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How I Went From Zero To 30k Subscribers Fast

When I originally started blogging, I relied heavily on SEO and social media to pull in my audience.

How I Went From Zero To 30K Subscribers FAST

For the first two years I just didn’t feel the NEED to make use of anything else!

The whole time, the experts kept on telling me how much I NEEDED A NEWSLETTER if I wanted to take my site to the next level.

Eventually, I took the hint.

I installed a newsletter form to my blog… but I didn’t really prioritize it: I simply placed it at the bottom of every piece of content. People signed up, sure. But the growth rate? It was crawling along. In a year I only generated about 1K+ subscribers. And in the world of competitive blogging, that simply wasn’t enough.

Whenever I would start conversations with sponsors, the first thing they would ask was “How many subscribers do you have?” And that’s when I realized that if I really wanted to make a mark and have a stronger case to impress businesses, I needed to step things up… and FAST.

So that’s what I did. I fully committed to building my subscribers with the aim to cross the 10,000 mark as quickly as possible. Before I knew it, I’d hit 30K.

And now I’m here to help you. Follow my top tips and I can show you how to triple your subscribers, sky rocket your audience and boost your online presence.

Tools I’ve Used:

To start off with, there are three tools I couldn’t live without when it comes to setting up newsletters.

  • LeadPages – I use their LeadBox feature for all of my content upgrades. This is ideal for content upgrades as you can just put it at the end of your popular blog posts (I’ll tell you more about this later!). You can also use their LeadPages option to generate landing pages easily. Their pricing starts at $25/month.
  • MadMimi – I use MadMimi to store and email my subscribers. It allows me to track my performance as well (I’m able to see my open and engagement rates, growth rate, etc) and is simple to use. You can start for free and is totally customizable and able to be integrated into social networks, CRMs and more. They have a free plan up to 100 subscribers, then starts $10/month.
  • SumoMe – I use this for my popups. I love it as it uses “Heat Maps” to detect where your readers are clicking on your site and where they aren’t. Through this they can detect the best places and times to display pop ups. Plus, their designs are totally gorgeous and easy to create. You can start with their free plan.

How To Generate Email Subscribers Fast

1. Offer an Incentive

Let’s face it: people LOVE a freebie. And if you’re able to offer your readers a little something extra for signing up to your newsletter… well, it figures that your sign ups are going to take a steep incline!

You’re rewarding them for engaging: and that’s always going to have a positive impact. A few ideas that I have found to be seriously attractive to readers include:

  • Worksheets
  • Video/s
  • A podcast episode (or even a subscription!)
  • E-book
  • Invitation to a private Facebook group
  • An email course
  • Webinar
  • Work templates
  • An all-in-one toolkit
  • An inspiring manifesto
  • Downloads – screensavers, infographics etc
  • Video course

And the list goes on – be creative!

2. Add “Content Upgrades” on Your Most Popular Pages

First of all, WHAT THE F IS A CONTENT UPGRADE? Trust me, I’m not the biggest fan of this term… BUT I cannot get enough of the technique!

In a nutshell, a content upgrade is a piece of bonus material that will enhance the content that your reader is invested in and can only be accessed by submitting an email address.

The result? A SERIOUS increase in your subscriber list!

The most effective way to make use of content upgrades is to add them to your popular pages as these are the ones that have proven to get the highest levels of engagement. You can find your most popular pages by checking out your Google Analytics under the Behavior tab > Site Content > All Pages.

It’s important that your freebie is relevant to the content they are reading. Some examples are:

  • Video or audio recording
  • Transcripts of interviews, podcasts or videos (if included in the content)
  • SlideShare version of the blog post
  • Guides
  • Assignments or worksheets
  • Case study
  • Mini ebook
  • Free course
  • Swipe files

I'm using LeadPages (their LeadBox feature) for my content upgrades.

3. Add Opt-in Forms in Multiple Places

Where you put your opt-in form is crucial: and I say, why not put it in multiple places?

You want to make it easy for people to sign up, right? It needs to be convenient… one of the first things they see. Plus, the more often people see something, the more likely it is to grab their attention and encourage action.

Do you see that popup bar at the top, the popup box, and the form on the bottom of every content on my site? They’re all installed to give my opt-in as much exposure as possible.

So experiment. See what works for you.

The most influential places for me are:

  • Homepage
  • After a blog post
  • Top bar
  • Footer
  • Email signature
  • Newsletter sign up option on your comment box

I'm using Madmimi for non popup optins & SumoMe for my popups.

4. Add a Pop Up

The crucial thing about this is you have to make sure your pop up isn’t annoying… the last thing you want to do is turn your readers off!

Right now I’m using SumoMe to manage my popup. It allows me to show the popup every once in a while, whilst hiding it on some parts of my site. It’s totally customizable and is wired to detect when your visitors are about to leave your site; at that moment, you can set it to display a snazzy lightbox to ask for your reader’s email address.

When designing your popup, you need to make it noticeable. Try using a unique design or colors that stand out against your website background’s colour. Experiment with different options to see what really pops: for example, bold prints and bright colors work a charm if you have a white background.

Tutorial: How to Add a Popup Form With SumoMe

5. Used Social Media

Social media is an easy way to promote newsletters quickly and efficiently. I use it to send out updates on the benefits that my followers will get if they sign up. It opens you up to a whole wider audience and is a simple technique for bringing more people in.

When using social media to market your newsletter, emphasize that it is something your followers will have interest in. Give proof of its value: real examples of what they will gain and social proof of the amount of people already signed up to cement its significance.

You should also consider paid ads to boost the reach of these posts: you don’t have to spend a lot to have a real impact. You can also edit the call-to-action button on Facebook to a newsletter “sign up”: a small tweak that can make a big difference!

6. Create an Effective Landing Page

I created a solo landing page just for my newsletter so that I could give my readers one focus: to SUBSCRIBE.

Whenever I ask my audience to sign up to my newsletter through other channels (such as social media!) I can link directly to this page. Basically, I’m making it as easy as possible for them to sign up.

It’s fundamental that you engage your readers through this page: grab their attention and make it irresistible for them to take action.

To do this, you need bold visuals and snappy information… don’t bore them with wordy explanations of why your newsletter is THE BEST newsletter.

Focus on key messages that you want to get across, that you think sell your newsletter best, and display them on this page.

Not a techy person? LeadPages (their LeadPages feature) can help you generate an effective landing page easily.

7. Use Irresistible Headlines

Headlines are important when it comes to capturing your reader’s attention in the first place. If your opt-in simply says “sign up to my newsletter” then you can’t expect them to take action.

Remember: your reader is going to come across countless newsletter opt-ins as they pass from website to website throughout their day.

You need to show them something DIFFERENT. Something that SPEAKS to them.

So be creative. Use your brand voice to make yourself stand out from a saturated crowd. Prove that what you are offering is different to the countless other newsletters demanding their attention by making your call to action fun & personal.

There are many ways to do this. My main advice is to:

  • Keep it simple. Don’t bore them so they lose interest and stop reading.
  • Speak directly to your market. For example, if your website is aimed at young creatives you know you can be a bit playful and daring with your tone (picture something tongues in cheek!).
  • Incorporate your incentive into your headline and grab their attention with freebies.
  • Use social proof to reinforce the professional nature of your newsletter. e.g “Join 30,000 subscribers…”
  • Use buzz words and adjectives to add a spark.

Still need a helping hand? Check out my 100+ opt-in headline ideas for a bit of inspiration.

And don’t forget: your email list is your most important tool for reaching out to your audience and reinforcing your position as a reputable brand. Put in the time and patience and it will transform your business for the better.

pauline c
By Pauline Cabrera

A twenty-something savvy web designer / social media manager / SEO strategist based in Toronto, Ontario. Passionate about web design, HTML/CSS, beautifying things and internet marketing. Follow me on social media and say hello! Follow me on Facebook Follow me on Instagram Follow me on Pinterest Follow me on Twitter

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