You’ve finally started your blog and published your first blog post.
You shared the good news with your friends on Facebook. Some of them even said that it was awesome.
There is just one problem…
You have no idea what to do next.
You don’t know:
- How you are going to get visitors to your site
- How you are going to make money from your blog
- How to build a community
- How to get people to share your content
- How to get more likes on Facebook
- How to get more followers on Twitter
- How to optimize your site for SEO
So many questions
So many doubts
Right now there is just ONE THING you need to focus on.
…your email list
Because if you learn how to build your email list, you’ll kill many birds with one stone.
You will be able to:
- Get traffic to your site
- Build a highly engaged community
- Sell products and services to your community
- Attract sponsors
- And more
FACT: 90% of my income online comes from emails alone so trust me when I say that building an email list is the most useful thing you can do to grow your blog.
The question is HOW?
In this post, I am going to show you exactly how you can attract your first 1,000 email subscribers this month even if you are just starting out.
(note: You are probably wondering what revenue and traffic you can get with 1,000 subscribers. From my experience 1,000 subscribers can make you around $500/month. As for the traffic to your blog, you should be able to get at least 2000 unique visitors/month).
So let’s get started.
Table of contents:
For those of you who don’t know what an ESP (Email Service Provider) is, it’s a company that offers email marketing services.
With it you can manage your subscribers, send mass emails, create email campaigns, create forms and landing pages…
It’s basically THE tool you need to build an email list.
To implement the strategies that I’m about to show you today, make sure to sign up for an ESP.
I personally use ConvertKit, but you can use Mailchimp, Aweber if you want.
The first and most obvious way to get email subscribers is to optimize your blog.
If you optimize it correctly, you should be able to turn 3% – 7% of your traffic into subscribers
(I know right now you have no visitors to your blog but I’ll talk about traffic in a minute, please bear with me for a moment)
Over the last 3 years, I’ve tested different forms, links, pop ups, pages to turn my traffic into email subscribers.
Here are the things that have worked best for me:
Optimization 1: Take over page
If you visit my blog for the first time, you’ll see a full screen call to action like this:
Optimization 2: Form in the side bar
I also used ConvertPlug to add my form in the sidebar.
Optimization 3: Form at the beginning of every blog post
The forms that convert best are the ones you see at the top of every blog post.
They work well, particularly when people read my blog post on their mobile because these forms become prominent.
Again I set it up with ConvertPlug.
Optimization 4: Link in my menu
If people click here
They get to the following page where they can join my free challenge.
Here’s how can you do the same thing for your blog
In your WordPress dashboard, click on Add New under Pages
Write the copy of your landing page.
Go to your ESP and create a new form.
In ConvertKit you just have to click on Create Form
When your form is ready, copy the HTML code of your form.
And paste it under Text.
Then publish your page.
Copy the URL of the page you’ve just created and go to Menus under Appearance.
Paste the URL of your landing page under Custom Links and add a link text.
Click Add to Menu and save your menu.
Congratulations, you’ve optimized your menu!
Note: Every time you ask people their email address with a form, pop up, landing page or whatever, make sure to give them a good reason to sign up.
Here are a few things you can offer them in exchange for their email address:
- an eBook
- a guide
- a bonus
- a video
- an audio file
- a checklist
- a cheatsheet
- a free course
- a discount
- a template
- a challenge
- a free consultation
- a free chapter of your book
- a webinar
- a mockup
- a psd
Every time I tell beginner bloggers to leverage their network, I almost always get the same response:
“I wish I could but I have no network!”
Oh really? What about your friends? Family? Colleagues?
They are your network.
To build your list, invite them to join your newsletter. Send them a personal message on Facebook, call them, text them, send them a letter… do whatever you need to do to get them to join your list.
Now, chances are 90% of your friends, family, colleagues… don’t have any interest in your blog topic and that’s totally ok.
They may not be interested in your blog topic but they definitely know people who are.
How can I be so sure?
Have you ever heard of the 6 degrees of separation theory?
“Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.”
How crazy is that?
This theory proves that your relations are very likely to know people who are interested in your blog topic and who would love to join your newsletter. You just have to ask them to help you spread the word so you can reach your target.
Here’s something you can send them:
How are you?
I saw on Facebook that you went to Florida, how was it? (Write a sentence to be personal).
I’m sending you this message because I’ve recently created a newsletter about ______ (description and benefits of joining your newsletter)
You should definitely join it (add the link of your landing page where people can join your newsletter).
Also I’m pretty sure that you know some people who could benefit from this newsletter. I’d love it if you could help me spread the word by tweeting it (add a click to tweet link) or sending an email (use the Samuel L Jackson hack for this link).
Thanks for your help!
Every time you reach out to someone, make sure to make it personal.
People want to be valued and the only way to make them feel that way is to be genuine and personal.
Leveraging your personal network is the first way to build your list.
Before explaining this strategy, let’s define what a content upgrade is because I know that some of you are unfamiliar with it.
“A content upgrade is simply a bonus content that people can get access to in exchange for their email address. Unlike traditional “site-wide” lead magnets, however, content upgrades are unique to the specific content that people are already reading or listening to on your site“. (source)
Content upgrades usually bring anywhere between 2-10% conversion rate. So if you get 1,000 visitors to a blog post that include a content upgrade, you should be able to get from 20 to 100 subscribers.
Let’s see how you can create content upgrades for your posts and how to drive traffic to them with Pinterest.
How to create a content upgrade
I’m not going to lie to you.
Creating and adding content upgrades to your blog posts require some extra work (between 30 min and 1 hour of work).
But it’s worth it.
Plus they are super easy to create.
Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: After writing your post, ask yourself: What bonus would people love to get if they read my post?
- If your post is long, offer them a checklist that recap everything they read
- If you listed 20 ways to do something, offer your readers an extra 10 ways as a bonus
- If you explained how to reach out to VCs by email, offer them an email template
- If your post is the script of an interview with someone, offer them the video/audio of the interview
Step 2: Once you’ve identified what bonus people would love, create it.
Step 3: Add your content upgrade to your post.
Here’s how I do it:
I add a new page in WordPress
I upload my bonus (PDF, template…) by clicking on Add Media.
I publish my new page, copy its URL and go to ConvertKit.
In ConvertKit, I create a new form and paste the URL here
I save my form.
Finally I go to WordPress where my blog post is ready to get published, I scroll down and select the form I’ve just created.
I publish my post. I’m now ready to get new subscribers.
As I said earlier, optimizing your blog to build your email list isn’t enough, you also need traffic.
That’s what you are going to learn now.
How to drive traffic with Pinterest
I already wrote a whole guide about how to get traffic with Pinterest.
The tips I shared in this guide allowed me to get 11,410 visitors from Pinterest in one month and attract 15 – 20 subscribers/day starting from scatch.
Here’s a summary of what I did:
- Step 1: Set up a Pinterest business account
- Step 2: Set up my profile
- Step 3: Design 10 Pins to share my blog posts (they all included a content upgrade)
- Step 4: Join more than 17 group boards
- Step 5: Set up Boardbooster to automatically share my Pins
For more details, make sure to read my guide.
Giveaways work miracle if you want to grow your email list rapidly.
A few months ago I ran a giveaway and attracted more than 1,100 new email subscribers.
Here’s what I did:
- Step 1: I chose the right giveaway for my community
- Step 2: I set up my viral giveaway with Kingsumo
- Step 3: I emailed my email list to let them know about it
- Step 4: I emailed my personal network to promote my giveaway
- Step 5: I shared my giveaway on social media
- Step 6: I added a Hello Bar to let my visitors know about the giveaway
- Step 7: I emailed almost 300 people in my niche manually to promote my giveaway
- Step 8: I spent $100 on Facebook ad to reach more people
- Step 9: I built relationships with people and sites that have a large community
- Step 10: I got influencers to share my giveaway
I wrote a crazy detailed guide about it: How to Get 1,134 Email Subscribers in 14 days
I recently discovered that Quora is an amazing source of traffic and a great way to build your email list.
In one month I got more than 12,000 visitors and 500 email subscribers from Quora alone. Again I did it starting from scratch.
Here’s the step-by-step process I followed:
Step 1: Create a Quora account if you don’t have one yet
Step 2: Add every topic you know about.
Step 3: Search keywords that are related to your blog.
For example if you write about cooking, search cooking on Quora.
The topic must be popular. As you can see in the example below, cooking has 5.8 millions followers so it’s perfect.
Step 4: Find popular questions.
To do so click on Most view writers
Then click on view answers
Hit 30-Day views to find popular questions
You know a question is popular when the answer gets thousands of views and many upvotes. Those are the questions you want to answer.
Step 5: Answer the popular questions
When answering questions, make sure to bring value. Be thoughtful, interesting and helpful.
Add a few images to illustrate your answer and include a few links to your site when it’s relevant.
(note: To track these links and see how much traffic you get from Quora in Google Analytics, add ?utm_source=quora at the end of your URLs. eg: http://thebecomer.com/interview-neil-patel/?utm_source=quora)
Bear in mind that to get results with Quora, you need to be active and answer questions quite often.
If I got more than 12,000 visitors from Quora it’s because I answered questions everyday for a month (that took me 1-2 hours/day). If you do that, you will explode both your traffic and your email list.
To learn more about how to drive traffic with Quora, take this free class.
I’m sure this guide will help you grow your email list.
These strategies really work even if your blog is new. So I implore you to implement what you’ve learned today.
And if you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll answer you 😉