Have you ever heard the catch phrase from the movie Jerry Maguire?
“Show me the money!”
And in today’s marketing world – “Money is in your list.”
But one of the MOST mysterious things for startups is: How to build a list of potential subscribers and keep it running…
You’re at the right place.
Just give me your 3 minutes, and I’ll give you 17 proven strategies to get your first 1000 email subscribers organically.
These are the exact strategies we used to grow our email list from zero to 1000 subscribers just in 10 days!
And today I’m going to show you how we did it and how you can do the same thing.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in…
1. We Set up Our Email List in MailChimp
First, we had to choose an email service provider to build email lists, signup forms, and send emails. There are many options available out there like: MailChimp, Aweber, Campaign Monitor, Convert Kit, and many more.
But we decided to go with MailChimp (if you’re a startup then I suggest you to go for MailChimp).
The best thing?
MailChimp provides you a free plan up to 2000 subscribers.
Here you can easily create your email list. Just click on “Create Audience” button.
2. Embed Sign up Forms on Your Website
Now it’s time to create a nice looking sign up forms. We created sign up forms using MailChimp and embed these forms on our website and blog.
It offers multiple types of forms, designs, and customization. You don’t need any external tools.
3. Set up an Automated Welcome Email
So we set up the sign up forms and embed these to website. Next, we created ONE welcome email that goes out when someone signs up for the free 50 early access credits we were providing.
See the welcome email that we sent:
4. We Created Our First Freebie Content
This is a VERY important step.
First, I researched a little and talked to some salespeople and startups and asked ONE question:
“What’s the most challenging part when it comes to contacting your prospects?”
And most of the people answered: Writing Effective Sales Emails.
Now I only had to fill this gap. What did I do?
I started working on a checklist that can create some value for our audience. It took me just 3 hours to compile this checklist.
Tip 1: You don’t need to invest a lot of time and hours on creating something perfect. Just create something that can add some value. (Click to Tweet)
Here are a few ideas you can start with:
- A checklist
- A cheat sheet
- Mini workbook
- Short email series.
I created a sales email checklist as our first freebie content. And after that, we created some more checklists and cheat sheets. And got a really good response from the audience.
5. Created a Landing Page for These Freebies
I created the Freebie. Now, what’s next?
We created a landing page for this freebie. Here people can drop their email id (and name) to download the checklist.
Here are some elements to keep in mind:
- A STRONG headline that solves a specific problem.
- A Brief about the freebie.
- A visual or image.
Check out the landing page that I created for the checklist (It took me just 30 minutes to set it up).
You can also create a landing page in MailChimp. It’s as simple as this equation – 2+2=4. It will only take 5 minutes to set up.
Now I created an automated email for this freebie. Then I connected the landing page to this automated email.
I tested everything before making it live. This is a REALLY important part:
Tip 2: Don’t SKIP testing before making your freebie public. (Click to Tweet)
6. I Shouted Out on LinkedIn about the Checklist
Fun stuff started then!
I created a post on LinkedIn and asked people if it resonates with you download it now. Check it out:
I reached out to some sales and marketing folks and asked them to check this out. And I also asked them that if they like the resource please share it with your network. And they did!
We also leveraged the power of LinkedIn groups. We shared educational content in groups and people showed interest there.
Tip 3: But remember one thing always: NEVER Spam in LinkedIn groups. (Click to Tweet)
7. We Reached Out to Influencers for a Roundup Post
If you’re the small fish in this massive ocean, it’s tough getting your voice heard.
Influencers can help you to get noticed your content.
My team and I reached out to some industry experts and influencers for a roundup post.
I asked them just one question:
What’s their best advice for new salespeople?
And compiled their blurb into an article.
Wondering how can you reach out to an expert? Send a clear, concise, and effective email pitch (So they can’t say NO).
Here’s the email that I sent:
After publishing the roundup post. I asked them to share them with their network. This post brought us a good amount of subscribers.
We also re-purposed this post on social media (created visuals) and other networks.
8. We Published Articles on Your Story and Medium
Reputed publications and blogs can help you to reach a wider audience. I re-purposed the influencer round-up post on Your Story.
Take a look:
Medium is also a great way to generate traffic to your website and earn some subscribers. I republished a blog post on Medium and include the landing page link of freebie in the Call to Action section.
Check this out:
9. We Put Our Freebie at the End of Blog Post
We dig deeper into our Google Analytics and found that most people coming to our site were reading our blog posts.
Blog was the most popular place on the website. So we decided to put our freebie at the end of blog post.
“Why end of the post?” – I hear you ask.
Because your audience have read your complete article which means they’re interested in your content – They’re more likely to sign up for the freebie.
Something like this:
10. Facebook Group and Messenger Hack
We joined some targeted business, sales, startups, marketing groups on Facebook to educate group members about our tool and spread awareness around sales buddy (Our Sales Intelligence Tool).
Initially, we asked people to visit our site and check out the tool and subscribe for early bird access. But there was a lot of drop-offs.
We found out that the content wasn’t resonating because we were talking about just the tool and now how it would benefit the different target users – salespeople, startup owners, marketers, freelancers, etc. These roles were specifically included in the content for the optimized copy.
Also bringing people to the website was causing increase in website traffic but people were getting distracted from signing up for the early access.
So in the updated copy, we did the following changes:
- We made the copy informal with emoji, etc.
- We focused on the target segment by specifically mentioning the titles in the copy.
- We gave a clear idea of what the tool does in 2 lines to keep the focus in place.
- We clearly showcased the value of joining as an early access user by giving free credits.
- We asked the audience (who were providing their mail IDs) to tag other people in their network who might be interested in using the tool and we got some referrals from this.
See how people were showing interest there:
11. We Became Active Member in Slack Communities
Slack has many communities under sales and marketing category. We tried reaching the target audience through slack communities. The effort was not successful. So the team has changed the way to reach community members.
We segmented the audience based on their interest and requirements and tried to approach the right target audience.
And this time community members were interested in our Product signup. People are finding value with the product and it helps their day-to-day activities.
12. I Told My Friends and Network Exactly What We’ve Built
I am personally connected with around 200 sales and marketing people. Some of them were my friends and some of them were old colleagues.
I reached out to them with personal messages and emails and tell them why I think this product useful for them. And also ask them to share it with their network.
I sent message something like:
“We’re building this new sales intelligence tool – SalesBuddy. This tool will make prospecting easy. I think you might enjoy it. Want to give it a try? Sign up Now.
Also, would you help me spread the word by reaching out to 5–10 people who might find this helpful?”
And it worked!
Tip 4: Reach out to your network and tell them what you are doing. But don’t SPAM by asking over and over again. (Click to Tweet)
13. We Leveraged the Power of Telegram
Yes, you heard it right!
We got a good number of potential subscribers from Telegram. How?
We joined various marketing /startups/business groups which have around 10000+ members. We prepared 2-3 effective pitches and shared these in the groups.
- We got very good traffic on the website.
- Got around 100 potential subscribers from there.
- We received a lot of queries from the community members.
14. We Added Urgency in Our Messages
We added some urgency in our messages. We told people what they’ll miss out on if they don’t sign up for early access.
We use the phrase ‘Get on VIP List Now” in Our CTA buttons. Check out this post on LinkedIn.
15. We Created a Landing Page on Product Hunt
Product Hunt is a great channel to pre-launch your product and let the community know what you’ve built.
We got a good number of subscribers from Product Hunt. How did we do this?
We just created a landing page in Product Hunt for FREE. Check it out here:
How can you do it?
Create an account in Product Hunt > Go to Ship > Landing page in 30 seconds.
Before you create a Landing page you need to take care of a few things:
- Create One-Liners to describe your product.
- Create a short content less than 200 characters to give a short description which can add huge value.
- Make sure you have LOGO ready.
- Make sure you have created a welcome message for subscribers and Voila! Your Landing page is ready to launch!
Don’t forget to share the landing page across social media to get more audience.
16. We Attended Local Meetups
Meetups are effective for knowledge sharing and networking. We searched and found some local business/marketing Meetups. (Try Meetup.com)
We attended these Meetups and got a chance to introduce ourselves and educate people about our product. Some of the businesses and marketers had groups, they asked us to join the groups.
Most of the attendees asked us to give them early access of our product.
Wondering how can you do the same?
Here are some tips:
- Make sure you have a story that describes a pain point which can be relatable by your audience.
- Draw attention by explaining HOW you are going to solve this pain point with your product.
- Educate them about what are you offering!
- Collect email IDs or LinkedIn profile
- Reach out to them personally over email or LinkedIn after the Meetup.
Tip 5: Make sure you have a story that describes a pain point which can be relatable by your audience. (Click to Tweet)
Awesome! You just accessed the complete case study. Now you have zero excuses not to achieve your 1000 subscribers target.
The fact is: You can’t afford to ignore your email list. (Click to Tweet)
But did you notice I promised to give you 17 strategies in intro part but these are 16 only?
What’s the next strategy?
Now our next Goal is: 10K subscribers.
How are we planning to reach there? Here’s our road-map:
- We treat our subscribers as community members. We’re going to build communities on different platforms.
- Attend more conferences, online events, and local Meetups.
- Write more on popular publications and websites.
- We’ll ask people to guest post on our blog.
- Host a webinar and event.
- Create more freebies and whitepapers.
- Keep writing amazing content – It’s what builds trust with the audience.
We’ll publish one more case study when we’ll achieve the 10K milestone. Want to get that case study? We share content with our community members first.
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Got any query? Please drop your thoughts in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you.