Get your first 500 email subscribers for your blog with these 10 tips. Discover how to engage readers and turn them into subscribers.
When it comes to growing a blog, one of the most important things to get started with is email marketing.
Email marketing for a blog is one of the best ways to get in front of readers regularly. One way to think about it is that if you have someone visit your site and read a blog post that they love, they might click away and never come back.
With email marketing, in exchange for an email address (and maybe a free piece of content from your end), you can gather a list of readers who want to hear from you again. Every time you have something new to share from your blog or tell readers what’s going on behind the scenes, they’ll remember your site and come back to read more.
While the idea of having someone return to your site may not make much sense to you if you’re just getting started, the truth is that this is where the sweet spot is. If a reader finds you interesting once, they’re likely to find what you write interesting again. That idea of keeping a reader around is really valuable when we’re talking about traffic.
When you’re able to communicate with your readers regularly, they’re likely to want to keep coming back to learn from you, and allow you that direct line straight from you to your blog every time you hit “send” on an email.
If you can capture those readers who want to hear from you again, you can keep growing your traffic over time, because you’re retaining these readers and not having to work as hard to grow your traffic. These people will come back time and time again with each email you send, growing your traffic even faster over time.
In the past couple months, I’ve hit an awesome milestone in my business – reaching 500 subscribers to my email newsletter list. In this post, I want to share with you some of my best tips for getting those first few hundred subscribers. The truth is that there is a TON of information out there on this topic and I want to add my own voice and my own experience to the conversation today.
First, though, I want to tell you: this isn’t my first time at the email marketing rodeo.
I’ve had four online businesses in the past six years. I’ve used multiple email marketing service providers. I have tried many different ways of getting in front of my target audience (each of my businesses had different target audiences). I’ve succeeded many times and learned (a nice way of saying failed, ha!) even more. I know a general idea of what works well for me – and a few strategies that work for others that just aren’t my thing.
So how did I get my first 500 subscribers to my email newsletter list? And how can you do the same?
10 tips to get your first 500 email subscribers for your blog
1. Focus on one marketing channel
This isn’t a popular approach. Many bloggers tend to take on multiple streams of marketing their businesses – and do them all in a mediocre fashion. Either they aren’t ready to hire someone to take over some of their marketing for them, or they are just spread too thin with their time that they aren’t able to make the most of each channel.
Either way – I have learned that when I stick with ONE main marketing channel that provides the best results and throw ALL of my effort into it, I can grow my list without spreading myself thin. I can focus on what works and do more of it – while maximizing my time spent on marketing efforts. My main marketing channel right now is Pinterest.
2. Consistently share value
Wherever you are reaching your target audience, be sure that you’re showing up regularly and giving them as much value as you possibly can. If that’s on social media, on your blog, on your YouTube channel… wherever! Just make sure that you’re giving giving giving.
As a blogger, you truly cannot give enough away for free. I used to be afraid of “giving away the farm” and saving the best content for paid products – but the truth is that people want to hear MORE from you (and will then sign up for your email list) when you give a ton of great free content away.
The more great value you provide, the more people will trust you and rely on you for great advice. And these are the people that will most likely turn into paying customers and raving fans down the road if you decide to add products to your blog.
3. Give your readers a reason to sign up for your email newsletter list
Give readers an incentive to sign up to hear from you. This could be a free worksheet, free email course, free videos or lessons that are exclusive just for your email list. Even a PDF version of a blog post is a good incentive for someone to sign up to hear more from you.
These days, people expect to get a lot for free – and an incentive is an excellent way to encourage someone to “trade” their email address for something of value that will benefit them. What kinds of things would YOU love to get when you give out your email address? Ask yourself this question from your target audience’s point of view too for more insight.
4. Make it easy to share your content with others and ask them to spread the word
If we’re talking blogging, this is easy. Add a plugin to your website that encourages social media sharing.
It takes 5 minutes to set up and an extra two minutes to write into the end of an email or blog post these simple lines “Hey, if you loved this content, be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook or Pinterest. You can use the sharing buttons on the left side of the page!” Seriously, it’s the easiest and most effective thing in the world.
When you ask, people share. And when people share, more people will get their eyeballs on your content… and then more people will sign up to hear from you. Make sharing easy and growing your email list will be too!
5. Communicate with your email list regularly.
Sure, it’s great to be adding people to your email list, but it’s even more important to nurture the relationships with those who have already signed up. It’s not enough to just add them to your list – you have to actually engage with them!
Make sure after you’ve been entrusted with their email address, you actually use it! Send regular updates, your latest blog posts, recommended tools or services you love… really anything to keep you top of mind for those who sign up.
The more you engage with your audience, the more likely they will be to remember a story you shared or a post you linked off to – and tell someone they know who would love it – and they’ll sign up for your list too!
6. Make subscribing easy
Add opt in links everywhere on your blog. On the bottom of blog posts, on the sidebar, at the top of each page, on the navigation. Every single page on your site that isn’t selling something (your own or other affiliate products) should be giving visitors the option to subscribe to your newsletter list or sign up for some piece of free content and hear more from you down the road.
7. Create multiple opt in offers and landing pages in exchange for an email address
Incentives are important, as I mentioned in number 3 – but think about how to add even MORE opportunities for people to sign up. Think about it this way… if you walk into a store that only sells one kind of shirt, you’re not likely to buy anything. But if you have many different kinds of shirts, you probably will find something you like and spend money there.
The same can be said for opting up your email list. Not everyone in your audience will be interested in everything you share… but if you give them lots of choices, something might strike their interest.
8. Create pins and social media posts specifically for your opt-in offers and content upgrades
This is one of the most overlooked areas of using Pinterest. Most people simply create pin-able images for their blog posts only. You’re truly missing out if you’re not creating pins specifically for your opt-in offers and content upgrades as well. The more opportunities you give someone to find your high-quality free content, the more likely you’ll get someone to sign up for your list.
9. Make friends with other business owners and bloggers with overlapping niches and find ways to cross-promote each others’ content
One easy way to add more subscribers to your list is by getting in front of other bloggers’ audiences that are already established. Do your research and become acquainted with your peers in the blogging world.
Find a few people whose work you admire and offer to do a swap of your content. You promote and share relevant content with your audience and they do the same. It’s a win-win for both of you – you get more eyeballs on your website (and therefore potential email subscribers) and they get high-quality free content that they can share with their audience without lifting a finger.
10. Do your research and share what people actually want to hear about
This is another overlooked place to get more subscribers – do your research! Spend time looking around in your Google Analytics account or your social media analytics and find out what it is that people are already flocking to.
The more you understand what’s getting attention, the more likely you’ll be to recreate that success again and again to gain more traffic to your website and more subscribers to your email marketing list.
Another great place to research is on Pinterest – see what pins are popular, not only of your own content – but others’ content as well. What popular topics can you add to the conversation on your own blog and create content around? To find this out, type in one of the topics that you cover and see what content is being shared a lot. How can you add to the conversation around this popular content? Can you find a way to cover this same topic with your own spin on it? Think through the possibilities by looking at what’s working for others.
Getting your first 500 email subscribers for your blog may take you a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months. Stick with these ideas, don’t overthink it, and remember to engage with your list once you’ve started gathering emails. The more value you provide, the more people will look forward to hearing from you!