Because email subscribers trump views and fans!
We’ve already discussed this question regarding email list building in a previous blog post:
Would you rather have…
- 100 email subscribers
- 10,000 Facebook fans
- 100,000 views on your video
Wow, hard question, right?
Doesn’t everyone want their videos to go viral and get hundreds of thousands of viewers? And 10K fans on Facebook is a big deal. But there is a right answer to this question and it is… Door #3!
The truth is we all start at the same place… the beginning. Ground zero. No one is born with a list, and that means we all have to start growing our list at some point, preferably as soon as possible. The other fact to consider is that getting the first 100 people to sign up for your email list is usually the hardest. After that, you will gain momentum.
So, how do you go from 0 to 100 when it comes to building your list? Here are 3 simple steps to gain your first 100 subscribers:
Step 1. Create a freebie, or lead magnet (same thing)
You’ve seen them all over the web – boxes, buttons, and links that entice you to enter your email address in exchange for something useful or irresistible. And that irresistible something is called a lead magnet. Generally, a lead magnet is digital and usually downloadable, such as a PDF, MP3, or video.
When you create something valuable that you can give away for free, you will earn something more important than money – your ideal customer’s trust. This simple exchange of an email address for your valuable freebie is the beginning of a relationship built on trust; trust that you will respect your new subscriber and keep his or her information safe.
Do not skip this step! It is step #1 for a reason. So go and create something your ideal customers will love and use. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. In fact, it shouldn’t be. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm your new subscribers. Keep it short, sweet, and useful. Some ideas for freebies include step-by-step instructions, checklists, style guides, samples, etc.
Step 2. Write an epic blog post
This blog post should be coordinated to your lead magnet so that downloading your free gift is the next logical step for your readers. Let me list some examples so that you can see the natural progression:
- Blog post on how to use outline maps for school. Freebie is a set of outline maps.
- Blog post on sightseeing with children in London. Freebie is a packing guide for kids.
- Blog post on how the author used primary source research for a fiction book. Her freebie is a guide to 5 sites with free primary source information.
- Blog post on how to assign grades for students with learning challenges. The freebie is a customizable grade rubric for teachers.
You want to write this blog post in such a way that you are giving tons of value but also pointing the way to your lead magnet that will help your reader solve a problem or provide a convenience, such as:
This epic blog post (meaning it is thorough and uber-helpful) can be posted to your own website or to someone else’s as a guest blog post. If you can work out an arrangement to post on someone else’s blog who has a large readership, you may have to direct readers to your site to actually download the freebie, unless your host gives you permission to embed it right into the blog post. This would be the best case scenario.
Alternately, you can post your epic blog post to your own blog or website and direct traffic to it there. In this instance, you would direct traffic to your blog post using Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and/or Instagram. If you have a significant following on social media, this would be a great option.
Step 3: Create and embed an opt-in form within your blog post
Your email service provider will provide you with tools to create an opt-in form of some sort to capture email addresses. However, not all opt-in forms are created equal. My preference is to include a button, link, and/or image within the blog post itself (not on the sidebar) that allows readers to see their gift clearly and make a decision immediately.
For this reason, I do not use the forms available to me within my email service provider. I use leadboxes from Leadpages. Leadpages allows me to create beautiful leadboxes that pop-up when my reader clicks on a button, link, or image, but otherwise remains unobtrusive to the reader’s experience on my website. Leadboxes can also be programmed to display upon exit-intent or after a certain amount of time has elapsed. I don’t usually use these options, but instead, embed a button or two within the body of the text that display my irresistible offer.
In fact, if you like Leadpages, you may be interested in 7 other useful tools I love and recommend:
Then, when readers come to your site to read your epic blog post, a good percentage of them will sign-up to receive your freebie, and as they say, you are off to the races.
Get ready to explode your email growth when you go from 0 to 100 in just a matter of days (maybe only hours). Tell me how it goes for you. I would love to hear your story!