How To Get Your First 100 Email Subscribers

Have you ever tried pushing a car?  Perhaps if you’ve broken down, or helped someone who has?

The first few steps are the hardest.  When the vehicle is stationary you’re pushing its entire weight to get it moving.  Once you’ve got it moving the weight of the car will start to build some momentum and the pushing becomes much easier.

It’s the same with building your email list.

Getting your first one hundred subscribers is the hardest – once you hit that milestone the process starts to become easier and the list will build momentum just like the pushed car.

Do you want to give your email list a push start?  Here are four tips for gaining your first one hundred subscribers that you can start to action today.

1. Make Subscribing Easy

It might seem an obvious point, but don’t make it hard for visitors to join your email list.  There are two key points to making it easy:

  • Have a Prominent Sign Up Form: As Jo mentioned yesterday, ensure that your sign up form is prominently positioned throughout your website.  Common locations include on your homepage, at the bottom of your about page, in your sidebar and at the bottom of each blog post.  No one is going to search your website for the sign up form, if they can’t find it they simply won’t sign up.
  • Only Request an Email Address: Don’t ask for people’s names as well as their email addresses.  The more information you request, the more objection people will take and the fewer people will sign up to your list.
  • Create a Sign Up Page:  Give yourself more room to explain why being on your email list is so great.  Create a landing page that explains what the subscriber will receive and focus the page on getting more subscriptions by removing any distractions.  Here is an example of my own subscription landing page.

2. Offer Real Value

Do you wish you had more emails in your inbox every day?  I don’t mean sales, I mean more of the messages that you have to read, file, delete and action?

I’m guessing not.  I think most people would prefer less.  So when you’re trying to attract people to sign up to your email list don’t just offer “email updates” or the chance to “get my newsletter” because really, how attractive is that?

The Internet has changed the way we perceive information.  Fifteen years ago a “free guide” might have been compelling just because it was free, in the same way some tradesmen offered “free quotations”.  But today how many free guides litter the Internet?

Also, everyone is more concerned with maintaining email privacy,  so offering free updates in return for an email address simply won’t cut it anymore – you need to offer true, compelling value.  You need to be offering something to your email subscribers that they want so much that they are willing to “pay” by giving you their email address.

Create something that you would genuinely put a value on.  I don’t mean a guide that in truth you’d struggle to give away, but you say is “worth £47”, because you won’t kid anyone.  Instead write something that is really worth £47 – that you could sell, but then explain the value in your product and give it free to people who sign up to your email list.

For example, for my own website I wrote an eBook for micro and small business owners entitled “How to End the Famine and Feast Cycle of SmallBusiness Sales”.  This eBook is thirteen pages long and outlines the process of defining your perfect customer, understanding their pain points and creating a compelling marketing strategy that will generate ongoing enquiries and sales.  I made the eBook a quality document that I believe people who read it will benefit from, and I give it free to anyone who signs up to my email list.

These free guides are sometimes referred to as an “expert products” as they’re an opportunity to show some of what you know about your topic.  Georgina and Jo have an expert product here at the Micro Business Hub that you can get by signing up to their email list.

The trick is targeting your expert product correctly.  It’s like an appetiser in a restaurant.  When you’re waiting for your starter the waiter might bring an appetiser, normally very small, enough to wet your palette and excite your taste buds at the thought of enjoying more from the chef, but never enough that you wouldn’t be able to eat the next course of your meal.

When planning your expert product, plan something that will be attractive enough that your website visitors will be keen to get it, and upon reading it will have their appetite whetted for your other content and your paid services.  But don’t make the free product so big that you’ve really given away the first course as some people will leave as they’ve already eaten enough.

3. Offer Exclusive Content

Don’t just offer to email your weekly blogs to your subscribers.  I’ve visited blogs that do this and decided that rather than get more email I’ll just remember to come back and visit each week and not bother signing up for the emails.

Instead you can offer subscribers some exclusive content, such as a series of emails teaching more about your expert topic, a free exclusive webinar or even a set of videos.

You can also extend this exclusivity.  For instance, Chris Brogan doesn’t send out his blog posts by email at all.  Instead on a Sunday morning his subscribers get a piece of unique content, in a very relaxed tone, that he has written just for his email list.  He writes in a very friendly style and invites peoples to hit reply and talk to him.  It’s exclusive, and if you want these emails you have to join his email list to get them.

Can you offer some exclusivity to your email list to encourage visitors to sign up?

4. Promote Your Sign Up

You can have the most compelling offer to get people to sign up to your email list, but if no one sees it you won’t get past your first one hundred subscribers.

Here are some strategies that really work to get traffic to your subscription page:

  • Guest Posting: When writing a guest post for another blog include your compelling appetizer in your biography, even link to it in the text if the website’s guidelines allow it.
  • Mentions: Build relationships with other bloggers, share their content and get to know them.  Be helpful, highlight useful articles that they might not have seen.  Over time you’ll get noticed and other bloggers will share your posts on social networks and if you write great content you could even get mentioned in other bloggers posts. 
  • Email Signature: Add a link and the benefit of your expert product in your email signature.
  • Blog Commenting: When you comment on other blogs add the link to your subscription page so that anyone clicking on your name will be greeted by it.  Don’t do this every time but alternate it with entering your homepage.
  • Social Media: Share your subscription page on social networks at least once a week to keep it in front of new followers, also link to it from your social media profiles.

The Bottom Line

We’ve established this week that permission based marketing is the best way to grow your micro business.  But, if you don’t get people on your list your best marketing messages will be wasted.  Take action today to get momentum in building your email list.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Take five minutes to review how compelling your email sign up really is.  If you were visiting your website would it be convincing enough for you to sign up?  Tweak it so its compelling and plan time in your diary to review and create an appetising expert product.

Robert Peters

Robert Peters is a small business advisor, coach and consultant. Through his Fresh Eyes Consultancy he helps micro business owners grow sustainable and profitable businesses. Sign up for a free copy of his guide on how to avoid the feast and famine cycle and take the stress out of micro business sales.

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Comments

  1. Thanks Robert. I’m a big fan of permission marketing and this is a great post for tackling that initial problem of how do you start to build your list. I think the first 100 is a great starting target, and once momentum starts, the list will grow anyway. I think all micro businesses should have a strategy in place for creating their own list and in this post you have shown that it doesn’t need to be as difficult as you may at first think. Thanks :-)
    Georgina El Morshdy recently posted..20 Easy Ideas To Promote Your Micro Business With Content MarketingMy Profile

    • I think building your email list is like a lot things that look a massive task when you view it as a whole. For instance if you think of building a list of several hundred or even several thousand people. But breaking it down into smaller goals gives you something realistic to aim at and then you can celebrate the achievement and keep the momentum going to get to two hundred, three hundred and so on :-)

      Thanks for the comment Georgina!
      Robert Peters recently posted..3 Simple Steps to Add Personality to Your Small Business WebsiteMy Profile

  2. Excellent advice Robert and I absolutely love the analogy of getting a car rolling. Thanks for writing this!
    Russ Henneberry recently posted..Why Creating Content Breeds Success (Even when no one is listening)My Profile

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