because people aren’t going to sign up to your email list if they don’t even know your website exists! Social media is an amazing tool for getting your content out there, plus it’s free so make the most of it!
I recommend you pick two or three social platforms and focus on posting consistently on those. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself by trying to post on all the social media platforms. You won’t really get anywhere doing that! It’s also important to consider which platforms your target audience uses most. You want to put your time into the social media platforms that will reach your audience and bring the most traffic back to your website.
Remember to share the link to your landing page rather than your home page, this will take your visitors directly to your signup page and increase the chances of them following through and joining your list instead of getting lost on your site!
BONUS: Download the free checklist!
So there we have it! 10 steps to getting your first 100 email subscribers!
I’ve also created a free checklist for you, so you can refer back to these steps at any time and check them off as you go!