Gaining email subscribers for your blog is everything. I write a lot about growing your social media following, but I’m afraid I’ve been terribly irresponsible in not giving enough attention to, nor placing enough importance on building a solid email list.
Even in 2015, email has among the highest conversion rates. While it is certainly noisier than ever, new tools have made it easier to quickly or automatically filter unwelcome emails out of the main inbox. This makes it more important than ever to be able to stand out in a good way.
Here are 5 easy steps to getting your first email subscribers.
1) Write good content.
This one really goes without saying, but I would be remiss if I didn’t emphasize this – that if the quality is poor, nothing you read beyond this is going to help. I recommend writing every day to improve your writing skills. Reading a lot is helpful, too. The more you read good quality writing, the more elegant your writing becomes.
2) Be consistent – Do things you can sustain.
I’m a busy guy, so I only send out my newsletter once a month, and I post on this blog every week. That’s about it. As much as I would like to post every day like Seth Godin, or even multiple times a week like James Clear, it just isn’t practical right now. Knowing that, I can confidently stick to the schedule I have created, and my readers know what they can expect from me as well. Sure, occasionally I will add an extra post when the inspiration strikes, but I will never write 4 posts in 5 days and then go dark for 3 months.
Now that we have covered the basics, let’s get to something a little more tangible.
3) Reach out to your 100 closest friends/connections.
Send a personal message to 100 of your closest connections/friends – something simple like a text or Facebook message. Like Noah Kagan says, if your own family won’t subscribe to your list, then no one will. This isn’t exactly a target market in terms of building a client base, but you would be surprised at how little separation there is between your friends/family and another valuable connection.
4) Include a link in your email signature.
This one is really easy, but surprisingly effective, especially since it takes about zero effort beyond setup. I recommend creating a trackable link, using a service like Bit.ly to see exactly how many people are being driven from your signature. Test a few different versions until you find one that works the best.
5) Give something away.
This can either be in the form of a straight giveaway or contest. Depending on your industry and your audience, you can offer a piece of premium content in exchange for subscribing to your email list. For example, if you have written an ebook or a whitepaper, create a landing page with a sign-up form that they must fill out in order to receive the content.
If you are going the contest route, you don’t have to do anything extreme. A Starbucks gift card can even be effective in driving new subscriptions, or you can be more creative with your gift. Whatever it is, make it something that people want and will sign up for.