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How to Get Your First 1000 Email Subscribers without Paid Ads

If you’re an ambitious entrepreneur with a small but loyal following of clients and customers (who you totally appreciate) but you’re ready to scale, launch a sparkly new offer or maybe just stop feeling pressured to post on social media every day to keep your biz afloat, growing your email list is the perfect place to start.

Let’s just say it: In the world of online marketing, your email list is everything. 

Sure, you can use social media to promote your content (and you should!), but the reality is you’re always at the mercy of those platforms’ algorithms and rules. On the other hand, by building and maintaining an email list, you are taking control over content delivery to your audience. But first we must build that list!

Don’t get us wrong: You can absolutely make a big impact with a small list. (We’ve had many clients and customers do just this!) However, most online entrepreneurs agree that 1k is a nice first goal. Research has shown that email has a conversion rate of 4.29% so that means whenever you launch something to a 1000-person list, you can expect 42-ish people to convert. (Of course, this can vary a lot depending on many factors.)

Not too shabby, right?

Here’s the deal: Everybody checks their email. And since email is so intimate, it converts the best out of all online marketing strategies.

But what should you do if you cringe every time you take a peek at your subscriber number in Active Campaign? We’ve got your back, friend.

Here are a few tried-and-tested strategies for getting out of an email funk and finally hitting that coveted 1k milestone:

1) Create a Killer Free Incentive

Building your list quickly boils down to one strategy: providing uber-high quality free content. Let’s be real: Everybody loves free stuff! And nobody wants to give away their email for nothing (we all have crowded enough inboxes as it is!). That said, you can easily remedy this by creating a problem-solving freebie or lead magnet to entice others to join your list. You can offer anything from a free worksheet or PDF to done-for-you templates to a course preview to a workshop or webinar, or even a quiz.

No matter what you create though, be sure to keep it simple. Focus on solving ONE problem with your freebie so you can get your new subscriber a quick win without overwhelm. And as a result, they’ll start to trust you and start seeing you as the expert on said topic.

So, what is one thing your ideal client is struggling with? Or–if you already have a freebie–what’s one way you can make it simpler and easier for your audience to digest? Alternatively, what’s another one of their top problems that you can solve?

2) Craft a Seductive Landing Page

You should create a specific landing page just for your free offer. And just like the freebie itself, you should aim to keep it simple, short and sweet.

If you’re not quite sure what to include on your landing page, opt for less vs. more. At a minimum, though, whip up a captivating headline, a few curiosity-piquing bullet points letting your reader know what your freebie includes (and what results they’ll get) and don’t forget a compelling call-to-action.

You can set up a landing page on your own website or utilize a third-party service like Wix or Showit to create that eye-catching landing page.
Optimize Your Website to Collect Emails

You’ve put a lot of work into your website–and getting people to visit it–so put it to work for you. One super simple way to do this is to include a call-to-action to hop on your email list on every single page of your site. You can use a plug-in like HelloBar to make this easy-peasy. You can also use an exit pop-up to snag emails before people click away from your site. Consider adding a link to your freebie right in your navigation bar, too, with a name like, “Freebies.”

You can also add your freebie to your blog posts (or podcast episode show note pages) with an imbedded, in-post opt-in box. The options are endless!

3) Promote Your Freebie on Social Media

Once you have an enticing offer and landing page, be sure to catch that ‘low hanging fruit’ by adding your freebie to all your social media profiles: from your Instagram bio (use that ‘link in bio’ feature) to the cover photo in your Facebook group. Add it to your Instagram Stories (and highlights!)  using the ‘swipe up’ or link feature. Create attractive infographics in Canva based on the content of your freebie and post them on Pinterest or Twitter, with a URL to the landing page.

Lead with the freebie when you’re responding to others on social media, too. For example, be sure to post the URL when you reply to comments in others’ Facebook groups (if applicable and allowed). You can also shout it out on podcast interviews or podcast episodes, drop the link when you go Live on Instagram, or even add your freebie as a link in a Tik Tok video (just be sure to use those trending tags to increase your changes of popping up on more “For You” pages).

These tools are already available to you and cost nothing and offer a low effort, high-reward way for your audience to find your business.

4) Tap Into New Audiences

Writing a guest blog post or gearing up to be a guest on a podcast, summit or guest expert in a group or mastermind? Don’t forget to promote your freebie. You can include your freebie landing page URL in the promotional bio you provide when being interviewed or writing a guest post. You can also drop the URL at the end of your guest expert presentation. Of course, you’ll want to abide by any rules the other entrepreneur might have for promoting your offers, too.

A few other ways to tap into new audiences include giveaways that require the entrant to enter their email address and share the giveaway with their followers/friends or even free live webinars or workshops that require email registration.

You can also simply ask others–both in your network or already on your email list–to share your freebie with others who might be interested.

5) Keep it Fresh

Don’t let your freebie collect digital dust! If you’re going to pour time and creative energy into creating something amazing for your subscribers, it’s just as important to make sure you’re consistently promoting it so people can actually find it.

Whether your freebie is brand new or a bit of an old hat, you can still create new content for it every single month. In fact, we recommend it. Just be sure to refresh the image and/or update the description a bit, depending on where you’re promoting it. You can also keep it seasonally relevant. For example, if you offer a freebie around “50 ways to grow your email list” you can position it as a guide packed with “50 ways to grow your email list by the end of the year” in November and December.  There are so many ways to showcase your work to the world–get creative!

These are just a few of the ways you can increase your mailing lists and finally reach that goal of 1000 email subscribers. You got this!

 

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